Right Hon. L. S. ST. LAURENT (Secretary of State for External Affairs)-: I would ask for the consent of the house to move at this time the motion of which notice is printed on page 27 of the routine proceedings and orders of the day. W'hen the house took recess some time after six -o'clock on Friday, the hon. member for Peel (Mr. Graydon), who was then acting for the leader of the opposition, asked the leader of the house to indicate the programme of work for today; that was done, and it seemed to me to meet with pretty general satisfaction as being a proper programme for this day. But it so happens that that programme cannot be carried out in accordance with the standing orders of the house unless this motion printed on page 27 of the routine proceedings and orders of the day is considered at this time. There had been a motion made that government notices of motion have precedence over all other matters, but the introduction of bills, questions, notices of motions for the production of papers. But the effect of that resolution expired on Friday the 28th, and we would therefore, under normal procedure, revert to the standing orders which would be in accord with the proceedings as printed in the orders of the day.
I discussed this with several members of the house and it was suggested, amongst other things, that in making this motion at this time, the exception providing for the introduction of bills, questions and notices of motions for the production of papers should be extended and should include, from eight to nine o'clock in the evening on Tuesday and Fridays, private bills and public bills. That seemed to be a reasonable suggestion, and if I have the consent of the house to make the
Business of the House
motion at this time I should be disposed to include that exception in the motion, so that on Tuesdays and Fridays from eight to nine o'clock private bills and members' public bills might be considered-in accordance with standing orders so long as government business has precedence over other matters.
There is another feature which was pointed out to me, which I in turn discussed with my colleagues, and which we found was quite proper. I do not think any member of the house considers it to be entirely fair that private members should be deprived of the opportunity of bringing before the house matters which might not be on the routine proceedings and orders of the day. Having discussed that with my colleagues I am prepared to give the undertaking that so long as government business would have precedence under a resolution such as this, the government would as the first order of government business on each Monday move the house into committee of supply so that all hon. members would have at that time a full opportunity to air any grievances which they might have or to bring to the attention of the house anything not on the routine proceedings and orders of the day which they felt was of sufficient importance to engage the attention of the house at that time. I think it would be well if each Monday that is to be taken for government business, as the first order of government business there were a motion to go into committee of supply, so that every hon. member would have an opportunity to bring up at that time anything which he felt was of sufficient importance to warrant its being discussed. The intention of the government would not be to go on with the consideration of supply when the house got into committee, but rather to call two or three departments and have them opened so that they might on any appropriate occasion be dealt with in accordance with the standing orders.
If that arrangement seemed to be suitable, it might be taken as an undertaking of the government to move, on every Monday when government business would have precedence over other affairs, to go into committee of supply as the first order of business so that any question not on the order paper but about which any hon. member was concerned, could be discussed. We have now only today, tomorrow and a short day on Wednesday before taking recess and I think it was the general feeling that we should continue with the emergency legislation before the house. I would therefore request leave to move at this time:
That on Monday, March 31 instant and every sitting day thereafter until and including Monday, April 28 next, government notices of motions and government orders shall have precedence over all other business except introduction of bills, questions and notices of motions for the production of papers, and except, from eight to nine o'clock in the evening on Tuesdays and Fridays, private and public bills; and that standing order No. 15 be suspended in relation thereto.