March 31, 1931 (17th Parliament, 2nd Session)


Abraham Albert Heaps



I am speaking to the point
of order raised and I desire to call the attention of the house to one precedent. In 1926, when the present government was in opposition, I find the following action taken by the house. It was moved by the then hon. member for Cape Breton North-Victoria (Mr. L. W. Johnstone), that leave *be granted under rule 39 to adjourn the house for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely, to call the attention of the house and the government to the acute distress existing among the coal miners
of Nova Scotia, many of whom were actually on the verge of starvation. My motion follows almost word for word the motion made in 1926.
I might state also that in the speech from the throne delivered in 1926, reference was made to the conditions in Nova Scotia, as follows:
W itli a view to affording such remedies as may appear to be practical and appropriate, the government also propose to appoint a royal commission to inquire fully into the claims that the rights of the maritime provinces in regard to the operation of the Intercolonial railway have not been observed, and that in regard to transportation, immigration and other economic factors these provinces have suffered prejudicially, in their position under confederation.
At that time the condition of the miners in Nova Scotia was not a matter of recent occurrence. I would draw the attention of the house to the fact that in 1926 this motion was made during the debate on the address in reply to the speech from the throne. My motion is on almost all fours with the motion made in 1926, and I submit that I should be allowed to proceed.
No direct reference is made in the speech from the throne this year to any action which the government intends to take to deal with unemployment. We should not at this time insist on technicalities as I consider there is no more important question to be dealt with by parliament. The speech from the throne makes a certain vague reference to the economic conditions which prevail at the present time but there is no reference at all to any definite action which the government intends to take in order to meet the existing situation. In the rules of procedure the word "definite" is used, and we have to deal with a definite rather than an indefinite matter. May I point out also that the appropriations which the government has voted will expire to-day and there will be no further funds available for the municipalities or the provincial governments with which to cope with the present conditions.
Therefore, I consider thare is an urgent need for a discussion of this question which, as I have stated before, I believe to be the most important question that can come before this house.

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