McCarthy. That statement may be useful hereafter, but if the hon. gentleman refleets for a minute I believe he w'ill come to the conclusion that this is a fair law. Does he realize what pow'er the present law places in a deputy returning officer w'ho w'ants to do something that is not proper ? Does he not know that it absolutely places in those who hare control of the machinery unlimited pow'er to void ballots. In the county of Wentworth in the last Dominion election because the deputy returning officer put a number on the ballots the local judge threw' out one poll and changed the whole result of the election. I am glad to say the judge in the county of Simcoe did not follow' that ruling, but held that If these numbers were put there with fraudulent intent it w'ould come up properly on a protest; that he could not take cogni-Mr. HENDERSON.
Amendment of Mr. Henderson negatived : Yreas, 22 ; nays, 57
The hon. member for Centre Toronto (Mr. Bristol), who has been obliged to leave the chamber, has asked me to impress upon the House what he suggested in regard to assisting the deputy returning officer not to make the mistake of marking the ballot; and I would urge on the Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice w'hat seems to me to be the wisdom of adopting the suggestion, by adding to the section these W'ords : ' but any deputy returning officer placing anv mark thereon shall be subject to the provisions of section 255.' The only thing that can be said against that is that it is a repetition ; but the virtue _of it is that by section 255 w'e are providing that that shall be a criminal offence, and the result of making this addition, although it is not absolutely necessary to carry out the law', will be to reduce to a minimum the probability of a deputy returning officer doing what w'e w'ant to prevent him doing. His attention will be drawn to the matter, because he will read it tin connection with his duties at the close of the poll.
The hon. member for Centre Toronto saw me with reference to this suggestion, but I pointed out that this section 173, w'hich section 17 is amending, is a directory section, directing what should be done after the closing of the poll in counting the ballot papers, and it
does not seem to me that there would be any propriety in tacking on to such a section a statement that a deputy returning officer would be subject to a penalty provided in another section of the Act. We have provided for the penalties in one clause and for the directions in another clause in another part of the Act.
likely that a deputy returning officer will turn up section 173 the first thing in the morning, as he has no occasion to use it until the polls are closed in the evening, when it is too late to warn him. It would be much more to the purpose to attach this rider to one of the earlier sections. But he will read the whole statute and try to understand it. I do not think this is necessary in any way. We do rot spread all over the statute-book finger posts at every section pointing to this, that or the other penalty. The penalties are there, and he must read and inform himself in that regard.
There may be some force in what the minister observes, though I would have preferred to have the whole penalties at the end of section 173. At least my hon. friend should undertake in his instructions, to draw the particular attention of the returning officers to the penalties and that would perhaps answer the purpose.
Forms O and P in schedule 1 of thh said Act are each amended by striking out of form O the sixth paragraph thereof and out of form P the last paragraph thereof and substituting for the said paragraph in each form the following :
If a voter fraudulently takes a ballot paper tut of the polling station or fraudulently delivers to the deputy returning officer to be put into the ballot box any other paper than the ballot paper given him by the deputy returning officer, he wall fee disqualified from voting at any election for eight years thereafter and be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years and not less than one year, with or without hard labour.
There are some errors in the French version which it is necessary to correct. Section 112 of the statute provides for a stamp which is sent to each
returning officer, and the provision is that this stamp is to be specially made for each election and sent the returning officer by the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery so that it may reach him on or about the day of nomination. In the French version it is translated ' on that day ' and I move that it be amended by inserting the words * le ou vers.'
In the French version section 197 has been rather freely translated. In the English it is continuous and in the French it is separated into two sections. I propose to make it continuous by striking out the figure 2 and substituting therefor the word ' et.'
Then section 254 in the French version is an exceedingly free translation. The English clause and the French clause no doubt mean the same thing but do not follow each other in phraseology. A new translation has been prepared making the French version literally correspond with the English.
That the said Bill he amended fey adding thereto the following sections: Sections 75 and 76 of the said Act are repealed and the following sections are substituted therefor.
This amendment will be found on page 1238 of the Votes and Proceedings. It is to provide that in the first place the writ for an election shall be dated and be returnable on such day as the Governor General determines, or the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery may determine in cases where such clerk has' authority to so determine, pursuant to the Act respecting the House of Commons. That would be required to be followed by an amendment I have already presented, providing that after certain delay, in case there should be a vacancy in the representation, the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery shall have authority to issue the writ himself so that no constituency shall remain unrepresented for a longer period than three months. The next section 76 provides- that the returning officer shall be one of a certain class. In Ontario the sheriff or registrar of deeds, in the province of Quebec the registrar or sheriff or pro-thonotary, in the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, the sheriff, in Saskatchewan, Alberta and the Yukon Territory, the sheriff or registrar or deputy registrar or the superintendent of the Royal Northwest Mounted Police. There are further supplementary provisions for any case in .which a sufficient number of officers cannot be found or in case of their disqualification, or disability or refusal to act. The object of the section is, in fact, that persons of a particular class and qualification shall be selected, and in that way, it is
believed, some of the unfortunate occurrences which occasionally have taken place in this country will be prevented in the future, because this will assure the country that men of responsible position are selected for this important post.
So far as I am able to observe from a brief examination of the amendment, the principal difference between our present law and the amendment seems to be as to the persons to whom the writ of election shall be directed. Our present law provides that the writ shall be directed to the person appointed by the Governor in Council as the returning officer. The proposition in the amendment is that certain named officials shall be appointed returning officers. I am not, at the moment, able to say how long our statute has been in its present condition, but it is certainly many years-I should say at least twenty-five or thirty years-and, during that time, the writs have been addressed at each election to such returning officer as was selected for the purpose by the Governor in Council. In Ontario, with which province I am more familiar than with any other, the opposite rule prevailed, and, for a great many years-probably for quite as long a time-the writs were required to be addressed to officials just as is proposed in this amendment. That system seems not to have been satisfactory; two years ago the legislature of Ontario, under the leadership of tlie present government, changed it and adopted our system. In these circumstances, the experience of the past and the trend of legislation would seem to be in favour of continuing the system which we have maintained so long in Dominion elections, and I would submit that no good reason for the change appears.
Section 77 of the said Act is amended by adding the following paragraph:
(i) persons who are aliens.
Section 77 provides that none of the following persons shall be appointed as returning officer, deputy returning officer, election clerk or poll clerk :
(a) Members of the King's Privy Council for Canada or of the executive council of any province of Canada ;
(b) Members of the Senate or of the legislative council of any province of Canada ;
(c) Members of the House of Commons, or of the legislative assembly of any province of Canada, or of the Yukon Territorial Council;
(d) Ministers, priests or ecclesiastics of any religious faith or worship ;
(e) Judges of the courts of superior, civil or criminal jurisdiction, judges of any county or district court, or insolvent court, and any local judge of the Exchequer Court on its admiralty side, and in the Yukon territory, police magistrates .
(f) Persons who have served in the parliament of Canada in the session immediately preceding the election or in the session in progress at the time of the election ;
(g) Persons who have been found guilty by the House of Commons, or by any court for the trial of controverted elections, or other competent tribunal, of any offence or dereliction of duty in violation of this Act or any provincial Act relating to elections, or under the Disfranchising Act ;
(h) Persons convicted of any indictable offence.
I desire to add to this list ' persons who are aliens. I think it only reasonable that persons appointed to these offices should be P>ritish subjects.