March 13, 1939

LIB

Charles Edward Bothwell

Liberal

Mr. BOTHWELL:

Afraid of nothing. Since the hon. member asks that question, I am free to admit that in the past campaign funds have been used by every party that asked for the votes of the people, whether they called it a campaign fund or anything else. But is there any difference in principle between the man who contributes ten dollars towards the expenses of a campaign when he is not able to give personal service, and the man who drives his car and spends days or perhaps weeks campaigning for some friend or in the interests of the party that he believes is going to give the best government?

Elections and Electoral Districts

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CCF

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

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

Mr. DOUGLAS (Weyburn):

There is a difference when a corporation gives a large sum of money.

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LIB

Charles Edward Bothwell

Liberal

Mr. BOTHWELL:

I can see no difference between those two men. Many people have not the opportunity to spend time in campaigning, or perhaps have not the ability to do so. As far as my experience goes, it costs the man who spends his time in that way a lot more than the few dollars another man may contribute to help put over a campaign.

I can see no difference in the principle.

To go back over a period of ten years and investigate all the contributions of over S100 made to any political party in this country, and to find out the disposition of them, I feel confident would take a commission with such roving powers several years, even to make a fairly decent interim report. Everyone admits that there have been campaign funds in the past-

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SC
LIB

Charles Edward Bothwell

Liberal

Mr. BOTHWELL:

I can speak only for my own constituency. As far as the campaign is concerned, the official agent files his return of contributions 'received by him. The candidate himself has to make a report of his own expenses and any moneys that came into his hands; as to any money that comes to the central fund, if I might so term it, of any of the parties, I have never seen any record of it. I do not know whether there is any central fund or not in any party. I never have personally received any money from any central fund belonging to the party to which I owe allegiance, and I do not know of any person else receiving any contribution from any central fund of any other party. In any event surely nothing can be gained by going muck-raking over the past ten years.

What this committee has been endeavouring to do during the past three sessions of parliament is to work out an elections act which will clarify everything pertaining to elections, simplify them, make elections less costly. As far as the cost to Canada is concerned, under the Dominion Elections Act we have succeeded in reducing it by a substantial amount and if we can now insert provisions in the act which will save money for the candidate, the object is certainly a worthy one, The resolution itself covers all that we need do.

I have been wondering whether the campaign funds that have been spoken of by hon. members ever had any more influence in an election than the promise of S25 a month that was made in two elections that I know of.

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SC
LIB
LIB

Charles Edward Bothwell

Liberal

Mr. BOTHWELL:

I believe it had a great deal more effect than any campaign funds I ever knew anything of in the constituency I have the honour to represent.

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SC

John Charles Landeryou

Social Credit

Mr. LANDERYOU:

Your minister does not agree with you; he said money has no influence.

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LIB

Charles Edward Bothwell

Liberal

Mr. BOTHWELL:

Well, that $25 a month was to be a continuing thing, practically putting a man on a pension.

As far as I can see, no committee of this house could possibly carry out the terms of the amendment proposed. If I am to be a member of that committee I am ready and willing to spend all the time possible and whatever ability I have in an endeavour to put into effect the objects aimed at-not in the exact form enunciated by the minister;

I am not admitting that everything he said is correct. I believe it is a matter that will require days and weeks of study by the committee; nevertheless I am prepared to do my share in trying to achieve the objects aimed at by the political expenditures bill of last year.

The hon. member for Davenport (Mr. MacNieol) seemed to be of the opinion that the committee were ready to adopt a suggestion made by him that the deputy returning officer and the poll clerk should be of different political stripe. As chairman of the committee of last year I may say that I did not gain that impression. The matter came up for discussion, several hon. members spoke on it, and then it was simply tabled for later consideration. The report of the evidence contains pages of discussion on it, but the committee decided not to adopt the suggestion. The political expenditures bill, so far as I know, had no influence on the action of the committee in that regard.

I also understood the hon. member for Davenport to say that the situation in the province of Quebec as to the number of voters in various polling subdivisions did not apply to Ontario.

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CON

John Ritchie MacNicol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacNICOL:

I made no reference whatever to the province of Quebec. I did refer to Ontario.

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LIB

Charles Edward Bothwell

Liberal

Mr. BOTHWELL:

I just noticed the hon. member was not in his seat for a moment. I have the figures here for Ontario. In Ontario the smallest rural constituency has only 11,073 electors, whereas the largest has 47,870.

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Elections and Electoral Districts

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CCF

Abraham Albert Heaps

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

Mr. HEAPS:

What is the population of those constituencies?

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LIB
CON

Robert James Manion (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

What are the names of

the constituencies?

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LIB

Charles Edward Bothwell

Liberal

Mr. BOTHWELL:

Glengarry and Nipissing. Then in regard to urban constituencies, the smallest one-or as closely as we could get it in our investigation-is Danforth, with a population of 41,824 and 29,034 electors. On the other hand Spadina has a population of 82,127, with 52,160 electors. I just mention that to show that the situation described by the minister in regard to the province of Quebec exists in Ontario also, and we can go right across Canada and find the same thing in other provinces.

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CON

John Ritchie MacNicol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacNICOL:

If I might interrupt my

hon. friend for a moment, I said there were conditions in eastern Ontario, and perhaps western Ontario as well, to which I was opposed and to which other members of the committee were opposed; but we were compelled to allow the ridings to remain as they were because of an agitation that was carried on to retain representation for seats such as Glengarry. We wanted to place Glengarry and Stormont together; we wanted to join Russell and Prescott, but we were not allowed to do so.

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LIB

Charles Edward Bothwell

Liberal

Mr. BOTHWELL:

I just wanted to explain that.

Another matter which was brought up in connection with redistribution was the relationship between urban and rural constituencies.

I believe every member of the committee was convinced that the urban constituencies should be considerably larger than the rural constituencies, and the evidence taken contains figures as to the relationship in other parts of the empire between rural and urban constituencies.

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SC

John Charles Landeryou

Social Credit

Mr. J. C. LANDERYOU (Calgary East):

Mr. Speaker, I do not believe the hon. member who has just taken his seat (Mr. Both-well) speaks with authority; for he said he had no knowledge of any central campaign fund. If he has no such knowledge I do not see how he could be in a position to state that an investigation covering the last ten years would take up so much time or be so difficult as he suggests. The amendment reads:

. In order to facilitate the carrying out of instructions contained in paragraph (b) of the resolution have power to investigate the amounts of contributions held at various times by various federal political parties, or party

assistants on behalf of such parties, in Canada, tor the past ten years, the sources from which such contributions came and the dispositions from such contributions of all sums of one hundred dollars or over . . .

Surely in the committee it would not be very difficult to establish whether or not there was a central campaign fund; surely it would not be difficult to establish whether there are any records as to the amount of money paid into and paid out of such central fund. Surely it would not be difficult to establish whether or not it is true that large industrial and financial institutions make contributions to this-fund and whether or not they expect to get anything in return for the large contributions that it has been suggested they make from time to time. So I do not see that this would-be such a tremendous undertaking. Surely the muckraking to which my hon. friend referred would not extend to such proportions that it would be impossible to make an investigation into it. I do not even suggest that it would necessitate muckraking, but those are the words of my hon. friend.

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LIB

Charles Edward Bothwell

Liberal

Mr. BOTHWELL:

Does the hon. member think it would be possible for a committee of this kind to find out what influence a certain contribution to a political party, if it was ever made, had upon the dredging contract in the St. Lawrence river?

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March 13, 1939