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

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Mr. HOWELL@

I want to see this, because, although it may seem startling, I have seen several proclamations that were changed after they were signed by the returning officer. and I am anxious to know if this is one.
Continuing, the witness described the territorial division of Springfield into the 9 registration districts in which there were 11 polling divisions.
His Lordship observed that the polling divisions should have corresponded with the registration districts and the witness had thus made 11 polls, where, according to the law, there should have been only 9.
Mr. AIKINS

Acting for the Attorney General and a prominent Conservative.
-admitted that that was so, and said that it was necessary to lay all the facts connected with the matter before the court.
The witness, however, did not appear to be wholly responsible for the violation of the law, handing in a printed notice, signed by the Provincial Secretary, D. H. Mcladden, naming the 11 polling places, the extra 2 being made by the subdivision of 2 registration districts.
I am mentioning this not to find any fault. I have no knowledge of the facts, but I believe that in making the eleven polls they did so in the interest of the electors to make it easy for them to vote. But they had to change the list. They only had nine lists and they had to take these lists, carve them up, use the thin red line, or the thick black line, to scratch out the names of voters. If that was a proper procedure and in the public interest in 1903 on the same voters' lists and in the same constituencies why should the Attorney General of Manitoba take action against returning officers who happened to be working for the Dominion government in the election which was conducted on the sanne lists and in the same country within a year? At the October, 1905, assizes an indictment was preferred to the grand jury charging the returning officer for Macdonald with having struck off 46 names from polling division No. 5 of the local constituency of Mountain. This particular polling subdivision is divided between the three Dominion constituencies-Macdonald, Llsgar and Souris. What the returning officer did was to strike out from the Macdonald list the names of the electors who lived in Souris and Lisgar. Not one of these 46 electors were disfranchised. Had their names not been struck out from the Macdonald list they would have had a vote m each constituency contrary to law.
In regard to the subdivision of the polls, polling subdivision No. 10 of the constituency of Emerson comprises no less than 12 townships, that Is, 24 miles long by IS miles wide, or 432 square miles. For the purposes of the elections to the local legislature there was only one poll and that poll was at the extreme west corner, which made it very inconvenient for the electors to vote. In that polling division there was a large Liberal majority and the Liberals were mostly situated in the eastern end of tlie division remote from where the poll was placed. When the elections took place for the Dominion House the returning officer divided that poll into two and the result was that there was a majority of 105 for the Liberal candidate. I have no doubt that some of the people resented the idea of being sent so far off and on this account voted against the Conservative party. Contrast this with poll No. 11, Emerson, comprising a single township, with an electoral

Topic:   C. J. MICKLE.
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