May 12, 1908

CON

William D. Staples

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STAPLES.

No, it has not, but it is marked and can be cashed at any time.

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Mr. RI RROWS@

I might also point out, speaking of irregularities, a case that occurred in tiie election of Morris where the result was changed by the fact that three men were allowed to be put on the list illegally. i am not here to say whether these men were entitled to vote, but the same Mr. BURROWS.

consideration should he given to one side as to the other. If the registration clerk is going to receive applications in an illegal manner from the government side, he should if he wants to be fair, receive them from the other side. I mention this case to point out that, in the administration of this Act, a good many irregularities have occurred, and it is to these irregularities that we object. I may add a word in explanation of what my hon. friend from Marquette (Mr. W. J. Roche) said the other night t he case was this : A certain gentleman wrote a private letter to the registration clerk asking that three names he placed on the list. The registration clerk put these names on the list, as there was no application in the legal form justified by the Act. No application was made to strike the names off the list, and according to the Manitoba Election Act the judge has no power to strike off a name unless the parties have been notified to appear. When the revision was held, the gentleman acting for the Libera] party asked to see the interrogatories and found that there were no interrogatories, but that the cases were irregular. He pointed this out to the judge, but the judge said that although the names were on Irregularly he wquld not strike them off because proper notice had not been given to the parties. As a result these three names were left on the list, though they should not have been there. This is a case with which I am quite fami-iar. Probably, X should not have mentioned it, had not the hon. member for Marquette mentioned it. In that election, the attorney general was elected by two votes, and these three men improperly put on the list were supposed to be the means of electing him. There was a recount resulting in a tie and the attorney general was declared elected by the casting vote of the returning officer. Another case may be cited which Mr. J. A. Campbell, the local member representing the county of Dauphin, brought iff up in the legislature. He was accused of making a charge against the judge who was tiie revising officer. He said he made no charge. He made a motion for a return of the papers in the case, but tiie government refused the motion and it was voted down. The government said they had not the original papers and would not bring them down. The motion was voted down on a straight party vote of 18 to 12.

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LIB

Duncan Ross

Liberal

Mr. DUNCAN ROSS.

The hon. member for North Toronto said there was no discussion in the local house.

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LIB

Theodore Arthur Burrows

Liberal

Mr. BURROWS.

The discussion lasted for two days. I know every one of the men whose names were put on. Mr. Campbell appealed against them. I know that they were not entitled to vote. There Is no doubt that there was some jugglery practised in connection with these names.

Another complaint and one very common-

ly made by the people of the west who are trying to look after the voters' lists, is that there is great difficulty in securing electoral lists. I, myself, through a gentleman in Winnipeg, tried to secure voters' lists for my own division, and a letter received the other day said that they could not get the lists of 1906. Therefore, as far as I am concerned, I am not able to get the lists to give my co-workers so that we may be prepared to apply to the court of revision. In North Winnipeg during 1905, there were great complaints. I desire to read an extract from the ' Voice,' a paper published by a gentleman who used to be a member of this House and published in the interests of organized labour. It gives an account of the meeting of the Trade and Labour Council :

When the president announced ' good and welfare ' a number of delegates proceeded to indignantly tell how they had been handled in their attempt to get into the registration offices during the day and evening for the purpose of having their names put on the voters' list. One delegate who had changed his residence from North to Centre Winnipeg wished to register for the latter constituency in the Market square. He had found the premises besieged outside and inside by a sweltering crowd. Exit was made through the windows. He had made two attempts but had failed to meet the clerks. Other applicants gave a stronger description of the uproar at the North Winnipeg office. Here the police had been called to clear the place. Scores of applicants had gone away in disgust. Of those at the^counoil meeting, five told of their lack of success to get registered, and there was not a man in the room who got on the list at this year's court.

The resolution printed on this page was passed unanimously. Several were for some action to be taken to enforce the demand and proposed a public demonstration to wait on the government.

The resolution which the Trades and Labour Council passed unanimously and which the 'Voice' printed in large type on its front page, was as follows :

Whereas the facilities for registration of voters have proved altogether inadequate for the purpose, therefore he it resolved:

That this Trades Council demand of the government that registration he re-opened and kept open for at least five days.

Needless to say, the Roblin government did not reopen the registration proceedings.

I have here a copy of another affidavit with regard to the country districts which I desire to read to the House :

Dominion of Canada-Province of Manitoba.

In the matter of the registration of voters in the Emerson electoral division, registration district 8, held May 25-30, inclusive, 1903, to wit:

I, George Walton, of the city of Winnipeg, province of Manitoba, agent, do solemnly declare that:

1. I was present at No. 8 registration booth

for the provincial electoral division of Emerson on Monday morning, May 25, 1903, and each subsequent day on which the booth was open. , , , ,

2. That the registration clerk who opened the booth on Monday morning was Thomas Rattan, of StuartbnTn.

3. That during the forenoon of the first day of registration, five applications for registra-tios had been accepted bv the registration clerk, four of whom were Galicians who answered the interrogatories satisfactorily and took the reading test in the English language to the satisfaction of the registration clerk.

4. On account of the time occupied by the registration clerk in completing the interrogatories of applicants, it was suggested that the registration clerk should defer entering the names in the register until the noon hour. This was agreed to bv myself as representing the Liberal interests at said registration booth. Mr. Rattan admitted his incompetency to fill the important position of registration clerk which he said had been pressed upon him by the Hon. D. H. McFadden.

5. That after the booth was closed tor the noon hour, Monday, Mr. Rattan, the registration clerk, stated in the presence ot my* self and others, that when asked by the Hon. D. H. McFadden "to take the position, he had been deceived, that he never had any experience in such, work, and being a poor penman he did not feel competent to do justice to the important position; that he had been tolu bv the Hon. D. H. McFadden that there would probably not be more than 60 or 70 English speaking electors to be registered, and that, as no Galicians were entitled to be registered, he could easilv handle the number applying for registration within the six days. That it was only on this assurance that he accepted the position, and that he said (addressing myself) you have succeeded iu getting four Galicians on during the forenoon, and that there were a large number outside waiting to be registered, he decided not to open this booth acain.

\nd at this juncture myself and others urged Mr. Rattan to keep the booth open until a successor could be appointed, offering to send a messenger to Emerson to tender Mr. Rattan's resignation through Mr. McFadden to the board of registration, and further offering to ask the Galicians to go home and not return until Wednesday by which time Mr. Rattan's successor could be installed. That Mr. Rattan would not consent to this arrangement, but announced the registration booth closed for good, never to be opened airain so far as he was concerned. That at this time, at least 125 Galicians were present waiting an opportunity to register, many having travelled on foot from 10 to 20 miles.

6. That (the registration booth was not

again opened until nearly 4 o'clock in the afternoon of Wednesday the 27th (no notice having been given as to the time it would be re-otpened) when Mr. John McCodl, of Emerson, a pronounced Conservative partisan, appeared at the booth to continue the work of registration. .

7. That I was present at the re-opening of the registration booth, and upon examination of the register, discovered that the names of the four Galicians who applied for registra-

tnon Monday had not been entered upon the register, as. promised by Mr. Battan, the then registration clerk. That upon this discovery I applied to Mr. McColl (Mr. Battan being present) to have the names entered on the register, and that he refused to enter such. I also requested Mr. Battan to make the entry and he refused to do so saying the books were out of his hands.

8. That notwithstanding the registration booth had been closed for more than two uaysj the registration clerk closed the same at 10 o'clock Saturday evening, the 30fch, refusing to extend the time for registration as provided by the Election Act for cases of interruption.

9. That only a few of the 125 Galicians present when the booth closed on Monday returned again to register, not having received notice that the booth would be re-opened.

10. That a number drove from 20 to 30 miles to the court of revision held at Emerson, successfully took the reading test before the revising officer and were put on the list by him.

11. That in mv opinion from 50 to 100 more Galicians were eligible and would have been registered had the registration booth not been closed.

And I make this solemn declaration conscientiously believing the same to be true, and knowing that it is of the same force and effect as if made under oath and by virtue of the Canada Evidence Act, 1893.

Declared before me at the of

in the province of Manitoba, this day of , in the

year of our Lord, 190 .

Mi*. STAPLES. What is the date of the affidavit ?

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LIB
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Mr. W. J.@

ROCHE Would the bon. gentleman tell us who appointed the registration clerks at that time ?

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LIB
CON
LIB

Theodore Arthur Burrows

Liberal

Mr. BURROWS.

But I can tell my hon. friend something which he knows but would rather I did not tell the House, that these Galicians were favourable to the Liberal candidate and if they had got a chance to have their names on the list the Hon. Dr. McFadden would have been defeated. He was defeated at the next general election by virtue of the fact that these people got the franchise and he is out of politics to-day.

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LIB

William Roche

Liberal

Mr. W. J ROCHE.

At that time the first law was in operation, the law which the hon. gentleman and his colleagues were lauding, under which the judges had the appointment of registration clerks.

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LIB

Theodore Arthur Burrows

Liberal

Mr. BURROWS.

That only adds strength to the argument we urged for if at the time when there were six days to register the electors could not get on the lists, what is to happen when there is only one day in which to register as at present ?

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LIB

Theodore Arthur Burrows

Liberal

Mr. BURROWS.

I have here a clipping from the Winnipeg ' Telegram ' of June 2, 1903, referring to the registration in Winnipeg. It reads :

So dense was the rush before the constables arrived that to depart by the door was impossible. Dozens left by jumping from the window to the ground at the rear, a drop of about seven foot. At a quarter to ten, men Sv i. arriving, and when the doors were shut at ten o'clock only about a dozen remained to complete their papers, out of the hundreds who had besieged the court during the evening. . .

The registration at St. Boniface was light, but in the evening there was quite a rush, and from fifty to seventy-five persons were shut out, according to estimate.

I have here an extract from the Winnipeg 1 Free Press ' of June 7, 1905, referring to the distances that people had to go to get on the list. It is as follows :

The * Free Press ' has already printed the facts as to the constituency of Emerson, but the case will well bear recapitulation. The voters at Sprague, Vassar and other points at the east of the riding must take train to Winnipeg, travel thence to Emerson in order to register, since owing to the great swamp completely crossing the constituency, and which nothing without wings can cross, it is impossible to go direct to the point of registration. The voter from the eastern end of Emerson must travel 160 miles bv rail, spend $7 in railway fare, besides his hotel and meal expenses in Winnipeg en route, and take three days of his time in order to secure a right to vote.

It goes on :

In the constituencies around Lakes Winnipeg and Manitoba, the distances that must be travelled in order to register are enormous. Parts of Gimli are 210 miles from the registration booth. Parts of Kildonun and St. Andrews are 260. Some voters in Swan river, must go 145 miles to the place of registration. Some voters in Gladstone are 110 miles from the only place where they can procure the right to vote. It must be borne in mind, too, that great as these distances are they are really multiplied by the fact that there are no swift means of communication and in some cases no roads. In Swan river some voters must drive to Lake Manitoba, sail across it, and then drive 30 or 40 miles to the point of registration. In Kil-doman, Gimli and Gladstone it will mean a voyage of 200 miles up and down the lake and more than a week of time, to say nothing of the expense, if the elector desires to preserve his right to the franchise.

I shall also read an extract from the ' Free Press ' referring to the registration at North Winnipeg. It says :

The scenes enacted at the North Winnipeg booth were disgraceful. There was only one door by which to enter and leave the building, which was little bigger than a box. Up the steps leading thereto, swarmed a pushing crowd of would-be voters, at times more than a hundred in number.' It was impossible for a voter who had registered to get

out, so that some of them respectable citizens, men of advanced years, were pulled out by the collar over the heads of the crowd. Doors were burst and windows broken, shirts, coats and collars were torn in the attempt to secure entrance or exit. More than 80 qualified voters were left unregistered when! Clerk McCutcheon refused to register further.

The hon. member for North Toronto this evening advanced a very Ingenious and very able argument to try to point out the enormity of the Act of the Liberal party in 1901 in dividing up certain polling divisions throughout the province of Manitoba. My hon. friends on the other side of the House apparently did not inform the hon. gentleman that at the previous provincial election in 1903, on the same lists, in the same country and under the administration of the Conservative government who brought this election law into force, they found it necessary for the convenience of the electors to subdivide their polls. There was no power on the statute-book to enable a returning officer to do so, but yet they did subdivide their polls. I am making no charge against them fordoing so, because they did so, in so far as I am aware, in the public interest. They stated that they did it for the convenience of the public. I will read the names of some of the counties : Arthur, Avondale,

Emerson, Gladstone, Kildonan, Killarney, Lansdowne, Manitou, Morden, Rock wood, St. Boniface, Springfield and Virden. There are thirteen counties here and there are four others. There were twelve polls in Lansdowne and the returning officer divided them into twenty-two, and of course he had to use the thin red line to carve up the voters' lists to suit. In Emerson there were nine polls and he made thirteen, and in Gladstone there were fifteen and they made twenty. I have here a copy of the evidence which was taken in the case of the King vs. Duggan in which Mr. Harvey, the Conservative returning officer in the electoral district of Springfield, gave evidence. He was asked why he made eleven polling divisions when there were only nine provided by law. He gave the answer which has been given here before. He stated that he had done so in order to make it more convenient for the public. I will read a short extract frcnn his evidence :

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Mr. HOWELL@

I want to see this, because, although it may seem startling, I have seen several proclamations that were changed after they were signed by the returning officer. and I am anxious to know if this is one.

Continuing, the witness described the territorial division of Springfield into the 9 registration districts in which there were 11 polling divisions.

His Lordship observed that the polling divisions should have corresponded with the registration districts and the witness had thus made 11 polls, where, according to the law, there should have been only 9.

Mr. AIKINS

Acting for the Attorney General and a prominent Conservative.

-admitted that that was so, and said that it was necessary to lay all the facts connected with the matter before the court.

The witness, however, did not appear to be wholly responsible for the violation of the law, handing in a printed notice, signed by the Provincial Secretary, D. H. Mcladden, naming the 11 polling places, the extra 2 being made by the subdivision of 2 registration districts.

I am mentioning this not to find any fault. I have no knowledge of the facts, but I believe that in making the eleven polls they did so in the interest of the electors to make it easy for them to vote. But they had to change the list. They only had nine lists and they had to take these lists, carve them up, use the thin red line, or the thick black line, to scratch out the names of voters. If that was a proper procedure and in the public interest in 1903 on the same voters' lists and in the same constituencies why should the Attorney General of Manitoba take action against returning officers who happened to be working for the Dominion government in the election which was conducted on the sanne lists and in the same country within a year? At the October, 1905, assizes an indictment was preferred to the grand jury charging the returning officer for Macdonald with having struck off 46 names from polling division No. 5 of the local constituency of Mountain. This particular polling subdivision is divided between the three Dominion constituencies-Macdonald, Llsgar and Souris. What the returning officer did was to strike out from the Macdonald list the names of the electors who lived in Souris and Lisgar. Not one of these 46 electors were disfranchised. Had their names not been struck out from the Macdonald list they would have had a vote m each constituency contrary to law.

In regard to the subdivision of the polls, polling subdivision No. 10 of the constituency of Emerson comprises no less than 12 townships, that Is, 24 miles long by IS miles wide, or 432 square miles. For the purposes of the elections to the local legislature there was only one poll and that poll was at the extreme west corner, which made it very inconvenient for the electors to vote. In that polling division there was a large Liberal majority and the Liberals were mostly situated in the eastern end of tlie division remote from where the poll was placed. When the elections took place for the Dominion House the returning officer divided that poll into two and the result was that there was a majority of 105 for the Liberal candidate. I have no doubt that some of the people resented the idea of being sent so far off and on this account voted against the Conservative party. Contrast this with poll No. 11, Emerson, comprising a single township, with an electoral

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CON
LIB

Theodore Arthur Burrows

Liberal

Mr. BURROWS.

It will do no harm to read it again. Mr. Hastings is the organizer of the Conservative party and he is the gentleman who has been furnishing the campaign thunder for most of the people 'who are on that side of politics. This is his letter :

My Dear Sir,-You will notice the controversy between the ' Free Press ' and the

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LIB

Theodore Arthur Burrows

Liberal

Mr. BURROWS.

Telegram ' in reference to the proposed amendment to the Dominion Election Act as provided by the Aylesworth Bill now before the Dominion parliament, has grown to be one of considerable interest.

So far as the Aylesworth Bill is concerned, I may state to you in confidence that the real fight on this Bill has not yet begun, but it will start when this Bill comes before the House for its second reading, and the opposition will keep the House in session until the snow flies next winter before they will allow it to pass in its present shape.

If the Aylesworth Bill, as it now stands, should become law, it means that the Liberals will have it in their power to make up voters' lists for Dominion elections along the same lines and following the same tactics as were adopted and used by the officials when voters' lists were made up during the time the Greenway government was in power in this province and exercising their ingenuity along that line. With the voters' list made up after the writs of the election have been issued (as provided bv the Bill), it would be absolutely impossible for the Conservatives to conduct an aggressive campaign and at the same time endeavour to check the crooked work that would be at the same time perpetrated upon the people by the officials in the way of making the lists up, or in other wordi, it would simply mean that we might jusit as well concede the whole of this province to the Liberal party, and waste neither time, energy, or money, in the way of putting up a good legitimate fight.

Our party at Ottawa thoroughly understands this and will make the fight accordingly, but they need to be backed up by the public sentiment of Manitoba, and I therefore write you, upon behalf of the party, asking you, as a favour to the party, to aevote as much space in the columns of your paper as you possibly can in showing up the iniquity of this proposed legislation, and in doing so you will not only confer a favour upon the party, but you will be doins? a great act an the wav of preserving the civil rights and liberties of the independent electors of this province.

I would he much pleased if you would send 'me marked copies of your issue which contains any reference to this matter, and I will be pleased to have the same reproduced in the Winnipeg ' Telegram,' and all Conservative newspapers in the east.

I feel that it is unnecessary for me to say anything further upon the subject as you understand as well as I the great importance that surrounds the question of the passing or rejection of the Aylesworth Bill.

Kindly drop me a line and let me know if you will be able to comply with the request of the party in this regard.

Youts, very truly,

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W. H. HASTINGS.


I wonder if Mr. Hastings will write another letter now and state that the government advocates the lists being made by the judges, surely if he were fair he should change his mind in that regard. I may say that I noticed the week after this letter was written there appeared in the ' Telegram ' a whole lot of articles headed ' Western Press comments on tlie Aylesworth Amendment,' but the ' Free Press ' made so much criticism of these comments that the people got on to the combination that produced it, and the ' Telegram ' ceased publishing these comments. This was manufactured indignation, manufactured under the guidance of the Conservative party organizer in Manitoba.


?

An hon. MEMBER.

Who is Hastings ?

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LIB

Theodore Arthur Burrows

Liberal

Mr. BURROWS.

I think he is a provincial government employee so far as I understand.

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May 12, 1908