August 21, 1917

?

An hon. MEMBER:

Everything.

Topic:   THE MILITARY VOTERS' ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   FURTHER CONSIDERATION IN COMMITTEE.
Permalink
CON

John Allister Currie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CURRIE:

We have had obstruction of all kinds, but this is the most flagrant obstruction we have had during the session.

I ask your ruling, Mr. Chairman, as to whether this is in order.

Topic:   THE MILITARY VOTERS' ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   FURTHER CONSIDERATION IN COMMITTEE.
Permalink
LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

This shows how the Bill will work out.

Topic:   THE MILITARY VOTERS' ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   FURTHER 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 (Mr. Rainville):

1

understand this is going to be used by the hon. member (Mr. Macdonald) as a reason why this law should not be enacted. I understand that the hon. gentleman proposes to use what he reads as an argument against the Bill.

Topic:   THE MILITARY VOTERS' ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   FURTHER CONSIDERATION IN COMMITTEE.
Permalink
CON

John Allister Currie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CURRIE:

He proposes using it to stop the passage of this Bill; to hold it up.

Topic:   THE MILITARY VOTERS' ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   FURTHER CONSIDERATION IN COMMITTEE.
Permalink
LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD:

My hon. friend (Mr. Currie) interrupts me to distract attention from the point. (Reading):

Major Pringle was in a position to act at any poll held by Trim had the latter given him notice.

Corp. William Harrison Welsh, iNo. 703426, '02nd Battalion, said that his residence was Vancouver and that he had voted for the second time on the B. C. prohibition referendum at Epsom during the first week in January, 1917. He stated that the man who took hi*

[DOT] vote at that time was Regt. Sergt.-Major Lonergan. He told Lonergan that he hadi voted before at Bramshott at the end of July ' or the first week in August, 1916. He was informed at Epsom by Lonergan that they were only holding the prohibition by-election. The votes before were not good. They had been ruled out or something.

Asked how he fixed the date of his second, vote as the first week in January, 1917, he replied: "I left Irmstone hospital at Eastbourne on the 30th day of December, and it was not till eight or nine o'clock that night that we got into Epsom convalescent camp; and it was four or five days after that I went out and voted."

On being asked the following question by the chairman: "Were there many who voted

at the same time you did?", the witness replied : "There was a big line-up. They voted

there three or four days."

Then this evidence goes on-

Topic:   THE MILITARY VOTERS' ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   FURTHER CONSIDERATION IN COMMITTEE.
Permalink
?

An hon. MEMBER:

Read it all.

Topic:   THE MILITARY VOTERS' ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   FURTHER CONSIDERATION IN COMMITTEE.
Permalink
CON

John Allister Currie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CURRIE:

Read the ads. too.

Topic:   THE MILITARY VOTERS' ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   FURTHER CONSIDERATION IN COMMITTEE.
Permalink
LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD:

I hope my hon. friend will be instructed by this, although

I have no confidence in my ability o! being able to do that.

Topic:   THE MILITARY VOTERS' ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   FURTHER CONSIDERATION IN COMMITTEE.
Permalink
CON

John Allister Currie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CURRIE:

It is not relevant at all.

Topic:   THE MILITARY VOTERS' ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   FURTHER CONSIDERATION IN COMMITTEE.
Permalink
LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD:

Do not worry about that. (Reading):

Private Henry Ashdowne, No. 706108, 103rd Battalion, residence 950 North Park street, Victoria, swore that he had voted twice on the prohibition referendum, once in September at Bramshott and once in December, 1916, at Seaford. At Seaford he Informed the sergeant that he had already voted at Bramshott. The sergeant replied: "That does not matter, the

voting is being taken over again."

Corp. Harold J. Cowherd, No. 706880, 103rd Battalion, residence Victoria, said he also voted twice, once at Bramshott and once at Seaford in December, 1916. This witness gave as a reason for voting the second time the following:

"It seemed they came around and told us that the vote was cast out, or irregular. We naturally thought it was in order."

Pte. Arthur Leadbetter, No. 706995, 103rd Battalion, 1211 Pembroke street, Victoria, said he voted once at Bramshott, and stated: "When we came down again they said there was something the matter with the election so they called a parade again and we all voted.

Pte. Arthur Page, No. 70T235, Victoria, voted once at Bramshott on the prohibition referendum and voted again at Seaford in December, 1916, on the same question. He was asked the following question:

Q. Would you mind explaining to the commission how you came to vote a second time?

A. We were given to understand that the first vote was no good.

So they go on in detail in regard to this matter.

Sergt. Pyle stated that when taking votes in France in September, 1916, there was always a scrutineer present at the polls he took,

Which shows that there is no reason why a scrutineer should not be present.

__but there was not always a scrutineer

present during the polling in December. Sergt. Pyle stated that he had no receptacles for placing envelopes in-that he simply tied the envelopes up with tape or string and sealed them with wax.

Now, I have concluded this report. The commission reported that the evidence before them indicated:

That grave frauds and irregularities were committed and that the regulations laid down for the taking of the vote were in many instances not observed.

The commission go on to deal with specific classifications of votes and they point out cases where the identification numbers and names do not agree with the record or else the numbers given had never been *allotted.

It is noted by the auditor that more than one-half of these 532 cases were polled at Epsom Convalescent hospital, and that the

voters concerned had no connection with British Columbia, either through themselves or their relatives.

Topic:   THE MILITARY VOTERS' ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   FURTHER CONSIDERATION IN COMMITTEE.
Permalink
CON

John Allister Currie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CURRIE:

Was this a non-partisan

commission appointed by the legislature of British Columbia?

Topic:   THE MILITARY VOTERS' ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   FURTHER CONSIDERATION IN COMMITTEE.
Permalink
LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD:

Yes.

Topic:   THE MILITARY VOTERS' ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   FURTHER CONSIDERATION IN COMMITTEE.
Permalink
CON

George Taylor

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TAYLOR:

Thj hon. gentleman is

entirely wrong. This was a commission of three partisans.

Topic:   THE MILITARY VOTERS' ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   FURTHER CONSIDERATION IN COMMITTEE.
Permalink
LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD:

In this case it must be observed that what they were dealing with was a non-partisan question.

Topic:   THE MILITARY VOTERS' ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   FURTHER CONSIDERATION IN COMMITTEE.
Permalink
CON

John Allister Currie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CURRIE :

How can the hon. gentleman draw any conclusion with regard to this Bill from the reading of a report that is not relevant to it?

Topic:   THE MILITARY VOTERS' ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   FURTHER CONSIDERATION IN COMMITTEE.
Permalink
LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD:

I am dealing with the taking of the votes under an Act of the legislature. -

Topic:   THE MILITARY VOTERS' ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   FURTHER CONSIDERATION IN COMMITTEE.
Permalink
CON

John Allister Currie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CURRIE:

A different Act altogether from that we are considering.

Topic:   THE MILITARY VOTERS' ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   FURTHER CONSIDERATION IN COMMITTEE.
Permalink
LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD:

The hon. gentleman

does not know anything about the Act I am talking about. He has not seen the Act dealt with in the report. The point I am making in regard to this matter is that I am here dealing with a matter which was a non-political question. The hon. member for New Westminster (Mr. Taylor) will not dispute that. The political parties in British Columbia did not divide on the question of prohibition according to whether they were Liberals or Conservatives and on taking that vote on a non-political question the circumstances under which the vote was taken were as they are disclosed by this commission. The point I want to make in regard to this is that, when we are undertaking to deal with the taking of a vote on the question as to who are to be the members of this Federal Parliament, the provisions of the Act ought to be such that it would not be possible for conditions to arise such, as this report indicates, did arise in the taking of the vote on this non-political question. There we have evidence, for instance, with regard to the question of scrutineers. The direct and positive statement of this commission after having investigated the matter was that there was no reason why there should be any provision for dispensing with scrutineers even in France, much less in England, where the men are in camps or in hospitals and where the whole thing can be done as regularly as it can be anywhere else. Even in France the position is such

that provision should be made for scrutineers where a presiding officer may be appointed who would not be absolutely nonpartisan as he ought to be.

I submit that, with respect to the clause concerning scrutineers and, in fact, all of the provisions made here, we on this side are seeking only, and my object in reading this extract from the report of conditions in British Columbia was only to impress the Minister of Justice and the Government with the fact that these irregularities, errors of the gravest possible character' double voting and voting in the names of men, who were dead, or in prison, or absent, were conditions that would only entail scandals on this country after an election, no matter what the result was, and why should we not endeavour to so frame this Bill as to prevent the occurrence of these things?

Topic:   THE MILITARY VOTERS' ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   FURTHER CONSIDERATION IN COMMITTEE.
Permalink
CON

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

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DOHERTY:

We are on a section which provides unlimited power of appointment of scrutineers to the respective parties. That this may have some bearing on a subject that arises later on in the schedule, is the strongest possible argument in support of this particular subsection which is providing the unlimited right of appointment of scrutineers to each party. When we come to the question later on as. to their being notified, etc., we shall try to deal with that; but surely the hon. gentleman does not suggest that what he has read is a reason why we should not provide scrutineers, and this subsection is simply providing for scrutineers.

Topic:   THE MILITARY VOTERS' ACT, 1917.
Subtopic:   FURTHER CONSIDERATION IN COMMITTEE.
Permalink

August 21, 1917