The report is as follows:
The select committee appointed on October 9, 1951, to consider, with Mr. Speaker, the procedure of this house for the purpose of suggesting any changes that may be desirable to assure the more expeditious dispatch of public business, begs leave to present its fourth and final report.
Your committee recommends that the standing orders of the House of Commons be amended as follows effective on and from the first day of the next session:
(a) Standing order 2 is repealed and the following substituted therefor:
"2. The house shall meet at 2.30 o'clock p.m. on each sitting day except Friday, when the house shall meet at 2 o'clock p.m. If there is not a quorum at the time of meeting, Mr. Speaker may take the chair and adjourn the house."
(b) Standing order 6 is repealed and the following substituted therefor:
"6. (1) At 6 o'clock p.m., except on Wednesday and Friday, Mr. Speaker shall leave the chair until 8 o'clock p.m.
(2) At 6 o'clock p.m. on Wednesday, Mr. Speaker shall adjourn the house without question put, and the house will stand adjourned until Thursday.
(3) At 6 o'clock p.m. on Friday, Mr. Speaker shall adjourn the house without question put, and the house will stand adjourned until Monday.
(c) Standing order 7 is repealed and the following substituted therefor:
"7. At 10 o'clock p.m. on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday (unless the closure rule is in operation) the proceedings under consideration will be interrupted, and Mr. Speaker shall adjourn the house without question put. Any proceeding not disposed of at the end of the sitting will stand over until the next sitting day when it will be taken up at the stage at which its progress was interrupted."
(d) Standing order 15 is amended as follows:
"(i) In paragraph (3), the words '(From eight
to nine o'clock p.m.)' and the words 'Private and public bills, the former having precedence' under the heading 'Tuesday (Government Day)' are deleted and the following substituted therefor: "(From five to six o'clock p.m.) Public and private bills, the former having precedence."
"(ii) In paragraph (3), the words '(From eight to nine o'clock p.m.)' immediately before the words 'Private and public bills' under the heading 'Friday (Government Day)', are deleted and the following substituted therefor: '(From five to six o'clock p.m.)'.''
(iii) Paragraph (4) of standing order 15 is amended by deleting the words "9 o'clock" and substituting the words "6 o'clock."
Your committee also recommends that, as an experiment for the next session, unless and until otherwise ordered, standing order 37 be considered as amended by the deletion of the words "forty minutes" as they appear therein and the substitution therefor of the words "thirty minutes," so that standing order 37 would for the duration of the next session have effect as if it were a sessional order reading as follows:
"37. No member, except the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, or a minister moving a government order and the member speaking in reply immediately after such minister, or a member making a motion of "No Confidence" in the government and a minister replying thereto, shall speak for more than thirty minutes at a time in any debate."
Your committee has also given consideration to the following proposals suggested as possible means of expediting the dispatch of public business:
(1) That when the order of the day is read for the house to go into committee of the whole on a resolution preceding a money bill, Mr. Speaker do leave the chair at once without question put.
(2) That the practice of announcing in the house that His Excellency the Governor General recommends a money resolution to the consideration of the house be discontinued.
(3) That whenever on Wednesdays government business has precedence, Mr. Speaker shall leave the chair without question put when the order is read for the house to resolve itself into committee of supply.
(4) That the estimates be referred to a committee on estimates or to other standing or special committees of the house.
(5) That the committee structure of the house be re-examined and reorganized.
(6) That the rulings of Mr. Speaker be made conclusive and not subject to appeal.
(7) That the speeches of those not now limited as to time in standing order 37 be limited as to time.
Since your committee has thus far been unable to adopt a final report with respect to these proposals, and since other proposals may be forthcoming, your committee recommends that a similar committee be established as soon as possible after the commencement of the next session to continue the consideration of changes that may be desirable to assure the more expeditious dispatch of public business.
W. Ross Macdonald,
Speaker of the House of Commons, Chairman.