As a representative from the province of Ontario, I desire to register my personal protest, in the strongest possible terms, against the insult placed by this government on that province. Surely the government are not going to cast this stigma on the province of Ontario of declaring that its provincial government and officials are not to be trusted and that they are incompetent to compile fair and reasonable lists which may be used both in Dominion and provincial elections. I am not aware of any ground for this particular clause in this Bill except that in the opinion of hon. gentlemen opposite, a province, presided over by a Conservative cabinet, cannot be trusted to make up its own voters' lists. The justification for this Bill must be some wrong which requires a remedy. Well, what is the wrong? We have no information on that score. We have had no specific allegations made to the House by the government or any member of it, not even bv the Minister of Justice. Then why should Ontario be treated in a different manner from the other provinces? It has been stated in a general way that dissatisfaction exists with regard to the lists in northern Ontario, which were prepared for the purpose of the provincial elections on June 8 last. Well, I suppose that a certain degree of dissatisfaction will always exist against the party which has the making up of the election lists. The Minister of Justice told us that certain information had come to him by letters and other written communications, and that certain Irregularities were said to have existed in ceitain polling divisions in the northern territory. But he gave no detailed information to prove these charges. Speaking on that subject, at page 8101 of ' Hansard,' on May 5 last, he said :
I do not know and do not suppose any one can know without the taking of evidence whether or not that state of things, as so described, does exist or not.
But no evidence was taken, and the taking of evidence was the very proper means, as pointed out by the minister himself, by which the House might have been informed whether the legislation now proposed is necessary. It has been said that certain Mr. W. WRIGHT.
appeals were, in some nebulous manner, not particularly described, impeded in respect of the lists made up in northern Ontario last June. That objection however can have no force. /If the judges did, in one instance, or possibly two, certify lists as to which appeals had not been heard, that did not impede going on with the appeals in the ordinary and proper way and holding courts of revision and disposing of any appeals that any person chose to make. Whether the list had been placed in use for provincial purposes or not did not prevent the courts of revision from going on and appeals being had in the regular way for the purposes of a Dominion election. Now, as this Bill must be based upon some wrong requiring a remedy, one would have supposed that the remedy applied would be commensurate with the wrong complained of. I have heard no specific complaint other than that the lists in one or two instances were certified by the judge before the time for appeal expired. It seems to me that, if the government, in their unwisdom, conceive it necessary to bring in such a measure as this covering the whole ground of the preparation of lists, their revision and bringing them into force, they entirely overstepped the wrong of which they are complaining. Their proper course would be to take such measures with the Ontario government as would induce that government to right any such wrong as that to which I have alluded; and if that course was not effective, if the Ontario government refused upon proper representation being made, to right the wrong, then a Bill might be brought in covering the. irregularities which the government might be able to prove to exist. But it seems to me that the revolutionizing of the whole electoral courts in northern Ontario and imposing upon that portion of the province entirely new lists, with all the attendant labour and expense- and, it seems to me in trying to work out the particulars, hardly workable at all-cannot be justified as commensurate with the wrong of wThich the government complains.
At one o'clock, committee took recess.
Committee resumed at'three o'clock.
On section 1,
Topic: DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT-AMENDMENT.