June 13, 1905

EMPLOYMENT OF LONDON REGULARS AT NIAGARA.


On the Orders of the Day being called,


CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

I would like to ask the Minister of Militia whether or not any orders were sent to the men who were mentioned yesterday ?

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?

Right Hon. S@

Yes.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

Which would permit them to arrive at London in time to vote to day ?

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LIB

Frederick William Borden (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal

Sir FREDERICK BORDEN.

I shall read what took place. I sent for the Adjutant General as promised, and immediately after the conclusion of the debate yesterday this telegram was sent:

General Otter.

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.

It you can spare the services of non-commissioned officers sent from London, and any of them wish to vote, you will return such to London at once with orders to report again at Niagara on Wednesday.

(Sgd.) ADJUTANT GENERAL

This morning the Adjutant General received the following reply :

Niagara-on-the-Lalte, 13th June, 1905. Adjutant General, Ottawa.

Non-commissioned officers from London have been given opportunity to return to London for purpose of voting, but do not desire to avail themselves of such.

(Sgd.) BRIGADIER GENERAL OTTER.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

The telegram I received on the subject was that the men received permission, but too late to make London in time to vote.

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LIB

Frederick William Borden (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal

Sir FREDERICK BORDEN.

They bad plenty of time ; I can assure my bon. friend there were two trains available after the telegram was received.

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INSTRUCTIONS TO RETURNING OFFICERS IN BY-ELECTIONS.

CON

Joseph Elijah Armstrong

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. E. ARMSTRONG (East Lambton).

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LIB

Louis-Philippe Brodeur (Minister of Inland Revenue)

Liberal

Mr. BRODEUR.

take such oath of qualification as by the law of the province he may in the like case at a provincial election be required to take.

Ihat is part of clause 65. Then when we come to the form of the oath that has been sent out to the deputy returning officers by the returning officer at Woodstock, we find that it does not include the clauses in the Ontario Elections Act or the Dominion Elections Act with reference to bribery. Clauses S and 9 of form IS in the schedule to the Elections Act of the province of Ontario are not included ; all the other clauses with reference to the bribery of voters are included. These clauses read as follows :

8. That you ha-ve not received anything, nor has anything been promised you either directly or indirectly, either to induce you to vote at this election or for loss of time, travelling expenses, hire of team, or any other service connected therewith, and (9) that you have not directly or indirectly paid or promised anything to any person either to induce him to vote or to refrain from voting at this elecion.

These clauses have not been placed in the form which has been sent out by this Dominion government. We received notice of this yesterday at Woodstock, and at 2 o'clock we interviewed the returning officer Sheriff Brady, of -Woodstock. I called his attention to the form that he was sending out a copy of which I received from him and have m my hand, and called his attention to these clauses not being placed in that lorm. He at once telephoned to Ottawa to the Secretary of State, and after holding considerable consultation with the Secretary of State, he came to the conclusion that the answer was not satisfactory. He then sent a telegram to the office of the Secretary of State, and in the afternoon received a reply stating that the government would do nothing in the matter. I believe that this is a very serious position for any government to be placed m, to send out forms such as I have in my band, from which the bribery clauses have been entirely omitted.

And I might say further that I urged the returning officer to insist on having these clauses in the form sent to the deputy returning officers throughout the country. He refused to do it, stating that the form the government sent him was the one that would be used and that he had already sent them out to the deputy returning officers And I certainly believe that this is a matter of vital importance not only to the people in the ridings in which elections are being held to-day, but to the whole country I understand that in the last Dominion eiee-timi these were the forms used in many different parts of the country. I certainly believe that if this is the manner in which the people of the province are to be treated, il only part of the oath is to be placed in the form to be used, I cannot help but see that it is a scheme, on the part of the government, might I say, to take advantage of

the lionest electors ami the honest people of this country ?

I move, Mr. Speaker, that this House do now adjourn.

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?

Right Hon. S@

Mr. Speaker, I must inform the hon. gentleman (Mr. Armstrong) and the House that this is the first information I have received of anything of the kind suggested by him in his remarks. The Secretary of State has not communicated with me on the subject. Had the hon. gentleman given me notice of his intention to bring the matter forward, I would have informed myself with regard to it. He says- or rather, he insinuates-that there has been a conspiracy on the part of the government to deprive the electors of their rights. I must tell the hon. gentleman that this language is absolutely uncalled for and unwarranted-there has been no conspiracy of the kind. I never heard of the matter until this moment. I can hardly be expected, under the circumstances, to give the hon. gentleman information as to the papers sent by the Secretary of State to the returning officers. But I am sure that nothing unusual has been done, but that the regular course has been followed. Had I been informed by the hon. gentleman that he intended to'make such a statement as he has made, I would have made It my duty to call upon the Secretary of State to ascertain what had actually been done. But I am sure that nothing has been done by the Secretary of State that is not according to the law, and I hasten to repel the insinuation of the hon. gentleman that In the election there has been any difference in the form sent out in one county from that sent out in others. All the forms were the same; cither all were right or all were wrong. It is not fair to the government, it would not be fair to anybody, that such grave insinuations should be made when the hon. gentleman who makes them had the opportunity at once to call the attention of the government to the matter and receive an explanation. It is not possible now for me to give any answer to the hon. gentleman except to say that my old colleague, my venerable colleague, the Secretary of State is incapable of doing such a thing as has been insinuated against him. Hon. Mr. Scott is an old man, a respectable man if there is one in the country, a man now approaching fourscore years. It is not fair to him to insinuate against him that in his old age he would be guilty of such an act as has been suggested. It is probably like the telegram of Mr. Cousins of Medicine Hat;- when we have the full information before us, it will probably be found another roorback.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN (Carleton, Ont).

The right hon. Prime Minister (Sir Wilfrid Lau-rier) does not seem to feel indignation that the plain provisions of the statute have been

violated, not only in the elections now going on, but in the general elections of November last. But, that a matter of this kind should be mentioned even in what seemed to me, the moderate terms used by my hon. friend from East Lambton (Mr. Armstrong) seemed to excite the right hon. gentleman to grave and indignant rebuke.

I should have thought that there might be some room for indignation in the mind of my right hon. friend that the statute had been violated, that an act had been committed, which, if committed wilfully, I suppose would render some one liable to indictment under the common laws of England for malfeasance in office. I am not saying that it was done wilfully. But I have heard from a number of my friends on this side that exactly the same thing was perpetrated in the last general election, and with somewhat extraordinarv results. I am told that in one riding the oath was taken in the mutilated form for a time, but after the deputy returning officer had been informed that he was to modify the oath sent out by the administration o'f which the right hon. gentleman is the head, the result was that it was not taken in that form by certain electors. I have before me, handed to me by my hon. friend from East Lambton (Mr. Armstrong), the form of oath which was sent out by this government. I do not care whether the Secretary of State sent it out or what member of the government did so. My right hon. friend is responsible for sending it out, for he is the head of the administration ; and every gentleman who sits on those treasury benches is responsible for this violation of the statute, which I am assuming is not wilful, but which certainly merits investigation and discussion in this parliament and in this country.

Now, what are the circumstances 1 By section 65 of the Dominion Elections Act, the oath which is used in the province must be used in Dominion elections. These provisions of the statute are quite distinct, and I will not trouble the House by reading it, for my hon. friend the Minister of Justice (Mr. Fitzpatrick) drafted these provisions, and no doubt, has them in mind as well as the debate that took place when this statute was enacted by this parliament. We are referred, therefore, to the oath in use in Ontario, in order to ascertain the proper form of oath to be submitted to electors in these by-elections, for the form of oath in use in the province must be used in Dominion elections with certain modifications which are not material for this purpose.

In Ontario we find this ' Form 16 ' which I exhibit to the House and which bears this title : ' Ontario Form 16. Form of Oath

in ordinary cases to be administered at an election to a voter by virtue of manhood suffrage, made applicable to Dominion elections.' Now we come down to the Ontario statute, and we ascertain whether or

not this form corresponds with that known as ' Form 16 ' in that statute. Perhaps in order to make the matter perfectly plain I had better read the whole document:

Ontario form 16. Form of oath in ordinary cases to he administered at an election to a voter by virtue of manhood suffrage made applicable to Dominion elections.

Ontario Act, section 98. Dominion Elections Act, 1900, sections 21 and 65 :

1. You swear (1) that you are the person named or intended to be named by the name of

in the list of voters now shown to you in the poll book.

2. That you are a British subject by birth or naturalization.

3. That you have resided within this province

for nine months before the (2) day of

, being the day fixed by the statute or by by-law authorized by statute for beginning to make the assessment roll in -which you were entitled to be entered as a person qualified to vote.

4. That you were at the date aforesaid in gool faith a resident of and domiciled in the municipality in the list of which you were entered ; that you have resided in this electoral district continuously from the said date (3), and that you are now actually residing and domiciled therein.

Then follow the alternative forms :

(3) That you have resided within this province for twelve months before the (2)

day of , being the day up to which complaint could be made to the county judge under the Ontario Voters' Lists Act to insert the name of any person in the list.

(4) That you were at the time aforesaid in good faith a resident of and domiciled in the municipality in the list of which you were entered ; that you have resided in this electoral district continuously from the said date (3), and that you are actually residing and domiciled therein.

(5) That you are entitled to vote at this election and in this municipality.

(6) That you are of the full age of 21 years.

(7) That you have not voted before at this election, either at this or any other polling place.

So help you God.

Now, that is the end of the form and up to the words 'so help me God' it corresponds exactly with the form in the Ontario statute, hut the Ontario statute which is made applicable by the enactment of this parliament contains two further clauses which l will now read and which are absolutely absent from the form which was sent out not only during the general elections, as I said, but during these two elections that are nowproceeding. These clauses are as follows :

(8) That you have not received anything, nor has anything been promised you, either directly or indirectly, either to induce you to vote at this election, or for loss of time, travelling expenses, hire of team, or any other service connected therewith.

(9) And that you have not directly or indirectly, paid or promised anything to any person, either to induce him to vote or to refrain from voting at this election.

So help you God.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

I think this is a subject which has been before the House one way or another during the present session, because my hon. friend from Hamilton (Mr. Barker) moved for all these forms, and if I am not mistaken some reference was made to this circumstance either by him or by some other hon. gentleman. At all events my hon. friend from Hamilton brought it to the attention of the House by moving for the forms. I think that when two of the most important clauses of the oath are omitted from a document sent out to the returning officers throughout this country only a few days ago, when these two clauses are omitted from a document prepared by this government and for which document my right hon. friend the leader of the government is as much responsible as any one of his colleagues, we require something more than a mere airy rebuke to my hon. friend from Lambton (Mr. Armstrong) for mentioning this matter. Does not my right hon. friend think that when a returning officer, at the instance of my hon. friend from Lambton, brings the matter, both by telephone and telegraph, to the attention of this government on the day before the election, some other answer should be given to that returning officer than that this is a matter in which the government cannot interfere and in which nothing will be done. Conservatives not only in these elections, but during the general elections in November last were compelled to go to the trouble themselves, as far as possible, of bringing the provisions of the law to the attention of the deputy returning officers. I am bound to suppose, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, that this is a mere oversight, but it is a most remarkable oversight, as I think my right hon. friend himself will admit. For what possible reason, under what possible misapprehension could a department of this government, having a trained and competent staff, venture to prepare a document of that kind leaving out two clauses, the omission of which may he made to answer a certain purpose which would not be a very creditable purpose, I am sure. Under what circumstances could this have arisen ? Have the government been in ignorance during the last four or five months of the character of the document which they sent out during the last general election, a document which was used, as I understand it, not only in the province of Ontario, but in the province of Quebec as my hon. friend from Beauharnois (Mr. Bergeron) informs me ? It seems to me a most remarkable thing, if the circumstance is as stated by my hon. friend from Beauharnois, that the bribery clauses of the Ontario oath should not only have been omitted, but that the bribery clauses of the oath according to the provincial laws of Quebec should also have been omitted from the form sent into that province. You might understand how one

mistake might be made in regard to a particular province, in regard to the province of Ontario, but will my right hon. friend or any member of his government inform me how it should happen that the bribery clauses of the oath in other provinces have been omitted ? X must confess I cannot understand it for the present and I venture to hope that my right hon. friend will, if he is not able to do so to-day, on some future occasion, give to the House some further explanation than that which he has vouchsafed this afternoon. ,

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LIB

Charles Fitzpatrick (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Hon. CHAS. FITZPATRICK (Minister of Justice).

Mr. Speaker, in order to discuss this question intelligently and in such a way as to be of use to the House it seeins to me that it would have been proper to have placed those who are standing in defence of the government in possession of the facts. I must confess that I had not heard of this matter until it was mentioned a moment ago by the hon. member for East Lambton (Mr. Armstrong). Accidentally I happened to see my hon. friend the Secretary of State in the'lobby. I put a question to him as to the forms used in the elections in the county of Oxford and he told me that they are the forms which have been used during the last two general elections.

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CON
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

I have the form here which was sent out in the general elections of 1900 and it includes this clause -in the province of Ontario, at least.

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LIB

Charles Fitzpatrick (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. FITZPATRICK.

I make the statement on the authority of the Secretary of State, with whom I was speaking within the last two minutes. Of course, I am not in a position to verify the accuracy of the statement made by my hon. friend' opposite at this moment, because I have not the forms before me. It seems to me that there is only one way to dispose of a matter of this sort. This is a most serious charge ; it is a most important matter and it should be investigated. Now, we have a Committee on Privileges and Elections which has been formed especially for the purpose of looking into matters of this sort and if we had this matter referred to that committee we could thoroughly investigate it, get at the facts, speak from the book and be in a position to make statements and not insinuations. I would welcome a reference of this matter to the Committee on Privileges and Elections, and I think the sooner we have it the better. I am speaking with the consent of my right hon. friend the Prime Minister when I say that we would welcome an investigation at any time the matter is brought before that committee.

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

This is not a matter of insinuation. Why does my hon. friend the Minister of Justice say that it is ? Here are the two documents.

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LIB

Charles Fitzpatrick (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. FITZPATRICK.

I have not seen them.

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June 13, 1905