June 24, 1938

LIB

John James Kinley

Liberal

Mr. KINLEY:

Subsection 5 states:

In the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, the poll shall be opened at nine o'clock in the forenoon, and kept open until seven o'clock in the afternoon.

I do not like that. I think we should be able to hold an election during the daytime. In the rural districts there are no lighting facilities in the schoolhouses and many other places where the polls are held; lights must be brought in, creating fire hazards, and that is not good. The electors have a habit of collecting around the polls, feeling that the day's work is over; excitement begins to mount, and it is just as *well to have the ballots counted and the decision announced as soon as possible after six o'clock. I do not like this provision; as far as Nova Scotia is concerned, the old act was very good. I

[Mr. MacNei'l.}

believe we should open the polls at eight o'clock and close them at six o'clock in the afternoon.

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

Donald MacLennan

Liberal

Mr. MacLENNAN:

As I understand the

hon. member for New Westminster, his amendment would simply restore the old provision, and I must say that this would suit us in Nova Scotia far better indeed. Sometimes, depending upon the time of year when the election is held, it is dark and, indeed, long after dark by seven o'clock in the evening.

There is another point to which I should like to direct attention. In the rural districts, after the voters deposit their ballots they usually migrate to the towns, particularly the mining towns. By six o'clock there is quite a number around, and I have always noticed that whatever noise or disagreement there may be, it usually occurs between five and six o'clock. Before five o'clock everything would be going quietly; but between five and six o'clock the people from the country came in, gangs began to collect around the polls and josh one another, if you understand what I mean by the word "josh." These people would be getting a little out of hand. If that situation is to be continued for another hour, I am sure it would not be satisfactory. I must ask the committee to leave the maritime provinces alone in this regard. We are not asking for the change. Not one man from the maritimes is asking for it, and in view of that fact I would ask the committee to restore the law to its former state.

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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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Carried.

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

Hugh Alexander Stewart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART:

No; it is not carried.

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

Alfred Johnson Brooks

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BROOKS:

I take this opportunity

to express agreement with my colleagues from the maritime provinces. I was not a member of the committee, but I believe that this change would be prejudicial to the electorate of the maritimes. We are seventy-five per cent rural; thus most of our electors come from country districts. Nine o'clock in the morning is approaching the middle of the day for the farming communities, and the people in rural districts like to get to the polls to do their voting as early as possible. To ask us to close the polls at seven o'clock simply means that we are closing them at six o'clock, because six o'clock is the supper hour in rural communities. Wives and their husbands have gone home to get supper and to do the chores. I believe many votes would be lost in the maritimes if this section were permitted to remain as it is. I would join with the other hon. members from the maritimes who are objecting to it. Surely the committee in its fairness will not permit the section to be passed.

Elections and Franchise

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

Hugh Alexander Stewart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART:

The section as reported in the bill was the subject of considerable discussion in committee. The object of drafting the section as it stands is one with which I am sure every hon. member of the committee will agree, if it is capable of accomplishment. All hon. members desire that elections should be free; that there should not be injected in the last hours of a campaign an influence which may have an effect in one part of Canada different from that in another.

There are four hours difference in time between the maritime provinces and British Columbia. It was pointed out in committee that at least on two occasions the results of elections in the maritime provinces had been telegraphed to British Columbia and scattered broadcast. The news was made known through the medium of special issues of newspapers placed on the street two or three hours before the close of the polls in British Columbia. It was said that on one occasion the effect was to the disadvantage of one political party, on account of the report that the mari-times w'ere all going in a certain direction. On another occasion the result was the opposite and was in favour of the other party.

It may be, unfortunately, that some constituencies or provinces think it would be to their advantage to be supporting the party which would be in power and would control the country for the next four years. Reports might not always be accurate; there is no guarantee that they are. Statements as to results may be misreported, or abused. I wonder if there is any member of the committee who does not desire to make that condition impossible? It was just for that purpose, and with the idea of preventing any possible abuse which might arise through an announcement of that kind being made, that these hours were changed.

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

Donald MacLennan

Liberal

Mr. MacLENNAN:

Would one hour help?

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

Grote Stirling

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STIRLING:

It is two hours.

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

Hugh Alexander Stewart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART:

We have changed to different hours for different sections of the dominion. The result is to give in the mari-times one hour longer for polling than otherwise would be the case. In many parts of the dominion that is thought to be an advantage ; it would give an extra hour for polling in the maritimes. They would have an hour longer than voters in other parts of Canada would have.

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:

The same number of hours.

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:

It would be the same number of hours.

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

Hugh Alexander Stewart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART:

Yes, but extending an hour later.

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

Donald MacLennan

Liberal

Mr. MacLENNAN:

But we do not want 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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CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART:

Possibly the hon. member does not; but, after all, I think in the interests of what is best for the whole of Canada the maritime provinces would be prepared to make some concessions.

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:

Apparently British

Columbia does not want 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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CON

Hugh Alexander Stewart

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEWART:

They may not want it. Some may not want it; but I know that some of the British Columbia members have complained of the abuses which have taken place in years gone by, and have supported this change. The effect is a compromise all around, staggering the hours so that it becomes impossible for the maritimes to telegraph to British Columbia either an accurate or an inaccurate statement as to the result of polling in eastern Canada. It becomes impossible to have the information published and distributed two or three hours before the close of the polls in British Columbia, a condition which might probably affect the result of polling in the western province.

I wonder if there is any member of the committee who objects to the object the committee had in mind when it drafted this section? Is it desirable, in the interests of British Columbia, or any other part of the dominion, that what I 'have indicated should happen? I must point out that it has happened, and it has been for the purpose of making a repetition impossible that the section was drafted. It was agreed to almost unanimously by the committee, after long discussion, compromise and general agreement, that the object the committee had in mind was a worthy one, and that this was the best way to accomplish 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

Gordon Timlin Purdy

Liberal

Mr. PURDY:

As one of the members of the elections committee perhaps I might be permitted to say a word. I attended diligently the meetings of the committee; in fact, I believe I missed only two sittings in two years. Every time the question of shoving Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island into a dark vote was suggested, I voiced my opposition as strenuously as I could. Unfortunately I was unavoidably absent when the matter was brought up on the last occasion, and when the compromise as indicated by the hon. member for Leeds was arrived at. Had I been there, I would have objected to the best of my ability, because I think we in the maritimes are at least entitled to the sun.

[DOT]4256

Elections and Franchise

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

Howard Charles Green

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GREEN:

This is particularly a British Columbia problem because the time changes at our boundary, which means we are from one to four hours later than the other provinces. We are even one hour later than Alberta. I would ask that hon. members of th' committee give this matter careful consideration because it is a serious problem. The effect is to make the elections at the present time quite unfair. The last election was a hard-fought one for a Conservative anywhere in Canada; but shortly after three o'clock, when we had still three hours to go, returns started coming in from the maritimes. I know what effect that had upon myself. I felt that after we had put up such a battle, it was exasperating that our electors were not being given an opportunity to cast their ballots without knowing the results in the east. By six o'clock we had dozens of the Quebec and Ontario results. The radio has changed the whole position because the returns come right into the homes. Previously they had to be sent in over the telegraph wires and then papers had to be printed. It hurt me this time, but next time it may hurt the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Mackenzie) when the returns from the maritimes are known. I do not think the proposed method of remedying the situation is the proper one. It will mean disfranchising a number of people. But would it not be possible to provide that the ballot boxes in the maritime provinces shall be held for two hours, and those in Ontario and Quebec for one hour? That would help in solving this problem.

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:

Who is going to hold the maritimes?

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

Howard Charles Green

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GREEN:

Surely they have enough self-control in eastern Canada to work that out.

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