June 20, 1925

LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

Surely my hon. friend

knows that the returning officer has no power to go and give information; he is there to attend to his duties. Certain information is given by the agent of each candidate. Surely the two candidates, or the three candidates as the case may be, will be on an absolute parity at 'the poll in that respect. Then why does my hon. friend speak as he does? It carries a sort of suggestion that this is being done to help the governmental candidate. This is a suggestion made by the Chief Electoral Officer immediately after the last general election when he presented his report. Surely, therefore, there is no evil intention in the present amendment.

Topic:   DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT
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PRO

William James Lovie

Progressive

Mr. LOVIE:

To whom is the information

to be given? The law at present says that, except the authorized officials, only the person voting is allowed to enter the polling booth.

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LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

The candidate or his

representative at the polling booth. It is always done.

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CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART (Leeds):

Under the

present law all the candidates are represented at the polling booths by scrutineers, but it is illegal for the inside scrutineer, or any candidate, to pass out information to the outside scrutineer or to any other person as to who has voted. However, that is done; elections cannot very well be carried on without knowing whether certain people have voted or not. The object of this is to authorize the inside scrutineer to inform the outside scrutineer, or any other person as to whether John Smith, Henry Brown, or some other person has voted.

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Section agreed to. On Section 25-Expense voucher.


CON

David Spence

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPENCE:

Would the minister kindly give the committee further particulars about this?

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LIB

Arthur Bliss Copp (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. COPP:

This is a simple amendment

with regard to the transmitting of the polling station accounts. The act provides that they shall be enclosed in a special envelope and placed in the ballot box. This might result in delay, the accounts might be put in the wrong box and get mixed up. No provision is made with reference to the ballot box key which, under the instruction necessarily issued by the Chief Electoral Officer, is delivered to the returning officer or sent to him by regis-

Elections Act

tered mail. There is no reason why the ballot box key and accounts might not be sent to the returning officer in the same package instead of being placed in the ballot bcx. It is much more convenient.

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Section agreed to. Section 26 agreed to. On section 27-Declaration of election.


CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART (Leeds):

There was some discussion in the committee as to the effect of the failure of the returning officer to make a wri ten declaration, and it was suggested that he should declare the candidate elected and also make a written declaration of it.

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PRO

George Gibson Coote

Progressive

Mr. COOTE:

What is the present practice? Does it require to be sent by registered letter in every case?

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CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART (Leeds):

The present

practice is that he does not make any declaration in writing. He simply declares a man elected, but this section requires him to make a declaration in writing. I think he should declare a candidate elected and also give a written certificate.

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Section agreed to. On section 28-Custody of ballot boxes.


PRO

George Gibson Coote

Progressive

Mr. COOTE:

Why should we carry that

section without some consideration? The question as to who should have the custody of the ballot boxes is a very important one.

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LIB

Arthur Bliss Copp (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. COPP:

This is to take care of the

empty ballot boxes after the election.

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PRO

George Gibson Coote

Progressive

Mr. COOTE:

I thank the minister for

the explanation, and I think the section might be agreed to. If the minister would make an explanation with every section we would ge' on faster. I think the minister should loosen up a little.

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LIB

Arthur Bliss Copp (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. COPP:

I was giving the information

as readily as I could. Sometimes I have to get the information from the official and give it to the committee.

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LIB

Pius Michaud

Liberal

Mr. MICHAUD:

It is only one member

on the other side of the House who requires all the information.

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PRO

Section agreed to. Section 29 agreed to. On section 30-Inspection of election documents.


CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART (Leeds):

I think this

section should have serious consideration. I made some objection to it in the committee. The purpose of the section is to enable the candidate or someone on his behalf to go to the electoral office and inspect the poll book for the purpose of ascertaining who has voted.

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June 20, 1925