March 31, 1927 (16th Parliament, 1st Session)


Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)


I accept the correction. It was the Minister of Justice. I was referring to yesterday afternoon's debate, and the Prime Minister spoke on Tuesday. Yesterday afternoon the Minister of Justice in referring to this point quoted from an article in the IMhousie Review, which he attributed to the hon. member for West Calgary (Mr. Bennett), who happens, by virtue of 'his high position as

Imperial Conference-Mr. Cahan
a Doctor of Laws of that university and his munificent' bequests to it as one of its friends and advisers, to be also one of the directors of the Review published by -the university. But that article was not written by the hon. member for West Calgary. It was contributed by Professor R. McG. Dawson, a professor in one of the universities o-f the United States, who undertook to advise the people of Canada as to their rights and privileges in the premises.
I am not any more concerned with this issue than to say that it is absolutely necessary from time to time to vindicate the rights and privileges of the parliament of Canada in which we sit as members. Legally the ministry, or the government, is unknown. Constitutionally it must derive whatever powers it has from parliament, and not always necessarily under the statute. Parliament is the real custodian of the prerogatives of the crown which ministers are accustomed to exercise. Therefore the rights of a ministry may be taken to be such, and only such, as presumptively have been given by parliament, whose executive committee the ministry is, including the right to exercise the prerogatives of the crown as such in a constitutional sense. The Prime Minister referred to an episode at Westminster, and I will state my best information in that regard. In 1910, His Majesty refused dissolution to Premier Asquith, the present Lord Oxford, but granted it later in the same year when, according to the sovereign, different considerations and circumstances demanded a different conclusion. Again I am informed that in 1923-

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