produced precedents from much more recent years only to be told that I have had to go a long way back. The question I wish to ask is this: Do you regard the motion of last Thursday, which the house rejected that day, as binding upon all succeeding days; or do you regard that as a motion covering only the procedure of that day? The point is this, that on Thursday last the house decided, by a vote, that it would not deal with this resolution paragraph by paragraph.
It settled it for that day, but does it settle it for today or does it settle it for succeeding days? Would Your Honour accept a motion now to consider this resolution-today-paragraph by paragraph? It seems to me that at some stage it might be a good idea to find a way in which to make some progress With this matter. I am sure that the government must be rather annoyed that this debate goes on day after day and when the end of the day comes no progress has been made.
Would my hon. friend permit me to ask a question? If this resolution had been drawn, as it might well have been, with no numbered paragraphs but with commas or semicolons between the different items, as resolutions that appear on the order paper often are, how would he have framed his motion?
Will the hon. member permit me to reply to his question now? The motion that was moved the other day cannot apply to any other resolution but the one to amend the Excise Tax Act. The vote that was taken is binding as long as the excise tax resolution is before the committee because that was the judgment of the house. Of course, the committee can always change its decision by unanimous consent. This would not prevent an hon. member moving a motion, for instance, that the resolution dealing with the Income Tax Act be divided. Does that answer my hon. friend's question?
I accept it as your answer. May I make a suggestion? In doing this I hope it will be appreciated that I am really holding out an olive branch. I will not be surprised if other members of the opposition do not agree with the suggestion I intend to make. The majority of the house has decided that we are not to deal with this resolution paragraph by paragraph. Obviously the purpose of that is that we will not vote on it paragraph by paragraph.
Just a minute; when I am throwing out an olive branch, it might be a good idea to wait and see what I have to offer. Would it be possible to have unanimous consent that we organize our discussion paragraph by paragraph, even though we do not
vote at the end of each section, but only when the whole resolution is concluded?
I think we have taken up a little too much time with this procedural argument. This resolution relates to a bill to amend the Excise Tax Act, which involves various commodity taxes. They are all the same type of tax although on different commodities. I submit that any member of the house should be free at any time when this resolution is under discussion to refer to any of these taxes. One hon. member may be interested in the sales tax and another may be interested in the candy tax and not interested in any other. My suggestion is that it is much more logical and appropriate and fairer that all hon. members should have the right, as long as this resolution is under discussion, to refer to any of the commodity taxes which are involved in it.
That is my suggestion for the consideration of the committee. Other considerations may apply in connection with other resolutions, and I take no position on that. I think it is completely logical, I think it is completely proper, where we are dealing with a resolution which imposes commodity taxes alone, that any hon. member should be free to talk about any item that is included in the resolution. j
I am amazed at the position taken by the Minister of Finance. I have never heard that position taken, before. I ask him to face this fact. On each day that this resolution has been before the committee, when the end of the day has come it has been impossible to measure whether or not we have made any progress.
Mr. Chairman, I think I have about three minutes left and I do not propose to waste those three minutes. I have been giving a lot of consideration to the minister's budget statement and I have also been giving a good deal of consideration to what my constituents are telling me. They say to me, "We are opposed to the commodity taxes that the minister has suggested he will impose as a result of his budget and we want you to oppose those taxes." I realize that some people would oppose anything, but I think the people in the country have good reason for opposing these taxes.
Excise Tax Act
Surely we have to be sensitive to the will of the people. I propose to be sensitive to their demands, especially if they have good cause or if there is something behind them. When the minister was explaining in his budget speech why he had decided to impose certain commodity taxes he said that he wanted to establish as nearly as possible a balance as between income tax, on the one hand, and commodity taxes on the other. He said that was one reason why he had decided to get something like $100 million out of the sales tax, and probably from $15 million to $25 million out of the special excise taxes and so on.
At various times since the budget was brought down either the minister or his parliamentary assistant has said that if we had other ideas about where he might get the revenue we ought to bring them forward. In the short time that I have I propose to place before the minister at least one alternative to which he could have turned to get the revenue he will require this year, and perhaps one or two others.
He said: With respect to the not too remarkable rate of progress we have been making for the last few days it has occurred to some of us that it might be wise to determine in advance what we propose to do next week, and that by doing that in advance it might be hoped that better results will be achieved. I understand from the representatives of the three groups that it would suit their convenience and the convenience of members of their groups if on Monday we took up as the first order of business a motion by the Secretary of State for External Affairs to refer his estimates to the committee on external affairs. I have no doubt that there may be some general debate on external affairs, but I would hope it can be completed in the course of the day. The estimates of that department could then be referred to the committee on external affairs and the committee could get down to its usual work.
Then on Tuesday we would take up the defence estimates. Tuesday is a day when we have to make a motion to go into supply; but we would make that motion not for the purpose of opening any new departments, but merely for the purpose of getting into com-
Business of the House
mittee of supply and discussing the defence 'estimates on Tuesday and Wednesday. If that met the wishes or feelings of all hon. members, I think it would be desirable to have those two important topics debated during the first days of next week.
Tomorrow we will continue the study of the budget resolutions.
If those pass we will take up the resolutions in the name of the Prime Minister concerning Laurier house and Kingsmere park; then bill No. 79, respecting Indians. If we have time left we will take up Bills Nos. 191, 192 and 195.
Motion agreed to and the house adjourned at 6.05 p.m.