It is the affidavit in the bill that I am discussing. I would not hesitate to strike out the fourth clause also. I also assume, however, that it is the earnest wish of everyone in the house that we should have a fair, clean election and abolish as far as possible personation which has become very prevalent in certain parts of Canada. For the purpose of doing so I submit that we should have some means of identifying the man who attempts personation or who actually personates someone else on election day. I am inclined to think we should all agree to the last clause. This will make an oath of two clauses, as follows:
(1) That I am a British subject of the full age of twenty-one years;
(2) That the signature which I have made to this deposition is in my usual handwriting, and is my true name.
"Signature" includes a mark, and anyone who cannot sign his name makes his mark, whether on a cheque, a contract or an affidavit. The only other suggestion is a technical one. At the bottom of the affidavit appear the words "justice of the peace." I would put there, "deputy returning officer or justice of the peace." If these two clauses are accepted I would withdraw paragraphs 2, 3 and 4, and just leave the one "I am a British subject of the full age of twenty-one years," and the other "I have signed this document and that is my handwriting." It was suggested yesterday that the effect might be to choke the poll if these affidavits were taken. I have ascertained that the number of parties sworn runs from only ten to twenty in any polling booth. The chief electoral officer seemed to think it would involve a great deal of printing as there are 35,000 polls and he would have to get out from ten to twenty affidavits for each poll. Well, that can be done. The oath is not a long one; it is a very short one, and it can be printed very readily, and if twenty or even fifty have to be supplied to each poll it would not clog up the poll because there cannot be more than three hundred names on the polling list for any division. I suggest that this is a simple way of remedying what has become a disgrace in some parts of Canada. In Ontario we call it plugging and personation, in Quebec they call it telegraphing. I know that it is the desire of all parties in this house
to stop that if we can do so, and this requirement that a person may be sworn and leave his signature for identification purposes will I think go a long way in stopping this thing happening.
Topic: DOMINION ELECTIONS ACT, 1934