June 13, 1934 (17th Parliament, 5th Session)


William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)



Yes-that the revising officers will appoint only one set of enumerators, and not follow the practice which was followed in the last enumeration, upon which occasion two sets of enumerators were chosen as a result of a conference between the different political parties. I believe that would be a great mistake, and would be a double mistake because the government is proposing to add a further obligation with respect to the right of voting, namely that of obliging all electors to register or sign their names. They will have to sign a document. I must say that if the obtaining of signatures from voters is to be at the instance only of enumerators, appointed by the government itself, through its officers, there would be in the minds of everyone great reason to suspect the manner in which the lists were being prepared. In fact, I believe I have only to suggest, to make this apparent, what would be the obvious thought in the mind of any hon. member in this house as to what would occur in most cases where the enumerator of one political party went to the residences of persons who belonged to an opposite political party and asked for their signatures to documents to entitle them to vote. If the enumerator happened to be, as perhaps unfortunately many are certain to be partisan political workers, there might be an altercation between the persons asked to sign the document and the enumerator himself. If there is to be any signing of documents, it should be done in the presence of witnesses, and there ought to be at least two enumerators representative of different political parties, who should be obliged to go together, and who would be able and obliged to act and certify as witnesses to the signatures obtained. Otherwise many signatures most certainly will be suspected. A question might well arise as to whether or not an application had ever been signed; as to whether a signature was genuine or not. Each enumerator should be obliged to initial the signatures as they are obtained. If there were two enumerators chosen by representatives of different political parties who were obliged to go together and initial all signatures, I believe many evasions and mistakes and complaints will be avoided.
In addition to these reasons, I believe it will be found necessary in the circumstance of obtaining signatures that there should be one enumerator, if I may use the expression, who will be regarded as a friendly enumerator, one who is in a position to give the assurance that the signing of the particular form presented is really in the interests of the elector himself. I can see where there is

Franchise Act
going to be a great handicap, and a real difficulty, in limiting the right to vote to those only who have already signed an application for the purpose.

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