April 5, 1938

CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Those are not my words.

Topic:   POLITICAL EXPENDITURES
Subtopic:   PUBLICATION OF RECEIPTS AND EXPENDITURES AND LIMITATION OF AMOUNT EXPENDED IN ELECTION OF MEMBERS
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IND

Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. NEILL:

We know of cases before a supreme court judge where a man, because he was personally entirely innocent of wrongdoing, has been relieved of penalities to which he would otherwise be subjected. But if the candidate is guilty let him be unseated, as far as I am concerned.

Topic:   POLITICAL EXPENDITURES
Subtopic:   PUBLICATION OF RECEIPTS AND EXPENDITURES AND LIMITATION OF AMOUNT EXPENDED IN ELECTION OF MEMBERS
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CCF

Abraham Albert Heaps

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. HEAPS:

I appreciate the statement that has been made by the minister with reference to this bill. I realize how many difficulties stand in the way before we can have what we might term clean elections, but I feel that it is the desire and intention of every hon. member that the elections should be conducted in as clean a way as possible, and that so long as we continue in haphazard fashion as we have done in the past it will

Political Expenditures

oe difficult, for the reasons outlined by the minister, to have the elections conducted as we should like them to be. The suggestion I am about to make to the minister and the committee is not a new one. Compulsory voting was, I believe, put before the house first by the leader of the opposition; it was discussed by the committee which considered the elections act last year, and was rejected by that committee. I believe, however, that if it were put into effiect a good many of the difficulties of the past with regard to conducting clean campaigns would automatically disappear. I have in mind the example of Australia, where they have compulsory voting and where little is known of the difficulties with which we in Canada are confronted.

Topic:   POLITICAL EXPENDITURES
Subtopic:   PUBLICATION OF RECEIPTS AND EXPENDITURES AND LIMITATION OF AMOUNT EXPENDED IN ELECTION OF MEMBERS
Permalink
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

They had them once.

Topic:   POLITICAL EXPENDITURES
Subtopic:   PUBLICATION OF RECEIPTS AND EXPENDITURES AND LIMITATION OF AMOUNT EXPENDED IN ELECTION OF MEMBERS
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CCF

Abraham Albert Heaps

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. HEAPS:

They maj have had them in years gone by, but now as a result in part of compulsory voting there, that difficulty does not arise. I believe that in one of the last elections in the Commonwealth of Australia over ninety per cent of the people voted.

If people were compelled to vote, or, if they were not in a position to do so, compelled to give some valid reason for not voting, the appeals that we have to make at the present time to people to vote, as we have to do in most constituencies, would automatically disappear. I would ask the minister, therefore, in his wisdom to consider the question of compulsory voting as one of the means of overcoming the difficulties that now operate against perfectly clean elections. I am sure it is the desire of every member of the house to see that result brought about.

Resolution reported, read the second time and concurred in. Mr. Power thereupon moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 90, respecting political expenditures.

Motion agreed to and bill read the first time.

Topic:   POLITICAL EXPENDITURES
Subtopic:   PUBLICATION OF RECEIPTS AND EXPENDITURES AND LIMITATION OF AMOUNT EXPENDED IN ELECTION OF MEMBERS
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Is this bill to go to the committee?

Topic:   POLITICAL EXPENDITURES
Subtopic:   PUBLICATION OF RECEIPTS AND EXPENDITURES AND LIMITATION OF AMOUNT EXPENDED IN ELECTION OF MEMBERS
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LIB

Charles Gavan Power (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

It is to be referred to the committee immediately on second reading.

Topic:   POLITICAL EXPENDITURES
Subtopic:   PUBLICATION OF RECEIPTS AND EXPENDITURES AND LIMITATION OF AMOUNT EXPENDED IN ELECTION OF MEMBERS
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

That is, the special committee?

Topic:   POLITICAL EXPENDITURES
Subtopic:   PUBLICATION OF RECEIPTS AND EXPENDITURES AND LIMITATION OF AMOUNT EXPENDED IN ELECTION OF MEMBERS
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LIB

Charles Gavan Power (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

Yes. If there is no objection, I might move the second reading.

Topic:   POLITICAL EXPENDITURES
Subtopic:   PUBLICATION OF RECEIPTS AND EXPENDITURES AND LIMITATION OF AMOUNT EXPENDED IN ELECTION OF MEMBERS
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I think we should see the bill first. It is undesirable to refer to a special committee a bill we have not seen. The minister will appreciate that point.

Topic:   POLITICAL EXPENDITURES
Subtopic:   PUBLICATION OF RECEIPTS AND EXPENDITURES AND LIMITATION OF AMOUNT EXPENDED IN ELECTION OF MEMBERS
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LIB

Charles Gavan Power (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

Certainly

Topic:   POLITICAL EXPENDITURES
Subtopic:   PUBLICATION OF RECEIPTS AND EXPENDITURES AND LIMITATION OF AMOUNT EXPENDED IN ELECTION OF MEMBERS
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ELECTIONS AND FRANCHISE

MEASURE RESPECTING FRANCHISE OF ELECTORS, ELECTION OF MEMBERS OF HOUSE OF COMMONS AND PRINTING AND PUBLICATION OF ELECTION DOCUMENTS


Hon. C. G. POWER (Minister of Pensions and National Health) moved that the house go into committee to consider the following proposed resolution: That it is expedient to introduce a measure respecting the franchise of electors and the election of members of the House of Commons and to make provision for the printing and publication of the Dominion Elections Act and instructions issued thereunder, the printing of voters' lists and other election documents, including forms and ballot papers, and to provide for the salaries or other remuneration of certain officers and employees. He said: The bill which will follow this resolution is entitled, "An act respecting the franchise of electors and the election of members to the House of Commons." As drafted, it puts in legislative form the recommendations of the committee on elections which has sat during the past two sessions of parliament. It will be remembered, that to that committee were referred the questions of proportional representation, the alternative vote, compulsory registration, and compulsory voting. There were also added, under a resolution of this house last year, instructions to make a study of methods employed in bringing about redistribution. With respect to this latter question no report has been made. As regards the first-mentioned matter the committee has made a report after a full and comprehensive study of proportional representation. May I commend to the members of the house the reading of the memorandum supplied to that committee by its counsel with regard to the alternative vote and proportional representation. After a complete study, and having examined into the legislation of countries wherein those systems are in force, the committee came to-the decision that the alternative vote and proportional representation, however excellent they might be, were not suitable to conditions in Canada.


CON

John Ritchie MacNicol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacNICOL:

They have very little excellence..

Topic:   ELECTIONS AND FRANCHISE
Subtopic:   MEASURE RESPECTING FRANCHISE OF ELECTORS, ELECTION OF MEMBERS OF HOUSE OF COMMONS AND PRINTING AND PUBLICATION OF ELECTION DOCUMENTS
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LIB

Charles Gavan Power (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

My hon. friend says they have very little excellence, and as far as I know he was one of the most assiduous students of those systems. If he has come to the conclusion that they are not to be recommended to the house I, for one, am quite willing to follow in his footsteps and concur in his suggestion.

Elections and Franchise

With respect to compulsory registration and voting, one depends upon the other. I think the committee pretty well came to the conclusion that there could not be compulsory voting unless there was compulsory registration. I do not intend to go into the details of that discussion. The point is that the committee studied very carefully all phases of compulsory voting and registration. As the leader of the opposition has said, information was obtained from Australia, which,

I am told, is the only country in the world that has in force absolutely compulsory voting. Other countries, I understand, have some approach to it, but Australia has it in an absolute form. As I say, the committee made a very careful study. It was found,

I believe, that compulsory voting had a tendency to decrease abstentions; that was admitted. It was the opinion of the committee that compulsory voting was not practicable without compulsory registration. I am speaking now only from a reading of the reports and from information, because it was not possible for me to attend many of the sittings of the committee. Therefore, if I am inaccurate in any of the statements I make, I have no objection whatever to being checked up by any member of the committee who attended last year.

It was also considered that, in view of the fact that the closed list was to be abolished, at least in rural constituencies, it was extremely difficult to bring in compulsory voting or registration without having the closed list in existence, because one of the sanctions of compulsory voting would be the dropping from the list of the name of the person who did not vote at the previous election. If there were an open list, however, there would be very little point to it.

Topic:   ELECTIONS AND FRANCHISE
Subtopic:   MEASURE RESPECTING FRANCHISE OF ELECTORS, ELECTION OF MEMBERS OF HOUSE OF COMMONS AND PRINTING AND PUBLICATION OF ELECTION DOCUMENTS
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

That penalty was provided in British Columbia, where they had compulsory voting, but it has not always been included in compulsory voting legislation.

Topic:   ELECTIONS AND FRANCHISE
Subtopic:   MEASURE RESPECTING FRANCHISE OF ELECTORS, ELECTION OF MEMBERS OF HOUSE OF COMMONS AND PRINTING AND PUBLICATION OF ELECTION DOCUMENTS
Permalink
LIB

Charles Gavan Power (Minister of Pensions and National Health)

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

It was not in all, but it would appear to me to be almost fundamental that, if compulsory voting is adopted, provision should be made for dropping a person's name from the list if he did not vote. If there are open lists, there is no fixed list at all. The only alternative would be to provide that in case a man wanted to vote, say at a general election, he would be obliged to make some declaration such as this: "I did vote at the last election"; or, alternatively: "I did not vote, the reason being that I was caught in a snowstorm."

Topic:   ELECTIONS AND FRANCHISE
Subtopic:   MEASURE RESPECTING FRANCHISE OF ELECTORS, ELECTION OF MEMBERS OF HOUSE OF COMMONS AND PRINTING AND PUBLICATION OF ELECTION DOCUMENTS
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IND

Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. NEILL:

In Australia they fine them.

Topic:   ELECTIONS AND FRANCHISE
Subtopic:   MEASURE RESPECTING FRANCHISE OF ELECTORS, ELECTION OF MEMBERS OF HOUSE OF COMMONS AND PRINTING AND PUBLICATION OF ELECTION DOCUMENTS
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

The matter is dealt with by a provision for registration that takes place between the elections.

Topic:   ELECTIONS AND FRANCHISE
Subtopic:   MEASURE RESPECTING FRANCHISE OF ELECTORS, ELECTION OF MEMBERS OF HOUSE OF COMMONS AND PRINTING AND PUBLICATION OF ELECTION DOCUMENTS
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April 5, 1938