June 18, 1935

LIB

Charles Gavan Power

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

What about the remainder?

Topic:   DOMINION FRANCHISE ACT
Subtopic:   EVIDENCE IN APPEAL TO JUDGE FROM RULING OP REGISTRAR OP ELECTORS
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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan (Secretary of State of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. OAHAN:

I suppose they will proceed before the registrar. I have no doubt he will hear the remainder from day to day as fast as he can hear them; it will take him a long time.

Topic:   DOMINION FRANCHISE ACT
Subtopic:   EVIDENCE IN APPEAL TO JUDGE FROM RULING OP REGISTRAR OP ELECTORS
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LIB

Charles Gavan Power

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

I hope the hon. gentleman understands that the revision finishes on June 30 and it is now the 18th,

Topic:   DOMINION FRANCHISE ACT
Subtopic:   EVIDENCE IN APPEAL TO JUDGE FROM RULING OP REGISTRAR OP ELECTORS
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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan (Secretary of State of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. OAHAN:

I understand that.

Topic:   DOMINION FRANCHISE ACT
Subtopic:   EVIDENCE IN APPEAL TO JUDGE FROM RULING OP REGISTRAR OP ELECTORS
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LIB

Charles Gavan Power

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

How does he propose that the registrar shall hear those cases if he has not already heard them, or is it only a matter of giving judgment?

Topic:   DOMINION FRANCHISE ACT
Subtopic:   EVIDENCE IN APPEAL TO JUDGE FROM RULING OP REGISTRAR OP ELECTORS
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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan (Secretary of State of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

It is not a matter of very great importance to me whether the registrar hears them all.

Topic:   DOMINION FRANCHISE ACT
Subtopic:   EVIDENCE IN APPEAL TO JUDGE FROM RULING OP REGISTRAR OP ELECTORS
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LIB

Charles Gavan Power

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

I thought so.

Topic:   DOMINION FRANCHISE ACT
Subtopic:   EVIDENCE IN APPEAL TO JUDGE FROM RULING OP REGISTRAR OP ELECTORS
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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan (Secretary of State of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

I have nothing to do with

the hon. gentleman's thoughts, but if he keeps on thinking he may think that possibly this bill may not apply solely to the present registration and the present appeals. The member for St. Lawrence-St. George, even if he has to meet 1,000 or 2,000 impersonations in his constituency, can still be elected there by the unanimous suffrages at any rate of his own supporters. Although at my age I would like to retire, but simply because certain suggestions have been made, I intend to contest the election. Really I have not a personal interest in this bill. If I could say this without the hon. gentleman taking it as a reflection on him, I would say that to whomsoever you may attribute the fact, it is a disgrace that in a constituency such as that, 5,000 names or even 4,000 or 3,000 names of persons who, prior to April 30 last,

Franchise Act

which was the last day for objections, have forfeited their right to vote in that constituency, should be left upon the lists. I am quite prepared, if these people are to be gathered in from all over Canada, to stand my chance of getting a majority of them. Of course, the hon. gentleman knows what it means, the expense of gathering electors in from all over the country. I am not afraid of the electorate of St. Lawrenee-St. George, not in the slightest degree. But in that constituency, as my hon. friend knows, there has been impersonation and fraud, which is a disgrace to the city of Montreal in which that district is situated. I and the younger men who support me-at least it shows I have some friends when seventy of them will gather for the purpose of cleaning up this list-are going to stop impersonation in this city of Montreal if by any legitimate means it can be stopped. And we are going to stop it particularly in the electoral district of St. Lawrence-St. George. This bill will be of far more use to other hon. gentlemen at a subsequent revision than it can possibly be to the revision proceeding in St. Lawrence-St. George between now and the thirtieth of this month. This bill enunciates a principle which has been recognized in all electoral franchise acts of this country for years, that if a prima facie case is made out and full opportunity given for rebuttal and no rebuttal whatever is adduced, the name goes off the list, and it should not be restored unless there is some affirmative evidence of the existence of that person and his or her qualification by residence in the electoral district. That is what this bill affirms. Whether or not it passes is immaterial to me as far as my own election is concerned.

Topic:   DOMINION FRANCHISE ACT
Subtopic:   EVIDENCE IN APPEAL TO JUDGE FROM RULING OP REGISTRAR OP ELECTORS
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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

If the registrar acts improperly and does not carry out the statutory requirements, if he puts names on the list that obviously should not be there, should it be incumbent upon the judge on appeal to insist on evidence? Should he not be free simply to say: That name obviously should never have been- put on the list at all, and therefore I overrule the decision of the registrar? Is not that the function of an appeal court.

Topic:   DOMINION FRANCHISE ACT
Subtopic:   EVIDENCE IN APPEAL TO JUDGE FROM RULING OP REGISTRAR OP ELECTORS
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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan (Secretary of State of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

I presume that if it were

shown that a registrar had violated the law, but that would require evidence.

Mr. ILlSLEY: No, that appears from the

record. Under this provision the judge would he helpless, he would 'be unable to do a thing in the case of an incompetent or a crooked registrar.

M'r. CAHAN: That registrar is an officer

of this house, and' he is competent. The suggestion is that the registrar has placed a name on the list improperly. Well, there must be evidence to Show that before the judge can remove the name from the list, and there must be evidence before a name is reentered on the list that the person is entitled to have it so reentered. And the only evidence required by this bill is "evidence satisfactory to the judge" adduced at such hearing.

Topic:   DOMINION FRANCHISE ACT
Subtopic:   EVIDENCE IN APPEAL TO JUDGE FROM RULING OP REGISTRAR OP ELECTORS
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LIB

Ross Wilfred Gray

Liberal

Mr. GRAY:

He is hardly a judge of appeal, he is more a judge of first instance.

Topic:   DOMINION FRANCHISE ACT
Subtopic:   EVIDENCE IN APPEAL TO JUDGE FROM RULING OP REGISTRAR OP ELECTORS
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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan (Secretary of State of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

He is a judge on appeal, he is ruling on the decision in the discretion of the judge of another court, a court established by statute of this parliament.

Topic:   DOMINION FRANCHISE ACT
Subtopic:   EVIDENCE IN APPEAL TO JUDGE FROM RULING OP REGISTRAR OP ELECTORS
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?

Côme Isaïe Rinfret

Mr. BINFRET:

I want to stress again the point I made in the debate on second reading. I do not think my hon. friend is right, but even if he were I think this is a very improper time to amend the act. This bill if it goes through must go to the Senate, it must be sanctioned. There is the question of time, there is just the possibility that the bill may be sanctioned two or three days before the revision is over. Then the bill comes into force. What does that mean? It means that four thousand people m-ust appear before Mr. Justice Greenshields to make good their right to remain on the list. Is that fair? I put it to the committee- as I did to the house. Even if the bill be right in principle-I do not think it is-this is not the proper time to bring at in, 'because the intention is to have it acted' upon this month. The revision will be over by the thirtieth of June, and there will not be time for that satisfactory evidence called for in the bill to be adduced before the chief justice. Would dt not be much fairer to abide by the act as passed- last year by both parties rather than pass an amendment Which cannot be effective in the time, even if there were any merit to it.

Topic:   DOMINION FRANCHISE ACT
Subtopic:   EVIDENCE IN APPEAL TO JUDGE FROM RULING OP REGISTRAR OP ELECTORS
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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan (Secretary of State of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

I can only say we are abiding by the franchise act and its intention as we understood it when passed- last year. We are making no amendment which will abrogate or alter the intention we then had. These electors, whom the hon. gentleman has mentioned, have had time since the thirtieth of April last-if any one of them wishes to show that he should' be on that list he has had ample opportunity and notice to adduce evidence for that purpose before the registrar, and not one of them has ever produced a scintilla of evidence. He 'has also the right to go before the court and adduce affirmative evidence there, and I am not taking away that right. But the matter is far m-ore important than that. These electors were on the List at the last revision, and it is now found in this

37b2

Franchise Act

revision that four or five thousand of them are no longer resident in the constituency. They are in other constituencies, they are applying in those other constituencies to have their names on other lists. If they wish to remove their name from one constituency to another there is a short form provided by which that removal miay be effected. But what I am objecting to is names remaining on the lists in any constituency, whether in Toronto, in which I understand in one constituency there are five thousand objections, or in Montreal' in which there are these objections, names which facilitate impersonation and fraud. In order to prevent impersonation and fraud this parliament at the last revision provided that the names should! be entered in urban constituencies according to the numbers of the street or avenue, and these numbers had to be consecutive; or if it were in an apartment house that the number of the apartment should be given. Now what have we? In the constituency of St. Lawrence-St. George I am told we have about twenty-five hundred applications from people to be placed on the new lists, and unless some such amendment is made we shall have such cases as several families, crowded on tfhe list for one apartment, which we know can hold only one family; there -will be the old family and another, and1 possibly a third family alleged to be occupying that one apartment when everyone knows that there are no such residents there. Whether we clean this up now or whether we clean it up at some future time there can be no objection to the principle and import of this amendment. It simply prevents persons, who moved out of the district long ago and lost their residential qualifications, from having their names on the list, to be voted not by themselves but by others who impersonate them and vote in their names fraudulently.

Topic:   DOMINION FRANCHISE ACT
Subtopic:   EVIDENCE IN APPEAL TO JUDGE FROM RULING OP REGISTRAR OP ELECTORS
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LIB

Louis Édouard Fernand Rinfret

Liberal

Mr. RINFRET:

I have another argument to present to my hon. friend along the same line, having regard to the fact that this amendment is brought in too late and that the act should not be amended while it is in operation. My hon. friend seems to think all those names are going to be impersonated. I am not of that opinion at all. In every election you have on the list for your division the names of hundreds of electors who have moved since the list was prepared, and you have to look for them and tell them where they vote. It is possible that quite a number of the four thousand people should not be on the list in St. Lawrence-St. George but should be on the list in some other constituency. It is also possible-and I trust that my hon. friend will be perfectly organized

in that respect-to tell these men where their vote belongs and see that they vote there. You cannot have perfect lists. I have presented the argument that the act we passed last year rather tended to bring about that situation, more so than the previous act.

Here is another point, and I wish to appeal to the minister once more before he insists on this bill passing. I say that if this amendment is passed and put into force it will leave only a few days for these four thousand people to produce satisfactory evidence that they should be on the list. Or it may be proved that they do not belong on the list and should not be there. They will be given no time at all in which to register on another list. The act provides a period of six weeks for a revision. Why? Because it does require a number of weeks, if a man's name has been taken off the list for St. Lawrence-St. George, for that man to see the other registrar in St. James or St. Mary and have his name put on this list. Even if it were true that most of these names do not belong to my hon. friend's division, by this amendment the hon. gentleman is going to disfranchise those people who have moved, because they will have no time to register anywhere else. That will be the effect of this amendment; four thousand people will be disfranchised just because they have moved.

Topic:   DOMINION FRANCHISE ACT
Subtopic:   EVIDENCE IN APPEAL TO JUDGE FROM RULING OP REGISTRAR OP ELECTORS
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CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan (Secretary of State of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

The date fixed was April 30; under the provisions of the statute any objection must be lodged before April 30. The revision began on May 15. During the entire month of April any person who had taken up a new residence in any part of Canada could have applied to have his name entered on the list of the electoral district in which he then resided. That has been going on throughout April and May and on into June. I cannot speak except from information I have received, but I understand that in the constituency of St. Lawrence-St. George already there are over 2,500 persons who seek to have their names put on the new list. My hon. friend knows as well as I do that St. Lawrence-St. George comprises practically all the largest apartment houses as well as a great many of the smaller ones. It includes every class and condition of society, and there is a great deal of movement in that constituency. On any May 1st or October 1st a great number of people move out of St. Lawrence-St. George and a great many other people move in. This revision which is now taking place does not take off a single name of those who have moved out since May 1. April 30 was the last day for objections. A certain number of people moved out in the May movement. I cannot say where they have gone,

Franchise Act

but they have not been deprived of the franchise. Those who moved out before April 30 deprived themselves of the franchise in that electoral district as the new revision began on that date. They are applying in other districts everywhere over the city, but they have no right to vote, they have no right to be entered upon the list of electors in my constituency, or in the constituency of my hon. friend, from St. James, or the constituency of the hon. member for Cartier unless resident there. This bill is perfectly fair and equitable. It deprives no person of a vote, except a vote in a constituency in which he has no right to vote. That is all. On the other hand it does give some control during the election of this vast system of bribery and impersonation that one has to stand up against in a constituency in Montreal.

Topic:   DOMINION FRANCHISE ACT
Subtopic:   EVIDENCE IN APPEAL TO JUDGE FROM RULING OP REGISTRAR OP ELECTORS
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LIB

Samuel William Jacobs

Liberal

Mr. JACOBS:

The hon. gentleman has mentioned my name. Why is it .that there is so much skullduggery and rascality in that one division of Montreal, St. Lawrence-St. George? I should like to know that, because I am the neighbour of my hon. friesnd and I do not complain about it nor do any of my opponents. My good friend from Mount Royal has a very large moving vote, yet no person seems to complain except my hon. friend from St. Lawrence-St. George. I should like to know the reason for that.

Topic:   DOMINION FRANCHISE ACT
Subtopic:   EVIDENCE IN APPEAL TO JUDGE FROM RULING OP REGISTRAR OP ELECTORS
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LIB

James Layton Ralston

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

Once more I should like to ask the Secretary of State to reconsider the matter of putting this act into force so as to affect the present -revision. My hon. friend has made some case for an amendment to the act so far as the future is -concerned but I say he has made no case whatever for alleging that the judgment of the learned judge was wrong in law. We often have the experience of a judge deciding contrary to our own ideas and against the particular case we have presented, but we do not come to parliament- to have an act passed in order to reverse that decision. All -that happened was that the learned judge announced what in his opinion was the law, and under our system of stare decisis that becomes our law. I aim sure my hon. friend realizes that this is in just the same position as if there were litigation between two parties. Two parties have gone to court and a decision has been given in favour of one of them. Instead of accepting that decision, because that has become the law, the other proposes to come to parliament and have that particular decision amended -and overruled. I submit that this is an instance where a hard case is going to make bad law and worse legislation;

I submit that the principle is bad, and I think my hon. friend will be the first to admit it. It may be that we are justified in legislating for ithe future in declaring, as the Minister of Justice has said, more clearly what was the intention of parliament, but the intention of parliament is taken from the words which we put into the statute. The -learned judge, a most distinguished jurist-not an experienced judge but a most distinguished judge of the province of Quebec-has said that in his opinion the statute means so and so. That opinion having been given and that decision having been reached in favour of the people whose names were on the list, which names were sought to be struck off, I submit that my hon. friend has no right to ask this parliament to overrule that decision. I submit that the decision must stand, and if my hon. friend does not think that was the intention of parliament as he had it in his mind or as the Minister of Justice -had it in his, then it is perfectly competent for us to amend the statute t.o apply to the future i-n order to have that situation remedied.

I do submit to my -hon. friend that in this bill, just- as in any bill that is -passed amending the law, there should be a provision that this is not to affect pending litigation. That provision appears, as my hon. friend from his long experience, knows far better than I do, in many measures. I submit that exactly the same principle should apply here, and that the Minister ought to add to this section a subsection providing that this section is not to affect any revision which may be in -progress under the Dominion Franchise Act, at the time of the coming in-to force of this act,

Then the minister has pointed the moral by the cases he has cited, and he has given notice -to everybody who may be affected by the act that he must show such and such a thing to the judge.

Topic:   DOMINION FRANCHISE ACT
Subtopic:   EVIDENCE IN APPEAL TO JUDGE FROM RULING OP REGISTRAR OP ELECTORS
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CON

James Arthurs

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ARTHURS:

What about the dead

ones?

Topic:   DOMINION FRANCHISE ACT
Subtopic:   EVIDENCE IN APPEAL TO JUDGE FROM RULING OP REGISTRAR OP ELECTORS
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LIB

James Layton Ralston

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

That will always hap-pen; no revision is perfect. Does the hon. member suggest that we come to parliament solemnly to legislate dead persons off voters' lists? There is a perfectly competent and distinguished jurist who has decided that the law we passed does not cover that case. There is no reason why we should pass a special act to strike the names of some dead persons off the list. I suppose there are irregularities in almost every constituency; some decisions may be made by registrars or judges which may not be to the liking of a candidate or sitting member. Surely we do not come here

Franchise Act

to amend those conditions and to constitute ourselves a court of appeal from every decision of every officer who has judicial discretion under this act.

Therefore I say to the minister that having regard to the principle, and leaving aside the merits, he has stated he is perfectly willing to accept the situation as it is. Let him do it, then. Let us say the minister was unlucky in the decisions in his constituency- but that does not justify parliament in legislating or changing the law and depriving people of certain rights they had, as those rights have been laid down and determined by a judge. Therefore I move the following amendment:

That there be added to section 1 the following subsection:-

(2) This section shall not apply in respect of any revisions which may be in progress under the Dominion Franchise Act at the date of coming into force of this act.

Topic:   DOMINION FRANCHISE ACT
Subtopic:   EVIDENCE IN APPEAL TO JUDGE FROM RULING OP REGISTRAR OP ELECTORS
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June 18, 1935