June 3, 1961

PC

Noël Dorion (Secretary of State of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Dorion:

It took about 10 months to get the maps ready.

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CCF

Douglas Mason Fisher

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

Mr. Fisher:

Do I understand correctly that it took 10 months from the time the actual constituencies were struck by the parliamentary committee?

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PC

Noël Dorion (Secretary of State of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Dorion:

It took 10 months to get the maps printed, but the chief electoral officer was ready to hold an election within two months after the bill was passed.

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CCF

Douglas Mason Fisher

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

Mr. Fisher:

I was trying to get the

sequence. It took 10 to 11 months in 1952 to get the constituency lines drawn following

Supply-Secretary of State the return of the census information, and then two more months in 1952 in order to have everything prepared for the election; is that correct?

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PC

Noël Dorion (Secretary of State of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Dorion:

After the bill was passed, we were ready to have a general election within two months.

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CCF

Douglas Mason Fisher

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

Mr. Fisher:

I think if we have the pattern repeated all hon. members will understand the bounds within which we are operating at the present time.

I want to turn now, Mr. Chairman, to some questions relating to the by-elections that have been held, and ask whether the chief electoral officer has found that any of the changes which have been made in the act in the last few years or in any of the regulations have not worked as effectively as expected, or whether there were any untoward results flowing from the changes that had not been expected.

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PC

Noël Dorion (Secretary of State of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Dorion:

The chief electoral officer has not received any official report as yet, but all indications he has received are to the effect that the changes were satisfactory.

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CCF

Douglas Mason Fisher

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

Mr. Fisher:

Is there any present member of this house who has not completed all the necessary steps that must be taken by a victorious candidate following a general election?

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PC

Noël Dorion (Secretary of State of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Dorion:

Every member of this house has filed the regular return for the last election. In so far as the by-elections are concerned, we have not received those returns. The candidates have two months within which to file them.

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CCF

Douglas Mason Fisher

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

Mr. Fisher:

I know they have two months in which to file a return. What I am wondering is this. First of all, I am assuming that all the successful candidates in the last general election have filed returns. Can the chief electoral officer bring us up to date on those candidates who were not successful and who have not completed all the necessary forms?

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PC

Noël Dorion (Secretary of State of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Dorion:

The responsibility of the chief electoral officer is to make his own report to the House of Commons. He made his report, and I am informed that at that time some of the defeated candidates had not made their reports. However, when the chief electoral officer himself has made his report to the House of Commons, he has discharged his duty. It is then for parliament itself to decide what shall be done.

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CCF

Douglas Mason Fisher

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

Mr. Fisher:

As I understand it, a candidate who does not complete the proper form within the stated period, or whose agent does not do so, is liable to some kind of prosecution

5808 HOUSE OF

Supply-Secretary of State or action. I wonder if the minister could indicate whether any prosecutions or actions were launched in consequence of failure in that regard.

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PC

Noël Dorion (Secretary of State of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Dorion:

To the knowledge of the chief electoral officer, no action was taken. I speak on the information I have received, and I am sure this information is correct. Anyone may take proceeedings against candidates who did not make their own reports. However, the report of the electoral officer was made to the House of Commons and it is now a question for parliament to decide.

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CCF

Douglas Mason Fisher

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

Mr. Fisher:

The only point I wanted to underline was this-

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PC

Noël Dorion (Secretary of State of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Dorion:

May I add that I believe the time has now expired.

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CCF

Douglas Mason Fisher

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

Mr. Fisher:

In other words, it is too late now. The only point I want to make in relation to this matter is this. It is something that I wish had received more emphasis in the committee last year which was examining the Canada Elections Act and making changes. I refer to the fact that so much of the statute and so many of the regulations are honoured in the breach rather than the observance. This is one example. Since one anticipates an election in the not too distant future, I might point out that there have been, as you might say, a considerable number of infractions in this particular regard. I wanted to turn to another section of the act-

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PC

Noël Dorion (Secretary of State of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Dorion:

May I reply now on this point?

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CCF

Douglas Mason Fisher

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

Mr. Fisher:

Yes.

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PC

Noël Dorion (Secretary of State of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Dorion:

The hon. member will understand that at the time the report was made to the House of Commons it would have been appropriate to suggest the action to be taken.

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CCF

Douglas Mason Fisher

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

Mr. Fisher:

My point there is this. I am quite aware of the fact that no one party has a monopoly on either virtue or rectitude in this particular matter. I think all parties are guilty. I was not trying to raise this matter from the point of view of knifing any particular one. I am sure that candidates in our party have been as remiss in this regard as those in any other party. However, I think it emphasizes the fact that many parts of the act are not paid much attention and consequently that more candidates should be aware of this provision.

I want to turn to section 66 of the act and underline the dissatisfaction that I feel on this particular point. Section 66 states as follows:

66. (1) Every person is guilty of the corrupt practice of treating and of an indictable offence against this act punishable as provided in this act, who, corruptly-

Again, for the second time, we find the use of the word "corrupt" or "corruptly".

[DOT]-by himself or by any other person, either before, during or after an election, directly or indirectly gives or provides, or causes to be given or provided, or is accessory to the giving or poviding, or pays or engages to pay wholly or in part the expense of giving or providing any meat, drink, refreshment or provision, or any money or ticket or other means or device to enable the procuring of any meat, drink, refreshment or provision, to or for any person for the purpose of corruptly influencing that person or any other person to give or refrain from giving his vote at such election-

And so on. Further down in this clause, which does not go much further, the word "corrupt" or "corruptly" appears again. It seems to me that it is almost impossible to enforce this particular section. I should like to have some information as to what proceedings have been taken in the last two general elections as a consequence of this particular section.

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June 3, 1961