May 5, 1908

LIB

Thomas Greenway

Liberal

Mr. GREENWAY.

I am asking my hon. friend who complained that names were struck off, to give me the names of fifty.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

I am asking the hon. gentleman to give me the names of those who were left off the Manitoba lists who should be on. Does he say that any names were improperly left off?

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink
LIB
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

Who are they?

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink
LIB

Thomas Greenway

Liberal

Mr. GREENWAY.

I say there are a good many. I say it is the most imperfect list we ever had for another reason, because there are many names on the list that ought to be off.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

Will the hon. gentleman give us the names?

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink
LIB

Thomas Greenway

Liberal

Mr. GREENWAY.

I can give the names right in my own neighbourhood. I can mark them right on this list which I have in my hand, and my hon. friend can see them if he wants to. My hon. friend the Minister of Justice (Mr. Aylesworth) said something this afternoon about the committee of which I had the honour of being Mr. GREENWAY.

a member and of which he was chairman. What was the sum and substance of the whole thing? Chief Justice Howell was on the one side and Mr. Knott on the other, and when we got through we discovered that two men had been left off the list One was named Johnson; I forget the name of the other. I suppose we shall have to get the names, but they can be got from the evidence. One was left off because of some doubt about his residence, as to whether it was in Winnipeg or in the constituency of Macdonald. That was all the direct evidence we got. If there had been any considerable number disfranchised, why were not witnesses brought here to prove it? As the expenses of the witnesses were paid, it would have been easy to get them. I took occasion to say in this House in 1905, as I say now, that we had no Dominion lists. in order to show that we had none, I sent over to the icing's Printer and asked him to send me the voters' lists for the constituency of Lisgar. What did I get? I got a list containing 7,334 names. There were over 4,000 belonging to Lisgar, and the balance of 3,000 had. to be distributed between Provencher, Macdonald and Souris. Somebody had to do the distributing, and Mr. Knott told us, in his evidence, that he did not see any other way it could be done than the way it was. Now, I say that there is no local provision for doing this.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

Apart from the question of distribution, was there anything wrong with the list?

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink
LIB

Thomas Greenway

Liberal

Mr. GREENWAY.

Not that I know of. I am not sure about that. My hon. friend from East Grey (Mr. Sproule) was kind enough last session to pay me a little attention. He said that I would not have been elected for Lisgar had it not been for the * thin red line.' I took the trouble to look up the figures so as to make a comparison which would enable the House to judge how far the hon. gentleman was correct in saying that. Lisgar is a pretty well established place, and one in which there are not many changes. In the local election of 1907, when our friends of the provincial government had the compilation of lists in their own hands, doing it at their own sweet will-and some of us know what that means-there were something over 3,200 votes polled as against 3,134 for the Dominion in the election of 1904. Now, in that election and on that voters' list I had a majority of 180. But in the provincial election in which, as I have shown, there were about 100 more votes polled in what constitutes Lisgar, three out of the four local members who represent that district three were Liberals and the Liberal majority was 184. That shows that there was not very much the matter with Lisgar. Or, take another illustration: The vote polled in the whole province of Manitoba in the Dominion election of 1904-estimating Dauphin at

7889 MAY 5, 1908 7890

what it had been before-was 51,988, and in the local election of 1903 it was 52,232, or a difference of 244. I am sure hon. members will understand that in a local contest where you have forty-two constituencies and eighty-four organizations you are likely to accomplish more in polling votes than when you have only twenty organizations. Or, let us come down to the election of last year. In the local election of last year the vote polled was GO,593. But the increase was all, or nearly all, attributable to Winnipeg, which, in 1903, had a polled vote of 9,G30 and in 1907 of 17,324, an increase of 7,694. Deduct this increase in Wipnipeg from the total vote polled in the province and you have left 52,899, as against 51,998 in the Dominion elections, a difference of only 911. '

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink
LIB
LIB

Thomas Greenway

Liberal

Mr. GREENWAY.

And I Say, in defence of my province, that Manitoba is not increasing very rapidly in population for the reason that a great many of our young men are going to our western provinces to get free land.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink
CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

That would account for the small increase in the vote in that time.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink
LIB
CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPROULE.

Take, for instance, the case of Ontario. The newspapers a few days ago said that over 5,000 residents of Ontario have left for the west. Our lists must be decreased in proportion as these who are leaving us are voters. If young men are leaving Manitoba for the west, it would be necessary to accept the same condition of things as in Ontario.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink
LIB

Thomas Greenway

Liberal

Mr. GREENWAY.

I am pointing out that the great increase outside of Winnipeg is in the western provinces. Now, Winnipeg is going to be a very large city, for it is the distributing point not only for Manitoba, but for the western provinces as well. You can see what it did in the way of votes-17,000 as against 9,000 three years before. And then hon. gentlemen opposite will go out and we shall hear them expounding the iniquity of the ' thin red line.' But, Mr. Speaker, I am impressed with the idea that this is a sample of the political capital which these gentlemen try to make. But their percentage of accomplishment is small. What they have accomplished in their exposures is not at all alarming.

Now, I just want to say that I am in hearty sympathy with the proposition that we should have a fair list in the province of Manitoba, and if my hon. friend the Minister of Justice (Mr. Aylesworth) can find any way in the law which governs the compilation of the lists by which he can increase the length of time necessary or make more registration places he should do so. I do not suppose we are confined 250J

to time-you can make the time longer in order to make it right. But I would like to see a law adopted to enable those authorized to deal with the matter to compile a fair list, and, to use the words of the leader of the opposition (Mr. R. L. Borden), ' give everybody a square deal.'

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink
CON

George Oscar Alcorn

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GEO. O. ALCORN (Prince Edward).

The hon. member for Lisgar (Mr. Greenway) has emulated the Minister of Justice this afternoon and has made a stump speech- the same stump speech that he gave us in 1905. I am a little curious to know upon what sections of the Bill we are supposed to be discussing the hon, gentleman thinks he has thrown any light. He did not through the entire length of his speech by one syllable refer to any section of this Bill. Probably the best answer which could be made to his.speech would be to read to him and the House when the proper time comes the salient parts of the Manitoba Election Act of which he appears to be entirely ignorant. This same gentleman (Greenway) was for twelve years premier of the province of Manitoba. He attacks the Election Act of his province very viciously, without saying anything about the Bill now under consideration. ,

Surely, Mr. Speaker, if that Act is so very bad that it left the province over which he presided for twelve years in such a mixed condition as to its election law, he himself must be largely to blame. The hon. gentleman then spent a good deal of time in showing from various lists relating to his constituency how it was that he came to be elected to this House. No doubt that is a curious fact and one which requires some explanation. Reverting to the Bill now before the House, it appears to me that foremost amongst the matters of principle with which that Bill deals, and proposes to make law, are the following four. By section 1, the principle is introduced that in all cases of Dominion elections in unorganized Ontario and Quebec and in Manitoba and British Columbia there should be new Dominion voters' lists made up by new Dominion officials, after the issue of writs for an election, distinct from the provincial lists. That is the principle of the first section. Then by section 13 we have introduced the principle of numbered ballots, a principle which finds no place in the Act as it now stands. The introduction of that principle in the eases to which it applies will effect the destruction of the secrecy of the ballot, and in my opinion will open the door for a great deal of corruption. The third principle is introduced by section 17, and is one which we can easily understand. That section deals with the marks which may be placed upon ballots by deputy returning officers. I have simply to observe here that the principle sought to be introduced by that section is the absolute and total destruction of the secrecy of the ballot. Surely,

pared, or appeals? lieard and determined shall forthwith after the said period of 30 days or forthwith after the determination of such appeals, deposit in the [DOT] offices of the sheriff, the stipendiary magistrate, the police magistrate and the clerk of the peace, respectively, a certified copy of such list.

So that there are four public offices in which this list is open and available to the public.

That is the procedure laid down by the statute with regard to the compilation and revision and bringing into force of lists in unorganized Ontario, and I would submit to the House whether they can see any flaw in those proceedings, whether they be not eminently fair, impartial and effective.

The first clause of the Bill before the House provides that separate lists shall be prepared after the issue of the writ for any election and that the Governor in Council shall also have the right to order such lists to be made at any time. Now would this be possible in the case of unorganized Ontario ? The time required to post the notices would be say, ten days. The sheriff could not very well occupy less than ten days in driving all over one of these northern constituencies and putting up the notice at the various places indicated by the statutes. The notice to be given of making the lists is thirty days. The notice of appeal is also thirty days and the time occupied in hearing the appeal and correction and deposit of the list is five days, making a period of seventy-five days. By section 86 of the Dominion Act the returning officer is to post up his proclamation within eight days after it is received. It is to remain up eight days, and seven days after that the polling takes place, so it might be that an election might be called on within twenty-three days from the time the returning officer receives his writ. But here in unorganized Ontario wo have a period of seventy-five days which, if this provincial Act is carried into effect, and observed, would be occupied in making the list alone. This government made a list in unorganized Ontario, I think, on one occasion only, in 1904. We have had that experience, and I think the House will be told how and in what manner that compilation and revision took place. It is perfectly evident from the figures I have given, that it is absolutely impossible to observe the provincial law in unorganized Ontario in the making of the list. There is no intention, I am convinced in my own mind, on the part of the government that the law shall be observed. It has not been in the past and would not be if this section was adopted. What we have had in the past is just what we may expect in the future with certainty *under this Bill.

As to Manitoba I propose, as shortly as possible, to give the House an epitome of the Act, so that they may judge intelligently of its quality and whether it is such a very

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink
CON

George Oscar Alcorn

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ALCORN.

bad and ineffective Act as the hon. member who has just taken his seat would lead the House to believe. I have here a copy of the Act issued by the King's Printer of Manitoba, and embodying various amendments of the law, up to and including the year 1906. Any person may be registered who-

(a) Is of the male sex.

(b) Is of the full age of twentv-one years.

(c) Is a British subject by birth or naturalization ; and

(d) Has resided within the province for one year, and within the electoral division, for which he makes application to be registered as an elector, for three months, next preceding the date of his application for registration.

(e) Provided, however, that any person otherwise qualified who is at the said date a resident of and domiciled within said electoral division, and who has been a resident of and domiciled within the province for one year, immediately prior to said date, but who has not been a resident of and domiciled within said electoral division for three months immediately prior to said date, shall be entitled to be registered as an elector for the electoral division of and within which he was last a resident and domiciled for three months during the said period of one year.

That is a much more liberal provision than we have ever had in Ontario. In Ontario a man must be resident in Canada for a year and until the session of the legislature before the last, within Ontario for a year, and he must have been resident daring the last preceding three months in the municipality in which he applies to be put on. In Manitoba, when a man has been resident for three months in any electoral district, and for a year in the province, he can get upon the list:

Any person, if otherwise qualified, becoming a natrualized British subject, or of the full age of twenty-one years, at any time up to and inclusive of the last day fixed in an electoral division for the revision of the lists of electors shall be entitled to be registered as an elector.

These are certainly very liberal provisions. Now in regard to the making of the lists, it has been questioned during this debate whether these lists were or were not made annually. The law distinctly provides they must be made annually :

Annually on or before the first day of May, the Lieutenant Governor in Council shall, by order in council authorize the issuing of a proclamation (form 1 in the schedule to this Act) setting forth:-

1. That it has been determined to add to, correct and revise the list of electors;

2. The names and post office addresses of the persons appointed by such order in council to act as registration clerks in the respective electoral divisions of the province, for such purposes;

3. The date or dates on, the place or places at and the hours between which applications for registration and the correction and striking off of names of electors will be received

and shall he concluded in each electoral division;

4. The date or dates on, the place or places at, and the hours between which courts of revision will be held in the several electoral divisions of the province to consider and decide such applications, and to receive further applications of others to have their names added to the list of electors.

This again is a more liberal provision than we have in Ontario. The judge in Ontario upon revision is powerless to put the name of a single applicant upon the list, unless it comes regularly by way of appeal ; in the first place, he cannot proceed with an application in court as apparently can be done in Manitoba :

That only such persons as shall possess the qualifications to be registered electors under the provisions of this Act, and whose names do not appear on the list of electors, need attend and apply to be registered as electors at the registration sittings of courts of revision.

This provides that all those who are already on the list and who are not objected to shall remain upon the list, which is extremely liberal, and it compares very favourably in that respect with the making of the list in Ontario:

Provided that at least five days shall elapse between the last day fixed in each electoral division for the sittings of registration clerks and the fixed days of sittings of courts of revision in each electoral division.

23. It shall be the duty of the provincial secretary, forthwith after the issuing of the proclamation hereinbefore provided, to publish the same in the ' Manitoba Gazette' and to cause to be published a notice, containing the information contained in such proclamation, in a newspaper published in each of the several electoral divisions in the province, or, if there be no newspaper published in any of such electoral divisions, then in a newspaper which has a circulation in such electoral division, and to have printed in poster form a sufficient number of copies of such notice as shall be adequate, to post up one of such posters in a conspicuous place in each of the polling divisions established and maintained at the last previous election held in the respective electoral divisions and at the place or places named in the proclamation at which applications for the registration of electors and for the correction of names and for striking off of names of electors from the list of electors will be received.

So that there is the most ample provision made for giving the utmost publicity to every step in the compilation of those lists :

A registration clerk appointed under the provisions herein contained shall either be a qualified resident elector for the electoral division for which he has been appointed such registration clerk, or be possessed of the qualifications entitling him to be registered an elector of the electoral division for which he has been appointed registration clerk (form of commission of registration clerk, form No. 2 of said schedule).

Every registration clerk shall forthwith, after receiving notice of his appointment take and subscribe to the oath prescribed in form 3 of said schedule of this Act and shall with all convenient despatch thereafter post up or cause to be posted up in the electoral division to which his appointment is applicable. one copy of the poster notice hereinbefore referred to in the manner and at each of the places hereinbefore provided; and a copy of the list of electors for each polling subdivision shall be posted in the respective polling subdivisions, and a complete list of electors for the electoral division shall be posted at the office of the registration clerk.

A further section provides:

Every registration clerk appointed for an electoral division shall sit and attend in the said electoral division at the time or times, place or places and between the hours provided in the proclamation hereinbefore mentioned, and shall at such time or times, place or places and between the hours so fixed, receive the applications of all persons presenting themselves to be registered as electors of the electoral division for which he acts as registration clerk whose names do not appear on the list of electors for such electoral division, and also the applications of any person or persons who desire to have any name or names appearing on any such list struck off therefrom, on the ground that such name or names improperly or wrongfully appear there" upon according to the provisions of this Act '[DOT]elating to the qualification or disqualification of electors and the application of all others who desire corrections to be made in any name or names appearing on said list.

This disposes of a good deal which was said by the hon. member for Lisgar (Mr. Greenway) with regard to the time these registration clerks are to sit. Here is a provision of law saying that the proclamation fixes that time and they are bound to sit during the time named in the proclamation:

Registration clerks shall receive all applications of electors applying in person to be registered electors by means of interrogatories and statutory declaration, as shown in form No. 4 of said schedule of this Act, and of persons unable to attend to make application to be registered, as aforesaid by reason of any of the causes hereinafter set forth in this Act, by means of interrogatories and statute rv declaration, as shown in form No 5 of said schedule of this Act.

To any person not accustomed to this method of registration it is almost a curiosity. The statute provides in parallel columns a series of interrogatories which are to be answered in detail by every elector presenting himself for the privilege of registration. The registration clerk puts the interrogatory and the answer is written opposite the interrogatory in each instance. The full particulars with regard to every case are thus kept a strict record of and [DOT] it is sworn to by the elector and signed by him:

In a book to be provided for the purpose, as hereinafter mentioned, which shall be called

' The Registration Register J and be as in form No 6 of said schedule of this Act, the registration clerk for the electoral division for which he acts or has been appointed, shall enter the names, residences, occupations and post office addresses of all persons applying to be registered as electors in or for such electoral division and the names, residences, occupations and post office addresses of all persons whose names and applications have been filed with him, as hereinafter provided, to have struck off the list of electors, and similar information as to all such applicants.

The registration clerk before registering the name of any applicant for registration in the registration register, shall fill up from the statements of the applicant the blanks contained in the form of interrogatories, and shall also fill up and administer to the applicant the form of statutory declaration at the foot thereof after the applicant has signed the same.

We have had instances cited here to-day, and the newspapers have been teeming with instances of want of observation of matters of form consequent upon which many electors have been disfranchised. As. will subsequently appear both political parties and all applicants hare the right to be present at these proceedings before the registration clerk to see that he performs the functions which are laid down in the Act. If that has not been done it is as much the fault of the political representative present for the purpose of seeing that the law was observed as of any one else. There is also the fullest opportunity given in the Act for those who are sick or absent to become registered voters.

Section 40 says :

Any qualified elector may, on his behalf or on behalf of any other person or persons, file with the registration clerk, an application or applications to strike off the name or names of any person or persons from the said list, for want of qualification, death or removal, or upon any ground as would disqualify such person or persons from having his or their names retained on such list.

. So that every possible step Is provided for in the fullest possible manner.

Durmg^ or at the conclusion of tbe registration sittings, tbe registration clerk shall by registered letter, notify, or cause to be notified, each person against whom application has been made to strike off his name from the list of electors, stating the grounds of such application, and the date or dates on, the time or times when, and the place or places at which the court of revision for the electoral division to which the application relates or refers will sit.

Here we have personal notice given to every man whose name is to be dealt with at the court of revision, sent him through the post by registered letter. Here is a provision that is not contained in the law of Ontario.

Any person who shall have changed his residence from a place in one electoral division

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink
CON

George Oscar Alcorn

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ALCORN.

to a place in another electoral division, shall be entitled to make application to be registered an elector in and for the electoral division in which be resides, upon filing with the registration clerk a written request

In the form which is given.

All such requests received by and filed with the registration clerk shall be transmitted to the revising officer, and it shall he the duty of the revising officer to strike off such names without investigation or inquiry.

In the event of any manifest clerical error being evident in the description of the boundaries of any registration district or polling sub-division, the revising officer may correct the same and apportion and divide tbe names of electors therein according to said corrected description.

This is id addition to tbe provision to which attention was called this afternoon, under which a judge has the right to make the allotment of names where there is a division of a provincial polling division. There is a further section to this effect:

. The registration clerk shall receive all applications of electors for registration, striking off names of electors, and for the correction of names on the list, who are present for that purpose at the time fixed for the conclusion of the registration sittings, notwithstanding that such applications are, in point of fact, received by the registration clerk after the hour of closing the registration sittings aforesaid.

It has been said that these registration clerks are remiss in their duties, and that in consequence people have lost their franchise. Here is a provision which any person can set in motion by applying to the law officers:

Any registration clerk who shall wilfully refuse or neglect to make out any list of electors, or who shall wilfully neglect to insert in the registration register the application of any person who claims to be entitled to be an elector and shall have complied with all the provisions of this Act necessary td entitle the application of such person to be received and entered in the registration register, or who shall wilfully and without reasonable cause insert in any such registration register the name of any person not having applied for registration, or the name of any person against whom no application shall have been filed to strike off from the list, or the name of any person not having so applied, or who shall wilfully neglect to publish any notice, post any lists, or decline to give access to a copy of same to persons entitled thereto, or who shall wilfully refuse or neglect to make the return and deliver or transmit the books and documents to the revising officers, as required by this Act, or who is guilty of any other wilful misfeasance or malfeasance or wilful act of omission or commission in contravention of the duties of his office, shall for every such offence be liable, upon summary conviction before a police magistrate or two or more justices of the peace, to a penalty not exceeding two hundred dollars and to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months.

Then, by section 48 it is provided:

The following persons shall be entitled to be present at sittings of the registration clerks: the candidate or candidates of the last election ; any person who considers himself to be a prospective or probable candidate; any two qualified persons entitled to be registered electors representing any political organization; any person desirous of being present as a spectator; provided that no more than twelve persons, other than the persons before mentioned and officers in attendance, shall be entitled to be present at the same time.

The registration clerk shall strive as far as possible to allow the representation of all political parties in the place or places of registration to be fair and equal.

Then it is provided:

The King's Printer shall, free of cost, provide and furnish to registration clerks a sufficient number of copies of the last revised list of electors, duly certified by the clerk of the executive council.

With regard to the posting of lists we have this provision:

Within two days succeeding that on which applications for the registration and striking off names of electors from the list of electors shall have closed, each registration clerk shall prepare, in writing in duplicate, a full, complete and true list, duly certified to, of the names of all persons having applied for registration alphabetically arranged, and also a list of the names of all persons against whom applications have been filed to strike off their names from the list of electors, and he shall post one copy of both such lists in a conspicuous place and in a durable manner upon the main outside door of the place in which the registration sittings had been conducted. Certified copies of the lists shall be obtainable from the registration clerk at the rate of 40 cents for 100 names.

For the purpose of revising the list of electors in the manner hereinafter provided, the Lieutenant Governor in Council shall, either simultaneously with the issuing of the proclamation fixing the dates, places and sittings of the courts of revision, or in any event within at least ten days thereafter, authorize-the issuing of a further proclamation constituting the several judges of the county courts in the nrovince a hoard for the purposes hereinafter mentioned. Suchboard shall be designated or called f The Board of Registration.'

Then follow the duties of that board. Then it is provided:

The board shall in the first instance be convened and hold their first sitting in the city of Winnipeg, and any subsequent sitting or sittings may be held either at the same place or at such other place or places as may he determined by the hoard.

On the next day succeeding the time allowed registration clerks for posting the list of applications or registrations and striking off names, each registration clerk shall transmit by registered package, or delivered to the proper revising officer appointed for the electoral division by the Board of Registration, as thereinafter provided, the registration register, all applications to strike off names

of electors and to correct names incorrectly printed, all interrogatories and statutory-declarations received, and all other books, papers or things in any way relating to the registration in the electoral division for or in which he has acted as registration clerk, accompanied by a certificate to the effect that the list of names of persons desirous of being added to, and of those persons whose names it is desired shall he struck off from the said list of electors, contained in the registration register, is true in substance and in fact, and contains all the names of such persons, and that the applications of persons to have names struck off the. list, and of persons desiring to have names correctly inserted therein, comprise all such applications received by him.

So that the judge on revision has before him an absolutely complete return of everything that has taken place before the registration clerk ; and the political agents of both parties, and a dozen spectators, if necessary, in sympathy with them, may be present to see tliat the registration clerk performs all his duties. With regard to ret vision it is provided:

The Board .of Registration shall, within four days after the publication of the proclamation constituting the said hoard, designate or state who shall preside at the courts of revision and the persons so designated or assigned shall, in all cases, be either a member of the Board of Registration or a barrister of at least three years' standing.

It shall be the duty of the provincial secretary to notify or cause to be notified each person designated or assigned to act as revising officer the fact of his appointment, giving the name of the electoral division to which his appointment relates and the date or dates on, and the place or places, and the hours between, which the courts of revision shall sit >n such electoral division, and he shall also, at the same time, forward to the revising officer a copy of the last revised list of electors relating to such electoral division, certified to by the clerk of the executive council.

And subsection 8 of section 63 provides :

Any person claiming to he entitled to be registered as elector in any electoral division may, notwithstanding the fact that he has neglected or omitted to apply for registration at any of the sittings of the registration clerk in the electoral division of which he so claims to ba entitled to be registered an elector, or having applied was refused registration by the registration clerk, apply at any of the sittings of the revising officer for registration as an elector.

This is a provision not obtaining in Ontario.

No notices of application for the purposes of this subsection shall be required.

And section 72 provides :

The revising officer, at any court held by him for the revision and closing of list of electors under this Act, may, without previous notice of complaint having been given in that behalf, as hereinbefore provided, correct any

mistake which shall have been proved to him to have been made by the registration clerk in the registration register in respect of name, residence, occupation or otherwise howsoever.

So that there appears to be practically no limit to the anxious care exercised to make the revision of the list absolutely perfect. Then as regards the closing of the lists, section 79 provides :

Immediately after the closing of the list, the revising judge or barrister shall:-

1. See that all names, decided by him to be struck off the said list, are in fact struck off and duly initialled by him in the manner hereinbefore provided;

2. Make a list of all names on and added by him to the list of electors, pursuant to applications made to the registration clerk, and under the provisions of this Act, appropriately divided in or between the polling subdivisions, as established in the electoral division at the iast previous legislative election held in such electoral division, and shall append such list in a secure manner to the list of electors accompanied by a certificate;

3. Transmit the completed list of .electors, as aforesaid, accompanied by all the lists, books, papers and documents referring to the revision, by registered package, addressed in a distinct and legible manner to the clerk of the executive council at Winnipeg.

Here is a provision cited this afternoon, to which I direct the particular attention of the House :

In the event of territory comprised within or partly comprised within an electoral division being changed and included in another electoral division, or other electoral divisions, whether newly created or not, a judge of one of the county court divisions of the province, to be nominated and appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council, shall subdivide the names appearing on the list of electors, as so finally revised, according to the altered boundaries or limits, and make a complete list of electors for the electoral divisions affected, as aforesaid, and appropriately divide the names of electors and allot the territory between suitable polling subdivisions as shall in the opinion of such judge be just and equitable.

And section SI provides ;

Every list of electors revised and closed under the provisions of this Act shall be binding and conclusive and shall be subject to no appeal.

And section 82 ;

All lists of electors revised.and closed under the provisions of this Act shall be and shall constitute the lists of electors of the electoral divisions or division to which they refer until other lists of electors therefor shall be similarly revised and closed.

Section S3 provides ;

Lists of electors shall, in any event and in all cases, be finally revised and concluded, as by this Act provided, annually, not later than the 1st day of July.

That is the Act which the hon. gentleman has designated as so faulty. It seems to me Mr. ALCORN.

most complete and to provide for almost every conceivable contingency.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink
CON
CON

George Oscar Alcorn

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ALCORN.

lost tlie franchise through the wanton or wilful act of an officer of the government, every seat in the province would be allowed to go by acclamation to the Reform candidate in the next election. This was a perfectly safe challenge because it was known In the province that these lists were absolutely fair and impartial. In Ontario we have, as has been mentioned, a system of registration in our cities and towns of over 9,000 inhabitants. If the government desired to be consistent they would have to include in this Bill a provision for making new lists in each one of the many places in which the Ontario Registration Act applies. If their objection to the lists is based on the contention that those made by the registration are faulty, that would be the only consistent contention they could set up. Now with regard to British Columbia, I propose as shortly as possible to place the House in possession of the provisions of the Act in that province. Section 4 provides the qualification and says :

Every male of the full age of twenty-one years, not being disqualified by this AcUoi any other law in force in this province, being entitled within this province to the privileges of a natural borh British subject, and being able to read this Act, or any portion thereof, to the satisfaction of the registrar, if required by such registrar so to do, having resided m this province for six months, and in the doctoral district in which he claims to vote for one month of that period immediately previous to sending in his claim to vote as hereinafter mentioned, and being only registered as an elector under the provisions of this Aet>

shall be entitled to vote at any election.

Then with regard to the revision of the lists :

The Lieutenant Governor in Council shall appoint for each electoral district, or for any polling or polling divisions of an electoral district, a person to be registrar of voters, and the duties of such registrar shall be as follows:

(a) To furnish to any one applying for the same any of the first three forms in the sche-uule hereto, without charge.

This is the form of application to be placed upon the register:

I do hereby apply to have my

name inserted in the register of voters for the electoral district, and I do hereby make oath and say (or solemnly affirm):

1. That I reside at in the

electoral district, and my post office address is British Columbia.

2. That I am of the male sex, of the full age of 21 years, and a British subject.

3. That I have been for a period of six

months immediately prior to the date of this application, a resident of and domiciled within the province of British Columbia, and that I have been for a period of one month immediately prior to said date a resident of and domiciled within the electoral district.

It is further their duty :

To receive from any person offering the same a sworn affidavit in writing in support Mr. ALCORN.

of application to vote in the form A in the schedule hereto, and to insert the name of such person in a list of persons claiming to vote, which list shall be posted up in the office of such registrar, and a copy thereof shall be placed in some conspicuous place on the outside of the door of such office; and such list shall be according to form B in the schedule hereto. The registrar shall not insert the name of any person upon such list unless the said form A as furnished is in accordance with this Act, and shows such person to be entitled to be placed on the register of voters. . ,

Said list of persons claiming to vote shall be suspended from and after the last Monday in March and September of each year, and all applications to vote received after the said last Monday in March and September shall be held over until after the courts of revision provided for in subsection (e) hereof respectively, when they shall be posted up as provided in subsection (b) hereof. _

On the first Monday of May and November, in each and every year, the registrar shall hold a court of revision, of which two months notice shall be given by him; such notice to be published in the British Columbia 'Gazette, and copies of such notice shall be posted in the office of such registrar, and on the door of the principal court house of the electoral district, and in not less than three conspicuous places within the district for which, or for the polling division whereof, he shall have been appointed.

That is, that all the names that are on it and not objected to shall stay there.

Upon the holding of such court, it shall be the duty of such registrar to hear and determine any or all objections against the retention of any name or names on the register of voters, as "settled at the previous revision, and on the said list of persons claiming to vote, as provided for in subsection (b) hereof; provided notice of every objection, and the reason thereof which may be in the form B in the schedule hereto, shaU have been given to the registrar by the person objecting fifteen clear days previously to the holding of such court, and that the registrar shall have forwarded, twelve clear days before the holding of such court,1 a notice through the post office, or in such manner as he may deen advisable, to the person objected to, stating the facts of such objection, the ground thereof, and that the same will be heard at the holding of such court.

Here again we have, as in the province of Manitoba, personal notices given to every man with regard to objections to putting him on or putting him off.

It shall also be the duty of such registrar to strike off the register of voters, and off the said list of persons claiming to vote, all names thereon of persons who shall be dead, oi shall have ceased to reside in the province of British Columbia; before striking off the name of any person on account of his being dead, or of his having ceased to reside in the province of British Columbia.

The registrar shall certify to said register of voters, and it shall be the list used at any

election which may take place before the next revision has been completed.

In the case of the first register of voters, the same as made up as above, shall be certified to by the registrar, and forwarded forthwith to the King's Printer, who shall print the same, and the said register of voters shall be the list used at any election which may take place before the next revision has been completed.

After the first register of voters for any electoral district has been made up, the registrar of voters, after the holding of each court of revision shall make up and certify a complete register of voters, which shall consist of the names on the last register of voters not removed therefrom, and all names that have been added thereto, and any other corrections made in such register, and shall forward the same forthwith to the King's Printer, who shall print the same.

Then it is provided that no fee shall be charged for putting names on the register of voters, section 12 provides :

The affidavit provided for in subsection (b) of -section 10 hereof, may be sworn or affirmed before any justice of the peace, mayor, reeve, alderman, councillor, commissioner for taking affidavits in the Supreme Court, registrar of titles, notary public, registrar of voters, provincial constable, special provincial constable, government agent, government assessor, mining recorder, deputy mining recorder, judge of any court, stipendiary magistrate, municipal clerk, municipal assessor, postmaster, postmistress or Indian agent, and no fee shall be charged for taking such affidavit or affirmation.

13. The Lieutenant Governor in Council may appoint any person who is a British subject as a commissioner for taking affidavits in the Supreme Court for a limited period without payment of any fee, for the purpose of acting under this Act in the electoral district in which he resides.

11. The King's Printer shall furnish any person with a reasonable number of blank forms of said affidavit, without charge.

Then with regard to the transfer of names : *

Upon the written request of any registered voter, in manner aforesaid, for the transfer of his name from any register -of voters to any other register, it shall be the duty of the registrar forthwith to remove the name of such person from the register of voters, and to deliver or forward to such registered voter, a certificate that his name has been so removed from the said register, and the said voter may forward the said certificate to the registrar of the district in which he resides and desires to become a registered voter.

So there is the utmost ease provided for [DOT]the elector who has changed his place of residence, to transfer his name.

Every registrar shall reject every claim or application to be registered as an elector unless the claim contains full particulars of the place of the claimants or applicant's residence, whereby such claimants'or applicants' whereabouts may be easily ascertained.

Where any impediment, misfeasance, *r>

omission shall have happened in the preparation or transmission or printing or publication of any list or register of voters or other document, of what kind soever, the Lieutenant Governor in Council may take all such measures and make such regulations as may be necessary for removing such impediment or rectifying such misfeasance or supplying such omission.

Section 22:

All such regulations, on being published in one issue of the ' British Columbia Gazette,' shall have the full force of law as if hereby expressly enacted, and shall be laid before the legislature within fourteen days after such publication.

Then with regard to an appeal:

Any person dissatisfied with the decision of the registrar may have the same reviewed before any county court holden within the electoral district, or polling division thereof, for which such registrar shall have been appointed; or in case there, shall be no county court holden within such electoral district or polling division, then to the county court holden nearest to such district or polling division thereof as aforesaid, by giving to the registrar a notice of review which may he in the form ' C ' in the schedule hereto, within six days after such decision shall have been rendered. Such notice shall also be served, within such time, upon the elector objecting, or the person whose claim to vote shall have been allowed, as the case may be; and such notice shall he given ten days before the hearing of such review, or at such other time as the county court judge shall appoint, and the case shall be beard at one of the usual sittings of such county court, and the judge shall either affirm or dismiss such appeal, and make such order as to the costs thereof and generally as to the premises as he may deem just, and may enforce the same as and in the same way as a judgment of the court is usually enforced; provided always, that every such decision of any such county court judge may be appealed from to the Supreme Court of British Columbia ; and all the proceedings concerning such appeal shall be conducted as nearly as may be according to the provisions of the County Courts Act, and rules of court made in pursuance thereof for the time being in force relating to and governing appeals. The registrar, on any such review, shall regard and be governed, as to placing, retaining or removing any name on or from the register of voters, by the decision of the county court judge, or if such decision shall -Ire reversed by the Supreme Court, then by the decision of the Supreme Court: provided, however, that with respect to the electoral district of Cassiar, the provision hereinbefore mentioned, instead of being made to, taken, or held before a county court, shall he made to, taken or Jheld before any two justices of the peace residing in such district, the registrar not being one of such justices.

27. The registers of voters, as made, scrutinized, settled and revised under and pursuant to -the provisions of chapter 67 of the Revised Statutes, 1897, and amendments, and of the Redistribution Act, 1902, shall, subject

to revision under this Act be, and continue to be the registers of voters in and for the several electoral districts^ constituted and defined by said Redistribution Act, 1902,

So that in this province we have not only an appeal to the county judge, but a further appeal to the supreme court of the province. The time within which such proceedings shall be had in British Columbia as shown by the sections of the Act to which I have called attention would be: Notice of the court of revision must be published for two months; the holding of the courts of revision would occupy ten days; notice of review of decision of the court is limited to six days; then there is notice of review before the review takes place; and not taking into account the time occupied by the review and correction of the lists there would necessarily be occupied in the compilation and revision of the lists two months and 26 days. Therefore, it is obviously impossible that the provincial law should be observed if the whole work has to be done, as proposed by section 1 after the issue of writs for an election.

Mr. Speaker, there have been absolutely no complaints against this Act by the people of British Columbia. They have chosen to make their lists in this way, and they are satisfied with them. I propose to lay before the House a letter from Mr. W. A. Macdonald, of Nelson, in which he says:

No Liberal papers in British Columbia have as yet been able to advance an argument in favour of the contemplated change.

That is section 1 of the Act.

You will have received copy of ' Daily News/ containing condemnation.' Do not forget that Deane, proprietor and editor of paper, is an active Liberal politician. He represented Kamloops in the local House, and at the last Dominion election stumped Yale-Cariboo for Duncan Boss. He is now president of the Liberal Association of Nelson, and is in touch with compilation of voters' lists, elections thereunder and revisions.

The extract from the ' Daily News ' to which he calls attention is in these words:

We do not know why Mr. Aylesworth should seek to have special Dominion lists in British _Columbia and we have been waiting to learn what explanation he had to offer on the point. The provincial lists, under ordinary circumstances, are, or should be quite satisfactory. They were used in the last Dominion election and we heard no complaint of any injustice being done to any person properly entitled to vote. The system of registration in British Columbia is as near perfect as it is ever likely to be, and, in our opinion, is absolutely fair to all parties. There is practically manhood suffrage in British Columbia and if a man be not registered, who is entitled to have his name on the list, it is usually his own fault. So far as we have observed, no party has any special advantages over the other, as we utterly decline to accept the Tory theory that the collectors Mr. ALCORN.

of votes and the revising officers are necessarily corrupt.

On the contrary, Mr. Speaker, this government goes upon the theory that because the lists in Manitoba and British Columbia are made under the authority of Conservative governments, therefore the officers who made them are corrupt and also the people are unreliable and corrupt and capable of being corrupted by those officers. I have quoted the evidence of Mr. Macdonald, a very prominent resident in that country, and of the editor and proprietor of that Grit paper.

I further propose to place upon record this extract:

The ' Telegram ' has received the following letter from a British Columbia elector: ' I was in active politics in British Columbia for over ten years. I have seen the ' old timers ' party in power under successively John Robson, Theodore Davie and J. H. Turner. In many respects these were bad governments. They were far from progressive. In 1898, the provincial party under Chas. Semlin, a staunch Conservative, took office. His government was succeeded for a brief but lurid interval by that of Hon. Joseph Martin. Then lames Dunsmuir, a man of no politics, came into office. He was followed by Colonel E. G. Prior. After him, Mr. McBride was called in, and, going to the country on party lines, was returned and has retained office ever since. Through all those changes in all those years, the question of voters' lists was never raised by any person, Liberal, Conservative, Socialist or Mug-wump, black, white, yellow or mixed, except of course in the way of improving registration and purging old lists, Political feeling ran high, very high indeed, but any idea of fighting on an unfair list never occurred to one solitary human being. The lists might be imperfect, they were never unfair.

That is the evidence* of a prominent resident of that province.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
Permalink

May 5, 1908