April 28, 1938

ELECTIONS AND FRANCHISE

CONCURRENCE IN FIRST REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE-APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL

LIB

Charles Edward Bothwell

Liberal

Mr. C. E. BOTHWELL (Swift Current) moved:

That the recommendations contained in the first report of the special committee on electoral matters, presented to the house on Tuesday, the 26th day of April, 1938, be now concurred in.

Topic:   ELECTIONS AND FRANCHISE
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN FIRST REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE-APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Right Hon. R. B. BENNETT (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, I desire to protest against the expenditure involved in bringing counsel here for the purpose of dealing with this matter. For a long time we have had counsel employed by this committee; it was the subject matter of some discussion, not to say criticism. Information from all parts of the world has been gathered and

collated. Just why additional expenditure should be incurred at this time by bringing a representative of the legal profession down to assist the committee, when the bill has been drafted, the evidence collected and the information made available, is beyond me. I suggest to the Minister of Finance (Mr. Dunning) that this is a wholly unnecessary public expenditure.

Topic:   ELECTIONS AND FRANCHISE
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN FIRST REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE-APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL
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LIB

Charles Edward Bothwell

Liberal

Mr. BOTHWELL:

Mr. Speaker, during the past two years the committee has had the benefit of the services of Mr. Butcher, who has done a great deal of work in collecting information relating to other countries and presenting it to the committee. He also had something to do with the drafting of the act now before the committee, and is able to explain the reasons for every change which may be made in that act. I understand also that he had something to do with Bill No. 90, which is also before the house, and is able to give invaluable information regarding it.

Topic:   ELECTIONS AND FRANCHISE
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN FIRST REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE-APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Mr. Biggar is said to have been the author of that.

Topic:   ELECTIONS AND FRANCHISE
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN FIRST REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE-APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL
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LIB

Charles Edward Bothwell

Liberal

Mr. BOTHWELL:

I do not believe he is the author of it.

Topic:   ELECTIONS AND FRANCHISE
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN FIRST REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE-APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

The Prime Minister said so the other evening, but perhaps he does not know.

Topic:   ELECTIONS AND FRANCHISE
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LIB

Charles Edward Bothwell

Liberal

Mr. BOTHWELL:

As I understand the situation he is not the author of that bill. Although the Prime Minister may have referred to the fact that eminent counsel had been retained for the purpose of drafting that bill, the reference may not have been to the same person.

It seems to me the committee itself should be the best judge of whether or not counsel is necessary, and the report that was presented yesterday dealing with the retention of counsel, or containing a request to the house that counsel be retained, was unanimously adopted by the committee. I think possibly the committee could get along without counsel, but we are endeavouring to bring into the house a measure which has been considered over a period of many years. Since I have been a member I think the elections act has been revised on three different occasions, and now we are endeavouring to bring in an act that will not need revision for some years to come.

Topic:   ELECTIONS AND FRANCHISE
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN FIRST REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE-APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL
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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. H. H. STEVENS (Kootenay East):

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately I did not get my notice of the committee meeting until after that meeting had been held. I do not say this was any fault of the clerk of the com-

Elections and Franchise

mittee, but it was an unfortunate circumstance; the notice was in some way mislaid and I did not receive it in time, so I did not know that the committee was meeting yesterday. I must say that in my opinion it would be-I was going to use a harsh term

rather a waste of money to retain counsel for the purpose of advising the committee in connection with the act at this stage. During the last two years the committee have been studying the matter with the assistance of Mr. Butcher, the chief electoral officer and Colonel Thompson, the franchise commissioner. In my opinion these three men have more knowledge of the electoral laws of Canada than any new counsel, I care not how learned he might be in the law, could possibly acquire during a full sitting of this parliament. It would take any new counsel, however learned he may be, a great deal of time to familiarize himself with the. technique of the electoral law.

Topic:   ELECTIONS AND FRANCHISE
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LIB

Charles Edward Bothwell

Liberal

Mr. BOTHWELL:

It is the same counsel; Mr. Butcher is the man referred to.

Topic:   ELECTIONS AND FRANCHISE
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN FIRST REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE-APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL
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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

I had not heard the report, but I gathered there was a change. If it is Mr. Butcher I would certainly approve of his being retained for this session, because he has acquired a knowledge of the law which would be invaluable to the committee. However I was not before the committee, and I took it for granted a new counsel was being retained. If it is Mr. Butcher, I would certainly support the motion.

Topic:   ELECTIONS AND FRANCHISE
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN FIRST REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE-APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

The hon. member for

Swift Current was out of order in speaking to this resolution, and had he-

Topic:   ELECTIONS AND FRANCHISE
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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

And so

are you.

Topic:   ELECTIONS AND FRANCHISE
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Yes, and that is the

reason I say it. I had thought when he moved the motion I would be able to deal with one or two matters he mentioned. However, I have only this to say: So far as I

am aware, when a bill has been introduced, as a bill, there is no precedent for the engaging of counsel. There is precedent for such engagement in the preparation of it. I have never known of a bill referred by this house to a committee involving the retaining of counsel, but I have frequently with relation to the preparation of it. That is quite a simple matter. But after the government has launched a measure and it has been offered to the house, I cannot recall any occasions-there may have been some-on which that has happened. After a measure has been

[Mr. Stevens.J

crystallized into a bill, I must say the suggestion that counsel be retained is entirely new to me.

Topic:   ELECTIONS AND FRANCHISE
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LIB

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

Liberal

Right Hon. ERNEST LAPOINTE (Minister of Justice):

Mr. Speaker, I am in the happy position of being in order.

Topic:   ELECTIONS AND FRANCHISE
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Quite.

Topic:   ELECTIONS AND FRANCHISE
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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

It may be only seldom, after a bill has been read the second time and referred to a committee, has counsel been appointed. I believe however that it has been done. There is nothing in the rules to prevent it. Under the rules a committee has power to summons witnesses and to appoint counsel in respect of any matter referred to the committee. The fact that the bill has been referred after second reading does not alter the situation in any way so far as the power of the committee is concerned. On the merits of the matter I suggest the house should accept the opinion of the committee on a matter of this kind. I have no doubt that this will have the consent of the house.

Topic:   ELECTIONS AND FRANCHISE
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN FIRST REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE-APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

May I direct the minister's attention to one thing: He realizes, of course, that both these bills were introduced on message. [DOT]

Topic:   ELECTIONS AND FRANCHISE
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN FIRST REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE-APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL
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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

Yes.

Topic:   ELECTIONS AND FRANCHISE
Subtopic:   CONCURRENCE IN FIRST REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE-APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL
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April 28, 1938