May 31, 1984 (32nd Parliament, 2nd Session)


Ramon John Hnatyshyn (Official Opposition House Leader; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hnatyshyn:

Mr. Speaker, I will address myself to this matter. We have a situation where you will be required, pursuant to Standing Order 62(4)(c), to select the motion to be debated by the House today. The last time the Chair was obliged to make such a decision was on November 22, 1983.
Before you make your final ruling on the motions that are before us today, it might be useful if I review a couple of the issues that were raised at that time.
One point of view that was expressed last November was that the Chair pay some attention to the time in which the motions were filed with the Table in order to determine the order of precedence. The Acting Speaker, at page 29061, ruled that the time of filing was not the major factor in determining which motion should be put to the House. Indeed, the House Leader of the NDP argued that the time of filing should not be considered at all. His remark to that effect will be found at page 29060 of Hansard for that day.
Another interesting point that was made that day was that the NDP felt that the distribution of Opposition Days should be calculated on the basis of the calendar year. While both Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition and the NDP are of the view that equity demands that Opposition Days be distributed on the basis of Party representation in the House, the Official Opposition was and is of the view that this distribution of days should be calculated on the basis of the year of supply.
As you know, Mr. Speaker, the first semester of Supply takes place in the period ending June 30 each year. It is in that semester that the Main Estimates for the fiscal year are considered by Parliament. In the subsequent two semesters, Supplementary Estimates are the Business of Supply that is to be considered by this House. Therefore, it is a specious argument to suggest that Opposition Days should be distributed according to calendar years. Such an argument could only be advanced by people who are ignorant of the meaning of Supply.
Nonetheless, it seems that on November 22, 1984, you will recall that members of the NDP were successful in convincing the occupant of the chair-

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