There are large towns in which there is no registration. In Welland, Which is not a city, there is no registration. In the city of Niagara Falls there is registration, and that is the only municipality in Welland county in which there is registration. Large numbers of young men have gone from Welland and other urban municipalities in the county of Welland to the war. These young men at the present time are on the voters' list, or a large number of them are. When the voters' list comes to be revised this present year, in August or September, what is to be done with these young men? They are not residents. The provincial Voters' Lists Act requires that they cannot be on the voters' list unless they are resident. Are you proposing by a clause of this Bill to say that there shall be a separate voters' list made out, Which
will be called a Dominion franchise list, and which shall contain the names of the soldiers? If that is not done the names of these young men will be struck off the provincial list and they will not have a vote for the provincial legislature. Why Should they not have a vote for the provincial legislature as well as for the Dominion Parliament? If these young men are at the war they are struck off the provincial voters' list, and if there is a provincial election they are debarred from voting for candidates for the provincial legislature. They have a vote in the Dominion election if they swear as to their residence.
Sections 157 and 158 of the Election Act as it now stands, I think, protect a man who is prevented from being present and getting registration because of his absence on military duty. Section 157 provides that:
Notwithstanding anything contained in any Act of Parliament or in any Act of a provincial legislature, no person otherwise qualified to vote at an election of a member to serve in the House of Commons shall be incompetent to vote at such election by reason only of his having been absent from the electoral district in which such election is held, on account of his serving with or being attached to any corps despatched from Canada for military service, or performing military service within Canada, whether as an officer, a non-commissioned officer or a private, or in any other capacity, or while serving His Majesty in any military capacity, or acting as a war correspondent in connection with any war in which a Canadian contingent is serving.
Section 158 says:
From any oath which any person tendering his vote at such an election may be required to take, there shall, in the case of any person within the meaning of the preceding section, be omitted any statements as to residence which such person cannot by reason of such absence as aforesaid truthfully make-
That only gives him the right to vote if he is on the list. What about the fact of his being struck off the list in the revision? He would be struck off. He cannot stay on because he is an absentee. There is nothing in the Voters' List Act of Ontario which will allow him to stay on if he is serving at the front.
A man's name cannot be struck off the Ontario list by virtue of the fact that he is only temporarily absent. So long as he Tetains his domicile his name goes on the list. In the particular case under review his name would go on the Ontario list by virtue of the Ontario Act; he being a sailor or a soldier the assessor must still keep his name on the list.
What would happen in the case of a young man who, in the interval has attained the age of twenty-one years, but who has not been on any voters' list because while he was at home he was not twenty-one years. He could not be struck off the list by the assessor because he was not on the list, but had he remained at home he would have become a voter, in cities where there is registration.
I had the idea when I read this Bill first that it qualified every young man of twenty-one years, who is a British subject, but it appears it does not. - There must be thousands of our young men serving in the forces who would not be qualified under this Bill. For example, if one of my constituents goes to Haliiax and enlists at the barracks there, he may have been only one day in Halifax and not thirty days, and not being on the list in the constituency from which he came, he would not have the right to vote.
He must have been in some constituency thirty days before he enlisted. He may have been only one day in Halifax but he was thirty days in Guys-borough, and he woulu be qualifaeu in that constituency. If you can conceive the case of a man who cannot locate himself anywhere for thirty days of course, he would not be entitled to vote.
enlistment in the province of Quebec, which took place mostly in the cities of Montreal and Quebec, but in the eastern part of the province some of the men went over to New Brunswick and enlisted there. What will happen to men from rural districts who enlisted in Montreal and Quebec, and the Quebec men who enlisted in New Brunswick, who were not voters in their own ridings when they left home? Some of these men, for example, remained around Montreal for a long time, perhaps more than a month, waiting for medical examination and so on. What would happen under such circumstances.
Montreal, for example, was a voter in some other electoral district or he was not. If he was a qualified voter in some other electoral district he continues on the list, and his qualification as a soldier will be as a voter in that district. If he was not a voter in another district when he came to Montreal, and he resided in Montreal for thirty days before he enrolled, then, under this Act, he will become a voter in that electoral district in Montreal in which he resided during these thirty days. Anything he does after he has enlisted does not affect in any way the district in which he is to vote. The fact that he went to New Brunswick and enlisted there does not affect it at all, because he will be attached either to the electoral district in which before enlistment he was a qualified voter, or if he was not a qualified voter in any district his vote will be assigned to the place in which he resided for thirty days before he enlisted.
the minister says that if he was in Montreal for thirty days before he enlisted he would be placed as a voter in Montreal, but suppose he was in Montreal only twenty-eight days, would he be a voter in the part of the country in which he had formerly resided?