May 24, 1956 (22nd Parliament, 3rd Session)


Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Knowles:

No, I am sorry; this name is Hatsell, not Hansell. At page 237 of volume 2, which is a musty volume to be found in the library, there is a citation which is included in Beauchesne's third edition as citation 818. This citation reads:
So tar the maxim is certainly true and founded on good sense that as it is always in the power of the majority by their numbers to stop any improper measures proposed on the part of their opponents, the only weapon by which the minority can defend themselves from similar attempts from those in power are the forms and rules and proceedings which have been found necessary from time to time and are become the standing orders of the house-
I emphasize these next words, sir, for your benefit because this matter is in your hands. -by a strict adherence to which the weaker party can alone be protected from those irregularities and abuses which these forms were intended to check-
And I draw these words to the attention of the Minister of Trade and Commerce.
-and which the wantonness of power is but too often apt to suggest to large and successful majorities.
There is another principle, Mr. Chairman, that is involved in what the Minister of Trade and Commerce is seeking to do now, and I confess that I have not found this rule in any book. But I have heard it quoted from the government side and the opposition side time and time again. In fact I think it is a favourite of the Minister of Finance. It is to the effect that you cannot do indirectly what you may not do directly.
Mr. Chairman, is that not what the government is up to in this whole performance that has been going on today? The government knows that unless each of the seven clauses of this bill has had some consideration it will not be in a position, when the time it has chosen comes, to move closure, which calls for a motion that would prohibit the further postponement of any consideration. In other
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Northern Ontario Pipe Line Corporation words, it is going through the farce today of getting what will technically be called some consideration of each of these clauses so that at a certain point in the proceedings it will be legally in a position to move that there be no further postponement of the consideration of clauses 1 to 7, or however far the government intends to go.
In other words, this whole farce to which the House of Commons has been subjected today appears to us on this side to be part of a plan to get ready for the imposition of closure, and in working out that plan the government has come to the realization that it might not be able to achieve closure on time because some of the clauses would not have been considered at all. We are therefore to be put through this farce of having clauses nominally considered because the minister has stood up and said two or three words.
I remind you that yesterday Mr. Speaker made it crystal clear that a certain speech of the Minister of Trade and Commerce in 1948 was not a debate. He even argued that a speech of mine that took half an hour was not a debate. Today we are being asked to accept these proceedings on clauses 1, 2, 3 and so on as consideration, so that when the time comes and the government wants to move closure it will legally from its point of view, but not legally from my point of view, be able to invoke the closure rule. I submit, Mr. Chairman, that is trying to do indirectly what the government cannot do directly.
The purpose of the closure rule-

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