May 9, 1941

LIB

Georges Parent (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Perhaps the hon. member did not hear me. The motion which was passed the other day was that these bills should be given second reading and sent to the appropriate committee, preference being given to bills which were unopposed. There has been opposition to this bill; therefore it will go to the end of the list, the same as the previous bill already spoken to.

Motion stands.

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LILLIAN BALD ELLISON


Mr. D. C. ABBOTT (St. Antoine-West-mount-for Mr. Bercovitch) moved the second reading of Bill No. 32, for the relief of Lillian Bald Ellison.


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Mr. M. J. COLD WELL@Rosetown-Biggar

Mr. Speaker, I am not opposing these bills, but I rise to reiterate the point of view which I have expressed before and which has been ably supported this afternoon by the hon. member for Comox-Alberni (Mr. Neill), that is, that before we adopt the principle of one of these bills we should know precisely what we are doing. It is true that in every civilized

country in the world there is a procedure for the granting of divorce and relief to those who are unhappily married. I know that some hon. members who are opposed to these bills do not agree with me.

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LIB

Georges Parent (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

The hon. gentleman has said that he is not opposed to the merits of this particular bill, but he is opposed to its passage on general principles. Therefore it is in the position of being opposed and it must go to the end of the list.

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Mr. M. J. COLD WELL@Rosetown-Biggar

I am not opposing the bill. I am not opposing the passage of legislation of this sort. I am simply opposing the procedure.

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LIB

Georges Parent (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

The hon. member will realize that I am endeavouring to uphold the procedure which the house has directed should be carried out. A motion was passed under which these bills were to receive second reading, preference being given to the unopposed bills. I am endeavouring to uphold the instructions which the house gave to me. Therefore when an hon. member rises and proposes to speak either on the principle of the bill or on the procedure being followed, I take it that he is opposed.

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IND
LIB

Georges Parent (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

This is not a point of order; this is simply carrying out the procedure.

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IND

Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. NEILL:

I shall make it a point of order. Your Honour has told me to sit down and I appeal from your ruling that I am not to be allowed to debate this bill, or discuss it, as the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) very well said. Hon. members of this house are being stifled.

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LIB

Georges Parent (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

I did not ask the hon. member to sit down. But I did point out to him that I was dealing with a motion which had been passed by the house and which provided that the opposition which he was then stating in regard to this bill would automatically send it to the bottom of the list on the order paper. There is no point of order in that.

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IND

Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. NEILL:

Your Honour has given a ruling and I am appealing. Surely there is some redress. I may be wrong; I may be turned down, but that is all right.

Topic:   LILLIAN BALD ELLISON
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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

Is it too late for me to speak to the point of order? I have not before me the motion that was passed by the house; in fact I was not here when it was passed. But I have heard it discussed and it appears to be to the effect that the bills to which

Divorce Bills

there is no opposition will be taken up, but that those to which there is opposition will go to the foot of the list.

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

That is not quite correct.

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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

I think that is substantially correct. Your Honour is being asked to make an interpretation of the word "opposition" or "opposed." I think it is quite clear that the intention of the motion was that the house should take up those bills which would require no time and in connection with which there would be no discussion. The object of the motion was to get ahead with the business that could be gone on with immediately. When an hon. member says, "I am not opposed to the bill; I am not opposed to the principle of the bill, but I do not want it to pass now without discussion; I am opposed to its passage until I get more information," then I think it is quite within Your Honour's province to interpret that as being opposition within the meaning of the motion. I think the wording of the motion was that those bills which would take no time, in connection with which there was no opposition at the moment, either temporary or permanent, were to be taken up.

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NAT

Karl Kenneth Homuth

National Government

Mr. HOMUTH:

I rise to a point of order. The Minister of Finance (Mr. Ilsley) has been granted the privilege of giving his interpretation of this order, and I crave the indulgence of the house while I take exception to it. If the first bill dealing with divorce had been considered in such a way as to permit hon. members to place their views before the house, as we tried to do the other day before there was a change in procedure, these bills [DOT]would have gone through without any opposition.

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Some hon. MEMBERS:

No.

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NAT

Karl Kenneth Homuth

National Government

Mr. HOMUTH:

I say yes. I think they would have gone through. But now we are being denied the right on second reading t-o express our view as to whether some other method of procedure should have been followed.

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

On the point of order, Mr. Speaker, may I say a brief word? I have before me the resolution of the Prime Minister. It will be found at page 2627 of Hansard of May 7. The Prime Minister moved:

That second readings of private bills be the order of the day on Friday the 9th of May instant, it being agreed that the procedure required for their final adoption, when reported from the committees to which they will be referred, shall be complied with at a later date to be fixed on motion without notice.

I pause there to observe that I took exception to the inclusion of the words "without notice". The Prime Minister readily acquiesced and the resolution was amended by striking out these words, so that this portion of the resolution ends with the words "on motion". Then it proceeds:

-that standing order 15 and the resolution of the 17th of February last be suspended in relation thereto,

My recollection is that the effect of this is to do away with the order of the house giving government business precedence. I call attention to the last clause of the resolution:

-and that in carrying out this order of business, precedence be given to unopposed bills.

I suggest to Your Honour that the discussion should centre around that clause, and that on the point of order we should consider whether Your Honour has taken-I say this with great respect-a rather narrow view of what is or is not an unopposed bill. I respectfully dissent from your ruling that the mere fact that a member, such as the hon. member for Comox-Alberni (Mr. Neill), should rise in his place on the second reading and make some observations on the bill, automatically puts that bill in the opposed category. I suggest that the language of the resolution must be interpreted by the ordinary canons of construction. The hon. member distinctly stated that he did not oppose the bill but was asking for information. I suggest therefore that the bill did not automatically, as a result of his observations, fall within the category of an opposed bill-unless in this context the words "unopposed bills" have a restricted technical meaning, and I do not conceive that they have.

My suggestion is that we oughlt to try to get out of this impasse, otherwise we shall be making a spectacle of this House of Commons and lowering ourselves in the estimation of the public. I think we ought to give the ordinary interpretation to the words "unopposed bills", and I do not consider a discussion such as that carried on by the hon. member for Comox-Alberni as being evidence of opposition. If that is the interpretation that is to be given, I shall not, sir, oppose your ruling further, but I do suggest that it is a very restricted interpretation.

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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver Centre):

I suggest that the English interpretation of "opposed bill" bears out Your Honour's ruling. If we carry through this procedure as we are doing, and all these bills are opposed, the order paper will be in exactly the same state as before.

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May 9, 1941