June 23, 1926

CON

Hugh Guthrie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GUTHRIE:

Will my hon. friend allow me? The effect of the present motion is to deprive the member who has moved the main amendment of any decision on the question which we have debated for two days. Only the framework of the original amendment is left by the proposed subamendment.

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CON

Finlay MacDonald

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MACDONALD (Antigonish):

Not at

all.

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LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order.

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CON

Hugh Guthrie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GUTHRIE:

The substance is entirely removed. Take the case of hon. members who are in favour of the subamendment, who agree with almost all it contains, but it does not go far enough; they say: shall we vote for it, and thus deny ourselves the opportunity of voting upon the main motion?

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CON

Finlay MacDonald

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MACDONALD (Antigonish):

You are arguing as to the effect, not as to the rule.

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CON

Hugh Guthrie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GUTHRIE:

I am arguing as to the

rule. The rule is for the purpose of allowing a definite question properly framed and laid before this House to be definitely decided. I submit that the rule is well established; it is in accordance with all parliamentary practice and usage, and no one should be allowed to circumvent it by merely allowing the framework to remain while the substance vanishes.

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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

Might I be allowed just

one observation? The statements of the hon. member are valid in so far as they apply to a sub-amendment which alters the amendment, which makes some addition to the amendment or subtracts something from it, but which does not substitute an entirely new clause. This is not an alteration; it is a substitution pure and simple, and comes under the rule which I quoted.

4938 COMMONS

Customs Inquiry-Point oj Order

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CON

Finlay MacDonald

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MACDONALD (Antigonish):

Hon.

gentlemen have been discussing the effect of this amendment as though they had read it with the greatest possible care. I might point out that I heard it read by the hon. gentleman who moved it and by Your Honour, and if I have any sense of what the proposal is it makes several distinct amendments to the amendment of the hon. member for Vancouver Centre (Mr. Stevens) instead of being an absolute substitution.

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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

It is a complete substitution.

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CON

Finlay MacDonald

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MACDONALD (Antigonish):

Not at

all; my hon. friend speaks with a great deal of positiveness, but I do not know where he gets his information.

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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

I have read it; my hon.

friend has not.

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CON

Finlay MacDonald

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MACDONALD (Antigonish):

If the

hon. member makes amendments to several clauses of the amendment of the hon. member for Vancouver Centre-

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CON

Robert James Manion

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

But it is proposed to alter the report, not the amendment.

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CON

Finlay MacDonald

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MACDONALD (Antigonish):

If the

amendment proposes to change in different respects the amendment of the hon. member for Vancouver Centre it is clear to me that under the citations already given it is well within the rules.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Who prepared it?

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LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

Someone asks who prepared it. I may say that it was prepared with the help of my colleague and was submitted to the officers of the House before being presented here, so it will be seen that we took reasonable precautions to make sure it was in order. On the point of order I would like to say that it seems to me there must be some reasonable opportunity given others than one group to decide as to what should be changed in a report of this character. Otherwise it would simply mean that an alteration could :be made in one particular clause only, and the rest of the report could not be touched. This follows closely portions of the amendment. For example, the amendment itself says in one of its clauses:

Your committee deplores the practice, as revealed by the evidence, of certain men influential in public life to direct appeals, to the minister to relax and depart from the pro-per administration of his department for reasons of political expediency.

'Mr. Cahan.]

The clause as we propose it is as follows:

Your committee deplores the common practice as revealed by ithe evidence of members of (parliament and others appealing to the minister to relax the regulations of the department for personal advantage or political expediency.

Our amendment seems to follow the lines of the original clause very closely, only in my humble judgment it is worded a little better than is the original.

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CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

There is absolutely no difficulty; all the groups in the House have no difficulty in getting their motions brought forward. The hon. gentleman is in no difficulty, and as his argument was based upon such a difficulty I no longer refer to it. My hon. friend the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) again is under no difficulty. He wants a chance to vote on this question; he can do it very well and legitimately by allowing the amendment to stand as it is and add this subamendment to it. There is no necessity to strike out the one thing which we have been debating for two days.

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CON

Finlay MacDonald

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MACDONALD (Antigonish):

You

are not, talking of the rules now.

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CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

My hon. friend says I am not talking of the rules; I am trying to answer arguments which, possibly by some error, may have been thought to have something to do with the question. That argument was made by the minister and I am trying to answer it. That question gan be voted on; this amendment to the amendment could be made an addition to the amendment. But, Mr. Speaker, apart from the fact that possibly the rules are so badly drawn, and possibly because they have been so badly administered sometimes, there is a danger that everything we have been doing for the past two or three days may be thrown away, and I want to pause for a moment or two. I submit to you, Sir, with much deference that the real governing idea of rules is to see that the House gets an opportunity of passing upon questions regularly submitted to it. This question has been submitted regularly and the House has the right to have the opportunity, as I submit, of passing upon the merits of the question which we all know-coming to realities and getting away from shams-to be the real question before the House. We submit that we have followed the practices of the past in this regard. It would indeed be unfortunate, Mr. Speaker, if by reason of the fact that the form adopted here is the form advised by the officials of

Customs Inquiry-Speaker's Ruling

the House, the plain right of the House to vote upon this question should be taken away; that is really what this whole argument amounts to. It is perfectly clear that if the subamendment had been put in the regular form followed by the hon. member for Vancouver Centre it would be entirely and absolutely out of order. If it had been put in that way all that would be left would be the word "that," but the adv.ice of the officials of the House, fortified by your decision, Sir, and your direction, means that we put in the words "that the report be not now adopted but that it be referred back to the subcommittee with instructions"-technical words, having nothing to do with the real merits of the case. If the result be that by following that form the right which we would otherwise have is taken away, all I submit is that that result would be extremely unfortunate.

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LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Do any other hon. gentlemen desire to speak on the point of order? I have been in the chair since two o'clock yesterday afternoon, and I feel that I would not render justice to the case if I were to give my decision immediately. I would ask, as it is my right to ask, to postpone my decision until this afternoon at two o'clock. I want to give justice to all parties; the arguments on both sides have been very elaborate, and I would not feel justified in giving a ruling to-night.

The hon. member for Vancouver Centre (Mr. Stevens) said that he had consulted officers of the House in drafting his amendment, and I said that the amendment was drafted in the proper form. I was not consulted with regard to the amendment to the amendment. I wish to say this because otherwise some hon. members might think that I had expressed an opinion on matters which are being debated by the House. It is the duty of the officers of the House to give information to all members-

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June 23, 1926