March 22, 1918

L LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Laurier Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

There is no

objection that I can see to paragraphs (a), (b), and (c), but I imay call attention to paragraph (d) which seems to me most objectionable. It provides that every female person shall be entitled to vote at a Dominion election who,

(d) is not disqualified on account of race, blood or original nationality to vote at elections for members of the Legislative Assembly of the province in which the constituency is situate in which such female person seeks to vote.

Take the law of the province in that respect. If there is to be in any province any legislative enactment which prohibits a woman from voting, our law respects that part of the provincial legislation. If in

British Columbia, tor instance, an alien is disqualified on account of race, blood, or original nationality from voting in the province, she cannot vote in a Dominion election. If, on the other hand, in the neighbouring province there is no such prohibition, then she is allowed to vote in the Dominion election. 'I think that is the proper interpretation of the law. This provision was put in the negative. That is to say, we adopt the provincial legislation in the negative.

Topic:   SUPPLY BILL-INTERIM VOTE.
Subtopic:   WOMAN SUFFRAGE.
Sub-subtopic:   BILL TO CONFER ELECTORAL FRANCHISE ON WOMEN.
Permalink
UNION

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

In order to make the matter perfectly clear, permit me to say that we are merely carrying out in this respect, the same principles with regard to women which now prevail in regard to men'.

Topic:   SUPPLY BILL-INTERIM VOTE.
Subtopic:   WOMAN SUFFRAGE.
Sub-subtopic:   BILL TO CONFER ELECTORAL FRANCHISE ON WOMEN.
Permalink
L LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Laurier Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

Topic:   SUPPLY BILL-INTERIM VOTE.
Subtopic:   WOMAN SUFFRAGE.
Sub-subtopic:   BILL TO CONFER ELECTORAL FRANCHISE ON WOMEN.
Permalink
UNION

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

I entirely understand that the United States have a provision in their Constitution that the franchise adopted in the different states is to be used for elections to the federal Congress- We have no such a law in this country. I am not prepared to admit that it is not perfectly competent for this Parliament to create its own franchise law, apart altogether from the provinces. We need not discuss that at the moment. For the present we are proceeding along the lines of provincial legislation. We are guided by that in framing this law. There are certain restrictions in some of the provinces as to race and nationality in respect to men. We are simply providing in this Bill inat there shall be precisely the same restrictions in respect to women. That is all. As we have followed the line of provincial legislation with regard to men, we think it proper also to follow the same line when we are giving the franchise to women. There is only one possible anomaly to which it is proper that I should draw the attention of the committee, and it has not been alluded to by my right hon. friend. I think this Bill gives to women a somewhat wider franchise in certain of the provinces than men enjoy at the present time. For example, there are certain difficult and intricate provisions relating to the franchise in my own province. The right is enjoyed by farmers' sons based upon a certain valuation of property. There is also a similar provision in regard to fishermen. These dispositions are not of a character to be made applicable to women, and inasmuch as women have waited a long time for the privilege of exercising their franchise, I do not think it will do any harm if they ha've a somewhat wider franchise than the men in the province to which I have alluded.

Topic:   SUPPLY BILL-INTERIM VOTE.
Subtopic:   WOMAN SUFFRAGE.
Sub-subtopic:   BILL TO CONFER ELECTORAL FRANCHISE ON WOMEN.
Permalink
L LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Laurier Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

No, but it may create confusion. In my own province you give to the women universal manhood suffrage.

Topic:   SUPPLY BILL-INTERIM VOTE.
Subtopic:   WOMAN SUFFRAGE.
Sub-subtopic:   BILL TO CONFER ELECTORAL FRANCHISE ON WOMEN.
Permalink
UNION

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

Womanhood suffrage.

Topic:   SUPPLY BILL-INTERIM VOTE.
Subtopic:   WOMAN SUFFRAGE.
Sub-subtopic:   BILL TO CONFER ELECTORAL FRANCHISE ON WOMEN.
Permalink
L LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Laurier Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

That is not the law in Quebec, although in most of the provinces they have universal manhood suffrage. Every man has a vote who is twenty-one years of age. In the province of Quebec the franchise is not given as a right, but it is made accessible to everybody. Every man in Quebec is a voter-who is a land owner. .

Topic:   SUPPLY BILL-INTERIM VOTE.
Subtopic:   WOMAN SUFFRAGE.
Sub-subtopic:   BILL TO CONFER ELECTORAL FRANCHISE ON WOMEN.
Permalink
UNION

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

Does it depend on a property qualification in Quebec?

Topic:   SUPPLY BILL-INTERIM VOTE.
Subtopic:   WOMAN SUFFRAGE.
Sub-subtopic:   BILL TO CONFER ELECTORAL FRANCHISE ON WOMEN.
Permalink
L LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Laurier Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

I think one qualification is that he must be the owner of land. The lessee of property of a value of $2 a month in cities is also a voter.

Topic:   SUPPLY BILL-INTERIM VOTE.
Subtopic:   WOMAN SUFFRAGE.
Sub-subtopic:   BILL TO CONFER ELECTORAL FRANCHISE ON WOMEN.
Permalink
UNION

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

Does it not practically amount to manhood suffrage?

Topic:   SUPPLY BILL-INTERIM VOTE.
Subtopic:   WOMAN SUFFRAGE.
Sub-subtopic:   BILL TO CONFER ELECTORAL FRANCHISE ON WOMEN.
Permalink
L LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Laurier Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

In practice it does, but it is not claimed as a right. No one has a right to go to the poll and say: " I am 21 years of age and demand a vote." He must show that be is the owner or lessee of land, or that he is a wage-earner getting $300 a year, or a professor, or a schoolmaster, or something of that kind. But under this provision every woman of 21 years of age will have the right to step into the poll and say that she is entitled to vote. No distinction is made by this Bill as to these qualifications applicable to men. All other considerations are put to one side.

Topic:   SUPPLY BILL-INTERIM VOTE.
Subtopic:   WOMAN SUFFRAGE.
Sub-subtopic:   BILL TO CONFER ELECTORAL FRANCHISE ON WOMEN.
Permalink
L LIB

Joseph Read

Laurier Liberal

Mr. READ:

I draw the attention of the Prime Minister to paragraph (d) of section 1:

is not disqualified on account of race, blood, etc.

In the province of Prince Edward Island there is a very large Micmac population, and there will be a technical difficulty in regard to giving the wives of Indians the right to vote. The paragraph reads:

(d) is not disqualified on account of race, blood or original nationality to vote at elections for members of the Legislative Assembly of the province in which the constituency is situate in which such female person seeks to vote.

The men have the right to vote in the province, but the women have not. As this paragraph reads, there will toe difficulty in regard to the franchise of the wives of these Indians. I want to say in regard to the tribe of Miomacs that they have shown thern-s'elves to be the most loyal people in Canada. They have recruited over eleven per

cent of the whole population of the tribe for service at the front, and I take it that the law does not intend to disqualify their women from voting. It is simply a technical matter, and it will be apparent to the right hon. gentleman if he looks closely at the Elections Act. I hope he will make provision to give these women the vote.

Topic:   SUPPLY BILL-INTERIM VOTE.
Subtopic:   WOMAN SUFFRAGE.
Sub-subtopic:   BILL TO CONFER ELECTORAL FRANCHISE ON WOMEN.
Permalink
UNION

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

I shall take the observations of my hon. friend (Mr. Read) into consideration. I do not know that I could quite follow them, as he did not speak very loudly, tout I will read his observations in Hansard and give them the best consideration possible.

Topic:   SUPPLY BILL-INTERIM VOTE.
Subtopic:   WOMAN SUFFRAGE.
Sub-subtopic:   BILL TO CONFER ELECTORAL FRANCHISE ON WOMEN.
Permalink
UNION

William Folger Nickle

Unionist

Mr. NICKLE:

I may misapprehend the law, tout it appears to .me that theTe is a rather anomalous condition toeing created by paragraph (c) of section 1. This paragraph gives the right to a woman to vote if she has been three months in the constituency immediately preceding the date of the election; whereas, section 32 of the War Times Election Act, subsection 2, adopted the .provincial residential qualification which sets out that the male voter must have resided for one year in the province. Will not an anomalous condition be created if a woman who has resided in the electoral district for three months is entitled to vote, whereas the man will have to wait a year? Take the case of two immigrants coming from the old country, a man and a woman, and both British subjects; the man would not be entitled to vote unless he had been a resident of a province for a year, whereas the woman would be entitled to vote if she had lived in the constituency for three months.

Topic:   SUPPLY BILL-INTERIM VOTE.
Subtopic:   WOMAN SUFFRAGE.
Sub-subtopic:   BILL TO CONFER ELECTORAL FRANCHISE ON WOMEN.
Permalink
UNION

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

If they were both British subjects?

Topic:   SUPPLY BILL-INTERIM VOTE.
Subtopic:   WOMAN SUFFRAGE.
Sub-subtopic:   BILL TO CONFER ELECTORAL FRANCHISE ON WOMEN.
Permalink
UNION

William Folger Nickle

Unionist

Mr. NICKLE:

Yes. There seems to be rather an anomaly in this way that the Act penalizes those who have for a protracted period been entitled to the franchise and makes a concession in favour of those who are just receiving it.

Topic:   SUPPLY BILL-INTERIM VOTE.
Subtopic:   WOMAN SUFFRAGE.
Sub-subtopic:   BILL TO CONFER ELECTORAL FRANCHISE ON WOMEN.
Permalink
UNION

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

I imagine that particular provision- was not observed by the draftsman of the Act and I will direct his attention to it. We will see what should be done in that respect before the matter is finally disposed of.

Topic:   SUPPLY BILL-INTERIM VOTE.
Subtopic:   WOMAN SUFFRAGE.
Sub-subtopic:   BILL TO CONFER ELECTORAL FRANCHISE ON WOMEN.
Permalink
UNION

William Folger Nickle

Unionist

Mr. NIORLE:

Possibly I may misapprehend the provision of the Act.

Topic:   SUPPLY BILL-INTERIM VOTE.
Subtopic:   WOMAN SUFFRAGE.
Sub-subtopic:   BILL TO CONFER ELECTORAL FRANCHISE ON WOMEN.
Permalink
UNION

Samuel Hughes

Unionist

Sir SAM HUGHES:

Does not the Dominion Franchise Act allow a man to vote if he resides thirty days in the constituency or in the province?

Topic:   SUPPLY BILL-INTERIM VOTE.
Subtopic:   WOMAN SUFFRAGE.
Sub-subtopic:   BILL TO CONFER ELECTORAL FRANCHISE ON WOMEN.
Permalink
UNION

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

The hon. member for Kingston (Mr. Nickle) was referring to the War-Times Election Act. I think the provision there may be different. I shall examine it further.

Topic:   SUPPLY BILL-INTERIM VOTE.
Subtopic:   WOMAN SUFFRAGE.
Sub-subtopic:   BILL TO CONFER ELECTORAL FRANCHISE ON WOMEN.
Permalink

March 22, 1918