The motion of the hon. member for Kamouraska is an amendment to the motion that I do now leave the Chair for the House to go into Committee of Supply. This amendment contains certain declarations in the nature of a preamble, and asks the House, for certain reasons, to respectfully suggest to a Provincial Legislative Assembly the wisdom of a course of action recommended by the general tenor of the amendment. A point of order has been raised that this amendment is not in order because the subject matter of the amendment is not within the jurisdiction of this Parliament.
It is the duty of your Speaker to enforce, and, subject to your instructions, to administer and interpret the rules and practice enacted and prescribed by your House for the orderly conduct of its business and debates; but the privileges, powers and jurisdiction of the House are matters of the very greatest importance and must be determined by the House itself.
A motion to go into Committee of Supply is parliamentarily of a different nature from other motions in that debate upon it need not be relevant to the motion before the House. Almost any matter can be discussed on the main motion itself. There are, indeed, a few limitations of a strictly technical nature which need not be referred to here (See Bourinot, 3rd ed., p. 585). The present amendment is one asking for an expression of opinion on the part of the House upon a matter of general public interest and need not be relevant nor upon a subject within the legislative powers of this House. As to the nature of amendments which may be made at such a time, May (5th ed., p. 554) says:
The ancient constitutional doctrine, that the redress of grievances is to be considered before the granting of Supply, is now represented by the practice of permitting every description of amendment to be moved on the question for the Spea'ker' leaving the Chair before going into the Committee of Supply. Upon other orders of the day such amendments must be relevant, but here they are permitted to relate to every question upon which any member may desire to offer a motion.
Bourinot, 3rd ed., on page 583, quotes these observations with approval, and adds:
The same practice is now followed very extensively in the Canadian Commons.
He cites in support of this statement many pages of the Journals of the House. Bourinot refers to certain limitations of this right, such as that only one amendment may be moved .at a time, but he nowhere suggests that sueh an amendment would be inadmissible because the subject matter was beyond the legislative jurisdiction of the House.
The Journals are replete with instances of amendments of almost every description on going into Supply. These have been debated and voted upon without objection on the grounds either of relevancy or want of jurisdiction.
Members of this House, being here to act in the interest of all Canada, I think it is proper that any of them may bring before it, on the motion to go into Supply, any matter which in his opinion may be detrimental or advantageous to any section of the population.
In my opinion, the point of order is not well taken. By ruling that this amendment is in order, I mean that this House has the right to discuss it, not with the view of depriving a province of what may have been enacted by its legislature, but merely with the view of,,allowing the House to express its opinion.
Mr. W. B. NOKTHRUP (East Hastings) appealed from the ruling of Mr. Speaker.
Subtopic: THE BILINGUAL QUESTION.