Sunday, December 8, 2013

BC's Prohibition Act didn't pass muster in 1917; Women's Sufferage vote did, on April 5th, 1917

1917, World War One was in full swing, all the able young men, all the able young women (nurses) were overseas when along came British Columbia's Premier Harlan Cary Brewster (Liberal, November 23, 1916 - March 1, 1918 with his Prohibition Act (which failed to pass muster), a By-Election and Women's Right to vote (passed), approved by ..... men.  The Prohibition Vote results were not what the BC Government expected; the disappointed Premier appointed a Royal Commission to go to France to discover if the votes cast were valid.   SCANDAL
Liberal leader Harlan C. Brewster, who was in favour of both prohibition and ending patronage in government, won the election.  The electorate voted 51 892 for and 24 606 against women’s suffrage, rewarding women for the work they had done on the home front during the war.   Prohibition was defeated, however, because of the votes of B.C. soldiers overseas. Brewster commissioned an inquiry, which revealed massive electoral fraud, particularly by officers in the army, and cast suspicion on McBride who, as the new Agent-General in London, had overseen the voting process.   Over half of the soldiers’ votes were disallowed, and Prohibition came into effect. - A City Goes to War

2013 Questions: Was it only Canadian soldiers voting more than once in such an unscrupulous manner on their sure to be death beds?  or Officers final manipulations?  One last defiant  gesture?  The Finger salute?   A message dispatched to the safe and secure politicians in BC and Canada?   A new beginning, after leaving the battlefield horrors behind, a dream of clearing trees and stumps, to till the land to produce Raspberry and Strawberry crops in the first years back.  A means of not drinking away the memories of a war that took away friends,    and lost limbs.

Was the Overseas Votes tainted by the sergeants who collected the dog tags,  and saw an opportunity, an "escape route" once the Great War was over?

Were Overseas voting results typical of other nations' soldiers on the fields of France?  To have their votes contested, then smeared, by politicians?

Royal Commissions  1870  to  1979    Go for 1917 (Seven all told)(busy year for Corruption)

Notable acts during the Great War:
1916 Life of Legislative Assembly extended to 5 years (SBC 1916 c.14). Clergy no longer prohibited from running and sitting as MLAs (SBC 1916 c.14).
1917 Franchise extended to women (SBC 1917 c.23).
1918 First woman to run (and be elected) – Mary Ellen Smith – in Vancouver by-election held 24 January 1918. First time women voted in provincial election.

Categories of Citizens Ineligible to Vote, 1867–1885 (Women not mentioned)(Ineligible)

British Columbia   

Any person of Indian origin.
Any immigrant of Chinese origin.
Any person holding one of the following positions:
    employee of the customs department
    employee of the federal government responsible for collecting excise duties
    judge of the Supreme Court or a county court
    stipendiary magistrate
    police constable or police officer
Any employee of the federal government paid an annual salary (except postal employees).
Any employee of the provincial government paid an annual salary.
Any teacher paid by the government of the province.
Any person previously found guilty of treason, serious crimes or other offences, unless he had been pardoned or served his sentence.

 British Columbia approved women's suffrage on 5 April 1917


Alcohol was prohibited in British Columbia for about four years, from 1917 to 1921. A referendum in 1916 asked BC citizens whether they approved of making alcohol illegal (the other question was whether women had the right to vote). The contested results rejecting prohibition led to a major political scandal that subsequently saw the referendum being overturned and alcohol prohibited.  - Wikipedia  

One overlying fact, soldiers were led to believe that they were voting on TWO items.  Prohibition and a By-Election.    Women's right to vote, not mentioned in the Report.

Ancestry buffs might be interested in this Royal Commission because it lists off "dog tags",  names, place of birth, home town (residence) places, Battalions, and places of recuperation (in England). 

Prohibition Party Scrutineer Evidence:  Mr. W. D. Baley, the agent acting on behalf of the Party, noted that the presiding Officers ignored Clause 3 of the Order in Council of 24th August, 1916 to take the vote in certain parts of England and France:

All scrutineers and deputy scrutineers present at the time any poll is closed and the receptacles prepared to be forwarded to the Deputy Provincial Secretary or Agent-General , as the case may be, shall be allowed to place their own private seals upon the receptacles, in addition to the seal of the Presiding Officer or Deputy President Officer.
Receptacles? Sealed Ballot Boxes,  unheard of on the War Front, envelops were the norm.

BC Legislature Report:

Your Commissioners arrived at London on the 12th day of June, 1917, and after publication of a notice of their first meeting in three Issues of the London Times newspaper, pursuant to subsection (2) of section 6 of the said Act, your Commissioners held their first session at British Columbia House, Nos. 1 and 2, Regent Street; London, on Monday, the 18th day of June, 1917.

  .... card-indexes were sorted out in alphabetical order, It became apparent that many soldiers had voted, or were were made to appear as having voted, two, three, or four times, and these duplicate, triplicate, and quadruplicate votes were made the subject of special investigations by Mr. Helmore. "Certain cards out of those prepared by Mr. Helmore were selected by your Commissioners for comparison with the original military records, and these cards were in every case found to bear out the conclusions arrived at by Mr. Helmore.  The evidence taken at the Military Records Office will be found in the stenographer's report of the fourth day's proceedings of the Commission.   For convenience, however, we refer to one or two examples of what appeared to be fraudulent voting.

William Brillat, No. 155063;  Brillat is supposed to have voted at the Crowborough on the 22nd of December, 1916, whereas the military records show that Brillat deserted on the 16th of September.

 Oscar Ewart Hawes, No. 487388 was killed in action on the 8th October, 1916

Arthur Bacon, No. 429173; the military record showed No. 429173 to belong to Albert Alfred Bacon.   In the one case the residence of A. A. Bacon is given at Vancouver and that of Arthur Bacon at Victoria.   Captain Sellon produced the military record of Albert Alfred Bacon, No. 429173, which showed that this man went to France on February 3rd, 1916.

Henderson's Vancouver Directory (Names) A.E. Bacon, conductor, B. C. E. Railway

Alfred John Knight; it appears that four votes had been cast in this man's name, and in each case the number is given as 707244; the records show Alfred John Knight, No. 707245, 103rd Battalion;  In each case the votes were cast at Epsom Convalescent Hospital, three times under the name of Lonorgan, Presiding Officer , and once under the name of H. A. Douglas as Presiding Officer.  The correct number of Alfred John Knight was 707245

Pte. Carl Henry, No. 154254, Canadian Army Medical Corps (C.A.M.C.)

He stated his residence to be Vancouver, B.C., and that he had voted twice.  He understood one was an election and one was a by-election.  He was not positive whether he had voted on Prohibition the first time but was definite  as to voting on Prohibition the second time, at what he believed to be a by-election.
Pte. Leith Gordon; No. 22058, of Winnipeg, Manitoba

Sergt.-Major George Parker Cruikshank, No. 54014,

Sergt. John Beauchamp Daly, No. 432441,

Pte. Cecil Everard William Reginald Durden, No. 147890; 78th Battalion, Winnipeg,

Sergt. Lee Bernard Cogan, No. 6B16, stated that his residence was Detroit, Michigan

Pte, Edgar Field, 8th Battalion, No. 45, gave his residence as Winnipeg, Man

Sergt. Cecil A. Hamilton, No. 13106, 5th Battalion, gave his residence as Saskatchewan

Corporal  Frank Taylor Harrop, No, 108274, No. 1146,Yuill Street, Medicine Hat, Manitoba

Pte. Vivian Potter, Battleford, Saskatchewan

Sergt. William Henry Bradley, No. 13081, 5th Battalion

Corporal Ralph Percy, Biggs, No. ,12968, 5th Battalion

Pte. Samuel Egginton Hodgkins, No. 464666, Manitoba Hotel, Yates, Street, Victoria

Major Pringle, Senior Chaplin at Shoreham Camp

Corporal William Harrison Welsh, No. 703426, l02nd Battalion, Vancouver, B.C.  He left  Irmstone  Hospital at Eastbourne on the 30th day of December, 1916

Lance-Corporal' James Owen, No. 75543, 29th Battalion; residence Mount Lehman, BC

Pte. Henry Ashdown, No. 706108, 103rd Battalion, residence 950 North Park Street, Victoria

Corporal Harold J. Cowherd, No. 706880, 103rd Battalion, residence Victoria

Pte. Arthur Leadbetter, No. 706995, 103rd Battalion, 1211 Pembroke Street, Victoria

Lieut. Alexander Duncan McRae, Of the 27th Battalion, France  acted as scrutineer at Sheffield, Buxton, and Manchester in November and December, 1916, at polls....

Sergt. H. A. Douglas at the various hospitals in the northern half of England, including Sheffield
and Buxton, contained no ballots marked in favour of Prohibition.

 "Had She oones Wett Hyr Whystyll She couth Syng full clere Hyr pater noster."

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