March 29, 1922

UFA

Alfred Speakman

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. SPEAKMAN:

I am not making any reflections; I am simply making a statement of fact as it exists. I am not reflecting on the intentions of the hon. gentlemen who passed that act; possibly they had absolutely correct intentions.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   ENFRANCHISEMENT OF WOMEN OF ALIEN BIRTH
Permalink
CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Do men not have to

do just the same thing?

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   ENFRANCHISEMENT OF WOMEN OF ALIEN BIRTH
Permalink
UFA

Alfred Speakman

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. SPEAKMAN:

Not necessarily, so far as I can see.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   ENFRANCHISEMENT OF WOMEN OF ALIEN BIRTH
Permalink
LIB

Andrew Ross McMaster

Liberal

Mr. McMASTER:

It is easier for a

man to travel than for a woman.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   ENFRANCHISEMENT OF WOMEN OF ALIEN BIRTH
Permalink
UFA

Alfred Speakman

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. SPEAKMAN:

That is not the

point. A man can, to a certain extent before he is naturalized, choose his time for naturalization. In the case where a women has to receive her voting certificate in a comparatively short time preceding an election-

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   ENFRANCHISEMENT OF WOMEN OF ALIEN BIRTH
Permalink
CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

The hon. gentleman

is mistaken, I think. She can do that at any time at all. She has exactly the same privileges as a man.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   ENFRANCHISEMENT OF WOMEN OF ALIEN BIRTH
Permalink
UFA

Alfred Speakman

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. SPEAKMAN:

I stand corrected,

but neither I nor any other of the people in my constituency knew that a woman had the same right. The bulk of the women affected were not women who had come to Canada within a week or a month or a year of the date of the election. This legislation affected, to a large extent, the old-established constituencies, the old districts; it affected women who, for years, had understood that they were full Canadian citizens, women who had, so far as women could, fulfilled all the duties of Canadian citizenship. In actual effect, whatever the intention of the law was, it debarred those women from enjoying the full advantage accruing to the citizenship which they had acquired. I consider it was particularly a hardship in those

pioneer districts. If ever any women on God's earth deserve the franchise and the full right of saying what legislation shall be passed affecting the rights and lives of every man and woman in this country, it is those women who went into those pioneer districts and, with their husbands, attempted to extend civilization into those wildernesses. The actual effect of that law which compelled those women to obtain such certificates before voting was to deprive a large percentage of them of the franchise.

On those grounds, on the grounds of common justice, on the ground that men and women who are full-fledged Canadian citizens should enjoy the fruits of Canadian citizenship, should enjoy the honour and fulfil the highest obligation of Canadian citizenship, I shall support the resolution.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   ENFRANCHISEMENT OF WOMEN OF ALIEN BIRTH
Permalink
IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. W. F. MACLEAN (South York):

Mr. Speaker, I think there is one principle that we have somewhat forgotten in this discussion, and that is that, with war, there comes penalizing legislation.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   ENFRANCHISEMENT OF WOMEN OF ALIEN BIRTH
Permalink
PRO

Thomas Wakem Caldwell

Progressive

Mr. CALDWELL:

The war is over.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   ENFRANCHISEMENT OF WOMEN OF ALIEN BIRTH
Permalink
IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN (York):

The war is over, therefore, the penalizing legislation ought to be modified. That will present itself to people in a broad way. For instance, our sentiment towards German citizenship is changing every day, and we are going to forget a lot of things that happened during the war, especially in the matter of legislation. The world is going to try to get together again and to get along as it used to do. As the right hon. the leader of the Opposition (Mr. Meighen) pointed out, there was a reason for framing the law as it stands.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   ENFRANCHISEMENT OF WOMEN OF ALIEN BIRTH
Permalink
LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Marine and Fisheries)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

Do you not know that this legislation was enacted two years after the war was over?

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   ENFRANCHISEMENT OF WOMEN OF ALIEN BIRTH
Permalink
IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN (York):

Even granting that, there are a lot of people in this country, of whom perhaps I am one, who cannot forget that the war is over; and although we may forget some of the hardships and penalties that were necessary for national safety in time of war, we must bear in mind that we should not go too far in mitigating the law. We want to have a democratic franchise in this country, and we should try to suggest such means as will give us the best election system we can have. As an hon. member from Toronto suggests, a question of this kind should be

Elections Act

submitted to a committee, and it might be wise for the hon. member for North Waterloo to let his motion stand until we ascertain what the Government submits to the House later on.

Hon. J. B. M. BAXTER (St. John City and Counties of St. John and Albert: Mr. Speaker, I do not wish to take up much time, nor do I rise for the purpose of opposing in any way the motion before the House. I simply rise to indicate the consequence which might follow if the motion were passed, in the exact terms in which it is couched, and the Government felt called upon to implement the resolution by legislation exactly expressing it. Possibly the House is aware of the condition of affairs at the present day, let us say, with regard to Italy. Suppose two Italian women came to Canada both absolutely ignorant, as they might well be, of a single word of either French or English. One of these women, let us say, is married, the other unmarried. After the lapse of one year the unmarried woman, without perhaps having acquired the slightest facility in the use of either language, and without being able to understand the political conditions of the country, or to transact the slightest bit of business, will become franchised by the mere fact of marriage, if my hon. friend's resolution is carried directly into effect. In the case of the woman who is already married, however, some five years, I think, must elapse; and, I think, she must satisfy some official that she has a sufficient knowledge of one or other of the languages of the country ip, order to be able to communicate intelligently. Now, would it not be well to pause and, whether by means of a committee such as has been referred to, or by direct consideration by the Government, let us have all these possible phases carefully considered so that we might have legislation which would extend the franchise as far as it ought to go without creating any absurdities? I think that we, and all the people of the country, agree on the principle that the franchise should be as broad as is consistent with the safety of our institutions; and the safety of our institutions depends upon the capacity of the intended voter to apprehend the political and social questions which confront the people of Canada from time to time. Without a good working knowledge of one of the languages used in Canada, it is impossible for a voter intelligently to exercise the franchise. Do not let us rush in and alter the existing legislation in a spirit of ineffable charity,

in order that some one shall be enfranchised without the slightest possibility of obtaining, through the natural community channels, a conception of what is going on in the country. That is not a real charity; it is not a prerogative; it is not a gift; it is simply a wasting and a debasing of the franchise that confers no real benefit on the individual who receives it.

On the other hand, I am forcibly struck by the remarks made by the hon. member for Red Deer (Mr. Speakman). I can well apprehend the difficulty that would occur in many of the rural constituencies when people did not seek to register until practically the last few days of the campaign. They thought nothing of the vote until they wanted to use it, and then distance became a great obstacle. I have seen, and I fancy hon. members have all seen, precisely the same thing within the limits of densely settled communities. Very often people object to travelling a few blocks, or spending an hour or two, in order to reach the official. There is plenty of time during the whole year in which they can do this, and practically without inconvenience; but people complain, because, forsooth, everything is not ready for them right at hand at the time they realize that they want to make use of the franchise. Notwithstanding this statement, I do sympathize with the difficulties which distance imposes on a great many people in the rural communities, in the East just as well as in the West. Let us, then, give consideration to the other provisions of the election law and see if we can devise some tribunal that will exercise proper and reasonable discrimination that will not pass people through at the rate of several hundred in an hour, as was done in one of the most populous centres of the country. Let the officials get closer in touch with the people, so that they will not have to travel scores of miles. We should so arrange it that people could be accommodated at convenient seasons and, if they realize the importance of the franchise themselves, given the opportunity to be properly enrolled and enfranchised. Let that be confined, however, to the people who can speak one language or other in use in the country, and let us put the women on the same basis as the men. For myself, I would do away with marriage-

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   ENFRANCHISEMENT OF WOMEN OF ALIEN BIRTH
Permalink
?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   ENFRANCHISEMENT OF WOMEN OF ALIEN BIRTH
Permalink
CON

John Babington Macaulay Baxter

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BAXTER:

-as a qualification. Hon. members will observe the qualification I make. I am like the leader of the House

Supply-Labour

(Mr. Mackenzie King); we have both done without this popular institution for a good many years. If my hon. friend intends to change his attitude in this regard I shall not follow his example. It is one of the characteristics of the members of this particular group that they pursue the same policy right along. I would suggest that the women should be naturalized just in the same way as the men, on the same basis as to literacy and the question whether or not they would be desirable citizens of the country. There is legislation to come before the House, possibly within a day or two, by which would-be assassins or exponents of assassination as a means of changing government are not to be deported without trial. I do not think that the sober sense of the country intends to permit its election law to be so broad as +o include elements of that character. Until we resolve to break down such barriers as these we must have some tribunal before which intending citizens shall submit themselves to a reasonable test as to their fitness to take part in the government of this country.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   ENFRANCHISEMENT OF WOMEN OF ALIEN BIRTH
Permalink

Motion agreed to.


BRITISH PREFERENCE AND CANADIAN SEAPORTS


On the motion being called: That, in the opinion of this House, the British tariff preference should be confined to goods brought into Canada through Canadian seaports.


CON

John Babington Macaulay Baxter

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. J. B. M. BAXTER (St. John):

When does my hon. friend for Cumberland (Mr. Logan) intend to proceed with this motion? The subject matter is very interesting to me and very important, especially to certain parts of the Dominion. I had intended putting a similar resolution upon the Order Paper myself. I am very glad my hon. friend has done so, and I should like to be assured that he will proceed with ihis motion.

Topic:   BRITISH PREFERENCE AND CANADIAN SEAPORTS
Permalink
LIB

Hance James Logan

Liberal

Mr. H. J. LOGAN (Cumberland):

I have been waiting for some information from the Customs Department which I have only just received, and as it is now nearly six o'clock I did not think it was worth while to proceed with the motion to-day.

Topic:   BRITISH PREFERENCE AND CANADIAN SEAPORTS
Permalink
CON

John Babington Macaulay Baxter

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BAXTER:

It will be duly proceeded with?

Topic:   BRITISH PREFERENCE AND CANADIAN SEAPORTS
Permalink

March 29, 1922