June 26, 1908

LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

These are the instructions to the officers to-day. When a person corresponds with the department in regard to a certain point which is decided by the regulations we mark the section and send him a copy of the regulations.

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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

I would like to ask the minister a question with regard to paragraph 3 of section 13 :

If no cancellation proceedings are pending, the homesteader may abandon his homestead in favour of a father.

Could that be abandoned to a father or son or brother who had already taken a homestead?

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LIB
CON

William James Roche

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. W. J. ROCHE.

The point brought out by the hon. member for East Assini-boia (Mr. Turriff) namely, that the six months allowed to enter into residence upon the land might be during an unfavourable season of the year and that it would only be right and proper that there should be an extension of time for another six months serves to emphasize the unfair position of the man who has made his application by proxy in comparison with the one who has applied in person. The entry of a person who applies by proxy, realizing, of course, that proxies are confined to members of the same family, becomes void automatically at the expiration of six months, if his entry has not been perfected. No matter at what time of the year it may be the proxy entry cannot be protected. I think that if it is a good argument to say that you should protect the entry of the person who applies personally as far as the time of the year is concerned it ought to be equally good with respect to the man who applies by proxy. I believe the regulations set out that a person who has made his entry on the 1st of September shall have it protected to the 1st of June, nine months, in consideration of the strenuous and long winters that we have in that country. Suppose, at the present time a man, by proxy, makes his entry on the 1st of November he must go into residence and perfect his entry by the 1st of May, a period made up of winter months except the month of April. If he has not appeared personally at the land office prior to that time and proved that he has actually been in residence, or is about to go upon the land, his entry becomes void. I think that will entail considerable hardship in some of the very large land districts where the applicant by proxy will be required to expend a great deal of time and, money in order to appear personally, and I think that if a provision were made to allow the person who applies by proxy the same privilege as the applicant who applies in person, the application for an extension of time being supported by a statutory declaration by himself and two other statutory declarations on the part of his neighbours, it would save a great deal of time and money and it would meet the requirements of the case just as well as to compel him at that unfavourable time of the year to appear in person. I wished more particularly to draw the attention of the minister to the fact that a person making application by proxy must complete entry by the 1st of May. There is no protection, by reason of this being the winter season, for a party making application by proxy, and I think it is rather unfair.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

With regard to that, we found it necessary, a couple of years ago, in view of the abuses which had arisen, to absolutely withdraw the privilege for a time in order to give us a chance to see

how far the abuses has gone. There is no doubt that they had gone very far. After we had an opportunity to take stock of the situation we thought it was fair and reasonable that the privilege should be revived in so far as entries by members of the same family are concerned. Everybody recognizes that it is a proper principle to facilitate the occupation of land in the same vicinity by members of the same family. But we did not think it would be advisable to give the same privilege to an entry by proxy. The right of proxy entry is given for the purpose of saving the expenses of a double trip ; so that the whole family will not be required to go to the locality to select the land and then afterwards return for their stock, effects, or whatever it may be, and go once more. That is the only purpose that is intended to be served by the proxy entry. It is not intended that the proxy entry should mean anything else than die actual occupation of the land, but it is intended to .give the opportunity of acquiring occupation under circumstances that will be as little expensive as possible. But we necessarily feel with regard to the position which has been stated by the hon. member for Qu'Appelle that there are difficulties continually arising with regard to the holding of land, or what might be called the over-holding of homestead entry. Where the entrant has complied with the law in the making of his entry and has found it necessary, after making that entry, to go away and earn money in order to enable him to fulfil his duties, we feel that we ought to give every leniency we can. We think that in the case of the proxy entry, the entrant having been given the advantage for a certain specific purpose, we would not be warranted in allowing the same leniency. There is a great deal of difficulty, delay and expense of every kind in securing the cancellation of a homestead entry. We do not feel that we are warranted iu reducing the difficulty in securing the can-cancellation of an ordinary homestead entry, but we feel that in the case of the proxy entry no one concerned in the cancellation should be put to expense or delay. The privilege having been given we think it should be lived up to, and certainly by giving anything like the relaxation of the provision which my hon. friend suggests there will at once arise the same complaint of difficulty and expense and delay that is so prevalent to-day in regard to other entries. If the proxy entrant has never been in the country, the man who is on the spot, who applies at the counter fof that land, feels very hard on being delayed and put to expense because of lienency given to the man who is not here.

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CON

Herbert Brown Ames

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. AMES.

I am glad to hear the minister admit so frankly to-day that there were such grave abuses in regard to homestead entries some years ago. When the matter Mr. OLIVER.

was brought up in the House at that time he was not so ready to admit it. As I remember an inspection was made in some of the agencies. Would the minister say what agencies were inspected, the results of those inspections and if those inspections have been repeated since the first one, one or two years ago ?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

I could not at the moment give the agencies, the number of inspections or the results. I can only say that we have not since that time made a general inspection of that same character.

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CON

Herbert Brown Ames

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. AMES.

At that time the general inspection corroborated, did it not, the suspicion that had been raised that a very large number of homesteads were being held improperly ?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

Something in the neighbourhood of 2,000 were cancelled.

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CON
LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

But I cannot say that it was a large number in proportion to the total number of entrants, considering the system of proxy entries which had been allowed as a [DOT] recognized matter of policy by the government. I do not think the number of cancellations at all justifies the statements that had been made in regard to the extent of the abuse. But inasmuch as it was an abuse it was necessary to correct that abuse as we have corrected it to a very great extent.

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CON
LIB
CON
LIB
CON

Herbert Brown Ames

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. AMES.

Was it considered unnecessary in the other agencies, those which were supposed to be most defective to be inspected ?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

The abuse arose because of the principle of speculation in railway lands, that is in lands that have been alienated to private holders, the railway companies as a matter of fact, and which were on sale. The proxy entry abuse had very direct relation to the opportunities for tlie-purchase of railway lands. Therefore, it only existed in large measures in those agencies where this condition of railway land speculation existed. It did not exist in large-measure in the other land agencies.

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CON

Herbert Brown Ames

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. AMES.

The difficulty was traced' mainly, was it not, to the mistaken energy of private land agents selling railway lands?

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LIB
CON

Richard Stuart Lake

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hr. LAKE.

Referring to subsection 3, is the provision relating to the -abandonment of a homestead in favour of another party during cancellation proceedings new or was that the law in force up to the present ?

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June 26, 1908