HC Deb 28 March 1935 vol 299 cc2154-6

I beg to move, in page 80, line 28, to leave out from "of," to "that," in line 30, arid to insert: representations addressed to him by the Governor-General. The point is that it would be preferable that any proposal to establish an Inter-Provincial Council should be presented to His Majesty by the Governor-General.

7.0 p.m.


I think the Amendment makes a definite improvement on the Bill. It makes it much more likely that the Inter-Provincial Councils will be brought into being. We all wish to see them brought into being, particularly for such public services as public health; and I think that the suggestion that the initiative should come from the Governor rather than from the Legislature, which might be prejudiced in a particular instance, is an improvement. I am prepared to accept the Amendment.

7.2 p.m.


I am not quite sure about this suggestion. In a way I am somewhat sorry that it has been moved. I do not quite see why we should interfere with the initiative of the Provincial Legislatures in this matter. I do not see what harm could be caused by leaving them to retain this initiative. I do not see how the Governor could interpret the minds of the people of a Province any better than the Legislature could do. I am afraid that I am not fully-seized of the full case for this change. If I understand the significance of it aright, the change would mean that a Provincial Legislature could do nothing; and they might approach the Governor or Governor-General as often as they liked, but unless the Governor or Governor-General wishes to move in the matter nothing can be done. As it stands in the Bill when the Legislatures have moved in the matter and presented a Bill or an Address to the Governor-General there is a chance of something being done. Why interfere in this way? I should have thought that the Governor, or the Governor-General, would have had enough on his plate already without loading it up any more. Do let us leave something to the Provincial Legislatures. There is no harm in letting them have this power.

7.5 p.m.


It is not a question of there being any further loading of responsibilities upon the Governor or Governor-General. The question really is how to make sure of these inter-Provincial councils being set up. My hon. Friend who put this Amendment down and my hon. Friend who moved it are nervous lest on a particular occasion you might, for some reason or another, get majorities in the local councils against these councils. Our object in accepting the initiative of the Governor is with the object of stimulating these councils rather than of putting an obstacle in their way.


The right hon. Gentleman anticipates that a majority may be against these councils. Even though the Governor brought about the establishment of an inter-Provincial council, what use is it if a majority is against it?


It is for the Committee to consider whether this is the most likely way of removing obstacles. On the whole I am inclined to think that the initiative had better come from the Governor, even though, as I hope, in 99 cases out of 100 the Governor will probably be acting with a resolution of his Legislature behind him. I am so anxious to avoid the possibility of these councils not being set up—for some local reason or another in particular Provinces—that I am inclined to think that the best course is the course suggested in the Amendment.


I should like to say a word or two in support of this Amendment from the point of view which has been raised—

Whereupon the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod being come with a message, The CHAIRMAN left the Chair.

MR. SPEAKER resumed the Chair.

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