June 5, 1908

LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

The revenue from Rocky Mountain park for the twelve months ending June 30, 1907, was $21,144.04.

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CON

John Stanfield

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STANFIELD.

Where is that shown in the hon. gentleman's report?

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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

The revenue mentioned at page L-91 of the Auditor General's Report is the total revenue except that from coal lands. The amount derived from coal mined in the park would be in addition to that. Of course, it appears elsewhere.

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CON

William D. Staples

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STAPLES.

A few moments ago the minister was explaining the government's policy in regard to certain lands they were throwing open for homesteads. I desire to call attention to a claim that was sent to me by a gentleman living north of Cypress river in Manitoba. I brought his wishes before the department and I understand that he has been writing letters to the department himself. I understand that this land has been thrown open for homestead, and I would like to know the position in which it stands. This gentleman is Mr. Alex. Campbell, range 12, township 10-I think that is the location, though I am not quite sure. No doubt the minister will Mr. m. s. McCarthy

know in what position the land is at the present time. Mr. Campbell is a man who settled north of the village of Cypress river a number of years ago. He has raised a large family under a great deal of hardship, and has not been able to give his family such an education as he would like. He is very anxious to get this quarter section for two sons who are now of age. He has been making application in various ways, and has asked the government to promise him that when they threw the land open they would give him first consideration. Can the minister tell me whether Mr. Campbell has got those quarter sections; and if he has not, in what position does he stand?

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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

What was the nature of the reservation on the quarter-section?

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CON

William D. Staples

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STAPLES.

It was a timber reservation, but the timber has been burnt off for a number of years.

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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

Speaking generally, the rule we follow is that when we decide to withdraw a reservation such as that, ten days notice is posted up in the land office, and the first applicant for it after the end of the ten days gets the land. Mr. Campbell's application made while the land was still under reservation, would not be considered as giving him priority of right.

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CON

William D. Staples

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STAPLES.

Under these circumstances I would come to the conclusion that Mr. Campbell has not much chance of securing those particular quarter-sections, because they are a considerable distance from a well-settled district, and he has to make application in the Brandon office. From the correspondence I have seen between him and the department, I think he has not been fairly treated, if the government have allowed another person to step in and get these particular homesteads. No doubt the minister could find out for me whether applications have been made for these particular quarter-sections; perhaps he has the information now.

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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

I have not the information at present, but if the hon. gentleman is willing to wait, I will take the name and location and give him the information at a later date.

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CON

William D. Staples

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STAPLES.

I am sorry I cannot give the location of the particular quarter-sections. They are in township 9, range 12, I think.

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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

Mr. Campbell's own land is in township 9.

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CON

William D. Staples

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STAPLES.

It is quite close to Mr. Campbell's own land.

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CON

William James Roche

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. W. J. ROCHE (Marquette).

The Minister of the Interior referred to certain difficulties incident to allowing applications for land where the land has not been

jmSTE 5, 1908

thrown open. But he must admit that under the present system there is a great deal of room for collusion between the land agent and friends of his, or between the homestead inspector, who knows when the lands will be thrown open and who could easily give the tip to some of his own friends. This could be done, and I think is done at the present time. The present system, to be Impartial, should be accompanied by the greatest publicity. Every facility should be afforded the public of knowing the exact date when the lands will be thrown open. Numerous complaints have come to me with reference to this practice. About a week ago, a letter was sent from Edran's post office, Manitoba, to Mr. W. W. Cory, Deputy Minister of the Interior. it is as follows:

Dr. Roche, M.P., has kindly sent to me your letter to him

I had some communication with the department on behalf of this correspondent.

-re my application for northeast quarter-section 31, township 12, range 13, dated April 28, 1908. Now in the latter part of your letter to him you say that ' there does not appear to be any ground for complaint from Mr. Seaman insofar as the land in question is concerned.' Now I entirely dissent from this statement. What are the facts? Some three or four years ago I, with a number of others, applied for northeast quarter section 31, township 12, range 13. We were informed that the land was not open for homestead entry, but as soon as it was, we would be notified. Now the former policy of your department was that applicants were given a chance to enter according to priority of their application. About a year ago I received a letter on a Friday evening from the land agent that the land was opened for entry, and if I desired to enter I was to apply. The following morning at 10.30 I phoned to the Brandon agent and asked to be permitted to make entry by agent living there, as was formerly the practice, but was surprised to be told by him that Mr. Leslie Sanderson had already entered for this land. Now, Mr. Sanderson had never applied for this land before, and he got private information that it was open for entry before my letter arrived. Now I am aware of the fact that this homestead was given for political services rendered. This land was promised to another man during the last Dominion election, and subsequently he was requested to give up his claim to the fulfilment of the promise, with the promise of a better homestead in another district. He gave up his claim and got another homestead in another place ahead of 17 applicants who had previously applied, whereas he had not previously applied. They were all notified by letter to appear at the land office to enter, but the chosen individual got private information over the telephone, and the individual who dickered in these homesteads was a Liberal member of parliament who boasted that he had the saying of who should get the homesteads. Now I am an Englishman by birth, and I have too much fight in me to tamely submit to this injustice without protest, and

for every vote that the favoured individual got, I will get a dozen for the opposition side. This gross political partiality shall cut two ways. Had one of those got the homestead that had made prior application to myself, it would have been right and proper, and I would not have said a word. But the changing of the regulations so that the first person appearing at the land office with his $10 gets the entry, permits private information to be given to favoured individuals, and is an exactly similar case to those Burrows timber deals that we hear so much about. I had hopes of better and fairer play from Hon. Mr. Oliver's administration, but am disappointed. Will you please show Hon. Mr. Oliver this letter, and by so doing you will oblige,

Tours truly, ,

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TOM SEAMAN.


It would appear from this letter that this correspondent had, along with others, applied for this particular portion of land before it was thrown open for entry. He got word by a letter from Brandon that the land would" be open on a certain date, and the next morning he 'phoned in and found there was a prior entry, that a gentleman had appeared in person and secured the entry, notwithstanding that he had not been amongst the previous applicants. This is only one of similar complaints which I have had in reference to land in other districts. Certainly this particular regulation may be abused and is being abused by those who have knowledge of when the land will be thrown open. The minister will remember that certain lands taken out of the Riding Mountain timber reserve were advertised publicly as about to be thrown open and scores went to the Dauphin land office only to be told that the order had been cancelled and the lands would not be thrown open. Up to the present they have not been thrown open, but squatters have been permitted to go in there and have been told by inspectors that their rights will be protected. For instance in township 18, range 19, there are quite a number of settlers located not only on the even, but on the odd-numbered sections, and they say they have paid their money into the Dauphin land office, although they have not yet received their certificates. I have not had an authoritative statement from the minister as to whether these squatters will receive priority when they go on homesteads.


LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

The only knowledge I have of settlers being permitted to occupy these lands which were taken out of the original Riding Mountain reserve is of squatters who were in the reserve as it was originally, squatters whom it was necessary to get out of the reserve in order that the purpose of the Act of parliament might be made effective. It may be fairly argued that the people who went and settled on the land when it was under reservation had no right and could be and should be ejected, but I submit it would not be sound

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'9995 COMMONS


public policy to act In that manner except as a last resort. Consequently in getting the settlers out of the reserve as established by Act of parliament I have offered to these people a priority of choice in the lands originally reserved but cut out of the reserve by the delimitation laid down in the Act of parliament. We think that is fair and reasonable. If any other people are going in and squatting there they are doing it without permission from us and I cannot guarantee them any protection.


CON

William James Roche

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. W. J. ROCHE (Marquette).

If what the minister says is correct, that those peo

pie who were located as squatters on the reserve are compelled to move out, I agree they should have the land, but are they to be confined to a quarter-section or a halfsection of land? Around Clearwater lake, a colony of halfbreeds located as squatters. There might be ten families on one quarter-section. Does the minister think that each family should have a quarter-section in that part of the reserve? The minister's predecessor said that these people should not be looked on as farmers. Is it the intention of the minister to allow that class of settlers to have each the full amount of land ?

Mr. OLIVER, The squatters at Clearwater lake are squatters just as are the other people to whom we have given the privilege I have mentioned. These people have rights that we cannot ignore. I was speaking of people who have no legal right. They may be settled too close together to allow each one a quarter-section, but certainly the others, although far enough apart to have a quarter-section, were not occupying a quarter-section. I have reason to believe that a settlement with these settlers is now being arranged and I would not wish to be committed in the House to any serious or lengthy discussion in regard to them until we get the settlement. I am very anxious to get them out of the reserve and to carry out the will of parliament, and I am not inclined to allow anything that is not of vital importance to stand in the way of getting the lands cleared as parliament, I believe, desires they shall be cleared.

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CON

William James Roche

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. W. J. ROCHE (Marquette).

I am well aware that many of these settlers have been notified to vacate their premises on the reserve, but they have been notified so often that they look on it as a farce and have not the slightest intention of leaving. They say they will not leave and do not think the government have power or authority to expel them. I think the minister will have considerable difficulty in ridding the reserve of a considerable number of these squatters. I have here a letter from a gentleman who wished to take up land in one of the townships taken from the reserve. He says :

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June 5, 1908