July 21, 1903 (9th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. F. D. MONK (Jacques Cartier).

I wish to call the attention of the government, Mr. Speaker, to the question of the representation of St. James division, and if necessary I shall conclude with the usual motion. In a number of constituencies vacancies occurred since last session, and in all these the vacancies have been filled. There were the division of Argentueil, the north riding of Grey, the district of Maison-neuve, the district of Yarmouth, the north riding of Ontario, the division of Durham and the electoral district of Maskinonge, in which vacancies occurred from various causes, and under your warrant, Sir, writs were promptly issued and these vacancies filled. With regard to the electoral division of St. James, on the 16th of March you, Sir, communicated to the House the report of the judgment rendered upon the contestation of election in that division, and in your communication to the House you stated that ' the trial judges having reported that corrupt practices extensively prevailed in the election, I have, in conformity with section 48, chapter 9, of the Revised Statutes of Canada, withheld the issue of my warrant for a new election pending action to be taken by the House in the matter.' Subsequently, on the 3rd of April last, and in conformity with the provisions of the statute cited by yourself, a motion was made in this House for the issue of your warrant to the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery for the purpose of holding a new election. This was done under sections 46, 47 and 48 of chapter 9 of the Controverted Elections Act, Revised Statutes of 1886:
Section 46. The Speaker shall, at the earliest practical moment after he receives the certificate and report or reports, if any, of the court or Judge,' give the necessary directions and adopt all the proceedings necessary for confirming or altering the return, or to except as hereinafter mentioned, for the issuing of a writ for a new election (for which purpose the Speaker may pddress his warrant, under his hand and seal, to the Clerk of the Crown iu Chancery) or for otherwise carrying the determination into execution as circumstances re-auire.
Section 47. When the judge in his report on the trial of an election petition under this Act states that corrupt practices have, or that there is reason to believe that corrupt practices have extensively prevailed at the election to which the petition relates, or that he is of opinion that the inquiry into the circumstances of the election has been rendered incomplete by the action of any of the parties to the petition, and the further inquiry as to whether corrupt practices have extensively prevailed is desirable. no new writ shall issue for a new election Hon. Mr. FIELDING.
in such case except by order of the House of Commons.
On tbe 3rd of April I moved, seconded by Mr. LSonard :
That Mr. Speaker do issue his warrant to the Cilerk of the Crown in Chancery to make out a new writ for a member to serve in this present parliament for the electoral division of St. James, in the place of Joseph Brunet, whose election was declared void.
That motion was agreed to unanimously. That was a very considerable time ago, and it seems to me a manifest injustice not to have proceeded to execute the order of this House, especially in a matter of this kind. That it was not carried out is not due to any cause existing in this House. You, Sir, issued your warrant in conformity of the House, agreed to unanimously, and if the election has been delayed, if the writ has not been issued by the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery, that is due entirely to the action of the government. In other words, the cabinet, which, under tbe modern interpretation of our constitution, is purely and simply a committee of this House, has judged fit to delay the issuing of the writ and to prevent the electoral division of St. James from being represented during this most important session. As an elector iu that division, and as one living in it and knowing public feeling there, I am prepared to state that this delay of the government is condemned by tlie electors. In common with other electors of this Dominion, they claim tbe right to have a representative here, particularly in view of the fact that that claim has been upheld by the order of this House. Since the beginning of, this session we have had under our consideration measures of particular interest to the division of St. James, which is one of the most important of the city of Montreal. It is a division in which there is a large number of representatives of every class-professional men. university men and labour-men-and each of those classes, more particularly the third, is deeply interested in the questions we have had under discussion. Among these 1 might mention the improvement of Montreal harbour, in which the St. James division is particularly interested : the Bill with respect to insolvency, which I have had the honour to submit to tbe consideration of this House, because that division has very large commercial interests ; the Railway Bill, in which it is interested in a very particular degree ; the Bill concerning the Montreal bridge, which touches on the north side of the St. Lawrence, St. James division ; the transcontinental railway line, concerning which we are to have soon a communication from the government, and the Redistribution Bill. In all these measures St. James division is interested in common with other divisions, and in some of them it has a particular Interest. And there is no reason whatever why the election in that division should have been de-

layed for three months and the division deprived of representation in this House and of an opportunity to take part in the discussion and decision of this important question. It is needless for me to say that, under the present custom of parliament in England, the withholding of a writ of election from an electoral division is a very grave punishment of the division, and is very rarely resorted to in modern times. Formerly the Crown abused the privilege of withholding the writs. In times of great corruption, when parliament sought to bring a remedy, writs were withheld by the Crown ; but, in modern times, that extreme punishment, the putting of this stigma, this mark of ignominy, upon a constituency is a very rare thing indeed, though the right still exists.

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