November 7, 1919

UNION

John Allister Currie

Unionist

Mr. CURRIE:

I have no desire to discuss the point at all, but what I am arguing is that we shall adhere to what has always been the custom of the House. The point I raise is this: If we permit the Law Officers of the House, or any other person, to make an amendment to a Bill after it has been read the third time, we are going to open the door to very many abuses. That is the only reason I have for holding the Bill up. That is .a bad practice to start here, and I do not-think the Government should permit-it.

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UNION

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

I must correct the hon. gentleman on one point. I did not suggest that the Law Officers, or anybody connected with this House should make any alterations in the Bill after the motion for the third reading had been adopted. What I did suggest was this: That if it should be found that the wording of the Bill is not perfectly clear, then in the Senate that wording should be placed beyond all doubt. That would not involve a change by the officers of the House. Furthermore, if the Senate did amend the Bill that amendment would have to come back here and we would then have an opportunity to consider it. The hon. gentleman, as I understand it, is within his right if he thinks there is any good purpose to be served by preventing the expediting of business to the extent proposed; but if he rests his case simply upon his apprehension that any alteration wouild be made in the Bill by any officer of the House, I might assure him that it is not contemplated at all and certainly will not be done.

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UNION

John Allister Currie

Unionist

Mr. CURRIE:

With your permission,

Mr. Speaker, I would point out that the

proper procedure in respect of all House of Commons Bills is that they should be amended in this House. Before they are finally passed they are supposed- to be reviewed by the Law Officer of the House to see that the language is proper and that there is nothing of a wrongful character in the Bill. An officer is employed specially for that purpose and he reports on all these Bills. Of late years the practice has grown up of introducing Bills to correct some error in other Bills-1 think we have had one or two of that character this session. Now, I think it is well to adhere to the procedure that has prevailed for many years past, and that is for the Law Officer of the House to pass upon all Bills between the second and third reading and if any verbal errors are discovered they should be corrected. Our legislation should go to the Senate in proper form and not have the Upper House sending Bills back here in order to have verbal amendments made to them. That is my object in the .stand I am taking. I have no desire to hold up legislation, but I think my suggestion is a proper one and is in accord with the usages of this. House. If the minister is satisfied that the Bill is correct I am quite willing to let it go,, but the Senate is constantly making changes in our Bills on the ground that they are not worded in good English or that they contain errors, I therefore thought it right to make sure that this Bill was correctly worded and was in proper form before sending it to the Senate.

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UNI L

William Stevens Fielding

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. FIELDING:

I believe it is a well

understood rule that unless very grave urgency exists the third reading of a Bill ought not to be proceeded with at the same sitting as the committee state. I think there is no great urgency in this matter. The world will wag on even if we have to wait for the third reading of this Bill until tomorrow.

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UNION

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

Even if there is no

urgency, some of us would 'like to wag away so soon as we conveniently might without any detriment to the public business. However, if the hon. gentleman insists upon his objection, I do not want to press the matter.

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L LIB

Georges Henri Boivin (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Laurier Liberal

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER:

When shall the said Bill be read a third time?

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UNI L

William Stevens Fielding

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. FIELDING:

At the next sitting of the House. Then the Minister of Justice can have a chance to look into the point which is in doubt.

On the motion of Hon. Mr. Doherty for the adjournment of the House:

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?

Peter H. McKenzie

Mr. McKHNZIE:

May I ask what business will be taken up to-morrow?

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UNION

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

All that now remains on the Order Paper are two Bills that are connected with prohibition. The Bills which were read a first time to-day will also be taken up to-morrow. They will be on the Order Paper for second reading. We have perhaps no assurance, but we would like to entertain the hope, that we will be able to dispose of all of these measures tenmorrow.

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L LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

Then the Minister of Justice is really going on with the Temperance Bills to-morrow?

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UNION

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

Yes, I think I can say we are really going on with those Bills tomorrow as we have always really intended they should be gone on with.

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UNI L

William Stevens Fielding

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. FIELDING:

May we expect that the Grand Trunk Bill will be reprinted with amendments so that we will have them before us to-morrow?

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UNION

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

I understand that the amendments will be printed in the Votes and Proceedings to-morrow. They will also appear in Hansard.

Motion agreed to and the House adjourned at 11.26 p.m.

Saturday, November 8, 1919.

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November 7, 1919