August 21, 1917 (12th Parliament, 7th Session)


Alexander Kenneth Maclean



As was stated last night by the minister, it is clearly a difficult matter to draft, in a satisfactory way, a statute to meet -all the unforeseen conditions which may arise in the taking of the military vote. We all realize the difficulty in the mere drafting of such a statute.. Under section 4 we have a multiplicity of officers, -and it is very difficult to understand clearly what the duties of the several officers to b-e appointed under this section will be. I admit that this is a very difficult matter to make clear, arid it would be difficult for any body of men to draft -a statute which would meet everybody's views and demands. I suggest for the consideration of the riainister that, instead of having an -assistant clerk to the Crown in Chancery, a general returning officer, a special returning officer, a presiding officer, deputy pre-

siding officers .and scrutineers, it might be worth while considering the appointment of a non-partisan commission of six or eight, half of whom would be appointed on the nomination of the leader of the Opposition, and the other half by the Prime Minister, granting to this commission all the powers which the Bill proposes to give to the several officers mentioned in section 4. A great many questions may arise during the taking of the military vote, in Europe and Great Britain particularly, which one cannot foresee, and, therefore, cannot provide for in the statute. It seems to me that if- a Commission of six or eight, which was non-partisan in character, were given general powers sufficiently wide to meet all the exigencies which might arise overseas, possibly that would be the best method of taking this vote. I submit the suggestion to the committee and to the minister for consideration. Such commission, in which the House and the electors of the country generally would have confidence, would be better machinery for the taking of the vote than the appointment of the officers designated in the Bill.

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