June 21, 1920

UNION

Hugh Guthrie (Minister of Militia and Defence; Solicitor General of Canada)

Unionist

Mr. GUTHRIE:

That would only be a

basis; nothing more.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DOMINION FRANCHISE ACT.
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

If he takes

those lists as a basis for federal purposes, does he mean to say that he will not save thousands of dollars?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DOMINION FRANCHISE ACT.
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UNION

Hugh Guthrie (Minister of Militia and Defence; Solicitor General of Canada)

Unionist

Mr. GUTHRIE:

I would have to appoint the enumerators under this clause just the same.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DOMINION FRANCHISE ACT.
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Why, they

would not have the work to do. They would take those lists as a basis and either add to or subtract from them as the case might be. But my hon. friend will' not adopt the method I advocate.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DOMINION FRANCHISE ACT.
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UNION

Hugh Guthrie (Minister of Militia and Defence; Solicitor General of Canada)

Unionist

Mr. GUTHRIE:

I cannot take the municipal list as a basis; I am free to say that.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DOMINION FRANCHISE ACT.
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Let us, then, understand each other. My hon. friend, although he talks about provincial lists, does not intend to take, as a basis for federal purposes, lists which are prepared by the assessors of the different municipalities and revised by the courts of revision and which are available in printed form year by year irrespective of any election. We say that he should accept those lists for three reasons. In the first place, the list are prepared, not by partisans but by regular officers of the municipality, in whom the electors have confidence. Secondly, all the work has already been done, and duplication, which is wholly unnecessary, could be avoided by their adoption; and, in the third place, power is left with the Government, if these lists are not complete, to add or take from them.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DOMINION FRANCHISE ACT.
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UNION
LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

it will involve the Dominion in expenses running into millions of dollars which should be saved at this time. More than that, lists prepared in that way will create a lack of confidence in the results of any election that may take place under them and will add to the unrest that exists in this country in matters appertaining to Government and the authority of Government. What we on this side are trying to do is to restore in the public mind confidence in our parliamentary institutions; for that is the chief essential in Canada today. It is needed above everything else, not only here but elsewhere. Nothing is more necessary in the world to-day than confidence in government. Parliamentary institutions have been shaken to their very foundations through the war; and it has been by means of such machinery ias the War-time Elections Act that the confidence of the people in this Parliament has been undermined. We now say to the Government: You have an opportunity to-day to restore public confidence in our parliamentary institutions, and you can do much if you will be honest and straightforward and give to the public lists which they can see for themselves are fair and just, lists that avoid duplication and create no shadow of mistrust one way or the other. That is why we at this time stand strongly on this question, and say to hon. gentlemen opposite, as forcibly as we can, that they owe it to the country to see that no step is avoided to-day which will help tp restore the confidence of the people in their political institutions. 'If the people have not confidence in Parliament and in the representatives whom they send to Parliament; if they are led to believe that representatives returned here come in by means of some fradulent machinery operated by creatures of the Government, who have prepared lists that will send certain representatives to this House, you are -imply paying the way to an unrest such as has not been known in years past. The people are dissatisfied with this Government and with Parlianent. They want a new Parliament; but they want a new Parliament chosen under lists which they believe to be fair and just and right. And I say again to my hon. friend that he has an opportunity to-day to restore the confidence of the people in our parliamentary institutions. If he does not take steps to do SO' he will have not only to shoulder responsibility for neglect when he faces the people at the polls, but also re-

sponsibility for all kinds of possible evil consequences.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DOMINION FRANCHISE ACT.
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UNION

John Hampden Burnham

Unionist

Mr. BURNHAM:

Do I understand that the leader of the Opposition, whilst having no confidence in this Parliament and particularly in those who sit on this side, has perfect confidence in the assessors and in the municipal lists? He has perfect confidence in the court of revision; he has perfect confidence in the assessors; he has perfect confidence in the Provincial Government-it is only this Parliament that is perfectly rotten.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DOMINION FRANCHISE ACT.
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Let me make my position perfectly plain. I want to show piy hon. friend that neither he nor I need have confidence in the municipal lists or in the provincial government, for the reason that we are reserving to this Government the right to revise all these lists. All we ask them to do is to take-'those lists as a basis for federal purposes. They are there in Mack and white, and if a man saw his name on 'the list he iwould know he was going to have a right to vote. He will not know the interpretation that my hon. friend is placing upon matters. The elector may think that as his nqme is on the provincial list it is not necessary to put it on any other list. But my hon. friend says no, we are going to have our own appointees to prepare the lists and the name of any man already on the list may be left off. As long .as you have the right to revise the list [DOT]what possible argument oan be offered against accepting the provincial list as a basis?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DOMINION FRANCHISE ACT.
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UNION
UNION

James Alexander Calder (Minister of Immigration and Colonization)

Unionist

Mr. CALDER:

I am afraid we are working at cross purposes. I'f I follow the leader oif the Opposition in bis argument, I understand his position to be that if we accept the municipal lists Of Ontario ae the basis for revision he will he satisfied. That is just what it means. IHow is that revision to take place; who its to doi the revising in so far as 'the rural districts lare concerned? Does the hon. gentleman mean that he is quite prepared to aeoept Ithe principal that the registrars or enumerators should be appointed for rural polls and these registrars should take these municipal ltotls as the basis of the new lists which are to be made? Does be mean' then that these lists must

be laiacepted and that they can only be altered toy having application made to add names to them or to have names struck off? Is that what the hon. gentleman means?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DOMINION FRANCHISE ACT.
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I mean that (these lists are to be taken ias the basis. If they are not correct then revision (should be made in accordance .with tihe provisions that are set forth in this Bill. The Bill provides Ifor icourts df revision in urban centres. It provides for judges who are not officers named Iby the Government but who are recognized by the community .as apart from politics.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DOMINION FRANCHISE ACT.
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UNION

James Alexander Calder (Minister of Immigration and Colonization)

Unionist

Mr. CALDER:

If I understand the hon. gentleman he is opposed to the appointment of any regis'tlrars or enumerators in so far as the rural polls in Ontario are concerned?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DOMINION FRANCHISE ACT.
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Certainly I am opposed to the appointment of enumerators or registrars wherever it iis possible to avoid dt. The Government has the machinery which Iwill enable dt to get rid of this dlass of special officer for the purpose of preparing electoral lislts. If they will accept the class of public official in whom itthe public have confidence for the purpose o>f revision I have no objection to any fair revision that is Carried out with officers of that class.

Mr. CALiDER: That system is not applicable to rural districts.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DOMINION FRANCHISE ACT.
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

It might be made applicable, and if these provincial lists are to be used as the basis and are made with that completeness with which they should be made under this Ontario Act there will be no difficulty in adopting that system. We have agreed to allow in rural districts a man whose name is not on the list to appear at the poll and, if he is vouched for by one individual on election day, cast his vote. If that right is given why should there be all the duplication of expense and the vast uncertainty involved in the preparation of a second list? One can only believe that the Government must be actuated by one of two reasons in the stand which it takes in regard to this matter. One is that the Government wants a lot of patronage at election time so as to be able to give men little, petty jobs and cause them to fall into line. The other is that- they wish in some way to confuse the electors so that men who have been put on these provincial lists will think their names are still on, but will find on election day that the provincial list is not used at all and that it is only the list

prepared by the registrar that is to be used as the basis for voting. Anything that is going to create a lack of confidence or a lack of certainty in the mind of the electorate is going to lead to the feeling that Parliament is not truly representative of the will of the people. Anything that the Government can do to establish confidence and to effect economy in the preparation of the voters' lists is most- necessary at this time.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DOMINION FRANCHISE ACT.
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L LIB

Hyacinthe-Adélard Fortier

Laurier Liberal

Mr. FORTIER:

I am of the opinion that in so far as it is possible the lists of each province should be adopted as final. They are recognized as fair and just. I am led to this conclusion because of the circumstances in the constituency which I represent. In my opinion the list of each province should be adopted as final for federal purposes and we should get rid of enumerators or registrars. My reason for this proposition is that I recognize the lists of each province as fair and just and that they have been carefully prepared by the proper authority in each province. By adopting these provincial lists we will save great expense and in the end we will have a fair list. TheActing Solicitor General tells us that the Government want to adopt provincial lists as a basis for the federal lists in each constituency. I do not understand what he means by our adopting those lists as a basis; does he want us to believe that these lists will be taken as original lists? Take for example a list that has been prepared in the province of Quebec and on which the names of men only appear as voters. Then I say that if there are 200 names on this list the enumerator or the registrar will be called upon to place on that list at least 100 or 150 names of women. I do not think that in such circumstances that you could possibly take the list prepared in the province of Quebec as a basis for the federal voters' lists. I have been opposed to woman suffrage; I am still opposed to it and I think the public sentiment of the province of Quebec is against it. In the preparation of these federal lists I think we should look to what has already been decided upon by each province in respect to this list and adopt the provincial lists as final.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DOMINION FRANCHISE ACT.
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UNI L

Frederick Forsyth Pardee

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. PARDEE:

Would the minister not consider the fact that in the final analysis if this list having your own board or appointees to hear the appeals you would be amply protected? As I understand it, the lists in Nova Scotia are called provincial lists, while the lists in Ontario are called muni-

cipal lists. They are the same thing. It you were to take the provincial lists as they are now, no matter hy what name you call them, and you appoint your own board to revise those lists how can the Government possibly be prejudiced? Would the minister not be saved a lot of trouble by simply accepting those lists? Let them be treated as the lists for federal purposes and let us go on using them. It appears to me that would be the proper thing to do. The minister says we are not very far apart and yet we are. When we come to analyse the matter, it simply means that the whole difference is as between a provincial list and a municipal list; but if upon that municipal list elections are to be held the only difference between us now is the fact that such lists are municipal lists until an election is held upon them. Then they are regarded as provincial lists. Well, in what respect does that matter, because the whole of the necessary process has been gone through to put them in the shape of provincial lists and they are only municipal lists in name only. The sole difference between us appears to be that an election must be held upon them.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DOMINION FRANCHISE ACT.
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UNION

Hugh Guthrie (Minister of Militia and Defence; Solicitor General of Canada)

Unionist

Mr. GUTHRIE:

There is more than

that.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DOMINION FRANCHISE ACT.
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UNI L

Frederick Forsyth Pardee

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. PARDEE:

Let me suggest to the minister that if he appoints his own board, if he revises those lists-after having been already revised under the Ontario Act- surely he has riveted, and doubly riveted- every advantage he could possibly have, and furthermore he is saving a lot of trouble and expense. He will have the power to add to or subtract from that list; and furthermore, as pointed out by the leader of the Opposition, where an elector has been left off the list one man can now vouch for him and enable him to vote. I cannot see the force of the ministers argument. I cannot see what objection there can be to saying that these lists shall be provincial lists after they have been completed by the municipalities and that they shall then be regarded as Ontario lists.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DOMINION FRANCHISE ACT.
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June 21, 1920