The Senate has returned this Bill with two amendments. By one of them it is provided that there shall be appointed by the Governor in Council six scrutineers, three on the nomination of the leader of the Opposition and three on the nomination of the Prime Minister. In substance these scrutineers are to be entitled to be present at all the operations connected with taking of the vote and to have all the powers that the representatives of candidates have at any poll held in this country. They are to have the additional power of appointing deputies who shall have all the same powers that they themselves have with the exception of the power of appointment. That is almost in the exact words, at all events it is clearly on the lines, of a clause that was put for-
ward tentatively by myself in this House with a view of endeavouring to meet what I had understood to be suggested by the leader of the Opposition. The amendment, however, goes farther than that and proposes to amend a provision that is made in the Bill as passed by this House respecting the notice to be given by the officers before taking the vote. That provision reads as follows:
At least eight days' notice in writing of the date and place where the vote of such volunteers will be taken shall be given to the said scrutineers by the 'regimental officer who will collect the votes as aforesaid, such notice to be addressed to such scrutineers in the care of the Secretary of the High Commissioner for Canada in London if the regimental officers are in Great Britain, to the care of the Canadian Commissioner in Paris if the said regimental, officers are in France, Belgium or Germany.
In my judgment this last provision makes the amendment as a whole unacceptable.
I think a brief reflection will make it clear that in so far at all events as the troops who may be on the continent of Europe are concerned, the operation of sending notice, that the ballots have reached the officer who is going to take the votes, back from that place to the office of the Canadian Commissioner in Paris in order that from that office there may be sent back to the place where the votes are going to be taken notice of the appointment of a scrutineer, creates a situation in which the delay may be so long that it may be impossible to have the voting put through. By reason [DOT]of the disposition in regard to this notice, it would be impossible to accept the amendment as suggested. This delay would be obviated by providing that the notice shall be given in a manner analogous to the method already provided in the Act as it passed this House, that is that there should be a notice to the company, and once you have provided for the appointment of the scrutineers it would seem to be quite proper that in addition special notice should be given to the scrutineer who would be on the spot. That will go much more rapidly and much more promptly. I shall have to move that this amendment, as it comes to us from the Senate be not concurred in but that the Bill be amended in effect so ' as to secure what is the real object of the appointment of these scrutineers and to make simpler and more direct the method of giving notice to them of the holding of the poll.
The second clause of the amendment proposes that there shall be inserted in the Bill a provision that no proceedings shall
be taken or had under sections 2 to 4 inclusive of this Act until a declaration has been obtained from the Secretary of State for War of Great Britain that a full and fair vote of such volunteers may be taken without prejudice to military discipline and without interference with the efficiency of military operations, and that the same be duly proclaimed in the Canada Gazette. For leasons that have already been given in this House upon the proposal of an amendment practically identical with this, it does not seem to me, ot to the Government, that this proposed amendment would be acceptable. Indeed, it does not seem to us that there is any reason why any action outside of the action of this Parliament in the ordinary course should be required to give effect to these particularsections. But we attach great importance to the passing into law of these sections of the Act and in order to avoid if possible their being defeated by an absolute refusal to concur in this amendment in full, and while we decline to accept this amendment, we are prepared to offer an alternative, the alternative being that in so far as these particular clauses are concerned, they shall not come into operation until assent tothem has been given by His Majesty inCouncil and that assent proclaimed in the Canada Gazette. It seems to us that if any outside authority should be required to
bring this Bill, or any part of it, into operation, other than the usual authority which sanctions the Acts of this Parliament, the only authority to whose assent it should be submitted is His Majesty himself. Therefor I beg to move:
That a message be sent to the Senate in. forming their Honours that this House doth not concur in the amendments made by Their Honours to Bill No. Ill, to enable Canadians on active military service during the present war to exercise their electoral franchise, and that this House doth propose in lieu thereof that this Bill be amended by adding to subsection 2 of section 2 the following:
There shall be appointed by the Governor in Council six scrutineers, three to be so appointed upon the nomination of the Prime Minister and three upon the nomination of the leader of the Opposition; such appointments to he made nothin ten days of such nominations respectively. One of each nomination may be present at the distribution of ballot papers and envelopes, the marking of affidavits, the marking of ballots, the closing of envelopes and the posting of the same, and may exercise all the rights which may under the Dominion Elections Act be exercised by candidates or their representatives at any poll. The actual travelling and living expenses of such scrutineers, at a rate to be fixed by the Governor in Council, may be paid out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund, and they shall be afforded facilities for
the performance of their duties. The said scrutineers may name such number of deputies as they may deem necessary, and said deputies shall have and be entitled to exercise the powers herein above conferred on said scrutineers ;
And that in subsection 2 of section 2, the following words be inserted after the word "votes" in line 10 of the second page:
And shall give, in addition to the general notice, a special notice to any person whose ap pointment as a deputy scrutineer under the provisions hereinafter made has been notified to him, and shall permit any scrutineer or deputy scrutineer so named to be present at said proceedings, in the absence of any such scrutineer or deputy scrutineer on behalf of either party.
And further that the Bill be amended by adding immediately after section 3 the following:
3A. sections 2 and 3 of this Act shall not come into force until a proclamation by His Majesty in Council declaring them to be in force shall be published in the Canada Gazette.
Subtopic: SOLDIERS' VOTING BILL.