July 21, 1943

PC

Agar Rodney Adamson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. ADAMSON:

The minister might give a statement as to the number of Canadian prisoners who have escaped from occupied Europe.

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   CANADIAN ARMY
Sub-subtopic:   HOME DEFENCE PERSONNEL-AGRICULTURAL LEAVE-PRISONERS OF WAR
Permalink

ONTARIO ELECTION


On the orders of the day:


NAT

Thomas Langton Church

National Government

Mr. T. L. CHURCH (Broadview):

Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the Minister of National Defence for the Army a question. It relates to the disfranchisement of two thousand men of the reserve army in military district No. 3, Kingston, although many men of the reserve army belong to No. 1 or No. 2 district, and in other parts of Ontario. The minister made a statement yesterday about this matter. These men and others are sure to be disfranchised on the 4th of August unless the minister takes action to postpone their departure to camp beyond next Sunday, July 25. Nomination day is only two days afterwards, and I suggest that there should be a postponement of the camp for a week and then the soldiers can vote by proxy or at an advance poll. I should like to know what the minister has done. I do not want to move the adjournment of the house to discuss the matter, but two thousand soldier civilians in the reserve army are surely going to be disfranchised unless the camps are postponed for a week.

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   ONTARIO ELECTION
Sub-subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO ARRANGEMENTS - FOR VOTING BY MEMBERS OF RESERVE ARMY IN CAMPS
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LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Hon. J. L. RALSTON (Minister of National Defence):

Mr. Speaker, this matter was

brought up yesterday by the leader of the opposition (Mr. Graydon) and I intimated then that I would have an examination made of the act to ascertain whether or not these men came within the provisions of the act in regard to soldiers voting. The advice that I have received is that the act does not cover them. Therefore it is simply a matter of the men losing their votes or having the Department of National Defence make some adjustment in the absence of any provision in the act.

We have gone into the matter very carefully. You cannot simply postpone a camp of 2,700 men for a week after they have made all their arrangements with their employers and their domestic arrangements. It is not that the department has any hesitation about postponing the camp. We would gladly postpone it on twenty-four hours' notice, but we have to think of the business men- and there are a great many business men in the reserve army-who have made arrangements to leave at a particular time. We have not had one request from any business man

Ontario Election

or from any man in the ranks of the reserve army with regard to postponing their departure for the camp. Nevertheless there have been requests on both sides, and I do not want to be a party to anything, if I can possibly avoid it, which will make it more difficult for the men to exercise their franchise at an election, dominion or provincial. We have gone into the matter fully. In regard to the suggestion that we postpone the camp, we cannot postpone it so as to make it extend beyond the original termination date which is I think August 18, for the reason I have mentioned, namely, that the men have made their arrangements with their employers and their domestic and personal arrangements with regard to leave, and we therefore have to have the camp within the dates fixed because everybody has made his arrangements accordingly. If we delayed the opening of the camp until after the time for voting at the advance polls-it is not a vote by proxy but an advance poll vote- we would have to wait until after July 31, because we are advised that the advance polls will not be ready until after July 31, and that would leave one bare week before the termination date for the men to get to camp, do their training and leave to go back home. Instead of that we have decided to open the camp on the day fixed and to readjust the syllabus of training, taking into account a week-end and doing intensive training on Saturday and Sunday, which was not anticipated, in order to put in nine days' training and complete the adjusted syllabus of training on August 3, when the men can leave the camp and be back home in time to vote.

Hon. members will understand that every man who is going to a reserve camp does not have a vote. There are many boys of from seventeen to twenty-one years of age who go to the camp. In addition therefore we are giving consideration to seeing if we cannot have a special syllabus for the remainder of the days which were to be spent in the camp, for the benefit of them and any others who may want to take advantage of it. In the result this adjustment means that the men can carry out the business and domestic arrangements which they have made with respect to leave; they will still be able to vote and they will be able to complete the adjusted camp training which will be prescribed.

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   ONTARIO ELECTION
Sub-subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO ARRANGEMENTS - FOR VOTING BY MEMBERS OF RESERVE ARMY IN CAMPS
Permalink
NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

The changes that have to be made with respect to the national defence department apparently arise from the fact that the Ontario Elections Act does not provide any means by which a vote can be taken in camp.

'Mr. Ralston.]

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   ONTARIO ELECTION
Sub-subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO ARRANGEMENTS - FOR VOTING BY MEMBERS OF RESERVE ARMY IN CAMPS
Permalink
LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

There is no provision in the Ontario Elections Act for voting by the reserve army. It is only for men who are on active service, and the Ontario election authorities have ruled that the reserve army is not included.

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   ONTARIO ELECTION
Sub-subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO ARRANGEMENTS - FOR VOTING BY MEMBERS OF RESERVE ARMY IN CAMPS
Permalink

DISTRIBUTION OP PROXIES


On the orders of the day:


NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GORDON GRAYDON (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, I have another question, not exactly on the same subject but on one similar to it, with respect to the distribution of proxies to the men in the army camps outside the province of Ontario. Has the Department of National Defence made any arrangements with the commanding officers of the different units to see that the proxies are distributed and put into the hands of the Ontario voters in the various camps across Canada?

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   DISTRIBUTION OP PROXIES
Permalink
LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Hon. J. L. RALSTON (Minister of National Defence):

Instructions went out to all commanding officers to cooperate fully with the election officers in this matter. The election officers have been in touch with the adjutant-general, who has charge of these matters at national defence headquarters. I cannot say what instructions have gone out to the individual commanding officers but I do know that instructions went out to all the districts along the lines I have mentioned, that they cooperate fully and give any assistance they can in respect to the holding of the vote in the camps for men who are entitled to vote in the Ontario elections.

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   DISTRIBUTION OP PROXIES
Permalink
NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

The department does not undertake to see that the proxies are placed in the hands of the men? Is that left entirely to the Ontario election officers?

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   DISTRIBUTION OP PROXIES
Permalink
LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

I would not say that. I cannot tell my hon. friend what arrangements are made. Perhaps we are talking at crosspurposes. I do not think there are proxies for soldiers in Canada.

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   DISTRIBUTION OP PROXIES
Permalink
NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

Yes, for voters who are outside the province of Ontario.

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   DISTRIBUTION OP PROXIES
Permalink
LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

Yes, that is right. I think the arrangement was that the proxies should be placed in the hands of the commanding officers of the different units and the men are notified that the proxies are there. I do not want to be bound by that, because I have not gone into it in detail, but I can assure the house that the adjutant-general has issued the fullest instructions possible to see that the army cooperates in order to enable the men to exercise their franchise in the Ontario election.

Japanese Treaty Act

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   DISTRIBUTION OP PROXIES
Permalink
NAT

Thomas Langton Church

National Government

Mr. CHURCH:

Noth withstanding what the minister says, some of the soldiers will not be able to vote at an advanced poll or by proxy unless they get leave to do so, and the fares are prohibitive.

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   DISTRIBUTION OP PROXIES
Permalink
?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Order.

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   DISTRIBUTION OP PROXIES
Permalink
LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

My hon. friend is making some charge, I think, and I should like to hear what he is saying. I do not want any mistake about this. The army is cooperating fully with the election officers in this Ontario election, but the army is not taking the responsibility of seeing that the votes are polled or that the proxies are used. If the men do not want to use them the army does not propose to press the men to use the proxies. But the army does provide whatever facilities are asked for in order that the men may exercise their vote.

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   DISTRIBUTION OP PROXIES
Permalink
NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

The army at least should see that the proxies are placed in the hands of the Ontario voters whether they use them or not.

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   DISTRIBUTION OP PROXIES
Permalink
LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

They may do it, but I take issue with my hon. friend. It seems to me that if the Ontario voter is advised where the proxy is, and there is a convenient place from which the proxy may be obtained, the proxy should not necessarily be placed in the man's hands by the army officers.

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   DISTRIBUTION OP PROXIES
Permalink

July 21, 1943