I did not say the hon. member himself did it. I said that those who were looking after his election were doing so much work for him that they did not want the fruits of their work thrown away, and they were mad when they were not able to get what they wanted. We are not sitting here in this House of Commons, Mr. Chairman, as a court of review over any judgment that has been given in accordance with the provisions of any act passed by this parliament. We decided rightly or wrongly that the chief justice of any province should be the sole
arbiter and sole judge of any difficulty that might arise in any proceedings beware the registrar regarding the striking off or putting on of names. But to-day we have this most unfortunate situation. The hon. member for St. Lawrence-St. George says that there are four thousand objections in his constituency and that at the present time only two hundred of them have been dealt with. Twenty-three were not in doubt and the rest, 177, had to be dealt with by the judge. At the present time there are many other cases in this very constituency of St. Lawrence-St. George that depend on the decision that is to be rendered by this parliament by this bill if it becomes law.
I was very much struck the other day by the observations that were made by the Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) when dealing with conditions which affect the judiciary in our country. The very next day after the Secretary of State had introduced this bill, he received this condemnation at the hands of his leader. The Prime Minister, speaking in this house on June 19, 1935, as reported on page 3810 of Hansard, was saying that we should respect the judgments of the privy council, and that therefore we could not go too far in this new order and with these new reforms that the government was bringing in. These were his words:
That is why I have said that in the ultimate analysis we always have to depend upon the conclusions and decisions of the courts. That is why in the end, if we are a law abiding people who believe in reform and not in revolution, we must proceed precept by precept, line upon line, to the end that in an orderly and legal manner we may accomplish the ends we have in mind.
Here we have a condemnation by the leader of the government of the proceedings of the Secretary of State in introducing his bill, which strikes at the very root of our judicial institutions. Again, speaking in this house on June 20, 1935, the Prime Minister said, as reported at pages 3820 and 3821 of Hansard- he was referring to the capital structure of the Canadian National Railways:
I desire on that ground to make it clear why I do not desire until this litigation is disposed of any disturbance in the capital structure.
He was referring to the capital structure of the Canadian National Railways and he wanted us to refrain from doing anything while the litigation was before the privy council. Certain matters have been dealt with in accordance with the legislation enacted last year and because Chief Justice
Marketing Act-Mr. Weir (Meljort)
Greensliields has decided contrary to the wishes of friends of the hon. gentleman we are being asked to remedy this supposed grievance. I think if we did that we would be going beyond the powers of this parliament; we would 'be undermining our institutions and our judiciary. We would be going against the courts for which the right hon. gentleman who leads the government has so much respect. I think the hon. gentleman, should have remembered that when a judgment is rendered there is always forty-eight hours in which to criticize or, if I may use the expression, damn the judge. He should have let it go at that; he should have remained quiet and taken his licking in good humour. That is the only way in which the hon. gentleman should have acted.
When one has a following in a riding it is very difficult not to yield to their demands and requests. Should this bill pass, the hands of the judge would be tied and he would not be able to render a decision as the law now provides it should be rendered. If this bill is passed the general effect will be that the chief justice will be deprived of the right to comment upon the evidence which the registrar has accepted as sufficient. If this bill becomes law we may have every reason to expect that after June 29 the registrar will again adopt his old practice and will strike off the names of a large number of electors upon grounds which the chief justice has already declared to be insufficient. This action will be taken without any possible means of redress by the electors concerned.
This bill is obviously designed to meet a case which has arisen in the particular riding represented by the hon. member for St. Law-rence-St. George. In this riding the names Objected to number 4,000 while the total number of electors is about 24,000. If the hon. gentleman and his friends have their way, one-sixth of the electors in this constituency will be disqualified from voting. I think in this case we would do well to follow the example set by the right hon. gentleman in his speeches of June 19 and 20 when he said that it would be better to abide by the conclusions and decisions of the court. He said that we should leave the matter at that because that was the only way in which we could obtain and accomplish what we had in mind in an ordinary and legal manner.
I think the amendment proposed by the hon. member for Shelburne-Yarmouth (Mr. Ralston) should be accepted, as it makes it clear that the legislation sponsored by the hon. member for St. Lawrence-St. George
would not affect the present cases which are awaiting the decision of Chief Justice Green-shields.
Amendment (Mr. Ralston) negatived on division.
Section as amended agreed to.
Section 2 agreed to.
On motion of Mr. Bennett the house adjourned at 9.30 p.m.
Monday, June 24, 1935
Topic: DOMINION FRANCHISE ACT
Subtopic: EVIDENCE IN APPEAL, TO JUDGE FROM RULING OF REGISTRAR OF ELECTORS