July 5, 1919

UNION

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

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

I know that the subject to which my hon. friend (Mr. Trahan) has directed my attention has been under consideration. It is my recollection that no conclusion has been reached in regard to' it. The amount of evidence which has been collected: toy the commission reaches to very great proportions. If I remember correctly, there is a recommendation in the report that the evidence should be divided into volumes and printed. We shall give our best consideration to that recommendation as well as to the representations of my hon. friend, as soon as we possibly can, after prorogation.

Topic:   PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION.
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NEW PARLIAMENT BUILDING.


On the Orders of the Day:


L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Hon. RODOLPHE LEMIEUX (Maison-neuve):

May I ask the hon. the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Carvell) if, judging by the progress that is being made on the Parliament building, if he has any idea when we can resume our sessions there?

Topic:   NEW PARLIAMENT BUILDING.
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UNI L

Frank Broadstreet Carvell (Minister of Public Works)

Unionist (Liberal)

Hon. F. B. CARVELL (Minister of Public Works'):

I would think that at the session of Parliament which is to be held after the new year, we would toe able to occupy the building. I feel satisfied 'the House of Commons will toe practically finished. The House of Commons corridor will be finished. Practically all the rooms, such as members' rooms, and rooms for offices will be completed. I do not think the Senate Chamber will be completed, tout there are other rooms that might be used toy the Senate for a session or two, if absolutely necessary.

Topic:   NEW PARLIAMENT BUILDING.
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THE LETTER POSTAGE RATE.


On the Orders of the Day: Mr. ISAAC E. PEDLOW (South Renfrew) : I would like to ask the right 'hon. leader of the Government if, in view of the fact that the United States Government, beginning on July 1st, have gone back to the two-cent rate of postage, it is the intention of the Government of Canada to return to the two-cent rate of postage, and if so how soon?


UNION

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

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

That is a question of taxation, and that must be taken up in connection with the budget. I do not think any announcement can be made at present.

Topic:   THE LETTER POSTAGE RATE.
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DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.


On the Motion of Right Hon. Sir Robert Borden (Prime Minister) the House went into Committee on the following proposed resolution, Mr. Boivin in the 'Chair: Resolved, That it is expedient to provide in the proposed Act to amend the Dominion Elections Act, (Bill 178), now before the House, that the compensation of revising officers, registrars, enumerators, and all other officers and persons engaged in or about the preparation *and revision of lists, and all expenses consequent thereupon or authorized by the said proposed Act, shall be paid out of any unappropriated moneys in the Consolidated Revenue Fund of Canada, but such sums as shall be determined by the Governor in Council and no more shall he allowed or aid: for such services and expenses.


UNION

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

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

Mr. Chairman, this is the resolution which is necessary for the purpose of considering the Bill mentioned therein, and I would suggest that it might be passed pro forma, in order that it may be referred to the committee on the Bill with 'the other provisions of the Act in question.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Hon. Mr. LEMIEUX:

I do not approve oi enumerators and of revising "'barristers'. I am also opposed to any principle contrary to that of a provincial franchise, and therefore if this resolution is carried it must be carried on division.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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L LIB

John Howard Sinclair

Laurier Liberal

Mr. J. H. SINCLAIR:

I wish to object to the principle of the resolution. The Liberal party have, for a quarter of a century, stood for the adoption of the provincial franchise. This is a direct blow at that system. It is the War Time Elections Act over again, with some slight changes. It enables the partisan officer appointed by the Government to nominate all the enumerators to make the lists for each electoral division. That is a direct departure from the principle that has been in force for the last twenty years, under which all Dominion elections have been conducted. As far as I am concerned, I am distinctly opposed to furnishing any money for the purpose of maintaining such a system.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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L LIB

Edmond Proulx

Laurier Liberal

Mr. PROULX:

There is a list in course oi preparation in Ontario for the holding of a plebiscite on prohibition, which will be held in September or October. There is a provision in the Provincial Elections Act to use

this list for provincial elections. If by-elections in Ontario were held after this list was prepared, I submit that it could be easily used. The same electors appearing in those lists are entitled to the franchise under the Dominion Franchise Act. I 'think a provision should be inserted in the Bill to use the provincial lists which have been prepared, say, within a year.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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UNION

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

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

I think the hon. gentlemen will see when I come to explain the teams of the Bill that practically all their objections will vanish. However, these questions can be discussed very well in Committee on the Bill, as this is merely a necessary provision under the British North America Act and under the rules of the House to permit discussion of the Bill as a whole, including these money provisions.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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Resolution agreed to, on division. Thereupon'the Right Hon. Sir Robert Borden moved the second reading of Bill No. 178, to amend the Dominion Elections Act. He said: Mr. Speaker, before the Bill is read a second time, it is both convenient and appropriate that I should make some explanation of its provisions. Its purpose is to provide machinery for by-elections; it is not intended that it shall provide for a general election. The only machinery at present existing for by-elections is the Wartime Elections Act, but it is not thought desirable, for many reasons, that that machinery should be employed; more than that, it would continue to be in force only during the period1 of demobilization. I do not recall that there is any provision in the War-time Elections Act which fixes the method by which the conclusion of demobilization shall be determined. I may, however, say that as a matter of policy the Government intend to consider demobilization completed on the 1st day of August, 1919, so far as the War-time Elections Act is concerned. I might add, further, that we intend to pass an Order in Council which shall set forth that conclusion as the considered policy of the Government.


L LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Laurier Liberal

Mr. E. LAPOINTE:

Would my right hon. friend allow me one remark? The War-time Elections Act remains in force until demobilization is completed, but it is also said to be in force during the present war. The war is not finished until peace is proclaimed. So that those two things must be considered.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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UNION

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

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

I shall bear in mind what my hon. friend has said about that. As a matter of fact, the provision to

fMr. Proulx.l

which he hasi called attention, and which for the moment had escaped my memory, does not in any way interfere with the policy which I have announced. Now, if we eliminate the machinery provided by the War-time Elections Act for the purpose which we have in hand, we must consider what other machinery is available, and if no adequate machinery is to be found it is necessary to provide it, and that is the purpose of this Bill. I should have added, so far as the War-time Elections Act is concerned, another reason why that Act is not available. The provisions for the voting of soldiers overseas have ceased to be applicable, because nearly all of those soldiers have returned, and doubtless all of them will have returned before any by-election could be held after the conclusion of this session. They cannot vote here unless some provision is made for that purpose. Another reason is the fact that the franchise is now extended to all women, whereas under the War Times Elections Act it was granted to certain women only.

Having disposed of these questions, the next consideration that arises is as to the sufficiency of the Dominion Elections Act as it was passed in 1906 and as it was in force in 1908 and 1911. There are equally cogent reasons why that Act in its present form is not adequate for the purpose intended. In the first place, there is no provision for adding the names of women to the lists in those provinces where they are not included in the provincial lists; and, in the next place, it is necessary to provide lists where none now exist, because owing to alterations in provincial laws we would be confronted with the fact that no lists available for the purpose could be found if we undertook to hold by-elections under the Dominion Elections Act of 1906.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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L LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Laurier Liberal

Hon. Mr. LEMIEUX:

In what provinces are the lists not available?

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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UNION

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

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

There are none in Ontario, as I understand, and I do not think there are any in British Columbia or in Manitoba.

It is proposed, therefore, that these byelections shall be provided for by necessary amendments to the Act of 1906. These amendments will provide for the preparation of the necessary lists where none exist, and will give women the right to vote and also the right to be elected to Parliament.

Coming very briefly to the main provisions of the Act, I may say that where provincial lists exist, as, for example, in Nova Scotia and Quebec, which are not

more than a year old they are accepted as they stand and so far as they go. Provision is made only for adding to them the names of males and females who are qualified and who are not iat present included on the lists.

The next consideration is the provision of machinery for the creation of lists where lists d'o not exist. The machinery provided for the purpose is two-fold in its character. One provision or series of provisions relates to uhban communities with a population of one thousand or more; the other provision relates to rural communities. In urban communities with a population of one thousand or more, lists are to he revised or prepared under a system of personal registration. Registrars are to sit for six days and take applications personally. After they have completed their lists, provision is made for courts of revision to he presided over by revising officers appointed by the judiciary. When such lists in urban centres of the character which I have mentioned are finally revised, they become closed lists, they are printed, and only those whose names appear upon them have the right to vote at any election.

In rural communities ia somewhat different system has been provided. The necessary revision of existing lists is, in the first place, entrusted to enumerators appointed by the returning officers. But where enumerators' lists have thus been prepared and printed, they are not final; they are merely a guide or an assistance to candidates and election officers. Persons whose names are on these lists are not to be regai-ded as necessarily qualified; they may be sworn as to their qualification. On the other hand, persons whose names are not on these lists may have them placed there on election day by merely taking the oath of qualification.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.
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July 5, 1919