October 20, 1964

LIB

William Hector McMillan

Liberal

Mr. McMillan:

Mr. Chairman, I should like to ask one question on this clause. At what stage would the interested people in a federal electoral riding come to know the boundaries of their area? Would this be before the production or publication of these maps?

Topic:   REDISTRIBUTION
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR BOUNDARIES COMMISSIONS AND READJUSTMENT OF REPRESENTATION
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LIB

Allan Joseph MacEachen (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MacEachen:

Yes, Mr. Chairman. The commission may sit, as provided in clause 17, and hear representations. In the notice of such hearings there shall be a map or drawing prepared by the commission showing the proposed division of the province into electoral districts. So that is the first time members will get the news.

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LIB

William Hector McMillan

Liberal

Mr. McMillan:

One other question. If it were proposed to transfer a municipality, or let us say a town, into another federal district, would the local council have an opportunity to discover this and to make representations?

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LIB

Allan Joseph MacEachen (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MacEachen:

This would be evident from the maps which would be contained in the notice. The council will have an opportunity to make representations and appear before the commission of the province, which must hold one sitting in the province.

Topic:   REDISTRIBUTION
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PC

Marcel Joseph Aimé Lambert

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Lambert:

This may be expressing a pious hope, but the director of the surveys and mapping branch of the Department of

Mines and Technical Surveys should prepare an up to date map. If I recall rightly my constituency maps were based on the 1951 projection of a growing suburban portion of the city of Edmonton. Let me assure the committee that the map distributed to me by the chief electoral officer bears very little real relationship to the actual city itself, in that there have been replots and all sorts of things. So let us hope that they work with up to date information which is kept current.

Topic:   REDISTRIBUTION
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR BOUNDARIES COMMISSIONS AND READJUSTMENT OF REPRESENTATION
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CCF

Thomas Speakman Barnett

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

Mr. Barnett:

Mr. Chairman, my understanding of clause 26 and also of the following clause is that both of them have to do with the enabling of certain preparations to be made in order that an election may be conducted after the redistribution order is put into effect. If I might for a moment consider the two clauses together, a question which occurs to my mind is whether or not these two clauses are adequate for the purpose. If I read clause 26 correctly, I understand it to mean that once the proclamation is issued the director of the surveys and mapping branch shall prepare and print maps.

I take it that the preparation of those maps can be carried out prior to the effective date of the proclamation, which is contingent upon the dissolution of parliament. Am I correct in that understanding?

Topic:   REDISTRIBUTION
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LIB

Allan Joseph MacEachen (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MacEachen:

Yes.

Topic:   REDISTRIBUTION
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CCF

Thomas Speakman Barnett

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

Mr. Barnett:

Then in that connection, as far as I understand it the only other reference to enabling advance preparation to be made is in clause 27, which provides for action in the appointment of returning officers under the elections act. I have not got the elections act before me but the question arising in my mind is whether under either one or both of the two clauses to which I have referred any sort of authority is given to the chief electoral officer to make preparations for providing any other forms or documents which are involved in the conduct of a general election. I can understand that there may be a larger time element involved in the preparation of maps than is the case with other documents; but I can hardly see the point of our giving authority for the appointment of returning officers for the proposed new constituencies unless the chief electoral officer is authorized to supply them with a preliminary batch of materials which will be required in order to commence the necessary arrangements for conducting an enumeration, and that sort of thing, in a constituency. Perhaps the min-

Electoral Boundaries Commissions ister could elucidate on the point I have raised.

Topic:   REDISTRIBUTION
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LIB

Allan Joseph MacEachen (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MacEachen:

My hon. friend may recall that the Representation Commissioner Act which was passed last December contained a provision that on the completion of any decennial census the commissioner shall prepare maps, and so on, with respect to the electoral districts of provinces, and shall thereupon supply such maps to the appropriate electoral boundaries commission. So that this is provided for in the Representation Commissioner Act.

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CCF

Thomas Speakman Barnett

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

Mr. Barnett:

I do not quite see that that covers the points I have been raising. The advance preparation by the representation commissioner for the work of the commission is one thing. Clauses 26 and 27 make some provision whereby the chief electoral officer is able to make certain advance preparations prior to the coming into full force and effect ox the results of the new representation order. The question I am raising is whether the proposals set out in clauses 26 and 27 are inclusive enough to enable the chief electoral officer, as distinct from the representation commissioner, to make adequate preliminary preparations. I note that as far as clause 26 is concerned, authority is given only and solely for the preparation of maps of constituency boundaries, but not for the preparation of any other document. On the other hand, clause 27 provides for the appointment of electoral officers under section 8 of the Canada Elections Act. As far as I can see, it makes no provision for the chief electoral officer to give the electoral officers whom he has appointed any authority to do anything after their appointment. There is no authority for example to supply them with any material or instructions. Perhaps there is an obvious answer to this question which has not occurred to me.

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LIB

Allan Joseph MacEachen (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MacEachen:

The Canada Elections Act gives complete authority to the chief electoral officer to prepare for an election after redistribution has taken place.

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CCF

Thomas Speakman Barnett

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

Mr. Barnett:

Mr. Chairman, the minister says that authority is given to the chief electoral officer to prepare for an election after redistribution becomes law and, as I understand the situation, redistribution becomes law upon the dissolution of the then existing parliament, presuming there is a parliament in existence. The purpose of clauses 26 and 27 is to enable certain preparatory work to be done prior to the time a new distribution

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Electoral Boundaries Commissions becomes law. The question I wish to raise is, within these provisions is there sufficient authority given to that chief electoral officer?

Topic:   REDISTRIBUTION
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LIB

Allan Joseph MacEachen (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MacEachen:

Mr. Chairman, the chief electoral officer is satisfied that he has the power necessary to carry out the tasks referred to by my hon. friend. He has that authority under the Canada Elections Act. The clause now under discussion provides that the director of surveys of the Department of Mines and Technical Surveys shall prepare certain maps of the electoral districts, but these maps cannot be prepared until the issue of the proclamation putting the representation order into effect. This clause really is to put into effect, the results of a representation order.

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CCF

Thomas Speakman Barnett

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

Mr. Barnett:

Mr. Chairman, if the minister is able to give us his assurance that the chief electoral officer is satisfied with these provisions, I am prepared to accept them.

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LIB

Allan Joseph MacEachen (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MacEachen:

The chief electoral officer has the authority to prepare for an election at any time, and perhaps that is not very reassuring for anyone.

Clause 26 agreed to.

On clause 27-Returning officers.

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PC

Marcel Joseph Aimé Lambert

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Lambert:

In this regard, Mr. Chairman, I have the suspicion that there will be some unforeseen results from the passage of this clause, in that at the time of proclaiming a representation order the appointments of all returning officers holding offices shall terminate, and there shall then be a renomination of all returning officers. If that is the situation I think this committee should be made aware of it. Is that what is contemplated by the government under this clause? If there is going to be a complete refashioning of constituencies, and section 29 of the Representation Act is being repealed, and the ridings in respect of which these returning officers hold positions disappear, their appointments will disappear. Is that contemplated by this clause?

Topic:   REDISTRIBUTION
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR BOUNDARIES COMMISSIONS AND READJUSTMENT OF REPRESENTATION
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LIB

Maurice John Moreau

Liberal

Mr. Moreau:

Mr. Chairman, perhaps I may be allowed to comment in respect of that point. This matter was raised before the committee on privileges and elections during its consideration and review of the Canada Elections Act. That act provides, as I recall it, that as soon as the boundaries of a riding are changed in any way, or the riding itself is changed in any way, the returning officer's office is vacant, and the riding is considered

as a new riding. I understand that to be the situation under the existing act.

One of the matters that was considered by that committee was whether these offices should be made permanent. I think the hon. member will recall that under the Canada Elections Act, as passed in 1960, these positions became vacant. That is one of the provisions of the Canada Elections Act which I do not think should necessarily be covered by this bill. Perhaps a discussion of this particular point should properly take place during a consideration or revision of the Canada Elections Act.

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RA

Gilles Grégoire

Ralliement Créditiste

Mr. Gregoire:

Mr. Chairman, on that point I believe that the subject is important enough. Indeed, in the constituencies the returning officers are appointed by the government in office, and often these appointments are-I do not speak for my constituency, far from it- but in several constituencies these are political appointments and the returning officer is there to protect the interest of the party in office. Therefore, I feel that this is a major point to decide.

In the event that new boundaries are fixed, will all the returning officers presently appointed lose their jobs and will others be appointed by the government?

If that is the case, we should provide, before going through with this, a new procedure for appointing returning officers in the constituencies, because in many cases the actions of some returning officers give rise to complaints. Thus, we fear that with another party in office, or a change of government, returning officers would also change and we would constantly be faced with the same problems, for any time there would be a change of government there would also be a change of returning officers, or a way would be found to amend the act in order to be able to appoint new returning officers.

Therefore, I think a new procedure should be devised for the appointment of returning officers, in order that appointments be made in a manner which would be fair and equitable to all candidates in an election.

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LIB

Allan Joseph MacEachen (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. MacEachen:

Let us consider clause 27. As I understand the situation, a representation order does not come into effect until a dissolution of parliament. This clause permits a representation order to take the effect of law whenever it is proclaimed, so that returning officers can be appointed under the Canada Elections Act for ridings that are

designated in the representation order. In other words, by bringing it into effect in respect of the returning officers, it is possible to appoint the returning officers before a dissolution.

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PC

Marcel Joseph Aimé Lambert

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Lambert:

May I ask how you would have them vacate their offices?

Topic:   REDISTRIBUTION
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October 20, 1964