March 16, 1921 (13th Parliament, 5th Session)

UNION

Arthur Meighen (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Right Hon. ARTHUR MEIGHEN (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, I rise not to discuss the resolution, but rather to raise at this juncture a point of order. It seems to me a resolution of this character comes within the category of those which the rules of the House provide cannot be submitted by a private member. It must be manifest to every hon. member that if the resolution passes, it involves at once either the expenditure of public money or the introduction of an appropriation for the purpose. It virtually amounts to a direction by the House for large immediate commitments. It would occur to me that if it is competent for a resolution of this character to be introduced by a private member, it should be just as competent for a Bill involving the same result to be so introduced. In fact, I do not see any value whatever in the well-known reservation that financial commitments are to be initiated by the Government alone, if resolutions of this character can be introduced and discussed. At all events, I submit that thought to yourself, Mr. Speaker, for consideration. I know that no one will be disposed to dispute the wisdom of the rule that acts of Parliament or resolutions involving expenditure of public money should be introduced only at the initiation of the Government, because otherwise there seems to me to be no restraint which the Government, as those fundamentally responsible, can exercise over expenditure. Furthermore, the members of the House themselves are put in a very difficult position if the House is to be committed, either by resolution or by Bill, to large expenditures at the initiation of a private member.

Topic:   QUEBEC RIOTS OF 1918
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