July 14, 1908

LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

Yes, hut it was not intended to bring in the Grand Trunk Pacific vote, that is a very gratuitous insinuation. The hon. member for Jacques Cartier said that although the power exists to have lists prepared by the municipal code, the

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CON

Arthur Cyril Boyce

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOYCE.

Is the fact that no lists had been prepared in the unorganized districts of Quebec the reason this government is not interfering?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

Oh,' I understand there is no list.

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CON

Edmund James Bristol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRISTOL.

The hon. gentleman is better informed than I could be as to the conditions in Quebec. We can only take the information that is given in the House, and the Minister of Justice brought into this House a Bill which provided for the making of voters' lists in the unorganized territories of Quebec. Perhaps he is equally ignorant with myself as to that province; but surely some of his colleagues from the province of Quebec could have put him right. We have this fact, that the Minister of Justice brought in a Bill which provided for making lists in the unorganized districts of the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, but that, without any excuse, or for some reason best known to himself, he has decided to leave out the province of Quebec but to leave in the province of Ontario, although lists have been prepared in those districts in the province of Ontario within two months, and not one tittle of evidence has been produced before this House that those lists are unfair or unreasonable. Where lists are prepared by any provincial government, whether Liberal or Conservative, and complaints are made to the Minister of Justice that they are unfair, his first duty would be to communicate with the attorney general of that province and put the complaints before him and ask him if there is anything in them. That is tlie course he would take if he wanted this Dominion to go on without friction. But the ridiculous part of it is that these complaints did not exist at the time tlie Bill was brought in, which shows Sir WILFRID LAURIER

the animus of the Minister of Justice and his colleagues in introducing it at all. If we are going to conduct this confederation on harmonious principles, we must not encroach on provincial rights. If I were to read the many speeches the right hon. leader of the government has made in favour of accepting the voters' lists prepared by the various provinces I would keep the House longer than it would care to stay. Everybody is familiar with his utterances in that regard. I am astonished that he has departed from those principles so far as the great province of Ontario is concerned. If there is one man more than another in this country who should have been careful in this matter to have left the province of Ontario alone, in the interest of harmony, it is the right Lon. 'gentleman. The feeling will exist all through that province that there has been unjust discrimination against it, that the right hon. gentleman has not acted with the sunny ways with which he usually conducts the public affairs of this country. This kind of legislation should be enacted only as a last resort, called for only by some imperative necessity. But, in view of the facts, it will be a blot on. the statute-book of this country. To say that the government of Ontario will not have fair lists made in the unorganized districts is an insult to that government. There is no public interest to be served bv putting through this legislation. Instead of it being styled an Election Act, it should be styled an Act to insure the election of the hon. member for Rainy River (Mr. Con-mee). I challenge the right hon. gentleman to find the slightest complaint in regard to the fairness of the voters' lists in any of these northern ridings, except that of our loud-speaking friend from Rainy River. Hon. gentlemen may get declarations which they will not show, but that is not the proper way to deal with legislation. There should be proper evidence produced that there is anything unjust or unfair. If there was any real ground of complaint in this matter, it was possible for this government away back in May, or in June, since the election took place, or at any time up to the 1st of July, to represent to the government of Ontario that they wanted new fists made in the Rainy River district or in any other district; because, under the laws of the province of Ontario, up to the 1st of July, and afterwards if it is desired, the province can have new voters' lists prepared in the unorganized districts. If there was the slightest complaint of those lists, why, in the name of common sense, was not the attorney general of the province communicated with, and asked to have enumerators appointed and to have the judicial revision which the law provides for? It was perfectly feasible; but the hon. member for Rainy River and the

government did not want tliat. They seemed to be blind to their own interests in this matter, even if their course should put people by ears and cause ill-feeling throughout the country. Such a state of affairs is a surprise to me, because it is contrary to the whole career and to all the public utterances of the right hon. leader of the government. Without any communication with the government of Ontario, but on ex-parte statements, hon. gentlemen opposite ask this parliament to legislate on this matter, and to treat Ontario differently from any other province. This legislation is unjust and ill-advised and is going to cause ill-feeling and disturb the harmony of confederation.

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LIB

Robert James Watson

Liberal

Mr. WATSON.

How will it disturb the harmony of the unorganized districts?

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CON
LIB

Robert James Watson

Liberal

Mr. WATSON.

How could there be any possible chance for an appeal when the voters' list was dated 5th June, and the elections held on the 8th v

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CON

Edmund James Bristol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRISTOL.

What I say is this. So far as a Dominion candidate or a prospective Dominion candidate, who might have an election this year, was concerned

not a provincial candidate-he could have put in appeals undoubtedly. The right to prosecute an appeal was not affected by the fact of an election taking place. The Dominion candidate had a perfect right to have that list revised by the District Judge, and it was his duty to see that it was put into shape because he knew it must be his list unless he got legislation from this parliament changing the law. That law was not introduced by us but by the Liberal party and has been acted on for years. If the hon. member for Rainy River (Mr. Conmee) did not have that list put in shape, it was because he thought he would hold up the First Minister and get a list which would elect him at all costs and under any circumstances.

I fancy there are many others of my colleagues on this side absolutely opposed to this proposed legislation. Therefore I shall not at this stage take time to criticise it as it deserves, but I would say that notwithstanding the howl from the hon. member for Rainy River (Mr. Conmee) and his desire for sixty days appeal, this Bill does not give one day more for appeal than does the Act of 1904. It says that the laws of the province shall be observed, and you have this ludicrous result that while that is admitted, the Dominion government propose to take the administration into their own hands. For these and many other reasons which could be readily given, I am against this legislation as unconstitutional, as opposed to provincial rights, as unjust, unfair and unreasonable, and therefore I submit the clauses I refer to should be struck out

A. C. BOYCE (West Algoma). My hon. friend from Centre Toronto (Mr. Bristol) has forestalled me in the protest I intend to make on behalf of northern Ontario with reference to the introduction into any Election

Bill of this Dominion of a clause at once so unnecessary and so mysterious as the one now proposed in substitution for the one, which was even more so than the present amendment. When one comes to consider the reason submitted by the Minister of Justice for this legislation, it strikes one at once how ridiculous and absurd is the position which the hon. minister occupies in the eyes of the country. Just let us see what position he took when introducing this legislation on March 9, 1908. He then said very little about the necessity for these lists in New Ontario and very little indeed with regard to any irregularity. Not one word did he say with regard to the fastening upon northern Ontario of voters' lists to be prepared by this Dominion. It is clear from the complaints which have come and have been referred to since, that there were no irregularities in the preparation of the lists because there were no lists then prepared. There was nothing to complain of except that the appointment of enumerators was in the hands of the Conservative government of Ontario, and that was considered sufficient ground by the Minister of Justice for interfering with the right of that province to administer her own laws and prepare her own voters' lists.

The second reading of this Bill was moved on May 5; and speaking of the irregularities which justified the necessity for portions of clause 1. the minister said at page 8101 of ' Hansard ':

I do not know and I do not suppose anybody can know, without the taking of evidence whether or not that state of things does exist.

Contrast that with the very fair statement of this miuister on July 2, page 12112 of ' Hansard.' He said :

With regard first to Manitoba, I have not tried to check over those statements, but certainly they were categorically made and were backed up apparently by evidence of a documentary character, but many of them were with equal definiteness denied from the other side of the House, and I have no doubt, as I said when speaking six weeks ago on this very point, that it would take a judicial inquiry to establish in any individual case what the facts and truth may be. Enough at least at all events has appeared to demonstrate that there is great dissatisfaction and that that dissatisfaction extends to the minority of that province, a minority provincial which is represented in this House by a majority of nearly two to one seats.

. Then with regard to Ontario, the minister listened with great intentness to what the hon. member for Rainy River (Mr. Conmee) had to say, and I may take this opportunity of declaring that that hon. gentleman is unable to substantiate the many statements he made of irregularities in the election or the preparation of the voters' lists, which affected that election or the regularitv or validity of those lists. What did the Minister of Justice say after the hon. member for Rainv Mr. BOYCE.

River (Mr. Conmee) sat down? What he said will be found on page 12117 of ' Hansard,' speaking of the hon. member for Rainy River (Mr. Conmee), he then said :

He pointed out the facts which were not controverted.

-which have never been so far as I am aware contradicted, and which I presume are incontrovertible as establishing the manner in which in his own constituency and under the present Ontario Registration Act these voters' lists were being prepared.

Mark you, Mr. Chairman, the Minister of Justice said that the hon. member had stated facts which had not been controverted which had never, so far as he was aware, been contradicted, and which he presumed were uncontrovertible. And, Sir, he sat there, mute, absolutely senseless to the protest which I made during an hour or an hour and a half in which every point that the hon. member for Thunder Bay and Rainy River had made in the shape of complaint or allegation of irregularities was not only contradicted, not only controverted but either completely explained away or absolutely disproven. Sir, there is a Minister of Justice who is a spectacle before this country. It is upon statements and pesumptions such as that that this Minister of Justice seeks to force through, with the concurrence of the Prime Minister a measure which is a direct invasion of the provincial rights of the great province of Ontario, rights which the Prime Minister was so careful, in days gone by, to safeguard and of which he was so loud a champion. Then, at page 12118, speaking of these irregularities complained of by the hon. member for Thunder Bay and Rainy River, the Minister of Justice said :

And if we find in such an iimportanit centre as the chief place of the riding the hon. gentleman represents, lists prepared in that sort of way under the Ontario statute passed only at the recent session of the legislature, and if we find coupled with these various lists so prepared that whether by accident or by design all right of appeal is cut oft to those who would wish to appeal, and that these lists stand to-day as lists which have not had in any respect whatever the work of the judge in the way of revising or hearing objections to them, a clearer case it would be difficult to find for legislative interference.

And, Sir, instances which make this a clear case for legislative interference upou which the Minister of Justice depends- whether true or untrue-arose not merely after the Bill had been introduced but after it had received its second reading; and even the facts upon which he relied were denied and controverted upon the floor of this House. Moreover the hon. minister proceeds on hearsay, as you will find at page 12119 :

I am told that in one of the ridings the enumerator refused to go to a settlement where there was an overwhelming preponderance of voters of the adverse political party.

The minister stated that he had these facts from letters and declarations in his possession. And yet, when he is asked to lay his evidence upon the table he says that it consists of private correspondence and cannot be produced in the House. I ask the committe again to say whether the Minister of Justice is endeavouring to act even with reasonable fairness towards the House and the country, but more particularly towards the province of Ontario. But the Minister of Justice does not take that position always, as has been said, and said so well, by my hon. friend from Centre Toronto (Mr. Bristol). Speaking of the position in the province of Quebec, at page 12122, he refers to the complaints which have been made by members from his own side of the House as to the disfranchisement of voters in the province of Quebec both for provincial and federal elections. And this is what he said :

The province of Quebec is possessed, according to hon. gentlemen on this side, of a considerable extent of unorganized territory, in which at present there are no voters' lists

I commend this to the attention of the right hon. gentleman (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) in view of what he has said to-day.

-and the people who live in those districts do not vote either for the provincial legislature or this House. That seems to be an anomalous condition. My hon. friend from Wright county (Mr. Devlin) said something about the number of such persons who were residing within the limits of his constituency. The number was considerable. On attention being called to the foot that, not merely an Wright and Montoalm and the other counties alongside Montcalm, which extend into the northern or unsettled portions of the province, but in the ridings of Gaspd and no doubt of Chicoutimi and Saguenay and other portions of the province, there are possibly many colonists who, under the present system, have no means of getting a franchise-on attention being called to that fact, no doubt the provincial legislature will at once provide a remedy.

What does the right hon. gentleman say this morning ? He says that the remedy fs left with the legislature of the province of Quebec, because, forsooth, these are unorganized portions of Quebec in which voters have not voted either in provincial or in Dominion elections. I think I understood him correctly in that. He does not deny it, therefore I assume that it is correct. If that be the case why does the hon. gentleman not apply the same remedy to Ontario ? Why does he propose, by Bill passed in this parliament, to create polls and to make up voters' lists in the unorganized districts of Ontario where there have never been polls before, or a vote cast either in provincial or Dominion elections ? He cannot deny that this is what he provides for by this Bill so far as Ontario is concerned, nor can he deny that, in the case of Quebec, he leaves this remedy in the hands of the legislature of that province. The right hon. Prime

Minister says : I will not leave this in the hands of the provincial legislature of Ontario, hut I will force it with an iron hand upon that province, not merely as a temporary method of meeting a temporary exigency, but for all time; but so far as a similar condition in Quebec is concerned. I declare, through my Minister of Justice, that the legislature of Quebec shall be free to remedy the difficulty in its own way.

Again I ask the right hon. gentleman, if he applied that condition of things to the province of Quebec in 1904 when he permitted the lists to be made up in nine polls, aggregating 543 names of voters who never voted before in that district, at places where there was no settlement, in many cases no patented land, in other cases not a single dwelling house, and in most of them absolutely no roads-there were 543 names appearing on those voters' lists. The right hon. gentleman made up voters' lists where there were never any voters' lists before, either provincial or Dominion. The right hon. gentleman assumes legislative authority with regard to Ontario which he scorns to establish with regard to Quebec and leaves to the Quebec legislature. Has the right hon. gentleman laid before this House one tittle of evidence to support the statement he has made that there was dissatisfaction about the lists in Northern Ontario ? Not one tittle of evidence. The Minister of Justice is asked for the evidence on oath that he speaks about, for the letters that have been written to him containing these complaints. He won't produce them, but at the same time he says that the evidence is not contradicted. Can one imagine a gentleman occupying the position of Minister of Justice so wanting in the first principles of fairness that he would inflict this measure upon the province of Ontario and at the same time refuse to make public the sworn declarations with regard to irregularities which he says he possesses ? Will the right hon. gentleman subscribe to that sort of justice? Will he say that the Minister of Justice is justified in passing this measure upon evidence which he will not or dare not produce before this House? Would the right hon. gentleman ask this House to accept evidence that a court would not accept under similar circumstances? If I were at the bar of a court and were to tell the judge that I could abundantly prove my case by affidavits, by sworn evidence that I have in my bag, but I won't produce it, it is satisfactory to me, and therefore the court must be satisfied with it also-there you have an illustration of the position of the Minister of Justice and of the Prime Mnistsr of this country in forcing this legislation upon the province of Ontario. In the province of Quebec the Minister of Justice says that numbers of persons are disfranchised, but although hundreds are disfrnu-cliised in the province of Quebec, the Minister of Justice does not think that is a case

for interference by this House, and he is content to leave that to the jurisdiction of the provincial legislature of Quebec. But where there is a list not closed, and where only one appeal was put in against that list in the district of Rainy River, the Minister of Justice takes that one case as sufficient to justify him in going on with this legislation. I protest on behalf of the unorganized districts, and on behalf of the province of Ontario, against this iniquitous legislation, and I shall continue to so protest until the right hon. gentleman sees tit to change it.

Then with regard to the irregularities referred to by the hon. member for Thunder Bay and Rainy River (Mr. Conmee), all I can say is that the irregularities were in no sense sufficient to vitiate the voters' lists that were already made up. I hold in my hand a memorandum of the dates of the courts of appeal from all the voters' lists in that district, made up under the unorganized provisions of the Act of 1893, and X And that although the list for Kaministi-quia, which is complained of by the hon. member, and the list for Simpson island and Heron bay in that constituency, were not closed at the time the provincial election was held, yet I find that courts were appointed for every place in the district where these unorganized lists were made up, and that the lists were duly revised and duly closed, and they remain now certified as good lists, the statutory time for which has completely expired, There is no reason why they should not be used for the Dominion elections except the reasons which have been referred to by my hon. friend from Centre Toronto (Mr. Bristol), namely, that the hon. member for Rainy River knows perfectly well that he has absolutely no chance, in view of the result of the provincial elections, of retaining a seat in this House, with a popular majority of between 1,000 and 2,000 against him, unless he is able to make up the lists as they were made up in 1904, to suit the constituency of Port Arthur and Rainy River and to secure the election for himself. There was a protest, I believe, filed with the returning officer by one M. J. Kenny on the 13th day of June. That was a protest against the fact that the voters' lists had not been certified by the judge ten days before the polling day, and, therefore, that the list did not come under the provision of subsection 3 of section IS of the Ontario Elections Act, and respectfully submitting that in view of these irregularities the returning officer could not make a legal declaration with reference to the election of the member for that riding. And when Mr. Kenny delivered that letter of protest he stated to the returning officer that the objection was taken by Mr. James Conmee, M.P. It is easy for the hon. member for Rainy River to manufacture complaints himself or to get them manufactured Mr. BOYCE.

over the hand of his solicitor, Mr. M. J. Kenny. It is easy for the hon. member (Mr. Conmee) to keep the sore open ; it is easy for him to hug a grievance, and the result of my investigation is that the hon. member for Rainy River would rather have the grievance than, in the public interest, find a remedy. His hope is to be able to make the lists under this Bill according to his own ideas and to go into territory where voters' lists were never before made so that he may accomplish the very thing the Prime Minister has so warmly deprecated. The making up of these lists under this Bill is open to the further grave objection that it affects 11 provincial ridings in Northern Ontario, in all of which there are regularly made up voters' lists only a month or two old and which could be used at the next Dominion election. And, Sir, in only one of these 11 ridings could the member for Rainy River or the Minister of Justice find the shadow of a complaint. Let these gentlemen give any particulars of irregularities, and I have the information here ready to answer them. But the member for Rainy River seems to dominate both the Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice ; he seems to hold them in the hollow of his hands and to ' boss the job,' and so in violation of all the principles of the Liberal party and in violation of all the principles laid down by the Prime Minister himself the lists in these 11 constituencies are to be taken out of the control of the province of Ontario, not only for the next Dominion election, but for all time. Against that insult to my province I protest most strongly.

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CON

Albert Edward Kemp

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. A. E. KEMP (East Toronto).

Mr. Speaker, I still hope that the Prime Minister will see his way to prevent this insult to Ontario and to treat that great province in the same manner as the other provinces of the Dominion are treated by this Bill. A few days ago the right hon. gentleman told us that he made certain concessions in the case of Manitoba and British Columbia so as to meet the views of the opposition, but it occurred to me that in his heart searching the right hon. gentleman found that the public opinion of this Dominion was against that interference by the Dominion parliament with the provincial lists, and so he stayed his hand. If we are going to have all over Canada electoral lists prepared by Dominion authority well and good, but if this parliament declares, as it has declared that the federal lists shall be made by the provincial authorities then let us not discriminate. The Minister of Justice told us that every word of this Bill was written by his own hand and I have wondered where he got his inspiration. Surely it was not from the Prime Minister because the right hon. gentleman could have told him about the position of the Liberal party on the Franchise Act of 1885, a measure,

which the Prime Minister told us, had engendered much bitterness. Again, the Prime Minister could have reminded his Minister of Justice of what happened in 1893 when the Liberal party in convention decided to do away with the Dominion Franchise Act and to confide the preparation of the lists to the several provinces. Again, the right hon. gentleman could have pointed his minister to the declaration which he himself made in 1898 when the present franchise Act was brought into force, and when the Prime Minister said (Hansard 1898, page 4015) :

But I would not have hesitated to accept the franchise provided by the Conservative legislature in Quebec because though there were many things in that franchise on the whole to which I would have objected, still as it satisfied the province, it would have satisfied me. It is the same way as regards other provinces. It is possible the control of the several provinces may pass into the hands of the Conservative party, but still on a question of this kind I am disposed on my part to accept the franchise prepared by the legislature, whether Liberal or Conservative.

I have been endeavouring to discover what motive actuated the Minister of Justice in preparing the original Bill submitted to this House and I Can arrive at no other conclusion than that when he found a province in which the legislature was controlled by the Conservative party he aimed to have the lists in that province prepared by federal authority. He started at the Pacific coast and finding the province of British Columbia with a Conservative government he attacked that province, and when the Bill was submitted to the House it was found that nobody of any political party had any serious objection to raise to the lists in British Columbia. In Alberta and Saskatchewan there were Liberal governments ; these young provinces are still to some extent under the paternal care of the Dominion government and so they were not interfered with. Then he came to the pioneer province of Manitoba and he laid violent hands on that province and he attempted to destroy every principle laid down by the Liberal party with regard to the franchise. He essayed to wrest from the province of Manitoba the possibility of her having anything to do with the electoral lists in federal elections. Then, he came to the province of Quebec, and it is very difficult to find out just what the conditions are in that province but I presume so far as the unorganized districts are concerned they are much the same as iu northern Ontario. The Minister of Justice pretended to interfere with the control of the lists in the unorganized districts of Quebec, but as the Prime Minister announced in this House he communicated with the authorities of that province and he accepted their explanations as satisfactory and I

would withdraw that portion of the Bill which referred to Quebec. What a contrast between his manner of dealing with the Quebec government and with the Ontario government. In no way whatever has the right hon. gentleman communicated with the attorney general or with the government of Ontario to find out what were the conditions in the northern part of that province with respect to the lists or to ascertain whether if any irregularities existed the provincial government was willing to correct them. Let me tell the right hon. gentleman, in view of the concessions he has made to Manitoba, that the government of the province of Ontario are fully as competent as the government of Manitoba or of Quebec or of any other province of the Dominion to make out a proper electoral list. This is a serious matter. It is nothing short of a slur upon the province of Ontario. Surely we are as highly civilized in the province of Ontario as are the people of any other province, surely we have reached as high a state of development in that province as have the people of any other province, and yet under this Act the Prime Min-, ister easts a slur on the people of Ontario and discriminates against that province in respect to six constituencies. I would draw the attention of the House to the fact that what we call New Ontario is being very rapidly developed by the present government who know every foot of that territory and who so understand its wants that there is no authority in the Dominion so competent to deal with the voters' lists there ns is the provincial government. I warn the Prime Minister that the people of Ontario will not forget this insult. We in Ontario point with pride to our sister province of Quebec and surely the Prime Minister must see that this discrimination against Ontario will create a great deal of ill feeling. I would also call attention to the fact that it is only by the weapon of the great majority which the Prime Minister has in this House that he could pei'pe-trate such an outrage. The right hon. gentleman has not a majority in this House from the province of Ontario, but by his majority from the province of Quebec and other provinces of the Dominion he is able to say to the people of Ontario : You are not competent to make fair electoral lists ; we will not trust you. The present government of Ontario singularly enjoys the confidence of the people and I believe that this slur will be resented in a way which will surprise the Prime Minister.

Now, as I have said, wherever the Minister of Justice found a Conservative government in power he laid hands on that province. He did not interfere with Nova Scotia, although as was shown by the letters and documents read by the leader of the opposition very grave irregularities ex-

ist in the electoral lists of that province. But a Biberal government is in power there anti the irregularities are not noticed by the Minister of Justice. Then, New Brunswick had a close call. You will notice that the provincial elections in New Brunswick were held on the 8th of March and this Bill was introduced on the 9th of March, and so you can imagine what would have taken place had the New Brunswick elections been held a month earlier and the Conservatives returned to power. Again, in Prince Edward Island there is a Liberal government and there is no interference with the lists there. Therefore, in looking for the reason which prompted the Minister of Justice in drafting the original Bill I can only come to the conclusion that he sought to present a thoroughly partisan measure and that the discrimination against the Conservative provinces was partisan to the last degree. One word with respect to the hon. member for Rainy River. The fallacy of the arguments which he attempted to present to this House in favour of the Bill was completely exposed when it was shown that the alleged irregularities which he pointed to as a reason for the Bill occurred long after the Bill was introduced. I believe, and I think all reasonable men will believe that the electoral lists for the unorganized portions of Ontario are just as good lists on the average as are to be found in any province of the Dominion. If there be irregularities I do not believe they occurred by intent, and at their very worst they are certainly not greater than those which are shown to exist in Nova Scotia or elsewhere. I trust that even at the last hour the Prime Minister will withdraw this clause of the Bill and refrain from doing this injustice to the province of Ontario.

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CON

William Wright

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WM. WRIGHT (Muskoka).

Representing as I do one of the constituencies in northern Ontario which will to some extent be affected by this Bill, I feel I am justified in uttering as strong a protest against it as I am capable of uttering. It has been truly stated in this discussion that we have as correct voters' lists in northern Ontario as we ever had, and as correct lists as are to be found in any part of the Dominion. Then, why should there be interference by this government: why should this government lay violent hands upon that portion of Ontario and say : We cannot trust you ; we will take this matter entirely into our own hands and we will put a stigma upon the government of Ontario and upon the people of that portion of the province, because after all these lists have been made up by the people who reside in these unorganized territories. Now, Sir, the strong ground of the objection of the member for Rainy River is that there was not sufficient time under the Ontario statute to properly compile these lists, but let me point out that the time given for the preparation of Mr. KEMP.

these lists under the provincial law Is just as great as the time provided for in this Bill so that this chief ground of complaint by the hon. member (Mr. Conmee) falls to the ground. But, the hon. member (Mr. Conmee) cares nothing for that so long as he gets the preparation of the lists into the hands of men whom he thinks he can manipulate. I might point out also that under the system of registration if it is at all well done we have better voters' lists than we have under the ordinary system of compiling voters' list in the organized portion of Ontario, and I think the same thing would apply to any portion of Canada.

Owing to the constant movement of population, some system of registration is necessary if we are not going to disfranchise a large number of people. I hold in my hand the voters' list for 1907 as finally completed by the judge, of one of the municipalities in my riding. I hold another as it comes from the hands of the assessor for 1908. That covers a period of between seven and eight months. In that municipality alone I find new voters being qualified to the number of over 100. That municipality is of course somewhat larger than some of the others in the riding, but it represents only about one-ninth of the riding ; so that that indicates a change in the voters of that riding of 900 voters m the space of less than eight months. If that proportion is kept up for the whole year, it will mean between 1,300 and 1,400 voters that would be qualified to vote at an election next fall if put on list who will be disfranchised should the election be then brought on. In the unorganized section, in whicli there are only a few municipalities, the same thing will not apply. In the last election the government took the machinery into their own hands, and in the course of a couple of weeks they had to do what it takes two months to do under the Act, so that the list was necessarily very incomplete. It is almost impossible to make up a proper list in that length of time. But bad as it was, there were more votes polled in the unorganized portion in proportion than in the organized portion of the riding I represent, being 72 per cent in the unorganized portion and ony 65 per cent in the organized portion, on account of the length of time required to make up the voters' lists. So I think it is absolutely necessary, if we do not intend to disfranchise large numbers of people in the organized districts, that we should bring the machinery more up to date than it is at the present time. While it may not pertain particularly to this Bill, I want to emphasize that point. This Bill, as I understand it, is to enable a few people to be put on the voters' list in the district of Rainy River and Thunder Bay. There is no complaint, I understand, in any other part of the unorganized districts.

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LIB

James Conmee

Liberal

Mr. CONMEE.

I may say to my hon. friend that there are similar complaints from other ridings.

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CON

William Wright

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WM. WRIGHT.

If there are, they have never been laid before this House, it may suit some hon. gentlemen very well to keep in their pockets the complaints and bring them down at the last moment, when there is no opportunity to defeat them. That may show a high degree of cleverness, but I do not think much of it. Suppose you do put on a dozen or half a dozen voters for the Rainy River and Thunder Bay district, I have no hesitation in saying that in some of these northern ridings there will be at least a thousand people disfranchised. Perhaps there will not be that many in the district which the hon. gentleman represents, but there is a great difference in the number of voters when the election is held at the proper time of the year, say in the month of June, as compared with late in the fall. In the recent election held in the province of Ontario by the Whitney government there were over 50,000 more votes polled than there were in the last Dominion election, which was held late in the fall. In the riding which I represent hundreds of people had gone to the woods at the time of the election, and found it impossible to get back to vote. The right hon. gentleman brought on the election in what is called the deer season. All over this country we have men enduring the burden and heat of the day with the hope that in the beginning of November they will have a couple of weeks of hunting in the northern woods of Ontario. These men come from all parts of the province. If the right hon. gentleman again brings on the election late in the fall, it will have the effect of disfranchising thousands of people in this way. What are the votes of a few people in one riding compared with the disfranchising of thousands of people throughout the province ? Under the terms of this Bill the revising of the lists is put at such a date as to make it impossible to avoid that sort of thing, because in spite of anything he can do, it will take from now till the 1st of November to prepare the list. Then hundreds of men go into the lumber woods late in the fall, and these people will be disfranchised as well. With regard to the actual working out of this measure, we shall have this condition of affairs. Under the local Act notices are put up in the month of July in the various ridings throughout that northern country, and the enumerators who will be brought in under this Bill will go to work a few weeks later, so that ypu will have two sets of officials at work, and the public will be put to the inconvenience and trouble of looking after two sets of courts to see that they are on both lists. That may look very easy to the people assembled in this parliament, but it is far from easy in those scattered settlements of

northern Ontario, where the distances are so great and where the conditions are such that sometimes travel is almost impossible. I want to point out another defect in this Bill, I find no provision in it making it necessary to take as a basis the present voters' lists as compiled by the province. Every man in these unorganized districts will have to see personally that he is put on the list. As it is to-day, a man who has been on the list knows that he has the qualification, and the chances are a thousand to one that he will remain on the list unless there is some reason why he should be put off. Under this Bill that cannot be, but every man will have to see for himself that he is put on the list. This is a very distinct hardship to the people, and I appeal to the right hon. gentleman to take the voters' lists as compiled by the province of Ontario as a basis, if he must put the Bill through, so that every man will feel that he is already on the list unless for some reason his name should be removed. That would do away to a large extent with the difficulty of making every man go and see that he is put on the voters' lists of an unorganized portion of the province. As regards the courts necessary to be held, I have made a calculation and find there will be an average of fifty enumerators' courts for each one of the Dominion ridings represented in this House. Only a small portion of the district I represent comes under the scope of this Bill-some eight polling places. In my experience that means an enumerator's court for every polling place, and our plan has been in the past for a judge to have a court of appeal in every place where the enumerator sat. A hundred courts will have to be held by the judges over that northern district in a short space of time and the same number of courts in connection with the provincial lists. The judges will have in addition to their ordinary division courts and quarter sessions and will have to crowd into that two and a half months perhaps 125 courts in some ridings. It would be physically impossible for any judge to hold all these, and I do not know whether you can make a provision lor the work to be divided between two or more judges even if they do happen to live in the districts they preside over.

All these things considered carefully should lead the right hon. gentleman to decide to remove clause 1. While that might be found objectionable by two or three of his friends, I believe that in the province and particularly in the unorganized districts, he will make more friends and stand better in the public estimation. There has been no hardship in any quarter of that section of country with regard to the lists compiled by the late government. They are as correct as one can reasonably expect and certainly as correct as they are anywhere in the or-

ganized portions of Ontario or the Dominion. Under all the circumstances it would be well for the right hon. gentleman to remove this clause, to take away this stigma from the province of Ontario, especially northern Ontario, and let us make the Bill as perfect as possible. I am not asking too much wheu I ask the right hon. gentleman to appeal to his Minister of Justice to remove this clause and treat the province of Ontario the same as Quebec or any other province. If the province of Quebec can be trusted to make her own lists, why cannot Ontario? Surely the minister will not say that he cannot allow a Conservative province to control its own voters' lists.

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CON

George Oscar Alcorn

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ALCORN.

As a representative from the province of Ontario, I desire to register my personal protest, in the strongest possible terms, against the insult placed by this government on that province. Surely the government are not going to cast this stigma on the province of Ontario of declaring that its provincial government and officials are not to be trusted and that they are incompetent to compile fair and reasonable lists which may be used both in Dominion and provincial elections. I am not aware of any ground for this particular clause in this Bill except that in the opinion of hon. gentlemen opposite, a province, presided over by a Conservative cabinet, cannot be trusted to make up its own voters' lists. The justification for this Bill must be some wrong which requires a remedy. Well, what is the wrong? We have no information on that score. We have had no specific allegations made to the House by the government or any member of it, not even bv the Minister of Justice. Then why should Ontario be treated in a different manner from the other provinces? It has been stated in a general way that dissatisfaction exists with regard to the lists in northern Ontario, which were prepared for the purpose of the provincial elections on June 8 last. Well, I suppose that a certain degree of dissatisfaction will always exist against the party which has the making up of the election lists. The Minister of Justice told us that certain information had come to him by letters and other written communications, and that certain Irregularities were said to have existed in ceitain polling divisions in the northern territory. But he gave no detailed information to prove these charges. Speaking on that subject, at page 8101 of ' Hansard,' on May 5 last, he said :

I do not know and do not suppose any one can know without the taking of evidence whether or not that state of things, as so described, does exist or not.

But no evidence was taken, and the taking of evidence was the very proper means, as pointed out by the minister himself, by which the House might have been informed whether the legislation now proposed is necessary. It has been said that certain Mr. W. WRIGHT.

appeals were, in some nebulous manner, not particularly described, impeded in respect of the lists made up in northern Ontario last June. That objection however can have no force. /If the judges did, in one instance, or possibly two, certify lists as to which appeals had not been heard, that did not impede going on with the appeals in the ordinary and proper way and holding courts of revision and disposing of any appeals that any person chose to make. Whether the list had been placed in use for provincial purposes or not did not prevent the courts of revision from going on and appeals being had in the regular way for the purposes of a Dominion election. Now, as this Bill must be based upon some wrong requiring a remedy, one would have supposed that the remedy applied would be commensurate with the wrong complained of. I have heard no specific complaint other than that the lists in one or two instances were certified by the judge before the time for appeal expired. It seems to me that, if the government, in their unwisdom, conceive it necessary to bring in such a measure as this covering the whole ground of the preparation of lists, their revision and bringing them into force, they entirely overstepped the wrong of which they are complaining. Their proper course would be to take such measures with the Ontario government as would induce that government to right any such wrong as that to which I have alluded; and if that course was not effective, if the Ontario government refused upon proper representation being made, to right the wrong, then a Bill might be brought in covering the. irregularities which the government might be able to prove to exist. But it seems to me that the revolutionizing of the whole electoral courts in northern Ontario and imposing upon that portion of the province entirely new lists, with all the attendant labour and expense- and, it seems to me in trying to work out the particulars, hardly workable at all-cannot be justified as commensurate with the wrong of wThich the government complains.

At one o'clock, committee took recess.

Committee resumed at'three o'clock.

On section 1,

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CON

Arthur Cyril Boyce

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOYCE.

I beg to move that for the reasons stated, subsections 1 to 8 both inclusive of section 1 of this Bill be struck out. In making this motion I desire to point out the difference between this law as it stood prior to the advent of the Whitney government in 1905, and the present law. In the elections of November, 1904, the law stood as it is now, with this amendment, accepting the provincial voters' lists in their entirety, provided they were not more than a year old at the time of the issue of the writ for a general election. So whenever there were provincial lists in the unorgan-

ized territories under the old law which were not one year old at the date of the issue of the writ, those lists were used for the Dominion election. Now I fail to see that any argument has been adduced in support of this legislation, any sound reason put forward upon which that basis should be changed, any logical ground for the change of basis and the non-acceptance of the provincial lists for federal elections, any ground upon which to reverse the principles which the Liberal party enunciated in their platform of 1893, and which they emphasized in 1898 when they repealed the Franchise Act and provided for the acceptance of the provincial lists. If this law were to pass, although you approve of the provincial lists and accept them, in almost ail cases, if you held an election, although the provincial lists were only three months old and properly prepared, under this amendment you would provide that those provincial lists shall not be used, lists that had been prepared three months, or perhaps only 60 days, before the issue of the writ. But the right hon. gentleman proposes to ask the province of Ontario to put aside those lists for all time, and to accept lists which may be eleven months old, thereby disfranchising ail those who became entitled to vote since the last lists were made up. The right hon. gentleman will see what I mean, by referring to subsection 7 :

Where, within one year prior to the date of the writ for am election in any electoral district composed wholly ot partly of such territory not municipally organized, voters' lists for any such territory have been prepared under the provisions of this section, such lists shall be used fotr such election and new lists shall not be prepared therefor.

That emphasizes the right hon. gentleman's intention absolutely to discriminate against lists nrenared under the jurisdiction of the province of Ontario, although in the case that I have mentioned, nine months more recent, regular provincial lists have been prepared under the laws of the province. Mv risrht hon. friend would absolutely discriminate against those, ignore them, cast his professions to the winds, and use lists which were eleven or eleven and a half months old, and thereby disfranchise all those who became entitled to vote in the meantime.

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CON

John Dowsley Reid

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hr. J. D. REID.

Before this Bill is passed I want to enter my protest against the reflection that is being cast upon the province of Ontario. The only reason I can see why Ontario is being treated in this way is that the hon. member for Rainy River (Mr. Coninee) has insisted that he be looked after in the next election. I am surprised that the Prime Minister has listened to the hon. member for Rainy River in this matter. Here is an election Bill prepared, and the only province in the Dominion of

Canada that is reflected upon, I might say insulted, is the province of Ontario, by these words :

Notwithstanding anything to the contrary herein contained, voters' lists for the portions of the province of Ontario which consist of territory not municipally organized shall be prepared during the months of August, September and October in each year.

Now I assert as a citizen of Ontario that it is most unfair to our great province that tile Prime Minister has seen fit to yield to tlie solicitations of the member for Rainy River and insert that clause in this Bill. I have not heard one word throughout the whole province of Ontario complaining of any unfair treatment under the last lists. I do not believe there is a man in the province of Ontario who believes that Mr. Whitney, the Prime Minister of Ontario, would allow a single improper act to be committed in the preparation of the voters' lists. Even if there had been a little trouble in a couple of polls in the Rainy River constituency, I think myself that the Prime Minister, being a resident of the province of Quebec, would have been the first man to let the province of Ontario alone. The hon. the Prime Minister has tried to lead the people of the province of Ontario to think that he wants to be fair and just, but in this matter it is the only province at which he is hurling this insult. I think the hon. member for Rainy River has been well treated, he has had public works given him up there, enough to carry his constituency without having to he assisted in this way. So far as I am concerned, I think the Prime Minister should name this the Coninee Bill, because it is simply a Bill passed by this House to elect the hon. member for Rainy River.

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CON

William Humphrey Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT.

A Bill for the relief of the hon. member for Rainy River.

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CON

John Dowsley Reid

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. D. REID.

Yes. In getting this Bill through the Prime Minister hopes to win four or five more constituencies, in some way. I think the Prime Minister is most unfair towards Ontario. As regards the province of Quebec, he sees that a Liberal government is in power, and the voters' lists will be prepared within the next month or so just as he wishes.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

Hear, hear.

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CON

John Dowsley Reid

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. D. REID.

The Prime Minister thinks he is safe there, so he is willing to withdraw Quebec, but in Ontario, where lists have been prepared and the Prime Minister cannot say that anything has been wrongly done, he wants to have five or six members elected simply by this Bill. I am surprised that the Minister of Customs, who represents Ontario in the cabinet, and who, I am sure, is proud of his province, has not prevented this slur being cast upon it. The Minister of Railways and Canals

and other ministers from Ontario seem to be afraid to protest against It. It may be that there is truth in the story that an effort is being made to get the Minister of Customs and the Minister of Trade and Commerce out of the cabinet and that therefore these gentlemen are afraid to stand up for Ontario. The Prime Minister has evidently decided that we will have an election this fall, a year before we should have it, and he hopes by thus taking an unfair advantage through these lists to carry six counties.

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CON

Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLAIN.

Mr. Chairman, as seconder of the amendment of the hon. member for West Algoma (Mr. Boyce) I wish to express my disproval of the course pursued by the leader of the House in introducing legislation to deal especially with Ontario in respect to voters' list. In the last session of the legislature, prior to the election just held, not a word of protest or condemnation of the Whitney administration for their preparation of the voters' lists was presented nor has any complaint been heard since the .election. I have not heard a valid argument advanced why Ontario should be legislated against in this respect. The right hon. gentleman knows that the people of Ontario are anxious for a fair and honest voters' list. His own party had charge of the preparation of these lists for over thirty-six years, and since this party came into power in 1896 elections have been held on the voters' lists prepared by the legislature of that province.

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July 14, 1908