It is not necessary for
any one to put words into my mouth. I know what I want to say, and I propose saying it in my own way. If I were disposed to do so, I might say that I think the winning of the election will have a great deal to do with the winning of the war. However, the question we are discussing to-
night is the Franchise Act. I do not agree with all the features of the Franchise Bill now before the House. I can-9 p.m. not bring myself to believe that disfranchising anybody is a good policy or is a necessary policy for winning the war. During the local election held a short time -ago in Saskatchewan, that question was up rather strongly, brought about principally by my hon. friend from North Simeoe (Mr. Currie). I took a strong -stand then against disenfranchising anybody, and I do not propose to change m-y views on the subject, and on this occasion, in spite of the ill-natured remarks-as I take them to be-of my hon. friend from Humboldt (Mr. Neely) this afternoon, I intend to support h-is amendment. During this debate I have on two occasions voted in favour of the closure, and I did so feeling absolutely certain that as we are right at the closing of the term of Parliament, unless the closure were adopted this Bill would never have got through at all, and there would be no Election Act whatever, and we would be in a state of confusion. Judging by the bright speeches which have been made during the last two or three weeks under closure, better debates have taken place than when every member was given all the latitude he chose to take. My judgment is that many men on both sides of the House on this occasion have put as much into twenty minutes as would be put into an hour's- and very often into two hours' discussion without closure. It seems to me when the next Parliament meets it would not be a bad idea, whichever party is in power, to take up the question of curtailing discussions in this House, -and so shorten the -sessions, that we may not be here -six, or seven, or eight months.
This Bill, as I look :at it, is mo-re or less of a party Bill. It could not be otherwise. It is brought in by one party. I think I am fair in saying that it i-s introduced more for winning the war than -tar -any advantage to the Conservative party, because if my hon. friends on the other side of the House think the Bill will help them win elections for many years to come in the West, they are labouring under a delusion. However, whose fault -is it that the Bill is brought in -as -a party measure? I -think it is only fair to say that the right hon. leader of the Government has made every effort to have a union or national Government to bring in this measure. I feel th-at -a much better measure could have -been prepared by -a union or national Government. At the same time, I do not think it is the fault of
the present 'Government that we have not a national government to introduce this measure. In my judgment a national government would be better than any party government could possibly be during the war, and I am satisfied if we had a national government there would have been no necessity for disfranchising anybody. I would have preferred to put the matter squarely before all classes of people and take my chances. Possibly, by disfranchising certain diasses of people, we may help win the war. This Bill may help elect a win-the-Wiar government, but I am not so sure of that, and for what little advantage there may be in it I do not thinx it was worth while. If I understood my hon. friend from Edmonton (Mr. Oliver) rightly this afternoon, he likened us twenty-six Liberals who had voted for conscription to Judases.
Topic: WAR-TIME ELECTIONS ACT.
Subtopic: MOTION FOR THIRD READING DISCUSSED UNDER RUDE 17B.