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1528

COMMONS

this case, lie may do something to redress


the grievances of Dr. Burnham. I am not
quite satisfied with that. I think a little
stronger statement should be given, so that
Canadians, wherever they may be, may
realize to the full that they have behind
them at home a people, a Parliament and
a Government always keenly on the lookout
to see that they are properly safeguarded
and protected in both their persons and
their property.

through that machinery, to obtain justice


for one of our nationals, I look to the
British Foreign Office to redress the grievance of one of our citizens. By doing this
I am not parading in the highways and byways with a chip on my shoulder; I am
simply talking common sense and speaking
the language of a good Canadian.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. RODOLPHE LEMIEUX (Maisonneuve) moved:

Hon. RODOLPHE LEMIEUX (Maisonneuve) : Mr. Speaker-

For a copy of the special report made by Dr.


Burnham on the treatment by the Serbian Government of the Canadian Hospital Mission in
Montenegro.

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Before the


hon. gentleman speaks, it is my duty to inform the House that lie is about to exercise
his right to close the debate. Therefore,
any other hon. gentleman desirous of speaking to the motion, should do so now.
Mr. LEMIEUX: I wish to thank lion.
gentlemen on both sides of the House who
have supported the principle involved in
this motion, and I hope that means will be
taken to hold an investigation to find out
whether or not the grievances of Dr.
Burnham and his nurses are really deserving of our attention, as I have no doubt
they are.
Before taking my seat, I wish to tell the
hon. member for Quebec South (Mr. Power)
that he is quite in error if lie believes that
I am animated by any jingo spirit in proclaiming "Civis Britannicus sum." If my
hon. friend will read my remarks in Hansard to-morrow, lie will see that I have said
that, if Canada is really a nation, she can,
through lier own channels, obtain redress
in the present instance, but if there is no
possibility, as we have no foreign office or
foreign minister ourselves, of Canada obtfaining justice for one of her nationals,
John Bull is always at the old stand and,
as for one hundred and fifty years we have
lived under the British flag, we may still
invoke the protection of that flag so that
one of our fellow-Canadians may be protected against any humiliation, indignity or
outrage abroad. That is what I said. It is
true that we have in Canada the Department of External Affairs, of which I believe
the Prime Minister (Mr. Meighen) is the
minister, ex-officio. If my right lion. friend
will take this matter in hand, will investigate it and see that justice is done, as I have
no doubt lie will if lie has that authority, I
shall be the first one to proclaim that Canada is really a nation, or at least on the
w ay ta become a nation. But, meanwhile,
if it is impossible, through that channel,
[Mr. McKenzie.]

He said: What I have just said on the


former motion, applies to the present one,
and I wish the two to be linked together.
Motion agreed to.
MURRAY BAY-TADOUSSAC PROPOSED STEAMSHIP SERVICE
On the motion of Mr. Casgrain:
That, in the opinion of this House, an up-todate steamship service should be established
between Murray bay situated in Charlevoix
County and Tadoussac in Saguenay County.

Mr. CASGRAIN: I am ready to proceed with this motion; but the Minister of
Trade and Commerce (Sir George Foster)
asked me to continue it until next Monday because lie was unable to attend tonight. I would, therefore, ask that it
stand.
Motion stands.
PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION
Mr. J. A. SEXSMITH (East Peterborough) moved:
That, in the opinion of this House, in order
to give each voter an equal share in the representation, some system of proportional representation should be adopted, and that a speci.al
committee of this House should be forthwith
appointed, charged with an enquiry into the
different systems of proportional representation,
with a view to recommend one of these for
adoption.

He said: Mr. Speaker, in presenting this


resolution to the House, I do so with considerable timidity, because I realize there
are, perhaps, members as well as many
other people who look upon proportional
representation as something new or somewhat of a fad. I would say to any one
who may hold those ideas that it is not
new and that to-day every country in the
world, that has responsible government and
an electoral system such as we have in
Canada, is seriously discussing proportional

APRIL 4, 1921
representation. I sincerely hope that some- elected.
The fiftY-seven Liberals scured
thng may be done in order that we rnay 133,566 votes, and the eight conservatives
secure in Canada a better electoral systemi 103,253. The average number of votes rethan we have at present. I trust this sub- quired to eleet one Conservative was
12,907,
ject, that bas to do with the national inter- while the average
number of votes to elect
est and that is something of much greatei,
importance than the success of any party, one Liberal was 2,344. Thus one Liberai
xnay be freely and f ully discussed from. an vote had the value of six Conservative votes.
Under proportional representation thirtyunbiased and non-partisan standpoint.
The chief evil of our present system le seven Liber'als would have been elected
that large and important sections of instead of fifty-seven and twenty-eight; Conopinion are left unrepresented, and the end servatives instead of eight.'
Take the election of 1904 in the saine
of ail political reformi should be to secure
Then llfty-four Liberals
to these important sections their due and great province.
fair share of representation in this House. were elected, and eleven Conservatives. The
In speaking of the single member mode of fifty-four Liberals secured 144,992 votes,
represenitation, I do not; think I can do bet- and the eleven Conservatives 111,550. The
ter than quota fromn one of the most out- average number Of votes require to elect
standing statesmen in Great Britain to-day, one Liberal was 2,636, and the average
the Right Hon. Arthur James Balfour. numnber of votes required to elect one ConSpeaking before the Scottish Conservative servative was 10,141. A Liberal vote had
the value of four Conservative votes. Under
Club, n Scotland, hie said:
proportional representation thirty-nine Lib1Everybody whoblas watched the actual course
erals would have been elected instead of
of a contested election in a constituency where
fiftY-four and twenty-six Conservativea
parties were evenly balanced knowe perfectly
,well the monstrous power whlch la given to a
instead of eleven.
very small minority to exact a pledge from
In that saine election of 1904 we find
the candidate, not that lie should support this
that in the Province of Nova Scotia 56,526
or that great policy, but that lie should heIp
their smal and particular interest.
Liberal votes were cast -and eighteen Lib1 know of nothing which ls more corrupting
eral members elected, and that-46,181 Conboth to the electors or to the elected than that
servative votes were cast, but flot; one memprocess, and, although 1 have fully seen the
,difficulties which attacli to what is commonly
ber was elected. In the same year pracknown as minority representation, it surely is
tically the samne condition obtained in the
an extraordinary criticism upon our exjstjng
province of British Columbia.
system that, whlle a emali handful of interested
people, can turn an election one way or the
In 1908 in the province of Quebec we
oDther on their own personal issue, huge minfind the resuits were very similar. The
orities like the mainority of the Unionjsts in
Liberals secured. 162,176 votes and elected
Scotland are utterly and grossly unrepresented.
54 members, while the Conservatives
We gi-ce every privilege to the little knot of
people in the individual constituencies: we ignore
secured 115,579 votes and elected il
the great mnass who under our existing systemn
members. The average number of votes
*flnd no representation at ai comparable ejther
required to eleet one Liberal was 3,003,
to their numerical strength or their public
-spirit or to any other quality which makes themn and the average number of votes
required
useiul, able and Independent citizens.
to elect one Conservative was 10,,144. One
Those are very strong words fromn one Liberal vote had the value of 3 Conserwho I arn sure every hion. membar of tbis vative votes. Under proportional repreHouse will regard as a great authority. I sentation 38 Liberals would 'have been
look upon his wrords as a very strong con- elected instead of 54 and 27 Conservatives
.damnation of our present single meniber instead of 11.
These examples sbuld be enough to
electoral systam.
.Looking over our alaction returna in this convince any man in this House that any
.ountry, I find that we have large majori- electoral sestem. that allows such a
ties grossly unreprasentad in this country. condition to prevail where it is impossible
I sbould like, if time permitted, to go over to elect a Parliament that will properly
ah the provinces of Canada and give to the reflect the opinion of ail the people, which
House the rasuits of alections during the is ne of the-main principles of responsible
Gvernment, cannot possibly make for the
last decade or two under our present syswelfare of our country, and I believe it
tem. In the province of Quebec, for instance,
is the duty of this Parliament, which is
in the general election of 1900, fifty-seven
Liberals and eight Consarvatives ware about to make a new redistribution of
seats, to see that such a condition should
97
R13VIsED EDIrION

1530

COMMONS

no longer prevail. Should we fail to


improve it, in my opinion, this Parliament
will have failed to do its duty towards the
people.
If we look over conditions in other
countries we find them very .similar where
the same electoral system prevails, and in
passing I may say that every country in
the world that has responsible government
has practically the same electoral system
of single member constituencies. We find in
Great Britain in the general election of
1874, and these are the reasons, Mr.
Speaker, that Mr. Balfour and many other
British statesman are looking very seriously
at the present system, which is absolutely
unfair, the Conservatives had a majority
of 50 in Parliament although the Liberal
vote polled was 1,400,000, against a total
Conservative vote of 1,200,000. In other
words, although the Liberals in that election polled 200,000 more votes than the
Conservatives, the Conservatives having a
majority of 50 in the House, the Parliament of that great country was elected
and served on a minority vote.
Again, in the British election of 1906,
the ministerialist group had 56 per cent
of the votes polled and elected 72 per cent
of the members, while the Conservatives
had 44 per cent of the votes polled and
elected 28 per cent of the members. The
unprecedented ministerial majority of 256
should have been the safe majority of 68.
I have selected only a few outstanding
cases but I could give many further
examples if time permitted. In the United
States in the Oregon election in 1896, the
Republicans, with 55 per cent of the votes,
elected 83 members to the Legislature,
while the Democrats, with 34 per cent
of the votes, elected 7. It required 4,499
votes to elect one Democrat, and 619 votes
to elect one Republican. The Socialists and
Prohibitionists, with 11 per cent of the
vote, were unrepresented. I have been
unable to secure the returns for some of
the other provinces of Canada, but I am
told on pretty good authority that the
present Government in British Columbia
secured only 37 per cent of the vote polled.
We have an example in Toronto to-day
of a Government carrying on with a very
small minority vote. Now, in regard to
the by-elections in East Elgin and West
Peterborough, I have not a word to say
about the men that represent these ridings.
They are no doubt good representatives,
but they failed to secure a majority of
the total votes polled. Is it fair, or proper,
or democratie that we should suffer to
[Mr. Sexsmith.]

exist an electoral system that allows such


a condition of things? The principles of
democratie government, by the people and
for the people, are well established in the
minds of citizens, but in my opinion they
have failedto work out in practice. For
example, in the election of 1904, when
the great question of building the Grand
Trunk Pacifie and the National Transcontinental railway was the main subject
before the people of this country, what
was the situation? That was the question
on which the election was decided, and I
think it is fair to assume that all those
who voted Conservative at that time were
In
opposed to that railway proposition.
the province of Quebec, under our electoral
system, 54 supporters of the proposition
were elected and only 11 opponents, whereas, under proportional representation, the
respective figures would have been 39 supporters and 26 opponents. In other words,
had the election of 1904 been conducted
under the proportional system, Quebec
would have elected 26 opponents to the
proposition instead of 11, and 39 supporters instead of 54, or a difference of 15
supporters fewer and fifteen opponents
In the good province of Nova
more.
Scotia, 46,000 electors did not secure one
representative; they did not secure a voice
in the House at all, although they had
within 10,000 of half the vote. The Liberals elected 18 supporters and the Conservatives, who were at that time opposing
the measure, failed to secure one representative. I am convinced that had the election been run under the proportional system, and had the people's minds been
properly reflected in the House, that illadvised and ill-considered railway proposi.tion would never have been put through
and Canada could have gone along and
developed on safer and saner lines.
Now, the spirit of democracy requires
that an equal share of representation shall
be given each separate elector, and not that
the direction of government shall be entrusted exclusively to one class or party.
The first duty of a democracy should be
to respect the rights of its citizens. Ever
since the earliest days of responsible goyernment, and you may go back centuries
in the history of the great British nation,
when the first representative government
was formed, and follow it down to the
present day, there has been a steady development until we have our present great
system of government. But in the earlier
times only a very small coterie of people

had the franchise, and from those days

APRIL 4, 1921

1531

until now the masses have been clamouring jority of votes, they will retaliate and elect
for the extension of the franchise. Why, a governn'ent to run the country, and that
did they want the franchise? It was be- the people of the cities and towns. wilI
cause, in ail those years, there was a feel- have to, subinit. No. This is a great couning that the people aid not rule, and they try, stretching -from the Atlantic to the
believed that if they had the vote they Pacic, with millions of farmers, and rooni
would have sufficient power to control gov- for millions more, and millions of citizens
ernment, and would really have democracy. in the great and glorious cities of Canada,
The franchise has been extended until, at .of which we are ail proud, and room for
present, almost every aduit in the great more; and if the Agrarien party desire
British Empire has the vote. 'Yet, not- to serve the best interests of the country,
withstanding this universal application of then, instead of seeking to become the govthe principle, the people have been unable ernors of the -country, they should be wiilto control government sixfflciently to see ing to join hands with others in the directhat the different elements of the nation tion of affairs.
have a fair and equal share in the councils
If I had my way, I would dispense with.
of the country and, may I say particularly, ail parties, and that is not a conclusion.
in its inner councils.
which I have reached only to-day; it is.
A short time ago a thoughtful editorial probabiy some ten years since I saw the adappeared in the Ottawa Journal. It pointed visability of it. I would elect a Parliament;
out that from 1896 to the present day not of sensible Canadian citizens to come here
one farmer from the great province of and deal with the questions of the country
Ontario had ever been taken into the Cabi- on their merits, and not fromn any party
net; not one had ever been taken into the standp oint or party bias; and for the farminner councili of the nation. I ask, in ail ers to come as a separate class and say:
fairness and sincerity: Is there a man in "We are going to make an effort, if posthis House wlio could say that in that great sible, to seize the reins of po*er, and to
and important class in the province of govern the country," is an attitude which
Ontario one man could flot have been found I cannot support. When a man.elects to
with sufficient ability to warrant his in- become the represenitative of one ciass hie
clusion in the Cabinet? I say that there is then, to my mmnd, ceases to be a represenflot 'an honourable gentleman who would tative and becomes a delegate. Professor
dare stand up on the floor of Parliament John R. Commons, professor of political
and se aver. Yet flfty per cent, we may economy in the University of Wisconsin,
say, of the people of the province of has said "That one man of wealth has the
Ontario, so far as the inner councils of influence of a thousand farmers, storethe nation have been concerned, have been keepers and lebourers." Weil, with my ex-.
disfranchised. Wonder has been expressed perience I would be inclined to think thet
at the farmers organizing and going into in some instances you might muitiply bis
politics. Weil, Spencer says that seif-pre- estimate a thousand fold.
servation is the flrst law of nature, and I
We are living in a democwpatic age, an
look to my right to-night and see there age, I trust, of advancement, but a time
the nucleus of a farmers' party. I have of unrest-even dangerous unrest-a time
heard thait party vai'iously called the Agra- when people are dissatisfled with the old
rian party and the Farmers' party, and order of things. So many strange evils
there is not a man in this House who has have sprung into iife that one is bewildered.
more respect for the farmers or the agra- On the one hand we flnd unusual concenrians, by whichever naine you choose to tration of wealth in the control of a few;
cal them, than I have. There is no man on the other, a growing restlessness and
in this House who has fought the batties frantic attempts at organization on the
of the farmers longer and more strenuously part of the wage-earning class. I believe
than I have done, or who is more desirdus the Government should have an important
to see them get t14eir right and fair share place in solving these contradictions, and
in this country. But I must say that if I believe that the remedy lies in the adopthe Farmers' party of to-day aims at be- tion of a proportional representation system
coming the sole governors of the country, in elections.
then I cannot endorse any such ideal. If,
Let me quote what Lord Robert Cecil, an
in the past, -the people from the urban eminent man in public life in Great Britain,
centres have been governing, that is no says. At a luncheon beld in the House
reason or excuse for the farmers now to of Commons, London, -England, on Novsay that because they have perhaps a me- ember 3, 1920, Lord Robert Cecil, speak97

COMMONS
GOMMONS
1532
ing on proportional representation, uttered adopted forty years ago ip the British Isles,
a solution might have been found of the
the following words:
Irish problem. Our present system does not
representapropirtional
I am satisfieid, that
encourage unity of the Canadian people,
tion has never been more important that it is
which is so necessary for the well-being
at the present moment. We are faced ail over
the world by an attack on what may be called
and general advancement of our country.
the world order,-a general challenge and disLt rather encourages the opposite. At
whole
the
which
of
pute on the presupposition
time we find Quebe talking about
election
is
It
based.
is
society
and
civilization
our
of
Orange Toronto, and Toronto talking about
a time when democracy as a system of government and as a system of social organization is
French Quebec, which, I think, does not
going to be tested to its uttermost, and the
for unity. Does any man tell me that
make
be
wi.ll
democracy
expresses
machinery which
that mode of conducting elections is
overhauled by no friendly critics, to see whether
to the advantage of this country?
it really does justify the claim it makes. In this
country, we have for many years, been aware
Personally I cannot see it. In place
of a growing critioism of representative instituof
drawing our people closer together
some
that
know
We
tions as they actually exist.
we, at election time, indulge in picayune
of our most cherished institutions no longer
methods in a constituency where a man can
keep the position in the public reputation that
they did half a century ago, and the additional
use " the glad hand " and resort to all the
danger exists now, that not only are there
evils that may be attached to a corrupt electhere
but
those who criticise our institutions,
tion to try to secure his return. In a word
are those who desire definitely to set up a
different form and method of governing the
the idea seems to be "Anything to get votes."
country which many of us, at any rate, think
We have to acknowledge these things bewould lead us straight to anarchy.
cause we all realize that they take place.
It is a time when it boheves all of us who
Instead of talking in Montreal about Orange
believe in democracy and in stability to look
carefully at the foundations on which our instiToronto, and talking in Orange Toronto
tutions are based and to do our utmost to see
about French Quebec, we should, as some
that they really are based on the only foundaone has well said
tion on which democratic institutions can be
1532

based, namely, a truc accord with the expressed


and determined will of the people. It is for that
reason that, to my mind, proportional representation bas an added importance at the
present time.

At the same meeting Colonel L. S.


Amery, Under Secretary of the Colonies
said:
We are only beginning to realize-the general
public I mean-that methods of election influence the whole character and structure of the
political life. We have plenty of object lessons
before us, both in the present and in the past.
I was reading the other day the life of my
flrst political chief, Lord Courtney, and I was
impressed with the far-seeing grasp he showed,
forty years ago, of the inevitable results of
applying the old political system of election to
he endorsed his belief
the Irish problem-and
by sacrificing his political position.
I believe that half, if not the whole of the
appalling problem with which we are faced
to-day is a by-product of an unfortunate system of elections which created artificial divisions and exaggerat-ed them, when the important
thing was for the men of moderate views to
get together and flnd a real solution. If we had
had proportional representation, forty years ago,
a solution might have been found of the Irish
problem then on the lines of moderate men of
all shades of opinion, drawing together on conmon ground.

It is not my intention, Mr. Speaker, to


discuss the different systems of proportional representation. That will be the
work of the committee, if appointed. However, I may say I agree with Colonel L. S.
Amery when he expresses the belief that,
had proportional representation been
[Mr. Sexsmith.]

B noble, and the nobleness


Th'at lies in other men-sleeping but not
deadShall rise in majesty, to meet thine own.

There are many countries in Europe that


have adopted proportional representation,
and some countries in the British Empire
where the system is in vogue. I do not deem
it necessary to outline the conditions which
exist in those countries, and the success
which has followed the adoption of that
system, but-I want to refer to a few cases
in our own country where proportional repThe system
resentation has been tried.
was tried in the city of Winnipeg a short
time ago, during the Provincial election,
and I now wish to quote the opinion of the
Hon. Thomas H. Johnson, Attorney General
of Manitoba, as to how it worked out.
Mr. Johnson wrote:
I feel I can truthfully say that I have not
now, and never have had, a single regret for
the efforts made by me, personally, in connection with the introduction of this reform in our
The proportional representaelction laws.
tion system gives a more truly representative
legislature than the system of single member
constituencies.
Everything claimd for it in
the literature which we used, and with which
we are familiar, was clearly accomplished. The
elwctors of Winnipeg had no more difficulty than
usual, and the counting, nothwithstanding the
great number of candidates, forty-one in ail),
came off without a hitch of any kind.

I now wish to quote the opinion of another gentleman Mr. W. J. Tupper, K. C.,

APRIL 4, 1921
a Conservative member of the Manitoba
Legislature, who wrote:
In my opinion the test that proportional
representation underwent in this city during the
late provincial election, was successful. As I
understand the system, it ls Intended te give
representation to ail parties in proportion to
their numerical strength. The resuit of the late
election showed that the mlnority parties in the
representation In
City of Winnipeg 'received
accordance with their votlng strength. It however, did flot faveur independent candidates, as
you will have observed.
I may say that the success of the system
seems te me to depend upon the effcency of
those in control of the counting. We were
fortunate In this province to have exceptlonally
able men In charge and the result is, no doubt,
In a great measure due to them.
#

The niayor of Winnipeg, Mr. C. F. Gray,


wrote:
I rnight say that 1 followed the application of
thrs new system of election with keen interest
and the results have satisfied me that it ls the
best means of ascertaining the wiehes- of ai sections of the electorate. 1 look forward to its
successful application in the forthcoming municipal election in the city of Winnipeg.

The Manitoba Free Press, in its issue


of July 7, 1920, commented editorially on
the election, as follows:
Winnipeg, it may be ventured, has put prejportional representation upon a Canadian political
map. The test the new syistem has successfully
passed threugh In the recent Manitoba election
ls the last thlng needed te, demonstrate the
practicahllity and merits of propertional representation. Is extension to the rural constituencles In Manitoba ls assured, and li ultimate
adoption of ail electlons--cvc, provincial, and
federal-may now be looked on as lnevitable.
In Winnipeg the test was classie, and proportional representatien Won with fling colors.

I have some. other comments here which


perhaps are Worth puting on Hansard:,
Seme ef the advantages et the new system are
very apparent. In the fIrst place, proportional
representation elimlnated the excitement and
bitterness from the election campaign; the
iknowledge that each party could only get its
fair proportion. andi ne more, of the available
seats, made the old-tlme stategy and electioneering useless-

That is Worth considering, Mr, Speaker,


if nothing more.
-it
aIse saves thousands ef dollars which, would
have been spent in pushing individual candidates, and It enabled the electors to appreach
the ballots wth a calmness of mind which gave
theni an eppertuni.ty te cast their votes wlth the
greatest poasible understanding and Intelligence.
The trifiing number ef speiled ballots is an
eloquent testimonial te the tact that the electors
were cool and clear-headefi when they' went to
the polis.
The leading tact, hewever, is that the resuit
ot the ballot has worked eut with mathematical
exactitude te the desired. end; the, elected candidates represent In accurate proportion the

1533
13

voting strength of the parties In the City; no


votes were lest. and the voter who saw that hie
firsi cheice had been defeated, knew that hie
vote was net extinguished, but passed on te his
alternate preference, and that in the final
results he had secured his correct proportion of
representation.

I knew there are these who think that


propertional representatien faveurs littie
cliques and independent candidates, but the
resuits so far have proved the direct opposite.
Now, Mr. Speaker, after giving this.
question considerable thought 1 feel that
something should be done *te secure for
this great'country a better election system.
Last year we spent weeks of
10 p.ni. valuable time trying te pass an
election Act.
Yes, we spent
weeks trying te build barbed wire entang]ements, if I may se express niyself,
around the polling booth se that the individual elector might be allowed te cast his
vote without danger of its being switched
or stolen. We acknowledge the principle of
one mnan one' vote, or one elector one vote,
but we allow in our systemn of distribution
the direct opposite. What weuld be thought
of a governrnent or of an individual member of this House that would introduce a
bill giving the electors in one district six
votes and those in the adjoining district
one vote? What chance would a bill of that
description have of adoption by this
House? But that is exactly what bas happened in some of our electoral districts, in
every election for the last twenty 'years.
In one district one Conservative vote might
be Worth five or siv Liberal votes; in another district that I have referred te in the
province of Quebec, at ene election, one
Liberal vote was Worth, six Conservative
votes; and in the province of Nova Scotia
46,000 Conservative votes eut of a total of
103,000-.j arnspeaking in round numbers-did net. secure one representative in this
chamber, while 56,000 Liberal votes electd
eighteen representatives. While the Gevernment of that day might have been elected by a small majority, still I look upon that
as very significant because that is the year,
1904, when the great railway quetion
which we are encumbered with te-day was
befere the country.
There is net an hon.
gentleman within sound of my voice whe
would hesitate for a minute in condemning
any attempt that might be made te grant
te our citizens in one district one vete and
te those in another district five or six votes,

1534

COMMONS

but that has been the result of our elections during the past year.
Say not it matters not to me
My brother's weal is his behoof,
For in this wondrous human web
If your life's warp, his life is woof.
Woven together are the threads
And you and he are in one loom
For good or ill, for sad or glad,
Your lives must share one common doom.
Then let the daily shuttle glide
Wound full of threads of kindly care
That life's great lengthening web may be
Not only strongly wrought but fai r.

(Qu'Appelle):
Mr. LEVI THOMSON
Mr. Speaker, the resolution before us, is to
my mind, well timed. The public is seriously
considering this question and is intensely
interested in it. It has received much
study and is receiving more study. Such
experience as we already have had in Canada with this system has been very satisfactory. I think the time for the introduction of the resolution is also well chosen because of what some people call the present
political unrest, but which J prefer to call a
political awakening.
People are doing their own thinking now
as they have never done before in the
world's history. There are extremists among
labourers and among advanced thinkers,
but we have always had extremists among
thinking men and women. We must decide
how we shall treat our extremists. In olden
days they had a way of their own-those
in authority adopted the plan of putting
extremists to death as the handiest and
most expeditious plan available; later on
the plan of imprisonment was substituted;
and in still later years Englishmen adopted
the plan of allowing the extremist to shout
himself hoarse in Hyde Park. The world
mildly applauded. the heroic action of the
Englishman, but hesitated about following
his example.
The world moves and the
extremist is no longer satisfied with being
allowed to air his view in the public parks.
He wishes to be given the opportunity of
expressing his views in the legislative halls
of his country, and the idea is gradually
gaining ground that where the extremist
has any considerable backing he should
have that opportunity, and that the only
safe course is to give it to him.
The best citizens are always drawn to-wards the under dog, and their sympathy
always goes out to those who appear to be
oppressed. They want to see every one
bave a chance, and the old plan of suppressing the extremist is no longer work[Mr. Sexsmith.]

able. The main result of suppressing the


extremist was to get a new and bigger crop'
of his kind. We may kill or imprison the
idealist, but we cannot kill or imprison the
ideal. There is a law above the law of man
and wiser than the law of man, which prevents that.
With education even so general as it is
in our land, the only safe way is to give
every encouragement to those having advanced thoughts to give expression to their
thoughts, whether they be right or wrong.
Public parks served their day as places for
that expression, but to my mind election
days and legislative halls are the proper
times and places for their expression in our
day. In the public parks there is no satisfactory method of answering the soap-box
orator, but in this House all new ideas can
be met under the most complete rules and
regulations and in such a way that those
new ideas will be subject to the acid test.
They will be set before the public with their
strength and their weakness clearly exposed
to the public gaze. Each argument will be
publicly met by those well qualified to meet
it. All new ideas will be exposed to coldblooded public scrutiny, and I have
sufficient faith in the public to believe that
the general result will be that new ideas
that are worth while will survive and in
time will be put into effect, while those
ideas not well founded will die. I doubt if
there is any better place in Canada than
this House in which to give effect to sound
ideas and to kill unsound ideas. Carlyle,
referring to the French Revolution, speaks
of "truth clad in hell fire." It rests largely
with this House to say how the new ideas
of our day, be they true or false, shall come
to us. It is largely ours to say whether
they will come to us clothed in the garments
of peace or dressed in the lurid garments
described by Carlyle.
I do not think our extremists in any
particular line are so numerous as some
people suppose. They must be fairly numerous before they can get representation
in this House even under the most democratic plan of proportional representation,
but if extremists in any particular line are
sufficiently numerous to obtain representation in the House under that plan, then I
believe it is for the benefit of the country
that they should come here and air their
views in a place where those views can be
properly met. Let me repeat that I believe
if their views are well founded they will
survive and eventually conquer, while if
they are not well founded they will die.

APRIL 4,1921
1535
1535
APRIL 4, 1921
This surely is as it should be. I believe some days after the election-the votes
we should arrange that in ail our tities, at cast as first choice . were 42.5 per cent
least in those which are entitled to more Labour, 30.4 per cent Liberal, 13.7 per cent
than one representative, the constituencies Conservative, and 13.4 per cent Indepenshould be grouped together and each elector dent. You will notice that the Independents
should only hiave one first vote, being en- had nearly as many votes as the Consertitled to give second and further choices, vatives, but it mnust be remembered that
where necessary, to other candidates. This the Conservative group was one group
would enable any group of people to obtain where as among the Independents there
representation, provided they are suffi- were anywhere from six to eleven groups,
ciently strong to be entitled to representa- s0 to speak; there were eleven candidates.
tion. In time, as the plan is worked out, As a result of the voting, four Labour
it may be well to provide for the grouping candidates, four Liberals and two Consertogether of a considerable portion of thickly vatives *Iere elected. It might be said that
peopled rural sections under the same plan. only one Conservative and one Independent
Possibly at present it might be well to try should have been elected, gnd perhaps,
it out in cities where it can best be worked another Labour candidate. But I have given
out, and in rural communities where we a reason why the Independents were not
have only one member for each constituency elected-it is simple enough: because they
we should have provision for a second choice were a lot of dissociated groups; none of
where there are more than two candidates. them had sufficient backing among the
The hon, gentleman who nioved this people of Winnipeg to entitle them to
resolution has suggested that a committee represent the people of Winnipeg. The
should be appointed o go into the matter. Conservatives had sufficient backing; they
That is certainly the proper course. There had that whole group of 13.7 per cent. Had
is no need of going into the details here anyone known the total number of Conseror of elaborating any argument as to how vative, Liberal and Labour votes and
the plan should be worked out. I have no endeavoured to give to each group the
doubt that a committee would be prepared representation to which it was intitled, he
to consider aIl phases of the question, flot could not have donc it more fairly than
only the matter of proportional represent- was the case as the result of this election
ation in grouped constituencies, if you by -proportional representation. It is true
like'to use the terrn, but also the matter that there were less votes per member for
of transferable votes in single constituen- Conservatives than in the case of any other
cies.
group'and considerably more votes per
The hon. gentleman has said something member for Labour than for any other.
with regard to the experiment in Manitoba. Had they elected, say, one more Labour
1 suppose the House generally is aware candidate and one less Conservative, the
that in the last local election in Manitoba inequality would have been very much
provision was made for the working out of greater. As it is at present, your have about
proportional represeitation in the city of one Labour representative for a little over
Winnipeg. The city was granted ten ten per cent of the vote and one Conserrepresentatives aid they were elected under vative representative for a little less than
proportional representation. In the country seven per cent of the vote. Had you changed
nothing of the kind was provided; no provi- that, had there been one more Labour
sion was made for transferable votes. Now, member and one less Conservative member,
let us see how the different plans- worked the disparity would be stili greater. Labour
out. 1 refer again to the Free Press Qf July would have one representative for a little
5 last. The three groups which had any large over eight per cent, and the Conservatives
representation in Winnipeg were Labour, would have one for thirteen and a haf
Liberal and Conservative. Besides. the or nearly fourteen per cent. So you see a
candidates for these groups there were fairer result could not have been obtained
eleven Independent
candidates,
each amongst the parties.
representing, I suppose, some new idea of
We corne to the other question of transhis own. The fear is sometimes expressed ferable votes in single constituencies, and
that some faddist or other might by means there is little enlightenment to be thrown
of this plan be elected to Parliament, but on that by the Manitoba situation. In
the Winnipeg experiment does not; justify Manitoba no provision was made in the
any idea of that kind. In Winnipeg, provincial election for transferable votes
according to the Free Press figures, which, in single constituencies. As is hiable to, be
no douht, are correct-they were published the case in Canada for some tinie at least,

COMMONS
there were more than the two old groups;
there were additional groups. I have from
the Canadian Nation figures given of the
results in some of those constituencies,
which figures show that many of the
elected representatives were minority candidates. It is not, however, fair to say
of those men that they were not entitled
to their seats, because they obtained the
seats under the plan that was established,
the only plan on which they could be candidates. No blame, therefore, attaches to
them; the blame is on the system. In
Brandon, the Labour candidate secured
election by 2,007 votes, while '2,648 votes
were cast against him for the two nonLabour candidates, so that he was a minority candidate. In the electoral division of
Emerson 989 votes elected a Farmer representative,' while 1,681 Liberal and Conservative votes were ineffective. In Manitou
constituency 1,085 votes elected a Conservative candidate, while 1,927 votes for Liberal and Farmer candidates were wasted,
or nearly double the number. In Rockwood the elected candidate obtained 978
votes, rendering ineffective the 977 votes,
or one vote less, for another candidate,
and 638 votes for a third candidate. That
is, the elected candidate received only 978
votes, while 1,615 votes were cast against
him. As I have said, there is no fault
attaching to the candidates in that case;
they obtained their election under the only
system which was available.
We have at present in this House three
members elected from constituencies in Ontario against whom the taunt is sometimes hurled that they are minority representatives. The fact that they are minority
representatives is not any fault of theirs;
it is the fault of the people generally and
the fault of this House and of our plan
of election. They offered themselves as
candidates under the only system available,
and they were duly elected under that system. It is very unfair to them that any
one should be in a position to claim that
they are minority representatives. If we
wish to avoid the possibility or even probability of minority representatives in this
House, we must adopt the principle of
allowing the elector more than one choice,
that is, where there is more than one candidate. It is quite plain that, for some
time at least, we shall, in our politics, be
divided into groups, and we should make
our electoral machinery suit changed conditions. There is very little doubt that in the
next election three-cornered and even four
and five-cornered fights in single constituencies will take place, and it is our duty
[Mr. Thomson.]

before the next election to provide legislation which will properly meet changed
conditions and enable the electors to have
complete say as to who shall represent
them.
We hear the complaint made by leaders
of the present Opposition that the qpponents of the Government will be divided and
will be fighting against one another in such
a way as to weaken the effect of anything
they decide to do. On the other hand we
hear complaints from leaders and supporters on the Government side that there is
danger of unfair understandings and arrangements amongst the leaders of the
Opposition groups, and that this will militate against the Government. The way
to overcome these dangers, if such exist,
is to adopt the principle under discussion,
where every elector can exercise his choice
to the full limit.
Something has been said by the hon.
member for East Peterborough (Mr. Sexsmith) with regard to the action of the
farmers in forming an organization of their
own. I do not think he was quite consistent
with what he said before that; I think he
rather contradicted himself. Let me, however, say this to my hon. friend, that I think
he must admit that he bas never seen in this
group anything that would justify him in
supposing that we want to make this group
exclusive. The farmers generally do -not
want to form an exclusive political organization; they do not want to be exclusive;
they do not want any class to rule. In
fact, the main reason of their organization
is their objection to class rule. We have
had class rule in Canada since Confederation, -and *e want to do away with that.
We have a platform on which we believe
that members of every class can stand, that
every honest man who wants fair play can
stand. Therefore, we stick to that platform. Perhaps I am getting a little out of
order; but if so I am only following my hon.
friend who spoke before, who was also out
of order. We ask for proportional representation amongst other things, so that my
hon. friend is with us there.
Personally, I would like to see our law so
framed that every opportunity will be given
to the electors to decide who shall be their
representatives. I realize that the leading
issue in the next election campaign will be
the issue between a customs tariff, probably somewhat resembling the tariff we
have at present, on the one side, and a very
low tariff on the other. I need not say
where I stand on that question. Still, if
the maiority of the people of Canada desire

APRIL 4, 1921
to retain a protective tariff such as we have
at present, ior even a higher tariff, they have
an absolute right ta such a tariff, and notwithstanding my own preference, I wish
them to have it. They have the right to
rule, and tbey have the right to decide what
should be done. I may believe their course
a mistaken one, but I must grant them the
right to make their own mistakes.
I trust this resolution will be adopted by
an overwhelming mai ority of the members
of the House, and that it will be follawed by
immediate and effectual legislation.
Mr. J. W. EDWARDS (Frontenac): Mr.
Speaker, I did not arrive in the chamber in
time to hear the opening sentences of the
speech of the hon. member for East Peterborough (Mr. Sexsmith); but 1 think I was
in time to hear the greater part of his
speech, and I may'frankly say that I was
very much impressed with many of the
,arguments which he presented. I have had
the privilege of sitting in this House with
the hon. member for East Peterborough for
a number of years. 1 know he neyer advocates anything unless he is absolutely sincere, and be is always very careful in his
accumulation of facts and always logical
in bis presentation of them. I find myself,
bowever, in this position in regard to the
resolution before us. Very frankly I confess that I have not 'given this subject the
careful study wbich. bas undoubtedly been
given to it by tbe hon. member for East
Peterborough and by the hon. member for
Qu'Appelle (Mr. Thomson). I find myself
then in a position of being ill-informed as
ta, perhaps, the benefits of this proposed
system over aur present- system. It may
be, as these hon. gentlemen urge, that the
system of proportional representation, sucb
as is proposed in this resolution, would bte
vastly superior to the system which bas prevailed ever sinc Confederation, and I arn
conscious of xnany defects in that system.
I amn not sure at the present moment that
the system suggested would be better than
aur present system, 'with ail its difliculties,
and that briiigs me to the objection which I
find in the resolution as proposed. It reads:
That, in the opinion of this House, la order ta
give each voter an equal share in the representation, sorne systern of proportionai representatlon should be adapted-

Let me stop there. Now if I vote for


tbis resolution, then perforce I arn voting
in favour of adopting some system of proportional representation, and speaking for
myseif alone, I have not sufficient information at the present time to convince me

that such a systern would be superior to


our present system. It is true that the
resolution goes on to suggest that a special
committee be appointed to gather information in regard to proportional representation with a view to reporting 'to
the House, but I would feel I was
in a rnuch better position to cast a
vote in regard to proportional representation if I was provided with the information which this committee is supposed to
gather than I arn now, when the information bas' not been gathered and presented.
If that part of the resolution were eliminated which asks me to vote in favour of a
system of proportional representation, and
the resolution merely asked me ta support
the appointment of a 'comiittee which
xvas to gather information in regard tp
proportional representation, I would freely
vote for it.
I shall not take up time discussing the
subject further, for the reasons I have already given. I do flot feel competent to
discuss the subject on its merits. I have
not given it careful study, and I think it
is of sufficient importance to warrant hon.
members of this House giving it careful
I should like to hear the
consideration.
opinions of hon, gentlemen who have been
I should
longer in public life than I have.
be very glad, indeed, to hear the well-consideredopinion of the hon. member for
Sheiburne and Queen's (Mr. Fielding), for
instance. He has been a long time in
public life and no - doubt has given the
subject some consideration; whether or not
he has gone deeply into the question it is
for him to say. Frankly, Sir, I feel that
I 'arn not qualified to discuss this matter
on its merits. I also feel that -1 have nlot
sufficient knowledge of the system of proportional representation ta enable me to
vote for a resolution declaring in favour
of it.
Mr. G. W. ANDREWS (Centre Winnipeg): The outstanding fact to my mind
with regard to proportional representation
is that it is here now. It is here in this
House. It is in the Ontario Legisiature,
it is in the Manitoba Legislature, and in
British Columbia. Proportional representation is in every place where they have
The
held an election in recent years.
people of Canada are not satisfied with the
old system, and they have split themselves
into groups, not as the result of proportional representation, however; and if
groups we must have, for Heaven's sake let
us have intelligent groups. Perhaps the
most useful contribution that I can miake

1538

COMMONS
GOMMONS
15~8
to the debate, coming fromn Manitoba,
no question in the world hut that the Norris
where the question is no longer an acade- Governneiit would have received a much larger
mic one, but where the systemn bas actually representation.
One point 1 want hon. members to realbeen tried, will be to give a few facts witb
regard to the. trial that was nmade of the ize, is that We are not having groupa besystein there during the last election. In cause of proportional representation, but
the first place, it was tried in Winnipeg in spite of it. I tbnk most of the ground
alone, and with this extraordinary result, has been covered in this debate. A point,
that in Winnipeg we have a group of three bowever, tbat preseats some dificulty is:
parties on]y, Labour, Liberal and Conser- Wbat are you going to do in single-memvative, whereas in the outlying parts of ber constituencies? Most men feel that it
the province where the old systeni was in is impossible to group the outside constiforce, we have a group of five, Liberal, tuencies, and frankly I amn of that opinion.
Farmer, Conservative, Labour and Inde- Our areas are too far-flung to do it. As a
pendent. It will no doubt be interesting result of the election in MVanitoba there is
to the House to ascertain how this oc- a Bill before tbe Manitoba bouse at the
curred. I have some figures here wbicb presenit time, and it has passed its second
1 shall flot read at length, but which witb reading, for the purpose of
carrying out
tlbe permission of the House I shal place the idea of the single
transferable vote in
on Hansard, after quoting briefly froin every
constituency in Manitoba.
This
thein. 1 have bere the actual returas of oioes not
mean gToup
constituencies,
every constituency in Manitoba, the numare
more than tbree
ber of votes polled, the number of candi- but if there
candidates the elector will be given
dates, and the resuits.
In Brandon, for
instance, where my old friend, General a first, second, and third preference.
Kirkcaldv xvas running as a Conservative, For instance, if tbere are tbree men, one
lie polled 1,245 votes. My old friend, Mr. a Conservative, one a Liberal, and one a
Fariner, I, being a Liberal, would probably
Clements,
a Liberal, polled 1,403 votes, vote for
the Liberal. Now, tbe niajority
and Albert E. Smith, the Labour man,
is the mai ority of tbe votes cast at the
polled 2,207 votes. This is a fair sample
election.
of a modemn election where more than two haf of Supposing 14,000 votes are cast;
that would be 7,000, and one over
candidates are running. It happens to-day,
that would be the quota required to elect
Mr. Speaker, quite often, I thnk, that we a
member.
Pot only do not have majority representa- if bie bas Now, I vote for the Liberal, and
sufficient votes in the first round
tives, but we have minority ones and this to elect bim,
that setties it. If not, it ia
is a fair case iii point. In Emerson con- proposed to
drop out the low mian and transstituency, the farmers elected a member fer bis votes, according
to the preference
witb a vote of 989. The Govermient polled of tbe votes. Probably, ia the
next case, I
756, and the Conservatives, 925.
The would transfer my vote to the Fanmer if
man wvho was elected with 989 votes my firat cboice was not elected. These votes
had against bim 1,600 votes of people are transferred in accordance with the
Who did Pot believe in bis policies. It bas expressed desire of tbe voter; so that, as
siometim-es been said that if it had not been a matter of fact, no vote is bast, and it is
for propos tional representation there would impossible to bave a minority candidate
not have been so many groups in the Mani- returned. Tbe man wbo does corne back
toba House. Witb your permission, Mr. must bave at least a majority of one.
Speaker, I shahl read a letter froin the
I was very mucb interested tbe other day,
Executive Council in Winnipeg.
when the debate on patronage was before
1 arn in receipt o Your lotter of the 23rd uit.,
tbe House, to bear tbe hon. member wbo
with respect t0 the recent Manitoba elections,
bas just spoken (Mr. Edwards), suggest
and 1 arn enclosing herewith the list of the candidates and the votes polled., for each in each that tbe patronage should be given to tbe
sitting member. I Wonder wbat hie would
constituency in the Province
Manitoba.
1 cannot understand how theof newspapers
do la a case like Emerson, wbere the
are
possessed with the idea, that proportional represitting member represented 900, altbougb
sentation is responsible for, the reduced majority
approximately 1,680 people had voted
of the Norris Government, as the vote in Winagainst bisn. It is entirely possible under
nipeg did flot show this by any means. I have
given as flear as possible the party affiliations
our present systeni that we may have a
of each candidate, but until the flouse meets
bouse, after tbe next election, unleas there
it is difficuit to accurately state how somne of
is a cbange, representing about one-third
these w iii Ulne Up.
of tbe people of Canada. That is quite
Had proportional representation been in force
throughout the whole of the province there Is
possibe T-day, this proposai is right in
[Mr. Andrews.]

1539
APRIL 4, 1921
1539
APRIL 4, 1921
they
that
doubt
no
have
1
and
eye,
the
longer
no
is
It
line with practical politics.
that
Sir,
suggest,
I
interest.
of
be
would
a, matter of academic debate, and I -do
sincerely trust that the Government will it would be helpful to a proper considerawere
appoint this committee. I agree with the tion of the subjeet if the document
Hansard.
on
placed
be
to
allowed
his
hon. member who has just resumed
seat that if the mover of the resolution
Mr. SPEAKER: It is only a question of
could recomniend the appointment of a principle. It is the duty of the Chair to
committee without committing us to some direct-the attention of the House to the rule,
definite form of proportional representation, which is very clear and weIl defined. Howit would be very much better. I will vote ever, under the cjrcumstances, I have no obfor it in any case, because it is a right jection to submitting the question to the
thing; but if this suggestion were adopted House. Is it the pleasure of the House that
I think it would be in the better interests the tabulated statement submitted by the
of ail concerned. With regard to the figures hon. member (Mr. Andrews), be inserted in
which I hav*e, with the permission of the, Hansard without being read?
House, Mr. Speaker, I would place them
Some hon. MEMBERS: Carried.
on Hansard. The statement gives the
numthe
and
votes
of
number
the
names,
Mr. ANDREWS: I have just one more
ber of candidates in every constituency. word to add. I would quote the following
In some constituencies there were as many from the letter I received from Mr. Tupper:
as five candidates running. I think that
1 might say that the sucoess of the system
this table would be of general interest to seems'to me to depend upon the efficiency of
members of the House, and it would be those in control of the counting. We were
fortunate in-this province to have exceptionally
well to have it on Hansari.
able men in charge, and the resuit Is no doubt in
Mr. SPEAKER: I think the hon. mem- a great measure due to them.
ber would be better advised to read the
I want to point out that this success in
list: It is only in rare and exceptional Winnipeg was not a mere accident. It was
cases that documents are permitted to be due almost entirely to the efforts of Mr.
embodied in Hansard without having been Ronald Hooper, who is employed in the
While
read, and I have neyer known instances in- Labour Department in Ottawa.
which this was done in a debate on private many of us have been playing at golf and
member's day. While I regret that this is having a good time for years, this young
so, nevertheless it is the fact, and I think
man has been devoting his energy and his
it would be well, in the interests of proper time to the study of the question or repreprocedure, for the hon. member to conform sentation in Parliament, and I have no hesito the rule and read the list.
tation in saying to-day that he knows more
any man in Canada.
Mr. McMASTER: Mfay I rise to a point of about this subject th-an
If the comniittee
world.
the
in
perhaps
or
long
very
a
is
this
If
order, Mr. Speaker?
he will be asked
that
hope
do
I
appointed,
is
statement the reading of it may take up
of great
considerable time. This is an extremely to attend, because his views will be
important debate, and while the' statement value.
Following is the list submitted by the hon..
may not strike hon. members on its reading,
yet in printed form the facts would catch mnember for Winnipeg Centre:
NIMOBA

List of Candidates and Votes Polled, June 29th. 1920.

Name of Candidate

Electoral Division
Arthur ..........................
Assiniboia...............

........

Beautiful Plains,...................

Birtle ...........................
Brandon City................
Carillon .........................

....

John Williams ......................


Duncan Lloyd McLeod ..............
;......... .......
W. D. Bayley .....
J. W. Wilton........................
George Little.......................
George J. H. Malcolm ...............
Samuel Larcombe...................
Albert E. Smith....................
S. E. Clements .....................
Brig. Gen'l. Kircaldy................
Maurice Duprey .....................
Albert Prefontaine ..................

VTotes
PolIed
891

881
2,054

1,941
Ace.
995
861
2,007
1,403

1,245

973

925

Remarks

1540

COMMONS
MI.NIToA-

CO n.

List of Candidates and Votes Polled, June 29th, 1920

Electoral

Division

('ypress...............

Naie of C'andidate

.........
W'. H. Spinks..........................
. .. . . . . .
W. Miles .....
. . Andrew
.. . ......
Il - '
Dauphin..............
George H. Pl'amer ............
.............
W in. J. Harringon ..... ......
Deloraine ..........
..
.
.
Hon. I. S. Thornton..........
Df In
.
* ..
. . . Johin CI. W . Reid ... . .. . . .. . . .
Duferi
............................
E. A. .\ugust............ ...............
..... Aiex. M orrison .. . . . . . . . . . ..
Ethelbert .............. N. A. Hryhorezuk . ........
.... .. .
.
... . Ernest A. M arcroft....
. . . . .....
n
......
.... Jas.Guiszdaski...........................
Emerso
..........
..........
.... Dnyfro Yakimiisehak . ............
.... .. . . .. .John D. Baskerville ...... . . . . . .
Roy3 W hitnan ...........................
Fairford.........
. ..
.
A. W. Kirvani..............
...
.... ... .. .. .. ..Y . G . Serkau .....
.. . . . . . ...
. alvcrly...................
.1. .
. . . . .
.... A. F. t arpenter. . . . . . . . . . . . .
... ............. ... J. 'Mathe,on..............................
Fier .............. .... .... H. L. Mahh ............
... .............
..
. ... .. .
. . . J. W . Ar,,enyth .. . . . . . . . . . . . .
... . . ..
. . Yaniaehe . . . . . . . . . . . ..
Gilhert Plains............. ,...... W. B. Findlater........ .....
. . . . . . Rl.
. J. Dalgleish . . .. . . . . . . . ..
Gimli .............
...
Gudmuidnr Fjelstedl.....
....
- *T. D . Ferley .. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
' *
I - '>.." ' ' ........
Gladstone............
Hon. J. W. Armstrong..........
W illiami W. Lohh..
.
. .......
Glenwood.............
......
W illiami Rohson . ............
Il ''*
- -... James W. Breakey....
Hamiota.................. ........
John Henry Me('onnell.....
Il ...........-...
W illiam Ferguson ......
1ber-ville .. . . . . . . . .. . . ..A thur R. Boivin . . . . . . . . . ..
Kildonan and St. Andrewvs..... .... Alhert Fariner ..............
.....
David Morrison .. ...........
.. . . . T. M eClonnell ... . . . . . . . . . . .>
Kllarney ..... .....................
Samnuel Flet her...........
..................
Melville Hayden ........
.......
Lakeside .....
......
Chas. D. MePherson.....................
.....
>Edwin Herbert Muir..........
* ..
Il '*"**
Lansdowvne ..........
.... Hon. T. C. Norris. . ...
......
1.. >'l
- *- .
.
.. H . T. H icks
. . . . . . . . . . .
La Verandrye ........... .. P. A. Talhot .....
. .. . ....
..
. ..,L.
...
R. Magnumn...
. ... .. ..
Manitou..........
....
. .. John S. Ridley .....
........
.............
George T. mstrong . .........
.. .. . .
Compton.....
. ....
"* "
Minnedosa .... - ............
. .. George
Hon. G. A. Grierson .. .......
..
. .. .W
. . T. BieF y .. . .
. . .. .
. .
Morden aid lihineand ........
John Kxennedy ................
oris . .. . .
...
....
H. W
,inklei ......
.......
Mors...
. . .. . . . . .. .
Wm. R. C'lubb......h... . . . .
... .. .. ..
. . . . . . lex.
11te .. . . .
. . . . . . .
Fred. J. Last.................. ..........
M ountan .....
. . . . . . . ..- J.A, Baird . .,0
.. .G..
. . . . .
Il "..- *
Andrew Young . .............
Norfolk........... .........-..... R. G. WVaugh.............
. ......... .............. John Graham . .............
.............
John H. Wright ......
.......
Portge
a Priri...............
Faweett G. Taylor.......................1,0
...............
.... E. A. MePherson .............
Roblin ............
.... Henry R. Richardson .........
............
Fred. Y. Newton........................
Rockwood......
Wm. C' MeKinnell........................
..
. ..
. .... .. . .. . A thur J. Lohh. . . . .. . . . . . .
ot.
sSot.........................Th
Th mm sS
]RusseIll..................... ............
W. W. W. Wilson.........................
............................
ILJ. Brown..............
...................
lbert L. ]Reid ..........................
[Mr. Andrews.]

~~~~.............................

Votes
Polled
1,487
1,307
1,466
1,044
1,503
1,188
1,478
1,401
1,2711
684
110
989
756
9215
241
240
236
137
121
443
362
214G
735G
715
1,359
1,242
1,327
1,147
1,149C
1,145G
1, 109
762
Ace.
1,184
876
852
1,072
676
1,104G
1,081
1,752
914
1,023
709
1,185C
901
926F
1,296
1,029

Remarks
(1
G
L
G
G
C
CI
F
G
F:
G
G
( Il
I
t
I
1-F
G
1
F
G
G

G
t
1
L
G
F,
F
U'
G
C
I-C
F
(
G
F

52
930
65
251

G
F
F
I

1,178
1,090C
873G
503

Fi

1,019
991
887
978
977
638
1,274
642
593

3"
G
F
t
F
G
CI
G
F
I

APRIL 4, 1921
MANITOBA-Con.

List of Candidates and Votes Polled, June 29th, 1920


Electoral Division

Nme of Candidate

Joseph Bernier ...............


......
Joseph G. Dumnas ...................
T. Hoarnaert.......................
John G. Howden....................
Christopher R. Rice ................
St. Clem ents ......................... Matthew J. Stanbridge ..............
Donald A. Ross.....................
.........................
Hugh MLennan....................
.........................
St. George ........................... Albert Edward Kristansson ..........
Ste. R ose ............................. ,Joseph Hamelin.
...................
D. J. Hilli.........................
...........................
L. H. Rhaume.....................
............................
Springfield ........................... Arthur Ernest Moore ................
Isaac Cook ........................
...........................
Edgar D. R. Bissett ................
...........................
E. A. Dugard ......................
...........................
Sw an R iver ............. ............ Robt. Wm.- Emmonds...............
W. H. Sims............. ...........
..........................
Turtle M ountain ...................... Geo. McDonald.....................
R. G. Willis ........................
......................
Virden ............................... George Clingan .....................
Reginald A. Knight .................
...............................
Winnipeg .........
................... D. Nelson Armstrong.,..............
George Armstrong ..................
.............................
Duncan Cameron....................
.............................
Neil Thomas Carey .................
.............................
Samuel
Cartwright .................
.............................
............................ William John Christie ...............
Mrs. Hatriett.Dick .................
.............................
Frederick John Dixon ...............
.............................
Edward Bailey Fisher...............
.............................
Charles Henry Forrester .............
.............................
WiII Gibbon........................
.............................
John H. Gisiason....................
.............................
John T. Haig.......................
.............................
Mrs. Alice Ann Holling ..............
.............................
William Ivens ......................
.............................
Robert Jacob.......................
.............................
Walter Albert James ................
.............................
Richard James Johns................
.............................
Winnipeg ............................. Hon. Thos. H. Johnson ..............
Frederick W. Law ..................
.............................
George Henry Lawrence.............
.............................
James Lightfoot.....................
.............................
Robert N. Lowery ..................
.............................
David S. Lyon .....................
.............................
.............................
Albert McMartin....................
Wm. C. Morden ..................
......................
_.
Malcolm MeInnes ...................
.............................
William L. Parrish ..................
.............................
William A. Pritchard ...............
.............................
George W. Prout .....
7..............
..........................
John Queen ........................
.............................
Mrs.
Edith
Rogers
..................
....
............ ............
Robt. B. Russell ...................
......
.......... ......
........................ Mrs. G. Lipsett Skinner..............
.....
John Stovel ...... :.......1........
.............................
.
Frederick G. Tipping................
..............................
Percival V. Torrance ................
.............................
William J. Tupper...................
.............................
James 0. Turnbull..................
.............................
Leo Warde........................_
St. Boniface ..........................
...................
..........................
.....................
..........................

NoTE.-G-Liberal.

L-Labor.

I-IndePendent.

Hon. J. A. CALDER (Minister of Immigration and Colonization): Mr. Speaker,


in view of the discussion which we have
had, it seerrus to me that probably the de-

Votes
Polled

Remarks

1,434
c
730
G
404
942
G
675
I
977
L
G
850
445
F
Elected L (noreturn>
878
c
745
G
488
G
987
S-L
928
F
352
G
123
F
1,163
F
544
G
1,020
G
1,001
c
1,313
G
1,022
F
1,174
I
2,767
L
2,402
G
776
I
452
L
1,274
C
1,307
I
11,586
L
431
I
282
1
792
G
28
I
1,893
c
105
I
1,928
L
1,206
G
56
L
52
L
4,386G
368
G
135
C
554
c
254
G
45
1
189
1,150
I
218
c
945
G
443
L
219
I
1,253
L
1,541
G
1,535
L
359
C
1,743
G
95
L.
265
C
1,500
C
88

845

F-Farmer. C-Conservative.

bate might be shortened if I intimated to


the House briefly the decision which the
Government bas reached with regard to
this important question. As every niember

1542

COMMONS

is aware, there has' been for some years


past very -considerable discussion throughout the country with reference to our present method of securing representation in
the House of Commons and to our various
legislative bodies. Wbether we may agreewith it or not, there is undoubtedly a large
mass of public opinion to the effect that our
present method of selecting representatives
to our legislative bodies is not all that it
should be. I do not propose at this stage
to enter upon a detailed discussion of the
merits or demerits of the present system.
I am rather inclined to the view that the
opinion expressed by the hon. member for
Frontenac (Mr. Edwards), fairly well represents the views of the House; that is,
that most of us have not given as close
and exhaustive study to the question as we
should.
I doubt very much whether the House
at this time should be called upon to express an opinion upon the broad principle
as to whether -or not we ought to adopt
some method of proportional representation. I think we shall be in a better position to give a verdict on that question a
little later in the session, if the course
suggested is adoped, namely, that the
whole problem should be referred to a
special committee of the House, and that
every means be taken to get the fullest
light possible upon the subject. That is
what I would desire myself. While I have
followed the discussions that have taken
place throughout the country, and particularly in the press, during the course of
the last few years, I must confess that I
have not that full knowledge of the whole
problem that would enable me to cast an
intelligent vote. Let me give a simple
illustration. I intended when the member
for Qu'Appelle (Mr. Thomson) was speaking, to ask whether or not, in the case of
the city of Winnipeg, where proportional representation was adopted for
the last election, every voter was
required to vote for ten candidates.
That I was not sure of; I do not know.
I understand they had but one constituency
for a population of about 225,000 people,
that in that one constituency they elected
ten members, and that during the course
of the election they had something like
over forty candidates running. In the
case of Vancouver, I think they had something like fifty odd candidates running in
that one constituency. One thing that
bothers me-and I think it is very essential
in providing for any such system--is that
in the case of an election method of that
[Mr. Calder.]

kind an individual, in many cases apparently, must be voting for a principle rather
than for a man. Because I can conceive
that in an election such as they had in
Winnipeg it would be almost physically
impossible for candidates to become acquainted with thier constituents, or for constituents to get to know their candidates,
by reason of the size of the constituency
and the multiplicity of candidates, and
particularly where an electf'on is arranged
in a comparatively short time as it was under the Manitoba law.
Another thing that troubles me-I am
merely mentioning this at the present time
-is that I see difficulties in adopting one
principle of representation for urban communities, and another system for rural
communities. Now there may be good
reasons for that. However, I do not wish
at the present time to enter upon a detailed
discussion of the features of the system
either pro or con, I simply throw out this
suggestion: The whole subject ' is one
worthy of the very fullest consideration of
this House, and Parliament should take
means whereby it may obtain the very
best advice and the very best evidence it
possibly can on the subject. In so far as
the resolution itself is concerned I think
the member for Frontenac (Mr. Edwards)
pointed out what may be called a defect,
and that is that the House should not at
this stage be called upon to vote upon the
principle of the resolution. For that reason
it bas therefore been suggested that the
motion should be amended, and I propose
to move an amendment so as to bring about
that result. Accordingly I beg to move:
That all the words after the word "House" in
the second line thereof be struck out and the
following be substituted therefor:
A Special Committee of this House should be
appoi.nted to consider the subject of proportional representation and the subject of the
single transferable vote-

Which is a very different thing, as I ununderstand it, from proportional representation; both subjects should be considered-and the desirability of the application of one
or the other, or both, to elections to the House
of Commons of Canada, and to report thereon
to the House, and that such Conmnittee have
power to send for persons, papers and records,
and te examine witnesses under oath.

If that amendment is acceptable I think,


before the House meets to-morrow, we will
be able to arrange for a committee that
will be satisfactory.
Mr. F. L. DAVIS (Neepawa): I do not
intend spending any time upon a discussion of the question. I merely wish to refer

APRIL 4, 1921
to the use in the amendment of the termn
"the single transferable vote." This has
generally referred ta the Hare System of
Representation, and I think perhaps the
amendment would bie clearer if it was
phrased in this way "the single transferable or preferential vote" as doubtless that
is what the Minister of Immigration' has
in mind.
Mr,. CALDER: I have no objettion ta
inserting the words "or preferential vote."
Mr. J. J. DENIS (Joliette): At this late
heur of the night I shall fot impose a long
speech on the House. However, as I take a
deep interest in this matter of proportional
representation, or the method of transferable votes, or any other system. which.
might have for its object the improvement,
of the existing systemn of election, I think
it my duty ta say a 'word or two upon
the present resolution.
At the outset I
congratulate the Minister of Immigration(Mr. Calder) for introducing the amendment which hie has brought in. I understood on the reading of the reslolution as
originally drafted that it was a committal
on the nierits of the issue.
But now I
gather that the only question that should
be deait with by the House at. the present
time is, whether or flot this question is important enough ta justify the bouse in
appointing a committee ta consider it.
Therefore I think it was wise ta omit-that
part Of the resolution which was a committal on the nierits of the issue, and simply
leave before the bouse the question of
whether or not a special committee should
bie appointed.
One might ask what las proportional representation? To the man who has flot made
sanie study of the question, proportional
representation, might, perhaps, mean a
revolution in the electoral franchise. I
must say, Sir, that in my opinion proportional representation means nothing of the
kind. Proportional representation, ta my
mind, is purely and simply a miile-stone on
the road of political evolution and reforni.
The electoral franchise is rather. a new invention in the lives of civilized nations.
One has not ta go very far back in history
ta find the drigin of the electoral system.
Civilized nations had existed for many centuries before the popular electoral franchise was given, or invented, if I might
use that terni. The development of a popular electoral franchise -was gradually
accomplished, first in Great Britain then in

1543
14

the United States, and finally in ail the


important countries of the world.
Like
every other improvenient, or every other
device, it has developed by degrees. The
first systems were crude and very antiquated
and also unjust ta the people, but by degres these systems have been improved,
and to-day the system of proportional rep-_
resentation is nothing more or less than an
improvement upon the present plan which
has defects-a fact, no one can deny. If,
for instance, one should only look back
through history for the hast five years one
will readily find that the ehectoral system
bas been changed and modified in many
countries of the world. Take aur own
country ahane. Is it not truc, Sir, that In
the last five years more changes have been
wrought in aur ehectoral system and aur
electoral laws than there surehy were in
the fifty years that preceded this period?
The abject of proportional representation is
ta sec ta it that the wish of the elector
be given effeet ta. It has been demonstrated
by the mover of this resohution, and it is
known ta, everybody in thia bouse that the
present systemn is defective in that it doca
not give effect ta the 'wishes of the elector.
Espccially is this true when in a single
constituency there are several candidates
reprcsenting different graups. I will not
go into details, but en passant I might
point out the fact that at the next general
ehection it is comman knowledgce that there
will bie in the field the candidates of four
parties-the Unionist party, the Liheral
party, the Agrarian party and the Labour
party. Now, taking a single constitucncy
in which four candidates are running, each
rcprescnting one of those parties, is it flot
true that in many cases the successful candidate will not be the man who will represent the majority of the ehectors?
The
hion. member for Winnipeg who took bis
seat a few minutes ago pointed out the
same circumstance in another form.
1
think it is sufficient ta bring that defect
before the bouse ta convince every hon.
member of the neccssity of a change in aur
haw: Needhess is it for me ta say that in
each and every case the man elected should
represeiit the majority of bis ehectors, and
if we came ta the conclusion that a different
resuit might follow under the existing law,
I think it is the duty of Parliament ta
change that law in order ta give effect ta
the will of the electorate.
Proportional
representation, Sir, although relatively
new, is flot an entirely new system. I find.

1544

COMMONS

that proportional representation has been -fully study that report and be able to exin effect in over ten .countries, including press an enlightened opinion on the subject.
I will not attempt to enumerate the many
Galicia, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, the
Netherlands, Switzerland, two or three of advantages which in my opinion would folFurther, low the adoption of proportional representathe Balkan States, and Brazil.
wherever the system bas been given a fair tion, but I might bring to the attention of
trial it bas never been discarded, which the House one point which was raised some
Deer
speaks strongly in favour of its merits. time ago by the hon. member for Red
on
the
address.
speaking
when
Clark)
(Mr.
this
The hon. member who introduced
resolution quoted many instances in which in substance he said that in the Old Counflagrant injustice bas been done to the try, England especially, when a man bas
figure, whether it be in
electorate. I might perhaps add to the become a national
the people will suplong list. Indeed, if one should go through one party or another and almost invariably
the polls
at
port
him
in
elections
parliamentary
of
the results
that man will be returned to Parliament as
this and other countries the book which I
desires. We know that history
am now holding in my hand would not be often as he
statement. In this country,
that
supports
of
examples
the
all
large enough to contain
are not so well developed as
politics
where
the dire injustice to the electors on account they are in the older countries, and where
of the present system not being as effective perhaps the political sense is not as keen, we
as it should be to give proper expression to often see men of the highest integrity and
the will of the electorate. While the hon. unquestioned ability defeated at the polls.
member was speaking there came to my Well, whatever party such men belong to it
mind two instances which are is always a loss to the country when they
11 p.m. familiar to us and which oc- fail to secure re-election. When men have
curred in the Federal elections made their mark in Parliament, men of the
of 1917. In those elections the country type we have in this House, I do not care
west of the Great Lakes elected only two ta what party they belong, my opinion is
Liberal members. Is it to be supposed, that such men have become an asset to
Sir, that under proportional representation their country and should be encouraged to
more than two Liberal members would not remain in public life. Under the present
have been elected there? The answer is system we have seen time and again our
obvious. Taking my own province, sixty- best men defeated simply because the
two Liberals were elected as against only electors have not had the advantage of
three Unionists. Is it reasonable to suppose voting under a system of proportional rethat the Union party could not have secured 'presentation.
more than three seats if proportional
Mr. MeMASTER: They could be put in
I
representation had been in operation?
do not believe it, I am sure of the contrary. the Senate.
Therefore, we have on the one hand in the
Mr. DENIS: The resolution as amended
West the Liberals deprived of that repre- simply asks that a committee be appointed.
sentation which they should have had; and, Taking into consideration the fact that this
on the other hand, in the province of Que- question is a most important one and that
bec we have the Unionists deprived of the members -on both sides seem to be most
representation which they should have had. anxious that it be debated at length, I
And these are typical of other cases that think it is only proper and right that the
could be cited.
resolution as amended should carry and
Now, proportional representation to my that a special committee to investigate this
mind is only an expression qualifying a matter should be appointed.
proposed change in the present electoral
Mr. JOHN HAROLD (Brant): Mr.
system. The change might also come under
the form of transferable votes for single Speaker, I rise to support the amendment
constituencies, or under any other form. proposed by the Minister of Immigration
(Mr. Calder). I feel that tlie Government
But at all events, as was clearly demonstrated by the hon. Minister of Immigra- are to be commended for the stand they
tion, it is certainly a reasonable and just have taken with regard to the request that
reform, and the House owes it to itself and a committee be appointed to consider this
to the country that a special committee be important question. I am not an enthusiast,
appointed to consider this question very nor have I been entirely won over to prothoroughly and report thereon to the House, portional representation, but being a soand then every member will be able to care- called minority representative, I have given
[Mr. Denis.]

APRIL 4,
APRIL 4,
the matter a good deal of consideration.
One point to which I should like particularly to refer is the desirability of having
the transferable vote in the single-member
constituency. In our own constituency the
representative in the provincial House is
a minority representative; he did not secure fifty per cent of the vote in the riding.
As I took part in a three-cornered contest,
the same thing resulted, the vote being
about 2,100 out of a total of 5,400. Now
we have to face the situation which confronts us. We are going to have in many
constituencies throughout the country representatives of three or four different
groups of thought and we should consider
in what way the laws should be changed
so that the best representatives can be
selected from those constituencies. From
my experience I would say that the adoption of the transferable vote would
lead to a much better condition in such
constituencies from the standpoint of
fairness and honesty in elctions. Considerable influence would be brought to
bear in such cases to have certain candidates withdrawn in order that a combination might be effected against some other
candidate. On the other hand, we know
from experience that influence would also
be brought to bear with a view to bringing out certain candidates in order to split
certain votes and 'to elect the one whose
success was desired by those working for
such an end. If every group is perfectly
free, without the exercise of any influence,
to put its representative in the field, a candidate's election being impossible if the
sentiment of the majority of the people is
not beind him, a much more desirable state
of affairs in regard to elections in such
cases is brought about.
I understand that the present Government in Ontario polled the smallest number
of votes of the three parties that were
running. They themselves recognize the
weakness of their position and have quite
consistently pressed that some change be
made in order that a similar condition
might not again prevail. We are experimenting with proportional representation
in the provinces and the municipalities. It
seems to me that this Parliament should
proceed very cautiously in respect to any
proposed changes; we had better profit by
the experience of those who are already
carrying on experiments. Furthermore,
one trial is not going to tell the tale. Sometimes a new thing is taken up enthusiastically; many people are interested in mak98

1921
1545
1545
1921
ing it a success, and it proves to be a temporary success. But we have to keep in mind
the necessity of having a strong and stable
government and at the same time of changing our electoral machinery from time to
time so as to take care of any abuses that
arise through the changes in the opinions
of the people such as their desire to form"
themselves into different groups. The Government have, I think, correctly interpreted public opinion in this matter. I have
every confidence that the committee which
is to be appointed will come to a wise decision, one that would prove to be a benefit
to the country at1;he next election.
Hon. T. A. CRERAR (Marquette): Mr.
Speaker, I do not wish to let this occasion
pass without extending a word of commendation to the Government for granting the
committee asked for in the resolution
moved by the hon. member for Peterborough (Mr. Sexsmith). Let me say at once
that I am in entire accord with the principle of proportional representation, and
that it has my hearty support. It is a
principle that has long since passed the
experimental stage.
It is a significant
fact that those European countries which
have adopted it and applied it in their
legislative system are to-day perhaps the
most orderly countries in the world, and
are among those subject to the least political disi;urbance.
The system has prevailed in Belgium, Holland, Denmark and
Sweden for many years and has operated
very successfully.
There is very good
reason for that; for it is simply an extension of the principle of representative
government.
In 1916 the British House of Commons,
the mother of parliaments, arranged for a
Speakers' conference to consider this
among other matters of reform in their
electoral system, and that Speakers' con
ference, composed of the most representative men in the British House of Commons,
brought in- a unanimous report in favour
of the application of the principle of proportional representation in the conduct of
elections in the United Kingdom. It is,
therefore, not a question of experiment;
it is a principle which has been tested and
tried and the operation of which has been
proved to be successful.
Reference has been made to-night to the
experience of Winnipeg in the last provincial election. I have talked to many representative men in that city, and without
exception, irrespective of political affiliations, they are strong in their commendation of the principle as it was actually

REVISED EDITION

COMMONS
worked out in the last provincial election
in Manitoba. I am heartily in accord also
with the application of the system of
preferential voting in single-member conMy hon. friend from Brant
stituencies.
(Mr. Harold) has referred to the fact that
we have quite a number of groups, shall
I say, seeking representation in this House.
In a constituency where three or four candidates are running it may very well happen-indeed it is almost certain to happen
under our present method-that the successful candidate will- represent the minority of the electors in the constituency.
That, indeed, was the case in the election
held in East Elgin last autumn and in the
By
election later held in Peterborough.
the application of the principle of preferential voting in single-member constituencies that difficulty can be overcome and
the representative finally selected will be
the representative of a majority of the
I was much
people in the constituency.
impressed indeed with the remarks of my
hon. friend from Joliette (Mr. Denis) and
I endorse the arguments he advanced in
favour of this reform. I am glad the
Government has granted this committee;
I trust it will investigate the matter fully,
and I would offer this suggestion to the
committee, that has not yet been appointed,
but will be, according to the statement
made by the Minister of Immigration and
Colonization (Mr. Calder), that it might be
a very appropriate and useful thing if all
the members of this House would hear the
principles underlying the system of proportional representation explained by some
of the gentlemen whom, I am sure, the
committee will call before it to give evidence. I wish, in closing, to express my
strong support of the principle, and I trust
the work of this committee will result in
the system being adopted by this House.
Mr. W. F. COCKSHUTT (Brantford)
Mr. Speaker, for fear it might be presumed
that every member of the House is in
favour of proportional representation, I
think it is well that one should say a word
or two against the proposition, and at the
expense of being considered singular, I
am going to risk the operation and say
that, in my judgment, the recommendation
that this House should endorse such a
principle as proportional representation is,
to say the least of it, folly. The hon. member for Joliette (Mr. Denis) has named
ten countries, I think, in which he says
proportional representation has been in
operation for several years. With all due
deference to the countries that he named,
[-1on. T. A. Crerar.]

I do not think they can show anything to


Canada or to the British Empire-about
government. I take the ground that
proportional representation is entirely
unsuitable to the British system of government, which is that the majority of the
people should rule. I cannot see that
proportional representation is, going to
bring that about by any manner of means.
Proportional representation is a help to
group and class systems, both of which
are most undesirable to be introduced into
this country. I say that with all deference
to my hon. friends opposite who may not
agree with me on that. I was informed,
within the last few minutes, by a western
man-and I think he was telling me the
truth-that only recently the Farmers'
party themselves in the West tried out this
system in their own convention, and they
were obliged to abandon it as being too
cumbersome even in electing their representatives in their own meeting. Perhaps
(Mr.
the hon. member for Marquette
Crerar) can tell me whether or not that
is true. I have every reason to believe it is.
Mr. REID (Mackenzie): Will the hon.
member kindly tell the House what province
in the West that happened in?
Mr. COCKSHUTT: I cannot tell my hon.
friend the province, but I can get the
information and let him have it in the
morning. The gentleman who gave the
information is within the confines of this
building, and I suppose it is a matter of
common knowledge that in one of the
western provinces within the last few
months the farmers tried out this system
in their own convention and they were
obliged to abandon it because they found
it cumbersome and unworkable.
Mr. CRERAR: If I might be permitted
to interrupt the hon. member for a
moment, because I am quite sure he does
not wish intentionally to get astray, his
statement is altogether wrong. The system
has been applied in those conventions; it
has worked out successfully without any
question of doubt whatever, and it has
not been abandoned anywhere.
Mr. COCKSHUTT: If that be the truth
-and I am bund to accept the statement
of the hon. member for Marquette-I say:
So much the worse then for the commonsense of the farmers' organizations. I
thought they knew better than to try their
own physic on their own bodies, but
apparently they did not. Proportional
representation is at present being con-

APRIL 4,1921
1547
1547
APRIL 4, 1921
sidered in the Ontario House by a coin- the people, and thus fifty-five per cent of the
mittee similar to the one proposed, and the vote will be controlled, and forty-five per
riding from which 1 corne is proposed to be cent, which was a solid vote for the general
one of the victims. That is one reason why, advantage of Canada, will be side-tracked
I feel particulaly strong upon this ques- under proportional representation. That is
tion. One of the selected constituencies quite possible; it is quite probable that it
upon which. the physic is to be tried will be done. We know from time to time a
consits of the county of Brant, containing group is ready to seil out if it can get its
two members, the county of Oxford, con- price, its price would be some fad that it
taining two members, and the county of has set its mind upon, and it is ready to
Waterloo, containing two members. There- sacrifice ahl other interests for the advanfore, I examine the systemi in the light of tage of this one particular fad that is sewhat I know about elections and about those -lected by it as being the most important
particular constituencies. In the first place thing at issue in the present crises. The
it is desirable that a community should know British system has grown up under a thouthe nmen for whom they are voting. Is that sand years of parliamentary reform. We
flot desirable? It cannot be done in six have the British system in Canada; they
Ridings. A candidate is hardly known in have it very largely in the United States,
his own Riding until hie has run in tw and I say with all deference to the ten counor three lections. Perhaps it is well that tries my hon. friend has mentioned, that
hie is not known too well. That xnay be; they cannot show any one of those three
but whether it be the case or not, it is an countries, Great Britain, Canada and the
axiom of British procedure at any rate United States, anything about up-to-date
that a candidate should be a local.man;
responsible government.
that his, character and ability should be
Mr. CRERAR: They are adopting it in
known; that hie should have some stake in
the community and that hie should be a Great Britain.
man in whom the people have confidence.
Mr. COCKSHUTT: I do not think so,
In six Ridings that is flot possible. Futher,
and
I do not think the hion. gentleman will
supposing a vacancy occurs by death or
because of maipractice in elections; what live to see the day that it will be dopted
happens? The sticcessor has to run in six in this Huse, unless such a calamity should
Ridings to be elected. Supposing a man in happen as that a certain group should get
one Riding was selected as a minister of th into power, and I do not think that will
Crown; hie would have to run, and be happen. If we are going to investigate all
elected, not in his own Riding, but in six. the fads that are proposed, we should at the
In other respects proportional representa- samne time send to this committee the recal,
tion is a most cumbersome and undesirable the referendum, the initiative and all those
system; it will advance the class system and fads that have been copied from certain
the group system. I understand that in parts of the United States and brought into
Medicine Hat a paper has been established our western country. Let us make a dlean
recently by the Non-Partisan League for- breast of it and a dlean sweep. I would be
merly of North Dakota, who have moved in faveur of a representative committee
into Canada. They have bought up a paper properly appointed. investigating proporthere, if I arn credibly informed, and they tional representation, because I believe such.
have proposed eight classes to run' in the a committee would kili it.
I say the House would in a way be stulticoming election. It is a great mistake for
the people of Canada to break up into eight Iying itself if after this committee brought
classes.' I want to see a party run, that in its report the House turned it down,.
will run on a policy for the general ad- which possibly would be done, a consumvantage of Canada. That will be niy mation devoutly to be wished. In my judgment the proposition should not be enterpolicy; and I think I can show, in just a few
by whatever committee may be
words, that it will be possible for forty-five tairied
formed. I do not think our time should
per cent of the vote in Canada to, be given be spent in
following up these variou
on a platform that was for -the general fads, and certainly
they are abroad in the
advantage of Canada and that that party land at the*present moment.
This is a time
should not succeed, and that the seven other when ordinary
common sense cangroups, by buying certain privileges from not get a place,old-time
but has to make way for
one another, can make a working arrange- every kind of fad proposal for ,hampering
ment by which seven different fads will be the people and bringing in laws for
the
bought up and paid for at the expense of sake of multiplying them, instead of for
981

COMMONS
the advancement of the people. As I said that we should be studying. I would vote
in the House recently, I would far rather to have a committee on a question of that
hand my name down to posterity as a man kind at once, so that when a redistribution
who had prevented noxious laws from get- of seats is made it will be on the basis of
ting on our statute books than I would be population, on the principle that a certain
known for having introduced ten or twenty number of votes has a certain value,
or fifty laws of very doubtful character, whether those votes go to my hon. friends
and whose utility would be disproved as opposite or not. I do not want favours
soon as put in operation. There is too for any party. I say that the old British
much of that kind of legislation altogether, system that has been tried out and proved
and I for one think that this House should to be good for generations should not
not lend itself to this proposal even to the lightly be set aside because some new fad
is being introduced into Canada from counextent of appointing a committee.
Though not many have so far spoken, tries that cannot show us anything about
and perhaps nobody else will speak in this liberty, good government, or stable organiHouse on this occasion against this propo- zation. I understand that some of these
governments change over night, that a cersition, I believe I am speaking the view of
a very considerable number of members of tain group may be here to-day supporting
this House when I say they have absolutely the Government, and to-morrow jump to
no use for proportional representation. In the other side because they have been
fact, a western man told me that there are bought up by some particular fancy, or
257 varieties of it, which is 200 more varie- some particular idea that may be
The result is
ties than there are of Heinz pickles, so this entirely undesirable.
the
and
out,
sell
they
that
is a pretty pickle-257 varieties of proporover night.
goes down
tional representation! I understand that in Government
Many countries of Europe change their
Winnipeg it took over one week to find
out who was elected under proportional
premiers and their cabinets almost every
representation. Is it desirable to keep the twelve months, and some much oftener.
public in suspense that time, to keep the That is a most undesirable thing to encourhome fires burning and the brass bands and age, and therefore I say that if this comthe processions waiting for a week before mittee is going to kill tlhs fad I will ceryou find out who is elected? I understand tainly vote for the committee. I do not
that proportional representation has been believe any committee can investigate the
abandoned in certain parts of British
without killing it, and all the
Columbia that had it in a municipal way. question
fads that go with it. They are
attendant
I understand that in Calgary, where it is
by
in operation, the people-a any rate, those all in line, and are brought in largely
rethe
referendum,
The
people.
same
the
speaking
of
opportunity
an
I have had
with--have absolutely no use for it. Others call, the initiative, and all that sort of
who have tried it are all nearly of the trash should be all buried together by this
opinion that it should not be introduced one committee, and if they will do that, I
into Canada to any great extent.
will certainly hold up both my hands for
I want it distinctly understood, Mr. appointing it.
Speaker, that so far as I am concerned
Mr. A. R. McMASTER (Brome): I had
I do not oppose the committee, because I
think they will do their duty, and if they not intended to intervene in this debate but
do, they will kill this proposal and all the the remarks made by the hon. member who
other fads connected with it. We will then has just resumed his seat (Mr. Cockshutt)
get down to business and go ahead on the with that intense, genial and enthusiastic
good old British system, which says that
Toryism which marks his every utterance,
the people shall rule. What I want to see
make me feel that I would like to say just
in this country is a proper redistribution
a word or two. He reminds me of that
of seats, so that one man will have one Irishman who followed the advice: whenvote and one woman one vote, and so that
ever you see a head, lit it. Whenever a new
one vote will have one value to elect. If idea comes up my hon. friend takes a crack
are
that is done, a great deal of evil we
"It's a new idea," he says, "away with
now labouring under will be' removed. In at it.
hon. member has referred to the
The
it."
some constituencies it takes 50,000 or 100,system. I am always somewhat
British
old
in
and
a
representative,
elect
000 people to
the logic of a gentleman who
of
doubtful
others only 13,000 people; I think everybody knows the constituency where the 13,- leaves aside reasoning on the instant to
000 people live. It is questions of that sort appeal to patriotism, and here not only the
[Mr. Cockshutt.)

APRIL 4, 1921
logic of the hon, gentleman is wrong, but
his history, because the old British
system was two knights from a shire and
two burgesses from every borough. They
did not have a single-seated constituency,
but a double-seated constituency, which
gave in a somewhat meagre and attenuated
form a degree of porportionai representation.
My hon. friend also talks about the initiative, the referendum and the recall, as
fads from the United States. My idea was
that the initiative and the recali had their
rise in Switzerland, not in the United
States. Certainly the referendum had. He
also says: I want to have our party get
the votes to which. it ks entitled; I want
every voter to have a vote of equal value;
and he referred to the fact that some constituencies in this country are very much
larger than others. I agree with my hon.
friend; there are some a great deal larger
than others, and that constitutes an unfairness for which, of course, members who
represent the smaller constituencies are not
responsibie. They cannot -get more votes
than there are in the constituencies, but
if they get three-fifths of the votes which
were cast in the last election, as the member who now modestly addresses this
House got, my hon. friend should be perfectly well satisfied.
Let me just say this: Our parliamentary
institutions are on trial. I do not think even
the hon. member for Brantford (Mr. Cockshutt), if he would sit dow'n and carefully
s9tudy matters, would say that our present
single-seated constituencies give a just resuit. For instance, in the election of 1904,
the Liberals in Nova >Scotia cast about
56,000 votes, and the Conservatives, for the
Conservate party was then called the Conservative party, without trimmings, got
46,000 votes.
Mr. COPP: It was well trimmed that
time.
Mr. McMASTER:-So well trimmed that
the Liberals came back with the whole 18
seats. Although the Conservatives in Nova
Scotia had polled within 10,000 of the
votes polled by the Liberals, they hadl no
representation in this Parliament at ail.
Now does my hon. friend think that was
fair to the Conservatives of Nova Scotia 7
I do not think he does. 0f course, my grief
at the situation was not as great as his,

but I say it was not a square deal to the


Conservatives of Nova Scotia, and did not
properly represent the voters of Nova
Scotia, whether Conservatives or Liberals.
Then, in the election of 1911, the samne thing
happened again, only here the boot was on
the other foot. In the British Columbia
elections the whole seven Conservative members were elected with about 2,000 votes
while the Liberals, who had 16,000 votes,
elected none at ail. I do not think that ks
fair representation, and our present system
does not give that equality of voting
which we ail desire. Is it reasonable or
right that to-day in this House the province of Ontario should have only somns eight
Liberals? Is it fair that, in federal matters
at any rate, for the last twenty of, twentyfive years, the great city of Toronto bas
neyer had a Liberal representative? It is
not fair; it is not right; and when there is
such unfairness, it seems to me that we
should cast aside our disinclination even to
consider what is new and should say, after
ail:
That men may rise on steppi-ng-stones
0f their dead selves to hlgher things.
Mr. C0CZSHUTT: Is the hon. member
desirous that proportional representation
should be introduced into Quebec and ail
other parts of Canada?
Mr. McMASTER: Oh, of course. I arn
a Liberal, and I want only fair play. In the
last election, the public sentiment of Quebec was such that even under proportional
representation I doubt whether there would
have been any great difference in the number of men returned. But under ordinary
circumstances, during the last few years,
the single-seat system has tended to overemphasize the Liberal representation of
Quebec and similarly to over-emphasize the
Conservative representation of Ontario.
That has been the tendency of the singleseat system, and it is a bad thing. Anything
that causes the Canadian people to divide
on religious, or racial, or sectional lunes is
a great mistake. The only lines on which
our people should divide are lines of political opinion. As Mr. Asquith said, in speaking of proportional representation, there
should be no substantial strain of public
opinion unrepresented in the House of CoinMOns. It is true we may 'have to mak2
some changes in our practices in Parliament; it is truc we may have more groupa
than we have now, aithough I arn not sure
about that. But the fundamental principle
ia that people should have the right te rule
through their elected representatives and a

1550

COMMONS

system of eleetion should be devised and put governed than any other country, but
into practice which will bring into the their colonies and dependencies have enThe
House of Commons the strains of public joyed the same good government.
opinion in the same proportion, or as nearly British have been more successful in colonas possible in the same proportions as they izing the world and in governing their colexist in the country. It seems to me that onies than any other nation has been. That,
no one, whether in favour of this system to my mind, is pretty good evidence of the
or not, could object to the proposal made value of the system of government which
by the Minister of Immigration and Coloni- they have been practising. But not only
zation (Mr. Calder) that we should have has this system proven its value in the
a committee. I am sure this will appeal British Empire, but the greatest AngloThere is Saxon nation of the world, outside of our
to the members of the House.
Biblical authority against refusing to ex- empire, the United States, practically uses
amine any proposition. If it be of good the same system, with the exception that
it will succeed, and if it be of evil, then in its executive is independent of Parliament,
the long run it will fail. I heartily sup- while in British countries the executive is
port the amendment, and I trust that all really part of Parliament and subject
members of the House will unite in at least thereto. Under the party system of Great
Britain, it is essential that there shall be a
examining into the question.
strong executive. In Britain and in CanMr. MICHAEL STEELE (Perth S.):
ada the duties of the government are not
Like some of the previous speakers, I feel only administrative, but legislative; the govthat I ought to apologize for taking up even ernments of these countries govern as well
a few minutes at this time of- night; but, as administer. If the only function of govwith the hon. member for Brantford (Mr. ernment were to administer, then I would
Cockshutt) I should not like this oppor- admit that proportional representation
tunity to go by without saying a word as might very well be used. But where Parto what I think on this question. I am very liament and the Government must govern,
much in agreement with the hon. member it seems to me that it is absolutely necesfor Brantford on this subject. I believe sary that the Government shall have a
that in the discussion to-night, and per- good strong majority so that they may not
haps in the discussion generally on the be dependent on any clique, or group, or
question of proportional representation,
set of men for their support, relying only
the fact is lost sight of that we are en- upon those who consistently support them
deavouring to substitute not only a differ- in their general policy. We have heard a
ent method of conducting elections, but also, great deal to-night about the evils of the
unconsciously perhaps, to substitute a diff- present system and members being elected
erent method of government, for what has by minorities.
Under the proportional
been the practice in the British Empire for representation system every elected member
many years. There is no system of elec- is a minority member.
tion that is perfect. Proportional repreMr. McMASTER: No.
sentation is not perfect, as is evident from
the fact that there are, as some one has
Mr. STEELE: You cannot elect a memsaid, 257 varieties of it. My study bas ber under the proportional representation
led me to believe that there are 300 var- system by a majority vote. The number
ieties and none of them is entirely satis- of votes required to elect a member in each
factory. That also is evident from the of the constituencies under proportional
fact that no two countries, at least so far representation is found by dividing the
as I know, have adopted the same system; total number of votes cast by a number
each has a system varying from that of one greater than the number of represenany other country. But I desire to get tatives required.
back, as the hon. member for Brantford
Mr. McMASTER: Plus one.
did, to the good old British system. RidiMr. STEELE: Yes; one greater than
cule it as we_ will, criticize it as we may,
endeavour to substitute for it anything that number; so that any member elected
we choose, we cannot ignore the fact that by that system must be a minority reprethe British system bas built up the great- sentative. Some criticism has also been
est Empire the world bas ever seen, and made of the single member constituency.
that under that system the people of Great But one advantage of the single member
Britain have proven themselves the best constituency is that it provides one of the
governors that the world bas produced. very things which advocates of proportional
Not only bas their own country been better representation demand: it gives minority
[Mr. McMaster.]

APRIL 4, 1921
iZepresentation; if flot representation to tive majority, and the opinion expressed
the minority in that constituency it gives on that systemn was this:
representation to the minority in the
None has been devised more simple for the
country, and that is the minority that ought elector, more rapid in operation, more straightto be represented and is entitled to be repre- forward in result-advantages in an Instrument
sented.
I believe that every man who for use by a large electorate of varying intelliis elected to the House of Commons gence which It la difficult to over estimate.
of Canada is elected, first, as a supNow, is there not a good deal of truth
porter of the national policies which in that statement? Is it not a fact that
are best adapted to the needs of Canada. what we want is not a system which wil
That is the first thing that he must support. be mathematically correct-because after
The next thing that he must do is to re- ail the systemn of election by proportional
present the people of his constituency-not representation is largely a mathematical,
only those that voted for him but ail the system. What we want is a systemn which
people of his constituency-and I say that will appeal to the intelligence of our people,
in no country in the world, and neyer in which the average person or,--in fact, every
the history of Canada, has there been elector-can use with reasonable intellisuch need as there is to-day for representa- gence, a system. by which the people can
tive men with a national outlook who are mark their ballots in such a way as wil
prepared to stand by the policies which are 'show what the individual elector, at least,
developed and off ered by this Domidnion. believes is best for our country? Talk about
In order to have that it is necessary for the transferable vote and the alternative
us to get away from parochial ideas, and vote! I think there is a good deal to be
petty policies, although they may please said in favour of both, but the fact is that
a section of one constituency-may please in Western Australia where they have I
perhaps a section even of one province. think, the transferable vote-they have one
We need to get down to greater things, or the other-only sixty-five per cent of
the more important things, the things that, the voters made a second choice. And
to my niind, are to-day essential for the what, after ail, is the value of the second
choice? Is it not the electors first choice
welfare of Canada.
Let us eleet men who will support the that is important? It will be the customi
national policies of Canada.
In order to for every- elector, I think, to give less conbring that about it seems to me we must re- sidera(tion to his second choice than he gives
tain the systemn that we have at present. But to his first, even less consideration to his
we cannot retain it if hme adopt pro- third than he gives to his second; and the
portional representation, and if the peopie result will be that men will be elected on
of each constituency divide into two, or second, third or fourth choice, the most
three, or four or five or six classes; one ilI eonsidered choices which the elector
class perhaps, or even two classes, with makes.
Small majorities will cripple governtheir ideas on great national questions,
and the balance divided up as to whether ments; and I know of nothing more una man should be a farmer or something fortunate for Canada to-day than that
aise, 'whether he should be a labouring this Parliament should, at the next
or
at
any
time
within
man or something else-supporting one man election,
future,
be
so
composed
beeause he advocates a certain view which the near
is not before the electors of the country that no one party can carry on with a
at ahl but is merely held by some of the strong support and a strong majority.
electors in his constituency-enough, the That would be the most unfortunate posicandidate thiniks, to elect him. Now we tion this Parliament could get into. Why
cannot build up a great nation in Canada I would much prefer seeing my friend the
by adopting- that method of electing our leader of the Opposition in control of aifairs in this country than that condition
representatives to Parliament.
In 1909 a Royal Commission was ap- should exist. I would even go so far as
pointed by the British Parliament to look to say that I would prefer even to see my
f 'riend from Marquette (Mr. Crerar),
into this whole question-not only the ques- hon.
in control of the affairs of this Bouse
tion of proportional representation, but the rather than witness
a condition where no
many and varied methods, of electing their party could control. What Canada needs
representatives. One portion of the report to-day is a stable government, a strong
of that commission dealt with the present government that can carry on, and if the
systere of electing maembers in single meni- policy which that government adopts is
ber constituencies by the process of a rela- wrong, the people of the Dominion wil

1552

COMMONS

attend to it and attend to it very promptly.


Something was said by the hon. member
for Marquette about this systemn being in
use in Belgium. I arn sure the hion. gentleman does flot intend to advocate that we
in Canada should adopt a system that is
in use in Belgium. The system in vogue
there is the "list" system where a list for
each party is made out and arranged, as I
understand it, by-shall I say-the organizers of the party, arranged in a certain order, and each elector votes for a
list. He ignores the personnel of the
representatives entirely, and the policy
they are working for-the elector merely
votes for a list. Or would my hon. friend
advocate the system of proportional representation in operation in France, which
bas produced for many years a general
election in that country every few months
or every year or so. That is what we
would probably get in this country if proportional representation were adopted at
the next election.
Mr. PROULX: Does the hon, gentleman
say they have elections every year in
France? My understanding is they enly
have elections there every five years.
Mr. STEE LE: They have had a change
of government there much more frequently
than that in the last few years on account
of the ministry being unable to secure the
It
support of a majority in the House.
niight be of interest to us to hear what
some of the men who helped to build up
the British Empire in the past have to
say on this system of proportional representation. Disraeli dscussed it in debate
in 1870. That is a considerable time ago,
but the British system then was much the
saine as it is to-day. This is the opinion
which Disraeli gave on the system of proportional representation.
He said that
such schemes are:
Reflned and fantastic arrangements
representation of the people

for the

He also said:
Proportional representation is a proposai
opposed to sound principle, the effect of whioch
would be to create a stagnant representation and
bring about a feeble executive; an admirable
scheine for bri-nging crochety men into the
Housge; a scheme of coteries, flot the politics of
nations; which if attempteti would end in chaos
and confusion.

John Bright was opposed to the system


and so were Gladstone and Harcourt. If
the British Empire bas produced any greater
men than these, I am not familiar with their
history.
[Mr. Steele.]

Now, there are practical objections to


proportional representation which have not
been mentioned, and one is the large constituency. I arn free to admit that a system which might be very convenient for
the peoiple of Great Britain or in the other
densely populated countries of Europe
%vould be entirely unsuited to a sparsely
settled country ]ike Canada. It would be
impossible even in the older portions of our
country for any representative to become
familiar with the views of the people in a
constituency made up of four, or five or six
of the present constituencies, and when we
get into our newer sections, such as Northern Ontario, Northern Quebec or the Western Provinces, it would be entirely out of
the question. Imagine a constituency as
large as the haf of Saskatchewan to be
canvassed by the men seeking election. How
much would the people know of their qualifications? It seems to me that the advocacy
of this system for Canada to-day is far
ahead of the times, and while I think it was
very wise indeed for the Government to
agree to the appointment of this committee
to study the system of proportional representation, I am only sorry that they did
not also instruct the committee to inquire
into the present system of representation
in view of the disparity in the size of our
constituencies. To my mind that is one of
the greatest electoral evils we have to-day.
A man representing a constituency of
13,000, 15,000, 18,000 or 20,000 certainly is
a minority representative compared with
the man who is representing a constituency
of 60,000 or 80,000 people.
That is all I have to say on the matter
at the present time.
bon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (leader
of the Opposition) : Mr. Speaker, I should
not like this debate to conclude without
giving expression to my own personal views
on this important subject of proportional
representation. From such study as I have
been able to give it, I find myself in full
sympathy with the principle. I wish also
ta support the amendment which bas been
proposed by the Government, and to congratulate my hon. friend the President of
the Privy Council on having brought forward an amendment which at last gives
this bouse the privilege of getting information on 'at least one important public
question.
Part of my study of proportional representation was made as a member of a select
committee of this bouse, and I have been
rather interested in listening to the

APRIL 4, 1921
different speeches to find that no single
member appears to have had any Icnowledge
that such a committee had investigated this
important subject. During 1909, 1910 and
1911 that select committee was
12 m. appointed, and my hon. friend
1from, Brantford (Mr. Cockshutt)
who bas spoken so strongly this evening
against any conxmittee was one of those
who at that time supported the motion in
favour of a committee.
Mr. COOKSHUTT: I rise to a point of
order, Mr. Speaker. I was not a member
of the House at that time.
Mr. MACKENZIE KING: Oh, yes.
Mr. COCKSHUTT: Excuse me. 1 came
in in 1904 and was out rom 1908 until
1911, and therefore did not support the
appointment of the committee at that or any
other time.
Mr. MACKENZIE KING: 1 accept the
statement of my hbon. friend. 1 was under
the impression that he had been in the
House continuously from the time that be
was first returned. I owe him an apology
if he was not in the House at that time.
Hlowever, a committee did take tbis matter in hand and was unanimously supported by the House of Commons of that
day. I arn flot sure that its report bas been
printed. My impression is that it bas been,
but I have been unable to secure a copy
from the Library this evening. I mention the appointment of that committee
as an evidence that the subject bas already
been under consideration by a committee of
this Huse. Wbat is needed for a correct understanding of proportional representation is tbe most careful study
which. it is possible for hon. members to
If any evidence were
give the subject.
needed in support of the wisdom, of having
a committee appointed, it would be found in
the speeches made by the bon. members for
South Perth (Mr. Steele) and Brantford,
(Mr. Cockshutt) and Frontenac (Mr. Edwards), ail of whom. were more or lesa inclined to view proportional representation
as something not in accord with the principles of'the British electoral system. Wbat
is that system other than an endeavour to
give expression to tbe democratic principles of justice and freedom?
Proportional representation, s0 far as I
can see, ks a juster system than any we
have at the present time, in that it gives the
electors, whether of a minority or a maj ority, their fair share of representation in

Parliament, wbere their views can be aired;


and it seems to me that it also gives greater
freedom. in that it allows the greatest possible latitude to every citizen in expresing
bis choice of who shall represent him in
Parliament. Because proportional representation is founded on the true democratic principles of justice and freedom,
and as it gives better expression to those
principles in our electoral machinery, I for
one, strongly favour its adoption.
However, it is desirable that a resolution of this importance should, if possible,
receive the unanimous support of the
House. It is apparent from the debate that
if hon. members were asked to vote on
the resolution as moved by the bon. rnember for East Peterborougb it would not
receive unanimous consent. On the otber
hand, I arn inclined to believe tbat the
amendment proposed by the Government
wilI, notwithstanding the one or two reactionary addresses whicb we bave listened
to tbis evening, receive the almnost unanimous support of bon. member& This will
mean that at least we will have a committee appointed to carefully study the
merits of proportional representation and
make a report to the H-ouse.
In conclusion, reverting again to, what I
said at the outset, it is a sign for wbich
we on tbis side I arn sure are ai duly%
grateful, tbat the Government seerns at hast
to, be waking up to tbe wisdom of doing
sometbing which we bave constantly urged
tbis session.
Tbe last two amendrnents
that we moved, one asking tbat every department of the Government shouhd supply
this bouse with information, and tbe other
to the effect that>it was desirable in the
public interest that we sbould bave as adequate representation as possible during tbe
present session, were voted down by tbe
supporters of the Government.
Tonight
fortunately my hon. friend brings in an
amendinent whichr1ecognizes the wisdom of
giving tbe bouse information and of finding a way for more adequate representation. I congratulate hirn on this improvement. I hope the Government will follow the
lead he bas given, and I trust bis supporters
will lend a hand by giving his amendrnent
their unanimous support.
Mr. A. THOMPSON (Yukon): Mr.
Speaker, I am ghad this subject has been
brought to the attention of the House, particularhy for my own sake, becaiise it is
one I bave found great difflculty in arriving

1554

COMMONS

at an opinion on. Maybe there are other


members who are in the same position. We
shall now have an opportunity of giving
the subject careful study and of hearing
the evidence which will be submitted to
the proposed committee.
So far as my
observations have gone I am not quite sure
whether I am in favour of proportional
representation or not. However, I want to
approach the question with an open mind,
and I shall endeavour to do so. It must not
be forgotten that the splendid system of
government 4vhich our forefathers worked
out and under which we are operating,
was founded altogether upon the majority
system, and that system is the basis upon
which the representatives in the parliaments of the Empire are selected. It is a
system which, I think, we should not hastily
cast aside.
So much for proportional representation. There is, however, in the working
out of this majority system of ours a
development which occurs from time to
time which has never seemed to me to be
quite in keeping with the spirit of our
representative institutions or with the
genius of our people. I refer to the case
of a single constituency in which one member is elected out of three or four candidates. We have instances of it in the
House at the present time. The amendment proposed by the minister to-night will
give us an opportunity of considering a
remedy for that in the preferential or
transferable vote, so that when more than
two candidates run in the same constituency the candidate who is elected will
represent a majority of the electors. That
principle, indeed, has been adopted by us,
in our political conventions, as well as by
the United States in theirs. When a number of candidates are nominated and a ballot is taken it is quite frequently found
that no single candidate has the majority.
In that case the low man drops out and
the votes given to him are transferred
by his supporters to some other candidate,
and so the process of elimination goes on
until finally a candidate is elected who bas
the confidence of a majority of the delegates at the convention. That principle,
therefore, is not new. It seems to me it is
quite compatible with the transferable vote,
which would result in the election of a candidate with a majority rather than of a
plurality candidates. I have much pleasure
therefore, in supporting the amendment,
and I feel sure that I shall obtain much
information from the discussion which will
[Mr. Thompson.]

ensue before the committee, the meetings of


which I shall have great pleasure in attending.
Amendment agreed to.
Mr. J. A. SEXSMITH (Peterborough
East): Mr. Speaker, I shall detain the
House only for a few moments. I wish to
say first that I have been very much
pleased with the reception accorded to this
resolution. Had the motion been accepted
unanimously by the House, including my
two good friends so close by, the member
for Brantford (Mr. Cockshutt) and the
member for Perth (Mr. Steele), I would
have had serious doubt whether the proposal was a desirable reform or a movement forward. I myself am a Conservative; I like to ling to some of the old
things-those that are good, but I like to
discard those things which are ready to
be discarded, and look onward to the future.
We talk about this great Canada of ours
and about British principles of freedom.
Well, that is the reason why I introduced
the resolution-because if under our old
system, one man's vote is equal to the vote
of six other men, I say that condition is not
British. But that is exactly what has
been taking place in almost every election
since Confederation. We have in Ontario
sometimes one Conservative vote worth
four or five Liberal votes. We have in
Quebec, as I said to-night, one Liberal vote
worth six Conservative votes. We had the
spectacle in Nova Scotia in 1904 of 46,000
Conservatives unable to get one representative while 56,000 Liberals got eighteen.
Now, I ask my hon. friends from Brantford
and from Perth, is that British fair play?
Is that British justice? If it is, I do not
understand British fair play or British
justice.
I wish to say, Mr. Speaker, that I gladly
accept the amendment offered by the Minister of Immigration and desire to thank
him for taking the matter into consideration. I hope and trust that a committee
will be appointed and that it will go on in
good British style and secure some better
system than we have to-day, a system
fairer and more British-and if it is more
British it will be more just.
Motion (Mr. Sexsmith), as amended,
agreed to.
Right Hon. ARTHUR MEIGHEN (Prime
Minister): Mr. Speaker, if there is no objection I would move now, while we are
on the subject, seconded by Mr. Calder:
That the special committee appointed this
day to consider the subject of proportional

1555
APRIL 4,1921
1555
APRIL 4, 1921
reprsentation and the subject of the single
gress is being made, and we are getting
transferable or preferentiai vote and the dsiranearer to the Budget every day.
bility of the application of one or the other or
of
Commons
of
the
House
to
lections
both 10
Mr. MACKENZIE KING: Can my hon.
Canada, consist of th following members:
friend give an approximate date-a week,
Messieurs Blair, Calder, Orowe, Currie, Davidtwo weeks, a month?
son, Denis. Harold, Manion, MeMaster, Molloy,
Pardee, Sexsmith. Simpson, Sinclair <Antigonish
Sir HENRY DRAYTON: I should hesi(Qu'Appelle),
Thomson
and Guysborough),
tate to give even an approximate date, for
Whidden.
I should flot like to disappoint the House.
Motion agreed to.
GRIFFENHAGEN AND ASSOCITES
PROPOSED SELECT STANDING
On the Orders of the Day:
COMMITTEE ON RAILWAYS
AND SHIPPING
Hon. CHARLES MURPHY (Russell):On the proposed motion of Mr. Maclean May I inquire from the leader of the Government if any person in any way connected
(Halifax):
with Griffenhagen and Associates is stili in
That Rule 10 of the Hous of Commons,
the employ of the Government, and if so,
Standrelating to the appoi.ntment of th Select
what work such person or persons are
ing Committees of the Hous, b amended by
adding to. the Select Standing Comxnittes of the
doing, and under 'what authority?
Hous a Select Standing Committe on "Railways
Right Hon. Sir GEORGE FOSTER
and Shipping" owned, oprated or controlled by
th Government; and that th Spcial Oom(Minister of Trade and Commerce): In
mitte appointed to prpare, and report th list
answer to my hon. friend I would say that
of members te constitut th Standing Comthe contract, as per noitice, has been canmittes for th prsent session, b Instructed to
celled, but the work of organization a part
prpar and report th list of membrs to comnpose th Select Standing Commnitte on 'Railof which remains unfinished will still be
ways and Shipping"' owned, operatd or concarried on by the subcommittee of Council
trolld by th Govrnment, for th prsent seswith the aid of certain persons employed
sion.
from. that company.
Mr. MACLEAN (Halifax): I wish te
Mr. MURPHY: How many of them are
move that this motion be discharged from
stili employed?
the Order Paper.
Sir GEORGE FOSTER: Not many. I
Motion agreed te.
tell my hon. friend the exact
Mr. could notat the moment, but I will find out
On the motion of Right Hon.
number
Meighen ,the House adjourned at 12.17 a.m. and let him know, probably to-morrow.
Tuesday.
ANSWER TO INQUIRY FOR RETURN
Tuesday, April 5, 1921.
On the Orders of the Day:
Th House met at Three o'clock.
Right Hon. ARTHUR MEIGHEN (Prime
Minister): In answer to the hon. member
PRIVATE BILLS
for Kent, N.B. (Mr. Leger) who inquired
FIRST READINGS
yesterday as to the progress of a reBill No. 48 <from the Senate), for the turn ordered by the House on March 14,
relief of William John Bell.-Mr. Tudhope. I may say that the delay in bringing it
Bill No. 58 (from th Senate), for the down occurs by reason of the way the
relief of Hazel Galbraith.-Mr. Douglas notice of motion for production of papers
was framed, it being worded by the hon,
(Strathcona).
member in the general form. which, I venTHE BUDGET
ture to suggest is too often used, and
which compels inquiry to be made of, and
On th Orders of the Day:
reply awaited rom, every department of
Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (leader the Government. If hon. members would
of the Opposition): I should like to ask my confine notices of motion to cover only the
hon. friend the Minister of Finance if he is department they have in mmnd, they would
yet in a position to, give the House any in- get returns more rapidly. This particular
formation as to when he intends to present return rally covers the Department of Inhis Budget.
dian Affairs, but being generai in its form
inquiries had te be made of ail departments.
Sir HENRY DRAYTON (Minister of
Finance): I arn afraid that I cannot give The answer from the Department of Indian
my hon. friend any definite date. But pro- Affaire went to the Secre--ary of State sorne