February 17, 1953

CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. Knowles:

I will accept that for the purposes of this debate at any rate, but I would point out to you that what hon. members are permitted to discuss on that occasion is not just the question as to whether or not Mr. Speaker should leave the chair. They 68108-130

Farm Improvement Loans Act are permitted to discuss any grievances which Your Honour allows as in order which they care to raise on that occasion.

Similarly I would point out that on Thursday night of this week the Minister of Finance (Mr. Abbott) will make what is known as the budget speech. Then other hon. members will follow. What will they speak to? They will speak to the motion that Mr. Speaker do leave the chair for the house to resolve itself into committee of ways and means. Hon. members will not be required to confine themselves to the question as to whether or not the Speaker should get out of the chair; they will be permitted to discuss the whole matter of government fiscal policy, indeed they will be permitted to discuss almost anything under the terms of that debate.

The point I am making is simply that it is hardly correct to say that because the motion before the house is that Mr. Speaker leave the chair for the house to go into committee of the whole we must direct ourselves just to that specific language. As I say, we have these other debates which through custom, if for no other reason, have become vehicles for recognized debates. I accept Your Honour's suggestion that there are certain limitations, but certainly they go far beyond the question of just whether or not Mr. Speaker should get out of the chair.

I want to come now to the problem which it seems to me was created by Mr. Speaker Glen's ruling in 1942. I should like to say a word about the circumstances that led up to that ruling, and then I want to ask the house to consider very carefully just how the house of that day considered Mr. Speaker Glen's ruling. I shall give what I think is most conclusive evidence as to what was the view of the house of that day with respect to that ruling.

The ruling was given on February 23, 1942. The house was then discussing a very contentious issue, namely the proposal for a plebiscite on the question of conscription. Mr. McLarty had moved the motion, Mr. Hanson, then leader of the opposition, Mr. Walter Tucker, the hon. member for Bow River (Mr. Johnston), the hon. member for York South (Mr. Noseworthy) and others had spoken. They did not speak in that order, because the speaker whose action produced the issue was the hon. member for Bow River, who moved an amendment to the motion.

At that point the then prime minister, Mr. King, raised two points of order. One was

2036 HOUSE OF

Farm Improvement Loans Act as to whether or not an amendment of any kind to that motion was in order, because after all it was a motion the terms of which had been agreed to by His Excellency the Governor General, and the other point of order was as to whether any debate was allowed at that point. The then prime minister did not attempt to restrict the extent of the debate, he simply argued' that there should be no debate at all despite the fact that it had gone on for some considerable time.

Discussion followed in which Mr. Hanson, the hon. member for Vancouver East (Mr. Maclnnis) and one or two others took place. As a result of that discussion Mr. Speaker Glen considered the matter during the recess between six and eight o'clock, and. then gave his ruling after coming back at eight o'clock.

It seems to me that that incident is far enough back in history for us to be able to say with great respect that it was a considerable problem with which Mr. Speaker Glen was faced on that occasion. Here was a most contentious issue, and feeling in the house was quite high over this question. The then prime minister had raised those two points of order and presented the Speaker of that day with a real problem.

Mr. Speaker Glen was able to agree without question with the prime minister on the point that the motion was not amendable. I am inclined to agree with that aspect of the ruling that was made on that occasion. But on the other point, Mr. Speaker Glen brought forth a compromise. Let us be fair with ourselves. It is now eleven years later, and surely we can look back at this in the perspective of history, and realize that it was a compromise.

Mr. King had argued that there should be no debate. Mr. Speaker Glen had said, "I cannot go that far; I have to rule that the motion is debatable." He quoted standing order 60 and he quoted standing order 38. He pointed out that if there was any doubt, if there was any conflict between them, standing order 38 was passed in its present form after standing order 60 and would govern. So he ruled that the motion was debatable.

Topic:   FARM IMPROVEMENT LOANS ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION TO EXTEND OPERATION FOR A FURTHER PERIOD, ETC.
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LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

He went further than that; he ruled that the resolution was debatable.

Topic:   FARM IMPROVEMENT LOANS ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION TO EXTEND OPERATION FOR A FURTHER PERIOD, ETC.
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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. Knowles:

He ruled that the motion for Mr. Speaker to leave the chair was debatable.

Topic:   FARM IMPROVEMENT LOANS ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION TO EXTEND OPERATION FOR A FURTHER PERIOD, ETC.
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LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

I think his ruling was that the resolution itself was debatable. I am not sure that I am in accord with that part of the ruling.

Topic:   FARM IMPROVEMENT LOANS ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION TO EXTEND OPERATION FOR A FURTHER PERIOD, ETC.
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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. Knowles:

Mr. Speaker Glen, according to page 800 of Hansard of February 23, 1942, after quoting standing order 60 and standing order 38 said:

The resolution is on the order of proceedings for the day. I would point out that standing order 60 was passed in 1867, while standing order 38 was passed on March 22, 1927. In other words, standing order 38 is remedial to standing order 60, and I must conclude that standing order 38 must rule, and decide that the resolution before the house is debatable.

What was before the house? The house was not in committee. What was before the house was the motion that Mr. Speaker leave the chair for the house to resolve itself into committee of the whole on the resolution that was on the order paper. I submit that as one-half of his compromise he ruled that the motion for Mr. Speaker to leave the chair was debatable.

Topic:   FARM IMPROVEMENT LOANS ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION TO EXTEND OPERATION FOR A FURTHER PERIOD, ETC.
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LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

I do not think the hon. member should call it a compromise.

Topic:   FARM IMPROVEMENT LOANS ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION TO EXTEND OPERATION FOR A FURTHER PERIOD, ETC.
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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. Knowles:

The reason I suggested it was a compromise is that having said it was debatable, he added a limitation that in his view the debate should be directed to the negative of the question.

Topic:   FARM IMPROVEMENT LOANS ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION TO EXTEND OPERATION FOR A FURTHER PERIOD, ETC.
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LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

If the hon. member thinks the ruling was a compromise, I do not think we should feel required to follow it too closely.

Topic:   FARM IMPROVEMENT LOANS ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION TO EXTEND OPERATION FOR A FURTHER PERIOD, ETC.
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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. Knowles:

Well, I agree, Mr. Speaker; and I suggest that we are making headway. The point I now wish to draw to your attention-and this is not going to be as long as it might sound from the detailed way in which I am going into it-is what happened in the House of Commons in 1942 following that ruling made by Mr. Speaker Glen.

The ruling was made on February 23, 1942. As a matter of fact immediately afterward, just over on the next page, there was another resolution for the Speaker to leave the chair on another proposition of the same kind and no questions were asked. It passed and the Speaker left the chair without a word of debate. During the next few days there were a couple more such motions on the order paper which were disposed of in the same way. The Speaker left the chair without any debate, no one questioning it from either side.

However, I would ask hon. members to turn now to the 18th March, 1942. If you look there, about three weeks later, and only 17 sitting days later, and look at pages 1416 and 1417, you will find that the then minister of finance, Mr. Ilsley, moved a rather lengthy

resolution. Let me read it or at least let me read the parts of it that are by way of preamble. It appears on page 1416 of Hansard of March 18, 1942:

Topic:   FARM IMPROVEMENT LOANS ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION TO EXTEND OPERATION FOR A FURTHER PERIOD, ETC.
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?

James Lorimer Ilsley

Hon. J. L. Ilsley (Minister of Finance) moved

that the house go into committee to consider the following resolution:

Resolved, that it is expedient to introduce a measure to provide:

Then there are four paragraphs. The Speaker was in the chair and Mr. Ilsley, the minister of finance in Mr. Mackenzie King's government, stood up and said:

Mr. Speaker, I propose to make a statement to the house on this resolution while Your Honour is in the chair.

Seventeen days after Mr. Speaker Glen had ruled that the debate on that occasion should be directed to the negative-and you can bet your boots that Mr. Ilsley did not speak to the negative of his resolution-he spoke to the affirmative with great vigour and at considerable length.

Topic:   FARM IMPROVEMENT LOANS ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION TO EXTEND OPERATION FOR A FURTHER PERIOD, ETC.
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LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Probably Mr. Speaker Glen had as much difficulty in enforcing his rulings as I have had in trying to enforce mine.

Topic:   FARM IMPROVEMENT LOANS ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION TO EXTEND OPERATION FOR A FURTHER PERIOD, ETC.
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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. Knowles:

Mr. Speaker, that is exactly the point, and I submit that Mr. Speaker Glen never again tried to enforce his ruling. This particular debate-and I have checked it, Mr. Speaker-was carried on over three days. It took 78 pages of Hansard to record the debate that took place with the Speaker in the chair on Mr. Ilsley's resolution of March 18, 1942, and that must have been eight or ten hours of debate.

Topic:   FARM IMPROVEMENT LOANS ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION TO EXTEND OPERATION FOR A FURTHER PERIOD, ETC.
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LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Hon. members must at least agree that I have faced the issue sooner than Mr. Speaker Glen did.

Topic:   FARM IMPROVEMENT LOANS ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION TO EXTEND OPERATION FOR A FURTHER PERIOD, ETC.
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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. Knowles:

I would go further, Mr. Speaker, and say that you have not only faced the issue but you have probably indicated the difficulty of carrying out the ruling Mr. Speaker Glen gave and, as a result of taking that stand, we are trying to help you to arrive at a better ruling than the one Mr. Speaker Glen made.

Without giving all the history, may I say that I have taken the trouble to go through Hansard from that date down to the present time and, if there were time, I could give in every year examples of major debates of this kind that took place with the Speaker in the chair.

Topic:   FARM IMPROVEMENT LOANS ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION TO EXTEND OPERATION FOR A FURTHER PERIOD, ETC.
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LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

I hardly think that is necessary for my purposes. I have gone through Hansard also, and that will not help me greatly in coming to a conclusion.

68108-130i

Farm Improvement Loans Act

Topic:   FARM IMPROVEMENT LOANS ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION TO EXTEND OPERATION FOR A FURTHER PERIOD, ETC.
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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. Knowles:

I am sure you have gone through Hansard, Mr. Speaker, and I readily agree it is not necessary. I am sure the house can take our word for it that the debates are there in every year from 1942-17 days after the ruling was made-right through to as late as the fall session of 1951 when the present Minister of National Health and Welfare (Mr. Martin) was moving that very important piece of legislation, the Old Age Security Act. Without any question he made an eight-page speech with the Speaker in the chair, and his speech was followed by a four-page speech by the Minister of Finance (Mr. Abbott), and followed by forty-minute speeches by a number of us who were keenly interested in that question. No question was raised as to the propriety of the debate at that stage.

So I submit there was a period of ten years from the time Mr. Speaker Glen made the ruling until we got to the National Library Act last year, when this question was raised. True, there were many occasions when ministers indicated their preference for dealing with the matter in committee of the whole rather than with the Speaker in the chair. Sometimes they won their point, sometimes they did not. But, as a point of order, it was not raised until the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) raised it on the library bill in the session of 1952. It was not settled conclusively at that point, but on June 4, I believe, the issue came up on another measure and was resumed on June 16; and that was the occasion when Your Honour made the ruling along the lines made by Mr. Speaker Glen in 1942.

If I may say so, I for one deeply appreciate the position you have since taken as a result of the debate a week or so ago on the emergency powers bill, and I think the ruling is difficult to enforce even by one like Your Honour who has faced up to it as you have. I submit that the idea of a debate that is directed to the negative should be forgotten. I think it is an interesting ruling that is back there in the books in 1942, but I think we should not regard it in terms of stare decisis-if that is the right use of that Latin phrase-but we should improve on it at this stage. I think we should decide, on the basis of standing order 60 and standing order 38, and of the practice across the years, that the motion is debatable.

I think, too, that we should recognize, with these other motions that seem just to resolve that the Speaker leave the chair, that what is really before us is the question of why the

2038 HOUSE OF

Farm Improvement Loans Act Speaker should leave the chair. Your Honour said the other day, even when you tried to limit debate to the negative, that you had to permit members who were opposed to the motion to state why they were opposed to it; and when they went so far as to deal with the terms of a resolution to the substance of which they were opposed, you had to allow it because that had to be recognized as a reason for opposition to Your Honour leaving the chair.

I think we are reaching a point where if you are going to have debate it should be allowed pro and con, and I would say similarly that those speaking for Your Honour to leave the chair should be able to speak to the merits and the good points for our going into committee of the whole. In other words, it seems to me that the real difficulty in practice, and the great difficulty we have had because Your Honour has had to enforce Mr. Speaker Glen's ruling of 1942, makes it clear that we should now decide upon a different course.

I would like to say something now, Mr. Speaker, that seems to me not so much procedural as being in terms of practice. I am sure, speaking as a member on the opposition side of the house, that we do not want to have a debate with the Speaker in the chair on every one of those resolutions preceding money bills which come along.

Topic:   FARM IMPROVEMENT LOANS ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION TO EXTEND OPERATION FOR A FURTHER PERIOD, ETC.
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?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   FARM IMPROVEMENT LOANS ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION TO EXTEND OPERATION FOR A FURTHER PERIOD, ETC.
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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. Knowles:

I hear some of my Tory friends applaud that sentiment. Many of those resolutions are not of such consequence as to require a lengthy debate at that stage. If I may say so, quite frankly I think the reason we have asked for it perhaps more often than we really wanted it has been because of resistance from the other side of the house to have debate at that stage. I would hope that out of this discussion which Your Honour has been good enough to invite we might not only reach a decision in terms of procedure, a decision as to the debate that is allowed, but we might also reach some better understanding between the two sides of the house.

I think we on the opposition side are prepared to be parties to such an understanding. To let it be clear I am saying here in the open that we do not want to debate every one of these motions with the Speaker in the chair. There are many of them in connection with which it is more satisfactory to go straight into committee. The government can know that and quote it back at us. There

are, however, occasions such as the emergency powers resolution, and the resolution concerning housing which is coming up soon, when the matter is of such importance that we feel we should not be asked to surrender a right that has obtained in this House of Commons across the years.

As everyone knows, there is a lot more one could say, but there is really no need to multiply words or repeat arguments. I simply press the point that the circumstances that led to the ruling in 1942 should be understood, and I won't be impolite if I say we should recognize that 17 days later that same House of Commons which had heard the ruling chucked it out the window. On that occasion the chief chucker-outer was none other than Mr. Ilsley, and the house readily joined in his suggestion that there should be that 78-page debate on that occasion with .the Speaker in the chair.

I may point out again that during those years when these debates took place, two or three each year, there were many resolutions on which there was no debate with the Speaker in the chair. I think we should return to that sort of understanding, that sort of modus operandi, under which it is clear that we have the right to debate the motions that are important. That is what we ask from the government side and that is what we ask from the Chair. I think the Chair and the government side have the right to expect from us, if that is the case, that we will not exercise that right on every occasion. I thank you, sir, and I thank the house for listening to this argument at length. I certainly hope our point will be given consideration.

Topic:   FARM IMPROVEMENT LOANS ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION TO EXTEND OPERATION FOR A FURTHER PERIOD, ETC.
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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

Does Your Honour wish to have further discussion on this point now or is it your intention to adjourn this discussion until a later date?

Topic:   FARM IMPROVEMENT LOANS ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION TO EXTEND OPERATION FOR A FURTHER PERIOD, ETC.
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LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

I am in the hands of the house. If the house would like to have further discussion at this time or at a later time, that can be done. I am doubtful if the debate could be concluded tonight, but we could hear the views of the hon. member for Kamloops (Mr. Fulton) if the house is agreeable.

Topic:   FARM IMPROVEMENT LOANS ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION TO EXTEND OPERATION FOR A FURTHER PERIOD, ETC.
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February 17, 1953