August 21, 1917

LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

They are all so connected together that it is entirely proper-

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:

If the hon. gentleman seriously thinks this is so connected with the others, it can stand with them.

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

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

I want to convince the minister.

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:

I would do it without being convinced.

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

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

The minister cannot throw me out in that way.

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

William Sora Middlebro

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MIDDLEBRO:

If my hon. friend must speak, we cannot stop him without closure, I suppose.

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

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

I should like to say to my hon. friend that he has no right to stop a member of this House at all, and he has no right to threaten any member of this House with closure.

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

William Sora Middlebro

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MIDDLEBRO:

Later on. fMr. Macdonald.!

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

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

My hon. friend can apply closure whenever he pleases. But let me tell him that In the discussion of an important Bill he cannot throttle the members of this House. He has not the power to do it.

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

William Sora Middlebro

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MIDDLEBRO:

The minister said he was quite willing to do as the hon. gentleman laisked without the hon. gentleman speaking, but he is not sat'sfied.

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

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

I have a perfect right

to state my views, and I want to take the opportunity now of calling the attention of the minister to the fact that, under the clauses of this Bill which provides for the appointment of a partisan presiding officer who- is to take the position- of the returning officer and allowing that man -to appoint the deputy presiding officers, in whose appointment the leader of the Opposition is to have no voice, the opportunities for irregularity and fraud will be far greater than they were in the case of the taking of the vote on prohibition- in British Columbia.

I wish to call attention also to the provision with regard to scrutineers. It provides that the deputy returning officer may go around with a box or hag and take the votes of the soldiers and that while provision is made for giving notice to scrutineers, yet if the deputy presiding officer chooses to do so, he may take the vote without any notice to scrutineers. Then I would call attention to this fact, that all these deputy scrutineers are to travel about without pay, they are to follow these deputy presiding officers whenever they are taking the votes, and they are to get no pay. They are not even to get their travelling expenses.

IMr. CURRIE: When did the hon. gentleman pay Tory scrutineers?

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

William Humphrey Bennett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. W. H. BENNETT:

When he was a Tory.

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

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

If my -hon. friend thinks he can justify a Bill like this, which will enable the will of the bona fide electors to be thwarted, on any ground that these deputy scrutineers should not be paid even travelling expenses, he is welcome to entertain that view. What I say is, that under the provisions which the minister has made with regard- to these deputy scrutineers, these partisan deputy presiding officers may take the vote, may travel as they please, if +his Bill is to go through in its present form. I think the minister ought to see, and I trust he will see, -that it demands consideration and

that the suggestion we have made that these presiding officers should be non-par-tisan^is a reasonable proposition. All we on this side want is to see that the soldiers' vote is honestly taken, to see that the soldier votes once and only once, and to see that the votes of the honest Canadian boys at the front shall not be overturned by the votes of the people who may be willing to vote two, three or four times, just as was done in the case that has been cited.

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

William Wright

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WRIGHT:

How does the hon. gentleman propose to have any man appointed whom somebody could not charge with partisanship?

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

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

Just as the minister proposes in regard to the inferior officers. He proposes that, in the appointment of the special returning officers, the leader of the Opposition shall name one and the leader of the Government shall name one alternately. I would do the same with returning officers.

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

William Wright

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WRIGHT:

You propose that there should be two returning officers, one appointed by the Government and one by the Opposition?

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

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

Not at all. I would suggest that they should agree upon one and if they fail to agree he should be appointed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. The Bill provides that the Prime Minister shall name one special returning officer and the leader of the Opposition shall name the next one, alternately, until they get the requisite number, and the leader of the Government shall name a clerk and the leader of the Opposition a clerk to the extent that may be necessary. But in respect to the important officer who is to appoint all these deputy presiding officers who are to control the election, I say he should not be partisan, and the fact that no provision is made for the payment even of the travelling expenses of the deputy scrutineers would show the very strongest reason why the presiding offilcers, who are really the returning officers to hold the poll, should be non-partisan so far as their appointment is concerned. That is why I think all tfiis section should stand if any clause ought to stand, because they are all so linked one to the other. I would again urge upon the minister what has been urged so well by the junior member for Halifax (Mr. A. K. Maclean) that it is necessary that every possible safeguard should be placed in the Bill in order to prevent fraud and irregularities.

That is especially important, where there are nodists and the vote is to be taken by the presiding officer travelling around from camp to camp. I think the suggestion of the hon. member from Halifax, that a nonpartisan commission should be appointed for taking the, votes, is a good one. That is one alternative, and the other alternative is that the returning officer be appointed jointly by the leader of the Government and the leader of the Opposition.

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

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

I merely wish to clear from the minds of the committee a misunderstanding which might result from the statements of the hon. member from Pic-tou. The investigation which was held into the taking of the British Columbia soldiers' votes referred only to the taking of the plebiscite regarding prohibiten and which was extended beyond the time for the general election in the province, from September 14 until December 31. With regard to taking the soldiers' votes in the regular election, there was, I think, perfect satisfaction on both sides. A lawyer from Montreal, Mr. A. Reeves Hall, represented the Liberal party in Great Britain and France in taking the soldiers* votes, and at the conclusion of the election he wrote a letter in which he stated he was perfectly saFisfied with the manner in which the vote was taken. I am not aware of a single criticism or protest being filed regarding the taking of soldiers' votes during the period of 42 days previous to September 14, which related to the election of members of the legislature. But by the Bill of the British Columbia Legislature, the taking of the plebicite for prohibition was extended beyond the date of the election, until December 31, as a result of that, certain irregularities were alleged, and I believe the commission which was appointed by the British Columbia Legislature demonstrated to the satisfaction of the public that these irregularities occurred. But my hon. friend from St. John and the hon. member for Pictou are needlessly alarmed regarding the taking of the vote under regular arrangements and regulations, such as are provided in this Bill.

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

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

For the reason that this Bill provides that both political parties in this House shall be represented by scrutineers.

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

August 21, 1917