Having .been called upon yesterday suddenly to consider a motion upon the order paper re telephones in rural post offices, I gave a ruling that, upon more careful and. mature consideration, I am quite sure, would not be held to be well founded. I based my ruling of yesterday upon a motion of the hon. member for Peel (Mr. Btain) regarding tire placing of telephones in rural post offices mainly on the general principle that this resolution .appeared to involve a charge upon the revenue and must be considered in 'Committee of the Whole. A careful examination of cases, 'both in England and in this House, shows that where the ex-Mr. BORDEN.
penditure of public money is not directly involved, and the resolution merely expresses .an abstract opinion on a matter which may necessitate a future grant, it may be introduced directly by a private member.
In looking at the authorities I find, in Canadian Commons Journals, 1892, page 133, on a motion moved by Mr. Denison relating to the .deepening of canals, which was of a very similar character and was afterwards withdrawn, no ruling was given. In Canadian Commons Journals, 1897, page 59, .a motion is. presented advocating a bonus on creameries. In that case it was a somewhat similar motion, but would tend more strongly towards a violation of the rule, as it proposed that 'a cent a pound at least should be given upon all butter manufactured in creameries. After that motion had been considered the debate was adjourned and no objection was taken to it. In Canadian Commons Journals, 1899, page 85, we have a motion with reference to indebtedness for seed grain. Mr. Davin, I believe, proposed the motion which, after being debated, was withdrawn and no point of order was raised. These, with a number of other precedents that I have looked up, justify me in. saying that my ruling of yesterday was not exactly sound, but while saying that I would like to quote Bourinot's remarks on the point, because it is a matter that I think the House should take cognizance of in the future. He says:
A practice has grown up in the House allowing the introduction of resolutions by private members, when they do not directly involve the expenditure of public money, but simply express an abstract opinion on a matter vThich may necessitate a future grant.
Then he gives the cases I have quoted here and proceeds:
As this is a question not always understood it may be explained that such resolutions, being framed in general terms, do not bind the House to future legislation on the subject, and are merely intended to point out to the government the importance and necessity of such expenditure.
Referring to this right of members to move such abstract resolutions, all authorities agree that it is one ' which the House exercises, and should always exercise, with very great reserve, and only under peculiar and exceptional circumstances.' Such resolutions are considered virtually ' an evasion of the rules of the House, and are on that account objectionable, and should he discouraged as much as possible.' Nevertheless neither the English nor Canadian House of Commons has ever agreed to the adoption of a rule to fetter their discretion in regard to the entertaining of such propositions.
Therefore, I presume the custom has grown up in that way. It would be in order for the hon. member who had that
motion in charge to move to have it reinstated on the order paper, as otherwise it would be dropped.