Charles Gavan Power
Mr. C. G. POWER (Quebec South):
may say this, that as chairman of the committee I have no greater authority than any other member of the committee. I presume in this house to be only the spokesman for the committee, and my duty is to lay before the house, in case a question comes up, what were the views of the committee on matters which were brought before it.
In this particular instance, last year in the report it was decided to abrogate section 9 of the Dominion Elections Act. The report was laid on the table here, and it was decided not to act upon it during the course of last session. During the course of this session a great deal of time was taken up by discussion of other matters. At the last meeting the general committee came to the conclusion that it was not expedient at this session of parliament to consider even the amendments which had been adopted last year, so that no debate or discussion took place on the particular suggestion of my hon. friend.
May I say that in the committee of 1929 there was considerable discussion just on this very point, and I might go further and say that some of the members who at one time or another have been most emphatic in their condemnation of this section were not quite so sure last year that it should be taken from the act. In fact, though it was incorporated in the report, it was not by any means the definite conclusion of the committee that this section should be taken out. I am going to give my own personal opinion, which is that had the members of the committee been perfectly sure that legislation was to be enacted in the sense of taking section 9 out of the act at the last session of parliament, there would
Dominion Elections Act
have been very much more difficulty in having such a suggestion placed in the report. The very persons, as I said before, who have discussed this matter most frequently, are not quite sure that the repeal will save the purpose which they intended it should serve.
Under the circumstances, though I personally have not the slightest objection nor do I know that any member of the committee has any objection, I believe that unless the matter is further discussed and further studied it would be well for us not to take any action upon this suggestion during this session