May 14, 1903 (9th Parliament, 3rd Session)


The MINISTER OF FINANCE (Hon. W. S. Fielding) moved :

That a Select Committee, composed of Messrs. Charlton, Casgrain, Russell, Barker, Demers (St. John and Iberville), Northrup, Thompson (Haldimand), and Ingram, and the mover, be appointed to consider the state of the laws respecting Dominion elections ; with power to report from time to time. And that the order respecting Bill No. 3, intituled : ' An Act to amend the Dominion Elections Act, 1900,' be discharged ; and that the said Bill be referred to the said committee.
He said : Mr. Speaker, at an earlier stage in the session a discussion arose on the election law in connection with a Bill introduced by the hon. member for North Norfolk (Mr. Charlton). In the course of that discussion I ventured to suggest that if any good could be accomplished in the way of improving the election law, it might be possible to bring it about by the appointment of a committee representing both sides of the House which would study the subject and which would probably then be able to make a report to the House. That suggestion found general favour, and after consultation with the hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. Borden, Halifax) I placed this motion on the notice paper. I am by no means too confident that we can reform all the evils which are sometimes mentioned in connection with elections. I am afraid that some of them lie more deeply than legislation, and that in respect to some of them we would have to reform human nature before we could entirely remove them. However, I think that no harm could possibly result but that some good may come of the study of this question by a joint committee in the manner suggested. Therefore without further words, i beg to move that a committee be appointed for the purpose named. I move the motion which stands in my name.

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