The section as reported in the bill was the subject of considerable discussion in committee. The object of drafting the section as it stands is one with which I am sure every hon. member of the committee will agree, if it is capable of accomplishment. All hon. members desire that elections should be free; that there should not be injected in the last hours of a campaign an influence which may have an effect in one part of Canada different from that in another.
There are four hours difference in time between the maritime provinces and British Columbia. It was pointed out in committee that at least on two occasions the results of elections in the maritime provinces had been telegraphed to British Columbia and scattered broadcast. The news was made known through the medium of special issues of newspapers placed on the street two or three hours before the close of the polls in British Columbia. It was said that on one occasion the effect was to the disadvantage of one political party, on account of the report that the mari-times w'ere all going in a certain direction. On another occasion the result was the opposite and was in favour of the other party.
It may be, unfortunately, that some constituencies or provinces think it would be to their advantage to be supporting the party which would be in power and would control the country for the next four years. Reports might not always be accurate; there is no guarantee that they are. Statements as to results may be misreported, or abused. I wonder if there is any member of the committee who does not desire to make that condition impossible? It was just for that purpose, and with the idea of preventing any possible abuse which might arise through an announcement of that kind being made, that these hours were changed.
Subtopic: ELECTIONS AND FRANCHISE