March 26, 1931 (17th Parliament, 2nd Session)


Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; Minister of Finance and Receiver General; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)


Mr. Speaker, I am sure
we on this side of the house are deeply appreciative of the spirit in which the right hon. gentleman has indicated his intention with respect to this motion. I desire only to point, out that when the Liberal administration was formed after the general election in 1896 a short session was held, supply was voted, a few statutes were passed, and the house did not meet until the 26th of March, 1897, and although a new tariff measure and a substantial body of legislation were enacted parliament as a matter of fact was prorogued on the 29th of June. That was the first real session of the administration of Sir Wilfrid Laurier. So far as this government is concerned, I can only point out that I have been in Canada really about four months since the government came into being, those being the
Easter Adjournment

months of January, February and March, and the month between the forming of the administration and my departure for the Imperial conference. We have endeavoured so far as it was possible to expedite public business, and I think that my right hon. friend will agree that that is so.
So far as parliament meeting on the 12th of March is concerned, the unexpected appointment of Lord Willingdon as Viceroy of India, complicated the situation. We were hopeful that his successor might arrive before parliament met, but when it became apparent that he could not sail until March 27 we called parliament for the earliest possible date. I think the house should know that I took steps to ascertain the probable intention of the British administration, in connection with Lord Willingdon proceeding to India, and had the unexpected not happened action would have been taken to prevent the difficulties which have since arisen causing delay in the calling of parliament.
I am conscious of the fairness of the request of the right hon. gentleman with respect to the passing of motions for the production of papers, but I can advise him in advance that -we are working at those papers now as though the resolutions had in fact been passed, and it was hoped that during the recess as many of them as possible would be completed so that they could be laid upon the table immediately the house resumed its sittings. Unless it becomes absolutely essential-and I think if the house meets on the 13th or 14th of April it will not be-interim supply will not be required before we adjourn on Wednesday next; but it will be necessary to pass supplementary estimates for the year ending the 31st of March, 1931, many of them, I think, being matters over which we have no control, some of them being matters raised in the Auditor General's report, and others being matters connected with the railways. It was my purpose on the morrow to discuss *with my right hon. friend opposite the most convenient time for us to submit those estimates for the consideration of the house. They arise in almost all the departments- small balances in connection with over-expenditure and governor generals' warrants in connection with the care of disabled soldiers during the winter. That question I would propose to submit to him to-morrow when the last detail has been furnished. As I say, I think we can avoid interim supply until such time as the house reassembles.

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