June 5, 1956

CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

Mr. Speaker, some wiseacre over there says, "Tut, tut". That is their regard for the fundamentals of our parliamentary institutions.

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LIB
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Some hon. Members:

Sit down.

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CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

When my 20 minutes are up I shall be delighted if the minister asks all the questions he likes.

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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

I have only one question.

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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 say that the government is doing precisely what that quotation from Beauchesne says is unconstitutional. It is hastily putting through something on party lines, something that has already caused grave apprehension among large numbers of citizens throughout this country. The Prime Minister knows that the majority of the people in this country do not support him on this pipe-line proposal.

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Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh.

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CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

If you are so sure why do you not tell the Prime Minister to dissolve this house? As a matter of fact, it is my suspicion that the Prime Minister realizes that he should dissolve this house, but it is those members behind him who do not want an election who are trying to keep him from doing it. Furthermore, Mr. Speaker, what is being done here tonight by the Prime Minister and this government meets exactly the prohibition in the last part of that quotation:

. . . designed solely to protect one class of the community, and not the community as a whole. fMr. Knowles.]

No, it does not quite meet it, Mr. Speaker. It is not designed to protect one class of the Canadian community; it is designed to provide huge profits for a few people outside of this country altogether. I say to the Prime Minister, in the words of that quotation, he has the power to do what he is doing tonight; it is perfectly legal; it will stand up in court but in the strict parliamentary sense of the term, by the rule of everything that is moral and proper, it is unconstitutional what he is asking parliament to do tonight, and that is the reason we are taking the stand that we are, not just a delaying action, but a stand'-

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Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh.

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CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

Our aim, Mr. Speaker, is to defeat this bill and we hope that even yet the arguments that we are permitted to make in the next three hours and five minutes will persuade the government that it is trying to foist upon the people of Canada a bad bill.

Last evening the Minister of Finance paid me the compliment of suggesting that I had spoken more than 30 times in this debate. I do not mind that reference, but just to keep the record straight-and I suppose this will produce a bit of humour, but let us have the record straight-this is only the second time that I have actually spoken in this debate itself. All of the other times that I have risen to my feet-and it may be 28 other times or even 50 times-have been on points of order, and I make no apology for doing my best to persuade this parliament that it is not only important to get things done; it is important to do them in the right way.

I wish to point out, Mr. Speaker, that during the course of this legislation there have been a number of instances of what we regard as the breaking of the rules of this House of Commons. It is not my purpose in reciting them at this moment, or reciting just a few of them, at any rate, to argue each case over again. The house has made its decision, but I think we should have a catalogue of what has been done by this government. First of all, a second resolution was put on the order paper when an earlier resolution was already there. We fought that three different times because we felt it was wrong. Then, skipping over some of the minor infractions of the rules, we reached the occasion when, in my view, the government sought to go beyond what was included in standing order 33, the first night we were met with closure, when it brought in the bill the same night the resolution was passed. The government also broke a fundamental rule and presented parliament with a gross insult when it gave us a bill without the agreement attached to it which is referred

to in the bill. In due course, we got into committee and we had the Minister of Trade and Commerce, imposing, even before official closure under standing order 33, a form of closure that he devised-unless the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration suggested it to him-that of postponing discussion on the first three clauses, with the result that the only clause we discussed in committee was clause 4. In that connection, since the Prime Minister is fond of reading Redlich, an ancient authority, may I ask him to read a page other than the one he read yesterday. I refer him to page 92, paragraph 3, which reads:

We may, then, say that the centre of gravity of the whole legislative action of the House of Commons lies in the region of the work of committee of the whole house. It is in committee that the fate of a bill is really decided; its ultimate form is there settled in the clash of parties and opinions or by the compromises made between them. In this stage debate is quite free: members may speak to each question as often as necessary.

Over on page 93 Redlich says this:

The rules provide, of course, for the application of the closure to debate in committee as well as in the house. It may be moved and carried upon every question before the committee. But its use in committee, except sparingly, is regarded as unwarrantable conduct on the part of the majority. All opinions ought here to have an opportunity of free expression.

That is Redlich, Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's authority, used by him in another debate. I suggest that he read these pages and realize how grave is the sin that he has committed in asking this parliament to give third reading tonight to a bill which, when it was in committee of the whole, was discussed, so far as this house was concerned, only with regard to one clause because we had this vicious form of closure, not only the application of standing order 33 in a way which I feel was in violation of the rules, following the bad precedent of 1932, but we had this other form of closure that the Minister of Trade and Commerce introduced right from the start. That, I say, Mr. Speaker, is in violation of the basic principles laid down in Redlich as well as in other authorities.

I see that my time is running out. I will not be able to complete the catalogue of the rules that have been broken; but, Mr. Speaker, let me say this to you. What has happened throughout this debate? It is not just so much that an individual standing order, an individual rule, an individual citation here and there has been broken; the terrible result is that there has been built up an over-all precedent, an over-all fact that this parliament can never forget; not just that the rules can be broken, but the precedent that has been established in this debate is that

Northern Ontario Pipe Line Corporation parliament can be made to bow to the will of one man. If it has been done once, as it has, it can be done again. No pipe line is worth it.

I conclude with these words. I direct them to the Prime Minister in the hope that even yet, between now and one o'clock tonight, he will reconsider this matter and tell these men behind him who do not want an election that this whole matter is too serious, and take it to the country.

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LIB
CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

The hon. member for St. Boniface says, "But we want gas in Winnipeg." Yes, we want gas in Winnipeg, but we do not want it at inflated prices such as we will get under private enterprise.

If I may get back to what I was saying before the interjection of the hon. member for St. Boniface, there is something far more important than gas for Winnipeg, far more important than a pipe line for Canada. That something far more important is parliament, which has been wounded seriously, wounded by what has happened in the course of this debate. I say again that I did not have time to catalogue all the instances of the rules that have been broken in this debate. They are important in themselves; but the over-all result is that a serious precedent has been established, the precedent that the parliament of Canada can be made to bow to the will of one man. I say to you, Mr. Speaker, and through you to the Prime Minister, what shall it profit Canada if we gain a pipe line and lose this nation's soul? What shall it profit the people of Canada if we gain a thousand pipe lines and lose parliament?

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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. Martin:

Will my hon. friend permit me to ask a question?

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CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

Certainly.

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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. Martin:

There is in the conclusion that he has drawn the suggestion that there has not been enough time for the discussion of this bill. The leader of the C.C.F. acknowledges that to be the case. Will the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre not agree that the longest time ever permitted by the Labour government in the United Kingdom-

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Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh.

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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. Martin:

Let me put my question. The longest time ever permitted by the Labour government during the years 1945 to 1951 on a money bill was four hours and 44 minutes.

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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, in reply to the minister may I send him a copy of May's fifteenth edition and ask him to read the rules under which the parliament at Westminster

4734 HOUSE OF

Northern Ontario Pipe Line Corporation operates including rule 29 having to do with closure, where he will see there is quite a different setup so far as closure in that country is concerned.

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Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh.

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LIB

June 5, 1956