April 9, 1915

LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

Yes, but the fact still remains that there is no possible means of checking the right of a man to vote in one place or the other.

Topic:   SOLDIERS' VOTING BILL.
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

We are introducing this affidavit into the Bill so that when the clerk of the Crown in Chancery looks at the envelope in the first instance, he will be able to allocate the votes to West Calgary

or East Calgary or West Edmonton or East Edmonton as the case may be.

Topic:   SOLDIERS' VOTING BILL.
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LIB
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

On the back of the envelope there will be certain information to enable him to do that. When the affidavit is finally checked by the returning officer, in the presence of scrutineers of both parties, and it appears that a ballot has been improperly allotted to Edmonton, then of course it will be rejected and returned to the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery. The very difficulty that my hon. friend has mentioned was anticipated by the committee, and dealt with in the manner I have indicated.

Topic:   SOLDIERS' VOTING BILL.
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LIB

William Erskine Knowles

Liberal

Mr. KNOWLES:

How does the envelope or affidavit show to what constituency the vote should go?

Topic:   SOLDIERS' VOTING BILL.
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

The voter has to make

in the affidavit a distinct statement of what his residence had been for the thirty days prior to enlisting, and also if he had only resided there for thirty days. He will have to say: For thirty days prior to

enlisting I resided at such and such a place. And if it is a longer period than thirty days, he will have to say, for instance: I resided at 1210 Sixteenth street, Edmonton. Then it will be aparent that he resided in West Edmonton, and should vote there.

Topic:   SOLDIERS' VOTING BILL.
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LIB

William Erskine Knowles

Liberal

Mr. KNOWLES:

-Take people who are close to the line between two post offices.

Topic:   SOLDIERS' VOTING BILL.
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

That was traversed in

the committee, and it was felt that in such a case there might be a mistake in the ballots. In some cases men have lost their votes under the existing law. But this is not the average case.

Topic:   SOLDIERS' VOTING BILL.
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LIB

William Erskine Knowles

Liberal

Mr. KNOWLES:

I was speaking about

the definiteness of the information. There wdll be a multitude of people who have to come fifteen or twenty miles to a post office, and who do not know what riding they are in.

Topic:   SOLDIERS' VOTING BILL.
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

It was felt that on the

instructions there should be a note to give with as much definiteness as possible the residence, section, township and range. The very point that my hon. friend from Moosejaw (Mr. Knowles) has mentioned was discussed in the committee. I myself brought the matter up, because in our western country men have to go sometimes

fifteen or twenty miles for their mail, and I thought that might cause confusion.

Topic:   SOLDIERS' VOTING BILL.
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LIB

William Erskine Knowles

Liberal

Mr. KNOWLES:

The Government ask a great deal of us when they -ask us to vote for a Bill of such a nature as this-I will not say of such a suspicious nature, because I want to be court opus-and trust to its being carried out properly because there will be a little note attached. I would as soon the note were left off, because no one knows what kind of a note it will be before it is done with. I would rather legislate in such a definite manner that notes would be unnecessary.

Topic:   SOLDIERS' VOTING BILL.
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CON

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DOHERTY:

The requirement of the Bill as it stands is that a man shall give his address. What we had in mind was his address as definitely as he possibly could give it. There can be no objection to inserting in the form that he Shall give his address as definitely as it is possible for him to do. We contemplated that if a man lived in a place where they had streets and numbers ihe would give these or that if he lived in a rural section, he would give the section and range, so as to enable the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery to ascertain what electoral district that was in. Of course, notwithstanding all that, there might be cases where a man would not succeed in giving a sufficiently definite address, and unfortunately that man would lose his vote. Under any system there are men who, through errors and mistakes, lose their votes, and all we can do is to provide the best possible machinery to enable men to secure their votes. That there will be mistakes in connection with it by which some will lose their votes I suppose we will have to admit, but I am quite ready to specify as minutely as we possibly can the information that we want each man to give.

Topic:   SOLDIERS' VOTING BILL.
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LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

That course applies not only to the western provinces; it applies in a degree to the province of Ontario as well. In the constituencies in Ontario we have registration. There are scores of voters in many counties who are not on the list at all. They are not on the list until registration is called within thirty days of polling. Therefore, the same difficulty might arise in Ontario that arises in the West where they have no Tegular voters' list. If being on the voters' list is the qualification, there are plenty of young men who are not qualified in the province of Ontario. There are hundreds of young men in Ottawa from various ridings in Ontario. Does the Bill mean

[Mr. R. B. Bennett. 3

that these young men, unmarried, with no plane of .residence, whose residence is wherever they are if they are not living with their parents, will ibe added to the Ottawa voters' list if they have been here for thirty days?

Topic:   SOLDIERS' VOTING BILL.
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CON

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DOHERTY:

It means prior to enlistment.

Topic:   SOLDIERS' VOTING BILL.
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LIB
CON
LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

Several men went to the centres and were not formally enlisted until quite a while after they arrived there. Unless great care is exercised the result of the election in these Ontario constituencies may be altogether changed by soldiers' votes. My view is that men- particularly young men-who are at any centre ought to be compelled to have their votes registered at the place where they reside, or where they would be entitled to vote had they not enlisted at all. That situation is just as acute in Ontario as it is in the western provinces. In some of the other provinces it may not be the case, but where we have registration we have many voters who are not qualified if being on the list is their qualification. These should be protected in their right to vote.

Topic:   SOLDIERS' VOTING BILL.
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LIB
LIB
LIB

April 9, 1915