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restrictions: "Défenses aux personnes de la religion pr^tendue reTormee de s'assembler pour faire l'exercise de leur religion dans l'étendue de ce dit pays, sous peine de chStiment suivant la rigueur des ordonnances, lesquelles ne pourront hiverner a. l'avenir en ce dit pays, sans permission, et que si quelqu'un y hivernoit pour cause légitime, ils n'auront aucun exercice de leur religion, et vivront comme des Catholiques sans scandale."
That under the sway of these laws, the exercise of the Protestant worship was greatly, if not totally, restricted is unquestionable; but it seems that none of them went so far as to deprive Protestant French subjects of their civil rights. In this respect, the Edictof Nantes, which tolerated the " so called reformed Church," was the political law or charter of Protestant Churches in La Nouvelle France.
Montreal, 7th October, 1871.
(To he continued.)
THE ELECTION LAWS.
The coming year of 1872 will be one of much importance to the Dominion. The first Parliament will have closed its career, and the people will be called upon to choose those to whom they desire the public affairs shall be entrusted. The machinery of Government applicable to a large confederation having been devised and set up by the Parliament which will have passed away, the approval or condemnation. of its acts must be submitted to those from whom, under our English constitution, the power emanates. No uniformity in the mode of selecting the Representatives to the House of Commons having been agreed upon by Parliament, the selection will be left to each Province, to be made aocording to its own laws. By an act passed at the last session of the Dominion Parliament, 34 Vic. c. 20, entituled "The Interim Parliamentary Elections Act, 1871," and to be in force for two years only from the time of its passing, section 2, it is declared: "The laws in force in the several Provinces of "Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick, at the time of the "Union on the 1st of July, 1867, relative to the following mat"ters—that is to say—the qualifications and disqualifications of "persons to be elected or to sit or vote as Members of the Legis"lative Assembly, or House of Assembly, in the said several "Provinces respectively—the voters at elections of such Mem"bers—the oath to be taken by voters—the powers and duties "of Returning Officers—and generally the proceedings at and "incident to such elections, shall be provided by the British "North America Act, 1867, continue to apply respectively to "elections of Members to serve in the House of Commons for the "Provinces of Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Bruns"wick." There are ceitain exceptions, as to the polling in Ontario and Quebec lasting only for one day, and that the qualification of voters in Ontario shall be such as was by law in force on the 23rd of January, 1869; and a provision that the Revisors in Nova Scotia shall add to the list of voters the names of such Dominion officials and employees as would have been qualified to vote under the laws in force in that Province on the 1st of July. 1867, but who may have been disqualified by act of the Legislature of that Province passed since that day. There are also provisions respecting Quebec, British Columbia and Manitoba, and on some other points, but not of a bearing necessary to be observed upon in this article.
Without commenting upon the propriety or impropriety of having the same House composed of Representatives chosen under different laws, with different statutory qualifications, and elected in different ways, it is sufficient to say that Parliament in its wisdom thought proper to prefer such a course, leaving to the House hereafter to be chosen to determine whether the continuance of such a course shall be prudent for the future or not. The important questions of the qualifications of the candidates, of the nature and extent of the franchise, and of the mode of election, whether by ballot and simultaneous polling or not, will no doubt form during the discussions preceding, and the canvas pending the elections, the subject of many and exciting arguments.
Assuming that all are desirous of doing what is best for the country, it may be useful to compare the existing laws, and thus by contrast enable the people of all the Provinces to select from the legislation of each that which may be deemed best, not simply in theory but in practical working. For this purpose it is proposed briefly to point out the salient features of the election laws in the three Provinces of Ontario, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia—Quebec is not touched upon,—and with reference to both British Columbia atid Manitoba, it is manifest a little time must be allowed to those two Provinces to develop their own systems.
In the three Provinces referred to, the Election Laws differ very materially, both as to the qualification of the Electors and the Candidates, the mode and time of voting, and the restrictions imposed upon the exercise of the franchise.
First:—As to the qualification of the Voters.
In Ontario, every male person 21 years of age, a British subject by birth or naturalization, not coming under any legal disqualification, duly entered on the last revised and certified List of Voters, being actually and bona fide the owner, tenant, or occupant of real property of the value hereinafter mentioned, and being entered in the last revised assessment roll for any city, town, or village, as such owner, tenant, or occupant of such real property, namely:—
In Cities, of the actual value of §400
In Towns " "" 300
In Incorporated Villages, of the actual value of 200
shall be entitled to vote at Elections for Members for the Legislative Assembly.
Joint owners or occupiers of real property rated at an amount sufficient, if equally divided between them, to give a qualification to each, shall each be deemed rated within the Act; otherwise, none of them shall be deemed so rated.
"Owner" means in his own right, or in right of his wife, of an estate for life or any greater estate.
"Occupant," bona fide in possession, either in his own right or in right of his wife (otherwise than as owner or tenant) and enjoying revenues and profits therefrom to his own use.
"Tenant " shall include persons who, instead of paying rent in money, pay in kind "any portion of the produce of such property."
In Nova Scotia every male subject by birth or naturalization, 21 years of age, not disqualified by law, assessed on the last revised assessment-roll, in respect of real estate to the value of $150, or in respect of personal estate, or of real and personal together, of the value of $300, shall be entitled to vote.
Also, when a firm is assessed in respect of property sufficient to give each member a qualification, the names of the several persons comprising such firm shall be inserted in the List, but no member of a corporate body shall be entitled to vote or be entered on the List in respect of corporate property.
Also, when real property has been assessed as the estate of any person deceased, or as the estate of a firm, cr as the estate of any person and son or sons, the heirs of the deceased in actual occu pation at the time of the assessment, the persons who were partners of the firm at the time of the assessment, and the sons in actual occupation at the time of the assessment shall be entitled to vote, as if their names had been specifically mentioned in the assessment, on taking an oath, if required, in accordance with the facts coming within the separate classification of the above provisions.
In New Brunswick every male person 21 years of age, a British subject not under any legal incapacity, assessed for the year for which the Registry is made up :—In respect of real estate to $100, or personal property, or personal and real, amounting to $400, or on an annual income of $400, shall be entitled to vote.
Thus, in both Nova Scotia and New Brunswick the franchise is more extended than in Ontario. In Ontario it still savours of the real estate. In New Brunswick and Nova Scotia it is based upon personal estate, per se, as well as real estate.
In Ontario certain persons are forbidden to exercise the franchise whether qualified or not, namely :—Judges of the Supreme Courts, of County Courts, Recorders of cities, officers of the Customs of the Dominion, Clerks of the Peace, County Attorneys, Registrars, Sheriffs, Deputy Sheriffs, Deputy Clerks of the Crown, Agents for the sale of Crown lands, Postmasters in cities and towns, and Excise Officers, under a penalty of $2000, and their votes being declared void.
Again, no Returning Officer, Deputy-Returning Officer, Election clerk, or Poll clerk, and no person who at any time, either during the election, or before the election, is, or has been employed in the said election, or in reference thereto, or for the purpose of forwarding the same, by any candidate, or by any person whomsoever, as counsel, agent, attorney, or clerk at any polling place at any such election, or in any other capacity, whatever, and who has received, or expects to receive, either before, during, or after the said election, from any candidate, or from any person whomsoever, for acting in any such capacity as aforesaid, any sum of money, fee, office, place, or employment, or any promise, pledge or security whatever, therefor, shall be entitled to vote at any election.
No woman shall be entitled to vote at any election. In New Brunswick and Nova Scotia there is no restriction as to the exercise of the franchise by persons who are duly qualified. On the contrary, express provisions are made to enable presiding officers, poll clerks, candidates and their agents, when acting in the discharge of their various duties connected with the election, to poll their votes in districts where, otherwise but for such provisions, they would not be entitled to vote.
As to the Qualification of Candidates. In Nova Scotia the candidate must possess the qualification requisite for an elector, or shall have a legal or an equitable freehold estate in possession, of the clear yearly value of eight dollars. In New Brunswick the candidate must be a male British subject, 21 years of age, and for six months previous to the test of the writ of election have been legally seized as of freehold for his own use of land in the Province of the value of £300, over and above all incumbrances charged thereon.
In Ontario by the Act of 1869, 33 Vic., chap. 4, passed to amend the Act of the previous Session, entitled: "An Act respecting elections of Members of the Legislative Assembly" (the 32 Vic., chap. 21), it is enacted " That from and after the passing of that Act, no qualification in real estate should be required of any candidate for a seat in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario; any statute or law to the contrary notwithstanding, and every such last mentioned statute and law is hereby repealed."
Neither the said 32 Vic., chap. 21, nor the preceding Acts of the same Session, chaps. 3 and 4, defining the privileges, immunities and powers of the Legislative Assembly, and for securing the independence of Parliament, point out what shall be the qualifications of a candidate, and the previous Acts in the Consolidated Statutes on the subject have been repealed.
By the 23rd sec. of 32 Vic., chap. 21, 1868 & 9, the electors present on nomination day are to name the person or persons whom they wish to choose or represent them in the Legislative Assembly. There is no restriction as in Nova Scotia, that a candidate must have the qualification of an elector, which, among others, is that he shall be a male subject by birth or naturalization, or, as in New Brunswick, specifically, that he must be a "male British subject."
In the Ontario Act, 32 Vic, chap. 21, sec. 4, it enacts: "No woman shall be entitled to vote," but there is no restriction in