Mr. Angus Maclnnis (Vancouver East):
Mr. Speaker, the question with which we are dealing is too important to be dealt with in a spirit of levity. We are dealing with parliamentary rules and parliamentary procedure. All our rights and prerogatives in this house depend on the proper use of parliamentary procedure and parliamentary rules of order.
The rule which provides that during the session certain days will be given over to private members' resolutions does not limit the number of those days with the exception of the first four Thursdays in the session. The limitation is usually imposed by the government after taking into consideration the volume of government business that needs to be done and the number of days that have been given to private members' motions.
There can be no fault found with that procedure, provided that private members are allotted a reasonable amount of time. If all private members' days were being taken away at this time I do not believe members of the opposition would find fault with the government. What we do protest against is taking away private members' days next week so that private members will not have an opportunity to speak to their resolutions, and restoring private members' days when outside interests have measures that they want to have dealt with in this house.
That is the question which confronts us. Let me call attention to public bills and orders. The Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) said that he was going to see to it that hon. members were given an opportunity to express an opinion on certain private bills. Hon. members will find that there are a number of public bills and orders on the order paper. I ask the Prime Minister if he is going to see to it that private members who have bills on the order paper will have an opportunity to secure expressions of opinion on those bills before the end of the session, or will the majority of these bills that are on the order paper be allowed to lapse without an opinion being expressed on them? In other words, are outside interests, such as a few financiers in New York, Montreal and Toronto, going to have an opportunity to have matters in which they are interested brought before the house and an opinion expressed thereon, while private members of this house are denied the same opportunity? That is the issue before us this afternoon.
I suggest to hon. members on both sides of the house that before they vote for or against
the motion or the amendment they decide whether their vote will be according to proper parliamentary procedure, and whether they will be defending the rights of the people who elected them to this House of Commons. What I object to in this instance is the manipulating of the rules so that one week we have private members' days, the next week the same days are not private members' days, then the next week they are restored, and so on. Surely that is a violation of the procedure and rules of this house. It is a travesty on parliamentary procedure. I am surprised that such a thing should have happened under the leadership of the gentleman who is now Prime Minister of this country.
Subtopic: PRECEDENCE OF GOVERNMENT BUSINESS ON APRIL 24 AND 26 AND EVERY WEDNESDAY THEREAFTER