would go to him. For instance, if there were 1,000 ballots marked Mr. Graham for second choice, 333 votes would be credited to him, and if that was sufficient to elect him, well and good. But if Mr. Graham' had received 4 001 ballots on which he was marked first choice, he would be declared elected, and the balance over and above the number of votes necessary to elect Sir Wilfrid Laurier would go to the next choice, Mr. Lemieux or Mr. Murphy, and so on down through the whole list, the over-plus, after one man was elected, being transferred to the next man; and similarly with the Conservative candidates.
In a constituency such as I have described, the labour men would be able to elect at least one man if 4,000 voters or anything like that number, marked the labour man as their first choice. If the labour candidate -was short a few hundred votes, he might still be elected by the ballots on - which he was marked as second or third or even fourth choice. In discussing this question, people have occasionally asked me, what better off should we be if we had in the House more labour men, or Socialists or Independents, instead of representatives of the two big parties that have always ruled in this country, Liberals and Conservatives? Well, my idea is this, and I think my right hon. leader would -agree with me if he were here, and the Prime Minister also-, or any other man who has had experience in governing in Canada. I think it would be better for the people of Canada, and immeasurably better for the Government, whichever party happened to be in power, if instead of having a certain amount of dissatisfied public opinion throughout * the Dominion, which never in the ,past has found itself properly represented in proportion to ite strength in our legislatures or on the floor of this House-in my opinion it would be better to have that body of opinion represented in the House, rather than remain unrepresented and dissatisfied outside, because all who have been any time in the House know there is no place like the House of Commons to rub the corners off a man, and where a man of extreme views so quickly finds hie level; it does not take them very long to find out what can and what cannot be done by Parliament. If the labour party were represented -in this House according to its strength in the country, if instead of having one labour man in this House, we had ten., I am quite satisfied that it would, be of advantage to the House and of advantage to the labour party,
because they would soon find out that it was not the easiest thing in the world with the legislative machinery we have at present to put their theories all into practice.
There are other advantages in this system, and one of the main ones is this: proportional representation in my judgment would strike a heavy blow, a body blow, to bribery and corruption in elections, and for this reason. We all know that in singlemember constituencies where the vote is close and the majority around one or two hundred, particularly in the older-settled parts of the .country, the politics of the voters is pretty well fixed; yon can generally tell about how many Liberal and how many Conservative votes there will be at any election. In a constituency like that it is possible for some interests, or a combination of interests., who were able to swing say one hundred or two hundred votes, probably one hundred votes would be sufficient, to go to a candidate and say: "You only have a narrow margin, but if you will vote in our interests on certain lines, or vote against certain other interests, we will swing our full support in your favour. If not, we will vote against you." Under proportional representation that kind, of thing could not be done to anything like the same extent, and the candidate would be freed from that sort of pressure. That, to my mind, would be one very, very great advantage. Under proportional representation, if I have sized it up correctly, you would get a better class of candidates. Lots of good men have been kept out of politics for the simple reason that they did not want the strenuous work of fighting a close election, with all the unpleasantness that it involves. But in a five or seven-member constituency a big man who was well known in the district might put up as a candidate, because if five members were to. be elected he would only require one-sixth of the. vote, plus one, or if seven were to be elected one-eighth of the vote plus one, and that would do away with the necessity of making a close personal canvass like many of us have to make at the present time, because every one of us has to get one more than half the total number of votes .polled to be elected. But under proportional representation, where only a percentage of the vote is required to elect a man, yon would get a better class of candidates, and that would be to the advantage of the electors, and of advantage to the country as a whole.
Proportional representation would also do away with certain anomalies that exist
at the present time, but before dealing with that I will take up one or two other objections that are sometimes made. One objection is that under proportional representation the parties in Parliament would be very evenly divided. That is true, you would have it more evenly divided than at the present time. But in every case you would have the majority ruling. We are not exempt from the possibility of a very even division of the House under the present system. In the province of Ontario a comparatively few years ago, the Hardy Government was returned by a very small majority. When the late Sir George Ross became Prime Minister and went to the country, he had a majority of only three, as I recollect it, and yet he held office for several years. And we see the same thing to-day. In the province of New Brunswick there is a very small majority-