May 14, 1908

CON

William D. Staples

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STAPLES.

I would like, in reply to the minister, to say that the government of Manitoba are to-day trying to find Rudneski.

Mr. OLIVER My hon. friend had possession of the cheque which he held up in this House.

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CON
LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

I saw it or what my hon. friend said was it, I am taking his word and it is good enough. He said that the cheque had not been cashed.

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CON
LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

That no more had been paid for it than its face value.

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CON
LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

If it would give evidence of his having been suborned to perjury to the men who are charged with the responsibility of punishing him is it to be supposed that he would give up that cheque unless he got a promise of protection? Rudneski is accused of being a jail-bird, he is accused of being a fugitive from justice, he is accused of being a perjurer, but he is not accused of being such a consummate fool as that. However, we will drop the question of Rudneski.

There is an affidavit placed before the House by my hon. friend from Winnipeg (Mr. Bole) of another person who, in so many words, confirmed every statement made by Rudneski. Apparently he was not paid anything for this, at any rate, our friends have no cheque to show that they got from him. They have not said that he is a fugitive from justice, that he is not in the province of Manitoba. If the Rudneski affidavit is false the affidavit of this other man is just as false, and it is the duty of the Attorney General of Manitoba to see that the man is laid bjr the heels in jail under the terms of the Criminal Code if they dare do it. It is not good enough to send broadcast statements in the newspapers that this, that, or the other statement is not true. It is not a question of veracity, it is a question of the breaking of the criminal law in one of its most important provisions; of the breaking down of one of the greatest safeguards of society done with the cognizance, in the case of Rudneski, and I very much fear with the assistance of the party machine in the province of Manitoba. Another affidavit was read in the House today from a citizen of Winnipeg and a voter in the province. It has not been alleged so far that he has been paid for his affidavit; it is not pretended that he is a jailbird and a fugitive from justice ; it is up to the Manitoba government to put that man in jail on a charge of perjury and not ask this House to believe that the fact that Sandy Macdonald was defeated in North Winnipeg by 450 votes and that 450 names were improperly placed on the list, were merely a coincidence.

867&

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CON

William James Roche

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. W. J. ROCHE (Marquette).

Was not that constituency already in the hands of the Conservatives by a very large majority?

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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

And apparently the friends of my hon. friend did not think it was a safe seat or they would not have taken such sirenuous measures to secure it. Had there been a fair opportunity for the revision of the lists in North Winnipeg this would not and could not have occurred for it would have been useless to put these bogus names upon the list. But it was in the full knowledge that there was no opportunity for revision that these measures were resorted to and these naturalizations made out in order to secure the defeat of the Liberal candidate on that occasion. And if these things were done in North Winnipeg what is there to hinder their being resorted to in every constituency of the province. The court of revisions is the safeguard of the liberties of the people and when the court of revision is not given a fair opportunity to discharge its duty it matters not whether it is a judge or a layman who presides over it. It is in restricting the opportunity for revising the lists that the great iniquity of the Manitoba law exists and it is because of that iniquity, it seems to me, that our hon. friends are so persistent in holding on to the law.

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CON

William James Roche

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. W. J. ROCHE (Marquette).

Can the minister quote any authority to say that there was any complaint from the Liberals of the city of Winnipeg about sufficient time not having been given for the court of revision to discharge its duty ?

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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

They did not know what the results would be until the votes were polled and it was the surprise of the elections that this constituency went as it did. How were people to know that such acts had been perpetrated when they were not given a fair opportunity to know what names were on the list and to have the list revised ? To sum up : The registration clerks are appointed and hold sittings as directed by order in council. The requirement of personal registration is interpreted to give all the advantages to those whom a partisan registration clerk may desire to place on the list. Once the preliminary list is made up there is no fair opportunity to secure a proper revision of the names on it. The publicity given the list is not sufficient. The location of the persons whose names appear is not sufficient. That point has been established. The time allowed for the preparation of appeals may be and sometimes is manipulated by the local government so as to be absurdly insufficient. That point was established. The number of courts of revision allowed is insufficient. The time allowed the courts is insufficient. The place of sitting of the court is frequently inconvenient. The provision that the court may not adjourn from day to day un-276i

til its work is completed makes the preliminary list compiled by a partisan registration clerk, and not the list as revised by the judge, practically final, under the present provincial law as it is administered. So far as the overlapping of provincial and federal constituencies is concerned there must be a revision or there cannot be an election. The present provision for correcting the overlapping by the returning officer has not been satisfactory in practice, therefore some other method should be provided. In order that the people may freely cast their votes it is necessary that polling divisons should be conveniently arranged. In a country where the population is rapidly increasing there is need for a frequent readjustment of polling subdivisions such as would not exist under other circumstances. There is the same need that the right to subdivide into federal polling divisions should exist, and should be used when needed independent of provincial divisions as that the boundaries of federal constituencies should be independent of the bounds of provincial constituencies.

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Mr. POSTER@

Is this a quotation ?

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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

No, it is a statement that I am making to the House. Does my hon. friend agree with it or not ?

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

Is it the minister's own statement ?

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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

It is my own statement. No provision exists in the present law for such a readjustment of polling divisions and voters' lists and therefore provision should be made. The conditions actually existing demand a distribution of the voters on the provincial lists amongst the several constituencies of the province and amongst the several polling divisions in these constituencies by some legal authority. Given adequate opportunity for revision of the lists and for the proper distribution of polls and of voters, and the compilation of the lists as at present would not be greatly objected to. It is believed, however, that so long as the principle of personal registration is accepted there should be a registration office opened in each polling division as established at the last preceding election. But without proper revision of the lists and distribution of voters the compilation of the lists and distribution of the voters however made, is only a means of reaching the end of unfair lists.

What is wanted is r

Printing of the preliminary lists. The lists as printed to give post office address in all cases. A statutory minimum period between registration and revision that shall be sufficient in all ordinary cases. Actual dates to be fixed by registration board, not by order in council. I am suggesting that

Tvliat my bon. friend said was now the practice shall be made the law.

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CON

Joseph Gédéon Horace Bergeron

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BERGERON.

Is that in the Bill before ?

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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

It is not in the Bill before.

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CON

Joseph Gédéon Horace Bergeron

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BERGERON.

It is a new departure.

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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

The times and places of sitting of courts of revision to be fixed by the registration board, not by order in council, and courts to be adjourned from day to day until all applications to put on or strike off names are disposed of. Officers appointed to revise the lists to adjust the voters' list as revised to the limit of the Dominion constituency to which they properly belong. Returning officer to have authority to establish polls, define polling divisions, and adjust lists to meet requirements as now done in provincial elections subject to appeal to the registration board. If the law as it stands at present were in itself fair and not subject to improper administration, there could be no "reasonable objection to placing it in the hands of the federal government for administration in regard to federal lists as proposed by the Bill.

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May 14, 1908