Mr. Paul Martineau (Parliameniary Secretary to the Prime Minister):
Mr. Speaker, on a matter of privilege, yesterday the hon. member for Gatineau (Mr. Leduc) made a speech in this house. He referred in particular to the constituency of Pontiac-Temis-camingue, which I represent, and to one polling division in that constituency where he stated that a large number of Indian voters who were on the 1958 voters' list had not exercised their right of franchise. He stated that the reason they had not done so was that on election day they were in no condition to vote due to the fact-to use the hon. member's own words-that they had been plied with liquor. This is reported at page 1934 of yesterday's Hansard.
Mr. Speaker, this is clearly a reflection on certain constituents in my riding and is also clearly a reflection on my honour as a member of this house. I wish to state in unequivocal terms that the words used by the hon. member for Gatineau do not represent the facts as they are known to me. I therefore deny that I or any of my agents or anybody for whom I may have had any responsibility ever did prevent, through liquor or by any other means, anybody in my constituency from exercising their franchise.
It is true that there were a large number of voters on the list who did not vote. The reason was that when the enumeration was taken there were a number of bush workers who did not live at Forbes Depot but who happened to be there and whose names were included on the voters' list. When election time came many of them had left that neighbourhood because the bush operations were terminated, and they probably voted elsewhere in my constituency or in neighbouring constituencies.
I wish to repeat with emphasis that never did I prevent anyone from voting. Everyone was encouraged to vote. That was our set policy, and if there were voters who did not vote it did not spring from any act on my part. Moreover, I resent the implication made on my constituents.
Subtopic: MR. MARTINEAU REFERENCE TO REMARKS IN DEBATE ON MARCH 10