February 11, 1944 (19th Parliament, 5th Session)


Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. M. J. COLDWELL (Rosetown-Biggar):

Mr. Speaker, I whole-heartedly support what has been said by the hon. member for Lake Centre (Mr. Diefenbaker). Year after year since the war began we have agreed to dispense with private members' days, but few opportunities are given hon. members to bring before this house ideas which they think would be beneficial to the country. If I remember correctly, last year we made a similar appeal to the Prime Minister, suggesting that while the government should get along with the business related to the war in the early part of the session, later on some opportunity should be given to private members to express their vie\jfs, and I-concur in the suggestion made by the hon. member for Lake Centre in that regard. I am particularly anxious that this should be emphasized this year because we are now approaching, we hope-I say, "we hope"- the time when we shall have to be giving closer consideration to the matters which will relate to the end of the war. If that is so, then it seems to me all the more important that private members, apart altogether from the legislation the government has foreshadowed, should be able from their places in the house to bring before parliament suggestions which they think might be beneficial to the country in the period which will follow.
I thoroughly agree with the hon. member for Lake Centre that if we were to study the opportunity given in the British parliament to private members, we would realize that we are more greatly restricted than are the members in what we sometimes call the mother of parliaments. As has already been said, they
IMr. Diefenbaker.]
have their question hour, at which time supplementary questions may be asked and ministers interrogated. They have also a custom which to my mind is an invaluable one, that of bringing matters to the attention of the house on the adjournment. A half hour is allotted to that daily. We have not that procedure here. As a consequence, sometimes hon. members have to take advantage of the motion to go into supply to bring some matter to the attention of the house, a procedure which often leads to long debate. Opportunities of that sort are few and far between, particularly in connection with appropriations made for war purposes, which in reality are a budget in themselves. I would urge the Prime Minister that he endeavour so to arrange the business of the house that, later in the session, when the pressure of war business has been eased somewhat, private members' days may be restored.

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