July 5, 1935 (17th Parliament, 6th Session)


Joseph Philippe Baby Casgrain



Like the hon. member for Quebec East (Mr. Lapointe) and the hon. member for St. James (Mr. Rinfret), I am opposed to this amendment in the form in which it is. I think we are all agreed that impersonation should be stopped, but this is a very unpopular way to go about stopping it. While we may stop a few of the impersonators
Elections Act

and the culprits who are paid to do such a wicked job, I think we will, especially in the large cities, affect the vote of good, honest people, who will not like this form of making an affidavit in the way it is proposed to be done under this amendment. As regards the contention of the hon. member for Quebec West (Mr. Power), his experience is good, but to my mind it is not as good before the committee and the house as that of that of members like the hon. member for Quebec East, the ihon. member for St. James and myself who have run elections for many years. He ought to know that in big cities like Quebec, Montreal and others outside our province people come into the polling stations at the last hour, as the hon. member for Hoohelaga (Mr. St-Pere) has said. If at the time the representative of any given candidate knows his polling division is a Liberal stronghold, or for that matter a Conservative stronghold, because the thing works both ways, and if he wants to be strong for his candidate, he may challenge the vote of any person who comes in there.
I want to draw the attention of the committee to the fact that not only has this been done in cities, but in my own county in a rural district, because some person had been away for a certain time and had been put on the list, everyone who came to the poll was challenged. This was done even in rural or semi-rural divisions. There is a danger that might obtain if this form of affidavit is used. We have the present form whereby a man coming in may be attested and forced to take the oath. He takes the oath and it is marked that he is sworn. If he takes the oath, he is given a ballot because he is on the list. This proceeding we are taking to-day is the last, third degree test after the revision and the main basic lists have been made. It has only one purpose, namely, to make the election more difficult, and to try to keep away from the polls as many people as possible.

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