June 3, 1938 (18th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Right Hon. R. B. BENNETT (Leader of the Opposition):

I think the point made by the hon. member for Comox-Alberni (Mr. Neill) is a very serious one, unless the house unanimously grants the minister authority to reduce the figure from $500,000 to $350,000. It is quite clear that under the joint operation of sections 53 and 54 of the British North America Act this bill can be considered only after a resolution has been adopted by the house; and inasmuch as the resolution provided for $350,000 we must take it that this is another bill entirely which is being introduced by the minister, a bill that has no reference at all to the resolution that was before the house the other day.

Under the circumstances it is quite clear that the bill would be out of order, but I should think that by unanimous consent, in view of the very persuasive explanation by the minister as to how the Minister of Finance saw fit to reduce the amount from $500,000 to $350,000, feeling that the exchequer of the country could hardly go that far, the error might be rectified. I appreciate the explanation that was given, because a few moments before I observed that the minister looked at the Minister of Finance, who returned his glance with that happy smile sometimes described in loose journals as that of the cat that had swallowed the canary. It is quite clear that the fine Italian hand-with no offence to Mussolini-of the Minister of Finance is to be seen in the reduction of the amount from $500,000 to $350,000, and I fancy that the minister had good reason for making the change.
Speaking for myself only, I am sure those associated with me would be glad to accord the minister, with the unanimous consent of the house, the opportunity to treat the $500,000 as a misprint, as a misunderstanding of the will of the Minister of Finance, and to accept the statement that it should be $350,000 instead.

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