April 8, 1920

UNION

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

But the writ has already been issued. After the writ has been issued the hon. gentleman wants to prepare it. If the hon. gentleman wishes to carry out his idea I suggest that his amendment be inserted in paragraph (b). Then the electoral officer will be required to transmit "sufficient copiously indexed copies of this Act and such instructions prepared by him as are required". I think that would meet the desire of the hon. gentleman.

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L LIB

Daniel Duncan McKenzie

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McKENZIE:

The words in paragraph (a), "such writ" did not catch my eye but the Minister of Justice, and certainly the illuminating gentleman who is in charge of this Bill, did not misunderstand my purpose. It is mere quibbling to try to get out of it by saying that I did not propose to insert the amendment in the right place.

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UNION

Hugh Guthrie (Minister of Militia and Defence; Solicitor General of Canada)

Unionist

Mr. GUTHRIE:

I move then that the

words suggested by the hon. member (Mr. McKenzie) be inserted after the word "instructions" in the second line of paragraph (b). Will that satisfy him?

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Amendment agreed to. Section as amended agreed to. On section 37-proclamation by returning officer mailed to postmaster.


UNION

Hugh Guthrie (Minister of Militia and Defence; Solicitor General of Canada)

Unionist

Mr. GUTHRIE:

Some change requires

to be made in the first part of this section. It reads:

Within two days after the receipt of the writ of election the returning officer shall, by a proclamation in form L, issued

The word "issued" should be struck out. The latter part of the paragraph quoted will then read:

-by a proclamation in form L under his hand in the English and French language.

Then in the 28th line the word "mailed" should :be struck out and the words "shall mail" be inserted. The remainder of the paragraph will then read:

[DOT]-and shall mail one copy at least to the various postmasters of the post offices within his electoral district.

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L LIB

Onésiphore Turgeon

Laurier Liberal

Mr. TURGEON:

Before the amendment is carried I would ask the Acting Solicitor General, why confine to the provinces of Quebec and Manitoba the privilege of having proclamations issued in the French and English languages? In the province of New Brunswick "nearly one third of the population is French, and in several sections only one or two English voters will be found.

We are now extending the franchise to our women, and amongst them the English language is not so well known as among the men, but those women will be anxious to read the proclamations of the Government for their guidance at election times, and they appreciate the French language just as much as the people of Quebec. Therefore I would ask the Acting Solicitor General to so amend this section as to leave to the discretion of the returning officer in any French district in Saskatchewan, Alberta, Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, as well as in Manitoba and Quebec, the issuance of proclamations in the French language. We may as well admit at once the equality of the English and French languages, and not be guided merely by regard for dollars and cents, as was so cleverly said tljis afternoon by the hon. member for Kamouraska (Mr. Stein). I hope my appeal will be responded to by the Acting Solicitor General.

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L LIB

Edmond Proulx

Laurier Liberal

Mr. PROULX:

The same argument would apply to certain parts of the province of Ontario where in some counties a majority of the electors speak the French language. If this provision is to be extended beyond Quebec and Manitoba, I would endorse the suggestion of my hon. friend from Gloucester (Mr. Turgeon) that the returning officer be empowered in his discretion to issue proclamations in both languages. Probably the best procedure would be to leave the matter to the discretion of the Chief Electoral Officer.

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L LIB

Auguste Théophile Léger

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LEGER:

I approve very heartily of what my hon. friend from Gloucester (Mr. Turgeon) has said as to having these proclamations issued in French. I know many counties in the province of New Brunswick where the population are mostly Frenchspeaking, and in some of the parishes in my constituency all the people are Frenchspeaking. Therefore I think it will be only right and just for the Government to allow the proclamations to be issued in French as well as in English in the provinces referred to.

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UNION

Hugh Guthrie (Minister of Militia and Defence; Solicitor General of Canada)

Unionist

Mr. GUTHRIE:

Before we pass away from clerical errors, there is another error in line 2,- where the word " by " should be " issue " with the comma after " shall " stricken out. Also before the word " indicate " in line thirty should be inserted " and such proclamations shall." That would make the section read as follows:

Within two days after the receipt of the writ of election the returning officer shall issue a proclamation in form L under his hand in

the English and French languages in every electoral district in the Provinces of Quebec and Manitoba, and in the English language only in other electoral districts, and shall mail one copy at least to the various postmasters of the post offices within his electoral district, and such proclamation shall indicate-

And so on.

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Amendment agreed to.


L LIB

John Ewen Sinclair

Laurier Liberal

Mr. J. H. SINCLAIR:

Does this clause differ from that in the original Act?

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UNION

Hugh Guthrie (Minister of Militia and Defence; Solicitor General of Canada)

Unionist

Mr. GUTHRIE:

Not in regard to the

language question.

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L LIB

John Ewen Sinclair

Laurier Liberal

Mr. J. H. SINCLAIR:

In the province

of Nova Scotia it has been the practice of the returning officer to post up the proclamation, and his fees are charged in the election expenses.

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UNION

Hugh Guthrie (Minister of Militia and Defence; Solicitor General of Canada)

Unionist

Mr. GUTHRIE:

I think this is a little

more elaborate. The postmaster is bound to post up these proclamations under subsection 5.

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L LIB

John Ewen Sinclair

Laurier Liberal

Mr. J. H. SINCLAIR:

Does that relieve the returning officer from responsibility in regard to posting notices?

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UNION

Hugh Guthrie (Minister of Militia and Defence; Solicitor General of Canada)

Unionist

Mr. GUTHRIE:

No. He shall issue a

proclamation and shall mail one copy at least to the various postmasters of the post offices within his electoral distiict, and such proclamation shall indicate the place and time fixed for the nomination of candidates, the day on which the poll for taking the votes of the electors is to be held, and the time when and the place where the returning officer will add up the number of votes given to the several candidates. The returning officer shall at the same time notify in wiiting each postmaster of the provisions of subsection (5) of this section. Subsection (5) provides that:

Every postmaster shall, forthwith after receipt of such proclamation, post it up in some conspicuous place within his office to which the public has access and maintain it posted there until the time fixed for nomination of candidates has passed, and failure to do so shall be ground for his dismissal from office. For the purposes of this provision such postmaster shall be deemed an election officer and liable as such.

I think this provides a pretty wide publicity for the proclamations.

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UNI L
UNION

Hugh Guthrie (Minister of Militia and Defence; Solicitor General of Canada)

Unionist

Mr. GUTHRIE:

I think this has been

the law for some time.

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UNI L

William Stevens Fielding

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. FIELDING:

In our province proclamations have been published outside the post offices.

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L LIB

Edmond Proulx

Laurier Liberal

Mr. PROULX:

I think this procedure

is new. Formerly the returning officer had to post proclamations in the three most conspicuous places in every polling subdivision. I approve of the change. These proclamations will now be seen at the post offices, the mailing to each post office will be sufficient, and it will decrease the election costs.

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April 8, 1920