May 12, 1908 (10th Parliament, 4th Session)


Theodore Arthur Burrows



I have here a clipping from the Winnipeg ' Telegram ' of June 2, 1903, referring to the registration in Winnipeg. It reads :
So dense was the rush before the constables arrived that to depart by the door was impossible. Dozens left by jumping from the window to the ground at the rear, a drop of about seven foot. At a quarter to ten, men Sv i. arriving, and when the doors were shut at ten o'clock only about a dozen remained to complete their papers, out of the hundreds who had besieged the court during the evening. . .
The registration at St. Boniface was light, but in the evening there was quite a rush, and from fifty to seventy-five persons were shut out, according to estimate.
I have here an extract from the Winnipeg 1 Free Press ' of June 7, 1905, referring to the distances that people had to go to get on the list. It is as follows :
The * Free Press ' has already printed the facts as to the constituency of Emerson, but the case will well bear recapitulation. The voters at Sprague, Vassar and other points at the east of the riding must take train to Winnipeg, travel thence to Emerson in order to register, since owing to the great swamp completely crossing the constituency, and which nothing without wings can cross, it is impossible to go direct to the point of registration. The voter from the eastern end of Emerson must travel 160 miles bv rail, spend $7 in railway fare, besides his hotel and meal expenses in Winnipeg en route, and take three days of his time in order to secure a right to vote.
It goes on :
In the constituencies around Lakes Winnipeg and Manitoba, the distances that must be travelled in order to register are enormous. Parts of Gimli are 210 miles from the registration booth. Parts of Kildonun and St. Andrews are 260. Some voters in Swan river, must go 145 miles to the place of registration. Some voters in Gladstone are 110 miles from the only place where they can procure the right to vote. It must be borne in mind, too, that great as these distances are they are really multiplied by the fact that there are no swift means of communication and in some cases no roads. In Swan river some voters must drive to Lake Manitoba, sail across it, and then drive 30 or 40 miles to the point of registration. In Kil-doman, Gimli and Gladstone it will mean a voyage of 200 miles up and down the lake and more than a week of time, to say nothing of the expense, if the elector desires to preserve his right to the franchise.
I shall also read an extract from the ' Free Press ' referring to the registration at North Winnipeg. It says :
The scenes enacted at the North Winnipeg booth were disgraceful. There was only one door by which to enter and leave the building, which was little bigger than a box. Up the steps leading thereto, swarmed a pushing crowd of would-be voters, at times more than a hundred in number.' It was impossible for a voter who had registered to get

out, so that some of them respectable citizens, men of advanced years, were pulled out by the collar over the heads of the crowd. Doors were burst and windows broken, shirts, coats and collars were torn in the attempt to secure entrance or exit. More than 80 qualified voters were left unregistered when! Clerk McCutcheon refused to register further.
The hon. member for North Toronto this evening advanced a very Ingenious and very able argument to try to point out the enormity of the Act of the Liberal party in 1901 in dividing up certain polling divisions throughout the province of Manitoba. My hon. friends on the other side of the House apparently did not inform the hon. gentleman that at the previous provincial election in 1903, on the same lists, in the same country and under the administration of the Conservative government who brought this election law into force, they found it necessary for the convenience of the electors to subdivide their polls. There was no power on the statute-book to enable a returning officer to do so, but yet they did subdivide their polls. I am making no charge against them fordoing so, because they did so, in so far as I am aware, in the public interest. They stated that they did it for the convenience of the public. I will read the names of some of the counties : Arthur, Avondale,
Emerson, Gladstone, Kildonan, Killarney, Lansdowne, Manitou, Morden, Rock wood, St. Boniface, Springfield and Virden. There are thirteen counties here and there are four others. There were twelve polls in Lansdowne and the returning officer divided them into twenty-two, and of course he had to use the thin red line to carve up the voters' lists to suit. In Emerson there were nine polls and he made thirteen, and in Gladstone there were fifteen and they made twenty. I have here a copy of the evidence which was taken in the case of the King vs. Duggan in which Mr. Harvey, the Conservative returning officer in the electoral district of Springfield, gave evidence. He was asked why he made eleven polling divisions when there were only nine provided by law. He gave the answer which has been given here before. He stated that he had done so in order to make it more convenient for the public. I will read a short extract frcnn his evidence :

Topic:   C. J. MICKLE.
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