September 12, 1917

CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada; Minister of Mines; Secretary of State of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

My information is that they use dynamite. Mine sweeping is always a more or less dangerous occupation. We cannot distinguish between different classes of war work for the sake of this Bill. It would appear to me to be utterly illogical to do so as long as the men are not engaged around our own shores, where, of course, conditions are quite different. These men are engaged in active service in connection with the war, and there is a measure of peril attached to their occupation.

Mr. A. Ki MACLEAN: What about those who are working on shore in the Naval Service?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE HOUSE IN COMMITTEE ON THE WARTIME ELECTIONS ACT-RULE 17B APPLIED.
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada; Minister of Mines; Secretary of State of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

That is where we make a distinction. It may be that there is some degree of danger even there, but we have to draw the line somewhere.

Mr -A. K. MACLEAN: Why not exclude all those in the Naval Service who ordinarily *are engaged in Canadian waters? Why should the female relatives of a man who happens to be employed on a little tug boat or gasoline launch in Halifax harbour be entitled to vote? I hope the minister will drop this altogether.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE HOUSE IN COMMITTEE ON THE WARTIME ELECTIONS ACT-RULE 17B APPLIED.
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada; Minister of Mines; Secretary of State of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

We are not entitling these men to vote by this Bill. Whatever rights these men now have as regards voting, they have by reason of the Military Voters' Bill. It may be that so far there has been no loss in this particular service, but it would be very bold indeed for Parliament to assume that those men were engaged in a peaceful occupation akin to work on

land. We do not know at what hour it may become the most perilous of'occupations. My information from the department is that the service has certainly not been free from peril.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE HOUSE IN COMMITTEE ON THE WARTIME ELECTIONS ACT-RULE 17B APPLIED.
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LIB

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Liberal

Mr. A. K. MACLEAN:

The mine sweepers in Halifax harbour work only two hours a day, and their occupation cannot be described as dangerous.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE HOUSE IN COMMITTEE ON THE WARTIME ELECTIONS ACT-RULE 17B APPLIED.
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada; Minister of Mines; Secretary of State of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I do not know much

about it myself, but I made inquiries in the department, and I have given the information I got.

There were several oither inquiries I promised to answer to-day. First of all, I will take the meaning of the word " demobilization." I have had the following memorandum prepared:

The meaning of the word "demobilization" is not given or referred to in any of the legal authorities which I have been able to consult, with the exception of a definition given in 13 Cyc, where it is said that it means "in military law, the dismissal of an army or body of troops from active service." He refers to Rapalje and L. L. Diet, as his authority for this definition.

In the Century Dictionary the meaning given to it somewhat accords with this definition. The meaning there given is "the act of disbanding troops; the reduction of military armaments to a peace footing; the condition of being demobilized, and not liable to be moved on service."

It seems to me that this all taken together is just what every one has understood by demobilization-the release from military obligations-and the moment our overseas soldiers are released from the obligation they assumed as such in our expeditionary forces, at that moment demobilization has taken place.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE HOUSE IN COMMITTEE ON THE WARTIME ELECTIONS ACT-RULE 17B APPLIED.
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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

The Bill says "complete demobilization," that is, the cessation of operations, or the withdrawal of the troops from practical operations. Of course you might withdraw one corps after another.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE HOUSE IN COMMITTEE ON THE WARTIME ELECTIONS ACT-RULE 17B APPLIED.
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada; Minister of Mines; Secretary of State of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

My own opinion is it would be just the same. I do not know how we could word it to meet that difficulty. I presume it would be possible to keep ten men mobilized.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE HOUSE IN COMMITTEE ON THE WARTIME ELECTIONS ACT-RULE 17B APPLIED.
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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

But, it is a

feature of all legislation that even an ordinary expression is defined. I had hoped my hon. friend would have given the definition of the words "complete demobilization."

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE HOUSE IN COMMITTEE ON THE WARTIME ELECTIONS ACT-RULE 17B APPLIED.
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada; Minister of Mines; Secretary of State of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Without an interpretation at all, the meaning would be just the meaning we would give by an interpretation, namely, the release of the members of the overseas forces from their obligations as such. That is just the effect of it as it is.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE HOUSE IN COMMITTEE ON THE WARTIME ELECTIONS ACT-RULE 17B APPLIED.
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LIB

Charles Marcil

Liberal

Mr. MAROIL:

Is it not a fact that these men are all engaged for the period of the war, or until six months after the war?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE HOUSE IN COMMITTEE ON THE WARTIME ELECTIONS ACT-RULE 17B APPLIED.
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada; Minister of Mines; Secretary of State of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

My information is, that that is the condition of the voluntary enlistment.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE HOUSE IN COMMITTEE ON THE WARTIME ELECTIONS ACT-RULE 17B APPLIED.
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LIB

Charles Marcil

Liberal

Mr. MARCIL:

Will you keep those men six months after the war?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE HOUSE IN COMMITTEE ON THE WARTIME ELECTIONS ACT-RULE 17B APPLIED.
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada; Minister of Mines; Secretary of State of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Personally, I do not see how they can get home within six months. Steps may have to be taken to keep them on the force until we can bring them home.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE HOUSE IN COMMITTEE ON THE WARTIME ELECTIONS ACT-RULE 17B APPLIED.
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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

We may understand then that complete demobilization means the release of all the troops from active service, whether they are in Europe or whether they have returned.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE HOUSE IN COMMITTEE ON THE WARTIME ELECTIONS ACT-RULE 17B APPLIED.
Permalink
CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada; Minister of Mines; Secretary of State of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Yes. Release from their obligations as members of the expeditionary force. Of course we would not release them overseas.

The next question was as to whether this Act would be applicable to by-elections. I have looked into the matter very carefully, and in my opinion if a by-election should become necessary while this Act is in operation, that is, before demobilization, this Act is applicable, and should be applicable. It is true the Military Voters' Act is not applicable. They would not have a vote in any by-election, but it is much better that this Act- should be in effect rather than that the old Act should be in effect. As a matter of fact, the old Franchise Act would scarcely apply at all in some provinces. Reference to sections 52, 214 and 218 of the Act as it will be when this Act is passed, will show this Act is clearly applicable. Section 52 of the Act as it stands reads:

52. Except as provided in this part, it shall not he necessary to prepare new voters' lists for the purpose of any election to he held under this Act, when there has heen in the said electoral district a previous election, the voters* lists prepared for which are of record in the office of the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery, and there is an interval of less than twelve months between the dates of the writs for the two elections.

So that, for any election held within one year the voters' lists prepared under this Act and in the possession of the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery would be the lists. Section 214 says:

214. The returning officer shall also transmit to the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery, the writ, with his return, the stamp furnished him for stamping the ballot papers, and all the ballot papers including those unused, the original statements of the several deputy returning officers, together with the lists of voters and the poll hooks used in the several polling divisions, and all other lists and documents used or furnished for the election, or which have been transmitted to him by the deputy returning officers.

That section provides that the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery shall keep those lists. -

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE HOUSE IN COMMITTEE ON THE WARTIME ELECTIONS ACT-RULE 17B APPLIED.
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LIB

Edward Walter Nesbitt

Liberal

Mr. NESBITT:

That is in the present Act?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE HOUSE IN COMMITTEE ON THE WARTIME ELECTIONS ACT-RULE 17B APPLIED.
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada; Minister of Mines; Secretary of State of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

In the Act as it stands now, and as it will stand. Section 218 provides:

218. The Clerk of the Crown in Chancery shall, subject to the provisions of this Act, retain in his possession the papers transmitted to him by any returning officer, with the return, for at least one year, if the election is not contested during that time, and, if the election is contested, then for one year after the termination of such contestation.

So this Act will be applicable in the event of an election within one year.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE HOUSE IN COMMITTEE ON THE WARTIME ELECTIONS ACT-RULE 17B APPLIED.
Permalink
LIB

Charles Marcil

Liberal

Mr. MARCIL:

Will the soldiers on the other side vote in that by-election?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE HOUSE IN COMMITTEE ON THE WARTIME ELECTIONS ACT-RULE 17B APPLIED.
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada; Minister of Mines; Secretary of State of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

No, the Military Voters' Act is not applicable.

The next subject is with regard to relate ives of members of the Allied armies. I cannot add to whaJt I said yesterday on this point. I think it would open the door to the gravest abuses. While I freely admit there are some whom it would be in the public interest to admit to the franchise, [DOT]still we cannot distinguish between Allies in the war. We are very anxious to avoid [DOT]distinguishing, and the difficulty in drawing the line is so great that I think it is better to leave the Bill as it is in that regard.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE HOUSE IN COMMITTEE ON THE WARTIME ELECTIONS ACT-RULE 17B APPLIED.
Permalink
LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

What about the ten days?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   THE HOUSE IN COMMITTEE ON THE WARTIME ELECTIONS ACT-RULE 17B APPLIED.
Permalink

September 12, 1917