April 23, 1920

UNION

Henry Arthur Mackie

Unionist

Mr. H. A. MAOKIE:

Does the hon. member suggest that the candidate can recommend to the returning officer those whom be would like to have appointed as officials for the taking of the poll?

Topic:   DOMINION FRANCHISE ACT.
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L LIB
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Mr. H. A. MACK IE@

In the case of a large constituency, .how would the returning officer know who would be proper persons to appoint as enumerators, poll clerks, and so on, at the different divisions?

Topic:   DOMINION FRANCHISE ACT.
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L LIB
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Mr. H. A. MACK IE@

The way it has been done in the past is for the candidate to tell the returning officer who are the people that should be appointed in the different localities.

Topic:   DOMINION FRANCHISE ACT.
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L LIB

Arthur Bliss Copp

Laurier Liberal

Mr. COPP:

That is exactly the point I was making. It is by that method that irregularities creep in. My hon. friend gives the whole case away.

Topic:   DOMINION FRANCHISE ACT.
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Mr. H. A. MACK IE@

How would the returning officer himself know whom to appoint?

Topic:   DOMINION FRANCHISE ACT.
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L LIB

Arthur Bliss Copp

Laurier Liberal

Mr. COPP:

He would go and see for himself. In our province the high sheriff has had long experience in conducting elections, and knows the men in the different localities whom he can trust to discharge faithfully and impartially the duties of the different offices. That is the very, reason why I am supporting this amendment. My hon. friend is perhaps speaking from experience. Perhaps that is what happened to my hon. friend in the last election.

Topic:   DOMINION FRANCHISE ACT.
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Mr. H. A. MACK IE@

It did.

Topic:   DOMINION FRANCHISE ACT.
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L LIB

Arthur Bliss Copp

Laurier Liberal

Mr. COPP:

That means that the Union Government candidates in the next election will have the say in making appointments, and not the returning officer. The candidates will have the selection of the registrars who will make up the voters' lists, and it is only human nature to expect them to appoint friends of their own party. That is one of the very best reasons we could have for supporting this amendment, so that the conduct of the election shall be taken out of the hands of the candidates themselves.

Topic:   DOMINION FRANCHISE ACT.
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UNION

Thomas Wilson Crothers

Unionist

Mr. CROTHERS:

This is the first time, I think, that it has ever been contended in this House that the responsibility for the appointment of such an important officer should be abolished, for that is what the amendment means.

Topic:   DOMINION FRANCHISE ACT.
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L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

No.

Mr. CROTBER.S: Let us see. Suppose we pass a statute making it compulsory upon this Government to appoint a certain official, one .of those mentioned in the proposed amendment a sheriff, for instance. The sheriff goes wrong in the conduct of the election. Who is responsible? This

Government? No. This Government did not appoint him sheriff. He was appointed sheriff by the Government of British Columbia or some other province, and this Government would very properly say: We are not responsible for that fraudulent election; the sheriff was responsible; he took part in the fraud; we did not make him sheriff, and under an Act of this Parliament we were obliged to appoint him to the office he held. Now it must be obvious to every hon. gen-. tleman on the opposite side that if this amendment were adopted we should abolish entirely the responsibility that rests on this Government in the appointment of these officers. _What responsibility would the Government have if they appointed a man of their own choice who was not a sheriff and who proved incapable? They would be responsible both to this House and to the country for having appointed an inefficient man. But under my hon. friend's proposition they would be free from responsibility because they would be in a position to say-

Topic:   DOMINION FRANCHISE ACT.
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L LIB
L LIB

Henri Sévérin Béland

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BELAND:

If this proposal were adopted you think the wrong man would be elected.

Topic:   DOMINION FRANCHISE ACT.
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UNION
L LIB
UNION

Thomas Wilson Crothers

Unionist

Mr. CROTHERS:

I was about to say that it would be no answer to this Government's repudiation of responsibility to say that a man was appointed sheriff by the Government of Quebec or the Government of Ontario, or any other Government. This Government would be in a position to say: We are not responsible because we appointed an officer whom we were compelled to appoint under a statute passed by this House. My hon. friend (Mr. Copp) and the hon. member (Mr. Sinclair), said in substance that hon. members on this side of the House have expressed themselves as being in favour of the absolute abolition of patronage. That is not so. Patronage has not been absolutely abolished, and neither my hon. friends on the other side of the House-

Topic:   DOMINION FRANCHISE ACT.
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LIB
UNION

Thomas Wilson Crothers

Unionist

Mr. CROTHERS:

-nor hon. gentlemen on this side, have contended, so far as I know, that patronage should be absolutely abolished.

Topic:   DOMINION FRANCHISE ACT.
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L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

Our contention is that'you claim patronage to have been abolished, whereas in fact it has not.

Topic:   DOMINION FRANCHISE ACT.
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April 23, 1920