When the house divided yesterday on Mr. Cockeram's motion for production of certain papers, Mr. Bracken (Leader of the Opposition) rose from his seat and his name was called by the Clerk Assistant and recorded by the Clerk, who repeated Mr. Bracken's name. This repetition of a member's name is an announcement to the house that the member's vote has been recorded. The Clerk is sworn to record the res gestae on things done in the house. When another member's vote, namely Mr. McGregor's, had been recorded and duly announced, Mr. Bracken rose again and stated he had voted inadvertently as he had been paired with the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) during the latter's absence in England. He suggested that his vote be deleted, and the Acting Prime Minister (Mr. Usley), the leader of the house (Mr. Mackenzie), and several other members agreed that this should be done. No opposition being taken, the Clerk then rubbed off the mark he had made opposite Mr. Bracken's name, which was not included in the division list.
Privilege-Mr. White (Hastings)
The Clerk's action was not a new departure. Bourinot, 4th edition, page 382, says:
In the Canadian Commons the Clerk at the table has been on more than one occasion allowed to strike off the name of a member who is recorded and then admits having been" paired.
In 1926, when Mr. Bird voted though he had been paired, he announced his error after the result of the division had been given out and the Speaker had declared the motion carried. There was no possibility at that time of making any correction and the Speaker was right in refusing to allow that the vote be withdrawn. The Speaker then said:
The rule is that when a vote has been recorded, when the result has been proclaimed and when the motion has been declared carried or lost, that expresses the judgment of the house.
-and he refused to entertain Mr. Bird's request that the recorded vote be deleted. Had Mr. Bracken's request been made after the house's decision had been declared by the Speaker, it would certainly have been refused, but I see no objection in having his name struck out immediately after he had inadvertently voted.
Hon. IAN A. MACKENZIE (Minister of Veterans Affairs): Mr. Speaker, if I may say so, by consent of the whole house, I am sure that the conduct of the leader of the opposition was of the most honourable kind.