June 19, 1924 (14th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)



With all due regard to
the joint committee on the Printing of Parliament, the last paragraph of their report need not be taken in consideration by the House as it relates to a matter which was not referred to the committee. Under the rules and customs of British parliaments, standing committees are not administrative bodies and * their power is limited by such orders or instructions as may be given the House. When the committee on Printing was formed the House passed the following resolution:
That the select standing committee on Printing be empowered to examine and inquire into all such matters and things as may be referred to them by the House; and to report from time to time their observations and opinions thereon, with power to send for persons, papers and records.
It is evident, therefore, that since the question of the orthography used in official documents by the various departments was not referred to this committee, it had no authority to report thereon and the last paragraph of the report should be struck out. When the House is called upon to give its concurrence I shall rule then that this paragraph is out of order.
I may add that the House is perfectly free to refer the question of official orthography to this or any other committee, but until it has done so, no committee has power to take it up and make recoramendations.
I most strongly hold, however, for the King's English, and it is quite proper that the various departments should understand that the standard English spelling should be used in official documents. If the matter had been referred by the House to that committee, then it would have been their duty to consider it. I say this in all fairness to the members of the committee who are doing their duty splendidly.

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