Mr. Stanley Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):
Before this motion is put, Mr. Speaker, I should like to make a suggestion for which I believe there will be general support from members in all parts of the house.
I think that all who carry the appellation "private members" are grateful for the extent to which we have been granted our rights as private members during the course of this session. In fact we have had more private members' days, both with respect to private members' resolutions and with respect to public bills, than has been the case since before the war. Because of that fact I do not think the government can be criticized for suggesting that it is time they should take Wednesday afternoons. Nevertheless one of the questions that could come up on a Wednesday afternoon is of interest to all members of the house and of great interest throughout the country. I refer to the motion which was under discussion a week ago last Wednesday, having to do with federal aid to education. As a matter of fact when that debate was
Business of the House interrupted-and I point out that it was interrupted, not adjourned-the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) was speaking; and from his remarks it would seem that he expected, as certainly the rest of us expected, there would be another opportunity for hon. members to speak to that very important question.
It is an easy matter to word an amendment to the motion which would have the effect of giving us just one more Wednesday, and also the effect of putting the order for resumption of the debate having to do with education at the top of the list for that Wednesday. In order to achieve this dual purpose-which, as I say, I am sure will meet with general support-I move, seconded by my colleague the hon. member for York South (Mr. Noseworthy):
That the motion be amended by inserting therein, immediately after the words "November 2 next," the following words:
"notwithstanding the provisions of standing order 15, public bills and orders shall have precedence over notices of motion, and that on Wednesday, November 9,-"
If my amendment should carry, the motion would then read in this way-and I think I should put it on record so that the effect of the amendment will be clearly understood:
That on Wednesday, November 2 next, notwithstanding the provisions of standing order 15, public bills and orders shall have precedence over notices of motion, and that on Wednesday, November 9, and every Wednesday thereafter to the end of the session, government notices of motions and government orders shall have precedence over all other business except introduction of bills, questions by members and notices of motions for the production of papers.
As I have said already, the amendment would accomplish two purposes. In the first place it would give us one more Wednesday as a private members' day. It would put off the application of the Prime Minister's motion until Wednesday, November 9. In the second place it would reverse the order as between public bills and orders, on the one hand, and notices of motion, on the other, for next Wednesday, so that the first order to be called then would be the item at the top of the list of public bills and orders, which reads:
October 19-Resuming debate on the motion of Mr. Knight:
That, in the opinion of this house, the government should take into consideration means of expanding and equalizing educational opportunity across Canada, by the granting of financial assistance to the various provinces for that purpose.
I think it is generally agreed, Mr. Speaker, that one of the most interesting debates this session, and one most lacking in partisanship, was the one on this subject which took place on October 19. Hon. members in all parts of the house have been made aware of the nation-wide interest in this question by the telegrams and communications they have
received. We should like to hear the rest of the Prime Minister's speech; and I feel that it would be meeting the wishes of the house if the government were to accede to this amendment. I do not believe it is the sort of thing that should be made an issue, in terms of something we must fight about at this time. If I am wrong, if hon. members in all parties do not agree with me, that is the end of it. But I am sure the subject to which I refer is one in which we are so keenly interested that hon. members will want to support the amendment.
I want to make it clear that even I would not have the nerve to ask for further Wednesdays in blank form merely in order that we might go through the various motions standing on the order paper. But having regard to the importance of this subject, and the wide interest taken in it, I hope the government will consider granting us one more Wednesday for this purpose.
Before I sit down I wish to call the Prime Minister's attention, if it has not been done already, to the fact that he was paid a well-deserved compliment on page 4 of the current issue of Toronto Saturday Night, where it is pointed out that he has shown himself this session ready to accept good suggestions from the opposition.
Subtopic: PRECEDENCE OF GOVERNMENT BUSINESS ON WEDNESDAYS