February 26, 1901

PRIVATE BILLS-EXTENSION OF TIME.

LIB

Thomas Barnard Flint

Liberal

Mr. T. B. FLINT (Yarmouth) moved :

That the time for receiving petitions for private Bills be extended to Friday, the 15th of March next, and the time for presenting private Bills be extended to Friday, the 29th of March next, in accordance with the recommendation contained in the second report of the Select Standing Committee on Standing Orders.

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CON

Thomas Simpson Sproule

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. T. S. SPROULE (East Grey).

I have repeatedly, for years, brought the disadvantage of such proposals ns this to the attention of the House. This is the commencement in a new parliament of an evil which always results in lengthening our sessions. The time for presenting petitions for private Bills and for the introduction of private Bills cannot be unknown to the public, and they ought to be ready with their Bills at the proper time. I think that the beginning of a new parliament is the proper time for us to put our foot down on a custom which has obtained very largely of late, and which is a very inconvenient one for us. I think that if it were given out early in the session, and in this parliament, that these extensions would not be made as easily as they have been heretofore, the people would govern themselves accordingly, and this would assist Mr. HUGHES (Victoria).

us greatly in getting through our work in much more reasonable time than is usually done.

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The PRIME MINISTER (Rt. Hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier).

I altogether agree with my hon. friend from East Grey (Mr. Sproule). The practice of extending the time for private Bills became an abuse during the life of the late parliament. At the beginning of this parliament we should insist on the rule being strictly carried out. Though I will not, at the moment, object to this motion, I must say that if any further delay is required, for my part, I shall have to ask the House not to agree to it.

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Motion agreed to.


FIRST READINGS.


Bill (No. 19) respecting the Eastern Canada Savings and Loan Company, Ltd.-Mr. Borden (Halifax). Bill (No. 20) respecting the Nakusp and Slocan Railway Company.-Mr. Prior. Bill (No. 21) respecting the British Columbia Southern Railway Company.-Mr. Prior. Bill (No. 22) respecting the Columbia and Western Railway Company.-Mr. Morrison. Bill (No. 23) respecting the Guelph Junction Railway Company-Mr. Guthrie. Bill (No. 24) respecting the South Ontario Pacific Railway Company.-Mr. Guthrie. Bill (No. 25) respecting the Ottawa and Hull Power and Manufacturing Company.- Mr. Champagne. Bill (No. 26) respecting the Canadian Pacific Railway Company.-Mr. Fortin. Bill (No. 27) respecting the Atlantic and Lake Superior Railway Company.-Mr. Talbot.


FREIGHT AND PASSENGER RATES ON RAILWAYS.

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Mr. JOHN D.@

REID (South Grenvillei moved for leave to introduce Bill (No. 28>

to regulate freight and passenger rates on railways. He said : I may say, in briefly explaining this Bill, that it is the same Bill that I introduced last session, and also the session previous. It is for the purpose of appointing a commission to regulate freight and passenger rates on railways. The Bill provides that the railway commission shall have power, in case of any difficulty arising between railway companies and shippers, to settle those matters. When the second reading comes up I shall go into the matter more fully. I hone that at this session the Minister of Railways and Canals (Hon. Mr. Blair) will kindly give this matter his consideration, and help me to pass it. I believe there is a general desire through the country for the appointment of a railway commission of some kind. This Bill may

not be perfect, but if we pass it now we will have an opportunity before next session of seeing exactly what is required, and any defects in it may then be remedied. In preparing this Bill I have taken the Interstate Commerce Act as a guide. On the other side of the line, I understand, that Act is doing a great deal of good, it makes the rates uniform and protects the shippers to a great extent. I hope that my Bill will have the support of the House, and that 1 shall be able to get it through this session.

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Motion agreed to, and Bill read the first time.


DOMINION LANDS ACT AMENDMENT.


The MINISTER OF THE INTERIOR (Hon. Clifford Sifton) moved for leave to introduce Bill (No. 29) to amend tne Dominion Lands Act. He said : I may say in explanation of this Bill, that its various clauses relates more or less to matters of detail in the administration of Dominion lands. The first clause needs no explanation. The second clause is for the purpose of enabling another officer to sign official documents in place of the commissioner of Dominion lands in his absence. The third clause relates to the date at which the settler is required to perfect his homestead entries by going upon the land. It provides that the entry may be declared void at the end of six months in the discretion of the minister of the department. At the present time, and for some years past, that has been the actual practice, and my attention was called to the fact that the practice has not been in accordance with the statute, and I propose to ask the House to amend the statute so as to make it accord with what has been the practice. Strictly to follow the statute at present might work a great injustice, because sometimes settlers are not able to go upon the land within the exact period of six months. The fourth clause enables the settler Who comes from the United States to have one year from the time he is making his entry to perfect it. It is found that is necessary in the case of people who come from the western states, who sometimes, after selecting their land, are not able to come back as soon as they intended. Under this clause he may have one year to perfect his entry. The fifth clause relates to an amendment made a year or two ago with respect to the homestead law under which a settler was enabled to perform his residence upon the second homestead by living upon his first homestead. It was the intention that that clause should apply only in cases where homesteads were taken up in the vicinity of the first homestead. But the settlers display considerable ingenuity in interpreting the law, and some have attempted to make it apply where the homesteads were in different parts of the countrv 14} altogether. The amendment adds these words : ' If the second homestead is in the vicinity of the first homestead.' The sixth clause is for the purpose of removing a provision which was contained in an amendment made at the instance of the then member for Western Assiniboia, Mr. Davin, some three years ago, to enable the homesteader to get his patent for a second homestead by having a certain number of cattle instead of doing cultivation duties. The provision requiring that he shall cultivate at least one acre of land has also been found to be of no practical benefit, and we propose to remove it. The seventh section is for the purpose of removing a clerical error that existed in the amendment made a couple of years ago. The eighth section is for the purpose of removing a doubt ir. regard to the construction of a clause in the Dominion Lands Act, relating to assignments which settlers might make before they were entitled to their patent. The law does not permit a settler to make an assignment before he is entitled to his patent, but it was found in operation to be very hard, because a settler might make an assignment without knowing the provisions of the law and without intending to violate them. Two or three different provisions were made in regard to this particular subject. This clause is for the purpose of making clear the effect of the last amendment. I will go into it more fully when the Bill is before the Committee and when the legal effect of the amendment may be explained. The 9th clause is for the purpose of enabling the Department of the Interior to issue a patent to a settler or a company who may have made an advance to a settler under the provisions of the Act which was passed a number of years ago, providing that companies might make advances to settlers upon the security of their homesteads. There have been cases in which settlers have got advances, have complied with the requirements of the law as to residence and cultivation of the soil and have left the country without getting their patents, thinking perhaps that the land was not worth any more than the advance upon it. In such cases it is quite clear that the companies are entitled to the patent for the- land so as to realize the security which was provided for under the original Act. A technical difficulty has arisen in this case by reason of the fact that some of these settlers were not British subjects and consequently the department could not issue the patents. The purpose of the amendment is to enable the department to issue a patent when the settler is not a British subject and has not taken out his naturalization papers. The 10th clause is to enable the Department of the Interior to issue grazing leases under regulations made by the Governor in Council without each individual lease coming before council. It has been found to be extremely troublesome and to cumber



the work of council very much, when the requirement of the law is that there should he an order in council for each lease. The 11th clause is for the purpose of avoiding the necessity of leases of public lands issued by the Department of the Interior being under the Great Seal of the Crown. The Deputy Minister of Justice has lately advised the department that this amendment ought to be made. Clause 12 is for the purpose of providing that in all cases where interest is accruing upon the sales of Dominion lands the rate of interest from July 7, 1900, when the Act which was passed last session relating to the rate of interest, shall be 5 per cent instead of 0 per cent, as it was before.


CON

Charles Hibbert Tupper

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir CHARLES HIBBERT TUPPER.

I would like the Minister of the Interior (Hon. Mr. Sifton) to expedite the return of the papers in connection with an order of the House touching any recommendation for reports as to irregularities in the administration of the present Dominion Lands Act, before the second reading of this Bill, so that we will be in possession of whatever material there is on the subject before the hon. minister asks the House to agree to the second reading.

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The MINISTER OF THE INTERIOR.

Mr. Speaker, I have not the least objection to expediting the return, or in fact, anything that is ordered, but, I may say that I found considerable difficulty, and the officers of the department found difficulty, in knowing what papers the hon. gentleman meant by that motion. If he has any particulars in his mind, if he will write me a note specifying what they are in such a way as to help us to find out what he is referring to, I will be happy to do what he suggests.

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CON

Charles Hibbert Tupper

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir CHARLES HIBBERT TUPPER.

Mr. Speaker, I am very sorry that the officers of the hon. minister are not more acute in connection with these matters. The order of the House is for :

Copies of all reports, official memoranda and papers dealing with irregularities, mistakes by order in council or otherwise in the administration of the provisions of the Dominion Lands Act in the Yukon district.

Now, the hon. gentleman has mentioned, as I understood him, in the introduction of this Bill a question with which he proposes to deal, the question of the execution of some leases. They may not relate to this district, although the .yet itself does. Touching, for instance, the execution of these leases and the affixing of the Great Seal for the purpose of validity-this is one suggestion, but the order of the House expressly refers to any question of irregularity. When we see the provisions of this Bill there may be some retroactive clauses-I fancy there are, as it has generally been the case, and

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LIB

Clifford Sifton (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. SIFTON.

the effect of these provisions will be to make valid or cure any irregularity that has occurred. 1 am not in a position to give a definite statement as to any case that has come up. I have no particular case in my mind whatever, but it occurred to me that in the administration of that Act there may have been, and it is a natural supposition that there must have been, irregularities, especially as relates to that far-away district in connection with the operation of that Act. If these reports or memoranda are in the possession of the department this order of the House will, of course, attach to any of them. If, on the other hand, there are none, none will be brought down. But, following the minister to-day, it occurred to me, that one of the provisions that he mentioned of his Bill has reference to some irregularities in the issue of leases. It may not be as confined as this order of the House is, to the Yukon district. That may be, but I am not able to particularize any more than the order of the House has done in regard to such irregularities.

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The MINISTER OF THE INTERIOR.

There is not the least objection on my part to expedite the return in every possible way. When a general order of that kind is made in connection with the department where the transactions have been very many and the amount of business very extensive, it is, of course, more satisfactory for the minister, if there has been any special transaction in the mind of the hon. gentleman who moves for the return, to know what transaction is referred to, so that he can see what papers there are on the subject. However,

I will do everything possible to see that the papers are brought down without delay.

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CON

Charles Hibbert Tupper

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir CHARLES HIBBERT TUPPER.

The only case that suggests itself to my mind is in regard to the water front at Dawson. There may be some action in regard to the leasing of the water front where, the hon. minister will remember, there was no formal lease executed and yet the parties went into possession as if a lease had been formally executed. I did not have that in my mind when I made the motion ; still it would cover it.

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Motion agreed to, and Bill read the first time.


February 26, 1901