May 5, 1908

CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

Does the hon. gentleman say that the names were not entitled to go on the list ?

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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LIB

Thomas Greenway

Liberal

Mr. GREENWAY.

I do not know. I am not going to give the hon. gentleman anything but what I can verify unless I qualify it with the statement I have made just now. I do not know that it is worth while dwelling upon tihe list, for, after all, that is not the question. If the list were what it ought to be or what it might have been, if these gentlemen had undertaken to do what they might have done, and that was to make the polling subdivisions coterminous with the boundaries of the electoral divisions for the House of Commons, there would be no need of this. But I say again, I defy any man to take the list and go over it, and from that list, with the information upon it, put the voter in his proper place. If you have to find out from other sources, you must have the means of taking evidence.

I will give my hon. friend another reason why people are disfranchised. The revising officers are by this proclamation and by the law designated for certain points. The longest they sit at any one point is from eleven o'clock to six. Where the hours are not specified, according to this proclamation they sit from one to six, for the revision of the list for a whole local constituency. During the time of the revision of 1904 one of the revisers came to a point where the country was divided, and it was represented to him that there were a number of voters at a certain point who ought to get the opportunity to go upon the list. He adjourned the court that day, and called it the next day at the point named, and there put 38 names upon the list. Then what happened? When tlie list came into the department, those hon. gentlemen who want to be so very fair tore the names out of the book. There was no red line nonsense about that.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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CON

William James Roche

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. W. J. ROCHE.

Would the hon. member for Lisgar be fair enough to state that Judge Walker, the chairman of the registration board, reported to the government that this officer had held a court of revision illegally, after his certificate had expired.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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LIB

Thomas Greenway

Liberal

Mr. GREENWAY.

I am not talking ' about the legality of it; I am talking about

what was done. If there was a law that would allow a man to commit an outrage like that, the law ought to he changed. Now, Sir, what about this list? The body of the list was made in 1903 ; it is a five-year-old list; and I am somewhat like my hon. friend the leader of the opposition -I do not know how he is going to weed it out. The little things that have occurred since then have been merely revisions, and notice is now given in this proclamation that it is not necessary for those on the list to appear at the court of registration. It is simply necessary to revise the list.

Now, I want to say a word about all this talk that has taken place with regard to the thin red line. My hon. friend, though he does not like to discuss it, does not let it come near him unless he has a slap at Mr. Leach. My hon. friend from North Toronto, who is not at present in his seat, shouted : A man appointed to distribute

the seed grain in the west who disfranchised thousands upon thousands.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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An hon. MEMBER.

Hear, hear.

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CON
LIB

Thomas Greenway

Liberal

Mr. GREENWAY.

I want to say this, that if my hon. friend knew Mr. Leach as well as I do

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An hon. MEMBER.

Did you recommend him ?

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LIB

Thomas Greenway

Liberal

Mr. GREENWAY.

No, I did not. He did not need any recommendation from me. He is a good, respectable citizen of Manitoba, who is incapable of doing the things they alleged, and what happened ? In all their prosecution or persecution of him did they show that he disfranchised anybody ?

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LIB
LIB

Thomas Greenway

Liberal

Mr. GREENWAY.

Yes, they dropped him, because they did not have anything against him. Now, I think perhaps I have said enough about the list ; the less said about it the better, so far as its character is concerned. As I said before, that is not the trouble. If we had the means of preparing a list for the constituencies of Manitoba from the local list, with the information which we have there, then I would say that the argument which my hon. friend has laboured so long at might have some force in it; but we have not, and we have to make some provision for it.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

If that be correct, does it not indicate the need of a Dominion franchise and Dominion machinery to compile the list ?

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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LIB

Thomas Greenway

Liberal

Mr. GREENWAY.

I would hail it with pleasure, so far as I am concerned.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

Then why did they repeal the one we had ?

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LIB

Thomas Greenway

Liberal

Mr. GREENWAY.

What has that to do with the subject we are discussing ? If 250

somebody believed something ten years ago and changed his mind, does that upset everything ? My hon. friends opposite must have changed, because now they are arguing against what they argued for in 1885. So that we have all been changing, I hope for the better. '

Now, Sir, we have had various exhibitions with regard to this thin-red-line business. We had a gentleman in the legislature of Manitoba saying this :

Mr. Speaker, I say there is not a man, either in this House or outside of it, who would venture to undertake to defend the appalling, the outrageous conduct of the employees of the Dominion government with respect to the manner in which some 9,000 of the best citizens of this country were deprived of their liberty and franchise previous to the last general election.

1 suppose I hardly need tell who it was said that. It was the great author of this scandal. 9,000 people were deprived of their franchise. He got down to particulars, and so, when Mr. Leach was appointed by this government to look after the distribution of seed grain, the Montreal ' Gazette,' a leading paper-a respectable but a misled paper, so far as that was concerned-came out with this comment. Here is a man, it said, appointed to distribute seed grain for the western provinces who disfranchised, because of their Conservative leanings, 1,131 in Lisgar, 1,395 in Portage la Prairie, and 1,406 in Selkirk. Well, I stand here in my place and say that there is not one word of truth in that statement. I have lived in

Lisgar, formerly called Selkirk, for nearly thirty years. I know nearly every man in it, and when I heard of this having taken place during the election of 1904, I took care to find out exactly how many people had been left off the lists in my constituency. My hon. friend the Minister of Justice (Mr. Aylesworth) gave the number to the House this afternoon. There were six Liberals left off-by mistake, I presume- and there were three Conservatives who had been misplaced, and consequently had to go to another division to vote. That is the sum and substance of the whole thing, so far as Lisgar is concerned. Do you suppose that if there had been twenty men in Lisgar, prominent citizens, who ought to have their votes-because Lisgar is an old place, there are not many foreigners who go into it, and there is not much change in the people, so that the vote remains about the same-do you suppose that I would not have heard of it and found these men grumbling at being deprived of their vote ? And yet we have this veracious newspaper saying that 1,131 had been disfranchised in Lisgar. In connection with this, my hon. friend, who is the chief exponent of this outrage, undertook to particularize.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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An hon. MEMBER,

Who made that statement in the House?

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William Frederic Kay

Mr. GREEN WAY.

I shall tell you'in a few minutes. I want to keep you thinking awhile. I thought possibly some gentleman might have suggested the name, tout this same gentleman, on another occasion, made a speech in which he undertook to particularize. I have got his name written on the top of this sheet in red ink. The first letter of his name is Rogers. He went to the constituency of my hon. friend who feels very nervous on this red line business, and he made a speech to explain how this disfranchisement had been done and how it had affected the different local constituencies- because it was a local matter-in that district. He selected Hamiota and he said, giving the numbers of polls from No. 1 to 9, that 777 voters had been disfranchised in Hamiota because they were Conservatives. Well, as a matter of fact, there never was polled in Hamiota any more than 740 altogether. He had disfranchised more Conservatives than were there, by 40 nearly. Let me say this to my hon. friends in all good spirit. I would like, as a sort of climax to this thing, if they would furnish me with the names of fifty people-my hon. friend said 100, and I think I said 100, when I first spoke on the subject, but I have reason to believe that is entirely too much- but I challenge my hon. friends to furnish me with the names of fifty people who were disfranchised in Manitoba by having their names dropped off the lists.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

Will the hon. gentleman give us the names of fifty who should be on the list and were not ?

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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William Frederic Kay

Mr. GREEN WAY.

In my constituency?

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

In all Manitoba.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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May 5, 1908