June 24, 1938

LIB

Louis-Prudent-Alexandre Robichaud

Liberal

Mr. ROBICHAUD:

Well, I do not think the members have changed their minds at all; but out of deference to and affection for the hon. gentleman it may be that we showed too much sympathy at first for his views, which led him to believe that he had the unanimous support of the committee. I am sure, however, that we have not changed our minds. One of the reasons for the view we take of this matter, at any rate so far as I am concerned, is this. We are all agreed' that partisanship should be kept out of the conduct of elections, and if the name of any political party, either the Conservative party or the Liberal party, were mentioned, I think it would be running

counter to the idea we have in mind. Another point I have in mind is this. I know that in my own county there are men who have been acting as deputy returning officers for twenty-five or thirty years irrespective of the party in power. They can be said to be neutral, because nobody can tell what side they are on.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   ELECTIONS AND FRANCHISE
Sub-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

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

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

They must be Conservatives.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   ELECTIONS AND FRANCHISE
Sub-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

Louis-Prudent-Alexandre Robichaud

Liberal

Mr. ROBICHAUD:

No; we have had them as deputy returning officers for years; they are agreeable to both parties, and we do not know what their politics are. By adopting the suggestion of my hon. friend we would be ruling these men out, because they would then be either Liberal or Conservative. As things are now, they are neutral. I say, therefore, that these men, who for many years have been satisfactory to both parties, would be ruled out. I do not think that partisanship should be allowed to enter into the matter at all.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   ELECTIONS AND FRANCHISE
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE RESPECTING FRANCHISE OF ELECTORS, ELECTION OF MEMBERS OF HOUSE OF COMMONS AND PRINTING AND PUBLICATION OF ELECTION DOCUMENTS
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CCF

Abraham Albert Heaps

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

Mr. HEAPS:

The minister was right when he said that in Great Britain they did not recognize political parties in elections and that in their acts you would not find any reference to a political party as such. Here, however, we seem to be getting away from that principle which is so definitely fixed in British election law. We have got away from it in our recognition of an official leader of the opposition and by allowing the official leader of the opposition and the leader of the party in power to speak as long as they care to, while other members are limited to a certain length of time.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   ELECTIONS AND FRANCHISE
Sub-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:

That is an abuse.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   ELECTIONS AND FRANCHISE
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE RESPECTING FRANCHISE OF ELECTORS, ELECTION OF MEMBERS OF HOUSE OF COMMONS AND PRINTING AND PUBLICATION OF ELECTION DOCUMENTS
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CCF

Abraham Albert Heaps

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

Mr. HEAPS:

I do not know whether it is an abuse, but that is the practice which is recognized now. We have gone a step further in the elections act, because we recognize parties, if not by name, then by the appointment of enumerators, and once you begin to recognize that principle it is not going very far to recognize the principle contained in the proposal put forward by the hon. member for Davenport. These officials are almost all partisan appointees. There may be instances in which they are not, but generally speaking they are partisan appointees. In the last elections act, when the returning officers were appointed for the various constituencies we managed to a certain extent to get away from a complete partisan slate across the country, and we had in Canada after the last elections act returning officers representing at that time approximately the numerical strength of parties in this house.

Elections and Franchise

There were so many Conservatives appointed, so many Liberals, and, I understand, so many of the group to which I happen to belong, though I had nothing to do personally with the appointment of any of the returning officers. The returning officers will no doubt appoint their own deputies from the party that is in power, and for my part I can see no harm, but rather good, resulting from the suggestion put forward by the hon. member.

I remember in one election the deputy returning officer in conjunction with his poll clerk actually stole the election. They put in between them a sufficient number of fake ballots into the ballot boxes to convert what otherwise would have been a minority for their candidate into an absolute majority. At that time, had there been representatives of the two opposing parties in control, an occurrence of that kind would have been entirely obviated. I cannot see what difficulty there would be in having the deputy returning officer appointed from one political party and having the candidate with the next largest number of votes appoint the clerk in charge. From my experience I think it would work towards the holding of cleaner elections, and I am sorry the minister has definitely taken an opposite view to that of the hon. member for Davenport.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   ELECTIONS AND FRANCHISE
Sub-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:

The committee took that

view.

Mr, HEAPS: But I am sorry the minister has taken it.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   ELECTIONS AND FRANCHISE
Sub-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:

I was influenced by the

committee; I have taken it since.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   ELECTIONS AND FRANCHISE
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE RESPECTING FRANCHISE OF ELECTORS, ELECTION OF MEMBERS OF HOUSE OF COMMONS AND PRINTING AND PUBLICATION OF ELECTION DOCUMENTS
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CCF

Abraham Albert Heaps

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

Mr. HEAPS:

I never thought the minister could be influenced so easily. I am afraid his mind was pretty well made up, though of course he may have been influenced by the majority recommendation of the committee. Perhaps, on more mature reflection, he might have changed his mind, because I want to say that when I first heard the suggestion of the hon. member for Davenport I was also opposed to it, but on more mature thought I came to the conclusion that it would be a good thing. Personally I would far sooner have nothing to do with the appointment of deputy returning officers, enumerators or anyone else. It is a nuisance as far as any candidate is concerned; it is more trouble than it is worth. I should like to take all these appointments entirely away from the candidates or parties, if ways and means could be devised of doing so. But since we appoint the enumerators as representing the two parties, I think we would be taking a

logical step if we had the poll clerk appointed by the party other than the one which appointed the deputy returning officer.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   ELECTIONS AND FRANCHISE
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE RESPECTING FRANCHISE OF ELECTORS, ELECTION OF MEMBERS OF HOUSE OF COMMONS AND PRINTING AND PUBLICATION OF ELECTION DOCUMENTS
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Section agreed to. Section 27 agreed to. On section 28-Ballots and their form.


CON

Richard Langton Baker

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BAKER:

This section refers to form 32, which is set out at the back of the bill. Did the committee consider whether it would be advisable to show on that form whether Brown or O'Neil or Hamon was a Conservative, a Liberal, a Cooperative Commonwealth Federation candidate, or whatever it might be? I am satisfied that a great many people who go to the polls are not particularly concerned with the names of the candidates, but they do know the party for which they desire to vote.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   ELECTIONS AND FRANCHISE
Sub-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:

No. 3 would be the Tory there; you would not have to designate him.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   ELECTIONS AND FRANCHISE
Sub-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 Langton Baker

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BAKER:

With the intelligent people there would be no trouble at all, but I am thinking about the others.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   ELECTIONS AND FRANCHISE
Sub-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 Edward Bothwell

Liberal

Mr. BOTHWELL:

The matter was discussed, and the decision was arrived at that we should not make a change in the ballot by setting out the particular political belief of any candidate.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   ELECTIONS AND FRANCHISE
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE RESPECTING FRANCHISE OF ELECTORS, ELECTION OF MEMBERS OF HOUSE OF COMMONS AND PRINTING AND PUBLICATION OF ELECTION DOCUMENTS
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Section agreed to. Sections 29 and 30 agreed to. On section 31-Polling stations.


LIB

Thomas Reid

Liberal

Mr. REID:

I desire to move an amendment to subsection 5, putting it back as it was before. It will then read:

The poll shall be opened at the hour of eight o'clock in the forenoon and kept open until six o'clock in the afternoon of the same day, and each deputy returning officer shall, during that time, in the polling station assigned to him, receive in the manner hereinafter prescribed the votes of the electors duly qualified to vote at such polling station.

In my opinion the present provision, if it goes into effect, will disfranchise hundreds of workers. I have attended many polling booths during many elections, and I think the committee will agree with me that generally very few people turn up to vote at seven o'clock in the morning, while on the other hand many electors go to the polls from five o'clock on.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   ELECTIONS AND FRANCHISE
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE RESPECTING FRANCHISE OF ELECTORS, ELECTION OF MEMBERS OF HOUSE OF COMMONS AND PRINTING AND PUBLICATION OF ELECTION DOCUMENTS
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CCF

Charles Grant MacNeil

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

Mr. MacNEIL:

I most heartily support the amendment of the hon. member. I live in a suburban district, most of the residents of which work in the city, to which they must cross by ferry. The two hours allowed during

Elections and, Franchise

the day does not give them sufficient time to return from work to vote, and their only opportunity is just before the polls close, as they did under the old act. With this change it is literally true, as stated by the hon. member, that thousands of people will be disfranchised. As an alternative I would suggest that there be a statutory half-holiday on election day. In that way the point the committee desired to cover could be satisfactorily dealt with.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   ELECTIONS AND FRANCHISE
Sub-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:

How would that cure the situation which has been objected to? What difference would a statutory half-holiday make in regard to the point brought up by certain British Columbia members, namely, that before the polls are closed there, results come in from other sections of the country?

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   ELECTIONS AND FRANCHISE
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE RESPECTING FRANCHISE OF ELECTORS, ELECTION OF MEMBERS OF HOUSE OF COMMONS AND PRINTING AND PUBLICATION OF ELECTION DOCUMENTS
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CCF

Charles Grant MacNeil

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

Mr. MacNEIL:

If there were a statutory half-holiday, the polls could be closed at five o'clock and the workers would have an opportunity to vote between one o'clock and five o'clock. As matters now stand, however, in regard to employment, they dare not take any time off, even though employers may not exercise intimidation. In my case they certainly do not have sufficient time for a long street-car journey, a half-hour ferry trip and another journey by bus in order to vote before five o'clock.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   ELECTIONS AND FRANCHISE
Sub-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:

The answer to the suggestion for a statutory half-holiday came out during the discussion of previous election acts. I do not believe it is within the power of the federal government to enforce a statutory halfholiday. I do not think we can do that in any province, because that is a matter entirely under provincial jurisdiction. That matter was discussed at great length in 1930 and again in 1934.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   ELECTIONS AND FRANCHISE
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE RESPECTING FRANCHISE OF ELECTORS, ELECTION OF MEMBERS OF HOUSE OF COMMONS AND PRINTING AND PUBLICATION OF ELECTION DOCUMENTS
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June 24, 1938