June 20, 1925

PRO

Thomas Wakem Caldwell

Progressive

Mr. CALDWELL:

Are any changes permissible in the list after the official list is delivered to candidates on nomination day?

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT
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LIB

Arthur Bliss Copp (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. COPP:

It is the preliminary list that

goes to the candidate on nomination day. All changes are made, in urban lists, after nomination day.

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PRO
LIB

Arthur Bliss Copp (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. COPP:

They may be changed after

nomination day, too.

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PRO

George Gibson Coote

Progressive

Mr. COOTE:

It seems to me that in the

rural districts fifteen days is too rfiort a time, because these lists should be sent by the candidate to his agents in the outlying districts so that they may see that they are correct. For some of the rural districts at any rate the time is too short.

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LIB

Arthur Bliss Copp (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. COPP:

This applies only to urban districts.

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Section agreed to. On section 17-Record of rural registrars appointed.


CON

Charles-Philippe Beaubien

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BEAUBIEN:

In the last general election the final lists in some cases were not received until three days after the election.

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LIB
CON

Charles-Philippe Beaubien

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BEAUBIEN:

It is awfully hard to

have your agent work in your best interests if you have not the revised list in your hands beforehand.

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LIB

Arthur Bliss Copp (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. COPP:

Mistakes may occur in any

election. The same thing occurred in parts of my riding. But section 18 is intended to assist in that respect by having the list given to the representatives in the rural districts.

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Section agreed to. On section 18-Rural lists to be sent to candidates.


PRO

George Gibson Coote

Progressive

Mr. COOTE:

This section will be all right, I think, if you do not insist on the change requiring only one week to elapse between nomination and polling day, but if that provision should carry later on, I think these lists should certainly be in the hands of the candidates before nomination day.

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Section agreed to. Sections 19 and 20 agreed to. On section 21-Interval between nomination and poll altered.


LIB

Arthur Bliss Copp (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. COPP:

I would move that this section stand for the present.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

In the meantime I would suggest to the minister that he get the Minister of Defence (Mr. Macdonald, Pictou) to frame an amendment to section 21 to submit to hon. gentlemen to my left showing how that sixty days can be arrived at by an amendment to section 21. I would like him to exercise his ingenuity on that.

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PRO

George Gibson Coote

Progressive

Mr. COOTE:

I would ask the minister

to inform the committee why he wishes this section to stand, and whether he is going to consider the advisability of lengthening the time between nomination and polling day.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I asked the

minister in charge of the bill to hold this section for the moment. I have sent to get information covering the last twenty years as to the length of time that has elapsed between the day of officially announcing the election and polling day, because I think that information would be of interest and helpful to the committee in deciding this mater. Last night in the discussion which took place a great deal was said about the interest of individual candidates in different ridings, but nothing or very little was said with respect to the public interest and the desirability of not keeping business in this country in an unsettled condition over a long period of time. That, I believe, is the reason why in Great Britain and other countries the time fixed is as short as it can be. Everyone knows that during the period of an election, business becomes greatly unsettled. Large business concerns will not place orders, banks more or less suspend a part of their loaning operations, and generally the whole business of the country is unsettled through the period in which the politi-[DOT] cal campaign takes place. The government in seeking to shorten the period of time had this in mind and more particularly the confusion of the last election when over a quarter of the year was taken up in an election campaign, in so acting we believe we are furthering the best interest of the country primarily and doing what will prove to be in the interest of candidates themselves. It must be remembered that a political campaign does not necessarily start the moment the announcement of an election is made. The people of the country are judging a government from the moment it takes office, and all through the year constituencies are being addressed by members and candidates. When my hon

Elections Act

friends return to the west the first thing they will do, I imagine, will be to visit different parts of their constituencies and express their views on the political questions of the day. So the limiting of time does not mean that political discussion is being confined within these limits. It is simply that the country may know that for a certain period, and only for that period, will the necessary turmoil of a political contest be kept up.

However, as I have said, the reason for holding this section for the moment is to get the further information I have sent for; and I think if we discover by it that it has been possible to hold elections in this country for a number of years in a shorter period of time, that ought to be some guide to the committee in settling this matter. Again I would say 'that the period of forty-five days is from the point of view of the Chief Electoral Officer only, what in his opinion could happen under the most favourable circumstances assuming that there is no hitch in any particular. That is the minimum, but it does not mean that the election may not take a very much longer time.

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PRO

George Gibson Coote

Progressive

Mr. COOTE:

My reason for rising to

speak a moment ago was that this section is going to shorten the time between nomination and polling day to one week in most of the constituencies, and I am sure that that will be too short. It is simply inviting trouble, because in many of the constituencies it will be found almost impossible to print the ballots and distribute them to outlying polls within one week, and it may result in many elections having to be fought all over again. I repeat, it is simply inviting trouble. I cannot see why we should shorten that time at any rate, regardless of what we do as ito fixing the time between the issuing of the writ and polling day.

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PRO

John Livingstone Brown

Progressive

Mr. BROWN:

There is one point in regard to this change that perhaps has been overlooked. We must remember that when this act was prepared that we are now revising, an entirely new system of preparing the lists was adopted. Printed lists were discarded, lists that had formerly been prepared for a considerable length of time before the election. The new provisions as to the preparation and distribution of the lists on the basis of two weeks elapsing between nomination and polling day were inserted, and if the act is changed it seems to me it will lead to a great deal of confusion in the minds of every person in regard to the situation that prevails between the issuing of the lists to the candidates who are not officially nominated

until the seventh day before election day. It seems to me it. is opening the way to confusion.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT
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June 20, 1925