June 6, 1922 (14th Parliament, 1st Session)


Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)



Before the right hon. gentleman (Mr. Meighen) addresses the House, he will kindly allow me to give my ruling on the proposed amendment of yesterday.
The Order of the Day being read for the Committee of Ways and Means and Mr. Fielding having moved, seconded by Mr. Mackenzie King, and the question being proposed: "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair." an amendment was moved by
The Budget-Speaker's Ruling
Sir Henry Drayton, seconded by Mr. Meighen:
That all the words after the word "that" be struck out and the following be substituted therefor:
"The Liberal party assembled In convention in August, 1919, adopted a resolution which, after reeitiing its professed purposes, contained the following specific and unqualified pledges:
" 'That to these ends, wheat, wheat flour and all products of wheat; the principle articles of food; farm implements and machinery; farm tractors; mining, flour and saw mill machinery and repair parts thereof; rough and partly dressed lumber; gasoline, illuminating, lubricating and fuel oils; nets twines, and fishermen's equipments ; cements; fertilizers, should be free from custom duties, as well as the raw material entering into same.
" 'That the British proference be increased to 50 per cent of the general tariff.
" 'And the Liberal party hereby pledges itself to implement by legislation the provisions of this resolution when returned to power.'
"That such pledges were restated as the policy of the Liberal party in an official handbook issued just 'before the general election, namely, in October, 1921, under the authority of its leader, Hon. W. L. Mackenzie King.
"That candidates Contesting on behalf of the Liberal party in the said election, used widely the promises therein set out as a means of securing support.
"That the Liberal party having been returned to power the budget proposals of the Finance Minister now brought down, constitute, on the part of the Government, an utter failure to implement such pledges by legislation.
"That the making of such solemn pledges, the utilization of them to secure support, and their flagrant violation after the attainment of office reveal a disregard of political honour and tend to lower the standard of public life."
Mr. Crerar moved, seconded by Mr. Hoey:
That the said proposed amendment be amended by striking out all the words after the word "support" at the end of the third last paragraph and substituting the following therefor :
"That the Liberal party having been returned to power, the budget proposals of the Finance Minister now brought down, based as they are mainly on the principle of protection in respect of the tariff, are wholly -inadequate to Implement such pledges by legislation.
"That while recognizing that changes in fiscal policy should be made in such a way as to give industries affected a reasonable opportunity of readjustment, this House is of the opinion that the principle of protection as a basis for fiscal policy in Canada is unsound and not in the best interests of the Dominion."
A point of order was raised by Mr. Fielding on the ground that there cannot be two amendments on a motion to go into Committee of Ways and Means.
The hon. member for Marquette (Mr. Crerar) has submitted that we should conform to British practice in this case and he has contended that we could do so under our Rule I., which reads as follows:
In all cases not provided for hereinafter or by Sessional or other Orders, the rules, usages and
[Mr. Speaker. 1
forms of proceeding of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Br-itain and Ireland in force on the first day of July, 1867, shall be followed.
The very first words of this rule; "In all cases not provided for," must be taken into consideration.
The House has provided for the case at issue by adopting precedents against moving more than one amendment on the motion that the Speaker leave the Chair for the House to go into Committee of Supply or Ways and Means.
Mr. Speaker Smith, cited by the hon. gentleman, has given two divergent decisions on this point. On June 22, 1858, he ruled that "An amendment to an amendment to a motion for the House in Committee of Supply is out of order." That was his first ruling.
And on April 27, 1860, he ruled that "But one amendment to a motion for going into Committee of Supply can be made, although the amendment itself may be amended."
This is the only decision allowing a second amendment which has ever been given in the Canadian Parliament, and it is anterior to Confederation and apparently self-contradictory.
On June 14,1864, Mr. Speaker Wall'bridge ruled that "But one amendment can be moved to a motion for the House going in Committee of Supply." (Vide Journal, pp. 388-389).
Since Confederation our practice has been consistently against such an amendment.
On May 1, 1867, Mr. Speaker Cockburn, upon ruling out of order a very complex amendment to a motion for the Committee of Supply, said:
The House could in general, according to precedent, order a complicated motion to be divided. But that could only be done by amending the motion, which cannot be done now, for but one amendment can be moved in going into Committee of Supply. (Vide Journal, pp. 268-270).
On May 2, 1873, whilst the House was debating an amendment to the motion that Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair, Mr. Tupper (later Sir Charles) moved to leave certain words out of the said amendment and insert certain other words instead thereof.
Mr. Holton (then the recognized authority on such questions in the Canadian Parliament) objected to this proceeding, and Mr. Speaker Cockburn again decided that "No amendment can be made to the amendment to the motion for the House to go into Committee of Supply." (Vide Journal, p. 262).

The Budget-Speaker's Ruling
On February 29, 1876, Mr. Speaker Anglin over-ruled Mr. Workman's motion in favour of Protection, being an amendment of an amendment of Mr. Irving to the motion that Mr. Speaker leave the Chair for the House to go into Committee of Supply. (Vide Journal, p. 89).
Since the last mentioned date, the point has been considered as definitely settled and no second amendment to such a motion has ever been allowed in this House.
On April 9, 1878, Sir John A. Macdonald, then Leader of the Opposition, stated from his seat, that he intended moving an amendment on going into Supply with regard to "the Quebec crisis."
Mr. Mackenzie, then Prime Minister although admitting Sir John A. Macdonald's right to make such an amendment, took the ground that if it were made on the motion to go into Supply it would prevent sub-amendments. He said that Sir John A. Macdonald's amendment should not be confined to an occasion when there can be no sub-amendment because it simply meant asking the House to conform to the mover's own view of a particular transaction or else vote it down.
"Whilst the House might concur with a certain portion of the motion but not with the rest" said Mr. Mackenzie, "we are obliged, on a motion in amendment on going into Supply, to accept whatever the 'Hon. Member chooses to offer us, or to reject It."
In Hansard it reads " or to neglect it". The reporter evidently meant the word " reject".
"The Hon. member will place his motion in such a way that it will be impossible for the House to give any opinion at all on it except to accept at or to vote it down."
Sir John A. Macdonald here interjected " Exactly." Mr. Holton, speaking on the question, then said:
The Right Hon. Gentleman intended to adopt a form of words or submit it to the House in a connection in which it was not susceptible of amendment and whatever shades of opinion there might be and whatever choice there might be as to the form of expression, the Hon. Gentleman practically said to the House: "take this or nothing."
Mr. Blake also concurred in this opinion.
I think the above precedents are binding on me, especially when supported by the opinions of such experienced parliamentarians as Macdonald, Mackenzie, Blake and Holton.
The honourable member for Marquette has quoted Bourinot to show that these precedents are based on a misunderstanding of a Canadian speaker as to the English practice. Bourinot made that statement in a foot note of his third edition, but he did not include this note in his fourth edition. It is, as a matter of fact, an obiter dictum which has no bearing on the principle accepted by the Canadian House of Commons. Bourinot recognized this fact in his fourth edition in which he lays down the practice unequivocally as follows:
Only one amendment can be moved to the question that Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair. If that amendment is negatived .... no other motion can be proposed.
And he adds as a note on the same page:
This limitation is peculiar to the Canadian Commons (p. 420).
The same question arose in 1917, and was decided upon the same principle. In this case an amendment moved by Mr. Turriff on the proposed motion of Sir Thomas White for the Committee of Ways and Means (the budget) was negatived on a division. Thereupon, Mr. Robb (Huntingdon) moved a second amendment, and it being late at night the debate was adjourned.
But next day, 11th May, 1917, the Deputy Speaker stated to the House that the second amendment was irregular and should have been declared to be out of order. He ruled that the main motion was the only question before the House and might be debated, but no further amendments could be moved. (Hansard, 1917, Vol. II, pp. 1317, 1319: Journals, 1917, pp. 188, 193).
In 1917, on a similar occasion, a second amendment was intended to be moved, but on being informed by one of my predecessors, the hon. Mr. Speaker Rhodes, that he would be ruled out of order, Dr. Clark, then member for Red Deer, desisted from his intention, thus accepting our well established practice.
I am not unmindful of the views expressed by the Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) and also by my predecessor the hon. member for Bonaventure (Mr. Marcil) whose long experience in this House gives weight to their opinions on questions of Parliamentary procedure.
In Great Britain, more than one amendment may be moved on the motion that the Speaker leave the Chair for the House to go into Committee of Supply or Ways and Means, but it is done on conditions quite different from the practice in this House. In England, whenever an amendment is
The Budget-Speaker's Ruling moved striking out all the words after ''that" from the main motion, the Speaker puts the question "That all the words proposed to be left out stand part of the question". If this is voted in the negative, amendments and sub-amendments are allowed; but if it is voted in the affirmative, they are not.
The practical meaning of this peculiarly British procedure is that the House grants leave to move the amendment. In another sense, it is nothing more nor less than the previous question. I cannot see my way to following the British practice.
As to the suggestion to give the hon. member for Marquette and his supporters the opportunity of expressing their views upon the budget proposals, I must say that the Speaker, in his interpretation of the rules, is not at liberty to recognize the existence of parties or groups in the House. Although he has to observe certain amenities in giving precedence to leaders in debate, he presides over an assembly of the people's representatives where every member has an equal right of using the rules and usages to express his views on public matters.
In England, although the Home Rule party under Mr. Parnell and his successors consisted of a large group, it never was given an official status in parliamentary procedure. Even to-day, there are at Westminster several groups or parties, but they are all subject to the same rules of procedure. All the members are on an equal footing. I think our rules and practice based on precedents, traditions, and usages give every hon. member ample opportunity to put himself on record upon any question. I therefore rule that no amendment can be moved to the amendment proposed to the motion that I do now leave the chair for the House to resolve itself into Committee of Ways and Means. The sub-amendment moved by the hon. member for Marquette accordingly is out of order.
I may add that the same rule applies whether the motion is for the House to go into Committee of Supply or Ways and Means.

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