There is no reason why we should have a second revision in the province of Nova Scotia, where the lists are revised and completed by the 5th of April every year, and made the lists for that year. They include the women voters as well as the men. It would involve an immense deal of trouble to go over the revision in that province, and it would be a large and useless expense. In the last election there were about 1,000 enumerators appointed in the eighteen counties of the province. If you give them $50 apiece that will be $50,000 which will be absolutely thrown away in this revision. I do not know whether there are any other provinces like Nova Scotia, but in provinces where they have complete lists, including the names of women voters, this law should not apply. We should not appoint enumerators and expect those enumerators to chop up the old lists and add and take off names',
because it is absolutely unnecessary that it should be done.
I suppose that when an arrangement is made between two parties, committees are appointed and an agreement is arrived at, that that agreement shall be respected. I have spent a good deal of time in the last week over this matter, time that I would have liked to devote to other matters, expecting that this would be all settled. Of course, if the hon. member for Antigonish and Guysborough (Mr. J. H. Sinclair) does not want to accept what his confreres have done, I suppose this is a free country and he is perfectly at liberty to object if he wants to. .
I do not want to have any misunderstanding about this, I do not know what any of my friends have done, but I do know what I have done myself. The minister was kind enough to show me the Bill the other day and I protested against this clause then. I did not agree to it.
My hon. friend the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Carvell) puts a good deal of stress upon an arrangement in this matter. I had no arrangement myself, except that a certain document was handed to me after some talk with the hon. gentleman. One of its terms is the adoption of existing permanent lists if there are any such in the respective provinces to which the women's names have been added. If there is any bad faith about this thing it is not mine.
I do not think there is any bad faith on the part of any body.
I was one of those to whom the proposed legislation was submitted, and there was no arrangement in regard to it. I admit that I myself offered suggestions; some of them were accepted, others were refused.
I have never said that I would be bound to accept the legislation in whole or in part. We have simply tried to make it more acceptable, if possible.
Everything that my hon. friend from Kamouraska says is absolutely true, Mr. Chairman. He has tried and we have all tried-I have tried to make this as acceptable ds I could. I think I can call on my hon. friend from Russell (Mr. Murphy) to confirm that. I realize the difficulties under which we are all labouring and I want to make this list as fair as I possibly can. In our committee meetings we balked entirely without reserve. I have felt all day that a lot of this discussion might have been avoided.
There is nothing I abhor and despise so much as a person making, an agreement and not keeping it. It has been hinted that we have made an agreement and have not lived up to it. Here is a document sent to me by hon. gentlemen on the other side of the House in which this is stipulated:
That where there are permanent lists finished and completed in the province, they shall he accepted, and probably this rule will apply to Nova Scotia and British Columbia.
Might I say a word? In this Bill we have carried out the principle that where there are existing provincial lists not more than one year old, those lists are accepted. There is this provision added, that where those lists do not contain the names of all persons within* the constituency in which a by-election is to be held, machinery is to be provided whereby the names of those persons may be added to those lists. The only object we have in view is not to disfranchise any one. If the lists were nine months old, I think every one would agree there might be a number of persons in the constituency whose names would not be on those closed lists. All we have done in the case of Nova Scotia is to accept those lists and devise machinery whereby there may be added the names of persons who are qualified and not now on those lists. I think every person will agree that that principle is fair and right. There may be some objection to the machinery provided, but I think I may say in all, fairness that we have endeavoured in the best way we could under
somewhat trying circumstances to devise machinery that would prevent the exclusion from the lists of any persons who are qualified to vote; and, personally, I am inclined to the view that we have succeeded pretty well.
Lest there should be some misunderstanding in connection with this committee, in addition to the explanation already given, let me say that so far as I am aware there was no hard-and-fast committee. Certain members on both sides of this Hoqse conferred together and discussed certain terms of the measure. I, as one of the members of that conference, very much appreciate the action taken, which I might suggest, if exercised oftener, would tend to advance legislation, and, perhaps, contribute to a better feeling in the House. The point raised by my hon. friend from Anti-gonish (Mr. Sinclair) I think I have personal knowledge of, by reason of the fact that it was not discussed when he happened to be in the room; that is, all the members who took part in the conference did not happen to be present at all the sessions or all the time. Those who took part, no matter what were their views on the legislation, finished the conference with their views unchanged as to the principle of the Bill. A great many of the changes suggested were accepted by the members representing the Government, some were not, and those members who held the opinions upon which those- suggestions were based hold them still-