June 4, 1956

LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. St. Laurent (Quebec East):

To the prejudice of the government's position. With respect to the procedure in the house the Minister of Finance, as leader of the house, had drawn Your Honour's attention to this disregard of the rules and practice, first in the 67509-296

House of Commons

afternoon and then in the evening of Thursday. On neither occasion had Your Honour seen fit to rule on the point of order raised by the Minister of Finance. When on Friday Your Honour put to the house the question that the house, which is the master of its own proceedings, should be placed in exactly the same position it was when you resumed the chair on Thursday to submit the chairman's ruling, you were met by very strong objections and there occurred the incidents which we all deplore.

Now I recognize, sir, that strong feelings and great heat have been demonstrated in this debate. I recognize that hon. gentlemen opposite felt, and probably still feel, that the government has applied standing order 33 with undue severity. We do not feel we have done so. We have acted within the rules to protect the rights of all hon. members on both sides of the house to express their opinion by their vote on this measure in time to be effective. There is a legitimate difference between two sides of the house; it is the normal working of our parliamentary system. On Thursday, I will not deny we were disappointed at the manner in which the rules had been applied, but we created no scene. We made no manifestation. We submitted to that.

On Friday Your Honour, having examined the situation and having come to the conclusion that you should at the first opportunity put the appeal that normally should have been put at five o'clock on the day before, without nullifying any proceeding, you proceeded to submit to the house the question as to whether that should be done. The house having approved that course, you did so.

There was, and still is apparently, the suggestion that in doing so you were subordinating the rules of parliament to the will of the government. Well, we absolutely repudiate any such suggestion. We do say that proceedings of the character of this motion would constitute a very serious precedent that would enable any factious group that was opposed to any bit of legislation to resort to it, and thus prevent the normal operations of the House of Commons in the progress of its business. I should like at this point to refer very briefly to something that was said by an hon. member who was the then hon member for Vancouver East, as recorded at page 41 of Hansard for January 28, 1949:

Surely this is a question of orderly procedure in parliament, and whether we agree with it or not is a matter to be decided by the vote of parliament.

It has been stated, and we must all recognize it, that if there are hon. members who are prepared to vote for this motion

House of Commons

there are very many more on both sides of the house who are prepared to assert by their votes that they still have confidence in the presiding officer of this house. Such a vote would not be a happy situation. It may be an inevitable situation. It is one about which those who have spoken for the other three groups in the house have made their positions clear.

I feel that, on this side of the house, we are entitled to some time for the consideration of what should be the ultimate disposition of this motion. It is not a situation which cannot be cured. It is not a situation which is going to destroy this parliament; and there should be in the minds of reasonable men, after they have had an opportunity of expressing their views, the feeling that, after all, something has to be done to allow parliament to continue to operate in the true traditions of British institutions and to carry on its work effectively. This would not be achieved by the adaption of this kind of motion, and is not apt to be achieved by the repudiation of this kind of motion, no matter what the majority opposed to it.

I therefore move at this time, seconded by the Minister of Finance (Mr. Harris):

That the debate be now adjourned.

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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

Another closure!

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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 guillotine again.

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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

That is your answer to everything; chop it off.

Hellyer Patterson

Henderson Pearson

Henry Philpott

Hollingworth Pickersgill

Holowach Pinard

Hosking Pommer

Houck Poulin

Howe (Port Arthur) Power (Quebec South)

Huffman Power (St. John's West)

Hunter Proudfoot

James Prudham

Johnston (Bow River) Purdy

Jutras Quelch

Kickham Ratelle

Lafontaine Reinke

Lavigne Richard (Ottawa East)

Leduc (Gatineau) Richard (St. Maurice-

Lefrangois Lafleche)

Legare Richardson

Lesage Robertson

Low Robichaud

Lusby Robinson (Simcoe East)

MacDougall Roy

MacEachen St. Laurent (Quebec

MacKenzie East)

MacNaught Schneider

Macnaughton Shipley, Mrs.

McCann Simmons

McCubbin Sinclair

McCulloch (Pictou) Smith (Battle River-

McDonald Camrose)

Mcllraith Stick

Mclvor Stuart (Charlotte)

McLeod Thibault

McMillan Tucker

McWilliam Valois

Marler Viau

Matheson Vincent

Menard Weaver

Michaud Weir

Mitchell (Sudbury) Weselak

Monette White (Waterloo South)

Nickle Winters-134.

Nixon

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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

That is the epitome of parliament.

NAYS Messrs:

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MR. SPEAKER QUESTION AS TO PROPRIETY OF PRESIDING OVER HOUSE


On the orders of the day:


CCF

Angus MacInnis

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

Mr. Angus Maclnnis (Vancouver-Kingsway):

Mr. Speaker, before the orders of the day are called I should like to direct a question to the Prime Minister. I should like to ask the Prime Minister if it is fair to ask Your Honour to preside over the sittings of this house when the motion which we were debating this afternoon still stays on the order paper without a decision by the house?

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LIB

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

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I understand that,

however distressing it may be to Your Honour, it is your duty to preside in the house even as you did during the course of the discussion on the motion the debate on which has just now been adjourned. I can see no reason why there should be any kind of admission that this motion is warranted.

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

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

May

I ask a supplementary question. I think the Prime Minister missed the point of my hon. friend's question. The question was whether it is fair, not only to the Speaker but to hon. gentlemen who have criticized the Speaker, that the Speaker should remain in the chair until this matter is settled. I think the matter should be settled and then perhaps we can arrive at a good basis again.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Si. Laurent (Quebec East):

It is my

understanding, Mr. Speaker, that, under the statute and the interpretation of the rules by Bourinot, you are required to continue to occupy your office even though there may be a question which concerns you personally involved in the proceedings.

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CCF

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

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

Mr. Stanley Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

Mr. Speaker, may I direct a supplementary question either to the Prime Minister or to the leader of the house. In view of the Prime Minister's assertion that on important matters the house should be permitted to reach a decision, will he undertake that when this motion is reached again on the order paper in its ordinary place the debate thereon will proceed?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. St. Laurent (Quebec East):

Mr. Speaker, the business of the house will be announced in due course.

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?

Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh.

On the orders of the day:

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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. J. G. Diefenbaker (Prince Albert):

should like to ask a supplementary question of the Prime Minister. Does he suggest that, having adjourned the debate on this important motion before it, the house has no right to know when the matter is coming up again?

67509-296J

House of Commons

Is this but another example of the kind of thing we have to put up with-

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?

Some hon. Members:

Order.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. St. Laurent (Quebec East):

No, this is not an example of anything that anybody has to put up with. It is a decision of the house that the debate is adjourned, and I cannot at this moment tell the hon. gentleman when it will be possible to continue the debate, but it is not a matter that can be delayed very long.

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?

An hon. Member:

Does the Prime Minister have no immediate plans?

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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, may I ask

a supplementary question? Does the Prime Minister realize that, according to the way the order paper is set up, this adjourned debate will be on page 2 of the order paper tomorrow under routine proceedings and that the house will be permitted to proceed with it unless the government takes the initiative in preventing that debate?

On the orders of the day:

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CCF

Edward George McCullough

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

Mr. E. G. McCullough (Moose Mounlain):

I should like to direct another question to the Prime Minister. In view of the fact that the house now has voted against the motion to carry on the debate of the censure motion, and in view of the Prime Minister's statement, can the Prime Minister inform the house now whether this chamber will proceed on the rules of the house rather than on a majority rule?

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June 4, 1956