July 1, 1926

LIB
CON

George Reginald Geary

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GEARY:

Since the late government resigned a number .of attempts have been made in succession to divert attention from the blasting effect of the Customs inquiry Hon. gentlemen, opposite have endeavoured to secure a majority by some trick or subterfuge in order to get past that vote of censure, and now they are trying to have the House adopt a motion, the effect of which would be to whitewash them and put them back on the benches from which they have been driven.

The. ex-Minister of Justice on one occasion, describing something that had occurred on the other side of the House when we sat there, said that it was not cricket. May I ask whether the late actions of hon. gentlemen opposite are cricket? . They were given "out", and ever since have been grousing against the umpire's decision. I submit that the interests of the country demand that the government be given every opportunity to do what doubtless was implied in the advice tendered His Excellency, namely, to close out the estimates so that the business of the session may be brought to a conclusion. We have the formal declaration of the Prime Minister that the offices of ministers will be definitely filled, that the necessary elections will be held, and that every other procedure which may be required will be taken. It is not as though the government were attempting bo carry on for any length of time with the present ministry, which is temporary. The object is merely to close the work of the session so that the labours of these past six months shall not have been futile.

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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. C. H. CAHAN (St. Lawrence-St. George):

I had intended to consider in some detail the sections of Chapter 10 of the Re-

Supply-Formation oj Ministry

vised Statutes of Canada to which the hon, member for Quebec East (Mr. Lapointe) referred this afternoon in opening this prolonged discussion. There can, I think, be no doubt whatever of the accuracy and the validity of the interpretation which the hon. member for South Toronto (Mr. Geary) has given to the sections of that act which have been under consideration. The ex-Minister of Justice, whom I hope to see some day again prominently in the public life of this country-

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LIB
CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

-failed to refer to section 15 of chapter 10, which has a very important bearing on the discussion. Construe the provisions of section 10, as you will, I can conceive of no other interpretation being possible than that which the hon. member for South Toronto has just now placed upon it. Nevertheless the only penalty provided in the act is contained in section 15, wherein it is enacted that upon a member of this House becoming disqualified, by reason of the acceptance of any of the offices for which any emolument or salary shall be paid, shall vacate his seat. If certain gentlemen have really vacated their seats by accepting offices to which emoluments attach, and for services in connection with which they shall be paid out of the treasury of Canada, then the only way, according to the rules recently laid down by the opposite party in this House, by which their seats may be vacated is by an appeal to the courts of the country, which have full jurisdiction to take evidence and declare as to whether or not any of these members have accepted an office, to which emoluments are attached, which come within the provisions and prohibitions of section 15 of this statute.

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LIB

Lucien Cannon

Liberal

Mr. CANNON:

Will my hon. friend allow me one question? Does he consider the point he is now making an answer to our contention that a minister must vacate his seat the moment he becomes a minister? This is not a controverted election; he is disqualified because he is a minister receiving salary.

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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

I am dealing with the very section which says that a member who accepted any emolument thereby becomes incapable of being elected to, or of sitting or of voting in the House of Commons. I say to hon. gentlemen that if they are attacking the seats of the hon. gentlemen referred to in this resolution, they may do so by bringing before the House, on a question of privilege, the issue as to whether these gentlemen are incapable of holding seats in the

House of Commons. They are presenting to this House a legal issue similar to that which was brought into the House recently as to whether the hon. member for Peace River (Mr. Kennedy) was entitled to sit as a member of this House. A proceeding dealing with the issue as to whether any member mentioned in this resolution has vacated his seat, by reason of the acceptance of some office to which an emolument or salary or profit is attached, is a legal issue which the courts of this country are quite competent to try. If the arguments advanced by my hon. friends the other day, which arguments obtained the support of a majority of this House, are to prevail in a case such as this, then why not take proceedings in the courts, or why not bring the issue fairly and squarely before this House by moving a resolution to the effect that a writ should now be issued for bv-eleetions in these constituencies?

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Does my hon. friend think a writ of quo warranto should be 'issued against each member of the administration to find by what authority he holds office and does he think that we should wait until the courts decide that question before the temporary government becomes permanent?

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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

You must do that if you

accept the doctrines laid down and accepted by a majority of this House during the present session. That is one alternative, but the other is this: If they have vacated their seats, why not bring the issue fairly and squarely before the House on a resolution declaring that writs should be issued?

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

The resolution now before the House brings the whole matter squarely before us.

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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

I doubt it. I will discuss

the resolution before the House in a moment, but I am now raising the preliminary point that the question may be tested in the courts as to whether these hon. gentlemen have vacated their seats. It may be tested in this House under a special resolution directed to that purpose, in respect to which the House, through the committee on Privileges and Elections, must take the necessary evidence which would enable the House to decide as to whether there are emoluments attached to, and received or receivable by them, in connection with the offices they are presumed to administer temporarily.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

May I ask

another question?

Supply-Formation oj Ministry

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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

Just a moment; I am going to deal with the resolution itself.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I just wanted

to relieve my hon. friend's anxiety by saying that if we did not soon get a dissolution in the regular way we might have to begin legal proceedings to get hon. gentlemen out.

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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

I think possibly that will be the only alternative left to the hon. gentleman. The issue raised in this resolution is not primarily as to whether the hon. gentlemen have vacated their seats; the resolution says that the actions in this House of the hon. members who have acted as ministers of the crown are questioned. The brunt of this attack is against the actions in this House of the hon. gentlemen who have acted as ministers since June 29, 1926, and the resolution names them. By reason o-f what actions in this House are the hon. gentlemen attacked?

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

May I say to mv hon. friend-

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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

I am not asking my hon.

friend, because the resolution should state them, and it should not be left to the conjecture of any member of the House or to some hypothetical suggestions of the right hon. leader of the opposition as to what those actions are. The actions in this House of the hon. gentlemen who have acted as ministers since June 29, 1926, are attacked in this resolution.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

My hon. friend referred to me just now as to their actions. I would say that the hon. gentlemen opposite who compose the ministry either have been acting or they have not been acting. If they have been doing nothing they should not be here; if they have been doing anything they are doing it illegally.

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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

The right hon. leader of the opposition has repeated that some fifteen times. I think.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

My hon. friend does not seem to have grasped it.

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July 1, 1926