July 14, 1908

CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

I have information of an absolutely different character with regard to every riding in British Columbia. I made careful inquiries there last autumn and I find that all the provincial elections are held on the same day without difficulty. Mr. Smitli-Curtis, a Liberal candidate, is thus reported :

Mr. Smith-Curtis particularly emphasized his desire for a clean campaign and emphatically declared that he did not favour a deferred election in the Kootenay Riding, believing it to be in the true interests of every elector that the voting in Kootenay should take place on the day of the general elections throughout Canada.

That is strong testimony from a Liberal candidate in one of the postponed ridings and I have not heard anything in this House or elsewhere to induce me to believe that the Kootenay is in a different position from the other deferred ridings in British Columbia.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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LIB

Robert George Macpherson

Liberal

Mr. MACPHERSON.

My hon. friend's information was certainly very bad. In my first election in Burrard, the returning officer was not able even in a by-election to get the ballot boxes into the northern part of the riding, which is now Comox-Atlin until four days after the date set for holding the elections. How could the ballot boxes leave say Nanaimo and get into Telegraph Creek and Atlin, which is 14 days in the winter, and at the same time get into the Squamish Yalley ? It is a phy-

sical impossibility to have the Comox-Atlin election at the same time as the others and the same thing applies to Yale-Cariboo.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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CON

George William Fowler

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOWLER.

The local elections are held on the same day and why could it not be done in federal elections ?

Mr. MAiCPHERSON. The local constituencies are smaller. If a polling booth is not represented you may upset the election.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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CON

George William Fowler

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOWLER.

I do not understand when the provincial elections can all be held on the one day why the Dominion can not.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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LIB

Robert George Macpherson

Liberal

Mr. MACPHERSON.

It is impossible to reach the remote parts of that constituency in a week with the ballot boxes. I assure the leader of the opposition, who wants to be fair, that the information is not correct that you could reach any point in Comox-Atlin and get your ballots printed and distributed within the time stated.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

I have no doubt of the sincerity of the hon. gentleman (Mr. Macpherson) but I am a little inclined to discount statements of that kind because I was assured two years ago of the absolute impossibility of bringing about the election in Kootenay on the same day as the others, and now I find the Liberal candidate in Kootenay saying there is no difficulty whatever. In every local constituency in British Columbia the election takes place on the the same day, and it is a perfectly simple thing for the sheriff by employing a sufficient force of men to send the ballot boxes throughout the three or four local constituencies comprised in one Dominion riding. -

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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LIB
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

There is not the slightest difficulty about doing the same thing in a Dominion election provided you employ enough men to do it. I have a telegram from the premier of British Columbia stating that not the slightest difficulty was experienced in the last provincial election. If the returning officer employs four men to do the work which four returning officers did in the four provincial constituencies, it follows logically that what was done in the provincial elections can be done iu the Dominion elections. I would say to the Prime Minister that I have a telegram dated the 4th of this month from the Prime Minister of British Columbia in which after referring to a report in the local press of a statement in this House that the elections in Yale-Cariboo could not be held simultaneously with those in the rest of the province he says : I

I desire to give the strongest denial to this. Provincial elections held simultaneously gave every satisfaction and proved there is no difficulty in carrying this out.

He goes on to say that there is no reason whatever why the election in Yale-Cariboo should be held at a later date than the elections.in the rest of the province.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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LIB

Robert George Macpherson

Liberal

Mr. MACPHERSON.

You have got to have your ballots printed at a given point and the ballots have to be sent to a different polling subdivision. There are 1,500 miles between the southern and northern districts of Comox-Atlin and if the ballots are printed in Nanaimo how can you get into Surprise lake without a flying machine in the time allowed. The best possible time that can be made to Surprise lake is 11 days, and if there is ice upon the river as there was during my own election when the man who carried the ballot boxes was obliged to break the trail for 80 miles with dogs, how can you overcome a difficulty like that. When the Prime Minister of British Columbia states it is possible to do that, he states what any man who knows the country knows to be incorrect.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

I suppose he knows it is correct because it has been done and done in the winter during the last provincial elections. Let me point out that the difficulty is not with regard to the ballots but in posting the proclamations announcing the elections. You have seven days additional to distribute the ballots. I repeat that by employing four men to do the work which the four returning officers would do in .the nrovincial elections you can undoubtedly accomplish in a Dominion election what was accomplished in the dead of winter during the last provincial election.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAUEIEE.

The hon. gentleman who represents the district (Mr. Duncan Ross) has stated that he saw no personal advantage in having the election held after the other elections because as he said the organization has all gone to pieces the moment the result of the general election is known. We have the testimony of Mr. McBride on the one side ana the testimony of the hon. member (Mr. Duncan Ross) on the other, and I think we might as well let it go as proposed.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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CON

Joseph Gédéon Horace Bergeron

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BERGERON.

Let me point out that in the county of Gaspe we formerly had the nomination a fortnight before the election.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

Once.

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CON

Joseph Gédéon Horace Bergeron

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BERGERON.

Yet it worked well. The nomination was held a fortnight before the election and the election was held on the same day as the other elections thus carrying out the principle which the Prime Minister has so often advocated, that all elections should be held on the same day.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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LIB

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

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

This exception applies to only 5 constituencies out of 221.

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CON

Joseph Gédéon Horace Bergeron

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BERGERON.

And the less we have of these exceptions the better.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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CON

George William Fowler

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOWLER.

The argument which my hou. friend (Mr. Macpherson) has used with regard to Comox-Atlin does not apply to Yale-Cariboo because no such difficulties exist in that constituency.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

Does the Prime Minister press this provision with reference to the election in Kootenay, notwithstanding the declaration of his own candidate that there is no necessity for it ?

Sir WILFRID LAURIER, I do not know the particulars about it.

Amendment negatived.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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CON

Haughton Lennox

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LENNOX.

I propose to move an amendment which has to some extent the same object as the one that has just been discussed. It is an alternative amendment numbered 17 in the Votes and Proceedings, and is found on pages 1239, 1240 and 1241. The' object of this amendment is to secure the holding of all the elections in Canada on the same day except in the Yukon Territory. It will apply to the five or six electoral districts in which the elections are now usually postponed. The object is accomplished by advancing the preliminary stages of the election, the proceedings as to those which require a greater amount of time for preparation being taken at an earlier stage. For instance, writs of election shall be despatched to the returning officers in the case of those electoral districts in time to allow the lapse of twenty-one clear days between the day of their receipt by the returning officer and the day fixed for the nomination of the candidates. The nomination day will be fourteen days instead of seven days before the election. The general provision found on page 1240 as subsection 2 is that in the case or cases of any electoral district or districts in which the Governor in Council may, after due inquiry conclude that the proclamation aforesaid cannot otherwise be posted up so as to allow the required time between such posting up and the nomination day, the" Governor in Council shall fix the day of nomination in the way that I have referred to ; so that it is left to the Governor in Council to determine in any special ease whether these special provisions shall apply, and in such cases he shall have them to apply in such a way that we shall secure all the elections in Canada on the same day.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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CON

George William Fowler

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOWLER.

Surely the Prime Minister wdll accept this amendment. Has he lost confidence in the schemes that have been concocted, that he requires the elections in those districts to be held after the general election ? Is it because he knows that if the elections were held in those districts on the day of the general election, each of them would return an opponent of the government ? I think we are voting some $238,000,000, excluding the lead bounties ; and surely with that amount of Mr. BERGERON.

money the government party ought to have confidence that they can win the country, particularly in these hard times, when they have lost the old cry of 1 Luck and Laurier,' and.ought to be willing to have all the elections held on the same day.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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July 14, 1908