Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):
The hon. member for
Peace River (Mr. Pelletier) informed me before the house opened of his intention to ask a question with respect to corrupt election practices. As he apparently is not familiar with the law on the subject or the rules of the house with regard to procedure in such matters I have drafted a statement which I shall give in reply to his question.
Parliament has made statutory provision for the investigation of corrupt practices at elections. Under the Dominion Controverted Elections Act, chapter 50, Revised Statutes of. Canada, 1927, any person who has the right to vote may present a petition to a judge of a supreme or superior court, setting out these practices, and, if a deposit of SI,000 is made, an investigation may be held. Under the Corrupt Practices Inquiries Act, chapter 51, Revised Statutes of Canada, 1927, twenty-five or more electors may present a petition to the House of Commons charging the existence of such practices, and, if a deposit of $1,000 is made, the house may direct the government to appoint a commission for the purpose of making an inquiry. The commission in either case must submit a report to parliament, and under standing order No. 79 it is provided that if it appears that any person has been elected by corrupt practices the house will proceed with the utmost severity.
Since parliament passed the above legislation the committee on privileges and elections has never held any investigation with respect to the election of members. In the present instance no specific charges have been made
and no petition has been presented to the house.