February 13, 1925 (14th Parliament, 4th Session)


George Newcombe Gordon (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)


Mr. G. N. GORDON (West Peterborough, Deputy Speaker):

Mr. Speaker, in your absence owing to bereavement in your family, I was delegated to take Your Honour's place in the chair, and it might, perhaps, be well if I said a few words as to the incident mentioned by the leader of the opposition (Mr. Meighen) and very fairly stated by him and by the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King). There were left with the government whip the names of Messrs. Evans, Marler and Maclean (York) as the speakers of yesterday after-
Business of the House-The Address
noon, and those speakers were the ones that I expected to address the House, as they did, yesterday afternoon. At six o'clock, or nearly six o'clock, I followed the habit of Your Honour and former Speakers, where an hon. member is addressing the House, to remind him that it was six o'clock, and I said to the hon. member for South York (Mr. Maclean): Six o'clock. He immediately sat down and I asked him if he had finished his address because, if he had not finished his address, I intended to declare that it was six o'clock and also to declare my intention of leaving the chair so that he might resume at eight o'clock. He said that he had finished his address at that time. As the Prime Minister said, I thereupon looked over the House to see if any other hon. member indicated his intention of going on, and finding none I called to the Clerk for the motion and I read it to the House. The misunderstanding and confusion have arisen owing to the fact that when I was reminding the hon. member for South York that he had reached the six o'clock period, some members assumed that that was a declaration from the Chair that it was six o clock and the debate had not been terminated. Among those Who left the chamber at that time was the hon. member for Vancouver Centre (Mr. Stevens) who was leading his party on that occasion. The reason for Hansard not hearing what was said was because I intended to address the words more particularly to the hon. member for South York and, while doubtless many members heard me, maybe the reporter did not. There has been some confusion; I have since learned that it was assumed by tile acting opposition whip that one of the members of the Progressive group intended to speak yesterday, and it was assumed that opposition members would have an opportunity after eight o'clock of continuing the debate. In order to put myself quite clearly before Your Honour and this House, I have the list which was submitted and handed to me by the government whip and which contains the names of those who were to address the House, the names being submitted to him by the other whips. The same list was used by the hon. member for Bonaventure (Mr. Marcil) and there is no doubt that this is the same list, only three names being on it. Under those circumstances,
I submitted the Address of acceptance and thanks moved by the hon. member for Rim-ouski (Sir Eugene Fiset). It happened that the hon. member for Vancouver Centre left the chamber about the time that he heard me suggest to the hon. member for South York that it was six o'clock, assuming, I
think, that I was about to leave the chair and the debate would continue at eight o'clock. I saw the hon. member for West York (Sir Henry Drayton) in his place yesterday when I was reading the motion to the House, or shortly after, and I assumed that he was leading the opposition and knew what the situation was.
As I afterwards learned, he had come in in the meantime, just as the hon. member for Vancouver Centre (Mr. Stevens) was leaving, and it is more than probable that he was also under a misapprehension as to what had taken place. The leader of the opposition represented the facts to me and I immediately communicated with the Prime Minister, explaining the incident as it had developed. Thereupon the Prime Minister intimated that he was willing to restore the matter to its former status so far as it was within his power to do so, speaking on behalf of himself and the government. The statements of the Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition, set forth the facts exactly as they occurred. In making this statement, Mr. Speaker, my purpose is simply to acquaint Your Honour with the situation precisely as it developed, in order that you, Sir, may be in a position properly to understand and pass upon the questions involved.

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