June 4, 1954

?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   CANADA ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO REDUCE VOTING AGE
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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

-no matter what it may be.

Topic:   CANADA ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO REDUCE VOTING AGE
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LIB
PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

Once in a while it may do some of them good to be reminded of the fact that this has become a habit that leads them to make those statements without any regard to the actual history of the country. The fact is that the voting age and the general principles in regard to voting were established under a Conservative party which had the responsibility of setting up the electoral machinery in this country in the first instance. There were a number of extensions during the life of that continuing Conservative government, and then the next great step in the extension of the franchise came in 1918 when Sir Robert Borden was head of the government. In May 1918, the franchise was extended to all women of the age of 21, and there you had universal franchise subject only to the age limit. With deference to the admiration that the hon. member who has just spoken constantly expresses for the history of his own party, I would suggest that from time to time it might be well to restrain that enthusiasm within the bounds of the actual political history of this country.

There is one aspect of this problem that I do think should be borne in mind by all hon. members. I do not think there is any single member here on either side of the house who is not equally proud of the type of young people of 18 to 21 that we have here in Canada. Our education, the type of life in a country of wide spaces and immense opportunities has given us youth of whom all of us have every reason to be proud. I am certain that neither one side of the house nor the other, nor in any segment of this house, is there any greater appreciation of the high character of our youth which would differentiate any hon. member from another. We all share that pride and we all have reason to share that pride. I do not want to sound offensive, but I do say very often that there are differences, and without being offensive I will say quite frankly that my youngest child, who is now fourteen, gives

Canada Elections Act

evidence of judgment which I would be quite prepared to accept as against the judgment of a number who have spoken here.

Topic:   CANADA ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO REDUCE VOTING AGE
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LIB

André Gauthier

Liberal

Mr. Gauthier (Porineuf):

Chip off the old

block.

Topic:   CANADA ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO REDUCE VOTING AGE
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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. Knowles:

Smarter than the old man.

Topic:   CANADA ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO REDUCE VOTING AGE
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LIB

Jean Lesage (Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources)

Liberal

Mr. Lesage:

The race is improving.

Topic:   CANADA ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO REDUCE VOTING AGE
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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

Of course I naturally am

prejudiced on that subject. We are all prejudiced in regard to the estimate of the judgment, character and the ability of our youth to face the future here in Canada.

Topic:   CANADA ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO REDUCE VOTING AGE
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LIB
PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

If I may finish this sentence, there is just one point that should be given consideration in discussing this subject, namely, that the age of 21 was not chosen as an arbitrary age at which the ability to make a political decision had been reached; but it is the age at which for not only generations but centuries we have imposed upon young people a full legal liability. Until they are 21 we have provided that people up to that age need not be answerable for the contracts that are signed and other things of that kind, under the theory that their judgment may not be developed to the point that the full legal responsibility should be imposed.

The time may have come to change that concept in regard to that matter. The fact remains, however, that the choice of the voting age of 21 was not an arbitrary decision in regard to their political wisdom, but was related to the age of political responsibility. I would be the first to be ready to consider a change of the age, with my admiration of Canadian youth; but let us remember that this was the basis upon which the age was originally fixed, and we have to consider this when we are dealing with an ordinary change in voting age that is before us.

Topic:   CANADA ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO REDUCE VOTING AGE
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LIB

William Alfred Robinson (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

The time for the consideration of public bills has expired.

Topic:   CANADA ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO REDUCE VOTING AGE
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LIB

Walter Adam Tucker

Liberal

Mr. Tucker:

I would ask leave of the house, by unanimous consent, to revert to motions, in order that I may present a report.

Topic:   CANADA ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO REDUCE VOTING AGE
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LIB

William Alfred Robinson (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Is it agreed that we should revert to motions?

Topic:   CANADA ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO REDUCE VOTING AGE
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?

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

Topic:   CANADA ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO REDUCE VOTING AGE
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VETERANS AFFAIRS

THIRD REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE

LIB

Walter Adam Tucker

Liberal

Mr. W. A. Tucker (Rosthern):

I have the honour to present the third report of the special committee on veterans affairs, in English and in French.

Topic:   VETERANS AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   THIRD REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

Dispense.

Topic:   VETERANS AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   THIRD REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
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LIB

William Alfred Robinson (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Is it agreed that the assistant clerk dispense with the reading of the report?

Topic:   VETERANS AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   THIRD REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
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?

Some hon. Members:

Yes.

Topic:   VETERANS AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   THIRD REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
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June 4, 1954