Mr. T. S. SPROULE.
So as to elicit an expression of opinion from the right hon. the First Minister, I would point out that the rule providing that petitions for Private Bills shall be presented within a certain time was intended to facilitate the work of the session. If that time be too short, we should amend the rule and give a longer time, but the judgment of the House was that the time limit provided was sufficient. This rule, however, seems to be more honoured in the breach than in the observance, and last session I drew attention to that fact on several occasions. I pointed out that we might as well have no rule as one which we did not follow, and I think the House should either decide to amend the rule or insist on its being observed.
lit. Hon. Sir WILFRID LAURIER (Prime Minister). It is quite true that my hon. friend from Grey has more than once called the attention of the House, and my own in particular, to the fact that the rule in question has been systematically violated. But I do not think that my hon. friend himself ever objected to this first request, which is invariably made, to have the rule extended. Since I have been in parliament it has been the constant practice to allow one extension at least ; but of late years this permission has been extended unduly, and last session we had the Committee on Standing Orders reporting in favour of an extension of time, not only once, but three or four times. But according to practice, this first extension is granted at once.