May 23, 1918

L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

When this Bill was introduced there was something said about the date of its going into force. Might I ask why this Act was made to go into force as on the 18th of March instead of, as in the ordinary course of procedure, after it had received the sanction of His Excellency?

Topic:   WAR-TIME ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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UNI L

Frank Broadstreet Carvell (Minister of Public Works)

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. CARVELL:

There is no question whatever about the reason for it. It has .been stated by the hon. leader of the Opposition (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) before the War-time Elections Act came into force seven days elapsed between the day of

Domination and the day of election. The War-time Elections Act changed that deJay to a month and the proposal now is to bring the law back to where it stood prior to the War-time Elections Act of 1917, pnd to provide for a lapse of seven days between nomination day and the day of polling. In the election held in the county of Lanark a few weeks ago, the returning officer issued his proclamation giving seven days between nomination and the day of polling. There is a question, and a very serious question, as to whether or not it should have been twenty-eight days, and, in order that there may be no question whatever about it or about the validity of the election, this second clause has been placed in the Bill. T hope there will be no misunderstanding whatever as to the reasons for the introduction of the second clause.

Topic:   WAR-TIME ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

It is another case of confirming an election by legislation instead of having the proper tribunal decide upon the election according to the law.

Topic:   WAR-TIME ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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UNI L

Frank Broadstreet Carvell (Minister of Public Works)

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. CARVELL:

There was no election in this case.

Topic:   WAR-TIME ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

Then there is no reason for making this Act retroactive to the 18th of March. This gentleman was elected by acclamation, but there was a mistake made in the issue of the writ. As far as the Yukon election is concerned, the House w.as told that in that case it was at fault, but I hope that this time the country will know that it is not the fault of the House, so that if there is any presumption that the House was guilty with regard to the first error, as to this second error the blame will be laid at the proper door.

Topic:   WAR-TIME ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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UNI L

Frank Broadstreet Carvell (Minister of Public Works)

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. CARVELL:

I would like my hon. friend to bear in mind that the writ issued by the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery does not fix the date of polling, it orders that the election be held and fixes the day of nomination. The mistake, if such there be, was made by the returning officer who fixed the poll at seven days after the nomination instead of twenty-eight days. My hon. friend (Mr. Bureau) says this is an attempt to confirm an election by legma-tuni I hope he will remember that this election was by acclamation, because only one candidate was nominated, and therefore it could make no possible difference.

Mr. LAPOINTE (Kamouraska) [DOT] Is my hon. friend right? Were not two candidates nominated?

Topic:   WAR-TIME ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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UNI L

Frank Broadstreet Carvell (Minister of Public Works)

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. CARVELL:

My hon. friend is right, t'vo candidates were nominated, but one withdrew a few days after the nomination, so that the difference between seven days and twenty-eight days elapsing between the date of nomination. and the polling day makes no difference, because two days after nomination one candidate withdrew so that there is no invalidity so far as the election is concerned, except the mistake of the returning officer, and the object of this second clause is to remedy that mistake, and to validate the election, and I think that there is no harm being done by this Bill.

Topic:   WAR-TIME ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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L LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Laurier Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

No harm done, but this is confirming previous harm that has been done.

Topic:   WAR-TIME ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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UNI L

Frank Broadstreet Carvell (Minister of Public Works)

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. CARVELL:

I am not going to .argue that point.

Topic:   WAR-TIME ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

There is a doubt, and there is the difficulty. There has been a mistake or there has not been a mistake. And it is not a mistake of this House or of this Parliament, but a mistake of those who have charge of carrying out the provisions of this War-time Elections Act. What I wanted is to have the blame placed where it belongs, whether it be with the returning officer or with anybody else. The returning officer is the officer of somebody, he was not appointed by the House.

Topic:   WAR-TIME ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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L LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie

Laurier Liberal

Mr. D. D. McKENZIE:

I am very glad indeed that anything should be done to validate this election, because it certainly was not the fault of the member that there was any irregularity. Yet I cannot help thinking that when the nomination was fixed for a certain day, and the polling day was fixed illegally for another day, the whole thing is void, and even an acclamation would not be good. There must be jurisdiction for fixing the day of election as well as for fixing the day of nomination, and if the whole thing is wrong the mere fact that there is acclamation does not validate what was all wrong.

Topic:   WAR-TIME ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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UNI L

Frank Broadstreet Carvell (Minister of Public Works)

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. CARVELL:

Does not my hon. friend consider that when the naming of the day of nomination was all right and valid, and where it turned out that there was acclamation, is there anything else necessary further than the fixing of the day of nomination?

Topic:   WAR-TIME ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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L LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

The hon. minister does not quite catch my point; I am sure I am right. The whole thing is the bringing about of an election, that is what we started out to do, so that you must do the whole

of it right. It is not admissible that a part of it may be right and a part of it wrong. The officer must have jurisdiction to name two days, a nomination day and an election day, and if he is wrong in the day that he names for the election, the whole thing is wrong, and requires ratification by this Bill,-and I am quite willing that it shall be done. I want to bring out the point that if this election is partly wrong it is all wrong.

There is another thing I want to call attention to, and that is that the old Act was repealed when we established .the Wartime Elections Act.

Topic:   WAR-TIME ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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UNI L
L LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

Yes, and must there not be something to bring the old law into force again?

Topic:   WAR-TIME ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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UNI L

Frank Broadstreet Carvell (Minister of Public Works)

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. CARVELL:

Subsection g of section 2 of the War-time Elections Act amended section 131 of the election law, which reads as follows :

Except as hereinafter provided the day for holding the polls shall be the seventh day next after the expiration of the day fixed for the nomination of candidates.

This Bill simply proposes to amend it by saying that the amendment as provided by the War-time Elections' Act shall only apply to a general election, the result being that when it comes to a by-election, the original section 131 stands, and that that will be the case in future in by-elections.

Topic:   WAR-TIME ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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L LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

Yes, but you have

repealed the section, and put "twenty-eight" in place of "seven" days, and the seven days will not automatically come . into force again without legislation!.

Topic:   WAR-TIME ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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UNI L

Frank Broadstreet Carvell (Minister of Public Works)

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. CARVELL:

This is the legislation.

Topic:   WAR-TIME ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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L LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Laurier Liberal

Mr. E. LAPOINTE:

I want to record my objection to the principle of retroactivity. I am not sorry to see the hon. member for Lanark sitting in this House, but this is a question of principle. It is confirming the new principle that was created a few days ago by the several votes which took place in this House in the Yukon election case. In that case we passed a resolution which was creating virtually a change in the law and giving it a retroactive effect. In this Bill, not only do we declare that paragraph (g) of section 2 of chapter 39 shall apply only to a general election-to that I have no objection, but it makes it applicable to an election which has already taken place, and to that I do object. I do not care for this particular instance, but" it is a dangerous precedent to create; it was a dan-

gerous precedent to create in the Yukon case, and that dangerous precedent is now being confirmed by another Bill. Of course, we have a Union Government, and I hope that people in Canada will in future remember that Government as having created a dangerous precedent in this country.

Topic:   WAR-TIME ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

Why not come out boldly and say: This Act is to confirm the election of Mr. Stewart as member for Lanark? There is no question as to the purpose of the Bill, we all know it; it has been said openly in the House. I move in amendment that subsection 2 of clause 1 shall read :

This Act shall he deemed to he passed to confirm and validate the election of Mr. Stewart, held on the 18th of March, 1918.

Amendment negatived.

Topic:   WAR-TIME ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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May 23, 1918