Suppose we said " Canadian soldiers." I think that would describe them correctly. Whatever they may be as to nationality, when they join the Canadian permanent force or the Canadian expeditionary force, they are certainly correctly described as Canadian soldiers.
That this Bill be not now read a third time, but that it be referred back to the Committee of the Whole House, with instructions that they have power to amend the same by striking out section 2 and inserting in lieu thereof the following:
" The Governor in Council shall appoint two commissioners for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this Act, one of whom shall be nominated toy the Prime Minister and one by the leader of the Opposition, within ten days after the passing hereof. And on failure of either the Prime Minister or the leader of tne Opposition to make such nomination, the Governor in Council may make the appointment of the commissioner which either of such parties so failed to nominate. The said commissioners so appointed shall appoint a third commissioner within ten days of their being notified by the Governor in Council of their appointment, and should they fail to agree on such third commissioner, such third commissioner shall on the request of either or both of the said two commissioners be appointed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. In case of the death, resignation or refusal to act at any time of either of such commissioners his place shall be filled in manner hereinbefore prescribed for the appointment of the said commissioner who so died, resigned or refused to act. The majority of the commissioners shall constitute a quorum and their acts shall be as legal and valid as the joint acts of the three commissioners.
" The said commissioners shall have power and it shall toe their duty from time to time* to make all necessary regulations for the taking of the votes, the marking of the ballots, the taking of the affidavits of the voters and the transmission thereof to the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery and all procedure in connection therewith, so as to insure as far as possible that all persons entitled to vote hereunder shall have a fair and reasonable opportunity of doing so. Such regulation shall be subject to the approval of the Governor in Council. And when they have been so approved they shall have the same force and effect as if they were enacted as a part of this Act.
" The commissioners shall have power to appoint such persons to act as scrutineers and otherwise to assist in carrying out the said regulations as the commissioners may deem necessary from time to time."
which the hon. gentleman has just brought to the attention of the House was debated very fully in committee, and reply was made by the hon. Minister of Justice to the arguments put forward in support of that suggestion. It is neither necessary nor desirable that these arguments should be repeated, and I hope that the hon. gentleman will not consider it discourteous if at this juncture we do not repeat them.
That this Bill be not now read a third time, but that it be referred back to the Committee ot the Whole House with instructions that they have power to amend the same by adding as subsection 11 of section 2 the following:
" 11. No action shall be taken under the foregoing provisions of this section until the same have been submitted to and approved by the Secretary for War of the United Kingdom."
This matter was discussed fully in committee, in the absence of the Prime Minister, and I do not propose now to add anything in support of this amendment.
also was fully discussed in committee, and it is not necessary nor desirable that we should add anything to the arguments which were made by my hon. friend the Minister of Justice in that respect. The only observation I desire to make is that the amendment as proposed, if carried into effect, would seem to constitute a very severe blow at the autonomy of Canada and the independence of this Parliament.
I do not take the view which my right hon. friend takes, for this reason: this Bill imposes certain duties upon officers of the British Army. It is made imperative upon these officers that they shall deliver ballots to Canadian soldiers who are entitled to use them; that they shall take their affidavits; that they shall place the different ballots and affidavits in envelopes; that they shall seal these envelopes and forward them in packages to the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery. That is imposing duties upon Imperial officers over whom this Government and this Parliament have no control whatever. It would seem to me, therefore, that before any action should be taken in the way of attempting to have these officers assume the functions which are- specified in the Bill and take upon themselves the obligations which, by the Bill, they are required
to take, it is only reasonable that the consent of the Secretary of State for War, who has jurisdiction and control over all these officers, should first be obtained. I cannot see how that would in any way derogate from the dignity, authority or autonomy of this Parliament.
I beg to move, seconded by the hon. member for Sunbury and Queens (Mr. H. II. McLean):
That this Bill be not read a third time, but that it be referred back to the Committee of the Whole House, with instructions that they have power to amend the same by striking out the words " twenty-one " in the first line of section one and by inserting the word " eighteen " in place thereof.
The House has already heard the arguments in support of this suggestion. I contend very respectfully that a man who has attained 18 years of age, who has undergone medical inspection, who is mentally and physically qualified to take up arms in the service of his country overseas, and who is willing to make the sacrifice of his life, if necessary, to defend the cause which he has at heart, should be on an equal footing with men of the age of 21. If the soldier who has attained the age of 21 years is to have the advantage of exercising the franchise, then it is an unjust and unfortunate discrimination that others who are serving their country should be deprived of that right. I think that this view will appeal to the whole of young Canada, which is taking a deep and patriotic interest in this matter.
Mr. Speaker, a report was made by the Public Accounts Committee yesterday and the House has not yet concurred in that report. It was in-
tended to have made the usual motion for concurrence this morning, but I asked that it might be postponed, as I desired to make a statement in respect of it, having regard to the fact that the report or reports concerned contain some matter that demands the serious consideration of the Government. .It would be possible to allow it to stand until to-morrow morning; but I would suggest, if the House has no objection, that the motion be taken at eight o'clock this evening for the purpose of having it disposed of and for the further purpose of giving me an opportunity to make the statement to which I have alluded. I would therefore move, if the House will consent, that motions shall be taken at eight o'clock this evening.
Subtopic: PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE.