Sir WILFRID LAURIER:
We are for the first time applying the rule which was adopted last session in regard to going into Committee of Supply, and which is a departure from the rule formerly in existence. Before we proceed, I would like to ask my right hon. friend the Prime Minister for his understanding of the rule, so that we may know in the future exactly the position we are in. The rule reads as follows:
On Thursdays and Fridays when the Order of the Day is called for the House to go into Committee of Supply, or of Ways and Means, Mr. Speaker will leave the Chair without putting any question, provided that . . . the Estimates of each department shall be first taken up on a day other than Thursday or Friday.
My understanding of the rule is that if the House is moved into Committee of Supply on a day other than Thursday or Friday, and if at the conclusion of the day the subject matter of the department under consideration has not been exhausted, then when the House goes into Committee of Supply on Thursday or Friday, Mr. Speaker leaves the Chair without any motion. My understanding is that when you commence the consideration of the Estimates of a department, it must be done by the making of a motion. To-day we have no department whose estimates we have commenced, and therefore my right hon. friend the Prime Minister has moved the House into Committee of Supply. If we had commenced on a department on a day previous to to-day, Mr. Speaker would have left the Chair without any motion.
Subtopic: INTERPRETATION OF RULE 17.