July 5, 1919

L LIB

Edmond Proulx

Laurier Liberal

Mr. PROULX:

If a man's name is added to the list by the deputy returning officer, does he vote on the regular ballot?

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UNION

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

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

There are no

tied ballots under this system, but the ballots are to be marked "sworn" in all cases where an oath is tendered, and if the oath is refused the necessary note is to be made upon the list and the ballot in that case is not received.

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L LIB

John Howard Sinclair

Laurier Liberal

Mr. J. H. SINCLAIR:

If the enumerator decides that an applicant is not qualified, may that applicant go to the polling booth on election day, take the oath, and vote?

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UNION

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

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

In rural communities he can do so. Under the enumeration system, although he has been rejected by the enumerator he may still tender his ballot and is entitled to have it received if he takes the oath of qualification.

The only other important provision of the Bill to which I should invite the attention of the House is the provision for the limitation of the franchise of foreign-born women. Some amendments will probably be necessary to the Bill, and these have been prepared. The provision to which I invite attention is contained in section 2, which enacts section 5, subsection 2, of the Dominion Elections Act. It is as follows:

For the purposes of this Act the aJUegiance or nationality of a person, as it was at the 'birth of such person, shall be deemed incapable of being changed, or of having been changed, merely by reason or in consequence of marriage or change of allegiance or naturalization of any other person, or otherwise than by naturalization of such first mentioned person. Provided; however, that this subsection shall not apply to any woman horn on the continent of North America.

Women born on the continent of North Anerica-that is, all such as we have in this country and all such as were born in any part of this continent from which immigration comes to this country-are more or less familiar with our institutions or with institution's of almost the same character. They are accustomed to taking part in public life; they have a knowledge of the public institutions of the country, and there seems to be no reason why the limitation which has been provided in respect of women coming from other countries should be extended to them.

I am not aware at 'the moment of any other provision to which it is appropriate that I should direct the attention of the House, but any further explanation can, of course, be made in committee.

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L LIB

William Henry White

Laurier Liberal

Mr. W. H. WHITE:

Scandinavian women-who are, of course, not alien enemies

would be excluded under this provision?

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UNION

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

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

The provision

excludes all women who claim naturalization otherwise than through personal naturalization, unless they were born on the North American continent.

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L LIB
UNION

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

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

These are the principal features.

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L LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Laurier Liberal

Mr. D. D. McKENZIE (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, the Prime

Minister has given us a very clear explanation of the purpose of this Bill. No subject

goes so close 'to the very foundation of the principles upon which our free institutions are based than the question of ihe franchise-

We hear a good deal of discussion about proportional representation. I have no doubt that proportional representation would be a step in advance and an improvement on the franchise to which we have been accustomed in this country for the last fifty years or more, but the great question is to make the very best use of that system of franchise which we have and to which we have been brought up in Canada. Perhaps one of the greatest jolts, if I may use the term, was the franchise upon which we ran the elections of 1917, and I am very glad to hear the Prime Minister say, >at all events by implication, that on the 1st of August next there will be an end put to the War-times Elections Act, or anything that can be done under it.

I wish to remind the House that at Confederation the wise men of that day adopted the principle that* provincial franchise would be acceptable to everybody. Such men as Sir John Macdonald, George Brown, Sir Charles Tupper and other leading men of Canada, who were, I think, just as wise and as liberal in their views as we are and just as jealous of the safety and pride of this Parliament, adopted the lists prepared by the local machinery as the lists upon which members are elected to this House. That system was in vogue until 1886; or to be exactly correct, in 1885, the Act was passed by which the municipalities of Canada .for the first time adopted .a universal franchise and universal machinery for the preparation of the lists. That machinery and that system continued in vogue until 1898, when it was repealed, the revising barristers dismissed and we went back to the old system of provincial lists. Provincial lists and the system under which they were prepared had proved quite satisfactory to the people of this country for a very long time, but for some reason which I need not. expatiate upon just now, a new system was introduced in 1917. There was no good reason why there should be two or three systems of franchise in this country. We have the same people; the same people are represented in the municipal institutions, in the local legislatures and in this Parliament. Why then should one set of men be qualified to send representatives to this Parliament and another set of men be qualified to send representatives to the local legislature? The logical and sensible thing is that, when it is a question of

the same people dealing with the same rights, the same property, and acting for the same men, the same qualifications should be universal. I am sure 'that is the system that is going to ensure the greatest safety and to give the greatest satisfaction to the people of this country.

In my province, in the preparation of the lists, we have a machinery that gives everybody that has a right to get on the fullest opportunity to get his name on the list In the rural communities men can send their names in on or before the 20th day oi January; they can continue to send in applications at any time until the 5th day ol March, on which date there is a revision at which the lists are practically set. Then there is a further period until the "3rd or 4th of April, when there is, another revision before the sheriff of each county, when a man has a right to have a further application to have his name put on or when names may be struck off. That system has been working in our province ever since the franchise was first exercised there, which is nearly 200 years ago. It has grown into such an institution and is so much a part of the life of the people of our province that interference with the franchise is the same as if one interfered with their religion. It is a privilege that has been handed down from father to son for nearly 200 years under perfect freedom, and such a thing as trickery or crookedness in connection with dealing with the lists is not tolerated anywhere. The system that was introduced in 1917, while I presume that the Prime Minister and the Cabinet did not intend to have it work crookedly, worked crookedly and badly, and the men in whose handis it was placed did not do justice to the electors nor to the names that should be placed on the list. Imagine, in my county, one list handed to me with all the names on it, and, to all intents and purposes, a good list, and another list, not the same list at all, scores of names being left off, handed to the returning officer! The good list was given to me to lull me to sleep. I had a right to appeal if any name was left off and to have the name put on, but there was nothing for me to do, as I was given a perfectly good list; but when those people went to poll their votes they found that their names were not on the list, because, by miserable trickery, a different list entirely had been handed to the returning officer. Is it surprising that there is dissatisfaction in my constituency and in my province when machinery is furnished by which, such a thing is possible.

Sir ROBERT it'ORDEN: They could vote, could) they not, by taking the oath?

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L LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

They could not vote In Nova Scotia at the last election, the list was a closed one; there was no power to put names on. There may have been power in the West to do that at the last election, but in Nova Scotia the list was a closed one once it got into the hands of the returning officer.

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UNI L
L LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

I am not saying what is done in the West. I am only sorry to say that in that portion of the world-the wise men are supposed to come from the East-such a thing was done.

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UNI L
L LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

I wish to impress upon the Prime Minister and the House the necessity of not giving the power of juggling with the sacred rights of the people of this country into the hands of any man who is so devoid, of principle and so lacking in that proper appreciation which belongs to a civilized country like Canada as to tamper with lists in that way. The Government and the House will understand that my objection to this Bill, to enumerators or to any person dealing with lists except the revisers, or men who are responsible to the people as they are in our province, is based upon the reasons I have given. The manner of appointing revisers in Nova Scotia is very simple. They aTe appointed by the municipal councils, which are responsible to the people and to which men of all shades and1 conditions of politics are appointed, so that men who are appointed revisers are not hard and fast partisans, and such a thing as dealing crookedly with the lists is not tolerated at all. I hope that this Bill will not go out of the hands of the House without its being so framed that conduct of this kind will be impossible.

By the names of women being put on the lists in Nova Scotia, the women of that province have votes. The lists have been prepared with the women's names on them and on the third day of April last there was a completed list in Nova Scotia, the name of every man or woman in the province who had a right to vote being on that list.

I cannot see why, if there happened to be a by-election in Nova Scotia between now and next April, the lists that are now completed would not be accepted, because everybody who has a right to vote has had

an opportunity of having his name put on the list.

This naturalization qualification for women voters is a new idea. It is a departure from the Franchise Act, chapter 20 of the statutes of 1918, which we passed last year. Section 1 of that Act provides:

(1) Every female person shall be entitled to vote at a Dominion Election who-

(a) is a British subject;

(b) is of the full age of twenty-one years and upwards;

(c) possesses the qualification which would entitle a male person to vote at a Dominion election in the province in which said female person seeks to vote : Provided that a married woman or unmarried daughter living with her father or mother shall be deemed to have any necessary qualification as to property or income if the husband or either of the parents is so qualified.

(2) For the purposes of this Act a female person shall be deemed to be a British subject,.-*

(a) if she was born a British subject and is unmarried' or is married1 to a British subject, and has not become a subject of any foreign power;

Last year, therefore, we made the wives of all British subjects eligible to vote, and until that Act is repealed every woman in this country who is married .to a British subject, British either by birth or naturalization, is qualified to vote. Why should we not leave it at that? Last year we defined who should vote; we said that the qualification of the husband as to naturalization was sufficient for the qualification of the wife. If that was good law when we passed it last year, I know of nothing that has happened in this country in the meantime which would justify us in changing it.

When the Naturalization Act was going through the House a few days ago, the Solicitor General was asked whether the wives of British subjects, either by birth or naturalization, would be qualified to vote, and Hansard will show that he answered yes.

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UNION

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

Unionist

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

My hon. friend, I think, perhaps overlooks the fact that when introducing the Bill last year providing for the extension of the franchise to women, I intimated that some provision of this character would be necessary.

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L LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

I distinctly remember

the Prime Minister stating that it would be necessary to make provision with regard to the making of the lists, and I do not object to that provision being made wherever women are not on the list already. But surely the Prime Minister does not say that he is going to change this Act, which

distinctly says that the wife of a British subject, without any other qualification except that she is the wife of a British subject, is entitled to vote. That was the law as assented to on the 24th day of May, 1918. and if that was a reasonable and proper law to pass at that time when we were in the midst of a war and it was necessary to provide safeguards with respect to the alien vote, and we did not then think it necessary to embody any such provision as this in that Act, surely it is less necessary to make any such provision now that the war is over and peace is practically restored. I submit, therefore, that in that respect we should stand by the law that we passed in 1918.

With these observations', and with the distinct understanding that we on this side of the 'House are not committing ourselves to any principle that may be involved in this Bill, or favouring any change in the system of franchise which was in vogue in Canada from the early days of Confederation down to 1885, and from 1908 to 1917, which we believe _ affords the simplest, fairest, and the greatest possible opportunity for the people of this country to express their opinion freely at the polls, I have no objection to agreeing to the second reading of this Bill. I do not think there will be any division upon it, but it is to be distinctly understood that we on this side of the House hold ourselves absolutely free to deal with any franchise measure that may be introduced at another session of Parliament.

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L LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Laurier Liberal

Mr. E. LAPOINTE (Kamouraska):

One of the features of this Bill which commends itself to me is that, at least after August 1, it will do away with what has been popularly called the nefarious War-time Elections Act. I wish also, to emphasize what has been said by my leader as to this Bill being of a purely temporary character for the purpose of providing for the holding of by-elections. It is to be distinctly understood that support or lack of criticism of certain provisions of this Bill does not in any way mean an acceptation of the principle it embodies, and that we are not in any way committing ourselves to the principle of any Franchise Bill which will be introduced at another session.

I wish also to criticise that part of the Bill which discriminates against certain naturalized British women. It is a discrimination absolutely contrary to the ordinary law. Under our law the naturalization of a husband means the naturaliza-

tion of his wife. The wife of a British subject is herself a British subject; the wife of an alien is an alien, but under the Bill before us the wife of a naturalized British su/bject is considered alien for the purpose of the franchise. Now that is absolutely unfair, and I do not think that provision should be adopted by Parliament. When the new Naturalization Act was being considered by this House I pointed out to my hon. friend the Solicitor General, who was in charge of the Bill, that there was machinery already for the naturalization of the wife of an alien; the wife of an alien may apply for a certificate of naturalization for herself. I asked the Solicitor General whether it would not be possible to provide machinery for the naturalization of the wife of a naturalized British .subject, and he very properly answered that there was no necessity for making any such provision because the moment her husband becomes naturalized she also -becomes naturalized. There is no necessity, he says, for providing that she shall apply for a personal certificate. Well, I may refer the House to Hansard of June 30, at page 4399. Here is what occurred between the -Solicitor General and myself -in reference to the matter:

Mr. E. Lapointe: It has already been suggested that to exercise the franchise a woman must be personally naturalized, and not only be a British .subject, toy reason of the fact that she is the wife of a naturalized citizen.

Mr. Guthrie: TJn-der this Act it is most clear

that the wife of a British subject, wherever she came from, shall be deemed to be a British subject, and that the wife of an alien shall be an alien. The declaration is quite plain. Even if a woman is Canadian-born, she is an alien if she is the wife of an alien.

Mr. E. Lapointe; According to my hon. friend the wife of a naturalized British subject shall be entitled to vote as well as her husband under any franchise law?

Mr. Guthrie: There is no doubt -about that.

Well, under this Bill these women will be prevented from voting, and what is most unjust is the fact that they cannot apply for personal naturalization. There is nothing in the law that gives them an opportunity to get personal naturalization, and for all time to come, until either the naturalization law or this law is changed, the w-ives of naturalized British subjects will be the only persons -in -Canada who will be refused the franchise. I think this constitutes an injustice and a discrimination which should be abolished. As to the other provision of the Bill, I think we may reserve anything we have to say until the Bill is in Committee.

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L LIB

William Henry White

Laurier Liberal

Mr. W. H. WHITE (Victoria, Alta.):

Coming from a province and a district which

this new system of enumeration affects, I must say that there are many clauses in this Bill which in my opinion will not be fair to the people of Western Canada. The Bill itself, to the extent that I have been able to examine it during the short time I have had an opportunity of studying it, appears fair enough to any one who does not understand the conditions. With the exceptions mentioned by my hon. friend from Kamourasika (Mr. E. Lapointe), in which there is a discrimination against certain people, the Bill, in the hands of an honourable person could, it would seem, be as fair as anything that could be suggested.

If the Bill had been brought down before 1917 and before 'the last election I myself would have accepted it and considered it fairly satisfactory. I am not going to dwell at any length on it or go into details, further than may be consistent with my object, concerning 'the election of 1917. But it will be necessary for me, in order to support my argument, to . bring to the notice of the House a few concrete cases. I do not wish to deal to any great extent with the way in which that election was carried on, because as a Canadian I do not think it was creditable to either the country or the country's laws. I do not, therefore, care to give more publicity to that matter than is necessary. The appointment of the returning officer in charge of each constituency is to be made by the Government. It was suggested by some of the members on this side of the House who were honoured by the confidence of the (Minister of Immigration, who invited them to discuss this Bill with him, that a public officer, or sheriff, or some responsible person should have charge of the election and conduct it. The Minister of Immigration did not see fit to agree to that suggestion. In the last election the returning officer, with the powers given to him under the Act, took all his recommendations for his subordinate officers, such as enumerators, altogether from the Union candidate, and this man in many cases changed the enumerators when he found that they would not carry out his instructions to his satisfaction. The House will see that this is altogether unfair, and if this matter were taken out of party politics and it were left to the sheriff to appoint the enumerators, I would withdraw my objection to that feature of 'the Bill. I may give some illustrations to show the extraordinary powers the enumerators had. I hold in my hand, from the Clerk of the Executive Council, a return showing just how this enumerating system .may affect the election. I am taking constituencies to show the vote that was

polled at the provincial election in June, 1917, and the vote polled in the same constituencies in the Dominion election. In the Dominion election, in Victoria district, where there were over 2,000 volunteers, some

3,000 women may have been added to the list, being mothers and sisters of soldiers, so that there should have been a greater vote than that which was taken in the provincial election.

Let us take the district of Vegreville, which is a complete provincial district within the boundaries of Victoria. There are seven provincial constituencies included in the Federal district of Victoria, and to show the difference there was between the Dominion and the provincial elections I will give the respective votes. In Vegreville constituency, where the lists were presumably fair, at the June election the total vote in June was 3,153, and under the Wartimes Elections Act it was reduced to 1,527, or less than one half. In the district of Vermillion there were 3,273 votes in June, 1917, and in December, 1917, the vote was cut down to 218. Taking the seven districts, the (vote in December, 11917, under the enumerating system of the Federal Act, with the extraordinary powers given to the enumerators, was in the majority of cases cut down to about one half, while in many cases it was about one tenth. Vermillion district, where we may presume the provincial franchise was fair, is the constituency that was represented by the former Premier of that province, now Minister of Customs.

In that district there were only 218 votes. I know of many cases where the enumerators actually refused to put men on the list. They not only refused Canadian citizens but in some easel Canadian-born voters the right to have their names on the list and to vote. Out of many affidavits that I have in connection with the last election, I will offer one to the House, because it shows clearly how the enumerators exercised their powers under the Act. Here is an affidavit that has been sent to me from the city of Edmonton. It is the statement of a foreign-born Canadian who was naturalized in 1893, who had a son, a volunteer, serving in France, and it shows how he was used by the enumerator and by the returning officer. His statutory declaration reads as follows:

In the matter of the War-Time Elections Act Statutory Declaration

Canada

Province of Alberta,

To Wit:

In the matter of the War-Time Elections Act being Chapter 39 of the Statutes of the

Parliament of Canada, 1917, and in the matter of a Dominion Election held on the 17th day of December, A.D., 1917.

I, Adolphus Klukas, of the City of Edmonton, in the Province of Alberta, make oath and declare as follows:-

1. That I am a British subject by naturalization :

2. That I was born in Kussian Poland on the 2i3rd day of April, A.D., li8'64 ;

3. That my " mother tongue " is German.

4. That I came to Canada in the year A.D., 1893, and became a naturalized British subject, in the province of Manitoba, in the year A.D., 18 9*6.

5. That 1 have resided in the City of Edmonton for the past 12 years and that I have resided in the electoral district of West Edmonton for the past 6 yeans.

6. That I have, since my naturalization as aforesaid, voted at municipal, provincial and dominion elections, and in all other respects have enjoyed the benefits and Performed the duties and obligations of a British subject.

7. That at the time of the Dominion election, held on the 17th diay of December, A.D., 1917, I resided in the said electoral district of West Edmonton, and my name was on the voters' list prepared in pursuance of the said Act for use at the said election.

8. That one, Mrs. Harry M. Williams', of Jasper Place, Edmonton, came to my house prior to the said election and informed me and my family that she had been appointed Official Enumerator for the polling subdivision in which I was residing, and was entitled to vote in pursuance of the provisions of the said Act.

9. That the said enumerator immediately interrogated me as to my political affiliations and talked to me and my family for at least two hours in an effort to persuade me and my family to vote for the candidate of the Unionist party, and informed me that if I would promise to vote for the said candidate, that my name would be placed on the voters' list.

10-. That soon after my arrival in Canada, I took up a homestead and secured a patent from the Crown thereto, but; in order to secure the said patent, I was required to file my original certificate of naturalization with the Crown.

11. That I was warned by the said enumerator that I would be required to produce my naturalization papers to the Deputy (Returning Officer in charge of the polling subdivision in which I was entitled to vote on the occasion of the said election.

12. That accordingly I procured a certified' copy of my said certificate of naturalization.

13. That on the ocoasion of the said election I attended at the said polling place and asked for a baUlot, but the said Deputy Returning Officer refused to give me a ballot or allow me to vote unless I produced my original certificate of naturalization ; and rejected the said' certified copy of the said certificate.

14. That my wife, Wilhelmina Klukas and my daughter, Lydia Klukas, were also refused ballots on the same ground.

15. That my said wife and my said daughter were entitled to vote in pursuance of the said Act.

16. That I have a son, one Private Herman Klukas, in His Majesty's Canadian Expeditionary Force, who was at that time and is now in the Service of His Majesty overseas.

17. That my said wife and my said daughter were in all other respects entitled to vote at the said election.

18. That the said deputy returning officer refused to pllace the ballots of myself, my wife and my said daughter in the ordinary ballot box, but placed the same in envelopes as disputed ballots.

19. And I make this solemn declaration conscientiously believing it to be true, and knowing that it is of the same force and effect as if made under oath and by virtue of the Canada Evidence Act.

Declared before me at the

(Sgd.) A. Klukas. city of Edmonton, in the province of Alberta, this 8th day of April,

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A.D., 1919.


Sgd. Geo. H. Van Allen, A notary public in and for the Province oi Alberta. I have read this affidavit to show the kind of enumerators who were appointed by the returning officers under this Act. This affidavit shows that they were able to spend many hours in a canvas in order to persuade voters to cast their ballots in a certain way. Surely that is not a fair way to carry out the provisions of the Act, surely it is contrary to the intention of the Act and it cannot be pretended that such a procedure was calculated to secure a fair vote of the electors. .Many other cases of a similar character have been brought to my attention. I have several affidavits, but I think the one which I have quoted will suffice to show that partisan returning officers will naturally appoint partisan enumerators who will use their positions to further the ends of the party in whose interest they are acting. This case shows that if a man would not promise to vote for a particular candidate, the information would be passed on to the deputy returning officer and the returning officer would not allow the ballot to go into the box in the regular way. I want to protest against the provision of the Bill that places such a power in the hands of a partisan returning officer. Probably the worst feature qf the Bill is that which permits discrimination against certain classes of women, as was mentioned by the hon. member for Kamouraska (Mr. Ernest Lapointe). Every one who comes from the Western country, and particularly the hon. the Minister of Immigration and Colonization (Mr. Calder), knows that there were thousands of foreign-born young men, so-called alien enemies, who enlisted in the service. The mothers and sisters of these soldiers, under the War Time Elections Act, were entitled to vote, hut I can prove by many affidavits that these mothers and sisters were refused the right to which they were entitled. In one case where the enu-erator had put them on the list, some one in the interest of my opponent travelled around the district, and at seven or eight polling divisions, red-lined the lists.. Next day the returning officers took these lists that were so revised by some outsider, no one knew whom, and would not give any of the mothers or sisters of soldiers a ballot, or allow them to vote. We have a large population of Scandinavian people in our country, particularly in the district of Camrose, and the young men of these people enlisted as freely as people of other nationalities. We find that the mothers and sisters of those soldiers are going to be discriminated against, are going to be put on the Indian list, and treated as people who have no rights of citizenship. This Act will unfairly disfranchise thousands of the mothers and sisters of men who volunteered and served at the front. The majority of the Scandinavian people have been in this country for a great many years. They are very progressive. They have a Scandinavian young ladies' college in the town of Camrose, they are taking a great interest in education, and many of the young people who have taken advantage of the educational facilities there provided, are acting as teachers throughout the district. I think it is unfair to these progressive people that the mothers of these young ladies and of these men, other than soldiers, should be discriminated against. The same thing applies to others, and we have several from France and Belgium, allies of ours.


July 5, 1919