I shail have to appeal to the Senate which, I understand, constitutes the safeguard of minorities. I beg to move another amendment as follows:
That section 30, subsection (g) be amended by adding at the end thereof the words, "and who is otherwise qualified under this act."
The reason for my amendment is that while the act is very carefully drawn and will be understood to prohibit a Japanese voting unless he is naturalized, yet as a matter of practice he is always allowed to vote, even if not naturalized. It is to carry out the principle of the act that I am adding those words. The effect of it will be that the voter will have to be a British subject. I know that is the strict interpretation of the act, but the average deputy returning officer interprets the act otherwise, and if the oriental produces his discharge papers he is allowed to vote. I hope the minister will see his way to accept the amendment.
I would draw the hon. member's attention to the fact that the words, "and who is otherwise qualified under this act" means that the voter must be a British subject. This is an essential element before be is entitled to the franchise. You cannot simply by adding surplusage which has no real
legal effect control the franchise of the person mentioned. In other words, the amendment is tautological.
"naturalized" as an illustration; but there are other conditions attached to this act-for instance, the voter has to be two months in the district. That is all I want to cover. Anyone reading the clause that I wanted to strike out would suppose that any person would be entitled to vote who produces a discharge from the naval, military or air forces. The clause does not say, "and who has otherwise complied with the act, or has been twogmonths in the district." Apparently all that is required is that he shall produce his discharge.
The 'CHAIRMAN: He must have the
essential qualifications, and then if he has the other qualification he is entitled to vote.
think the wording of section 30 is clearly .open to the interpretation that the member for Comox-Alberni says is sometimes put upon it. The latter part of subsection (g) reads:
Provided however that the provisions of this paragraph shall not disqualify or render incompetent to vote any person who has served in the naval, military or air forces of Canada in the late war and who produces a discharge from such naval, military or air force, to the registrar upon the making of the voters' lists and to the deputy returning officer at the time of polling.
Production of the discharge seems to be the only qualification.
If the hon. member will look at section 29 he will see there certain qualifications specified which are absolutely essential before the person is entitled to vote. Section 30 mentions certain disqualifications, and the subsection he has just read is the saving clause.