July 20, 1943

REPORTS OF COMMITTEES


Third and fourth reports of standing committee on agriculture and colonization.-Mr. Weir. Eighth report of standing committee on miscellaneous private bills.-Mr. Donnelly.


WAR EXPENDITURES-CONCURRENCE IN FIRST REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE

LIB

Hughes Cleaver

Liberal

Mr. HUGHES CLEAVER (Halton) moved:

That the first report of the special committee on war expenditures, presented to the house on Monday, July 19, be concurred in.

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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GORDON GRAYDON (Leader of the Opposition):

I realize that this motion requires the unanimous consent of the house, by reason of the fact that the necessary time has not elapsed. However, I wish to facilitate the passing of the motion and therefore I do not raise any objection on that score. I would call the attention of the hon. member who has moved the motion to its phraseology as recorded in Votes and Proceedings No. 114, which we have received this morning. There is in paragraph 3 a typographical error which should not pass the house: "to acquaint subcommittees." I presume this is meant to be " to appoint subcommittees."

Paragraph 4 of the report reads:

To employ such secretarial, reportorial, clerical and other assistance as it may deem necessary.

I take it this is similar to the wording of previous reports of the committee in former sessions. I suggest that the committee ought to consider, in a subsequent report before the house rises, whether the question of assistance, which was mentioned while the debate on the constitution of the war expenditures committee was in progress - I refer to legal assistance, assistance in the way of accountancy, and other expert assistance-should not come within the purview of what is described as "other assistance" in this particular paragraph. It was pointed out by members of the committee that one of the difficulties experienced by those who were attempting to investigate various accounts was that they were handicapped through lack of that type of expert assistance, which they felt was essential if they were to make a proper inquiry into the matters which came before them.

Paragraph 5 of the report reads:

In cases where considerations of national security preclude the publishing of certain

recommendations and of the arguments upon which they are based. . . .

I take it that this is "evidence" rather than argument, but I leave it to those who drafted the motion to see whether or not they require that change to be made in order to carry out their wishes in that regard.

I take it also that paragraph 5 follows the report which has been made by a similar committee in the United Kingdom. I am hoping that the matter of national security will not be taken by the committee or by the house as meaning that we are to have, during the sittings of this committee, a maintenance of that secrecy to which such objection was taken during the debate. With these observations I am quite content that the motion pass.

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Motion agreed to.


DOMINION ELECTIONS

BY-ELECTION IN CARTIER-ALLEGED IRREGULARITIES MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 31

CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

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

Mr. Speaker, I ask leave to move the adjournment of the house under standing order 31 for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance, namely, grave irregularities in connection with the compiling of voters lists in the Cartier division of Montreal where a by-election is to be held on August 9, 1943, nomination day being August 2, 1943, and where hundreds of names of non-existent persons have been placed on the lists, some of which irregularities have been admitted publicly by one Lazarus Bavitch, returning officer for the electoral district of Cartier. If I am given leave, Mr. Speaker, to introduce this motion, I have the necessary proofs on my desk.

And leave having been granted:

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. COLDWELL:

I would not have introduced this matter at this time in the closing days of the session did I not believe it is a matter of urgent public importance, and I do so to facilitate the conduct of the business of the house because otherwise it would have been necessary to move a motion on going into supply, and that might have delayed the business of the house indefinitely.

The preliminary voters lists were made available to the public only last Thursday. Hence the checking of the lists has been done on a relatively small number of polls, fifteen in all. The addresses of persons who, I shall contend in a moment are either non-existent, improperly on the list or their address not that given on the list, were picked at

Dominion Elections

random and only a small part of each of the fifteen polls was therefore checked. There are 112 polls altogether in the division, and the findings which I shall present to the house in a few moments are illustrative rather than exhaustive. There is no reason to doubt and every reason to believe that the information which I have is merely representative and that the same story could be unfolded as to every one of the polls; all therefore should be investigated.

Altogether some 2,000 names have been checked since last Thursday, checked carefully by persons who are reliable and are in some instances supporting their checkings by affidavits which I have on the desk beside me. Out of some 2,000 names, 650-I repeat, 650- were found to be false or improperly on the list, a proportion of approximately one third.

I said I had some of the affidavits. Not all the checkers were available in the short time at the disposal of those who gave me this information to supply me with affidavits covering all these names, but I am reliably informed and therefore believe that the information I have just given is correct.

The following are among the more striking and in some respects perhaps the more ludicrous findings about which it is worth while to inform the house. For example, a baby seven weeks old listed as a bookkeeper; a little girl five years of age listed as a retired spinster, whatever that may be; a number of non-existent addresses which would make the voter reside over a railway or street intersection; seven voters listed at a United Cigar store; seven voters listed for the store which is now the Liberal candidate's committee room; eleven voters listed in a barber shop; six voters listed at a restaurant. The waiter at the restaurant laughingly told the person who made the inquiry that the enumerator took the names of the persons sitting at the counter.

There are also names of persons who are dead, persons who have moved away for more than a year, fictitious names, fictitious addresses, and the names of persons who are not citizens of Canada. The most common occurrence was the enumeration of an entire family without any regard to age. Indeed it seems as though the enumerators in the Cartier division enumerated everybody from the cradle to the grave, perhaps in anticipation of the government's social security programme. If a complete check were made of the 42,000 names on the lists we believe that at least 10,000 would prove to be false or improperly on the lists. From the information we have already it is

obvious that hundreds, perhaps several thousands. of names are improperly left off the lists.

In short, Mr. Speaker, I want to draw to the attention of the house my opinion that the lists are entirely useless at best, and at worst-and in Montreal, as I think hon. gentlemen will agree from the evidence that has been presented to this house from time to time -it is always the worst because Montreal has been a telegraphers' paradise-

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LIB

Frederick Primrose Whitman

Liberal

Mr. WHITMAN:

On a point of order,

Mr. Speaker, I ask that the hon. member withdraw that insinuation. I insist on it being withdrawn.

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?

Thomas Miller Bell

Mr. COLD WELL:

I am quite willing to

withdraw the statement I have made if it is proved to be incorrect. But may I refer the house to a statement-

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LIB

Frederick Primrose Whitman

Liberal

Mr. WHITMAN:

Mr. Speaker, I ask that

the hon. member withdraw his statement unconditionally.

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LIB

Thomas Vien (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

There is no point of

order. He is making no attack upon the hon. member. He is making a general statement.

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. COLDWELL:

I refer hon. members

to Hansard of June 29, 1934, page 4469, where an hon. gentleman whom I regard as being one of the ablest men who ever sat in this house made this statement:

I have had some experience in running elections in the city of Montreal, and as a matter of fact I do not employ voters in my own constituency; I employ voters who reside and vote in other constituencies, which is perfectly legitimate. As a matter of fact, if I am to conduct an election in the constituency of St. Lawrence-St. George, first I must have an inquiry to ascertain that the alleged voter resides where he says he resides. Then I must have some description of him so that he can be identified, and usually in order to identify him by questioning I wash to know his telephone number; if he has an office I wish to know where his office is situated and his office telephone number. I cannot run an election otherwise. In one of my elections a thousand voters were impersonated before they got to the polls. You must have means for a complete identification, and your representatives at the polls must be thoroughly informed so that they may prevent impersonation. At election time I employ people who do not vote in my constituency to do that clerical and protective work.

You must remember that if you are running an election in the city of Montreal you can go to an association in New York who will supply you with fifty or one hundred or two hundred or three hundred impersonators. These men will come to the city the day before the election, supplied with cards stating whom they are to impersonate; they will go from poll to poll impersonating voter after voter. In one election the only way we succeeded in preventing it was with the aid of a number of young men belong-

Dominion Elections

ing to athletic clubs, some of them associated with McGill university, who were active supporters of mine. They saw an automobile carrying five or six men; it would stop at one poll and one man would get out and vote; it would go to the next poll and another man would get out and vote; and we then discovered that they were imported personators. We took the law into our own hands and disabled each one of those automobiles, and defied the police to take charge of us for breaking the law in that way. So we were able to smash the combination. But there must be some way whereby money may be legitimately spent in investigating and informing ourselves with regard to prospective voters, in order to secure such information as will enable us to identify each and preserve his right to vote. I can only avoid the present law by going to some other constituency and engaging men there to do that preventive work for me. . . .

In one case I think we secured thirty or forty detectives from another province and some twenty or thirty others elsewhere. Strange to say, before the election I learned that even they were being bribed. We brought some sixty of them into the main committee room, told them we knew they were being bribed and were working for the opposite party and asked those who admitted it to take two paces to the front. Two-thirds of those men took two paces to the front, admitting that they were working for the other party and not for us. Such a situation is difficult but some way must be found to remedy it. I have evidence that at least fifty or sixty blank warrants were issued for use in my constituency. They were signed by a judge to be filled out when necessary. One committee in the St. Lawrence ward of my constituency of St. Lawrence-St. George, composed of respectable men, were arrested and put in gaol before the poll opened, through the use of blank warrants ostensibly signed by a judge in the city of Montreal. I have had police officers come to my main committee room where most representative women of the city were engaged on the telephones to persuade the voters to come to the polls. Those police officers had blank warrants which had been filled out on the street, -with which they attempted to come in and arrest the most representative people in the city. We have stood at the door and said we would use strong measures if they attempted to carry these warrants into effect, because we knew they were false and fraudulent. That sort of thing is carried on, and it is not surprising to find that in the constituency of St. Lawrence-St. George the election expenses have run up as high as $120,000 or $125,000 in a single election. I know of one case where the candidate contesting the election spent $75,000, and there was a contribution of $25,000 to the election fund which had never been reported to him.

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LIB

Frederick Primrose Whitman

Liberal

Mr. WHITMAN:

The hon. member has referred to the constituency of St. Lawrence-St. George, but his statement was that the city of Montreal is a hot spot for telegraphing. I wish that statement withdrawn unequivocally, for in my division of Mount Royal I know for a fact there was no telegraphing.

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LIB

Thomas Vien (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

In Beauchesne, second edition, citation 294 reads:

If a member should say nothing disrespectful to the house or the Chair, or personally appro-brious to other members, or in violation of other rules of the house he may state whatever he thinks fit in debate, however offensive it may be to the feelings, or injurious to the character, of individuals; and he is protected by his privilege from any action for libel, as w'ell as from any other question or molestation.

The hon. member has not made any particular reference that I could say was disrespectful to the house or to the Chair, or personally opprobrious to other hon. members; therefore there is no question of privilege.

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Subtopic:   BY-ELECTION IN CARTIER-ALLEGED IRREGULARITIES MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 31
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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. COLDWELL:

I am quite willing to say this, that I know there are a good many honest people in Montreal in all parties who deplore this very kind of thing.

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LIB

Vincent Dupuis

Liberal

Mr. DUPUIS:

May I ask the hon. member a question?

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. COLDWELL:

No, Mr. Speaker; I should like to proceed with my remarks.

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Subtopic:   BY-ELECTION IN CARTIER-ALLEGED IRREGULARITIES MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT UNDER STANDING ORDER 31
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July 20, 1943