[The Sergeant-at-Arms, carrying a Mace, and followed by the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly, Mr. Charland Prud’homme, Q.C., entered the House. ]
[His Honour John S. McDiarmid, the Lieutenant-Governor, entered the Chamber and seated himself on the Throne. ]
HON. MARCEL BOULIC (Provincial Secretary): I am commanded by His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor to state that he does not see fit to declare the cause of the summoning of the present Legislature of this Province until a Speaker of this House shall have been chosen according to law.
[His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor retired.]
HON. DUFF ROBLIN (Premier): Mr. Prud’homme, I beg leave to move, seconded by the Honourable the Minister of Agriculture, that Abram William Harrison, Esquire, member for the electoral division of Rock Lake, do take the chair the chair of the House as Speaker.
MR. PRUD’HOMME (Clerk of the Legislative Assembly): Moved by the Honourable the First Minister, seconded by the Minister of Agriculture and Immigration, that William Harrison, Esq., member of the electoral division of Rock Lake do take the chair of the House as Speaker.
MR. ROBLIN: Mr. Prud’homme, this is the time when one of the members of this Assembly must propose the name of the man, who we trust will be the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, and I am happy, Sir, on this occasion with the consent of my seconder, the Honourable the Minister of Agriculture, to move the name of Mr. A. W. Harrison in this connection.
Though I make this motion as leader of the Government, this is a motion which, by the tradition and custom of this House, may properly be made by any member of the Legislature, because it is one of our undoubted rights and privileges, Sir, that this Assembly should choose its own Speaker by its own motion. And as I mention this important fact I link it with another consideration which, I believe, is uppermost in the minds of many when they consider this election. Because I believe, Sir, that it is generally thought good in this House, and perhaps by public opinion outside it, that we should begin today to engraft into our custom and our practice a tradition which, for the last hundred years or so, has been followed in the Mother of Parliament at Westminster, though I believe not in other Legislative Assemblies in the Commonwealth, and that is, Sir, that we should
choose as our Speaker a man who is well qualified; a man whom we can trust to be devoted and dedicated to the rights and the priveleges and the traditions and the customs of this Assembly; a man whom we believe will be independent of Party control; but also, Sir, one who we would be content to see continue as a permanent Speaker in this House, above the changing trends of politics and of elections.
Constitutionally speaking, Sir, there is no such thing as a permanent Speakership. There is nothing in the law about it nor do I believe need there be. But there are a number of good reasons why we should seek by a deliberate aid to create within our customs and within our traditions the position of a permanent Speakership. It is by that development of custom and tradition that the situation that I have described in the United Kingdom arose. That was the path that was travelled at Westminster and it is my belief, Sir, that that is the course that we should seek to follow here.
It is in that hope and in that spirit that I propose the name of A. W. Harrison. I recognize, Sir, the claims of other senior and respected members of this House, but after due consideration and some consultation, and perhaps I may say that in the course of that consultation no other name was put forward from any other part of the House which, at the time to the best of my knowledge, was willing to accept such a nomination. After these considerations I deem Mr. Harrison the one most likely to commend himself to us here in the House for this post.
I may say of him, Sir, that he is a senior member of this Assembly. He is well grounded by experience in the rules and procedures of the House. He is, I am convinced, determined to uphold the equal rights of every member of this Assembly regardless of where he may take a seat. He has a calm and judicial temperament. I believe him to be well furnished with respect and knowledge and zeal for our traditions, and our rights, and our privileges and our customs, and I believe, Sir, that he will be abundantly able to rise above the Party connection that he now holds to become the servant of this House, and of this House alone. In proposing the name of A. W. Harrison, Sir, I trust that we may be taking a first step in establishing the tradition of a permanent Speakership in the Assembly of the Province of Manitoba.
MR. D. L. CAMPBELL (Leader of the Opposition): Mr. Clerk, may I enquire if it is the intention of the seconder of the motion to speak to it?
[Mr. Willis signified “No”. ]
Mr. Clerk, my colleagues and I realize, of course, that the election of the Speaker would be the first order of business when we were called for the actual discharge of business, and realizing that, we have given careful and serious thought to the position that we should take with regard to the motion that has just been proposed by the First Minister. I must say that we came regretfully to the conclusion that we would not be able to
support the motion, and I think the reasons for that decision should be given. Because it is a distinct departure from the recent traditions of this House—I can speak from personal knowledge when I say that for almost 40 years the election of the Speaker at each new Legislature has been unanimous, and for the something over 40 years that this Legislative Assembly was in existence before that time it was rarely, if ever, that the Speaker’s nomination—the nomination of the Speaker was opposed. And that 40 years of course, as you are well aware, Mr. Clerk, was at a time when Party feelings and the adherence of members to parties was thought to run a little more deeply than they do now. So it is a tradition here that not often, very infrequently in fact, has the nomination for Speaker been opposed and, therefore, I think we must establish that we have very, very good and sound and proper reason for that opposition. Certainly we must establish that they are not grounded on personal consideration.
I think we should also establish as the Leader of the House has already mentioned, that we were not trying to promote anyone for the position of Speaker. We were trying only to get the spirit of the legislation that was enacted at the last session of this House endorsed into action, so that a really non-partisan independent Speaker would be chosen. Because the Honourable the First Minister has said, and I agree with him, that it’s very important that we should try to emulate the example that has been set by the Mother of Parliament, and to make the tenure of office of the Speaker more permanent than it has been in the past. Because, Mr. Clerk, as you well know, it is an extremely important position, and naturally one would become more proficient in that position as time went on, and that is why, with all her wide experience through the centuries, that the Mother of Parliament gradually, not quickly, not drastically, but gradually moved toward this idea of a permanent tenure of office for the Speaker.
The Honourable the First Minister has said that constitutionally there is no such thing as a permanent Speaker. The position of Speaker is always permanent. The thing that has not been permanent has been the incumbency of any individual member in that office and, of course, you can’t have complete permanency in that either because the individual will, with the effluxation of time, pass from the scene. But at least you can try to get, as the leader of the House has quite properly said, you can try to get a program endorsed, by which, when the Speaker has been chosen in a non-partisan way and then acts in a non-partisan way, that there is a likelihood that he will be continued in that office. And I think this matter is of sufficient importance that it would not be amiss to review very, very briefly how some of these traditions and constitutional changes have arisen.
Because we’re meeting here today, the opening of the Twenty-fifth Legislature, it’s a mighty good idea, I think, for all of us to turn our minds backward to the struggles that the people of the Commonwealth to which we belong have had through the years and how they have developed these constitutional practices and how they impinge upon the important position of
the Speaker and how we should, a comparatively new country in comparison with some of these older ones, how we should attempt to engraft, as the First Minister has said, into our practices here, the principles and practices that have been found to work so well in the Mother of Parliament.
I think nothing could perhaps emphasize more clearly the importance of the position of the Speaker than the fact that the representative of Her Majesty the Queen came in here just a few minutes ago, came in attended by the First Minister and members of his cabinet, and it is important to remember in passing that His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor, representing though he does Her Majesty the Queen, can not enter this Chamber unless he is accompanied by the First Minister of the Province or one of his colleagues acting for him, but they came in, attended by the officer escort. His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor went to the Throne and having seated himself there, speaking through the Honourable Provincial Secretary, he said that His Honour he did not see fit to declare the reason for summoning the Assembly until a Speaker had been elected according to law. Well now, that might appear at first to be a bit of arbitrary action on the part of His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor. In fact it’s just a recognition of the rights of the Commons themselves because they have placed such great importance upon the position of a Speaker.
The members of this House well know, and others who are here who are certainly many of them more expert than we in the constitutional history of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, they know that in the early days that the King of England was almost an absolute Monarch—not quite perhaps, but almost, and it was a long time before even the great men of the state were allowed to give advice and make representations to the head of the state in the person of the King. But eventually, eventually it evolved that not only did the people themselves, not only the officers of the Church and the Lords and the Barons, not only did they desire to make representations to His Majesty, but His Majesty, the reigning sovereign found it useful when some extraordinary matter was to be entered upon to call the great men into council. And so there began the start of Parliament, by getting first the Archbishops, the Bishops, the Lords and the Knights into discussion. Similarly later on the common people, the commoners wanted to make some represenation. They didn’t want to be represented only by the head of the church and the nobility. They wanted to have representation themselves. And again, with wisdom, the sovereigns of that day saw that not only was it proper to allow representations to be made, but that it would in fact, if something like waging war or raising huge amounts of money were required, that it would in fact be advantageous to their own purposes to have consultation. And so, eventually, the common people were allowed to come in to hear first the King’s wishes, to hear what the King proposed—the waging of war, the raising of exceptional amounts of money, some important objective that he had in mind. And then from that grew the practice that not only did they listen to what the King proposed and debate that, but eventually they
started to make proposals of their own and they presented these in forms of petitions, and I am informed that the Latin word (Latin was in use in documents of that time) the Latin word for a petition was “Bila”, and we still maintain that old tradition in that when what is going to be an Act is introduced in this Legislature, but is going through the House here, it is called a Bill. When it becomes enacted it becomes an Act, or a Statute. But we still retain the old system of putting a Bill which is, in fact, a petition through the House—at least the follow-up of the petition of those days through the House—and eventually the Sovereign found, in fact he insisted that he should have—that the Commons should elect a Speaker to speak for them.
They were not allowed to sit in at the start with the King himself and with the Lords, but they must speak to him. They could come only to the bar of the House where the others were meeting and they must speak to him through a Speaker, and we maintain that tradition to some extent today because there are certain things that we report to His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor through the Speaker himself.
As you well know, Mr. Clerk, though a lot of the responsibilities have devolved upon you, yet when it comes to the Bill by which we make money available for the purposes of the Government, the Speaker himself presents that Bill to the representative of Her Majesty. And so the practice continues. But eventually as time went on, the Commons became more and more powerful. There is no need in the world for me to try to follow the constitutional developments. They are well known to many people. But the point that I am making is that the position of the Speaker gradually changed in that over these hundreds of years (because this started back six or seven centuries ago) and the Speaker who had been chosen as the one who spoke for the group to the King—he gradually assumed, because of that position, the Chairmanship as well of the Commons when they met, and it wasn’t an envious position, as members will recall, because frequently the Speaker had to report some pretty critical things and he had to oppose the will of the Sovereign, and that is why in our tradition still we follow the practice that, at Ottawa or here, when the Speaker is chosen, he usually makes a pretense of resistance about going to the chair, reminiscent of the fact that men were loath to accept that responsibility of speaking for these commons who were demanding things or petitioning things of the King—an unpopular task at times.
As all of you know, this developed to the extent of where the Commons became THE important branch of government, and you are well aware that the Bills that we pass, the Bills that go through the House (and there are still Bills that are going through the House to become Acts), when they are printed in the Statutes they read, “Her Majesty, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba”. Her Majesty does it, but by and with the consent of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba. And it is well known the government of the day write the speech which His Honour will read after the Speaker had been chosen.
Well, as the Speaker became in time the Chairman of the group that was meeting, his duties began to more closely approximate those of today although, of course, there has been an evolution there too, and so we have in fact now that the Chairman—the Speaker, does not in fact very often carry the petition of the Commons to the representative of Her Majesty. The government advise the representative of Her Majesty—in fact they direct him. What he says and does are the words of the Ministers.
Remember the story of someone criticizing King James I of England who was a very erudite man, and writing a little doggerel about him and saying “Here lies our Sovereign Lord the King, whose word no man relies on. He never says a foolish thing and never does a wise one”. And King James replied, “Very true, very true, that’s right, for my words are my own but my deeds are those of my ministers”. And I can suggest that perhaps in the next short time His Honour will maybe not have the same good advice that he has had in recent years. But that’s only in passing, and it doesn’t effect the basic argument that the position of the Speaker—he doesn’t often represent us now before the representative of Her Majesty, in fact, only the supply bills does he report directly. But he has an extremely important function of being Chairman of this Assembly—and I guess this will maybe be an Assembly where we will need a pretty good chairman—but he is mainly the chairman, and in that position it was found as time went on, it was found in the Mother of Parliament that it would be very helpful if they could move toward permanency in the tenure of office of the Speaker.
And so the Honourable the First Minister has said about a century and a quarter ago there was one simple bill introduced and passed and becoming law in the United Kingdom, and all that bill—all that bill did was that it provided that the salary of the Speaker would be made a charge through the regular Treasury Act upon the revenues of the Crown permanently and would not have to be voted annually. And that very simple Act in itself was the beginning of what has become the tradition over there of setting the Speaker apart from what had been done before that time.
It might be interesting to draw the parallel that Her Majesty’s judges stand in the same position in that their salary is written right into the Act with the same end in view of pointing out their complete impartiality and independence and that they do not have to depend upon annual votes or the whims or caprices of Parliaments or Legislatures, which some time take notions of one kind and another. That was found in the United Kingdom to work very well because gradually the program developed that the Speaker was returned year after year, not only from his constituency, but so long as he was able to perform the duties he was chosen again by the House of Commons itself. That is something that we always must remember. That nothing that we should ever attempt to do here could ever take away from any constituency the right to elect whomever that constituency wishes to elect. We can’t—we must not—it wouldn’t be democratic to say that the Speaker shall be re-elected.
And another thing, we could never take away from the members who were elected from the various constituencies of the House - we could never take away from them the right to change the Speaker, if they decided to do so. But by this simple act, and the tradition that has grown up around it, the United Kingdom has found that in fact Mr. Speaker, in 125 years or more, has been only, I think, on two occasions opposed in his constituency, and both times so well has the tradition spread to the public themselves, that both times Mr. Speaker was re-elected in his constituency with practically no campaigning by himself at all, or by anyone else on his behalf. Showing how ingrained that has become not only in Parliament itself, but with the public of the United Kingdom. And it should be said, I think, that on at least one occasion the Commons when they assembled, decided themselves to change the Speaker in spite of the fact that he comes back.
That is perfectly proper, no one would object to that I am sure. But last Session after I had had consultation with the Leaders of the other two groups, as they were then, we decided to introduce identical legislation with what the United Kingdom had put in 125 years ago. Perhaps that was another evidence of what I have been sometimes guilty of, of being a little slow to act, I was just 125 years behind the United Kingdom, but after all I was a lot faster than the United Kingdom - we got around to it in 83 years or 88 years after the Province was established, whereas it took thirteen hundred years or so for the United Kingdom to do it.
If we put in here, with the approval of all parties in the House, not only the one Bill, but a second one (which is not of any importance in this discussion) to try and encourage the same kind of an approach here; to try and provide for the Speaker, to try and give encouragement to the Speaker’s tenure of office being as permanent as possible. And I am glad to say that one of the Bills that dealt with that matter was seconded by the then Leader of the Opposition, and the other one by the then and present Leader of the C.C.F. Party.
While it’s true that the present First Minister in his position of Leader of the Opposition at that time made some qualifications and reservations about the suggestions that I had made, yet those qualifications and reservations applied entirely to the question of setting up a special Constituency for the Speaker, in order to get away from this difficulty. But you can’t be sure that the Constituency will always re-elect the man whom you have thought should be the permanent Speaker.
I had proposed, making it very plain, that the implementation of all these plans would be left until this House assembled. I suggested that we might give consideration in the interval to a program whereby we might even go beyond what the United Kingdom has yet done and set up a special Constituency. We might name these grounds as the special Constituency and name the electors as those persons who are elected to the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, for the purpose of choosing the Speaker. It is that part, and that part only which my honourable friend the present Leader of the House wanted to qualify his support of.
The other part, the idea of a Bill which would encourage permanency of office by an individual in the Speakership, he supported completely, and the discussions that we had and in all the discussions, (it was a very brief one in the House here) that proposal received unanimous support.
It may be true, Mr. Clerk, that some people may think that this is not a matter of great moment; some may think there are many more pressing things engaging our attention now, and certainly I don’t for a moment underestimate the importance of the measures that we will be called upon to discuss here. But I think this is fundamental that, right at the start, we should place ourselves on record again, as being in favour of continuing a program that was enunciated at the last session of the House, and I submit to this House that that program has not been followed through. Because while it is true that the First Minister has said, that he had consultation with the Honourable the Leader of the C.C.F. Party and myself, it is also true that we were faced at the very first of those discussions with the fact that his Government caucus had decided to elect one of its own Members as Speaker. And I protested against that thinking that we should - not against the individual or individuals mentioned - not at all, I want to make that perfectly plain. Our complaint is not against the nominee who has been proposed. It is wholly and solely founded on the fact that the principles that are fundamental to the choice of a permanent Speaker, so-called, should have been followed up this year. And that might have resulted in choosing the same person, but the difference would have been that the choice would have been made on a non-partisan basis and would have been made with the concurrence of the other two Parties.
I want to say again that this is not a personal attack in any way - not directed against the man who has been mentioned - nominated. It’s entirely a case of us thinking that the program that was agreed to in this House unanimously at the last Session should be followed up rather than an individual decided upon by one group alone. And I feel that, (I think others would) more keenly because of the fact that this Government does not have a majority here, and I think that was a peculiarly fitting time to have proceeded with this kind of a program, and the fact that last year we had unanimous support had encouraged a good many of us to think that the Government of the day would have followed the principles that were advocated then.
The First Minister has admitted, no, he has affirmed, that the Speakership is the choice of the House. That is correct. I think I should read to the House something that one of the most eminent statesman that Canada has ever produced has to say on this question. I think we have never had a more outstanding parliamentarian than The Right Honourable Arthur Meighen. [Applause] I agree entirely. Like myself, and the Party which he represented generally, he was not first class at winning elections, but he was an outstanding parliamentarian and a great citizen. In a personal sense, I was speaking of taking the Party and Mr. Meighen and I have, at least, that one thing in common. And we hold the same views on this matter.
I am quoting, and this, of course, is a quotation that Beauchesne takes from the parliamentary debate. It can be found in the Thirteenth Edition of Beauchesne, page 20 I believe - yes, page 20. This is Mr. Meighen speaking in the House of Commons on March 8th, 1922 - when the conditions in the House of Commons were not exactly similar, but somewhat similar with those that face us today. The Government did not have a majority, and Mr. Meighen was speaking on the choice of a Speaker. These are his words verbatim: “The choice of Speaker is the choice of this House. The House chooses and elects its Speaker. He is in no sense the choice of the Government—in no sense the choice of the Prime Minister. In the British House, this has been the practice since the earliest times. We have followed that custom in equal degree and with equal fidelity. Indeed, in the British Parliament it has never been the practice even for a member of the Government to move or second the selection of a Speaker. That is left to the private Members”.
I noticed that my honourable friends over there who applaud the name of Right Honourable Arthur Meighen, have not followed his advice in that regard today. Well, we were last year, in this House, unanimous in beginning the same kind of a program that was put into effect in the United Kingdom that long ago. Our complaint is solely that that procedure has not been followed through. The nomination, true, my honourable friend and I were called into consultation but after consultation, only after the one Party, unilaterally, had made a decision to nominate a particular individual. It’s true that we did not propose someone else. Oh, I tried to convince my honourable friend, the Leader of the C.C.F. that he himself would make an excellent Speaker. With my usual modesty, I admitted to him in private that I would make an excellent Speaker. But I’m too old, and my honourable friend is too busy, and his is too ambitious. He thinks, wrongly of course, that he may sometime be occupying the seats over there. He won’t - we will, and soon. But whatever the reason, we both wanted it to be thoroughly understood, and I am sure my honourable friend felt the same way, that we were not approaching this—we were not approaching it in a partisan manner. We didn’t have a nominee; we weren’t thinking of a nominee; we wanted to sit down and discuss the person who would do this job and who would be likely to appeal to the House, and to succeeding Houses, as what we call a permanent Speaker.
Well, Mr. Clerk, I am sorry to take so long but, in this matter, we really think there is a great question of principle involved and we are standing squarley upon the matter of principle, not on the matter of personality, not by any degree at all, simply on the principle, and the principle is that if the Speaker who is elected is going to be completely non-partisan, if he is going to be completely independent, then he must be chosen as he’s chosen in the Old Land; he must renounce his Party Affiliations or, at least, take no further part in Party activities. For that reason, it would be better if he were one who had not been too active.
I am not suggesting to my honourable friend, the First Minister, that he should pick one of the several capable men
over there whom he has stolen from our side of the political fence. The very best of his Ministers come from that area and I congratulate him on their acquisition. But we weren’t even proposing who, from his group, should be the one that was nominated for this position. We were squarely and simply taking the position that the principle that was endorsed unanimously in this House last year should be followed through. We maintain that it has not, and on that principle alone we stand, and for that reason we are forced to oppose the motion.
MR. LLOYD STINSON (Leader of the C.C.F.): Mr. Prud’homme, this is an unusual situation, and I must say that without a Speaker in the Chair, an unusual opportunity.
My honourable friend, who has made such an excellent presentation of his point of view, the Honourable, the Leader of the Opposition, has said that the Leader of this House is fortunate in having been able to secure Ministers from the other side of the political fence. I wonder if my honourable friend has forgotten where he got the two honourable members....For the sake of those who are perhaps not in the know, I might say that I have particular reference to the two honourable gentlemen who sit on the left and the right of my honourable friend.
All parties have agreed that it is desirable to have the Speakership on a more permanent basis. That is a difficult thing to accomplish, as may be seen in the history of the United Kingdom where it has been demonstrated that, although considerable success may be achieved in the direction of having a permanent Speaker, they have had many difficulties as well. We all know that there are no hard and fast rules with respect to the Speakership there. This custom of having what might be termed a semi-permanent Speaker in the United Kingdom developed over a long period of time. The custom there is not to oppose the Speaker in an election but this was not observed in 1935, nor in 1945, nor in 1950. However, greater permanency has developed. For example, Mr. Speaker Fitzroy held office from 1928 until 1943, a period of fifteen years. Mr. Speaker Clifton Brown was in office from 1943 to 1951, and I understand that the present incumbent, Mr. Speaker Morrison, has held the office since 1951.
It is desirable that all Parties should agree upon a matter of this kind, if it is possible. But here again the Mother of Parliament has seen differences of opinion. For example, there was a contested election in 1895 and again in 1951. Now the new Speaker of this Assembly will have a great opportunity to make this high office more permanent, and this he can do by being completely impartial. Now this will be difficult for a man who has been a loyal Party Member for many years, but it is not impossible. A Party man naturally has his loyalties and his preferences, but if the right man is selected, he will be able to rise above these preferences and become completely impartial and thereby a good Speaker.
Now, Sir, I would say that it is not important from which Party the Speaker is selected. The important thing is the man himself. He must possess the necessary qualities to make a good
Speaker. Someone has said the office of Speaker does not demand rare qualities, it demands common qualities in a rare degree. As the previous Speaker indicated, the position has not always been a popular one. In older times in the Old Land, as many as nine Speakers met death by violent means. Now I think we can assure the public that this will not be the fate of our new Speaker.
Now, Sir, I am going to support the nomination made by the First Minister, and in doing so, I want to say a word or two about some of the nonsense that has appeared in the public Press in the Province of Manitoba, in particular in the Winnipeg Free Press. I expect to be ostracized by this newspaper in the future as I have been in the past. It was stated in a front page story that the First Minister issued an ultimatum to the other Party Leaders that it must be this way, or else. Now I did not take it that way. We met in a very friendly atmosphere and we had complete consultations so far as this matter was concerned, and so far as I am concerned, I think those who know me best, will believe me when I affirm that I am not very willing to answer, or at least to follow ultimatums and bow to the command of someone else, particularly if that someone else is a Leader of another political party.
MR. BEND: You’re sure doing it now!
MR. STINSON: You would be mighty sorry if I did anything else.
A MEMBER: Atta boy, Lloyd!
MR. STINSON: The Winnipeg Free Press has also said that if we support the Government in this matter, then it naturally follows that we will support them in every other matter. Well, how illogical can an editor be? Mr. Prud’homme, we will support that which we consider to be right and proper for the people of the Province of Manitoba, and we will oppose that which we regard as wrong.
Now the Honourable the Leader of the Opposition said more than once in his speech that this was not a personal matter, but it is pretty difficult, Sir, to escape this matter of personalities. The name of a certain honourable member has been proposed as Speaker and I, for one, have confidence that he will measure up to the responsibilities of this task. He has been a member of this House for many years; - we know him personally; we respect him; we think that he is as good a nominee as any other honourable member of this Chamber, and better than most.
Now, Sir, we have taken our position and it has been said more than once since the last election that this particular group holds the balance of power. Well, I suppose in a sense that is true and we are exercising that prerogative at the moment, and we choose, at this time, to say that we are prepared to support the nomination of the First Minister so far as the Speakership is concerned. Therefore, it is our intention to vote for Mr. Harrison, the honourable member for Rock Lake.
MR. R. W. BEND (Rockwood-Iberville): Mr. Clerk, it’s unfortunate that this is the only occasion on which a Member can take place, or take part in this particular debate. We have invited a great number of guests to come and see our House and now we proceed to get into a political debate. However, I have been debating which to follow. I know we certainly owe courtesy to those who are here, and certainly we owe a responsibility to our people at home, so I will try to comprise both, or compromise both to the extent of not being long but making it perfectly clear where we stand on this matter, and particularly myself.
Now when this debate was undertaken at the last Session all three Leaders of the various groups in this House said this was a step forward. This was something that should be done and I think one thing that we must never lose sight of is this - that this particular House represents the people of Manitoba; it represents what is good for those people and all three in their speeches made it quite abundantly clear that this was good; that this was a step in the right direction; that our Speaker should be independent; and I was amazed when I heard, a few seconds ago, the Leader of the C.C.F. party try to get himself off the hook he jammed himself on last March. I know that both the honourable the First Minister and the Honourable the Leader of the C.C.F. are very able debators, and they have proved it here today; because if one didn’t know the full story, one would be inclined to believe that this is a minor matter indeed, and one that shouldn’t be holding us up.
Well, Mr. Clerk, it isn’t a minor matter. It is much more than that. Now then, all three honourable gentlemen, leaders in the political life of our Province agree that such should be the case. True enough, The Honourable The First Minister didn’t say it wasn’t, but he tried to convince us that this was in the spirit of the Legislation. The nomination of the Speaker today is no different to what it has always been. Take one from the Party with the most Members in the House and propose him. There has been no difference at all. I can remember the Honourable The Leader of the C.C.F. Party when he gave that speech. It was one of his finest efforts, and he gives a good many in this House, and he was flying at high altitude, but I’ll say to him this time that a few minutes ago he certainly was skimming the barley beards. As far as I’m concerned, and here is the thing, is this good for the Province or isn’t it? This is the decision, and as far as I am concerned, this is good for the Province, and the Province, in my opinion, comes ahead of any political consideration. And, therefore, although I respect a man and know him and consider him a friend, and I know that he knows that I’m not speaking against him individually, but this is a matter of principle. We made great progress last Session. Everybody said it was. And here at the very first attempt we have to try and further the idea, we find ourselves ignoring it almost completely. I remember The Honourable, The Leader of the C.C.F. finishing his speech this way - “So, Mr. Speaker” (after this effort which was good) “So, Mr. Speaker, we are prepared to give full and enthusiastic support to the passage of these bills”. Where has his enthusiasm gone to?
Now then, I will only be a minute or two longer, but we want to make it perfectly clear that while having nothing in this world but respect for the man who has been nominated, we want to make it perfectly clear this is not in the spirit of the legislation that was passed no later than last March, and is doing nothing, in our opinion, to the establishment of the permanent Speakership that everybody thought was such a worthy thing and one that would be in the interests of the Province. When a thing comes up here, I don’t mind what it is, when the interests of the Province are on one side and political interests on the other, there is no question what way you should decide. The welfare of the Province is more important than any political party.
MR. E. GUTTORMSON (St. George): Mr. Prud’homme, a great deal has been said in this debate and I don’t want to repeat what has already been said, but I am particularly interested in something I read in the Hansard of 1922, and I quote a portion of a speech given by The Right Honourable Arthur Meighen. In it he said, and this is in part, “Indeed it has not been the practice in the British Parliament for even a Member of the Government to move or second the election of the Speaker. That is left to the private Members”. He went on to say that he took exception to the Government announcing to the House and to the country whom we shall elect as a Speaker. And quoting him direct again, he said, “I know of no instance where that has been done in our previous history”. Now what has happened in this particular instance? Some days past it was announced in the Press and over the radio that the honourable Abe Harrison, was the man chosen for the Speakership. What else has he done? Who nominated Mr. Speaker? It was the Honourable the First Minister.
MR. E. PREFONTAINE (Carillon): Mr. Prud’homme, I feel that I owe it to myself and to the people I represent in this House just to say one word in order to touch upon a matter that has been brought forward by the previous Speakers.
It is very seldom that we have an opportunity to discuss the election of a Speaker - once for every Legislature. I should think that the Manitoba Legislature should be presided over by a Speaker who has a certain knowledge of the two official languages that can be spoken in this House, and I believe that in order that this end could be achieved, it would be better if the person to be chosen were a Member of this House and not a Member of the Political Party. I agree with the Leader of the C.C.F. party when he stated that it is not important from which party the Speaker was chosen, but it is important, if in order to be chosen he must belong to a certain party.
A non-partisan approach to the Speakership would have a great advantage. It would provide wider range for selection of a man who would have all the qualities necessary: qualites of ability, good judgment, experience in this House and also the ability to understand one of the two - the two - both the
official languages that are spoken in this House. I have nothing personal against the person that has been nominated, but I must admit that in selecting that person from that particular group there would arise the embarrassment of the choice of a man who has some command of both the official languages in this House.
If the choice was spread over the whole House it would be easier to find a man with the equal qualities that the honourable member that has been moved possesses, but also possibly might have further advantage of being conversant with both official languages.
So, Mr. Prud’homme, since we are, I am quite sure, bound to have another opening of the new Legislature before long, and I do not believe that the action of the Leader of the C.C.F. Party just this afternoon has saved his party nor ours, that might be true, from another general election very soon, I would like to ask the Leader of the Government, Premier of this Province, to take into consideration, and I am sure that he will, the possibility of having a speaker for this House who would have a knowledge of the French language because everybody would understand that this language is not spoken so often in this House as the English language, although in the past years it has been spoken, I might say it has been spoken consistantly in the last twenty-three years every Session of the Legislature and I would say that the now Premier of Manitoba has shown a good example along those lines.
MR. S. ROBERTS (La Verendrye): Mr. Prud’homme, I would like to add very briefly my support to the remarks of the member from Carillon. I feel that it’s—this is and has been proclaimed a bi-lingual country. Speeches can be delivered from Members here in either language. I find it quite shocking that we should be so narrow-minded as to nominate this day a Speaker who has not full command of both languages. I think it is unfair to the Member himself and I think it is unfair to the people, to all the members of the House.
Monsieur Prud’homme, il me semble qu’à cette occasion du choix de M. L’orateur pour notre Assemblée Legislative, consideration aurait du être donné au choix d’un député bilingue, ou tout au moins d’un député avec une bonne connaissance des deux langues étant donné que le député de cette Assemblée a le droit de l’addresser en français ou en anglais, ça me paraîtrait être la logique mème que M. l’Orateur soit capable de suivre le débat et de le controller dans une langue aussi bien que dans l’autre. Je dois ajouter en plus que je suis très surpris et je dirais même désappointe que le Premier Ministre qui lui-même parle très bien la langue française n’est pas reconnu cela dans son choix pour ce poste. Le Premier Ministre de plus par son attitude dans son discours dans les centres français a indiquer son amour pour la cause du bilinguisme. Ceci me paraît comme une occasion propice d’en faire preuve.
MR. ROBLIN: If no one else cares to speak perhaps I might
close the debate on this important matter. I will say this to you sir—
MR. CAMPBELL: I had no intention of speaking again unless my Honourable Friend does—but I submit to you that this is not a debatable motion and if my Honourable Friend—it’s a debatable motion but not a substantive motion where a reply is accorded to the mover—my Honourable Friend speaks I’m afraid that I shall have to—
MR. ROBLIN: I think that I’ve taken that risk before and I’ll be glad to take it again. Whatever one might say for the proposal that’s been advanced this afternoon one must certainly say that freedom of speech still reigns in this House and I for one am very glad that that is the case.
I shall not speak at any length but merely make a comment or two on some of the things that have been said. I am accused of being a bad man because as Leader of the Government I proposed this motion. My recollection tells me that on the last occasion in which we elected a Speaker, when the Honourable N. B. Bachynsky was elected, that he was proposed by the then Leader of the Government. If—he was not? He was proposed by the Leader of the Government and seconded by the Honourable the—
MR. CAMPBELL: No, no.
MR. ROBLIN: That is incorrect. Very good, Mr. Speaker, I had the list of these Honourable Gentlemen with me a little while ago, I guess I should have brought it into the House and I could have given the exact name.
MR. CAMPBELL: If our Honourable Friend would have brought it in he would have found that the statement he has just made is incorrect.
MR. ROBLIN: I would say this—
MR. CAMPBELL: The Honourable Mr. Bachynsky was proposed by the Honourable Member for Virden, Mr. Mooney, and seconded by the Honourable Member for Ste. Rose, Mr. McCarthy, first step that they were making in developing this program. Honourable friend’s information is quite incorrect.
MR. ROBLIN: I will say, Sir, that it has been the custom of this House on many occasions to have a Member of the Government move or second that nomination, and, of course, we know very well that it is the custom in Ottawa because it has been followed there. So I say and I made it quite clear when I spoke, that though I proposed the motion as Leader of the Government it was certainly one that could very fittingly be proposed by anybody else.
I must say that I can assume no responsibility for what has been said in the radio or the press in respect to the choice of the Speaker. I know that for some time there were a very few
people who knew of it as far as my intention was concerned and I certainly kept my counsel. I have no idea how that spread and I don’t think that anyone can establish the source of that information.
I am very interested to see that there is such an interest in bi-linguism here, I take some credit for that, Sir, because I have been one of those who through the years have thought it right that the French language, which is an official language in the Country, should be used on occasion here. I only say to my Honourable Friend who raised that topic that I thought for a moment he was preaching for a call in that connection, and if so, we will keep him in mind for future consideration.
MR. PREFONTAINE: I have been chosen Sir.
MR. ROBLIN: Ah! Well, no, I like my Honourable Friend. He is one of my friends from many years standing here and I hope that he will continue to be so. One or two points, Mr. Speaker, that I think I should mention and that is I don’t believe there is any disagreement in principle anywhere in this House about the question of the Speakership. I think the question, that the difference arises as to whether the methods that were followed in attempting to choose a Speaker were the proper ones. Well, I must confess that there is room for a difference of opinion and I freely grant it, I merely say that to the best of my ability I attempted to follow the understanding that we should have consultations. As to the nature of those consultations we find there are two opinions as to what the nature was. I merely say that there were three people there, the Leaders of the three Parties, two of them have spoken on one side of the issue, one of them has spoken on the other, and I simply say that we must leave that matter of opinion unresolved because I see no way of solving it at all.
I will say, however, and I think it has been agreed by the Honourable the Leader of the Opposition, that no other name was put forward when we were considering this, of a man who as far as we knew then was willing to stand and under all things considered, it seemed to me that it was my duty as Leader of the Government to make a decision and propose a name. I have done so. Naturally I regret that it appears it will not receive unanimous consent. I understand the reasons and I grant the entire good faith naturally of those who opposed this nomination. I merely say that in my opinion that they have seized the situation and the question wrongly, that this is an effort to choose a man who would be agreeable and suitable to the House and one whom we hope might develop into the kind of Speaker that we would like to retain on a permanent basis.
MR. CAMPBELL: Mr. Clerk, since we are not apparently abiding by the rules that obtain when Mr. Speaker is in the Chair, I accept the responsibility of speaking again as well as my Honourable Friend. Like him, I shall be mercifully brief. Unlike him, I shall be completely accurate.
My Honourable Friend says that the custom has been, both
here and at Ottawa to have the Leaders of the House - the Leader of the House, Cabinet colleague, propose and second the nomination for Speaker. The very last occasion, as I pointed out to him, when the then Member for Fisher, the Honourable Mr. Bachynsky was chosen, he was moved by one of the private members of the House, seconded by one of the private Members of the House, and escorted to the Chair by them. Even then we had been giving some consideration to this matter and we were starting, I had been reading what the Right Honourable Mr. Meighen and others had said and we were moving at least toward that end. But last session we made the definite move with the full concurrence of all the members of this House and that understanding has not been carried through. My Honourable Friend, the First Minister says that he attempted to follow through that understanding.
It is perfectly true and correct that he called the Honourable, the Leader of the C.C.F. Party and myself into consultation, but the fundamental point which my Honourable Friend overlooked is that when we went into consultation we were met by a decision that my Honourable Friend’s caucus had already arrived at, that they were going to have the Speaker nominated from their Party and my Honourable Friend says that two have spoken on one side of this question, meaning himself and the Leader of the C.C.F. Party and only one has spoken on the other side of it. I don’t think there has been any disagreement as to fact. I would gladly hear from the Honourable, the Leader of the C.C.F. Party. I am sure he will make it two to one on this side when I say that the Honourable the First Minister said that his caucus was going to propose Mr. Harrison.
MR. STINSON: After consultation, after we had discussed it.
MR. CAMPBELL: They were going to propose Mr. Harrison.
We were going to be ------- I admire how well the coalition continues to work. It worked well for five years. I compliment my Honourable Friend. My Honourable Friend says that this is an effort to move along toward the permanent Speaker. That misses the whole point. The nomination for permanent Speaker was not arrived at in the method that was proposed.
THE CLERK: Are you ready for the question? All those in favour please say “Aye”.
THE CLERK: Against?
THE CLERK: I delcare the motion carried in the affirmative on division and Honourable Abraham William Harrison, Esquire, Member for the Electoral Division of Rock Lake, duly elected to the Chair of the House.
MR. CAMPBELL: Mr. Clerk, I would ask that the division be recorded, not necessary that that be done at the moment because we wouldn’t want to further delay matters but I would ask that a note be made so that it can be recorded and that it be recorded that it was on the matter of principle, the permanent Speaker.
MR. ROBLIN: Would it be satisfactory to my Honourable Friend if the records show that the motion was carried on division, or does he wish the Clerk to call on the members to rise and be counted?
MR. CAMPBELL: If my honourable friend, if it meets with the rules of the House that the fact can be recorded that all the members of our Party opposed the nomination on matter of principle then I’d be very glad if it could be done that way.
MR. ROBLIN: No, Sir, I don’t think that does conform with the rules. Now I must say that my honourable friend is well experienced in the rules and I respect his opinions, but to the best of my knowledge the most that can be done at this stage is to record it on division and that’s all the reference that will be made. I think that would be the case even if actual count was taken that the count only would be made and I’m sorry that I can’t oblige you in that respect but to the best of my knowledge that’s as far as I may properly undertake to go.
MR. CAMPBELL: I think, Mr. Clerk, that you can call the names just as well as anyone else can and we would like that the record be clear in this matter. However, I do not wish to delay the House today and we can find some means of putting the matter on a resolution in the House where a formal division can be placed upon the Journals of the House. I think that would be more satisfactory.
MR. ROBLIN: I thank my honourable friend. I think that would be more satisfactory.
MR. CAMPBELL: Thank you very much. I am glad that we are in agreement on one thing.
[The Speaker was then conducted to the Chair by Honourable Mr. Roblin, Mover, and Honourable Mr. Willis, Seconder, and was invested with the robes of office. ]
MR. SPEAKER: Honourable Members of the Twenty-Fifth Legislature, I am not unmindful of the honour which you have conferred on me today in electing me to the highest office within the gift of this Assembly, that of your Speaker and your Servant. It will be my aim and duty to uphold the principles and traditions of the House and secure for each member the right to express his opinion within limits; to preserve the decorum of the Chamber;
to recognize the rights and privileges of the honourable members, the political groups and the House itself; to facilitate the transaction of public business in an orderly manner; and above all to seek to be fair and impartial in the decisions that you entrust to me. If these are your objectives, and I believe they are, I ask for your patience and co-operation in approaching them. I deeply appreciate your action in elevating me to the Speaker’s Chair, with your assistance I hope to fulfill this commitment with dignity and honour.
MR. SPEAKER: May it please Your Honour: The Legislative Assembly have elected me as their Speaker though I am but little able to fulfill the important duties assigned to me.
If in the performance of these duties I should at any time fall into error, I pray that the fault may be imputed to me and not to the Assembly, whose servant I am, and who through me, the better to enable them to discharge their duties to their Queen and Country, hereby humbly claim all their undoubted rights and privileges, especially that they may have freedom of speech in their debates, access to Your Honour’s person at all seasonable times, and that their proceedings may receive from Your Honour the most favourable consideration.
HON. MARCEL BOULIC (Provincial Secretary): Mr. Speaker. I am commanded by His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor to declare to you that he freely confides in the duty and attachment of the Assembly to Her Majesty’s person and Government, and not doubting that their proceedings will be conducted with wisdom, temper and prudence, he grants, and upon all occasions will recognize and allow their consitutional rights.
I am commanded also to assure you that the Assembly shall have ready access to His Honour upon all reasonable occasions, and that their proceedings, as well as your words and actions, will constantly receive from him the most favourable construction.
HONOURABLE JOHN STEWART McDIARMID (Lieutenant-Governor of the Province of Manitoba): Will you kindly be seated, please.
Mr. Speaker and Members of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba:
As this special convocation is the First Session of the 25th Legislature of the Province of Manitoba, I welcome you all and I greet especially those Members who have taken the oath and have signed the role for the first time. May your labours be fruitful in good works for all our people.
You have been summoned on this occasion to consider proposals dealing with certain specific matters which my Government believes can most profitably be dealt with by means of this Special Session.
The Royal Commission on Education has submitted an Interim Report dealing with certain aspects of education in Manitoba. In general the Government concurs with the views expressed by the Interim Report that this Province has not been giving sufficient financial support to education and proposes to implement certain changes along the lines indicated by the Royal Commission. The necessary Legislation will be placed before
you for your consideration. It is the hope of my Government that the measures introduced will make an important forward step in education in Manitoba and will ensure to every boy and girl in this province full educational opportunities, both elementary and secondary. My Government proposes to provide sufficient funds to make this a reality.
My Government intends to initiate a vigorous industrial and tourist development program which will benefit all sections of the Province. Because my Ministers consider that a great deal of the future prosperity of this Province will depend upon the manufacturing and processing industries and the expansion of the tourist industry, a measure will be placed before you to provide for the establishment of a development fund. This agency will supplement normal financial sources and will provide financial assistance to manufacturing industries, tourist and recreational facilities, and community development organizations. This measure is expected to lead to acceleration in the rate of small and medium sized enterprises in Manitoba and the general economic development of the Province.
My Government views with deep concern the problem of seasonal unemployment. While the fundamental responsibility for this problem is a matter for the federal government, nevertheless it demands the earnest co-operation of provincial administrations and of municipalities. My Government by a special effort to coordinate the road-building, power transmission and telephone activities of the administration, will make possible a marked increase in the amount of winter employment available through these agencies. Discussions are also being held with federal authorities and with Manitoba municipalities to put into operation a flexible plan to promote winter employment during the season 1958-59. Enabling legislation to assist in this undertaking will be placed before you.
You will be asked to approve legislation to provide adequate credit facilities for those who engage in agriculture or who may desire to do so. These proposals are especially designed to assist establishment of young farmers on the land and the progress of the family farm.
You will also be asked to consider the granting of additional money for the construction and the re-construction of highways in an amount which will exceed any previous amount granted in any single session of the Legislature for this purpose. The highways thus constructed will be built to a higher standard than in previous years thereby reducing the future cost of maintenance of both highways and motor vehicles. In order to avoid costly delays in commencing these projects, it is proposed to call for tenders for the re-building of several highways this fall. Progress has also been made looking toward the long term planning of our highways and the details of these plans will be laid before you in due course.
I am advised by my Ministers that improved and progressive policies are in the course of development in all aspects of governmental undertaking, and that measures giving concrete expression to these developments will be placed before you at the next regular Session of the Assembly.
I ask God’s blessing on your deliberations and leave you now to the faithful performance of your duties.
[“God Save the Queen”. ]
MR. SPEAKER: Oh Eternal and Almighty God, from whom all power and wisdom come, and by Whom Kings rule and make equitable laws. We are assembled here before Thee to frame such laws as may tend to the welfare and prosperity of our province. Grant, Oh Merciful God, we pray Thee, that we may desire only that which is in accordance with Thy Will, that we may seek it with wisdom, know it with certainty, and accomplish it perfectly for the Glory and Honour of Thy Name and for the welfare of our people. Amen.
MR. ROBLIN: Mr. Speaker, I beg to move, seconded by the Honourable the Minsiter of Mines and Natural Resources, that leave be given to introduce a bill, an Act respecting the Administration of Oaths of Office, and that the same be now received and read a first time.
[Mr. Speaker presented the bill, and after a voice vote, declared the motion carried. ]
MR. SPEAKER: In order to prevent mistakes I have obtained a copy of the speech of His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor which was read. I would also like to inform the House that George Milne has been appointed Sergeant-at-Arms for the First Session of the Twenty-Fifth Legislature.
MR. ROBLIN: Mr. Speaker, I beg to move, seconded by the Honourable the Minister of Education, that the Votes and Proceedings of the House be printed, after first having been perused by Mr. Speaker, and that he do appoint the printing thereof, and that no one but such as he shall appoint do presume to print the same.
[Mr. Speaker presented the motion and after a voice vote declared the motion carried. ]
MR. ROBLIN: Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Honourable the Attorney-General, that during the present session of the Legislature, the House may sit from 10:30 o’clock in the forenoon until 12:30 o’clock in the afternoon, and from 2:30 o’clock in the afternoon until 5:30 o’clock in the afternoon, and from 8 o’clock p.m., until 11 o’clock p.m., each sitting day and on Saturday, and that each such sitting be a separate sitting of the House, and that Government Notices of Motion and Government Orders shall have precedence over all other business except Questions and Notices of Motion for the production of papers.
[Mr. Speaker read the question. ]
MR. ROBLIN: Mr. Speaker, before the question is put I
would like to offer the House a brief explanation.
Members who have been in this Assembly for some time will recognize this and the following resolution which I trust will be moved, as ones that have been offered to the House at other Special Sessions such as this. The purpose of the resolution is in order to facilitate the orderly process of our business, because, at least from one point of view, the agenda is shorter than we are accustomed to having.
I would like to point out though, Mr. Speaker, that there is nothing in this resolution that will prevent any private Member or any Member of the House from dealing at great length as the rules ordinarily provide for with matters that come before it in the regular course. This resolution, I believe, does not inhibit free speech in any way, nor will it impede the full consideration of any of the legislation that will come before us. I submit that some of this legislation, Sir, will require considerable thought and care and it is not the intention of the Government that this resolution should be used in any way to abrogate the customary rights of the Members to speak their mind on the subjects that come before us.
I might say that it is our hope that we will not meet in the morning, nor shall we meet on Saturdays, except perhaps at the end of the Session by agreement it may be thought best to do so. Our opinion is, and we submit it to the House, that this resolution is usual at Special Sessions, it facilitates the orderly conduct of business and it is in no way regarded by us as in any way to impede regular consideration and full discussions in the Chamber.
MR. W. C. MILLER (Rhineland): Is this not a motion that requires Notice?
MR. ROBLIN: Sir, Mr. Speaker, replying to that point of order, it may be that it requires Notice. It has been the custom at other Special Sessions, however, to accept it as we are doing today. I, for my part, I must say that I must rely entirely on the good will of the Members of the House and if they require, if one of the Members thinks that this is not a proper resolution to bring forward in this way without Notice, then we must pay attention to his wish, but I submit that it would be proper and in accordance with previous custom to accept it now.
MR. CAMPBELL: Provided, Mr. Speaker, that it is made by leave and I am sure that we are quite prepared to consider the motion as having the requiring leave and on that purpose we would be prepared to go ahead with the consideration of it but I think we want to give it some consideration.
MR. G. MOLGAT (Ste. Rose): Mr. Speaker, on this matter, when I first saw this in the Rules for the Opening I was very disturbed to find this motion appearing so soon on the Order Paper. It is not usual that we have it at the opening of the Session. I am fully agreeable with the suspension of the rules insofar as the routine procedure of the House is concerned. I
am pleased to see that the Honourable the First Minister has given us an undertaking that this particular rule, the Suspension of Rules 2 and 3, in our Rule Book will not be used to stifle debate. I have heard the Honourable the First Minister in his previous capacity on a number of occasions object to this very rule himself, and I am sure he realizes the difficulty under which it places the members of the Opposition. The Government has placed before us in the Throne Speech, as I see it, something like six important measures. While it is not as much as we normally have in a full Session, it is nevertheless a great deal of legislation on most important matters. We, I don’t feel, could agree to a suspension of the rules without a clear cut undertaking on the part of the First Minister that we will be allowed full debate on the subjects. We wouldn’t be doing our job as Her Majesty’s loyal Opposition if we did not insist on that right at this time, and on that basis I accept the undertaking of the First Minister and hope that we will have full and complete debate at all times and that the familiar guillotine will not be used against us.
MR. STINSON: Mr. Speaker, this is the kind of resolution that I find difficult to support as honourable members will recall, but, and if rigidly enforced, this kind of resolution would be intolerable to the Opposition, and to private Members of this Assembly. But we have been given an undertaking that there will be no morning sittings, that there will be no meeting on a Saturday, unless by common consent, in order to end the business of the Session, and I notice another thing, that in the resolution there is an 11 o’clock hour stated, which is somewhat unusal. We have battled that out before. And I am surprised that the Honourable the Leader of the Opposition agress to this, because he always insisted upon having no closing hour. But I think this is an advantage that at least there is an 11 o’clock closing hour in this particular resolution. Now, in view of the undertaking given by the Honourable the First Minister, we are prepared to support the motion. We realize of course, that in giving that undertaking that I am sure that he meant to include the suggestion that we would have the opportunity of adjourning debates in the usual procedure.
MR. C. L. SHUTTLEWORTH (Minnedosa): Mr. Speaker, I note that there has been provision made in the motion for the suspending of Rule No. 9. . . . . .
MR. CAMPBELL: Mr. Speaker, I want to say only a couple of things and I lead off by saying that I support the Honourable the First Minister in this motion because as he has said it has been found to be advantageous to the House itself to have such a motion, not for the purposes of, in any way, curtailing the right of the Members to speak on these important measures, but simply because we have to be moving from one subject to another and we have to keep ourselves reasonably nimble. But it is useful to have extra sittings. I disagree with him entirely though when he suggests that the case is exactly analagous to the other
so-called Special Sessions. Actually I think there is no such thing as a Special Session. All of them are Sessions of the House. But I believe we also have called ours Special Sessions at certain times. But the difference between those and this one was that in our so-called Special Sessions we were, so far as the Government was concerned, we were proposing only one matter, or perhaps one and an allied matter, as in the case of the Flood Session, and on this occasion, as the Honourable Member for Ste. Rose has pointed out, there are a lot of very weighty matters to be discussed. However, I can’t refrain from saying also in substantiation of what the Honourable Member for Ste. Rose has said, that he recalls not only my honourable friend, the Leader of the C.C.F. Party, opposing vigorously this motion when we used to propose it from that side. He is not anything like as nervous about it under the present circumstances, apparently; another example of the cordial that exists between our honourable friends.
[Interjection by a Member. ]
MR. CAMPBELL: And I just wanted to correct my honourable friend on that matter too, because at one of the so-called Special Sessions that we had, if my honourable friend will look up the record, he will find that we had 11 o’clock in too. And my honourable friend opposed it just as vigorously as ever.
MR. STINSON: I didn’t know it was there.
MR. CAMPBELL: My honourable friend can read and it was right in the motion. But I must say that although my honourable friend, the Leader of the C.C.F., has always opposed it vigorously, emphatically, and effectively, his opposition has not been so great today. But my honourable friend who now leads the House, not only opposed it vigorously when we proposed it but he voted against it. He actually voted against it. ...... Pardon?..... Yes, at this Special Session. My honourable friend in the Special Session, one of them to which I referred, not only spoke against it very, very effectively, but ended up by voting against it, voting as usual as my honourable friend, his colleague from the C.C.F. Party.
MR. ROBLIN: .....do now, but look up the old record.
MR. CAMPBELL: I must say that although my honourable friends have spent a lot of time looking up the records in their day and likely will continue to do so, we, too, must indulge in that pastime once in awhile. However, all those things are past and gone. I still maintain, as I did when we were occupying the Treasury Benches, that this is a useful resolution and it is only proper to point out as the First Minister did that the language says that the House may sit from 10:30 o’clock in the forenoon, et cetera. It is not mandatory that we sit and I appreciate the undertaking that the Honourable the First Minister has given that no undue advantage will even be attempted. But we could
point out as well that even if one is attempted that provided we can for once wean my honourable friend away from the other side, that the opposition have it in their power to negative any motion that it wishes to do, and consequently I think we are safe-guarded here by another method than we were safe-guarded in the old days. We were safe-guarded formerly by the fact that the Government was always so soliticious of the welfare of the Opposition, and always so anxious to do the fair thing and to give the Opposition every chance to do their meagre best. But now that the situation has changed, we have quite properly another safe-guard in addition to which the Honourable member, Minister himself, the First Minister has given us, and I am sure he means it completely, that this is to expedite the business of the House, not in any way to curtail discussion. And I think it is a proper motion for a Special Session, even though this Special Session appears to have many more matters to discuss than has been customary under these circumstances. So, let it be recorded that on this matter I support my honourable friend, the Leader of the House.
MR. R. PAULLEY (Radisson): Mr. Speaker, it is strange this afternoon to hear some of the comments of the now the Honourable Leader of the Opposition, because I recall quite vividly in over the past five years from time to time when the Honourable Leader of the C.C.F. Party, supported at that time by the then Honourable Leader of the Official Opposition on this very resolution, strenuously upheld it, even to the degree of mentally spanking us on numerous occasions even until the hour of a quarter of twelve at midnight, and it is rather strange justice to hear this afternoon a slight difference. And I would like, Mr. Speaker, too, as so ably expressed by the Honourable Leader of the C.C.F. Party before you Sir, were chosen, the expression of no arrangement insofar as our honourable friends across the way are concerned than this, but unlike, it appears, some of the speakers to the immediate right of me, we have a little common sense.
[Mr. Speaker put the question and after a voice vote declared the motion carried. ]
MR. ROBLIN: I beg to move, seconded by the Honourable the Minister of Health and Public Welfare that during the present session of the Legislature the Rules of the House Nos. 2, 3, 8, 9, 52, 57, 71, 93, 105, 106, 107, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, 122, 125 and 130, be suspended, and that the tabling of reports or periodical statements, which it it the duty of any officers or departments of the Government or any corporate body to make to the House as ordered by any rules, orders and forms of proceedings of the House or by the Journals or Statutes of the Province of Manitoba, be dispensed with.
[Mr. Speaker read the motion. ]
MR. ROBLIN: I would like to make a few comments, Sir.
These are: The resolution that I just read, is one that is usually to be found in conjunction with the one that is carried. This too, is a resolution which has appeared at other Special Sessions, however you wish to define them. The rules mentioned are those, generally speaking, which have to do with the regular business of the House that we are shortening somewhat by means of the resolution that is carried, and it also makes provision for the fact that we are not in a position at this moment to table many of the reports and other documents which we are expected to do at a regular session. Naturally, coming at this time of the year it is impossible to table some of those reports and we are asking the permission of the House to refrain from doing so until we meet at what I call the regular winter session next year.
MR. SHUTTLEWORTH: Mr. Speaker, I notice in this motion that Rule No. 9 has been suspended. Rule No. 9 provides for the election by this House of a Deputy Speaker and the time at which the Deputy Speaker shall be elected, and I would like to enquire from the Ministry if it is not the purpose at this Session to elect a Deputy Speaker.
MR. ROBLIN: If there is no further comment I would answer the question, Sir, in closing the debate, and say that if the Honourable Member will peruse his Order Paper, or what purports to be a substitute Order Paper here, and refers to item 24, he will see that we do intend to appoint a Chairman of Committees, which at the present time will be all that we intend to proceed with.
[Mr. Speaker presented the question and after a voice vote, declared the motion carried. ]
MR. ROBLIN: I move, seconded by the Honourable the Minister of Labour, that during the present Session, every Bill and every other matter that would, under the Rules, be referred to a select Standing Committee of the House, shall instead be referred to a Select Special Committee of the House consisting of all the members of the House, and the House hereby appoints that Committee, and that William G. Martin, Esq., member for the Electoral Division of St. Matthews, be chairman of this committee and of the Committees of the whole House.
[Mr. Speaker read the motion. ]
MR. CAMPBELL: I note that in both the First Minister’s reading of the motion and your further reading of it that the word “shall” was used instead of “may”. “....during the present Session, every Bill and every other matter that would, under the Rules, be referred to a select Standing Committee of the House, shall instead be referred to a Select Special Committee of the House”, the printed copy says “may instead be referred to a Select Special Committee”. I notice that both the Honourable the First Minister and you, Mr. Speaker, used the word “shall”. I am not objecting to that. I merely point it out. It seems to me that it is quite proper that we should follow this procedure and in fact I think it is an advantage, but, I would just like to have the assurance which I am sure we will be readily given by the First Minister, that it is the intention for this Committee to sit outside of this Chamber so that the public may make representations on all matters if they wish to do so.
MR. ROBLIN: Yes, Sir, that is the intention.
[Mr. Speaker presented the motion and after a voice vote declared the motion carried. ]
MR. ROBLIN: Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Honourable the Provincial Secretary, that the speech of His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor, be taken into consideration immediately.
[Mr. Speaker presented the motion, and following a voice vote, declared it carried. ]
MR. K. ALEXANDER (Roblin): Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased that you are sitting in the Speaker’s Chair for this my maiden speech in this House. It is indeed an honour to be the first to congratulate you, Sir, on being elected to that high office. I am sure that it is just and due recognition of your many sterling qualities and the long and loyal service which you have given this Assembly and the Province of Manitoba. It is my sincere wish that you maintain the good health and spirit that you have this afternoon, so that you may continue to serve this House and our Province for many more years.
I feel very humble and also proud that I have been chosen to deliver this address this afternoon. When we remember that this is the first time in forty-three years that a supporter of a Conservative Government has had this opportunity we will realize that this is indeed a memorable and important day in Manitoba’s history.
SOME MEMBERS: Hear, Hear.
MR. ALEXANDER: I know that this is not a personal honour, because I am sure I have no qualities which would justify the fact that I have been chosen to perform this task; in fact, the opposite is more likely to be true. My inexperience and lack of ability I think make me one of the most unlikely to be able to do justice to this occasion. I am sure therefore, that this is an honour given to the Constituency which I am very proud to represent here today. An honour given to it, not because of its name, although we in the Roblin Constituency are very proud of our famous and illustrious name, but rather an honour given to it because it is representative of the province as a whole. That it is, in fact, Manitoba in miniature.
First of all, the Roblin Constituency is basically an agricultural one, with some of the finest farming land in Manitoba. The District of Inglis, in particular, is well known throughout Western Canada for its ability to grow fine malting barley. During the last three years farmers in that district have taken first prize in the Manitoba Division of the National Barley Contest, and last year an Inglis farmer took first prize in the Western Canada Division of that Contest. The lumbering industry also plays a very important part in the economy of the Constituency. Approximately four million feet of lumber a year are taken from the area north of Roblin and Grandview and shipped through those points.
The Constituency is also a very beautiful one, with the deep valleys of the Shell and Assiniboine Rivers running through the district. The Blue Singoose and Child Lake Area north of Roblin and Grandview is also opening up and I predict that within a few years that that area will rival the Clear Lake and Whiteshell
area as a tourist attraction in Manitoba.
It is also worthy of note, Mr. Speaker, that in Roblin we have the first association that was formed by Manitoba Pool Elevators; and that in Grandview we have the third association that was started. These associations were incorporated in 1925. It is quite evident that the farmers in that area at that time displayed a great deal of initiative and foresight in giving birth to that producer control co-operative which today handles fifty-percent of the grain marketed in Manitoba. The Constituency is also very fortunate in having within its boundaries large numbers of people of different racial origin. As well as those of Anglo Saxon extraction, we have a very large group of Ukranian descent. There are also considerable numbers with a German, French, Polish, Roumanian or Scandinavian background. All of these different groups have contributed something of their customs and culture to the Community, thus making the Constituency truly a Cosmopolitan one. I am very proud to say these groups, representing different races, and owing different religious allegiance to many different Christian faiths, have worked harmoniously together to make the Constituency of Roblin the finest one in Manitoba. I feel very humble that the people of a Constituency such as this, have chosen me to represent them in this House. I quite realize my own inability to do this satisfactorily, but I hope that a sincere desire to work only for the best interest of my Constituency and my Province and to improve as much as possible, with experience, will enable me in time to give them the type of representation which they so richly deserve.
We have heard today, Mr. Speaker, an outline of the Legislation which we will be asked to consider and approve at this Session. I feel that this Legislation is of vital and immediate concern and I am very pleased to see that this Government intends to take action on these points immediately.
It has long been recognized, by most people in the Province, that our educational system is inadequate and does not meet the needs of the Province. I am sure that a new Legislation will alleviate that situation to the betterment of the Province as a whole.
The setting up of an Industrial Development Bank should prove to be of great value in the developing of a diversified industry throughout the Province. I was also very pleased to hear that this Government proposes to do something about the supplying of credit to farmers, especially so that some of our young farmers will find it easier to get established on farms. This Legislation should fill a need that has been evident in the Province for some time.
We have heard that this Government proposes an expanded highway building program. I certainly hope that this will involve the building of new highways and raising them to higher standards, so that we will not have the patchwork repair program that was necessary in the past. I also hope this highway program will involve the building of that portion of No. 83 from the Inglis corner to the town of Roblin. Despite the fact that previous administration spent considerable sums on money on this
road in the past four years, I can safely say it is now in worse shape than when they started.
This Sir, is all Legislation which was pledged to the people of Manitoba by the Conservative Party and with the approval and consent of this Assembly that pledge will be redeemed. It is my sincere belief that the Legislation which has been outlined here today, wisely and capably administered by this Government, which is ably led by our dynamic and dedicated Premier will enable this Province to progress to new heights of development and prosperity so that this Province will truly be the greatest Province in this great country of ours. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I am very please to move, seconded by the Honourable Member from St. Matthews, that a humble address be presented to His Honour, the Lieutenant-Governor as follows: “To His Honour, John S. McDiarmid, Lieutenant-Governor of the Province of Manitoba, we, Her Majesty’s dutiful and loyal subjects, the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba in Session assembled, humbly thank Your Honour for the gracious speech which Your Honour has been pleased to address to us at the opening of the present Session”.
MR. SPEAKER: It is moved by the Honourable Member from Roblin, seconded by the Honourable Member from St. Matthews that a humble address be presented to His Honour, the Lieutenant-Governor as follows: “To His Honour, John S. McDiarmid, Lieutenant-Governor of the Province of Manitoba, we, Her Majesty’s dutiful and loyal subjects in the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba in Session assembled, humbly thank Your Honour for the gracious speech which Your Honour has been pleased to address to us at the opening of the present Session”. Are you ready for the question?
MR. W. G. MARTIN (St. Matthews): In rising to second this Resolution, I would like first of all to offer you my heartiest congratulations upon the high honour which has been conferred upon you. We have every condidence, Sir, that you will conduct the affairs of this House in your capacity as its presiding officer with fairness and with that impartiality which has been the tradition of the speakership of this Assembly through the many years, and that you Sir, will at all times show (your) the ability to rise high above all partisan opinion and sentiment and prejudice.
You are familiarly and affectionately known as “Abe”, and it calls to mind a great statesman of the country to the south of us who on one occasion delivered a wonderful speech in which he epitomized his philosophy of life “with malice toward none, with charity for all”, and Mr. Speaker, we believe that that will be your intent and purpose as your enter upon your duties.
I would further like to congratulate the Honourable, the Premier, as he girds on the armour of the leadership of the Government forces in this House and Province; his understanding of the intricate problems of State, his vigorous personality; his powers of insight and of foresight which prove to be wonderful assets in his great and important undertaking.
Last year, Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister of Canada came to Winnipeg. In the course of a great speech he suggested that
there should be a larger place for women in the public life of our Dominion and the then Leader of His Majesty’s Opposition in this Province was on the platform, and I noticed rather significant nods and a movement of the lips, and I thought I could read his words “Yes Sir, I guess you’re right.” And so, this afternoon we would say Mr. Premier, to you and to your fair lady “Good luck and God bless you”.
May I also pay my tribute to the services rendered to this House and to the people of Manitoba for the Honourable, the Member for Lakeside, who for the first time in many years finds himself seated upon your left. We trust that he will not think himself as he suggested this afternoon, too old, that he will be endowed with health and strength for many years, to render public service to his native Manitoba.
And also Sir, I would be remiss if I didn’t express my gratitude to the voters of St. Matthews riding for doing me the honour of electing me as their representative. All that I can say is that I trust that with diligence, I shall be able to serve all people of the Constituency.
In seconding this motion, Sir, it gives us the opportunity to reaffirm our pledge of loyalty to Her Majesty, Elizabeth II, by the grace of God, Queen of Canada. The term “throne” as it relates itself to our Province and to our Nation, is symbolic of those sublime principles which received their birth amid the reeds of Runnymede and which in every generation of our history has been nourished by men and women, without distinction of colour or class or creed, and within our Province of Manitoba, there are many people who have come from other lands of the earth. Many of them have come from lands decimated by the scourge of war, and they come to us that they might taste the sweets of justice and of freedom. They come bringing their skills and their endeavours, that they may share their faith with our destiny - and what a destiny Mr. Speaker! We are a small Province, we are sparce in population, but while today we talk in terms of hundreds of thousands, it is not a distant day when we shall count our people by millions.
There is no part of Canada more richly endowed than Manitoba. We have played a major role in the drama of the stewardship of humanity and have done our share in helping to answer the universal cry for daily bread. But today, we are harvesting other fruits from the bosom of Mother Earth - the remarkable development of our oil industry and the phenomenal expansion of our mining enterprises, and now, the advent of a new empire of the North, pushing back the frontiers of settlement and progress to well nigh illimitable horizons and, or course, it has been suggested, and in the speech to the throne, in all this, roads will play a vital part, and there is general satisfaction that the government is keenly aware to the need of providing all parts of the Province, even the remote areas, with a system of highways that will be adequate to the growing needs of the transportation problems of our Province. The speech indicates, whether on the farm or in the factory, there will be as far as is economically possible no forgotten class. The farm credit
plan, the organization of a bank to aid industry are examples of the forthright policy of the Government to provide economic assistance for men and women who are playing such a great part in the development of our country.
One other thought, Mr. Speaker, the foundation stone of a well ordered society is education, and it is noteworthy that the Government of the day is planning a new chapter of educational opportunity for the children of Manitoba - to see to it, as suggested in the speech, that no boy or girl, wherever he or she may live, shall be deprived of the full measure of training and equipment that will enable them to occupy a worthy and lucrative place in the world of tomorrow. And that’s as it should be! For the most important thing in a nation’s life is that which is expressed in terms of the human equation. That, of course, calls to mind the wealth of social legislation which is written into our Statutes, and which is destined to have a larger and even more generous place in the Government policies and plannings of tomorrow.
One final word, Sir, one thing that we cherish in the political life of this country is man’s perfect right to think as he wills, and to, within constitutional limits, to follow the dictates of his opinion. Sir, not all who went to the polls on June the 16th voted the same way. But, whether they voted for a return of the administration, or for a change of Government, I believe that by and large, the citizens marked their ballots with a conscientious idea of what they considered was in the best interests of the people of Manitoba, and that Sir, I believe will hold good within the confines of this Chamber. There will be, as there has been this afternoon, spirited debates and divergence of opinion upon a variety of subjects. But Sir, whether we sit on your right as supporters of the Government of the day or on your left as members of Opposition groups, each party and every member of each party in this House will be possessed of a common resolve and inspired by a common purpose, that as citizens of a great Democracy that recognizes that reverence for the laws of God and love for humanity, are fundamental to our stability and our survival, will be pledged to dedicate their efforts and powers, to the end that government of the people and by the people and for the people may not perish from the earth. I have much pleasure Sir, in seconding the motion.
MR. CAMPBELL: I move, seconded by the Honourable, the Member for Portage la Prairie that the debate be adjourned.
[Mr. Speaker presented the motion, and after a voice vote, declared the motion carried. ]
MR. McLEAN: Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Honourable, the Provincial Secretary that the rules of the House be suspended and that Mr. Speaker do now leave the chair and the House resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole to consider proposed resolutions. The first being one standing in my own name on the Order paper as follows: Resolved that it is expedient to bring
in a measure to amend the Public Schools Act by providing among other matters for the establishment of School Divisions and in connection therewith: (a) for the payment from the Consolidated Fund of certain expenses involved in submitting proposals for the establishment of divisions to a vote of the resident electors, and the subsequent election of the first Trustees where a Division is established. (b) For the payment from the Consolidated Fund of grants to School Divisions. (c) For the establishment of a Commission to fix the boundaries of proposed School Divisions, and for the payment from the Consolidated Fund of remuneration to members of the Commission and their expenses; and of remuneration to and the expenses of persons employed to assist the Commission. In the following resolution standing in the Order paper in the name of the Minister of Industry and Commerce: Resolved that it is expedient to bring in a measure to provide among other matters for the establishment of a Corporation with the object of encouraging a balanced development of industry in the Province and to that end providing assistance, financial and otherwise, to persons and corporations engaged in certain types of business and to community development corporations, and for the purposes aforesaid to provide for the making of advances from the Consolidated Fund for the purposes of: (a) Purchasing the capital stock of the Corporation and (b) Making loans to the Corporation. And the following resolution standing on the Order paper in the name of the Honourable, the Minister of Agriculture: Resolved that it is expedient to bring in a measure to provide among other matters for the establishment of a Corporation with the object of making loans to farmers to assist them in establishing, developing and operating their farms, and for that purpose to make advances to the Corporations form the Consolidated Fund; and further, to provide for the payment from the Consolidated Fund of the cost of administration of the Legislation and the remuneration and expenses of directors, officers and employees of the Corporation, and persons employed to assist it.
And the following resolution standing on the Order paper in the name of the Honourable, the Minister of Labour: Resolved that it is expedient to bring in a measure to provide among other matters for the making of agreements between Her Majesty in right of Manitoba and Her Majesty in right of Canada, or any Municipality, or both, Her Majesty in right of Canada and any Municipality, for the execution of projects to provide employment during winter months and for the payment of part of the cost thereof from the Consolidated Fund, and further to provide from the Consolidated Fund of cost of administration of the Legislation and the remuneration and expenses of Committees established to facilitate the effectual working thereof.
MR. SPEAKER: It has been moved by the Honourable, the Minister of Education and seconded by the Honourable, the Provincial Secretary. Are you ready for the question?
MR. MILLER: I would suggest to the mover that we have done ...... accomodated the Government this afternoon very, very well
indeed. We’ve agreed to suspension of rules, and, in this case however, I visualize quite a long and lengthy explanation of each resolution; I think in view of the fact that this is the first day of the House I would ask the Honourable the mover to withdraw this motion.
MR. ROBLIN: If I may speak to the point of order Mr. Speaker, I imagine this requires unanimous consent in any event, and obviously the Honourable Member is not disposed to grant it, I quite see his point of view and if it meets the will .... wish of the House we’re quite willing to dispense with these matters at the moment and we will proceed with them tomorrow, and, I think we can therefore accede to the suggestion that we should not proceed with this motion.
MR. CAMPBELL: Mr. Speaker, this really isn’t just a point of order that we’re discussing. I think it goes deeper than that. It’s the fact that as Honourable Members will all have noticed from the reading by the Minister of Education, the many matters are covered in the resolution that’s proposed and I think we would want to have them before us before we agree to the Committee stage. So, we appreciate the agreement of the Honourable the First Minister to let this matter stand.
MR. STINSON: Mr. Speaker, I may surprise the Honourable the Leader of the Opposition, but I agree with him and I think we’ve had a pretty full day - I think the Government had good intentions but they attempted to do too much and we should dispense with this now and do it tomorrow.
MR. ROBLIN: I take it Mr. Speaker that that Order is withdrawn and that I may proceed to the next motion which is one for adjournment. I, before I do so, I know that this is not a debatable one but I trust the House will allow me just to briefly express my sincere appreciation for the patience of all our guests who have been with us this afternoon. They’ve had a chance to see the Legislature certainly in action today. It’s been a pleasure to have them with us and we appreciate their patience with our proceedings, which of course (were all as) were all in accordance with the proper tradition of the House. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I move, seconded by the Honourable, the Minsiter of Agriculture that this House do now adjourn and stand adjourned until 2:30 tomorrow afternoon.
MR. PAULLEY: At this point, may I ask the Honourable the First Minister whether or not is is his intention that we sit tomorrow evening?
MR. ROBLIN: Not unless the House wishes to.
[Mr. Speaker put the motion and the House adjourned.]
Page revised: 17 January 2010