April 20, 1942

VACANCY

LIB

Georges Parent (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

I have the honour to inform the house that I have been notified by two members of the vacancy caused in the electoral district of Winnipeg North Centre by the death of J. S. Woodsworth.

And I have sent my warrant to the chief electoral officer for the issue of a writ for a new election.

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THE PLEBISCITE

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE-ADJOURNMENT OVER VOTING DAY

LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, as hon. members are aware the voting with respect to the removal of restrictions on the government aris-

The Plebiscite

ing out of past commitments as to the method of raising men for service overseas takes place on Monday of next week.

I believe hon. members generally feel it would be of assistance to others if they were privileged to be in their constituencies on Monday, at the time the vote is being taken. I am sure it would greatly facilitate the work of organization if they could be present in their constituencies not only on the day of actual polling but as well a day or two in advance. As the house does not sit on Saturday or Sunday, and as the sitting on Friday is only for a half day, in the opinion of the government it would be of real assistance if hon. members could be in their constituencies one or two days immediately preceding the taking of the vote, as well as on the day on which the actual vote is taken.

We realize of course that in provinces which are some distance from the capital it might not be possible for hon. members to return to their constituencies. However if the house were to adjourn on Thursday evening, after concluding Thursday's proceedings, only half a day in the present week would be lost, and the only day in the next week would be Monday, the day of polling.

In those circumstances during my absence the acting leader of the government communicated with the leader of the opposition (Mr. Hanson) and the leaders of the two other parliamentary groups with respect to ascertaining their views as to adjourning for the time indicated, and I am informed there appears to be general agreement that an arrangement of that kind would be satisfactory.

If I were to make a motion at this time unanimous consent of the house would be required. If unanimous consent were not given I would give notice of the motion in to-day's Votes and Proceedings, and if discussion were desired it could be discussed later. But I believe it would perhaps be to the advantage of all if a decision could be arrived at immediately.

The leader of the opposition has, I understand, been kind enough to intimate that he is prepared to second the motion I may make in this connection, and I wish to thank him for so doing. In the circumstances, with the consent of the house I move, seconded by the leader of the opposition:

That when the house adjourns on Thursday, the 23rd instant, it stand adjourned until Tuesday, the 28th instant.

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Hon. R. B. HANSON (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, I had not understood that I was to second this motion, but I shall say at once that when the matter was brought to my attention late last week I agreed with the substance of the proposal

now before the house. I am so strongly impressed by the urgent necessity of an affirmative vote by the people of Canada on Monday next to release the government from its commitments that I think it of very great importance that all hon. members who think as I do should be in their constituencies for the vote, and should exercise all the influence they can through personal contact with the voters in those districts.

I regret that the idea did not germinate sooner, because some hon. members from western Canada would like to participate as well. Obviously that is now impossible. However, for the reasons I have given, those outlined by the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King), and others which must be obvious to every hon. member, I suggest that unanimous consent be given.

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. M. J. COLDWELL (Rosetown-Biggar):

Mr. Speaker, I too gave approval

to the suggestion when it was telephoned to me by the Secretary of State (Mr. McLarty). But in doing so I had considerable misgiving. I felt that some hon. members adjacent to this city might be able to assist in bringing out an effective vote, and that we should place nothing in their way if they were so disposed. But we had had a very long recess, during which we had all been in touch with our constituents, and it seemed to me that we should have done everything then that we felt it necessary to do to this end.

I also regret that the intimation was not given until Friday of last week, which made it impossible for those coming from western Canada to remain in their constituencies. I feel that paihament at this session has been lagging in the work that has to be done. So far no war expenditures committee has been appointed. The committee on radio has not met, and we have a large amount of committee work ahead of us. I believe the general feeling throughout the country is that we are not making the progress, with regard to measures relating to the war, that we ought to be making. It is my view that this feeling of dissatisfaction with this parliament may be reflected in the vote on Monday next. I urge the government to see to it that we do not further delay our proceedings, that the committees which ought to be sitting be appointed forthwith, and that we get down to the business of the session more expeditiously than we have done during the past two months.

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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. J. H. BLACKMORE (Lethbridge):

I have no particular comment to make upon the short adjournment, but I am wondering if it would not be in order for the Prime

The Plebiscite

Minister to make a statement as to where the members of parliament are to vote in case they do not happen to be in their constituencies on voting day.

Mr. KARL K. HOMUTH (Waterloo South): I am not opposed to the motion that the Prime Minister has moved, seconded by the leader of the opposition, but I do object strongly to the words the Prime Minister used in explaining this motion. He said that the vote was to be taken for the purpose of deciding on the recruiting of men for overseas service-

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

No.

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NAT

Karl Kenneth Homuth

National Government

Mr. HOMUTH:

-or getting men overseas. Yes, the Prime Minister said that. If the Prime Minister will have Hansard read his statement he will see that he referred to the raising of men for overseas service.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Unless my

memory has failed me completely, I think my hon. friend will see that the words I used were the words of the question that is being asked. [DOT]

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NAT

Karl Kenneth Homuth

National Government

Mr. HOMUTH:

I beg the Prime Minister's pardon, he did not use the words in that way. For three weeks hon. members of this house, and particularly members of the opposition, have been going out, not only organizing their own ridings but trying to organize other ridings where there was not the same enthusiasm for a "yes" vote by members of the government as there is by members of the opposition.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Order.

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NAT

Karl Kenneth Homuth

National Government

Mr. HOMUTH:

They have been out

organizing these ridings with the idea-

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Order.

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NAT

Karl Kenneth Homuth

National Government

Mr. HOMUTH:

-of getting a "yes" vote.

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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Nobody wants you in his riding.

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NAT

Karl Kenneth Homuth

National Government

Mr. HOMUTH:

I would not go into yours anyway because you would not be of any help to anyone. Let me say this: the very words of the Prime Minister will do a great deal to defeat what we have been telling the people, that it is not a question of voting to raise men for overseas service or for conscription, that the purpose of the vote is to release the government from a pledge which it made and that the question of overseas service is entirely a question for the House of Commons. I say in all sincerity that I think the words of the Prime Minister were not the best words to use in bringing forward this motion.

{Mr. Blackmore.J

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

May I say to my hon. friend that the words that I intended to use, the words that I thought I had used, were the words that will appear on the voting paper on Monday next. If I did not use substantially those words I was entirely unconscious of not having done so and I thank my hon. friend for drawing my attention to it. I assure him that those are the words I intended to use and that I would wish to have used.

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Motion agreed to.


April 20, 1942