June 30, 1924

LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Pietou):

Does my hon. friend agree that it is desirable that there should be a ballot in some form?

Topic:   UNITED CHURCH OF CANADA
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PRO
LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Pietou):

Does not

the hon. member think it is the fairest method of obtaining an expression of opinion?

United Church of Canada

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PRO

Agnes Campbell Macphail

Progressive

Miss MACPHAIL:

I wished to clear up

what I thought was a misunderstanding in regard to the absentee voters of British Columbia.

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LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Pictou):

I only cited that case as an instance of the fact that voting by ballot was extended to those who were unable to be at their proper place when the opinion of the congregation was sought, and the proper place according to my hon. friend would be the church.

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PRO

Thomas Wakem Caldwell

Progressive

Mr. CALDWELL:

When the Minister of

National Defence speaks of "the secret ballot" may I suggest to him that ballots sent in by mail are not secret because the voter must sign his name to the ballot and 4 p.m. do so in the presence of a witness. On the other hand those assembled at a meeting can mark their ballots yea or nay and do not have to sign their name to them. Consequently the latter procedure is more secret.

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LIB
LIB
PRO

Thomas Wakem Caldwell

Progressive

Mr. CALDWELL:

I was not saying that.

I was simply pointing out to the minister that this is not a secret ballot.

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LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Pictou):

All we are

asking for is fair play; that the church should not desert the method which it has adopted and ratified in the past in determining who should be elders of the church, and the method which, on two distinct occasions in the past, it used for the taking of a vote on the question of union. The hon. member for Lunenburg (Mr. Duff) informs me that the assembly recommended that an expression of opinion in regard to this question should be taken by ballot; but when the legal gentlemen framed I Mr. E. M. Macdonald.]

the bill, they excluded that provision. Why should we not say that the well-recognized practice of the church should be followed, by which a member should indicate on the ballot what his views are in regard to the question and then sign the ballot, so that the people who have to do with the taking of the vote may know that that member has a right to vote. Surely, you can trust the session of the church-I am wdlling to do that in each particular church-to determine the accuracy of the vote and the question whether the party who sends in a ballot has a right to vote or not.

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PRO

John Millar

Progressive

Mr. MILLAR:

Would the hon. member

favour confining this ballot to those resident in the district? As I understand the amendment now, the ballot would go to those who, perhaps, moved away years before, whose names are still on the church register, but whose homes are permanently somewhere else.

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LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Pictou):

The hon.

member for Lunenburg says that the act provides in the way the hon. member suggests, but not his amendment. I should think that every person who was a regular member of any particular congregation, would have a right to vote in that congregation. Tht course usually adopted in the church is this, that where one is a member of a particular church and moves to some other locality, he takes a certificate from the church with which he has been connected and becomes identified with the church in the locality to which he goes to reside.

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PRO
LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Pictou):

I am perfectly willing, and surely my hon. friend is willing to trust the session and elders on that point. I have in my own county a congregation in the country where the people are provided wtih religious services for a distance of ten miles. If a person that lived ten miles away, owing to the day being stormy, or owing to illness, or a death in the family or some other cause was unable to go to the meeting, he would be deprived of his vote. Surely it '}[DOT]* reasonable 'to ask that there be embodied in this bill a provision that every recognized member of the church should be given a reasonable method of expressing his or her view. That is not an unfair proposition. If the promoters of the bill are hopeful of bringing about anything like a union, such as so many of them cherish and conceive is possible, they are throwing very grave and serious difficulties in the way of the attainment of

United Church oj Canada

their object if they fail to give fair play and reasonable consideration to every one who is entitled to vote, to enable him to express his opinion in a well recognized way and in accordance with the practice that has obtained in this and every other institution in the country in the matter of expression of views. I am astounded to think that the promoters of 'this bill should want to adhere to the proposition that nobody shall be allowed to indicate what his views are in regard to this important matter if he happens to be prevented on account of some sufficient cause, from attending a meeting on a certain day. I am sure every hon. gentleman's sense of fair play would at once bring him to consider the reasonableness of the contention that the law clerk should be permitted to draw up a clause which would recognize that principle. 7'hat is all we ask.

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CON

Arthur Edward Ross

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROSS (Kingston):

Can a member be a registered communicant of more than one church? He can take communion in more than one church.

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LIB

Edward Mortimer Macdonald (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACDONALD (Pictou):

I understand that a person is admitted to the membership of the Presbyterian church in some particular church. If he leaves that church and goes away, a certificate to the fact that he is a member accompanies him to the place to which he goes and entitles him to recognition as a member of the church in that particular locality.

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CON

Arthur Edward Ross

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROSS (Kingston):

He connot be a

member in that church without that Certificate?

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LIB
CON
PRO

Thomas George McBride

Progressive

Mr. McBRIDE:

I do not think the time

of this House should be taken up any longer on this question. It was very fully gone into in the committee, and after it was gone into very fully, clause 10 was adopted by that committee. We heard arguments in that committee on both sides so why take up the time of the House on this question? Let us have a vote.

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June 30, 1924