November 1, 1957

LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

Look what it has resulted in.

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CCF

Harold Edward Winch

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

Mr. Winch:

My hon. friend says, "Look what it has resulted in." I say, Mr. Speaker, that if that is the will of the people then that is the result that should take place. There is another very good thing that has happened. It has kept my hon. friend's party out of office in that province. The people do not want them.

The important thing that we should keep in mind is, what is the meaning of a democratic election? Surely it is that when voters go to the polls they should be able to be certain that they are actually voting the way they desire to vote. In all honesty, I think we all have to admit that voters are divided into two categories.

There are those who vote for an individual, and there are hundreds of thousands of them, and on the other side there are those who vote because they believe in the principles of a certain party and want to support the candidate of that party. Those who are

Canada Elections Act

motivated in the casting of their ballots by the desire to vote for an individual know the name of that individual. I think we all go through the experience, and it happens on innumerable occasions, of finding that those who want to cast a ballot for a particular party cannot remember the name of the candidate of that party.

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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

Shame.

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CCF

Harold Edward Winch

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

Mr. Winch:

My hon. friend says, "Shame". It is not so much the shame of the parties themselves because they might not have the money or the opportunity to get the name of the candidate before the people. You cannot say it is too much to the shame of the individual, either, but if there is any shame it is on the individual.

Now, Mr. Speaker, you know humans are human-

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?

Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh.

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CCF

Harold Edward Winch

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

Mr. Winch:

This may sound strange, but humans are human and they are subject to human nature. Very often people cannot recall the name of the candidate of a specific party. I might say that in British Columbia we found the Liberals and Conservatives really topnotch in trickery when they were hoping, by a little bit of subterfuge such as picking a candidate with the same name as a person already nominated, to create confusion. This has occurred in British Columbia on more than one occasion, and on more than one occasion the perpetrator of that trickery was the Liberal party. This may be poor strategy in the minds of some people, but it does create a situation in which a voter does not know which one of these John Does or Frank Smiths, whatever the name

is, is the one for whom they want to vote. The only way in which these people can be sure they are voting for the right person is to have the political affiliation marked on the ballot. If the candidate has no political affiliation, then he is shown as an independent.

Surely, the major principle is to give every voter, even if as my hon. friend said a moment ago they might at times be stupid-he said

it, not I-a full opportunity to cast his vote in a way that will express his wishes. Now what is wrong with that? Is it that there are some hon. members here who are afraid to have their political affiliations marked on the ballot? I would say, surely not. Therefore, what objection can be made to having that marked on the ballot?

For many years this principle has been followed in provincial elections in British Columbia. I feel absolutely safe in saying that not one of the four parties in British

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Canada Elections Act

Columbia would want to remove this principle because it has proved to be most successful. When the hon. member introduced this bill last year, I recall one of the objections that was raised by one of the cabinet ministers at that time was the difficulty of being able to designate who was the official candidate. So far as my knowledge goes, this occurred only twice over the years in British Columbia. When this happened the political leader immediately notified the returning officer by telegram, and under the act the candidate so designated became the official candidate and the person who was trying to get the votes and the kudos of the party to which they did not belong was put down as an independent.

So, Mr. Speaker, no matter how you look at it, from the viewpoint of experience or from the viewpoint of the voter having the right to know he is voting the way he wants to vote, I can see no objection to this measure. Of course once a member is elected and appears on the floor of this house, he is representing all the constituents. But let us not kid ourselves. We are elected according to our party affiliation, so let us be honest enough to have that affiliation marked on the ballot paper.

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PC

Ellen Louks Fairclough (Secretary of State of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Ellen L. Fairclough (Secrelary of State):

Mr. Speaker, as the sponsor of the bill has said, this bill in the same form has been before this house on previous occasions. When I was occupying a seat on the other side of this house I opposed it, as did my colleagues.

I have had no reason since to change my mind about that stand, not that I am averse to changing my mind if I am convinced but in this particular case I am not convinced that the arguments which held good in our opinion at that time are not equally valid today.

In 1955, when the committee on privileges and elections sat, this question was on the agenda. It was not discussed. It was brought up, if my memory serves me well, in a letter from a Social Credit member and also in a resolution from a union local. No one in the committee spoke to it, and the thing just died a natural death. Later the same year, I believe it was, the hon. member's bill first appeared on the order paper. It was subsequently debated and was defeated. Then, again, early this year it was once more on the order paper but no action was taken; there was a debate, but the debate was not concluded.

Since then, Mr. Speaker, we have gone through another election. One would expect that if anything might change a person's mind it might be the experience one encountered in an election campaign. Like everyone else, I had many such experiences, and found some

amusing and some not. I recall one particular experience which, in my opinion, was not so much amusing as it was an indication of the type of situation which the hon. gentleman has described and to which the hon. member has referred. It was late in the afternoon of polling day and I had been visiting a poll in my riding. When coming out I discovered a gentleman and his wife carefully scanning a poster which was on the outside of the poll. As I came out, they accosted me and said, "Could you tell us who is the C.C.F. candidate?" I must say, Mr. Speaker, it did cross my mind to say, "Fairclough".

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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

They probably wanted to vote against him.

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PC

Ellen Louks Fairclough (Secretary of State of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Mrs. Fairclough:

However, I thought that was scarcely cricket, and I explained to them that the Canada Elections Act did not permit the inclusion of party affiliations on the ballot. I suspected that they knew who I was all along, so I just left it at that. I have wondered since what they would have said to me if I had said "Fairclough". I did not have the pleasure of observing that particular reaction. I can well believe there is a different situation in some of the remote areas from what there would be in the heavily populated parts of the country.

However, Mr. Speaker, between the announcement of the election and the actual polling day I think there is ample opportunity for the various candidates to make themselves known to their constituents. Even in remote areas I find it extremely hard to believe that a voter could be in the peculiar position of not having seen a single piece of literature or of not having heard a speech from a public platform, a street comer, on the radio or on television or of not having had someone call at his home. I think it is quite unlikely because it seems to me that, if he were in such a remote location that none of these things happened to him, he would probably be equally removed from the vicinity of the poll. Consequently it is quite likely he would not get to the poll, a thing which would be most deplorable. But if he is anywhere in the neighbourhood of a poll it seems to me that he is also available to the various types of communication which are daily becoming more and more efficient.

Someone made reference to possible trickery-I think that was the term used-which might be indulged in by a party or a candidate in having put into nomination the name of someone with precisely the same name as the official candidate of a recognized party. Whether or not this is done delibrately for that purpose, it has happened several times in the past and it happened

consistently in at least one riding I can think of. Yet the member who represents that riding, and who has been a member of this house for many years, manages to have himself reelected time and time again. Apparently the people in his constituency are quite aware of his name, who he is and where his name appears on the ballot.

The hon. member for Vancouver East (Mr. Winch) indicated that he would suggest that if a candidate was not a member of one of the recognized parties, he should be listed merely as an independent. I think it may be interesting to note that in the last election there were at least 16 different descriptions of candidates and no one party laid claim to all of the independents. In the list I find that there are Independent Progressive Conservatives, Independent Liberals and Independent Social Credit. A well known and highly respected member of this house consistently runs under the description of Liberal Labour and I wonder whether the hon. member for Vancouver East would have him classed as an independent simply because he did not use the name Liberal by itself. Among the descriptions which appear were such intriguing ones as Canadian Democrat; and one for which I am sure no leader of a political party in this house would vouch is one who ran under the description of Liberal Conservative Coalition. If he were elected, I would not know just where he might sit. Maybe he would take turns sitting with each of us.

In any event, all of these things, if they do nothing else, point up the rare degree of individuality which we find in election candidates. It seems to me it would be a sorry day if that state of affairs ceases to exist. I do not believe that any candidate should be circumscribed by such a description as "Independent" when he has an imagination which will produce such descriptions as those which have been placed on nomination papers and of which there are many examples other than those I have mentioned.

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CCF

Harold Edward Winch

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

Mr. Winch:

He is still an independent and would be so designated as an independent.

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PC

Ellen Louks Fairclough (Secretary of State of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Mrs. Fairclough:

Who?

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CCF

Harold Edward Winch

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

Mr. Winch:

Anyone who tries to run under any designation such as that. He should not get votes as a Liberal or coalition candidate; he is an independent and that is where he belongs.

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PC

Ellen Louks Fairclough (Secretary of State of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Mrs. Fairclough:

I am sure that the hon. member has had sufficient experience to know that when the election is all over and the house is formed a great many of these

Canada Elections Act

people who run under such designations find their way into one of the four parties which are represented in this house. However, this is a matter which is for this house to decide. The hon. member has debated this bill previously. Many hon. members of this house have spoken to it. It is not my intention to reiterate anything that has been said previously or to rehash the debates either in this house or in committee. Each of us has his own opinion and that is the basis for the vote which we give in this house. That opinion, in the case of an affiliation described on the ballot paper, is quite likely based on the personal experience of the individual member. Without saying anything further on this measure, Mr. Speaker, may I just conclude by saying that we find we cannot support it.

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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Hon. J. W. Pickersgill (Bonavisia-Twillin-gafe):

Mr. Speaker, I believe I am now occupying the seat that was occupied in the last parliament by the hon. lady and I find it extremely difficult to disagree with anything that she has said on this occasion. I find-probably for the same reasons as the hon. lady has found-that there are few people of my name who try to get nominated in my constituency in order to confuse the electors. If my name were Smith, Jones or Winch, the situation might be different.

I really do not feel strongly about the bill. If there were only four political parties in this country and if everybody was agreed about who belonged to which, and if everyone was agreed-as they are about the four parties in this house-as to who their leaders are, it would seem to me-although I do not think it is very important at all-not very important if the bill were passed. I think the hon. lady put her finger on a real difficulty in connection with passing this kind of legislation.

Although the hon. member for Vancouver East (Mr. Winch), who of course believes in regimentation anyway as a matter of principle, thinks that all sorts and varieties of men who will not fall into one of the four parties in this house should be forced to describe themselves as independents, I as a Liberal would not like to circumscribe their freedom in that way. If a man wants to call himself an aggressive Conservative or even a reactionary Liberal or even a democratic Socialist, I think he should be perfectly free to do so if he can get the necessary $200 and the necessary number of electors to sign the nomination paper. As the hon. lady said she would be, I would be very sorry to see that change.

Canada Elections Act

I think that returning officers would be presented with a good many serious problems if this legislation were passed, particularly in its present form. There is a political organization-

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?

An hon. Member:

What is it?

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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

If the hon. gentleman could just possess his soul in patience for a second, that is precisely what I was going to explain. There is in this country a so-called political party that describes itself as the Labour Progressive party. I should like to know who would be recognized as the leader of that party for the purpose of this legislation. It seems to me that it would be perfectly ridiculous to recognize that organization which has no representation in this house as a political party and yet what would one do if someone got himself nominated, describing himself as a Labour Progressive candidate? Half the name indeed might well be confused with the name of the hon. lady's party-

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PC

Ellen Louks Fairclough (Secretary of State of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Mrs. Fairclough:

There is that possibility.

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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

And I am sure no one would want to see that happen. It seems to me also that the case to which the hon. lady referred, the case of my hon. friend the member for Kenora-Rainy River (Mr. Beni-dickson) presents very great difficulties. No one has ever doubted that the hon. member for Kenora-Rainy River is a member of the Liberal party but the political organization to which he belongs in his own constituency has been called the Liberal Labour organization for historical reasons. There is no reason why that should be changed and I do not favour regimentation in an effort to change things like that.

In the province where I spent 30 years of my life, for many years the Liberal party has described itself, long before the hon. members opposite took up the designation, and still describes itself, for provincial purposes as the Liberal progressive party. It is no less Liberal on that account.

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?

An hon. Member:

And no more progressive.

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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

Well perhaps as the hon. gentleman suggests it is no more progressive than it used to be, but it is a good deal more progressive than these latter day progressives immediately opposite.

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November 1, 1957