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

LIB

Charles Gavan Power

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

I would suggest to my hon. friend the Minister of Justice that that would hardly be the proper way to make a list which is representative of any given constituency. If .they will not register the first year, they will not register the second or third year, and when the election comes on they will have been perhaps two or three

years away from the place where they were when the enumeration was made. Those people will still be entitled to vote in the electoral division represented, let us say, by the solicitor general whereas they will have been residing let us say, in my division or in that of the hon. member for Quebec East for three years. Unless there is a check made by the individual member of parliament, and at .the cost of the member of parliament, there is no way of controlling it. A member of parliament does -not want to represent people who have not resided in his division for two or three- yeiars or does he want to deprive people who have been residing in his division for two or three years of the right to vote in the place where they live, and unless we can find some means of providing that the government will assist in the making of the second and third and fourth annual revisions, I fear that -the object which the Minister of Justice has in mind will be defeated. I am making this point not from any partisan motive because it affects equally all members who represent city constituencies. Almost inevitably it will place on their shoulders a financial burden which it will be very difficult for most of them to bear. It seems to me that if it were at all possible this burden should be borne by the state and not by the individual member.
With respect to some of the other matters which have been brought to our attention by the Minister of Justice may I say that though I have not had any experience of the matter myself the tradition exists throughout the country that the actions of the revising barristers in 1892 and 1896 were such that no one desired that we should return to that system, which made it possible for revising barristers at their will and discretion, and probably at the behest of their political friends, to place on the list or to bar from the list those whom they thought friendly or dangerous. I sincerely hope that the revising officer may have his powers so restricted and curtailed that nothing of this nature will be possible, or -that there will be some system of appeal whereby the courts of the country will be called upon to give final judgment as to whether or not R person is qualified to vote. I entirely agree with what has been said by the minister that in this event there should be some arrangement whereby appeals will be expedited. It would be useless to have an appeal to the courts if the procedure was of such a nature that persons who were entitled to vote or persons who for some reason should be excluded from voting could indefinitely hold up the judgments of the court.

Franchise Act
There is one more thing to which I should like to make a reference before I take my seat. When we had a revision of the list in 1929 and 1930 an attempt was made by some members of the committee to do away with what we called the hypocrisy of what exists in the election, act-those provisions of the act which make crimes where no crimes exist, which make it illegal and sometimes an indictable offence to do things which every one of us knows is being done in every election. I refer to the employment of canvassers; I refer to the payment of the transportation of voters-

Topic:   DOMINION FRANCHISE ACT
Subtopic:   ELECTORAL FRANCHISE-APPOINTMENT OF FRANCHISE COMMISSIONER-PRINTING OF VOTERS' LISTS
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