House of Commons, 12 May 1892, Canadian Confederation with Alberta and Saskatchewan

2483 [COMMONS] 2484


Mr. McCARTHY. I beg to move that Bill (No. 27) further to amend the Act respectin gthe North- West Territories Act be set down for second reading on Monday next. I desire to explain, after the vote taken last night, why I make the motion. I had intended, at some stage of teh debate, to speak on the question, and I understood, in fact I was informed by many hon. gentlement, that other hon. members also desired to speak on it as well. My principal object in moving this motion, however, is to direct attention to the practice which prevails in this House, without in the slightest degree intending to cast any imputation on you, Mr. Speaker, as to the manner in which the question was put on this occasion, and indeed on other occasions. One side of the House cried "carried" and the other side "lost," and you, Mr. Speaker, announced from your place, without putting the question, and calling for the yeas and nays, that the nays had it. That, of course, properly speaking, put an end to all opportunity for debate. That being done, in order that the yeas and nays might be recorded, I called for the yeas and nays. I think the proper practice, and it is the English practice, that the question being put by you, Mr. Speaker, from the Chair, you should call for the yeas and then call for the nays, and then declare whether the years or the nays had it, and it is on appeal from that decision that the yeas and nays are called for. The House would then have the fullest opportunity of knowing when the question was being put, and not, as last night, be taken by surprise.
Sir JOHN THOMPSON. For one, I am not able to concur in the adoption of this motion, to-day. I think the House fully understood, when the question was put last night, tha the principle of the Bill was being voted on, and in relation to a public measure, as this is, it is a very unusual course to adopt such a motion. As regards what took place last night, I feel bound to say that, to my mind, the Chair showed unusual deliberation in putting the question. It struck me when the question was called for, and when both sides of the House called either "carried" or "lost," that you, Mr. Speaker, must have been under the imrpession that a discussion would take place, otherwise you would not have deliberated so long as you did in announcing what you thought was the result of the division. I, therefore, feel bound to say that I think the Chair cannot rest under any charge of undue expedition.
Mr. DENISON. I intended to have said a few words last night, but, as many hon. members will recollect, there is one hour allowed for private Bills, and as the question was called not more than 15 or 20 minutes after eight o'clock, I and many other hon. members were taken by surprise.
Mr. McMULLEN. Since the hon. member for North Simcoe (Mr. McCarthy) placed the Bill on the Order Paper it has been called in this House not less than three or four time. It was called when he was present, it was allowed to stand, I presume at his request, from time to time, and eventualy, at the eleventh hour last night, the Bill was called. We are now reachign the last stages of the session. It ws a question that will cause considerable discussion, and for my part I am not disposed to vote to reinstate it this session.
Mr. McCARTHY. My particular object, as I stated, was to have an understanding, and I think it is well we should have it as to how questions are to be put from the Chair. As it seems to be against the general feeling of the House, I do not desire to press this motion. I quite realize now, that it would be the occasion of very great inconvenience to have a discussion upon this question this session, but I thought it only due to my friends who desire to speak on eitherside, and also to myself, to draw attention to the fact that we were taken by surprise. I do not desire at all to impute any want of courtesy to you, Mr. Speaker, or to say that you did not give us time. There was plenty of opportunity, that is quite certain, for any gentleman here who desired to speak. At the same time I think I am quite within the mark when I say, as I do say, that I for one was taken by surprise when you declared that the "nays" had it, and I think other gentlemen were in the same position.
Sir JOHN THOMPSON. Just allow me to mention one circumstance which took place when the hon. member for North Simcoe (Mr. McCarthy was not in the House ; as completely meeting, I think, the hon. gentleman's impression that the advocates of the Bill were taken by surprise. The Bill was called at a quarter to six, before recess, and the hon. member for Muskoka (Mr. O'Brien) rose to discuss it ; but at his request we all agreed to call it six o'clock, in order that any gentleman wishing to speak in favour of the Bill might get a full hearing, and might know that the Bill was to come up at eight o'clock.
Mr. LAURIER. I woudl remind teh hon. member for North Simcoe (Mr. McCarthy) that on this occasion it was exactly as it was two years ago, when he introduced his Bill with regard to the French language. At that time, he expounded his Bill on the first reading, and on the second reading he moved it without speech, exactly as he did yesterday. Mr. Speaker gave ample opportunity last night to any one who desired to speak on the Bill.
Mr. McCARTHY. No doubt.
Mr. LAURIER. I think two or three minutes elapsed at least before the Speaker said : "Call in the members."
Mr. BECHARD. Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. member for North Simcoe (Mr. McCarthy) was wrong in saying that he was taken by surprise. I was in my seat when the Bill ws called, and when the motion for the second reading was put everybody was looking for the hon. member to rise and make a speech, but he was one of the first to call "yeas" and "nays." It was after that, that hon. gentlement said "call in the members," and you, Mr. Speaker, gave the order to call in the members after a few minutes had elapsed.
Mr. MILLS (Bothwell). I understand the rule to be that where a Bill is voted down, and not postponed to any future date, that it can be put on the Order Paper again by the hon. gentleman who has charge of it if he sees proper and it is not a question of order at all. If the hon. gentleman wishes to put his Bill on the Order Paper, I suppose there is nothing in the rule to prevent him. There is no doubt whatever, it seems to me, that there was ample opportunity given for hon. gentlemen who wished to speak. Mr. Speaker 2485 [MAY 12, 1892.] 2486 took the chair at the ordinary hour for meeting. and I know that I came into the House somewhat after the usual hour and I was here in time to vote upon the subject. The calling of the "yeas " and " nays " does not prevent any member from speaking. It is only after the members are called in that hon. gentlemen are precluded from entering upon a discussion.
Mr. ARMSTRONG. I do not share the opinion of my hon. friend from North Wellington (Mr. McMullen), and I think that in a matter of the importance of this Bill, time might be given for a fair consideration of it. I for one, Mr. Speaker, was taken by surprise last night. I could not accept the Bill in its shape as introduced by the hon. member for North Simcoe (Mr. McCarthy), but I had intended to move an amendment to it and to substitute something else in the place of it. I had just begun to write the amendment, thinking that the hon. gentleman would give a reason for the faith that was in him, a reason why he moved the second reading of the Bill, and that I would have had time to write the resolution amending it. However, the debate was shut off, after ample opportunity was given to the hon. gentleman to speak. no doubt, and it simply remained to me to vote for or against the Bill. I hope the House will allow the Bill to be reintroduced.
Mr. McGREGOR. I was present when the motion for the second reading was called last evening, and I saw the hon. member for North Simcoe (Mr. McCarthy) sitting in his place, and I heard the hon. member for North Simcoe (Mr. Mc Carthy) saying "yeas" and "nays," after you, Mr. Speaker, had given ample time for discussion. We expected that the hon. member would speak on the motion, but he did not, and I feel satisfied that ample time was given for discussion. We have had enough fooling with this question already, and if the hon. gentleman is in earnest let him be in earnest and come forward with his Bill properly.
Mr. McCARTHY. Mr. Speaker, I trust you will allow me the indulgence of the House to say this : The reason I did not speak in moving the second reading of the Bill was just as the hon. the leader of the Opposition has said. I made my statement when I introduced the Bill. That is the proper time, when introducing a Bill in the hands of a private member, to explain it, and having only one opportunity of speaking I exercised my right to reserve what I had to say until I heard the statement against the measure. That is the course I took two years ago, and that is the course I intended to take on this occasion.
Mr. SPEAKER. I am very sorry indeed that that hon. member should have thought that I allowed him to be taken by surprise when the motion was put to the House last night. I do not understand that the rule requires that a motion should be put a second time before calling the " yeas " and the " nays." The motion was put from the Chair for the second reading of the Bill, and I waited a considerable time, as every member will bear testimony, to ascertain whether anybody desired to speak, but the cries of "lost" and "carried" came from both sides of the House. In my opinion the " nays " had it, and I so expressed it, but even then I would have been willing to have allowed the discussion to go on if any member had chosen to rise after I had so expressed my opinion. After the members are called in, however, as every hon. member knows, no discussion can be permitted. In future, if the House thinks it desirable that the question should be put twice from the Chair, I have no objection.
Some hon. MEMBERS. No, no.
An hon. MEMBER. Hear, hear.
Mr. SPEAKER. I may say in regard to this present motion, that it is in order. If the hon. gentleman desires to withdraw it, it may be withdrawn if the House consents to it.
Mr. McCARTHY. I will withdraw if the House desires it.
Mr. SPEAKER. Is it the pleasure of the House that the hon. gentleman shall have permission to withdraw ?
Some hon. MEMBERS. Withdraw.
Mr. WALLACE. I do not think the motion should be withdrawn, because, from whatever cause it is, a number of hon. gentlemen in this House who have been anxious to speak on this question were prevented from so doing. I think the blame rests with the hon. member for North Simcoe (Mr. Mc Carthy) in the first place, in not allowing it to be known when such an important measure as this is coming up, that he intends to bring it before the attention of the House at a particular time, and that he does not intend to speak upon it. I know, for my own part, that I came into the House just as Mr. Speaker was saying " call in the members." If I had knownthe Bill would have come up so early I would have been here to offer a few remarks on it, as I intended to do ; but, I was prevented from having the opportunity, I think, therefore, permission should be given to reintroduce the Bill.
Mr. DAVIES (P.E.I.) I submit that this is not a question which should be decided specially with reference to the present metion of the hon. member for North Simcoe (Mr. McCarthy), because it involves a parliamentary precedent and a parliamentary right. If, when the motion was made that the Bill be now read a second time, an amendment had been moved that the Bill should not be read then, but should be read this day three months or six months ; then the question would have been disposed of entirely. The only question before the House last night was . " that the Bill should be now read a second time," and that was the only question disposed of entirely. It is open to the hon. gentleman, and it is his right, to put his Bill on the Order Paper without any motion in this House, because the only question which the House has passed on is, " Shall the Bill be now read a second time ?" As no amendment was then moved that the Bill should not be read, it is still before Parliament, and still within the hon. gentleman's power to put it on the Paper. I deprecate the introduction of a new rule in this matter, at variance with const it at ional practice and precedents.
Mr. SPEAKER. The rule as laid down by Dr. Bourinot in the last edition of his book is as follows :—
" If a resolution adverse to the Bill be resolved in the affirmative ; or the motion, ' that the Bill be now read a second time,' be simply negatived on a division, the measure will disappear from the order book, but it may be revived at any subsequent time, as the House has only decided that it should not then be read a second time, and the order previously made for the second reading remains good. When a Bill disappeals in this way from 2487 [COMMONS] the Order Paper, it is competent for a member to move at any time:
" ' That it be read a- second time on — next.'
" On this motion being agreed to, the Bill takes its place on the orders. The same practice obtains with 'respect to the Bill at any previous or succeeding stage."
My opinion is that a motion must he made to reinstate a Bill on the Order Paper, before it can reappear there. 
MR. SCRIVER. I think that the comparative smallness of the vote of last night shows one of two things, either that a number of members like myself, supposing that the discussion on the Bill would continue to a comparatively late hour, did not hurry themselves to be present, and were therefore absent, or that a number were conveniently absent. I beg to say that I was in the former category: and without giving any intimation of what I might or might not have done, I may say it was my intention to vote on the question and to preface my vote with some remarks explanatory of my reasons for doing what I proposed to do. Having been, unfortunately, absent when the vote was taken, through a reason which I do not care now to state, I was taken by surprise.
Some hon. MEMBERS. Explain.
Mr. SCRIVER. And I would be glad of an opportunity to vote upon the question. Therefore I should be very much pleased, indeed, to see the motion of my hon. friend from North Simcoe prevail and the Order restored to the Order Paper.
Mr. IVES. It may be, Mr. Speaker, as you have said, that the Billy may be restored to the Order Paper: but what purpose would be served by restoring it? I fancy that the hon. gentleman who last addressed the House showed the object which hon. gentleman would gain if the motion were restored to the Order Paper, namely, to rise in their places and in a very few words explain to their constituents why they did not vote. I fancy it would answer all purposes if we gave a few moments to these hon. gentlemen to explain to their constituents why they were not here, or why they were here and voted but did not speak. But it certainly would not serve any good purpose to take up the time of the House during one or two or, perhaps, three sittings to repeat speeches which we have already heard on two or three occasions; and certainly, at this late stage of the session, the interests of the large majority of the House, who are against the second reading of the Bill, ought to be considered rather than the interests of the score and a half who are in favour of it, and who are not satisfied because they have not had an opportunity of explaining to their constituents what they think of this matter when their constituents already know what their views are.
Mr . SPEAKER. Shall the hon. gentleman have leave to withdraw the motion?  
Some hon. MEMBERS. Lost. Carried.
Mr. SPEAKER. If there is a single dissenting voice the motion cannot be withdrawn.
Mr. OUIMET. If the motion is withdrawn the question will not be settled, but the motion will be presented again, and we will have another discussion. So, for my part, I object to the motion being withdrawn.
Motion negatived on a divisions.


Canada. House of Commons Debates, 1875-1949. Provided by the Library of Parliament.



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