April 20, 1950

LIB

James Joseph McCann (Minister of Mines and Technical Surveys; Minister of National Revenue)

Liberal

Mr. McCann:

1, 2 and 3. CBM-FM Montreal, July 2, 1946 and CBF-FM Montreal, March 5, 1948,

$45,200; CBO-FM Ottawa, February 18, 1948, $8,300; CBL-FM Toronto, October 8, 1946, $23,100; CBR-FM Vancouver, December 12, 1947, $17,500.

4. No information.

Business of the House QUESTION PASSED AS ORDER FOR RETURN

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION
Sub-subtopic:   FM EQUIPMENT
Permalink

GOVERNMENT PRINTING EQUIPMENT OTHER THAN IN PRINTING BUREAU

PC

Mr. Diefenbaker:

Progressive Conservative

1. Does the unemployment insurance commission operate printing equipment apart from and independently of the government printing bureau?

2. If not, what is the explanation of the reference to "the printing division" on page 16 of the 1949 report of this commission?

3. Are there any other government departments or agencies operating printing equipment of their own?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   GOVERNMENT PRINTING EQUIPMENT OTHER THAN IN PRINTING BUREAU
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BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

PRECEDENCE OF GOVERNMENT BUSINESS ON APRIL 24 AND 26 AND EVERY WEDNESDAY THEREAFTER

LIB

Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Righi Hon. L. S. St. Laurent (Prime Minister) moved:

That on Monday, April 24 next, and on Wednesday, April 26 next, and every Wednesday thereafter to the end of the session, government notices of motions and government orders shall have precedence over all other business except introduction of bills, questions by members and notices of motions for the production of papers.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   PRECEDENCE OF GOVERNMENT BUSINESS ON APRIL 24 AND 26 AND EVERY WEDNESDAY THEREAFTER
Permalink
PC

Gordon Graydon

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Gordon Graydon (Acting Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, I think we all agree that there ought to be a reasonable balance between government business and that which is initiated by private members. I do not believe there will be any disposition on the part of members of the house to deny the rights which the government should normally exercise with respect to government business, having in mind the time available for parliamentary work in general. In this instance, however, it could be successfully argued that by making this motion now the Prime Minister is throwing out of balance the relationship between government business and that of private members. It is on this basis that I wish to make a few remarks on the motion introduced by the Prime Minister.

I shall confine the remarks I have to make to the private members' notices of motions on the order paper, which of course would be seriously affected by the adoption of a motion such as this. We are now in the thirty-ninth day of this session, and there are twenty-two private members' notices of motions still to be dealt with. Up to the moment we have been able to deal with only two. In the normal course of affairs these notices of motions, looking at it from the practical point of view, are usually debated on Wednesday afternoon. They have precedence on Wednesday afternoon, and of course that priority is recognized. Of the thirty-nine sitting days this session, only two half days have been allowed for notices of

Business of the House motions by private members. I believe every member will agree that by the time routine proceedings are concluded there are not more than two and a halt hours left each Wednesday for private members' notices of motions.

I should like to suggest to the Prime Minister that he reconsider the position the government is taking. It does seem to me that four or five hours during the session is not enough to give private members the opportunity they should have to bring before the House of Commons their points of view on various matters. What I am about to say is said without any thought of party selfishness, because out of the twenty-two resolutions or motions on the order paper there are only two which are moved by members of the official opposition, although those two, concerning a bill of rights and the St. Lawrence waterway, are of as vital concern to the house as any of the legislation envisaged in the other notices that have been filed.

Actually this becomes an issue between the government and the private member, no matter where he may sit in the house. I want to speak, if I may, for the person who in ordinary street parlance-and I do not use the term in any offensive way-is called the ordinary Joe, into which category all of us private members in the House of Commons fall. It becomes an issue, I say, between the ordinary Joe and what may be regarded as the "top brass" in government circles. This being so, I want to plead the case of the ordinary Joe member of parliament like myself, who still thinks he ought to have, if he so desires, some opportunity to discuss matters which he believes to be of interest to the people of Canada.

What happens, Mr. Speaker, is this. The government provide the legislative menu day by day. They set the legislative table; they serve the legislative food, and it is for the ordinary Joe in parliament to take the food or to leave it, or to send it back to the kitchen for further preparation. We believe the ordinary Joe in parliament ought to be able to set the table once in a while, to prepare the food, and to ascertain the state of the government's digestion. That is one of the reasons why I think there ought to be more opportunity for private members to set the legislative table.

I am afraid that the procedure adopted by the Prime Minister has almost become a precedent which, having in mind the past attitude of the government, the private member can expect to see followed year by year. I am not suggesting that anyone who has a notice of motion on the order paper would be so motivated, nevertheless such a procedure

might normally encourage private members to place motions on the order paper merely for the purpose of having their views alone expressed on a particular matter. It might easily be regarded as a hit-and-run motion, because under present circumstances there need never be discussion on the matter. I believe we should not encourage hit-and-run motions in this House of Commons, but that is what we are doing if we adopt this procedure. If any decision of the house is to be made on this matter, I would expect every member who has a notice of motion on the order paper now to vote to have that motion heard by the house; otherwise I am quite sure his position would hardly be consistent with his having placed a notice of motion on the order paper.

There will perhaps be some who will say: What do these notices of motions accomplish? They accomplish a good deal. Many legislative enactments in the past have been based upon the testing of public opinion in this house and outside by a notice of motion which has been debated on the floor of the House of Commons. I have not put many notices of motions on the order paper in my time, but I remember that four years ago, before a notice of motion I had placed on the order paper, calling for a separate minister of external affairs, was heard, the government had appointed a new and separate minister to handle the Department of External Affairs. I might go on and give other instances in which motions moved by private members had a material influence in changing government policy.

While I am not arguing that we as private members should place obstacles in the path of government business, I suggest to the Prime Minister and to the house that it is just as important that we preserve the proper balance between government and private members. I therefore suggest to the Prime Minister that upon reflection he will perhaps agree with me that the motion now before us, if it were to carry, would throw out of balance the relationship to which I have just referred.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   PRECEDENCE OF GOVERNMENT BUSINESS ON APRIL 24 AND 26 AND EVERY WEDNESDAY THEREAFTER
Permalink
CCF

Major James William Coldwell

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. M. J. Coldwell (Rosetown-Biggar):

Normally, Mr. Speaker, at this stage of the session I should be hesitant about opposing a motion of this kind; but for the reasons given iby the acting leader of the opposition (Mr. Graydon), and also because of the wording of the motion itself, I am opposing it.

I want to draw to your attention, Mr. Speaker, and to the attention of the house, the manner in which the motion is worded. It reads:

That on Monday, April 24 next, and on Wednesday, April 26 next, and every Wednesday thereafter to the end of the session, government notices of

motions and government orders shall have precedence over all other business except introduction of bills, questions by members and notices of motions for the production of papers.

On looking over the motion one immediately sees that after next Monday, which is taken away on account of the budget debate, Mondays will be restored as private members' days. Under standing order 15, Monday is private members' day, and the first order of business on Monday is private bills. What construction can be placed upon this motion? Private bills will come back to this house the following Monday. What private bills? Next week I take it that the pipe line bills will be before a committee and will probably come back to the house the following Monday. Consequently, if I am interpreting this motion aright, a special privilege is once again being given to these pipe line bills.

At the last session of parliament we had an extension of the private members' hour one evening in order to get these bills through. What I do not like about this kind of thing, whether it is deliberate or accidental, is that it is manipulating the rules of parliament. We have had too many variations of the rules of parliament. It is true that on this side of the house there is only a small minority; but, because of the overwhelming majority on the government side, care should be taken to see that the rules are observed and that private members are adequately protected.

I do not like this manner of dealing with private bills, and I am in good company on that score. A great Liberal in this country, Hon. Edward Blake, as long ago as 1883, is recorded as having said, as reported at page 37, volume I of Hansard for that year:

We have adopted a system wholly vicious, a system by which members of the house are expected, not merely to introduce and take the first steps in connection with the passage of private bills, but also to become their advocates and active promoters, and the position which we see is assumed with regard to such bills is one which is quite inconsistent with the true position of members of parliament called upon to pass judgment on them.

If that is true of an individual member of parliament, how much more true is it of a government when rules are varied in order to give precedence to private bills. If it is "wholly vicious" for members of the house to be expected not merely to introduce and take the first steps in connection with the passage of private bills, but also to become their advocates and active promoters, how much more vicious is it when a government varies the rules in order to give precedence to private bills which are meeting strenuous opposition in this house. If the government wants to make these bills government bills, 55948-110

Business of the House well and good; let us have them before us as government bills and treat them as government business. But let us not have the rules of the house set aside in discrimination against other bills, public orders and private members' resolutions, and in favour of these bills which have met with such strenuous opposition from some members of this House of Commons.

I myself have taken little part in the discussion of the pipe line bills. I spoke once on them. But "when I see a resolution such as this brought down, if my interpretation is correct, I feel that it is something about which we must make the most emphatic protest we can possibly make. In order that we may do what the acting leader of the opposition suggested just now, namely, place private members on an equal footing in this house with regard to their resolutions and their bills, I want to move, seconded by the hon. member for Vancouver East (Mr. Mac-Innis):

That the motion he amended by deleting therefrom the words "and every Wednesday thereafter to the end of the session."

I do that so that on Wednesday private members' motions and public bills and orders, if we reach them, may be placed on an equal footing with other private members' bills such as the pipe line bills. Consequently I shall press this amendment to a division if it is not acceptable to the mover of the motion.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   PRECEDENCE OF GOVERNMENT BUSINESS ON APRIL 24 AND 26 AND EVERY WEDNESDAY THEREAFTER
Permalink
SC

Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. Solon E. Low (Peace River):

There is not much left for me to say, Mr. Speaker, on this motion, but I think the position taken by the hon. member for Peel (Mr. Graydon) and the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell) is sound. I have tried to divorce this question completely from consideration of pipe line bills. Looking at it purely from the point of view of protection of the rights of private members, and also to achieve, as the hon. member for Peel has said, a proper balance between time for government business and time for private members' business, I am going to support the amendment moved by the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar.

I realize it will be charged that if we had not used so much time in the discussion of pipe line bills on this side of the house, there would have been more time for the discussion of private members' resolutions. I realize that our position on the opposition side of the house would be stronger if that had not happened.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   PRECEDENCE OF GOVERNMENT BUSINESS ON APRIL 24 AND 26 AND EVERY WEDNESDAY THEREAFTER
Permalink
LIB

Joseph-Arthur Bradette

Liberal

Mr. Bradeile:

It would.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   PRECEDENCE OF GOVERNMENT BUSINESS ON APRIL 24 AND 26 AND EVERY WEDNESDAY THEREAFTER
Permalink
SC

Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. Low:

I am making allowance for the feelings that hon. members may have in regard to the way these pipe line bills were dealt with. But we Social Crediters have not

Business of the House participated at all in the discussion of those bills, simply because we did not want to contribute to talking them out or destroying the chances of their getting through. I just want to put our position strictly on the basis of the rights of private members and a proper balance between time for private members' business and government business.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   PRECEDENCE OF GOVERNMENT BUSINESS ON APRIL 24 AND 26 AND EVERY WEDNESDAY THEREAFTER
Permalink
LIB

Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Right Hon. L. S. St. Laurent (Prime Minister):

I am not going to question the perfect sincerity and the high-mindedness of those who are opposing this motion. I even congratulate the hon. member for Peel (Mr. Graydon) on his concern about the rights of the ordinary Joe, because both he and I are the ordinary Joes of this House of Commons. I am happy to have provided him with the opportunity to give us the interesting expose that he made when this motion was called.

I thank the hon. member for Peace River (Mr. Low) for the frank recognition that had there not been this very proper use of the rules of the house when these pipe line bills were called, there would have been ample opportunity to discuss all the private members' resolutions.

Now, to come to the position of the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell), who is so indignant at the "manipulating" of the rules of the house, I can hardly make that assertion conform with his suggestion that private bills be made government bills. That would do something pretty serious to the standing orders. So that there may be no ambiguity upon that point, I may say to the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar that the members of the government were very anxious that parliament, the whole of parliament, have the opportunity of expressing its views upon those pipe line bills, and that it be not prevented from doing so by the talking-out tactics deplored by the hon. member for Peace River.

The hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar found it strange that there should not be the taking away immediately of the opportunity for considering private bills on the Mondays following next Monday. Well, it seems to us that so long as the rules of parliament provide that applications for private bills may be made, and that that is the only way in which incorporation for certain purposes can be obtained, it is proper that there should be opportunity for parliament to discharge that responsibility.

With respect to the amendment that we delete from the motion, the words "and every Wednesday thereafter to the end of the session", that would do for next week, but the hon. member will realize that there seemed to be considerable consternation last Monday night when hon. members found that

their resolutions were going to be called after the private bills had been dealt with. If hon. members will just look at Hansard-those who were not here to witness what took place that evening-they will see that one of those private resolutions occupies a space of about three inches of one column of Hansard, because there was no one prepared to debate it. The preceding one occupies seven or eight inches of a single column of Hansard because there was no one prepared to debate it.

There will be other occasions on which these resolutions can be called and dealt with. On the Mondays that are not being taken there will be opportunity to call all these resolutions, unless there are hon. members who still want to resort to the talking-out tactics against the pipe line bills. Of course there would be one other method of dealing with these talking-out tactics instead of providing additional time, and that would be to invoke the closure rule; but that rule has not been invoked for a long time; it would be rather distasteful to us all to have to resort to it, and it would offer at least one more opportunity of charging this side of the house with abusing the fact that it has a large majority on the floor of the House of Commons.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   PRECEDENCE OF GOVERNMENT BUSINESS ON APRIL 24 AND 26 AND EVERY WEDNESDAY THEREAFTER
Permalink
PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Green:

Why don't you put the pipe line through Canada?

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   PRECEDENCE OF GOVERNMENT BUSINESS ON APRIL 24 AND 26 AND EVERY WEDNESDAY THEREAFTER
Permalink
LIB

Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. St. Laurent:

Because in the pipe line bill this parliament decided that when a company was incorporated to build a pipe line it might exercise its powers, either within or without Canada, provided it did so in the manner determined by the transport board set up by this parliament to examine and consider where the line should pass.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   PRECEDENCE OF GOVERNMENT BUSINESS ON APRIL 24 AND 26 AND EVERY WEDNESDAY THEREAFTER
Permalink
PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Green:

That is evading the question.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   PRECEDENCE OF GOVERNMENT BUSINESS ON APRIL 24 AND 26 AND EVERY WEDNESDAY THEREAFTER
Permalink
LIB

Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. St. Laurent:

That is not evading the question.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   PRECEDENCE OF GOVERNMENT BUSINESS ON APRIL 24 AND 26 AND EVERY WEDNESDAY THEREAFTER
Permalink
PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Green:

Yes, it is.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   PRECEDENCE OF GOVERNMENT BUSINESS ON APRIL 24 AND 26 AND EVERY WEDNESDAY THEREAFTER
Permalink
LIB

Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. St. Laurent:

I resent any charge of evading any question. The hon. member will never be able to put me in the position where I will have to evade any suggestion of his. I will always be prepared to meet him head on, either here or anywhere else. I am not going to evade any other suggestion-

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   PRECEDENCE OF GOVERNMENT BUSINESS ON APRIL 24 AND 26 AND EVERY WEDNESDAY THEREAFTER
Permalink
PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Green:

Don't get excited.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   PRECEDENCE OF GOVERNMENT BUSINESS ON APRIL 24 AND 26 AND EVERY WEDNESDAY THEREAFTER
Permalink
PC

Gordon Graydon

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Graydon:

Quiet down.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   PRECEDENCE OF GOVERNMENT BUSINESS ON APRIL 24 AND 26 AND EVERY WEDNESDAY THEREAFTER
Permalink

April 20, 1950