April 20, 1921

REPRESENTATION OF MAISON-NEUVE AND GASPE


prevented the hon. member from resigning, if he felt so disposed, the constituency of Gaspe, with regard to which no protest whatever was entered, and it seems to me that, if the hon. member felt perfectly safe in regard to any action taken to unseat him in the other constituency, he could, if he had been so disposed, have resigned the constituency of Gaspe and allowed that seat to have a representative in this House. In the past there have been occasions when members have been elected for two constituencies. In 1873, Hon. Edward Blake was elected for Durham and for Bruce, but he announced his choice within fifteen days of the meeting of the session. In 1896, Mr. Dalton McCarthy was elected for Brandon and also for Simcoe, but he made his choice seven days after the session opened. In 1904, the present hon. member for Maisonneuve and Gaspe was elected for the two constituencies of Nicolet and Gaspe, and he did not resign the Nicolet seat until December 3, 1906. I am not certain as to the fact, but I am under the impression that no protest was entered against the hon. gentleman at that time.


UNION

John Wesley Edwards

Unionist

Mr. J. W. EDWARDS (Frontenac) :

Mr. Speaker, I desire to bring to the attention of this House what I cannot but regard as a serious breach of the privileges of Parliament. May, on page 73, says that:

Wilful disobedience to orders, within its jurisdiction, is a contempt of any court, and desobedience to the orders and rules of Parliament in the exercise of its constitutional functions, is treated as a breach of privilege.

It appears to me that there has been an infringement of rule 79, which, with your permission, I will quote. Rule 79 reads:

All members who are returned for two or more electoral districts shall make their election for which of the districts they will serve within twenty days after it shall appear that there is no question upon the return for either district.

One of the members of this House was elected at the last general election for the constituencies of Gaspe and Maisonneuve (Mr. Lemieux). It appears that protests were filed in regard to the election of that hon. member for the constituency of Maisonneuve on March 15 or 16, 1918. That would be about two days before the opening of the session of Parliament in that year. I understand that that is given as the reason why the hon. member who sits for these two constituencies has not made his choice. As I understand rule 79, which I have read, I can see nothing in it to have

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John Wesley Edwards

Unionist

Mr. EDWARDS:

I accept the hon. member's statement. In the session of the fall of 1919, when this House was taking action in regard to limiting to six months the time in which a constituency would be vacant, this matter of the hon. member sitting for two seats came before the House. It was brought up by the hon. member for Perth North (Mr. Morphy), and in order to fortify myself in the position which I am going to take in asking this House to support the motion which I will move, I wish to quote a few words uttered on that occasion by the hon. gentleman who is directly interested. The hon. member said:

... am not more interested than any one else in this matter. I wish to obey the law and I have always obeyed it. . .1 must say that personally

V. ,Pot thmk tllat any member of the House should monopolize two seats.

With that, I am in entire agreement with the hon. gentleman. He continued:

I would not have sat for both seats last session had I not been protested at the last election. There is a protest against my election in the constituency of Maisonneuve, and I am awaiting the result of that protest before electing for which constituency I shall sit in the House.

I again say that it occurred to me that there was nothing to prevent the hon. gentleman from resigning the constituency of

Gaspe if he felt certain of his ground that he could hold the seat of Maison-neuve against the protest. Let me quote the hon. member further:

For my part, I have more regard for the sanctity of the rules of the House, and when a rule says that -within a certain period the member who happens to represent two constituencies must elect which he shall sit for, I consider there is an obligation, at least a moral obligation, on him to obey that rule, and I stand ready to obey it as soon as the protest against my election in the county of Maisonneuve has been disposed of. In all sincerity, however, I say that although it is a great honour to represent two constituencies, I do not believe the principle is democratic. We should give each constituency in the country the opportunity of having its own representative, and though a member may be able to serve the interests of two constituencies, the principle is undemocratic and should not prevail.

Those words struck me as so cogent, so forcible, that I felt I could not say anything better in the way of an argument in support of the motion which I intend to present. I might, however, call attention to the fact that the hon. gentleman who declares that the principle of sitting for two constituencies is undemocratic and should not prevail, is one who has been undemocratic, if I may say so, in that regard at least, on several occasions. In 1904, he ran for two constituencies. In 1908, he took his chance like the rest of us with only one. In 1911 he again listened to the appeals of party exigencies, and ran for two constituencies, Gaspe and Rouville. I might say in that connection that the hon. gentleman was defeated by 570 in Gaspe, but elected by 278 in Rouville, so on that occasion he did not Rave the worry of making a selection; the people decided that for him. In the last election, in 1917, he ran for these two constituencies. Now if the hon. gentleman is sincere in regarding it as undemocratic for a member to sit in this House for two constituencies, it seems to me he should have avoided the possibility of such a breach of democracy occurring by not running for these two constituencies, as he has done on several occasions.

I want to call your attention, Mr. Speaker, to some reasons which I think should weigh with us in considering this matter. The hon. gentleman has said that the only thing which has prevented him from electing which seat he will sit for was the fact that a protest had been entered against his election in Maisonneuve. I, of course, must accept the word of the hon. gentleman, for Brutus is an honourable man, and I have no desire whatever to do otherwise; but I may be permitted in all

courtesy to call his attention to some things which create a doubt in my mind, and which, I think, justify me in asking that the Privileges and Elections Committee should deal with this particular case.

In the first place, I call attention to this fact; by section 19 of the Dominion Controverted Elections Act, as enacted by chapter 13 of the statutes of 1915, my hon. friend had fifteen days in which to file an answer to that protest. Section 19 A of that Act reads as follows:

After the expiration of fifteen days after the service of the petition, whether an answer is filed or served or not, the petition shall be held at issue and the court may at any time thereafter, upon the application of either party, fix some convenient time and place for the trial of the petition.

I am not a lawyer, and there may be some loophole in that which I as a layman cannot see, but it would appear to me, Mr. Speaker, from reading that section that the hon. gentleman had an opportunity there to show his regard for democracy, to show that he was sincere in believing that a man should not sit for two seats in this House, and show the sincerity of his statement regarding the sanctity of the rules of Parliament. You will note that the section provides:

The petition shall be held at issue and the court may at any time thereafter, upon the application of either party, fix some convenient time and place for the trial of the petition.

Now the two parties would be the petitioner and the respondent. My hon. friend cannot be held responsible if the petitioner did not make application, but what has he got to say about his own delinquency? The section provides for action upon the application of either party. I put this question to my hon. friend: Did he avail himself of the opportunity provided in that section of the statute, and make an application which would have brought this thing to a settlement?

I go a little further. That was one opportunity which the hon. gentleman had of proving to us that he is, as he has said on more than one occasion, not only a democrat, but "a democrat to the hilt," whatever that may mean. It seems to me there was an opportunity for him to show his high regard for democracy, but he failed to do so. However, he had another opportunity. Section 39 of the same Act provides:

As soon after the expiration of thirty days from the filing of the petition as may be practicable, unless a day has already been appointed for the trial-

That is, under the previous clause.

-the Clerk of the Court shall apply to the Court to appoint and the Court shall appoint a day for the trial of the petitioner.

Let me stop there just for a moment. My hon. friend may say: Yes, but the clerk of the court did not do that; that is his fault and not mine.

Now I will give the rest of the section:

Notice of the date, time and place, when and where such application is to he made shall be given by the Clerk of the Court to the petitioner and to the respondent at least five days before such application is made.

My hon. friend might say that the clerk did not do that; that is his fault, and not mine. Very well. But "if the petitioner does not appear at the time or place so fixed, the court shall forthwith dismiss the petition."

Now, Mr. Speaker, I argue this: in the first place, the hon. gentleman had an opportunity under section 19, within the 15 days there provided, to make application to have this thing settled, but apparently he did not do so. My second argument is that having passed over that opportunity, he could have taken advantage of section 39. The Act was passed while he sat here in the House, and if the clerk failed to do his duty in the matter, I would suppose that an hon. gentleman who has declared that he has such a very high regard for the sanctity of the rules of Parliament, and that he ig a democrat of the democrats, "a democrat to the hilt," and who considers it undemocratic for any hon. gentleman to sit for two seats in this House, would have gone to the clerk and said: Here, I have not received any notice from you; why have you not done your duty? All he had to do was to call the Clerk's attention to the fact if he really wanted this thing brought to a settlement.

Mr. Speaker, I object very strongly to the hon. gentleman holding two seats. I think the practice, or rather habit which I am afraid he has formed, of running for two seats is a dangerous one and a menace to this country. I recognize, of course, the hon. gentleman's great ability and his compelling personality; but if the hon. gentleman with his ability and with his compelling personality, led on by his ambition, takes the notion to project his compelling personality into two constituencies, no one can say how far he may carry that practice. He may take it into his head to run for half-a-dozen constituencies in the province of Quebec, and so deprive some hon. gentlemen who grace this chamber with

their presence from having a seat in this House. Who could imagine a greater calamity? Suppose this hon. gentleman with his compelling personality should choose to run for Quebec East, for instance, and deprive this House of the services of the hon. gentleman (Mr. Lapointe) who represents that constituency?

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John Wesley Edwards

Unionist

Mr. EDWARDS:

Just so; there is no limit. The hon. gentleman may not confine himself to his own province, and if he chooses to look for a seat in Ontario it would be very natural to suppose that the first constituency upon which his eye would fall would be the one bearing the historic name of Frontenac.

M. ARCHAMBAULT: What a blessing that would be?

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UNION

John Wesley Edwards

Unionist

Mr. EDWARDS:

So I have very strong personal reasons for fearing the lengths to which this hon. gentleman may carry this practice of depriving other hon. gentlemen of the opportunity for a seat in this House.

But there are one or two things that strike me as strange in connection with this matter. My .information is that the petitioner in this case was a gentleman who was very active in the election of 1917 in the constituency of Maisonneuve on behalf of the hon. gentleman whose election is protested, and that the counsel or attorneys for the petitioner are well known political partisans of *ny hon. friend. The hon. member says that his one desire is to obey the law and to prevent any smashing of democratic principles in this country, and that he will take action as soon as an opportunity offers. Well, Mr. Speaker, may I call the hon. gentleman's attention to the fact that he himself has been responsible for delays in dealing with this matter? May I remind him of the date of January 28, 1921-this very year-when he made application for a change of lawyers, which would necessitate a certain delay? I shall not dwell on that question; but I desire to remind him also of another date, February 21, of this present year, when a motion was made and granted for an extension of time. Who made the motion? Was it the petitioner, the man who was seeking to unseat the hon. gentleman, or who had protested his election? I am informed that that man is not even in Montreal; he has gone out West. Who then made this motion, which unquestionably resulted in

delay and in the hon. gentleman's retaining two seats? Mr. Speaker, the motion was made by the hon. gentleman himself, the respondent. He is the one who, on February 21, according to the records of the court, made a motion causing delay. I mention these facts because, as I said in the beginning, while I am disposed to accept the hon. gentleman's word-"Brutus is an honourable man"-at the same time, certain doubts have crossed my mind which I should like to have dispelled. I have mentioned some of those doubts.

Now, may I just state briefly, before I sit down, the reasons why I think this motion should be carried and why action should be taken? In the first place, every hon. gentleman in this House who supported the Bill that was introduced in the fall session of 1919-and we all supported it,-by which we declared that constituency should not remain vacant longer than six months, is put in a very invidious and illogical position, if we are to fold our arms and sit back and allow a constituency to be unrepresented directly for a period of five years. That is the first point I make. I am informed that the petition for unseating the hon. member for Maisonneuve was served on him and filed in the Supreme Court at Montreal on March 16, 1918, by Jsoeph Albert Gadoua, a gentleman who, I understand, in the election of 1917, was an active partisan and suporter of the hon. member for Maisonneuve. Well, if that is the fact, it is something for the privileges and Elections Committee to inquire into, for it throws a shadow of doubt upon the sincerity of the whole proceeding. No one 'will question that. After the petition was entered, apparently no further proceedings were taken by the petitioner; he took no further steps. I have already said that in my judgment there were steps which the hon. member himself could have taken if he desired to have the matter settled; but neither has the petitioner ever shown any desire to proceed with the case, and he is not now living in Montreal. It is also alleged that the papers forming the record of the case, or, at all events, some of them, have disappeared from the Court House at Montreal. The petitioner apparently does not intend to bring the case to trial, and I say that the privileges of the House are being infringed by what seems to me to be a flagrant violation of Rule 79.

With your permission, Sir, I might add a word further. It has occurred to me that there were political reasons why this petition was not proceeded with, and why the hon. gentleman has not made his choice of the seat he wishes to retain. To make a choice would mean an election in the other constituency, and I conceive reasons why the hon. member and his friends are pursuing their present course. I do not want to say that there is a deliberate attempt to evade the rule; I shall not use that language. But the manner in which the matter has been dealt with creates, in my mind at least, a doubt as to the sincerity of the whole action. I can understand very well indeed why the hon. gentleman would not want to make a choice of the constituency of Maisonneuve and thereby throw open the constituency of Gaspe. He has not forgotten what happened to him in 1911, when there was a definite issue before the country in the constituency of Gaspe, an issue which was raised by the hon. member and his friends in this House just a few days ago, and also in the announcement of their platform some time since. According to the verdict given in Gaspe in 1911, on that issue, the prospects would not be very rosy for the hon. gentleman and his friends if they brought on an election in that constituency. As regards the constituency of Maisonneuve, I leave it to my hon. friend. As every one knows, there is a large body of people interested in industrial employment in that city. There is a very large labour vote, and in 1911, and also in 1908, I think, they elected men who called themselves representatives of labour; and I fear that probably the hon. gentleman would not feel altogether assured of the result if he chose the seat of Gaspe and allowed the election to come on in Maisonneuve. The hon. member may say, and very properly so, that this is all in my imagination. Very well; that may be. He might make that reply; and probably, as some other hon. gentlemen on the other side would do, might laugh at the idea of that side of the House being afraid to open any constituency and contest an election. However, it seems to me that there is something behind the fact that the hon. gentleman hangs on to two seats. I think I have shown clearly that he could have resigned one of those seats and

brought on an election had he so desired. He has not chosen to do so. His leader apparently-for no doubt they have conferred in regard to this matter-is of the same mind as he is. The point I want to make before moving my resolution is this: That if my suspicions have any ground at

all, if I have produced any argument which gives a colour to my suspicions that the hon. gentleman is hanging on to these two seats for political reasons, that, I claim, is another reason why this matter should be investigated by the Select Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I beg to move:

That the question of whether the Hon. Rodolphe Lemieux, who was elected for the two electoral districts of Maisonneuve and GaspS, has not infringed the privileges of this House and violated its rules in not electing for which of the said two electoral districts he would serve, be referred to the Select Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections, and that the said Committee do inquire into all the facts and circumstances connected therewith, and of the petition for unseating the said hon. member for the electoral district of Maisonneuve and of all matters connected with the said petition, and to report thereon, the said Committee to have power to send for papers, persons and records and to report from time to time.

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Ernest Lapointe

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ERNEST LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

Mr. Speaker, I desire to say only a very few words on this motion. The question of whether it was a good policy that a member should be able to run for two constituencies and to be elected for both is not under discussion to-day. This Parliament two years ago-and I think it was a good decision on its part-enacted a law that from now on no man would be allowed to run for two constituencies. But as a matter of fact it has always been a custom in this country that prominent men in both parties should accept nomination for more than one constituency. Prime Ministers in Canada have done so in the past, and there was nothing wrong or unlawful in their so doing. As I said the wisdom of that policy may be doubted, but there was nothing to prevent it from being done. Prominent men in Parliament have sat for sessions as representing two constituencies. Even in the last Parliament there were members in the House who were sitting for two constituencies. The late Sir Wilfrid Laurier sat during that Parliament for both the constituencies for Quebec East and Soulanges, although I understand he could not elect for either constituency as his election in Soulanges had been protested. Another gentleman on the other side of the House, Sir Rodolphe Forget, sat in this House from 1911 to 1917 for two constituencies-the county of Montmorency and the county of Charlevoix, although his election in neither of the two had been contested, and he occupied a seat alongside my hon. friend from Frontenac (Mr. Edwards) without any denunciation from that hon. gentleman. There was

nothing wrong in that procedure then because there was nothing in the law that prevented it. As a matter of fact the law itself does not fix any period within which a member who was elected for two seats had to elect for which one of those seats he would sit, but there is a rule of the House, rule 79, which reads as follows:

All members who are returned for two or more Electoral Districts shall make their election for which of the Districts they will serve, within twenty days after i-t shall appear that there is no question upon the return for either district.

There is no penalty for a violation of that rule. There is nothing there which says how this rule shall be applied, but the rule states that when there is any question upon the return of the member for one of the seats he shall not make the election provided for by rule 79. Bourinot, on page 160, speaking of this rule 79, says:

In Canada the House of Commons Rule No. 79 is supposed to effect the same object but no penalty is prescribed for its violation, and in more than one instance it has been completely ignored. If there is a petition against the return of a member he cannot elect to serve for either until the matter is Anally decided in the courts.

So there is no doubt whatever that when there is a petition against a member for one of the seats for which he was elected, not only is it not his duty to resign from one of the seats but he has no right to do so under the rule of the House and the constitutional authorities. Now, Sir, whatever may be the suspicions of my hon. friend from Frontenac-because he took the trouble to say that he would accept the word of the hon. member for Maisonneuve, but he said that there are circumstances that would give him some doubts- this is not the tribunal to which he should apply under the present circumstances. Under the Dominion Controverted Elections Act any elector of Maisonneuve has the right to see that the petition against my hon. friend is disposed of by the court. The law that was enacted in 1915 has made the matter even clearer. Formerly any one who had the suspicions which my hon. friend from Frontenac appears to entertain could apply to the board and ask to be substituted for the petitioner in order to proceed with the petition. The law enacted in 1915 is still clearer. My hon. friend from Frontenac quoted article 39 as revised:

-the clerk of the court shall apply to the court to appoint and the court shall appoint a day for the trial of the petition. Notice of the date, time and place, when and where such aplication is to be made shall bB given by the clerk of the

court to the petitioner and to the respondent at least five days before such application is made, and i.f the petitioner does not appear at the time or place so fixed, the court shall forthwith dismiss the petition.

It is up to any gentleman to see that the clerk of the court fixes a date for the trial, and if the petitioner does not then appear the petition is dismissed. That should be done, and it is before the Supreme Court of the district of Montreal that proceedings should be taken, not on the floor of this House. So long as the petition stands there-and it does stand according to the word of my hon. friend-the hon. member for Maisonneuve has no right to resign his seat, and he certainly should not be the object of the motion which is now before the Chair.

Under the Dominion Controverted Elections Act the judgment dismissing the petition must be sent to his honour the Speaker who then communicates it to the House. So long as this is not done the petition stands, and my hon. friend has no right to resign his seat. It is up to any citizen to go before the courts in Montreal and take the necessary proceedings to obtain action on the petition, or to have it dismissed if nobody desires to proceed.

I say again; there is nothing to submit to the Committee on Privileges and Elections. There is no doubt that a petition against the election of my hon. friend from Maisonneuve is before the courts in Montreal. This petition has not been disposed of, and the steps that should be taken by those who object to my hon. friend sitting here for both Maisonneuve and Gaspe should be taken before the courts there and not in this Parliament.

' Mr. MICHAEL CLARK (Red Deer) : Mr. Speaker, in bringing my mind to bear upon the question before the House, I am inevitably invaded by the reflection that in dealing with such matters it is of very great importance, to some gentlemen at any rate, whose ox is gored. We had a question of individual vacancies before this House a few weeks ago, and I cannot remember that at that time my hon. friend from Frontenac was quite so ready as he is to-day to look after the interests of single constituencies in the Dominion. And I am not sure that there is to-day quite the same anxiety on the part of my hon. friend from Quebec East (Mr. Lapointe) to take the view with regard to the rights of the electors that he displayed on that previous occasion. However, Mr. Speaker, I am happy in that I am able to

agree with the argument that has been put forward by my hon. friend from Quebec East. He based himself first upon custom. Every one of us can recall that this custom of being elected for two ridings has prevailed not only in Canada but across the water in the Old Land. I remember very well Mr. Gladstone being elected for two constituencies in 1880. He won Midlothian in a very keen fight, and he was elected unopposed for the city of Leeds. Of course, in that case he resigned the latter seat, which was filled for thirty years after by his youngest son, now Viscount Gladstone. My hon. friend has justified this part of his argument by abundant references to the political history of our own country.

My hon. friend from Frontenac said that he had a suspicion that my hon. friend from Maisonneuve was guided in his action in this matter by political reasons. Well, Sir, I do not want to detract from the usually unbiased and fair record of my hon. friend from Frontenac, but I do recollect one or two occasions when even an unsuspicious man like myself could hardly avoid doubting whether the hon. gentleman was not actuated by political motives.

My hon. friend from Quebec East, after basing himself quite accurately and justifiably and, I believe, unanswerably, on custom, based himself upon law. I am not a lawyer, but I have considerable confidence in the legal abilities of my hon. friend, and his argument in regard to the law completely convinced me also. In that respect, Mr. Speaker, perhaps I may be allowed to point out that I am to-day where I was on the question of individual election three or four weeks ago. I stood upon law then, I stand upon it now. So I would say that while it is most undesirable that two seats should be held by one individual, and while it is most undesirable that by-eleations should be deferred beyond a certain time, the proper remedy in both cases is not to bring a personal matter in any particular case before this chamber, but to alter the law.

On these grounds I shall vote against the resolution of my hon. friend from Frontenac.

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

Unionist

Right Hon. C. J. DOHERTY (Minister of Justice) :

Mr. Speaker, I cannot help

sympathizing with my hon. friend from Maisonneuve and Gaspe (Mr. Lemieux) as he finds himself sought to be protected by the two defences that have been made upon his behalf. The question that is raised by this motion of the hon. member for Frontenac (Mr. Edwards) is not a pure question

of abstract law, still less is it a matter that may be determined by reference to the past existence of a custom without one moment's consideration as to whether the custom was good or bad. There are rules and customs that are much more honoured in the breach than in the observance, and if there be law and if there be custom which would justify the action of the hon. member for Maisonneuve-assuming the statement of facts which have been laid before us to be accurate-in retaining his two seats, when I can only say that he would have been very much more honoured by the breach than by the observance of either that law of that custom. We are not called upon by this motion to determine whether the hon. member for Maisonneuve was right or wrong in this particular matter. What has been put before this House is a statement-I do not want to prejudge the case-but certainly a statement of a nature to cast serious doubt on the genuineness of the contestation

of this election that is referred to as the justification of the action of the hon. member for Maisonneuve.

It is true that the rule of the House that imposes an obligation upon an hon. member elected for two seats does make that obligation incumbent upon him only after there is no question upon the return for either district. That creates a situation in which, if there be a question upon the return for either district, the hon. member is certainly not compellable, and probably is not entitled, to resign his seat. But, surely the rules of this House, as the provisions of any law, are to be taken as serious in contemplating certain objects. What does this article say? It does not say that so long as there is a semblance or a shadow of something bearing a faint resemblance to a question about the sitting of a member he shall not be called upon to take option; it says: " when there is question." What is the contention of the hon. member making this motion? What is it that results from the statement of facts that he has made if upon inquiry they be found to be true? The result is, not that there is any question upon the return for either district but that somebody has resorted to forms of law, intending to raise no serious question. It is suggested-I do not say it is the fact; that will be a matter for the Committee on Privileges and Election to look into-it is suggested that the somebody who so resorted to these forms of law did so not for the purpose of raising any serious question as to the return of

the hon. member for Maisonneuve, but precisely for the purpose of creating this semblance of a question that might serve as an excuse for his retaining the two seats. What has been done has not been the raising of a question with regard to the holding of either of the seats, but the throwing up of a rampart to protect the hon. member in the retention of both seats.

And what is it that this House is asked to do? To pass condemnation upon the hon. member? Not at all. In view of the very serious statements that have been made; in view of the circumstances recited as attendant upon that contestation; I think any fairminded man will admit that a strong prima facie case is made out in support of the proposition that the very institution and maintenance in life of that contestation-if the records as 4 p.m. cited by the hon. member for Frontenac are correct-is the action of the hon. member for Maisonneuve and Gaspe himself. If there is a protest to-day, if the record that has been read to us is correct that contest is not by reason of the action of petition for: it is by reason of the action of the hon. member for Maisonneuve. If it had been a serious attack upon the holding of his seat; if it raised a question as to his right to hold the seat, it lay absolutely in his hands to go before the court and have it rejected and dismissed. That course was open to him; and when he saw the situation that the petitioner had allowed to come into existence, a situation under which the petition was dead, did this hon. gentleman, whose right to his seat was questioned, seek to avail himself of that failure of the petitioner? By no means; he hastened to revive the contestation. An hon. gentleman says "resurrect;" perhaps that is a better word, becaue I think we might even describe the contestation as being both dead and buried-all that was needed was the raising of a monument to it. But my hon. friend thought it wise not to cap the matter by providing the monument, but to have the corpse exhumed. I do not think I need answer the question, why. Could there be any other motive than one? Is it not before us here to-day, the reason why? The revival of that corpse is the defence which the hon. member for Quebec East offers for the retention by the member for Maisonneuve and Gaspe of both these seats.

Now, the hon. member for Quebec East has justified the action taken by reference to custom, and to law, and the hon. member for Red Deer (Mr. Clark) says thi3 is a matter of custom. Nobody is dig-

puting here that under the law as it stood it was open to an hon. gentleman to be elected for two seats. Nobody is finding fault with the hon. member for Maison-neuve and Gaspe because of the fact that he was elected for two seats. Two cases have been cited of members so elected in the past-that of the late Right Hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier and that of the late member for Charlevoix and Montmorency in the last Parliament. In these cases both gentlemen sat through the Parliament and nobody raised a question. It is said that in the case of Sir Wilfrid Laurier there was a protest of one of the two elections. It is said in the case of the other gentleman that there was no protest. If that be true, that second gentleman clearly sat through that Parliament in disobedience of a rule of this House. If the statement in regard to the late Sir Wilfrid Laurier be true, as, in the absence of any knowledge with regard to the subject of that protest,

I have no doubt it is, it is the duty of this House to assume that there was a genuine, bona fide protest. I for one do not want to raise that question. What is set before the House by this motion is that there is not any genuine bona fide protest; that if the facts as set forth be established- and it is for the committee to look into that; I shall not prejudge them-there has been what is nothing more or less than a perfectly transparent attempt to make of a provision of law intended to apply in cases where real question is raised concerning the holding of a seat-to make that a means whereby the purpose of the rule may be defeated.

Now, the hon. member for Quebec East says there is no sanction. Surely that is a defence that my hon. friend from Maison-neuve can hardly be proud to hear made on his behalf. What does

that amount to? There would appear, from the statement of facts made, to have been a deliberate and intentional violation of the rules of this House. The hon. member for Maisonneuve (Mr. Lemieux) might, according to his own defender, be guilty of that deliberate violation and ignoring of the rules of this House; but according to the hon. member for Quebec East, this House has nothing to say about the matter, because it has not prescribed a term of imprisonment or some other punishment to be inflicted upon the hon. gentleman. Surely, that is the weakest of all imaginable defences, completely ignoring as it does the rights of this House to have its rules respected. There is the rule of this House, to which 1471

rule we all of us are amenable, and yet the doctrine is preached that deliberate disobedience to that rule is a matter of no consequence to this House, a matter with which this House is not concerned, the all-sufficient answer being: "Yes, I violate your rules, but you have not had the forethought to provide a punishment for me, and, therefore, I sit here in defiance of your rules." The hon. member for Frontenac (Mr. Edwards), in introducing his observations, quoted, what I do not think it was perhaps necessary for him to quote at all, an authority on Parliamentary procedure who makes the declaration without hesitation that violation of the rules of this Parliament is a contempt of this high court of Parliament. Surely, there is a remedy for that contempt. Surely, at all events, it is within the privileges, it is the duty of this Parliament through its proper committee to inquire into the circumstances of that contempt, and if it be led to the conclusion that there is no remedy and no action that it can take in consequence of that contempt, then I think it clearly will be the duty of this Parliament to make the necessary provisions that we shall not meet with the same situation on another occasion.

As I said, the hon. member for Red Deer (Mr. Clark) said that the hon. member for Quebec East (Mr. Lapointe) had made a defence on the ground of law. There is a very old and well established rule of law with which the hon. member for Quebec East is doubtless familiar, and that is that fraud is an exception to all rules. The laws are made for application in good faith. The question that is referred to in the rule bearing on this case, is a question raised in good faith, not a fradulent attempt to create the appearance of a question, to keep alive that appearance of a question, to maintain a semblance of something that does not exist at all, so that dust may be thrown in the eyes of this House when its attention ' is called to the fact that an hon. member is occupying a seat in violation of its rules. It is to be borne in mind that this House, when it legislated for the trial of election questions by the courts, did not divest itself of its own authority over those elections. We have heard it repeatedly in this House, and it is established beyond doubt that the House retains rts own power of supervision over the election of its members, and its own right to inquire with regard to them and to reach its own decision with regard to such questions as it may properly deal

with in connection with them. Why else should we have a Privileges and Elections Committee? I did not come here to-day to speak on this subject; if I had, I would have come armed with a superabundance of authority in support of the proposition. The mere enactment of a statute providing for the trial of controverted election petitions does not divest this House of its supervisory authority and control over all questions pertaining to the elections of members to this House.

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L LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Laurier Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

Sir John Thompson stated otherwise, and he was a distinguished predecessor of my right hon. friend.

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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

Sir John Thompson was perhaps the most distinguished predecessor I ever had, but I challenge the hon. gentleman's statement. What Sir John Thompson, on the occasion the hon. member has in mind, maintained most clearly was that it could not be disputed that this House retained its supervising power and control, but he argued, very soundly, that, with regard to questions that were then raised, they were questions which it was proper to leave to the adjudication of the courts under the powers conferred upon them by the statute. But he never abandoned the principle, and that is what we have said to us by the hon. member for Quebec East, he did. As I have said before, I am not saying that this matter has been proved, but this is what the committee will look into. The case, if there be a case, rests upon the assertion that the process of the courts is being purely and simply abused; that the hon. member for Maison-neuve is carrying on and maintaining alive an apparent protest that has nobody and no force behind it; that there is no intention anywhere to bring it to trial nor to establish any allegation upon which it could be supported, and that that is merely being used to enable the hon. member to continue to violate the rules of this House. I do not think that I need dwell very much longer on this subject. The hon. member for Quebec East (Mr. Lapointe) says: "Why, any hon. gentleman, under the provisions of the law which the hon. member for Frontenac (Mr. Edwards) cited, and even before they were enacted, might have gone before the court to take up a petition where a petition has been proceeded with." Why, certainly anybody might have intervened to take up the case of the petitioner, if there was anybody in this wide world that believed that the petitioner had a seri-

ous case, that there was any case to take up. But it is a novel suggestion that somebody might have intervened and come to the court and said: ''I want to be the peti- , tioner, to be substituted for the petitioner, in order that I might get the petitioner's petition dismissed."

Why, the proceeding to which the hon. gentleman refers was a proceeding intended to provide a method whereby when there were serious grounds of contestation, and under cover of a collusive petition they were not being urged, somebody might intervene and bring the matter to a decision. But that implied somebody who wanted to carry on the petition. In this case there was not anybody intervening with that intention. The respondent was seeing to it that the petition never should die. There was not any need of that sort of intervention.

Now, what about the other sort of intervention. The hon. member for Quebec East (Mr. Lapointe) refers to the Act of 1906 and the subsequent revisions contained in comparatively recent legislation under which the issue is joined and the day of trial fixed after the lapse of fifteen days from the service of the petition, and under which it is the duty of the clerk to see that application is made for dismissal of the petition after a delay of thirty days. The hon. gentleman says: Why, it was up to any hon. gentleman to avail himself of this provision. It is not impossible that somebody might have stepped in and called the attention of the clerk to the fact that he was neglecting his duty. But, if there is a gentleman in this country upon whom it was incumbent to avail himself of those provisions it was the hon. member for Maisonneuve. Surely we need not travel outside of the record in that very case. He being the gentleman directly concerned, it is, in the words of his defender, "up to" him to raise those questions as being a gentlem'an careful of the observance of the rules of Parliament, and waiting anxiously for this obstacle in the way of performing his duty to disappear. Surely it was "up to" him to have the obstacle removed, and it was absolutely in his hands to bring that about. But he fails to do it. More than that, he takes the proceedings necessary to keep the petition alive. I am not going to judge the question of law in this matter any more than the question of fact, but under the general law in the province in which that petition was presented, any process that has hung

for over two years is liable to be declared peremptorily dismissed.

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L LIB
UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

I am not going to argue whether it applies or not. .

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L LIB

Joseph Arthur Calixte √Čthier

Laurier Liberal

Mr. ETHIER:

Is the right hon. gentleman of opinion that the law of peremption d'instance would apply in such a case as the Controverted Elections Act?

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UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

There is good authority for the view that it does. That is one of the questions that the Privileges and Elections Committee could very properly look into. I am not saying it does.

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L LIB
UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

If it be not applicable, at all events it illustrates the view of the law of that province.

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L LIB
UNION

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

Unionist

Mr. DOHERTY:

I think it is fair to infer that my hon. friend was not without suspicion that that law applied to this particular procedure. Because, the time having come about when, if that law did apply, then, entirely outside of the provisions of the Controverted Elections Act the contest was dead-utterly and absolutely dead-he came in, not with a motion to avail himself of that right, but with a motion to substitute three certain gentlemen for three certain other gentlemen, as is reported. That is what is stated in the papers laid before the House;

I am not vouching for the fact, I am arguing that all these facts ought to be submitted for the consideration of the Privileges and Elections Committee, that is all; but these are the facts that are recited. I may mention for the benefit of hon. gentlemen who are so loud in asserting that that law did not apply, that it is significant that that was followed up, not by any proceedings to get rid of the process, but by proceedings to prolong the delay, in other words to keep it alive.

Now, Mr. Speaker, in the face of these facts as they are stated, I want to guard myself against preju<|ging this case in any way. We must look at this case as presenting to us the question: Is there matter for this House, through its committee ^n Privileges and Elections, to look into, is there a prima facie case that this House has been played with, and that its rules have been evaded? It does not present itself to-day for our determination whether all these things are absolutely so, but the question is before us: Is there such a case made out that this Parliament owes it to itself and to the hon. member for Maisonneuve and Gaspe to send it to the proper body whose function it is to look into questions of this kind, in order that this House may be enabled, after the careful investigation of that body, and acting upon its report, to do justice to itself and its own dignity, and to do justice to the hon. member for Gaspe and Maisonneuve?

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April 20, 1921