May 12, 1908

LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

The 'Telegram ' cannot place his name on the list, but this parliament can amend the law so as to give him his vote. Will the hon. gentleman agree to that ? That is the proposition I have to make. The judge who is empowered to adjust the lists will be entrusted with the work of correcting all errors which may have been committed in the preparation of the lists in Manitoba.

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CON

William James Roche

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. W. J. ROCHE.

The right hon. gentleman says that the lists are now prepared by partisan officials of the provincial government. Does he refer to the registration clerks or the revising barristers ?

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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

To the registration clerks.

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CON

William James Roche

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. W. J. ROCHE.

Will the right hon. gentleman point out some of the abuses committed by the registration clerks ?

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS

Oh, oh.

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CON

William James Roche

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. W. J. ROCHE.

There is no use of making a declaration if you cannot prove it.

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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

My answer is simply this : If the lists upon which this House is to be elected are to be prepared by officers appointed by this government, would you call them partisan officials ?

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CON

William James Roche

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. W. J. ROCHE.

I would like to point out to the right hon. gentleman that the registration clerks do not prepare the lists ; they accept the affidavits of the elector who makes application for personal registration. The registration clerk cannot put the elector's name on the list without an affidavit.

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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

It is simply another way of looking at the question. I will put the question again. It is a play upon words and nothing else. If this Bill becomes law and if the registration clerk is appointed by this government will my hon. friend be satisfied ?

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CON

William James Roche

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. W. J. ROCHE.

I will if you apply the same law to every province in the Dominion. We are not going to be singled out.

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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

We will not apply the same law to the other provinces of the Dominion, because in the province of Ontario and the other provinces the lists are prepared by the municipal officers.

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CON

Edward Arthur Lancaster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LANCASTER.

The lists are not prepared. where there is registration, by the municipal clerks, but they are prepared by the registration clerks.

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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

No, my hon. friend (Mr. Lancaster) is in error. I do not know the province of Ontario as well as he does, but in rural Ontario the lists are prepared by the municipal councils.

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CON
LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

There is no registration in rural Ontario. In certain cities there is registration, but it is a drop in the bucket. There are only a few cities in which there is registration. In rural Ontario the lists are prepared by municipal councils.

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CON

Edward Arthur Lancaster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LANCASTER.

Where there is registration in Ontario the registration clerks are appointed by the provincial government.

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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

Possibly. We do not touch them. My hon. friend does not find fault with that. But, I say this to my hon. friend from Marquette : He proposes that we shall apply the same principle everywhere, but I say that elsewhere tthe lists are prepared by the municipal authorities.

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CON

William James Roche

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. W. J. ROCHE.

The right hon. gentleman has not answered my question. Will he point out abuses committed by the registration clerks and unfairness towards their opponents.

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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

I have only to refer my hon. friend to the speech of my hon. friend from Selkirk (Mr. Jackson), to the speech of my hon. friend from Portage la Prairie (Mr. Crawford) and to the speech of my hon. friend from Lisgar (Mr. Greenway). These are the evidences that I have. I have to say this to my hon. friend ; he will take my suggestion for what it is worth, he will accept it or not accept it, but I think we shall have a fair basis upon which to prepare the lists for the election, without any suspicion on the part of anybody, if the lists are prepared altogether under judicial authority.

Now, Sir, I have said enough with respect to the province of Manitoba. I come now to the other provisions of the Bill. The Bill was prepared with an object and upon a general principle and that principle was that wherever there is no municipal registration or municipal preparation of the lists we shall entrust the preparation of the lists to the authority provided for by this Bill. I listened the other day to the speech of the hon. member for Jacques Cartier (Mr. Monk) in so far as this provision related to Quebec. I must say that I listened to my hon. friend from Jacques Cartier with a mingled feeling -of curiosity and pain. My

hon. friend was at once alarmed and bellicose. He was alarmed because he saw In the unorganized districts of Quebec visions of Syrians, Italians, and other foreigners being put on the lists along the line of the Transcontinental railway. I think my hon. friend need not be alarmed upon this question. It is said that beauty is in the eye of the gazer. It looks very much as if scandal was very much in the eye of the gazer. Scandal exists in the imagination of my hon. friend and he believes that we have a sinister motive in view. If this Bill were passed and if authority were given in the unorganized portions of Quebec to have the lists prepared how could the Grand Trunk Pacific come into play ?

Where would it be ? Would it be the county of Montcalm, or of Joliette or of any of these counties which extend to the Hudson bay, or would it be beyond the mountains? How could the registration officer or the revising officer go to the line of the Transcontinental Railway in order to make a list? I do not think that argument of my hon. friend (Mr. Monk) is very serious, but he made a plea to maintain our system and with that idea I am very much in accord, when the system is right. The hon. gentleman (Mr. Monk) argued that in the province of Quebec there is no unorganized territory, because if a territory is unorganized it is placed under the jurisdiction of a county council. Let me explain to the hon. gentlemen from other parts of Canada that our municipal system in Quebec is the same as in Ontario; we have local councils in every municipality, our municipalities are townships, villages and parishes, and the mayors of all the local municipalities are the members of the county council. But there is a provision in our municipal code, peculiar to that code so far as I am aware, which says that if there is in any county a territory which is unorganized it is placed under the supervision of the county council. That is a very wise provision, but I do not think it can be construed to the length my hon. friend (Mr. Monk) would construe it.

I understand that the county council has jurisdiction over all municipal matters which are to be found within the code-for instance, if the unorganized territory in any of these counties needs roads, the county council would deal with that, or if there is a by-law to be passed in favour of the prohibition of the liquor traffic the powers of the municipal council would apply to that. But I fail to see within the four corners of the municipal code any provision which gives to the secretary-treasurer of the municipal council the duty of making electoral lists in those territories, and in our province these lists are prepared by the secretary-treasurer under the supervision of the council. This power is not given to them under the municipal code but by the Election Act, which says :

Sir WILFRID LAURIER,

The secretary-treasurer of each municipality shall, between the 1st and 15th day of the month of March, annually make in duplicate subdivided for each polling subdivision a list in alphabetical order of all persons who according to the valuation roll then in force in the municipality for municipal purposes appear to be electors by reason of the real estate possessed or occupied by them in any manner within the municipality or by reason of being otherwise qualified as set forth in article 9.

Does my hon. friend (Mr. Monk) believe that this article which places on the secretary-treasurer of local councils the duty of preparing these lists, can be applied to the secretary-treasurer of the county councils. I have very serious doubt as to that. I have not had an opportunity yet of conferring with the Minister of Justice on that question, but if my hon. friend's view is correct I will be more than pleased ; if his view is correct the province of Quebec would be beyond the jurisdiction of this Act and that should be satisfactory to him as it is to me.

With regard to the other provinces I do not think I should say much more.

Now, revising the whole question It is beyond doubt that we should have an election law; that we should improve the electoral Act, that we should give satisfaction to public opinion which has imperatively demanded a new election law. Viewing the debate as It has proceeded up to the present, I think I can say that no system of preparing the lists will be satisfactory to this side or to the other side if it is to be made for party purposes either by the Dominion government or by any provincial government.

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CON

Arthur Cyril Boyce

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOYCE.

In view of the very grave irregularities which have been pointed out and proven with regard to the making up of voters' lists In the unorganized territory of Ontario, would the right hon. gentleman suggest whether there is to be any improvement in the law ?

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May 12, 1908