June 20, 1925

LIB

Arthur Bliss Copp (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. COPP:

The Chief Electoral Officer

fixes the time. As I understand my hon. friend's question, it is: Prior to what time can the appeal be made? The Chief Electoral Officer informs me that he fixes the time and it is usually between the 36th and the 30th day before the election.

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CON

William Alves Boys (Whip of the Conservative Party (1867-1942))

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOYS:

There is another provision

which states that when the appeal is taken, notice is to be sent, but it does not say within what time. There might be a delay of two weeks in signing that notice. I do not say that a returning officer having a proper sense of bis duty would do that, but I should have thought provision would be made for a limited time within which notice must be sent- to the voter whose name is to be struck off.

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LIB

Arthur Bliss Copp (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. COPP:

That is done immediately. Of course, there is no express provision for it. You would have to go back to clause 9 to change that. [DOT]

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CON

William Alves Boys (Whip of the Conservative Party (1867-1942))

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOYS:

I should have thought there

would be something to direct him to do it within a certain time or immediately. The sending of the notice might stand indefinitely, and the returning officer could not be found guilty of any specific offence.

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PRO

Thomas Wakem Caldwell

Progressive

Mr. CALDWELL:

I can see another

danger under clause 14. While it apparently gives the voter who is challenged a further right to appear, I think the minister knows conditions, especially in New Brunswick. Let us take an election being held in December. Many voters are in the lumber woods and they plan to come out on election day in order to vote. I notice-not in the bill, but in the explanation-this statement; if it was

IMr. Boys.]

in the act it would be better, but even then it is not sufficient:

No complaint or appeal shall be heard by the revising officer to strike names off the list of voters unless two day's notice in writing has been given by mailing it registered and prepaid to the person affected, addressed as on the list of voters, or to his last known residence.

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LIB

George Newcombe Gordon (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

Is the bon. member

discussing clause 15 now?

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PRO

Thomas Wakem Caldwell

Progressive

Mr. CALDWELL:

I think this relates to

clause 14 as well. These men are in the lumber woods. It might be a week before they would get the letter, and it might be a much longer time than that; it might not be until the following year. Therefore, a hardship might be worked in cases of that kind. All that a person who was desirous of getting people's names off the list would have to do would be to find out who were in the lumber woods and request that their names should be struck off. These men should not be called to come out and appear, losing their time when it is very inconvenient for them in any case.

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LIB

Arthur Bliss Copp (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. COPP:

There are difficulties in all

these matters that are brought to the attention of the committee. It is, I (hink, an impossibility for the Chief Electoral Officer or anybody else to frame an act that would cover every individual case that a member might think about in his particular riding, and to provide for the lumber men in New Brunswick, the few miners in Ontario and the fishermen in Nova Scotia, British Columbia and elsewhere. There are always bound to be some little difficulties that it is impossible to meet. The Chief Electoral officer, who has given, not his whole time but Ihe main portion of his time, to this matter for the past five or six years, has worked this out in order to cover the situation to the best of his ability. From the information and experience he has gaine.' in the conduct of the last election, he has suggested these amendments. We have gone over them as carefully as we could in the committee on Privileges and Elections and have heard his explanations. If anybody can suggest anything that will improve the bill, I am sure the Chief Electoral Officer and myself will be very glad to consider any suggestions: but it seems to me that to- undertake to change these various clauses here and there as we go along, will, perhaps, result in our getting into greater difficulties than if we accepted the judgment of the drafting done by the Chief Electoral Officer. I quite understand the suggestion of my hon. friend (Mr. Caldwell). Some man, a political partisan perhaps,

Elections Act

might make a wrong affidavit, and a notice would be sent to somebody who would be in the lumber woods or on a log drive. Such a man might not get that notice and he might suffer an injury by having his name removed from the voters' list when it should not have been. The man, however, who made the affidavit would be liable to be charged with perjury. This is a thing that would not happen often although, perhaps, it might happen occasionally. It would be impossible to find a panacea to cover every case we could think of in this Dominion.

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CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART (Leeds):

I think all these objections would perhaps be met by a very simple change in' this clause. I move that the word "shall" in clause 14 in the fourth line on the top of page 8 be changed to "may". That leaves it in the discretion of the revising officer in cases of this kind to leave the name on the list.

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?

Albert James Smith Copp

Mr. GOPP:

That is quite satisfactory.

Amendment (Mr. Stewart, Leeds) agreed to.

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CON

William Alves Boys (Whip of the Conservative Party (1867-1942))

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOYS:

I regret to say that I do not

feel myself satisfied with regard to the point I have just mentioned. I do not seek in any way to raise any extraordinary or unique situation, but this is a situation which seems to me to apply to every instance whether it be in a city or town or anywhere else. In dealing with it, one has to refer to clause 9 which adds as a subsection the rule (5A). I am quite aware that the revising officer holds his courts and everybody knows where those courts will be. But this is an extraordinary remedy which you are giving to every voter whose name appears upon the list. As I read the clause, there is nothing to limit it. As the clause reads, he may apply to the revising officer by making affidavit at any time whatever. Supposing he makes his application a day or two before election day, what opportunity would there be to send a notice to the voter whose name is to be struck off and to give him an opportunity of appearing and opposing such action? Unless I am overlooking some provision in the bill, it seems to me you must get this result. If there is anything in the bill stating that this must all be done not later than the last day on which there is a revision of the list, my objection would fall to the ground, but I do not find any such provision. This is an extraordinary proposition and one that, it seems to me, can be set in motion when the revising officer has entirely completed his revision of the list. Some limitation must be provided or we are going to get into very serious trouble.

293i

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LIB

Arthur Bliss Copp (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. COPP:

It is suggested by the Chief

Electoral Officer that it might be remedied by inserting in line 37-clause 9-after the word "registrar" the words "during his sitting".

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CON

William Alves Boys (Whip of the Conservative Party (1867-1942))

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOYS:

In the first place, I should like to find out from the minister if I am right in my contention, because if I am right, we ought to deal with it. If I am wrong, we need not bother our heads any more about it.

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LIB

Arthur Bliss Copp (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. COPP:

The Chief Electoral Officer

feels it is very satisfactory in the way it is, but those three words might make it a little clearer as to when it is to be done.

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CON

William Alves Boys (Whip of the Conservative Party (1867-1942))

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOYS:

Let us assume that the revising officer has completed his work, that the lists are revised; but, for instance, I make up my mind that there is on the list a certain name which should not be there. I look at the act and I find that by virtue of the provisions of clause 9, rule (5A) is added to section 32, and rule (5A) gives a voter who is on the list the right to object to some other name which, he thinks, is improperly upon that list.

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LIB

Arthur Bliss Copp (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. COPP:

He makes his objection before the registrar.

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CON

William Alves Boys (Whip of the Conservative Party (1867-1942))

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOYS:

Certainly; but I am stating the case w'here the work of revising the list has been completed.

Mr. 'COPP: The revision has not been begun when this takes place.

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CON

William Alves Boys (Whip of the Conservative Party (1867-1942))

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BOYS:

Of course it has. I will ask the minister to assume that the list has been completed, and to apply rule (5A):

Any voter qualified to vote in any polling division in the district allotted to any registrar, and duly entered in the list of voters for such polling division, may make oath before such registrar alleging the death, disqualification, or real residence and appearance in another list, of any person on the list for any of such polling divisions, and the registrar, upon such oath being made before him, shall transmit by registered mail addressed to the person objected to, at the address mentioned in the list of voters, if any, and also at such other address, if any, as may be mentioned in the oath aforesaid, a notice requiring the person objected to to appear in person or by representative-

And so on. Now, when may the voter take that proceeding? Is there anything in this act that says he must do so before the completion of the list?

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?

Albert James Smith Copp

Mr. OOPP:

The objection must be made before the registrar and not before the returning officer.

Mr. B'OYS: I am by no means satisfied.

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LIB

Arthur Bliss Copp (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. COPP:

If my hon. friend is not satisfied, I am prepared to let this section stand until he has had an opportunity of consider-

Elections Act

ing it further. The Chief Electoral Officer tells me that it is all right.

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June 20, 1925