April 6, 1926 (15th Parliament, 1st Session)

PRO

Donald MacBeth Kennedy

Progressive

Mr. KENNEDY:

Mr. Milner who was
acting for Mr. Collins. Instead of this they appealed to a Supreme court judge to have the poll at Paddle River, where the vote stood Collins, 11; Kennedy, 87; Rae, 5, thrown out, and 103 voters disfranchised on the technical ground that the deputy returning officer was not properly sworn in. It appears that the commissioner was not present when the deputy signed the oath form. In any event with sixty days in which to act under the Controverted Elections Act nothing was done by the Conservatives.
However a petition against my return has been filed in the Supreme Court of Alberta under the Controverted Elections Act by J. B. Page of Coalspur, through the legal firm of the hon. member for Athabaska (Mr. Cross).
If the Conservatives have now any desire to act and Page fails to press his petition I am informed that they can do so.
The petition charges me with everything the election act prohibits and asks that I be completely disfranchised. In view of this fact, even if I were otherwise disposed to resign I would not do so until the matter was disposed of. If no one else does so, I fully intend to press for action in this matter as soon as this session is over.
But, Mr. Speaker, I cannot resign. Chapter 11, section 8, of the Revised Statutes of Canada 1906, reads as follows:
No member shall tender his resignation while his election is lawfully contested, or until after the ex-

Privilege-Mr. Kennedy (Peace River)
piration of the time during which it may by law be contested on other grounds than corruption or bribery.
Until this petition is disposed of I intend to assume all the responsibilities and exercise all the privileges of a member of the House of Commons. I do not wish, however, to take shelter behind the petition or the law. I would refuse to resign even if there were no petition. I would not resign if I could and could not if I would. And let me say to that section of the press that has alternately flattered and threatened me during these last few days: I do not value their praise nor
fear their threats. I defy them.
There is a bigger question involved than the Peace River seat or the government in power. Northern Alberta has come through an election that has shown the existence of elements that must be rooted out of our political contests if respect for our parliamentary institutions is to remain. The chief question is how to do this. If I can help, neither the loss of the Peace River seat nor even disfranchisement would worry me in the least degree. And let me say that if this end can be served by unseating me, I will hold no grudge against anyone taking action to do so.

Topic:   STATEMENT REGARDING IRREGULARITIES IN PEACE RIVER ELECTION
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