Mr. Chairman, I rise to a point of order. The adoption of this section is not moved. I do not see how we can debate it. Surely the 'minister in charge of the bill has the right to take section 22 instead of section 21. When he moves for the adoption of section 21 that will be the time to debate it.
I just wish to suggest, in view of the fact that the Prime Minister is taking certain things into consideration, that he take this point into consideration also. In some of the large constituencies in days gone by it has been found that the period of two weeks between nomination day and polling day was insufficient and some polling districts were not able to get their ballot boxes.
The Chief Electoral Officer in his 1922 report says:
Section 60, subsection (la) makes it an illegal practice for any "candidate, officer, clerk or other person" to communicate to any one before the close of the poll information as to whether any person has voted or applied for a ballot paper at any polling station. This provision seems to be quite unnecessary an l unless it is disregarded, as it probably often is, merely involves extra and unnecessary expense to candidates. No public interest would seem likely to suffer by reason of its repeal and it is recommended that the clause be repealed."
The paragraph repealed reads as follows:-
(a) before the poll is closed, communicate to any person any information as to whether any person on the list of voters has or has not applied for a ballot paper or voted at that polling station; or,
You can get that information at all times by having an agent outside the polling station who checks every person who goes in. If you
can get that information at the present time I see no reason why a candidate should not obtain it from his agent inside the poll.
Then the effect of the amendment is very plain. It will mean that governmental candidates, with their supporters, will be able to get full information from the deputy returning officer or the poll clerk as to who has voted and who has not voted. That will relieve the governmental candidates from the trouble of having outside scrutineers.
I point out in the first instance that as a result of the answer given to me by the Secretary of State (Mr. Copip) there is no duty thrown on the *election officers to give this information; they can simply give it if they please. The result will be they will only give it to their political friends; they will give it in the direction of the gentleman who has had to do with their appointment. As a matter of practical working out it simply means, therefore, that the governmental candidates will not be put to the trouble and expense of having to maintain [DOT]outside scrutineers for the purpose of knowing who have or have not voted, whereas the other candidates will.
He might or he might not. It is perfectly clear, at least as I see it, that the opposition candidate will encounter greater difficulties than the governmental candidate unless there is a requirement to give information. That is how the matter will work out.