May 19, 1947 (20th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Elie-Oscar Bertrand


Mr. E. O. BERTRAND (Prescott):

would appear that in this matter, Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Temiscouata (Mr. Pouliot) is complaining about the action taken by the standing orders committee, although he did it in an indirect manner. In
order to keep the record straight, to protect the procedure of the house and give a certain amount of explanation it would probably be well if a word or two were said about what has really taken place, in order to complete the record.
Under date of May 5, your committee received from the house the following reference;
That the petitions presented by the electors of the parishes of Ste. Rita, St. Cyprien, St. Paul de la Croix, St. Emile d'Auclair, Notre Dame de Sept Douleurs and St. Jean Baptiste de l'lsle-Verte be referred to the standing committee on standing orders.
These petitions had been presented to the house by the hon. member for Temiscouata. In his report thereon, under date of April 30 and May 1, the clerk of petitions stated that the petitions were not drawn in proper form and therefore could not be received.
I have listened with great care to what was said by the hon. member for Temiscouata, and although he claims that he wants the committee's report to be supported by the house, he is making all sorts of complaints with regard to it, claiming apparently that red tape is being used and that the voice of the people at large is not being heard by the house. This is not at all the case.
Having regard to the report made by the clerk of petitions it would appear that the question to be decided by the committee was whether or not in this case the rules of the house and the forms sanctioned by practice with regard to the wording of a public petition had been observed. Without taking too much of the time of the house, and referring to the documents under consideration, may I say first of all that Your Honour, the Speaker, had stated in the house on May 5 that the house is not seized of a petition addressed to the members unless mention is made of the words "in parliament assembled", which statement the hon. member for Temiscouata criticized severely. It was pointed out that the petitions were not properly addressed and the clerk of petitions reported that they could not be received. This decision given by the clerk and by Your Honour is only the practice confirmed by the rules which have been enforced by this house in the past, and following precedent. The practice was enforced by Hon. Mr. Rhodes, a former Speaker. It was enforced by the rules and regulations in days gone by.
Naturally we should like that report of the standing committee on standing orders to be accepted as such, but not with the remarks which were made by the hon. member foi Temiscouata. After all, we claim that we as the committee on standing orders are the
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guardians of the rules of procedure of the house; and that your committee had no alternative in this case but to report that the documents in question purporting to be petitions were not drawn in accordance with the rules of practice and not properly addressed and therefore should not be received.
If our report is to be voted upon, as chairman of the committee, I should like to make it plain that it is being accepted by this house in the terms in which it has been presented to the house by the committee and not on the recommendations which the hon. member for Temiscouata made in his address.

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