It may be, but all these Acts are in the statutes and can be hunted up and read without spreading them on 35 pages of ' Hansard.' Neither will I attempt to discuss the thin-red-line scandal which has been paraded not only before this House but up and down the country and spread on the newspapers of the country for the last four years. I think I am right when I state that the thin-red-line campaign has complet-ly collapsed in this debate. It does appear to me to be very strange indeed that gentlemen occupying very important positions in connection with the Conservative party, after making such a campaign on this thin-red-line, should have utterly abandoned it in the speeches which were delivered by the hon. the leader of the opposition (Mr. R. L. Borden) and the hon. member for Prince Edward county (Mr. Alcorn).
Neither will I make any serious attempt to show the necessity of clause 1 of the Bill, which is now before the House for consideration. The Minister of Justice (Mr. Aylesworth) performed tnat duty so successfully, so exhaustively and so completely, that it does appear to me that there is nothing left for either side of the House to state with respect to that clause. There is, however, one feature of the Bill which has not been brought to the attention of the House by the Minister of Justice, perhaps because he does not feel in respect to that feature as I do, and perhaps because I stand alone ; but my feeling has always been that in a growing country like the province of Manitoba there should be only one revision of the voters' lists and that immediately preceding an election. We have in the province of Manitoba and other western provinces a great many people coming from the province of Ontario, the maritime provinces and the province of Quebec, who are good citizens of the Dominion of Canada and who have a perfect right, in my judgment, to reflect their opinion on political matters when an election comes around. I think also that the one year provision with respect to residents should sufficiently qualify an Englishman, a British subject coming from England, to become an elector in the province of Manitoba. The naturalization laws are sufficient, I think, to protect the native-born people and the Canadian citizens from undue influence from alien quarters.
Another objection that we feel in the province of Manitoba with respect to these annual personal revisions of the lists and registration, is the tremendous expense involved. It is simply impossible for either party to secure a completed list in the province of British Columbia or Manitoba without of a very large annual expenditure, and l have thought that when all purposes will
be properly served by a revision immediately before an election, this will be the best course.
The Minister of Justice stated yesterday that the province of Manitoba anticipated an election by certain legislation in 1906. He did not put it in that way but that is the meaning I got from it. It is not the only occasion on which the legislature of the province of Manitoba anticipated a Dominion election by legislation. Mr. Hugh John Macdonald, during the short period of his premiership of the province of Manitoba, I think in 1900, passed a Franchise Act in many respects containing a good deal of merit. It provided, among other things, an educational qualification. No man was allowed to vote under that Act unless he was able to read or write in one of five languages, English, French, German, Scandinavian, or Icelandic. Under that condition and under that clause of the Act, no matter how well a Galician was educated in his own language, it was impossible for him to vote. The result was that a Galician, no matter how well educated he was in his own language, was not able to qualify himself for the franchise unless he was able to establish that right in one of these five languages.
Subtopic: DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT AMENDMENT.