August 20, 1917

CON

Joseph Hormisdas Rainville (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Conservative (1867-1942)

The CHAIRMAN:

The point of order is well taken. The hon. member is out of order.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE MILITARY VOTERS' ACT, 1917.
Sub-subtopic:   SECOND READING OF BILL AND CONSIDERATION IN COMMITTEE.
Permalink
CON

John Hampden Burnham

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BURNHAM:

The article goes on to say-

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE MILITARY VOTERS' ACT, 1917.
Sub-subtopic:   SECOND READING OF BILL AND CONSIDERATION IN COMMITTEE.
Permalink
CON

Joseph Hormisdas Rainville (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Conservative (1867-1942)

The CHAIRMAN:

Order. That is not relevant to the section. The hon. member must confine himself to a discussion of the section under consideration.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE MILITARY VOTERS' ACT, 1917.
Sub-subtopic:   SECOND READING OF BILL AND CONSIDERATION IN COMMITTEE.
Permalink

Section agreed to. On section 2-definitions:


LIB

John Howard Sinclair

Liberal

Mr. SINCLAIR:

What is meant by the word '' receptacle "? Would that definition enable an officer to carry ballots around in his pockets without having a regular ballot-box in which they would be deposited? This is a great departure from the usual way of conducting ,an election, and I see no reason for such a general term as " or other receptacle " in the section. That opens the door to placing the ballots anywhere at all. Why is it necessary to have such general language as that in the section?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE MILITARY VOTERS' ACT, 1917.
Sub-subtopic:   SECOND READING OF BILL AND CONSIDERATION IN COMMITTEE.
Permalink
CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DOHERTY:

The purpose of this section is only to enable us to use the word "box" wherever, through the Act, we are dealing with receptacles, but there are, in this measure, other provisions providing for the way in which the ballot is to be placed in the receptacle and as to the sealing of the receptacle. This definition is only so that we shall not have each time to say box or bag or some other form of receptacle, but we have provisions further on that the receptacle shall be a suitable one and especially that it shall be suitably closed and sealed and so forth. The effect of this is only to tell us what "box" means when we use it in this Act.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE MILITARY VOTERS' ACT, 1917.
Sub-subtopic:   SECOND READING OF BILL AND CONSIDERATION IN COMMITTEE.
Permalink
LIB

John Howard Sinclair

Liberal

Mr. SINCLAIR:

Why do we depart from the old system of having a ballot-box?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE MILITARY VOTERS' ACT, 1917.
Sub-subtopic:   SECOND READING OF BILL AND CONSIDERATION IN COMMITTEE.
Permalink
CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DOHERTY:

The ballot-box as we have it in this country would not be a very convenient thing to carry around on the field in France or Flanders. The only object is to make the taking of this vote as convenient as it possibly may be made, because it must be recollected that every inconvenience that is put in the way of taking the vote is so much of a difficulty in the way of a .soldier registering his vote. When we come to deal with particular provisions, the hon. member will see that there are provisions for the holding of what are called polls, but there is also provision for affording opportunity to a soldier to register his vote, where that is possible, otherwise than at what might be called a poll, where the conditions are such that if he is not allowed to register his vote at the time and place at which he tenders it, he may be entirely deprived of the opportunity of registering his vote. I cannot conceive of anything that would be much more awkward for an officer taking votes under the conditions under which they are to be taken than the form of ballot-box as we have it in this country. It seems to me that, as long as we ensure that the ballot-box shall be in a proper receptacle, properly sealed and closed so as to be safe, we are doing all that is needed, and in departing from the absolute requirement of a tin ballot-box, we are certainly facilitating the taking of the soldiers' vote.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE MILITARY VOTERS' ACT, 1917.
Sub-subtopic:   SECOND READING OF BILL AND CONSIDERATION IN COMMITTEE.
Permalink
LIB

John Howard Sinclair

Liberal

Mr. SINCLAIR:

What section provides that the box, or bag, or whatever it is, will be locked or closed?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE MILITARY VOTERS' ACT, 1917.
Sub-subtopic:   SECOND READING OF BILL AND CONSIDERATION IN COMMITTEE.
Permalink
CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DOHERTY:

Section 11 deals with that, and I think there are other provisions besides. Section 11 says:

The deputy presiding officer* may use the same ballot box, if It be sufficient, at all polls committed to him to be held, until it has become filled, and upon the conclusion of his last poll, or whenever he shall decide to discontinue the depositing of ballots in any box, he shall seal it in such manner as to make evident any tampering therewith, plainly mark it with the words "military votes" and send it by registered post or other safe and expeditious means, addressed, (a) if the votes therein have been polled within the United Kingdom, to the secretary of the High Commissioner of Canada, at London, England; (b) if they have been polled on the continent of Europe, to the Canadian Commissioner to France; and, (c) if they have been polled elsewhere, to the General Returning Officer at Ottawa.

Mr. PiUGSLEY: There ought to be some provision for a ballot box so that, when the

ballots are put in, they cannot be removed. This definition-

''Box" or ''ballot box" Includes bag or 'other receptacle for containing ballots.

-is so very loose in its character that a returning officer might very well use any open vessel, anything that might be the handiest, even his pocket, if necessary.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE MILITARY VOTERS' ACT, 1917.
Sub-subtopic:   SECOND READING OF BILL AND CONSIDERATION IN COMMITTEE.
Permalink
LIB

Charles Murphy

Liberal

Mr. MURPHY:

Or his hat.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE MILITARY VOTERS' ACT, 1917.
Sub-subtopic:   SECOND READING OF BILL AND CONSIDERATION IN COMMITTEE.
Permalink
LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

There should be some

provision, the same as we have in the Dominion Elections Act providing for an ordinary ballot box. I do not think there would be any inconvenience in supplying the proper officials with those boxes, and it would be a certain safeguard; whereas, if an officer feels that, under the law, he can carry the ballots about in any receptacle he pleases to use he might think that people could be trusted, and then vs hen he would come to seal up his ballots in some particular receptacle, he might find that he would have a good many ballots that were never cast by the electors at all. It is due to the soldiers that proper safeguards should be placed around the taking of the vote and the return of the ballot, so that the soldier, when he casts his ballot for a particular party or candidate, may have some reasonable assurance that that ballot will be sent back to Canada and counted at the proper time. The only reference to depositing ballots in the ballot box will be found in paragraph (b) of subsection 2 of section 9 which says:

. . . the deputy presiding officer, who shall

without unfolding it-

That is in the case of counterfoils.

-ascertain by examining his initials and the number of the counter-foil, that it is the same paper as that furnished by him to the voter, and shall then, in the presence of the voter, remove and destroy the counterfoil, place the ballot in the proper envelope and deposit in it the ballot box.

That should read " deposit it in the ballot box ". The words "in " and " it " have been, transposed. It is intended, of course, to put the envelop in the ballot box, but, as the clause reads, the ballot box is to be put in the envelope. Paragraph (e) of section 9 provides that the voter shall place the ballot in the ballot box, which might mean that it could be placed in a pail or a tin can or in an open bag. I think the minister will see that there should be a section providing that the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery shall secure a sufficient number of suitable ballot boxes which could be kept under lock and

key, and sent forward to the different officials who are to take part in the taking of the vote. Here are some four hundred thousand voters whose ballots are to be ckst. Why, in the interests of the soldiers themselves, and in the interests of the Canadian people, should there not be the same reasonable safeguards surrounding the procuring of a proper ballot box, and the placing of the ballots in a secure ballot box, as'in the case of an ordinary election? In an ordinary municipal election all these safeguards are provided, but here, where we are providing for the taking of the votes of 400,000 soldiers, we are providing no safeguards whatever so far as the procuring of proper ballot boxes is concerned.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE MILITARY VOTERS' ACT, 1917.
Sub-subtopic:   SECOND READING OF BILL AND CONSIDERATION IN COMMITTEE.
Permalink
CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DOHERTY:

It may be that there

should be more exact description of the nature of the receptacle; but, assuming that to be so, this is not exactly the section where that provision should be made.. This is only a definition of what " box " is understood to mean when it occurs in this Act. To avoid giving a description every time we want to mention the Teceptacle that is to hold the ballots, we say that the word " box " shall mean the receptacle that is to be used, whether it is a box or a bag. When we come to deal with the manner of taking the vote, I shall be pleased to consider whether it would not be desirable to insert, as far as that may be possible, a specific description of the receptacle. The operations on this side of the ocean will rest upon the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery, and on the other side of the ocean on the Acting or Assistant Clerk of the Crown in Chancery, who is to be appointed and who will perform on the other side of the ocean the functions of the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery.

It is true that the provisions of the Dominion Elections Act may be more specific *13 to the kind of box, but if I am not mistaken, it is part of the duty of the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery to provide the boxes that are required; and I would as6uine that it would be part of the duties of the Acting Clerk of the Crown in Chancery on the other side to provide the receptacles, whatever they may be, which are deemed best and most suitable. It did seem to us desirable that we should not prescribe absolutely that the receptacle must be a box in any particular form. Otherwise, we might create a condition where the soldier would be deprived of his vote just because the officer properly authorized did not have* a box of the particular shape.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE MILITARY VOTERS' ACT, 1917.
Sub-subtopic:   SECOND READING OF BILL AND CONSIDERATION IN COMMITTEE.
Permalink
LIB

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Liberal

Mr. A. K. MACLEAN:

Section 122 of the Dominion Elections Act prescribes the form of ballot-box thus:

The ballot boxes shall be made of some durable material, with one lock and key, and a slit or narrow opening in the top, and so constructed that the tFallot papers may be introduced therein, but cannot be withdrawn therefrom unless the box is unlocked.

I think it would be well to introduce that paragraph in Part IV of the Act. If that were done, I think it would fairly well meet the objection.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE MILITARY VOTERS' ACT, 1917.
Sub-subtopic:   SECOND READING OF BILL AND CONSIDERATION IN COMMITTEE.
Permalink
CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DOHERTY:

>We have a provision

here that Part IV is to be read in conjunction with the entire Act.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE MILITARY VOTERS' ACT, 1917.
Sub-subtopic:   SECOND READING OF BILL AND CONSIDERATION IN COMMITTEE.
Permalink
LIB

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Liberal

Mr. A. K. MACLEAN:

I do not think

that could be done, because section 119 of the Dominion Elections Act provides that the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery shall provide the required number of ballot-boxes, which must be of a uniform size and shape, such instructions being first approved by the Governor in Council. The definition which we are discussing seeks to make the term more elastic, to meet the case where a '"box," within the Dominion Elections Act, was not obtainable.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE MILITARY VOTERS' ACT, 1917.
Sub-subtopic:   SECOND READING OF BILL AND CONSIDERATION IN COMMITTEE.
Permalink
LIB

Edward Walter Nesbitt

Liberal

Mr. NESBITT:

Why not say something like this, "which cannot be removed except by the person duly authorized"?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE MILITARY VOTERS' ACT, 1917.
Sub-subtopic:   SECOND READING OF BILL AND CONSIDERATION IN COMMITTEE.
Permalink
CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DOHERTY:

It occurs to me that in this clause- is not a proper place to give any description of the ballot box. All we are doing here is compiling a dictionary so that we shall know what the words mean that are used in the Act. I quite agree that it may be necessary before we get through with this Bill to make some provision as to what is to be the form of the box.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE MILITARY VOTERS' ACT, 1917.
Sub-subtopic:   SECOND READING OF BILL AND CONSIDERATION IN COMMITTEE.
Permalink
LIB

Edward Walter Nesbitt

Liberal

Mr. NESBITT:

Why not say, "as hereinafter provided"?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE MILITARY VOTERS' ACT, 1917.
Sub-subtopic:   SECOND READING OF BILL AND CONSIDERATION IN COMMITTEE.
Permalink
CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DOHERTY:

I can see no objection to that.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE MILITARY VOTERS' ACT, 1917.
Sub-subtopic:   SECOND READING OF BILL AND CONSIDERATION IN COMMITTEE.
Permalink

August 20, 1917