Sir Thomas White for Committee of Supply on April 20, Sir Wilfrid Laurier said:
I do not object to the House going into Committee of Supply. I understand that we are to take up the Civil Government Estimates, but this will not interfere with rule 17 (c) which requires that the Estimates of any department shall be first taken up on a day other than Friday.
It has been admitted, I think, by both sides of the House that civil government form one Estimate and the regular Estimates another, for the purpose of this rule in Tegard to going into Supply. The taking up of Civil Government Estimates does not mean, technically speaking, that we are going into Supply on the General Estimates. I think the Prime Minister and the leader of the Opposition have agreed as to that on several occasions.
The objection I have is this: Members of Parliament not on this side alone, but on the other side also, were protected by the new rule in their privilege of presenting a resolution on going into Supply. If we go on with these Estimates we shall be depriving ourselves of one opportunity of making such a resolution, and we have not many opportunities left.
In justice to the Postmaster General, would the minister inform the House as to his exact position at the present time? Those who read the Montreal papers have seen that the Postmaster General offered his resignation to the Prime Minister, but it was not accepted. Then the Hon. Mr. Blondin undertook, with General Les-sard, to raise a regiment in Quebec, and met with substantial success all through
the province. When conscription was adopted by the Cabinet we were told that Hon. Mr. Blondin would discontinue his recruiting efforts. The papers now announce that he is coming back to Ottawa to take over his former department and to be Acting Secretary of State. I think it is in the public interest, and only doing justice to the Postmaster General that the House should know exactly what is his position.
I do not know that 1 should be in order in answering my hon. friend. If I am not entitled to proceed with my Estimates there is nothing before the committee. If it is not in order for me to answer questions, I do not see how it is in order for hon. gentlemen to ask me questions. However, I have no objection to stating that the Hon. Mr. Blondin is still on service, and the fact of my being here as Acting Postmaster General indicates that the newspaper report that he had returned to resume his duties as Postmaster General is incorrect.
On motion of Mr. Doherty, the House adjourned at 10.15 p.m.