My point of order is that the hon. gentleman (Mr. Lennox) is relating the history of numerous debates that took place in this House during the present session and that consequently he is not in order. -
If I may be permitted a word in so far as this is concerned, the statement has been made that the time of the House has been wasted by ridiculous motions supported by senseless arguments. It is perfectly proper to call the attention of the House to the nature of the
motions which have been offered during the session.
I think that is the proper position, that he can illustrate the point which the hon. gentleman started out to make, namely, that members of the opposition have not obstructed, by a reference to past debates without discussing them. But if he attempts to discuss any motions that we have had before the House or to make a reference to a past debate otherwise, he will be subject to being called to order.
I quite recognize, Mr. Speaker, that I have no right, and I do not propose to try to discuss the merits of what has beeii discussed before. I merely want to show what we have done that has been complained of and the motions which have been characterized as ridiculous and which it is said have been supported by ridiculous arguments. That vote on the 24th was followed by a statement of the premier that he would make a statement on the following Monday, which he did, and which brought us to the position that the government then surrendered unconditionally. On the 13th February, however, we found that the difficulty had arisen in another quarter, and consequently my hon. friend from Peel (Mr. Blain) was compelled upon this same question of public documents, to move this resolution :
The Committee on Public Accounts is constituted for the purpose of affording full and free examination and inquiry into the receipts and expenditures of public moneys and the circumstances in connection herewith.
That in the public interest the greatest possible freedom of investigation and inquiry should be -enjoyed by the committee.
That any action of the majority of that committee in excluding evidence, or restricting inquiry should be the subject of appeal to this House, and upon request for that purpose the necessary report of the proceedings ought immediately to be ordered.
By a straight party vote that right was denied. That disposes of the question of public documents. I shall now refer to other resolutions, some of which intervened, On January 15 we had the resolution of the hon. member for Brantford (Mr. Cock-shutt) which did not occasion a division owing to the fact that amendments to it were moved and so the debate was shunted off. Mr. Cockshutt moved :
That in consideration of the great congestion that at present prevails in the labour market in many of the industrial centres throughout the country, it is highly expedient that assisted immigration, excepting only the agricultural and domestic servant classes, should immediately cease, and^that no further bonuses shall be paid to individual agents or companies for sending or bringing in such immigrants. Further, that the time has come for the strict enforcement of the law that requires that only the financially, morally and
I wish to rise to another point of order. As I understand, the hon. gentleman is attempting to answer an argument that was advanced on Thursday or Friday last to the effect that hon. gentlemen opposite were using obstruction.
My point of order is that that debate was disposed of last Thursday or Friday and the hon. member cannot now renew it, that the proper time for him to have made his speech was when the statement was made, not to-day.
I am not confining myself to the somewhat extravagant language used by the hon. member for Carleton, N.B. (Mr. Carvell) the other day, blit I am talking of the attitude assumed by the supporters of the government and their press outside the House and on the public platforms from one end of Canada to the other.
On March 10 we had a resolution by the hon. member for Grenville (Mr. J. D. Reid) moved in amendment to Supply:
That all the words after the word ' that' he struck out, and the following substituted therefor: ' in the opinion of this House tenders received by any department of the government should be immediately placed in safe custody under seal so as to prevent any possibility or suspicion of tampering, and should be opened in public at the time and place mentioned in the advertisement and in the presence of at least three of the principal officers of the department; and the persons so tendering, or their duly authorized agents, should he at liberty to attend at the said time and place and see such tenders opened and recorded, if they so desire.'
That was voted down by a straight party vote.
On March 12, we had the resolution of the hon. member for Argenteuil (Mr. Perley) on going into Supply, as follows:
That all the words after the word ' That ' be struck out, and the following substituted therefor: ' the revenues of Canada belong to tbe people of this country and should be expended in the public interest;
And that this House condems the action of the present government in expending public moneys on works which are really for the benefit of favoured corporations and private individuals and not for the, public benefit.'
The supporters of the government, one and all, saw their way to voting down that resolution.
On March 16, we had the resolution of the hon. member for Peel (Mr. Blain) in reference to cigarettes. Mr. Blain moved:
That the object of good government is to promote the general welfare of the people by a careful encouragement and protection of whatever makes for the public good; and by an equally careful discouragement and suppression of whatever tends to the public disadvantage.
That the smoking of cigarettes has been proved by overwhelming testimony to be productive of serious physical and moral injury to young people; impairing health, arresting development, weakening intellectual power, and thus constituting a social and national evij. .
That the legislation, licensing and restricting the sale of cigarettes has not proven sufficient to prevent these evils, which will continue while the public sale of the cause of the mischief is permitted to go on.
That this House is of the opinion, for the reasons heretofore set forth, that the right and most effectual remedy for these evils is to be found in the enactment and enforcement of a law prohibiting the importation, manufacture and sale of cigarettes; and that it is expedient to bring in a Bill at this session to prohibit the importation, manufacture and sale of cigarettes. .
Mr. Clarke moved in amendment thereto;
That all the words after ' disadvantage ' in the 4th line of the proposed motion be struck out and the following substituted therefor^
' That the smoking and use of tobacco in any form has been proved to be injurious to the physical and intellectual development of the youth of the country besides encouraging habits of idleness. That the legislation now in force restricting the sale of cigarettes, cigars or-tobacco has been ineffectual to wholly prevent these evils. That this House is of the opinion that the most effective remedy for the existing evil is to amend the Criminel Code bo as to make it an offence for persons under eighteen years of age to use tobacco in any form for smoking or chewing or to have possession of tobacco for either of such purposes, and also for the sale or gift of tobacco in any form to persons under eighteen years of age. That it is expedient to bring in -a Bill at this session to give effect to this resolution/
Although the hon. member for Peel on subsequent occasions endeavoured very strongly to get a vote upon that, he has not, by reason of private members' days being taken by the government, been able to get a vote. I am not able to characterize it under the ruling of the chair, I believe, any further than that. On March 30 we had the following resolution moved by the hon. member for North Toronto :
Mr. Poster moved, that all supplies purchased for the use of the various departments of the government should be procured on the basis of public tender and contract, under the direction of a competent purchasing commission, and with regard primarily to quality and price.
The government and their supporters voted down that resolution as being ridiculous and absurd. On April 23, we had a resolution in reference to immigration moved by the hon. member for Jacques Cartier (Mr. Monk) on amendment to going into Supply :
That all the words after the word ' That' in the proposed motion be_ omitted and the following substituted in lieu thereof: ' while
recognizing the importance of legitimate well directed efforts to encourage desirable immigration, this House declares that it is time to cease paying a bounty at so much per head to agents for immigrants coming to Canada.'
This was voted down by a straight party vote. On April 30, we had the following resolution moved by the hon. leader of the opposition in amendment to Supply :
Mr. Borden moved in amendment thereto, that all the words after the word ' That ' be left out and the following substituted therefor : r the investigation conducted by the Civil Service Commission was confessedly partial and incomplete.
That the proposed inquiry before Mr. Justice Cassels is unsatisfactory and insufficient, inasmuch as it relates to only one paragraph of the report of that commission and touches but a portion of the administration of one department.
That this House regrets the deplorable extravagance, waste, inefficiency and maladministration revealed by that report and declares that immediate steps should be taken to reform and redress the same.
That the public interest imperatively demands the appointment of an independent commission with full powers to make a thorough and searching investigation into the several departments of the public service.
This was voted down by a straight party vote. On May 19, on going info Supply, we had this resolution moved by the hon. member for Qu'Appelle :
Mr. Lake moved in amendment thereto, that all the words after the word ' That ' be eliminated, and the following substituted therefor:
' this House regrets that the present government has permitted the improvident alienation of immense areas of valuable timber lands which are now held for speculative purposes to the detriment of the people, and records its opinion that such full and unrestricted investigation should be made and such available proceedings taken as may be necessary to revest in the Crown any timber lands m respect of which fraud or imposition has been practised/
And the government voted down that resolution by a straight vote of themselves and their supporters.
Mr. Speaker, let me renew my point of order. With reference to rule 16 Bourinot says, on page 479:
No member, in speaking, can refer to anything said or done in a previous debate during the same session. .
My point of order is that the hon. member is placing on * Hansard ' in concrete form all that has been done by the opposition this session. I do not think he is within the rules of the House in saying that such a resolution was defeated and such a resolution was passed. It surely comes within the category of things done in the House.
The liOB. gentleman is obliged to hear the ruling. Hon. members are in the habit of making remarks of that kind which are quite out of place. My ruling is this. X can hardly think that the matter under discussion has been the subject of past debate, and my rulings have been based on that view. In the next place, I think that practically everything the hon. member has been saying thus far is in illustration of the point he has been seeking, rightly or wrongly, accurately or inaccurately, to make, namely, that the opposition lias not been obstructing the business of the House, and to that extent I think it is permissible. I do not know just how far the point which the hon. member has taken as to references to what has been done, has force in it ; but at the present moment I cannot rule that the hon. member is out of order in what he has said.
In saying that I was quite willing to take the ruling Mr. Speak, er, I think you will bear me out that I am always willing to take the ruling of the chair. I was only proceeding on the supposition that it was not necessary to discuss the question. The next resolution I propose to refer to, in combating the statement which has been made from time to time, that the resolutions have not been important or worthy of full discussion, is a resolution moved by the hon. member for Sherbrooke on May 21, as follows :
candidates whose competency has been established through open competitive examinations, conducted under a non-partisan civil service commission/
Whatever the reason may have been, the members of the government and their supporters saw fit to vote down that resolution. On May 29, the last resolution to which I will refer was moved by myself on going into Supply, in reference to the debate affecting the Minister of Militia :
Mr. Lennox moved in amendment thereto, that all the words after the word ' That' be struck out, and the following substituted therefor: 'this House is of the opinion that ministers of the Crown should not be connected with associations or companies seeking contracts, aid or subsidies from the government of which they are members.
That resolution, after a most vigorous debate on the subject which had originated it, was accepted by the. government.
Now, I had intended to refer to a number of matters which have occupied time during the session, introduced by members who are supporters of the government. Not that I complain at all of those resolutions. Some were very interesting, some were of practical importance, but many were merely academic. However as I am anxious that we should get into Supply as early as possible, I shall not take up time in referring to those, more than to say that an examination of the record will .show that the government seems to have been actuated by a desire to get time. These motions were brought up from time to time by government supporters, just as we were in good position for proceeding with Supply, and take up a great deal of time, and some of them were mere theoretical motions which might very well be dispensed with.
Mr. Worthington moved in amendment thereto, that all the words after the word ' ThatJ in the proposed motion be left out and the following substituted instead thereof :
'the dealings of the Department of Militia and Defence in connection with the adoption and maniifacture of the Ross rifle as an arm for the defence of Canada have displayed deplorable inefficiency, have been characterized by gross extravagance and improvidence and have impaired public confidence both in the alleged efficiency of the rifle and in the management of the department/
That was voted down by a straight party vote, a very small vote, it is true, on both sides of the House, as it was during the current Ontario elections. On May 26, this resolution was moved by the hon. member for North Toronto on going into Supply ;
Mr. Foster moved in amendment thereti that all the words after the word ' That ' h left out and the following substituted therefor the civil service system of Canada should b based on merit and character alone, and th appointments thereto should he made froi Mr. ROSS.
I cook the trouble to look over the month of April to see how the oratory was apportioned during that month, as between this side and that. I find that the government members took up 436 columns and the opposition 326*, showing a surplus of 109J columns of Liberal oratory over Tory oratory. I find there were two main resolutions introduced-one relating to the Hudson Bay Railway, which was submitted by the hon. member for Assiniboia (Mr. Knowles), and which took up some little time; the other, proposed by my hon. friend from Jacques' Cartier (Mr. Monk), related to the cessation of immigration [DOT] bounties. In addition to the discussion on these two main resolutions, there was a short debate on the postal mail service introduced by the hon. member for East Lambton (Mr. Armstrong), and then we bad the hon. member for Montmagny (Mr. Lavergne), during one afternoon, moving the adjournment of the House. The hon. member for St. Hya-cintbe (Mr. Beauparlant) had quite a good deal to say with regard to the criminal code
amendments. Therefore, as regards the month of April at all events-the only month I have looked over-I find that the opposition cannot be accused of having taken up more time than the government side. As a matter of fact, they took up 1094 columns less. Then as regards the moving of resolutions, one was introduced by a member supporting the government and the other by a member on this side.
I wish merely to make one or two remarks. In the first place, I have listened with a good deal of interest to the tabulation of the resolutions submitted this session by members of the opposition. I am very glad that they were massed together so that the country may see practically the effective answers to the wild statements made in the newspaper press and sometimes in this House, namely, that the resolutions proposed by the opposition were merely theoretical and designed to waste time. I do not think you can say of any one of those resolutions that it was purely academic. I do not think you can come to any other conclusion than they had the practical object of drawing attention to abuses and proposing a remedy. I am willing to let those resolutions go to the public, and I think no parliament need be ashamed of the discussion we have had on them.
It has evidently become solely the duty of the opposition to criticise the acts and policies of the government. I ask you, Mr. Speaker, if we had to depend on gentlemen who support the government to raise a single voice of criticism or dissent along any one of the lines traced in these resolutions, would we have had one of them presented to this House? It does not seem to be considered the function of supporters of the government to raise a single note of protest or criticism regarding either any measure of the government or the estimates. That has to be done by the opposition, and the opposition are here for that purpose. No opposition would be worth its salt if it did not carry out that purpose, and no country would long tolerate an opposition which failed to do its duty in that respect.
Take the estimates. The government have brought forward $100,000,000 or more. Will any one have the hardihood to deny that if it were not for the members on the opposition side, these estimates would all go through practically without a word of criticism? The supi>orters of the government do not consider that they have any duty in that respect. The Minister of Finance would soon set them in their proper place, according to his idea, if they attempted to criticise the estimates. They are here to do the bidding of the government and not to criticise its acts or policy. Just as in the Public Accounts Committee, there would be no criticism or examination of a single item if it were not for the opposition. I am not sure that it was not
the Prime Minister (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) who made the astounding suggestion a week ago that he thought the opposition ought to pass the estimates without any criticism.
I hope that the opposition will never be so relax in its duty as to fail to criticise the estimates. When millions of dollars are put before us in block sums, it becomes absolutely necessary to find out what this money is wanted for. A vote comes down for $5,000,000 for the post office. It is divided into three items only, millions in each. And this is only illustrative of many other resolutions brought down in Supply. You might just as well argue in favour of bringing in one resolution providing for the appropriation of $100,000,000 for the government, to be spent by their different departments, and pass it through without criticism as to take up this blind mass estimates of millions of dollars for a given department, nothing definitely shown, either by statement in the estimates or by the explanations of the minister as to what exact use is to be made of the money covered by this lump vote. This, I think, the country will quite understand-that, if we are to have an extravagant government, we must have an over-vigilant opposition, that if we are to have a government with so many bad places in its policy and so many worse places in its administration, then the opposition must take the time to thoroughly criticise-so far as it can against the obstructive tactics of the government in committee and in this House-and bring to the knowledge of the country the facts concerning each vote.
Before the motion is carried, I would like to say that I think it a matter of regret that the Bill to amend the Civil Service Act which is now on the Order Paper, has not been introduced in the House. It is a very important measure. It was first placed on the Order Paper on May 22. In respect of a portion of the delay, I have no complaint or criticism to offer, because the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Fisher) was necessarily absent. But he returned some time ago, and it is to he borne in mind that this has stood on the Order Paper for eighteen days, during which time we might have been considering the Bill-for, undoubtedly, it will demand very serious and somewhat prolonged consideration by the House if its terms are along the line stated in the public press. Though the item has stood on the Order Paper for eighteen days, we know no more about the Bill than we did on the 22nd of May last. And there are other government measures not yet before us. We understand that a measure is to be introduced with respect to the Hudson Bay Railway. That has not even been placed upon the Order Paper. Nor have we any means of judging what its terms may be. We were advised in the speech
from the Throne that a measure is to be introduced with regard to the boundaries of Manitoba. But the House, up to the present time, is in complete ignorance what that measure may be. When hon. gentlemen on the other side suggest that the labours of the session should come to an end within five months, it would be well for them to bear in mind that if parliament had ended within that time, each of these three important measures could not have been brought before the House at all. And one, if not two of these measures, was mentioned in the speech from the Throne. It is hardly worth while to look at the matter from one standpoint alone, but we must bear in mind that the most important measures of the session are not yet before the House, nor does the House understand what their terms are to be.
see the effort made to-day, to cloud the issue which is now before the House and the country. The motive is quite
transparent and the reasons also. We have been told on the floor of the House by members high and low on the opposition side that Supply would not be granted, the .business of the House would be blocked, the aims of the government would be blocked, unless the government would drop clauses 1 and 17 of the Election Bill. It is easy to understand that this is the basis and motive of the opposition which we have had to carrying on the business of the country. Perhaps I may be permitted to say that, when we introduced the Election Bill, we received the criticisms made by gentlemen on the other side in no unfriendly spirit, not with any determination to force it down their throats willing or unwilling. We received their criticism, I believe, in a fair spirit, with an idea of improving the Bill, and meeting their criticism as far as we might. With regard to clause 1, the motives which have been attributed to us d0 not exist at all. The hon. member for Jacques Cartier (Mr. Monk) stated that, as far as Quebec was concerned, the object was to have the votes of the aliens employed on the Transcontinental Railway on the lists. There is no such intention. We are willing.to meet hon. gentlemen on the other side when this Bill is called up and discuss these questions on their merits and endeavour to meet their wishes as far as possible. We are told that section 17 is an attempt to interfere with the secrecy of the ballot.' I have no desire to discuss. the Bill, but I may be permitted to say that the effect of section 17 in the Bill as introduced is simply to provide that the honest elector who casts his vote shall not be disfranchised either by the accidental action of the deputy returning officer or, worse, by the wilful action of such officer.