November 22, 1932 (17th Parliament, 4th Session)


Pierre Édouard Blondin (Speaker of the Senate)

Conservative (1867-1942)


Last evening shortly before adjournment a question of order was raised on which I reserved my decision, and said I would give it today at three o'clock.
The motion is that the Speaker leave the chair for the house to resolve itself into committee of ways and means. To this an amendment is moved by Mr. Heaps as follows:
In the opinion of this house it is desirable that a committee or commission be appointed to consider the economic situation in the dominion with special reference to unemployment and to report back during the present session of parliament.
A point of order has been raised that the amendment is out of order on the ground that it again introduces a matter that was debated and disposed of when the right hon. the leader of the opposition moved as part of an amendment to the address:
The house regrets that, except the dole, the government has no policy with respect to the relief of unemployment.
I have carefully considered the arguments presented on the question of order, examined the authorities and precedents of both the British and Canadian houses of parliament. In the debate on the amendment of the right hon. leader of the opposition to the address I find that he suggested that a committee or commission be appointed and given charge of the whole question of unemployment relief, which shows that the subject matter of the proposed amendment was then open to dis-
*Unemployment-Speaker's Ruling
cussion and actually debated. If this amendment is allowed it inevitably follows that there will be a repetition of the debate on unemployment.
The ordinary rules of debate are applicable on this occasion; for instance, a matter already decided by the house cannot be discussed. See Bourinot at page 420.
This amendment is offered on the motion to go into committee of ways and means, and not being accepted by the government is a motion of want of confidence, and the fact that it provides for the appointment of a commission or committee with special reference to unemployment is in effect a condemnation of the government's policy on that question.
The house has refused to condemn the government's policy on unemployment by rejecting the amendment moved to the address by the leader of the opposition. In view of that decision by the house I cannot find that this amendment, being a motion of want of confidence dealing, also with unemployment, is in order.

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