March 22, 1918 (13th Parliament, 1st Session)


Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)


Rt. Hon. Sir ROBERT BORDEN (Prime Minister):

The thirteenth rule of the House provides that a Chairman of Committees of the House shall be elected at the commencement of every Parliament as soon as an Address has been agreed to in answer to His Excellency's speech, and the second paragraph of that rule provides that the member elected to serve as Deputy Speaker and Chairman of Committees shall be required to possess a full and practical knowledge of the language which is not that of the Speaker for the the time being. Now your -language, Mr. Speaker, is English, although occasionally you make successful excursions into the French language. Unfortunately, we are not blessed on this side of the House with a very large number of gentlemen who fulfil the qualifications required by the second paragraph of the rule which I have just quoted. The junior member for Ottawa (Mr. Chabot) does undoubtedly possess those qualifications, but he finds himself unable to undertake the duties. Possibly, there are one or two other members on this side of the House who might be considered as possessing the knowledge alluded to. However, it has always been the custom in this House that when the Chair is filled by a Speaker of British descent, the Deputy Speaker shall he one who traces his origin to the other great pioneer race in this country. It seems to me inadvisable that we should depart from that practice at the present time. I have spoken to my right hon. friend the leader of the Opposition on

the subject, as I would not care to make a motion of this kind with regard to an hon. gentleman on the other side of the House without conferring with him. The hon. member for Shefford (Mr. Boivin) has had an experience in this House of some six or seven years. He is eminently qualified by ability and by temperament to undertake the dirties which would devolve upon the Deputy Speaker and Chairman of Committees. Moreover, he has shown a careful study and an intimate knowledge of the rules1, as has been demon' strated on more than one occasion when questions of order were discussed in the late Parliament. I have, therefore, great pleasure in moving, seconded toy Sir George Foster:
That George Henry Boivin, Esquire, member for the electoral district of Shefford, be appointed Chairman bf the Committees of the Whole House.

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