February 8, 1955 (22nd Parliament, 2nd Session)


Walter Edward Harris (Minister of Finance and Receiver General; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)


Hon. W. E. Harris (Minister of Finance):

Mr. Speaker, I am informed that this is the first government motion of its kind which has been made since confederation, and that if it is carried we shall have established a new method of dealing with the estimates as they are submitted in the blue book.
On the other hand, it is not the first time that the subject has been discussed in parliament. I have no doubt that there were discussions in the early days. I find that at least as far back as 1921 a formal motion was presented to the house for a committee of this kind to consider the estimates and that, as one would expect, that motion was made by a member of the party to which I happen to belong. Of course, in the years since the world war there has been repeated discussion on the subject and in each of the committees on procedure which have been set up we have had extensive talks as to the method by which to bring about a better way of dealing with the estimates. If hon. members are interested, they would have noticed that the 1947 committee recommended that we adopt in general terms the system obtaining in the United Kingdom. To adopt any different system from that which has been obtaining in the committee of supply raises serious questions of practice. After all, if parliament meets for one thing only, I think it could be said that that thing would be to vote supply for the purposes of the government for the following year.

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