William John MACDONALD

MACDONALD, The Hon. William John

Parliamentary Career

Most Recent Speeches (Page 5 of 230)


April 13, 1915

Mr. MACDONALD:

I think my suggestion is a reasonable one. I.want to say a word now about another matter, and not in any critical sense. We have heard a great deal

to-day about trusting the officers, but yesterday all day we listened to hon. gentlemen on the other side justify their report in regard to the shoes which were furnished to our soldiers, by basing all their speeches on the contention that the report of 75 or 100 regimental boards throughout this country were not worth the paper they were written on, because, forsooth, these men who were sworn to defend their King and country were going about and holding these boards for the mere purpose of getting new boots for the soldiers. It is ratheT a sudden change in doctrine for hon. gentlemen opposite to come down to-day and tell us that we should trust these officers. Certainly I am prepared to trust them the same as I would trust any other decent citizen of this country, with proper limitations; but we have to make laws here for all classes. I regard the military * officers as honourable men, and I regret that hon. gentlemen opposite did not so regard them yesterday. If the minister will only go a little further and give us a sane amendment to this law, so as to provide for a sane system of voting in Great Britain and in Bermuda, he will be carrying out to a legitimate conclusion my proposition to which he has given assent.

Topic:   COMMuNS
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April 13, 1915

Mr. MACDONALD:

There are notaries

public in both England and Bermuda.

Topic:   COMMuNS
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April 13, 1915

Mr. MACDONALD:

Yes, but this is a Bill giving the instructions for the parties who are going to take the vote. Where you have a section like section 2 which deals with the whole voting under these exceptional circumstances, the expression of the method means the exclusion of the more general method contained in the Dominion Elections Act.

I would also like to point out that this section provides .for the volunteer who desires to vote:

In the presence of the said officer, but in such a manner as not to disclose to the officer how he is voting. I

I would like to know how this is possible. The Dominion Elections Act provides that a person who wants to mark his ballot shall go into a separate apartment away from the officer and scrutineers and make his mark there, and there is absolute secrecy. There cannot be absolute secrecy here. Fancy the situation in which a vote of this kind will be taken. You have the commanding officer of the company or squadron, as the case may be, in a tent at the front, and you have his table in the centre of .the tent. Where is the soldier going to go in that tent for the purpose of marking his ballot so that the officer cannot see what he is doing?

These two points seem to me to be entirely weak. If the wish is to preserve the secrecy of the ballot, you are trying to provide an impossibility, in view of the conditions under which the vote would be taken. In the second place, in my judgment, the provisions of the Dominion Elections Act would not apply to the illiterate voter, for all the directions are contained in the Bill, and this would not be covered without some express declaration.

Topic:   COMMuNS
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April 13, 1915

Mr. MACDONALD:

There are a great

many deputy returning officers who will say that this legislation does not provide for candidates' representatives. It would be wise if the minister would draw up some section to meet the suggestion of my right hon. friend to provide for two agents of the same political party as the representatives for alii the candidates who may be voted for at the .same poll.

Topic:   UUIYLIVLUJNH
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April 13, 1915

Mr. MACDONALD:

There should go with that the correlative provision that the military authorities shall see that facilities are provided to enable the volunteer to vote at the poll to which he is assigned.

Topic:   UUIYLIVLUJNH
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