July 4, 1935

CON

Hugh Guthrie (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GUTHRIE:

Individually. The other one that is suggested by the chief electoral officer is to correct a mistake in the French translation of the statute. In the present act the term "deputy returning officer" is used in one section where it should be "returning officer" and it is proposed to introduce a new section that:

The French version of paragraph (f) of subsection 1 of section 30 of the said act is amended by striking out the words "le sous-offieier rapporteur" in the fifth line and substituting therefor the words "l'officier rapporteur."

I would like to add that and I will move that it be added as section 6 of the reprinted bill.

Topic:   FARMERS' CREDITORS ACT
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENT
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Amendments agreed to.


CON

Hugh Guthrie (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GUTHRIE:

Now we can return to section 1 of the reprinted bill.

Section 1 agreed to.

On section 2-When writ for by-elections after date of dissolution deemed to be superseded.

Topic:   FARMERS' CREDITORS ACT
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENT
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

This section

has been framed with a view to avoiding the necessity of having by-elections at all. I should like to draw attention at this moment to the constituencies in which there are vacancies and to the length of time they have been unrepresented in this house. Far be it from me to say anything unpleasant at this hour of the night and at this late day in the session, but in view of the new deal and reform legislation that we have bad, it is important that we should appreciate the extent to which a large section of Canada has been unrepresented during this whole session. These byelections cannot now be held under any conditions. There was a vacancy in Halifax on September 1 of last year; another in Long Lake on September 28 of last year; another in St. Denis, Quebec, on October 1 of last year; another in Algoma East on January 1 of this year; another in St. John-Albert on February 5 of this year; another in Mont-magny, Quebec, on March 5 of this year, and another in Simcoe East on May 16 of this year-seven vacancies; seven constituencies without representation during the greater part of this session.

Topic:   FARMERS' CREDITORS ACT
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENT
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LIB
LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

And in the case of six I think the Speaker has issued his writ for by-elections to be held on August

19. Parliament dissolves by efflux of time on August 18, a Sunday, and the following Monday has been fixed for these by-elections. The present section is to obviate the necessity of holding these by-elections, and it is left in the discretion of the chief electoral officer to declare that it is not likely that these by-elections could be held before a dissolution. Personally I do not like the idea of giving to an officer of the house the decision as to whether or not a by-election is to be held. The house itself ought to keep control of all matters which pertain to representation. The section, I think, might have been worded a little differently, for example somewhat as follows, to achieve the end in view and still keep control in the hands of the house:

Notwithstanding anything in this or any other act, if a writ of election has been issued for a by-election to be held on a date subsequent to the dissolution of parliament as provided ,by section 50 of the British North America Act, then such writ shall, upon notice to that effect being published in the Canada Gazette by the chief electoral officer, be deemed to have been superseded and withdrawn.

I do not think the House of Commons should part with the control over its own representation even to meet this disagreeable emergency in which the government finds itself. I make that suggestion.

Topic:   FARMERS' CREDITORS ACT
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENT
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CON

Hugh Guthrie (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GUTHRIE:

I move the amendment suggested by my right hon. friend:

That the words "likely to be" in line 15 and the words "in the opinion of the chief electoral officer" in lines 15 and 16 be struck out, and that after the word "parliament" in line 16 the following words be inserted, "as provided by section 50 of the British North America Act."

Topic:   FARMERS' CREDITORS ACT
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENT
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Amendment agreed to. Section as amended agreed to. On section 3-Form 20 amended.


LIB

George Washington McPhee

Liberal

Mr. McPHEE:

This appears to be a very drastic affidavit. Take the last section, No. 5:

That the signature which I have made to this deposition is in my usual handwriting, and is my true name.

That means that a man who is unable to write would be refused the right to take the oath.

Topic:   FARMERS' CREDITORS ACT
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENT
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

His mark is his signature. There are decisions of the courts for that. It does not say "written" but "the signature which I have made." That is to cover the question of the mark. The mark is his signature.

Elections Act

Topic:   FARMERS' CREDITORS ACT
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENT
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LIB

George Washington McPhee

Liberal

Mr. McPHEE:

Could it not be clarified?

I can quite understand that some deputy returning officer might frighten a proposed deponent.

Topic:   FARMERS' CREDITORS ACT
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENT
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LIB

Samuel Factor

Liberal

Mr. FACTOR:

Under the provisions of

the act an illiterate person may take an open ballot. He does not have ito mark the ballot; the returning officer marks it for him. If he is compelled even to make a mark there may be some difficulty in registering his vote.

Topic:   FARMERS' CREDITORS ACT
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENT
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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

There is the same thing

about the blind. But very few will be blind about the next election.

Topic:   FARMERS' CREDITORS ACT
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENT
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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

Add the words "or mark" after the word "signature."

Topic:   FARMERS' CREDITORS ACT
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENT
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

You could not say it is

his usual handwriting.

Topic:   FARMERS' CREDITORS ACT
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENT
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LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

Is this the only case

where a written affidavit is required? Usually when a voter is challenged he takes the oath but does not sign anything.

Topic:   FARMERS' CREDITORS ACT
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENT
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

It is to prevent the

fraud that arises by reason of that. There is no sanction to it at all. Impersonators have taken the affidavit by hundreds.

Topic:   FARMERS' CREDITORS ACT
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENT
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LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

If many electors are

challenged in that way and they have to make written affidavits, I am afraid a number of electors will not be able to register their vote because of lack of time. It often happens, it did in my own constituency in the last election, that in the afternoon people are waiting to vote, and there were many challenged votes and we were afraid that a number would not have time to vote. If this is taken advantage of 'by some representatives of candidates and every voter is required to have an affidavit prepared and sign it, or affix his mark if he is not able to sign, I am afraid there will be a blockade at the door of certain polls. I do'not think this has been sufficiently considered.

Topic:   FARMERS' CREDITORS ACT
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENT
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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

Not only that; the distribution of polls has been most absurd. In my constituency there are polls with fifty voters and others with four hundred. If the deputy returning officer takes advantage of that clause to impose an oath on every voter it will be impossible for all on the list to vote. Elections might be stolen with that provision. I strongly protest against it; it should be drafted differently. It has been in the oven long enough to be drafted properly.

Topic:   FARMERS' CREDITORS ACT
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENT
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LIB

Samuel Factor

Liberal

Mr. FACTOR:

Section 38 of the election

act provides that if a man's name is on the voters' list he is entitled to vote. I quite agree that if there is impersonation it ought

to be checked, but the proper way would be to administer the oath in the most expeditious way possible. Having this long form, and the returning officer having to have it signed by the elector, will clog up the polling booths and deprive a great number of voters of the right to vote. This is a long form; it will have to be read over-

Topic:   FARMERS' CREDITORS ACT
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENT
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July 4, 1935