March 11, 1955

LIB

James Allen (Jim) Byrne

Liberal

Mr. J. A. Byrne (Kooienay East):

I have no particularly strong feeling with respect to the adoption of this bill, Mr. Speaker.

Topic:   CANADA ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO PLACE POLITICAL AFFILIATION OF CANDIDATES ON BALLOT PAPERS
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LIB

Pierre Gauthier

Liberal

Mr. Gauthier (Portneuf):

I have.

Topic:   CANADA ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO PLACE POLITICAL AFFILIATION OF CANDIDATES ON BALLOT PAPERS
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LIB

James Allen (Jim) Byrne

Liberal

Mr. Byrne:

You have?

Topic:   CANADA ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO PLACE POLITICAL AFFILIATION OF CANDIDATES ON BALLOT PAPERS
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LIB

Pierre Gauthier

Liberal

Mr. Gauthier (Portneuf):

Yes.

Topic:   CANADA ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO PLACE POLITICAL AFFILIATION OF CANDIDATES ON BALLOT PAPERS
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LIB

James Allen (Jim) Byrne

Liberal

Mr. Byrne:

Perhaps that will be the factor that will determine how I shall vote.

Topic:   CANADA ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO PLACE POLITICAL AFFILIATION OF CANDIDATES ON BALLOT PAPERS
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?

An hon. Member:

You cannot decide for yourself.

Topic:   CANADA ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO PLACE POLITICAL AFFILIATION OF CANDIDATES ON BALLOT PAPERS
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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Knowles:

That was the deputy whip speaking.

Topic:   CANADA ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO PLACE POLITICAL AFFILIATION OF CANDIDATES ON BALLOT PAPERS
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LIB

James Allen (Jim) Byrne

Liberal

Mr. Byrne:

It amuses me somewhat to

hear members of the Social Credit party infer that Liberal party members might seek some advantage by using the name of the candidate of another party.

Topic:   CANADA ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO PLACE POLITICAL AFFILIATION OF CANDIDATES ON BALLOT PAPERS
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SC

Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. Low:

They have done it before.

Topic:   CANADA ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO PLACE POLITICAL AFFILIATION OF CANDIDATES ON BALLOT PAPERS
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LIB

James Allen (Jim) Byrne

Liberal

Mr. Byrne:

I wonder, then, what was the purpose behind the province appointing a minister of health and welfare whose name is the same as that of our illustrious Minister of National Health and Welfare (Mr. Martin). The most amazing part of this whole bill is that it is introduced by a member of the Social Credit party. I recall that back in 1952 or 1953, during one of the general elections in British Columbia, the hon. member

Canada Elections Act

for Macleod (Mr. Hansell) who is, as I understand it, the leader of the Social Credit Association of Canada-

Topic:   CANADA ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO PLACE POLITICAL AFFILIATION OF CANDIDATES ON BALLOT PAPERS
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SC

Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. Low:

He is the president.

Topic:   CANADA ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO PLACE POLITICAL AFFILIATION OF CANDIDATES ON BALLOT PAPERS
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LIB

James Allen (Jim) Byrne

Liberal

Mr. Byrne:

I stand corrected. The hon. member for Macleod is the president or leader-[DOT]

Topic:   CANADA ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO PLACE POLITICAL AFFILIATION OF CANDIDATES ON BALLOT PAPERS
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SC

Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. Low:

He is the president.

Topic:   CANADA ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO PLACE POLITICAL AFFILIATION OF CANDIDATES ON BALLOT PAPERS
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LIB

James Allen (Jim) Byrne

Liberal

Mr. Byrne:

All right, the president of the Social Credit Association of Canada; and that member has stated from time to time on the platform that social credit is not a political party. Now, what would appear on this ballot? Supposing the name was Ray Thomas; what would he put down at the bottom as his political affiliation? He would not be able to put anything because he does not belong to a political party. The statement of the hon. member for Macleod was that it was not a political party but something that came from the heart. What are they going to do, draw a picture of cupid on the ballot? What absolute nonsense.

Topic:   CANADA ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO PLACE POLITICAL AFFILIATION OF CANDIDATES ON BALLOT PAPERS
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PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. J. M. Macdonnell (Greenwood):

I And

myself considerably confused by this bill. My friends to the left have puzzled me often by their financial theories, but this elections bill bothers me, I think, just as much.

I want to remind the house, first of all, that I suppose the most individualistic and free enterprise thing that exists in life today is a political party. It is an association of friends. I believe it is true to say that you will find practically no reference in any statute to any kind of political party. It is just an association of friends, more or less like minded, who for reasons that are often mysterious to the rest of us join together and form what is called a party.

Topic:   CANADA ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO PLACE POLITICAL AFFILIATION OF CANDIDATES ON BALLOT PAPERS
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LIB-PRO

William Gilbert Weir (Parliamentary Assistant to the Prime Minister; Chief Government Whip; Whip of the Liberal Party)

Liberal Progressive

Mr. Weir:

Where did you get a copy of my speech?

Topic:   CANADA ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO PLACE POLITICAL AFFILIATION OF CANDIDATES ON BALLOT PAPERS
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PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Macdonnell:

I shall make mine very brief so the government whip will have time to make his.

The reference in the bill is to the name of the political party or interest represented by the candidate. I want to raise two questions there. "Or interest"; what does that mean? Does that mean lawyers or doctors or undertakers or anybody you like? What does it mean? Second, suppose on the eve of an election a couple of friends decide to form a new party. Let us call it the populist party or the XYZ party, anything you like. Suppose I were a candidate, and suppose the hon. member for Hastings-Frontenac (Mr. White) were the president. We form the party just before the election-find any grand name for it you like-and as I understand it, provided I get a certificate from my friend that

[Mr. Byrne.)

I am the recognized candidate of our party I may have myself put down as such on the ballot.

How many of these are there to be? Seriously speaking, it seems to me to verge on the fantastic. There is no definition of a political party; it merely says "political party or interest". What does that mean? I suggest this provision has not been very carefully thought through, and altogether it would appear as though it would create confusion. I cannot see how the electoral officer can be guided, because the situation I put forward is not a fantastic one. There may be only four parties now, but we might run into an election with 14 parties, and the electoral officer would have to carry out the directions of this provision. I do not know whether or not he would have any discretion but it seems to me that if anyone wanted to put up a joke, if anyone wanted to organize a party just before an election and make the whole thing foolish, this would open the door wide for him to do so. I am afraid I am going to have to ask to be allowed to vote against it.

Topic:   CANADA ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO PLACE POLITICAL AFFILIATION OF CANDIDATES ON BALLOT PAPERS
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LIB-PRO

William Gilbert Weir (Parliamentary Assistant to the Prime Minister; Chief Government Whip; Whip of the Liberal Party)

Liberal Progressive

Mr. W. G. Weir (Poriage-Neepawa):

I only want to say a word or two following the line of thought expressed by the hon. member for Greenwood (Mr. Macdonnell). There is one other possible development that might be difficult to take care of under this bill, and that is if a man changed his affiliation on the eve of an election. Suppose he ran under another banner; where would he be? My hon. friends of the Social Credit group, if they continue, might find that in some constituencies they have more than one candidate all trying to run under the Social Credit banner. Have they considered how they are going to differentiate between them?

I think the real point in this matter is that we are not elected here as parties, we are elected as individuals. The party is only used as the machinery for the election. The party is only used as an instrument for the election, and we are here as individuals. I do not see why the elections act should be changed to say that we are elected as party people.

Topic:   CANADA ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO PLACE POLITICAL AFFILIATION OF CANDIDATES ON BALLOT PAPERS
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CCF

Alfred Claude Ellis

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Claude Ellis (Regina City):

In view of the objections that have been raised to the bill, I think we could judge the effectiveness of this measure by the experience in parts of Canada that have legislation of this type. All of the objections that have been raised by previous speakers, and particularly the last two speakers, have not been borne out by experience in Saskatchewan. I think it is utterly ridiculous to suggest that all these imaginary faults will arise. We have conducted elections in Saskatchewan where the

name of the candidate and that of his party-have been on the ballot, and I do not think that form of ballot has in any way complicated the holding of the elections. I do not believe confusion has arisen in any circumstances from putting party labels on ballots; and I can recall several instances where, before party labels were placed on ballots, we did run into difficulties of that kind. For instance, mention has been made of two persons having similar names.

So I suggest in all seriousness that the objections raised against the bill are not sound. In some parts of Canada we have had this type of ballot, and nothing in their experience has indicated that the bill now before the house would bring about the difficulties envisaged by those opposing it.

Topic:   CANADA ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO PLACE POLITICAL AFFILIATION OF CANDIDATES ON BALLOT PAPERS
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LIB

Charles Gavan Power

Liberal

Hon. C. G. Power (Quebec South):

Mr. Speaker, at the risk of arousing the derisive laughter of my friends in the corner I think I should take the traditionalist view of this, and repeat what has been said by the hon. member for Greenwood (Mr. Macdonnell), that nowhere in our federal elections act is there any mention of any political party. In our experience in the past in trying to draft the elections act we have always carefully avoided mentioning political parties, and for the reason-you may laugh at it-that whatever we may do in practice, members of parliament are sent here to give our constituents the benefit of the best of our judgment and the best of our ability to determine what should be done in the interests of the country as a whole.

Except perhaps during the time when we were occupying the hustings, for many years we have done our best to say that we are non-partisan in our outlook on matters coming before us. It seems almost an insult to tell a man he is a politician. Now, under the guise of a great reform, we are asked to label ourselves as politicians. We will come here and, in the words of some statesman of long ago, we will be all for the party and none for the state.

It seems to me we have not reached the stage in this country where we are going to set up throughout the country political machines and political organizations to which members will become so attached that it will be very difficult for them to take an impartial and non-partisan view of matters coming before the house. If on the ballot paper itself an individual who proposes to become a member of parliament labelled himself, for the time during which he will be a member, as the supporter of such and such a party, it would be extremely difficult for him, both in conscience and in the view of his electors, to say that from now on he repudiates the

Canada Elections Act

pledge he made to his electors when he said he was a Liberal, a Conservative, a Social Crediter, or anything else you may mention.

Topic:   CANADA ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO PLACE POLITICAL AFFILIATION OF CANDIDATES ON BALLOT PAPERS
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March 11, 1955