November 1, 1957

CCF

Thomas Speakman Barnett

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

Mr. T. S. Barnett (Comox-Alberni):

I think Mr. Speaker, that the hon. member for Fort William (Mr. Mclvor) must at some time have paid a visit to the province of British Columbia and have associated with some of the Liberal and Conservatives of that province because in supporting this bill-and in speaking for myself as I am sure each one of us is doing-he made a suggestion which I think has now received quite general acceptance within the province of British Columbia by the people of all political interests. I have risen on at least two previous occasions to support a bill introduced by the member for Wetaskiwin (Mr. Thomas), such as the one we now have before us and I think I am doing so from some experience of the situation which was outlined by the hon. member for Vancouver East (Mr. Winch). We have been able to compare the situation between our provincial election act which makes this provision and the federal election act which does not. I imagine in the course of the last four or five years I have probably received hundreds, certainly dozens of complaints from people in my district with respect to the fact that the federal elections act does not have in it a provision such as this bill proposes.

Now it is all very well for the hon. Secretary of State (Mrs. Fairclough) to speak of her experience in a riding like Hamilton West and to speculate upon the situation in what she has described as remote areas; to suggest that there must be something wrong with the voters if they have not had an opportunity to know who are the candidates running for the various political interests.

Topic:   CANADA ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT RESPECTING PRINTING OF BALLOT PAPERS
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PC

Ellen Louks Fairclough (Secretary of State of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Mrs. Fairclough:

Something wrong with the candidates.

Topic:   CANADA ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT RESPECTING PRINTING OF BALLOT PAPERS
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CCF

Thomas Speakman Barnett

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

Mr. Barnett:

I would suggest to her that she might consider changing her place of abode and perhaps run in Comox-Alberni during the next federal election, whenever that may be.

Topic:   CANADA ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT RESPECTING PRINTING OF BALLOT PAPERS
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?

An hon. Member:

You would be out.

Topic:   CANADA ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT RESPECTING PRINTING OF BALLOT PAPERS
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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

You had better take care.

Canada Elections Act

Topic:   CANADA ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT RESPECTING PRINTING OF BALLOT PAPERS
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?

An hon. Member:

McQuillan will give you enough trouble.

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Subtopic:   AMENDMENT RESPECTING PRINTING OF BALLOT PAPERS
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CCF

Thomas Speakman Barnett

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

Mr. Barnett:

Oh, we will deal with McQuillan if he should be a candidate again.

She would probably have the experience that I have had over and over again, of having people, quite sincerely and honestly ask her who the candidate is in her riding for the Liberal party or the Conservative party.

It is a physical impossibility in the time allotted for any candidate in a constituency like Comox-Alberni to visit all the polling districts in that constituency. I know. I set out on May 1 and travelled continuously until May 20 in areas where one does not travel by car but by plane or boat. I slept in a different place every night but even so I was able to visit only the larger polling places, and I know the same applied to the other candidates who were contesting the election. There were many polling places out of the 150 or so in a riding such as Comox-Alberni which no candidate was able to visit. That, I think, is one of the very practical considerations involved in this proposal.

As I have listened to this proposal debated from year to year I have asked myself: why all this fuss and holding up of hands in horror at the suggestion of having the political interest indicated on the ballot paper? It seems to me that this is a much more significant thing to have mentioned on the ballot paper than the occupation of the candidate as is required at present because, after all, I do not think it makes very much difference, really, whether a man is a farmer or a lawyer or a merchant; what matters more is the kind of representation he is going to give the people of his area in the House of Commons. It certainly is a matter of more legitimate concern to every voter to know what particular political point of view a candidate will be presenting here on his behalf.

I am very happy once again to support the measure introduced by the hon. member for Wetaskiwin and I might perhaps add that I have another particular reason for supporting it on this occasion, a reason which was not in my mind when I supported the bill previously. This is something I discovered in the course of a trip I made through the province of British Columbia. The hon. member for Vancouver East indicated that one of the results of a provision in the British Columbia elections act makes it a little more difficult for people to attempt to trade upon the names of opposing political interests. In the course of my travels I discovered that apparently at least one of the

Canada Elections Act

colleagues of the hon. member for Wetaski-win felt it necessary to attempt to ride a little bit on the name of one of the other political interests represented in his riding.

Topic:   CANADA ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT RESPECTING PRINTING OF BALLOT PAPERS
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SC

Ray Thomas

Social Credit

Mr. Thomas (Weiaskiwin):

Not so.

Topic:   CANADA ELECTIONS ACT
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CCF

Thomas Speakman Barnett

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

Mr. Barnett:

I have in my hand an election poster. No sponsor's name appears on it, but at the bottom it says "Leboe" with a big X, and down the side it has three rather large letters which read "C.C.F." If you put on your glasses and look at it closely you will find that alongside the top "C" it says "Carmichael" and opposite the next it says "Close" and against the bottom one it says "Ferry". So if you take out a microscope, you will realize that this is in effect a magnified sample ballot and the names of the four candidates running in the election, together with the riding, are all indicated on it.

I suppose those who sponsored this particular piece of literature may have thought it was an interesting way of securing the attention of voters, but it also indicates apparently, that the present member for Cariboo (Mr. Leboe) and some of his supporters thought that if he was going to be returned to this house he would have to make use of the name of the C.C.F. party. That is quite a compliment to the political organization to which I happen to belong, and I am sure that when the next election comes the voters in Cariboo will probably take the advice and vote for the real C.C.F. candidate.

I think this does provide a very good illustration of the point that the hon. member for Wetaskiwin had in mind when he moved this bill, because it would prevent or discourage certain of his colleagues from resorting to this type of practice when they are conducting their election campaign, and that is perhaps one of the reasons why the people generally in British Columbia have agreed that this proposal is a good one.

Topic:   CANADA ELECTIONS ACT
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PC

Ernest James Broome

Progressive Conservative

Mr. E. J. Broome (Vancouver South):

Mr. Speaker, I think this bill has just about the right amount of meat in it for me to try my rather fledgling wings. There has been no real reason advanced by any hon. member who has spoken as to why this bill should be approved.

Topic:   CANADA ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT RESPECTING PRINTING OF BALLOT PAPERS
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?

An hon. Member:

Not be.

Topic:   CANADA ELECTIONS ACT
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PC

Ernest James Broome

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Broome:

As far as the problem of names is concerned, hon, members on this side of the house are the only ones who have to fear that in the next election, and I do not think we are very much afraid of that. With regard to limiting the number of parties, as the hon. member for Vancouver

East (Mr. Winch) would wish to do, the effect of that would be that outside the Liberals, the Conservatives, the Social Credit Party and the C.C.F., everyone else would become Independent.

Topic:   CANADA ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT RESPECTING PRINTING OF BALLOT PAPERS
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?

An hon. Member:

No.

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PC

Ernest James Broome

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Broome:

But think what a terrible thing that would be, because if there were ever a reform element within the Liberal party it might become "the Liberal Liberal Party". The proposal would stultify growth in the other parties and, I think the house would agree, that is not to be desired.

With regard to the other matter which has been mentioned, a candidate who has been so inactive that his constituents do not know his name or political affiliation. Considering the many means of disseminating information throughout the riding, even remote ridings such as those covered by the hon. member for Comox-Alberni-

Topic:   CANADA ELECTIONS ACT
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CCF

Thomas Speakman Barnett

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

Mr. Barneil:

They were asking me who the Conservative candidate was in the last election.

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PC

Ernest James Broome

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Broome:

There may have been one or two who did not know, but considering the means of disseminating information now available, I doubt whether there are many people in any riding, no matter how widely spread it is, who are not aware of the names of the candidates.

If this should happen it would be because the candidate has made no news. Our newspapers are fair during an election campaign, and if a candidate has worked, his name will be in the newspapers. One might as well say it is just as unfair to put the names on the ballot paper in alphabetical order. I expect some day to hear of a bill proposing that the names be placed in a hat and drawn out.

Mr. Speaker, there is no real merit in this bill whatsoever. It is something to take the place of thinking. It is something to promote a feeling, almost designed to assist certain sections of the population to vote without knowing what a candidate stands for or whether he would be a suitable person to represent a constituency. It is an alternative to thought, and I do not see how any one who has any real feeling for a democracy could fail to understand that a voter should vote for the person whom he thinks can best represent him, and all the people of the riding, in parliament.

There is no place for such a measure as this on the statute books and I shall be delighted to vote against it if the matter comes to a vote.

Topic:   CANADA ELECTIONS ACT
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CCF

Frederick Samuel Zaplitny

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

Mr. F. S. Zaplitny (Dauphin):

Mr. Speaker, I rise to oppose the bill. I do so with a certain amount of reluctance because of the

fact that at least two of my colleagues have spoken in favour of it, but this is the kind of question upon which I am sure each member speaks his own mind and for himself and not for his party.

I cannot object too much to the first provision of the bill; in other words, the candidate who takes out a nomination paper and wishes to put on that paper something to indicate his political affiliation or interest perhaps should be permitted to do so. I think, Mr. Speaker, that that can be done right now without any amendment to the Canada Elections Act whatsoever because under the act at the present time there is provision for the candidate to place his name, his address and his occupation on the paper. If a person wishes to name his occupation as Social Credit there is absolutely nothing to prevent his doing so at the present time.

It is the second part of the bill to which I have more serious objection, and I do say that in all sincerity because I think it would create a very dangerous, if not a chaotic situation. I think the sponsor of this bill, if he thinks the thing through carefully, will probably see what I mean. It provides that in case the returning officer has any doubt as to the proper political affiliation:

The name of the political party or interest represented by a candidate shall be shown in the manner required by the written direction, if any, of the recognized leader of such party, which shall be filed with the returning officer before five o'clock in the afternoon of nomination day: Provided that where the recognized leader of the political party or Interest represented by a candidate does not file a written direction the name of that party shall be shown in the manner in which it appears on the nomination paper of the candidate.

In other words, the recognized leader of the party shall provide the proper designation of what is considered to be the official candidate. One serious objection to that has already been raised by the hon. member for Bonavista-Twillingate (Mr. Pickersgill) which I think is quite valid. That is, it would force the hand of the returning officer, and put him in the position of having to recognize a poltical party which perhaps today does not exist, or evists only in the minds of those who are interested in that particular movement. I think I can cite an example. The comumnist party of Canada no longer exists except in the minds of the communists. Their official designation now, as far as I can gather it, is Labour Progressive. They are not considered to be, or recognized to be, a major or even a minor political party in Canada. But every time someone attempted to run as a Labour Progressive candidate, or even as a communist candidate, he would have the right, under this legislation, to have the leader of his party

Canada Elections Act

recognized by the returning officer in his constituency. I think that is a sort of lefthanded way of doing something which the sponsor of the bill himself would not want to do.

Not only that, but the bill provides that the recognized leader of the party concerned shall do the designating. Now who is the recognized leader? I wish to point out to my Social Credit friends that up until three weeks ago in the province of Manitoba the Social Credit movement had three leaders and none of them was recognized by the Social Credit party. Who is going to be the recognized leader? Who is going to do the designating in that province?

They would find themselves in an impossible situation, where the returning officer would first of all have to be the person to decide what is a recognized party; and, second, who is the recognized leader of that party.

With all due respect to the sponsor who has good intentions I wish to point out that the returning officer in a constituency has enough to do, within the very limited time provided under the elections act to do all the things he is called upon to do, without having to decide who are the recognized parties in the country and who are the recognized leaders of the recognized parties. I would also like to say there are a good many returning officers who would not be qualified, in my opinion, to do that. They would not have the knowledge, nor do I think it is their responsibility to do that kind of recognizing.

Just in case the sponsor of this bill might think I am opposing it because I personally have reluctance to make known on my ballot, or on my nomination paper, what my affiliation is, I wish to tell him that is not the case. I am a member of the Co-Operative Commonwealth Federation and have been for well over 20 years now, and I have been a candidate under the sponsorship of that party on seven different occasions, and I have no intention of changing that affiliation. Therefore it is not a personal matter with me; but I do want to point out the weaknesses of the bill. My advice to the sponsor would be this- his intention I respect-the only step which I think could be properly taken in these circumstances is for him to withdraw his bill, think the matter through carefully, and present a different type of bill with which he may have greater success.

Topic:   CANADA ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT RESPECTING PRINTING OF BALLOT PAPERS
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?

Some hon. Members:

Six o'clock.

On motion of Mr. Herridge the debate was adjourned.

Business of the House

Topic:   CANADA ELECTIONS ACT
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BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Official Opposition House Leader; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Chevrier:

May I ask the leader of the house what is the business for Monday.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
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November 1, 1957