July 4, 1908

LIB
CON

George William Fowler

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOWLER.

Just a moment-my hon. friend is so impatient; he cannot wait for his proper opportunity to reply. I say the government seems to have as its chief anxiety to get rid of the public domain. That should not be its chief anxiety. If settlers are to be got, and the right class of settlers, the sooner the public domain is got rid of the better, for it is better for us to have a good settler on 160 acres who is making a farm of it, bringing up a family on it, helping to add to the wealth of the country, than to have 160 acres of waste land owned by the government. No man is more strongly in favour of that view than I am. But it is not well to give to any settler three or four hundred acres of land in order that he may become a large landed proprietor and prevent other men going into that district, making farms and producing wealth and raising children to become citizens of this country. The chief anxiety of the government should 'be to get the right kind of settlers, and lots of them, into the country, and not to get rid of the land unnecessarily, and only to get rid of the land so far as is necessary to bring that class of settlers into the country. The distinction I make is that the chief anxiety should be to get the settlers, and that the giving of the lands should be only an incident, for you must give the lands in order to get the settlers. I contend that there is no portion oif the west fit for settlement at all where a farmer cannot get along on 160 acres. It is true that land might be so poor for farming purposes that the more a man had of it the worst off he would be, but, if the land is fit for settlement at all, if it is such that you should encourage settlers to go upon it, then if they can make a living on 320 acres they can make a living on 160 acres. That is the practical experience.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DOMINION LANDS ACT AMENDMENT.
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CON

Thomas Chisholm

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. T. CHISHOLM.

When I was in the west I talked for a considerable time to the Minister of Agriculture of the province of Saskatchewan. He explained to me that in the very district of which we are speaking, in order to conserve the moisture it was necessary to summer fallow one year and crop the next year, and for that

reason twice as much land was required for a man to cultivate in that region in order to make a comfortable living as in the other districts. With that explanation, I feel that the Minister of the Interior (Mr. Oliver) is quite justified in making this concession to the settlers in that district. It will have the effect of bringing in a class of settlers that we could not get in any other way. Men who wish to go in and take up quarter-sections in that part of the country will go in there if they are afforded an opportunity to secure 320 acres. In the west, where they use six horses or more in a team, one man can work three or four times as much land as in the east. A farm of 160 acres is not considered any more for a man in the west than a farm of 50 acres in the east, and we know that 50 acres is not a large enough farm for a man to raise a family on in eastern Canada. I am therefore satisfied that the minister is taking a wise step. With regard to the boundary line, I am satisfied with that also. In the west, those who understand the situation of the townships and the laying out of the country, will be well satisfied, because this affords them something definite-they know where they are starting. The area can be enlarged again if necessary. I am convinced that it is necessary, in order to induce the right class of settlers to go in, to give them a sufficient area to cultivate. When we consider the teams they use and the amount of land they can properly cultivate, this is easily apparent. A man there with a gang of ploughs and a team of six horses will plough eight acres in a day, while I have often spent a day ploughing an acre and a half in the east and then I thought I was doing a full day's work.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DOMINION LANDS ACT AMENDMENT.
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CON

George William Fowler

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOWLER.

It is certainly a novel reason why a man should get a double homestead-that he can plough eight acres in a day.

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Subtopic:   DOMINION LANDS ACT AMENDMENT.
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LIB

Samuel Jacob Jackson

Liberal

Mr. S. J. JACKSON.

I have an amendment that applies to another part of Manitoba. The amendment to the amendment introduced by the hon. member for Souris (Mr. Sehaffner) applies to the whole of Manitoba. I do not think the introduction of such an amendment as that of the hon. member for Souris (Mr. Sehaffner) is the way to help us out in Manitoba in inducing settlement on the lands of that province. I pointed out when the Bill was under discussion before that we have in the county of Selkirk, in the northeastern portion of Manitoba, a territory that is 200 miles long by 60 miles wide lying alongside the province of Ontario and the territory of Keewatin, and which, I say without fear of successful contradiction, is half rock and half, in pockets, good land. I have been up the Berens river 110 miles to the eastern boundary of the province, and I find that all through there is good

land scattered among the rock-territory a good deal like northern Ontario. Though it is alongside of Lake Winnipeg, and for thirty years there has been means of communication by means of the boats on that lake, we have not settlers in that country except a few along that lake at the mouths of the rivers. I think giving an inducement of 160 acres at $3 an acre would enable us to bring settlers into the province of Manitoba who would otherwise go to the western provinces. The object which the minister has in view of inducing people to go to the semi-arid country by opening up to them 320 acres of land would apply to this portion of our province. The territory in northeastern Manitoba that I have referred to is capable of carrying a large population.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DOMINION LANDS ACT AMENDMENT.
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L-C
LIB

Samuel Jacob Jackson

Liberal

Mr. S. J. JACKSON.

From township 10 and running to the northern boundary of the province east of the first principal meridian. It is practically all north of the Canadian Pacific Railway-northeast of Winnipeg. There is no reason why this territory should not be brought under this provision, as the position with regard to it is practically the same as with the semiarid lands of the west. It is the same class of territory referred to by the hon. member for Dauphin (Mr. Burrows).

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Subtopic:   DOMINION LANDS ACT AMENDMENT.
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L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. SAM. HUGHES.

Would that be east or west ?

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Subtopic:   DOMINION LANDS ACT AMENDMENT.
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LIB

Samuel Jacob Jackson

Liberal

Mr. S. J. JACKSON.

Altogether east. The member for Victoria and Haliburton is pretty well acquainted with the lands of the Canadian Northern and how they lie. A large portion of this territory was marked red on the map in the land office at Winnipeg, and they selected none of that land.

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Subtopic:   DOMINION LANDS ACT AMENDMENT.
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L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. SAM. HUGHES.

Is that east of Lake Winnipeg ?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DOMINION LANDS ACT AMENDMENT.
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LIB

Samuel Jacob Jackson

Liberal

Mr. S. J. JACKSON.

East of Lake Winnipeg and east of Lake Winnipegosis and Lake Manitoba. I may say further that there is another clause in this Bill that I have never been able to see any good reason for that, which provides that a man who takes a homestead has got to make affidavit that he had not received one before. Now a great many of our old farmers in the province of Manitoba, particularly in the section where I reside, settled on their land under a statute of the late Conservative government providing for homestead and pre-emption. Now we have a good object lesson in the settlement on the land within 40 miles of the city of Winnipeg. Every man who went there in the early days was able to get a homestead and pre-emption. As time went on they prospered, and now we find that there is hardly a man who is not settled on the quarter-section, and his boy is occupying the other. After a man has settled on land in that territory and has Mr. S. J. JACKSON.

undergone the hardships inevitable for the first few years, he wants to have some definite object to look forward to and one of the objects of this Bill should be to provide for homestead and pre-emptions, in this poor country, so that a man can look forward to giving his boy one of of them. I think the clause we have in this Bill is arbitrary and unjust. We find that subsection 8" of section 11 provides that any farmer who has got his homestead patented before the year 1889 can have another homestead. Now why should the limit be fixed at 1889 ? Why should not a man who has a homestead and got his patent after the year 1896 not be entitled to another homestead entry, the same as the man who got his homestead patent before 18S9 ? I think that section should be amended. That is one of the reasons why a great many settlers have left our part of the country. About ten years ago we had a good many settlers coming in who had received patents for their land in the province of Ontario, in the northern portions, near Parry Sound. A great many of them have taken up land in our territory. These men who have gone through hardships in Manitoba and having obtained their patent since 1889, are unable to get a homestead entry. I think that this section should be amended so as to allow men to take a homestead. I refer to those who have received their patents since 1889.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DOMINION LANDS ACT AMENDMENT.
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L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. SAM. HUGHES.

The hon. member would not preclude those people who have settled in Muskoka and Parry Sound territory, and have taken out their patents there, from having another homestead ?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DOMINION LANDS ACT AMENDMENT.
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LIB

Samuel Jacob Jackson

Liberal

Mr. S. J. JACKSON.

Certainly not, and I want to give the same privilege to our own people who have gone in there in the early days. We should provide that any man, as soon as he gets his patent, if he likes to sell out, he can go and take a homestead somewhere else. Why should he not? In our part of the country, inside of ten miles from where I reside, we have lost hundreds of farmers who have gone into the Northwest to take up homesteads. True, those men are not lost to Canada but they are lost to our section of the country. They have large families, and they leave because they cannot establish their boys on other land, if my amendment should go through a large number of people would remain in Manitoba who without it will go west to this territory to which the Bill applies, the pre-emption and purchased sections.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DOMINION LANDS ACT AMENDMENT.
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CON

Frederick Laurence Schaffner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SCHAFFNER.

I would like to know from the minister whether he is going to accept any amendments, because if he is not, I do not want to waste the time of the House in discussing any ?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DOMINION LANDS ACT AMENDMENT.
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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

I have already said that I would ask the committee to stand by the

clause as just amended, and restrict the area as set down in that amended clause.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DOMINION LANDS ACT AMENDMENT.
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?

Roberts. Mr. J. M.@

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DOMINION LANDS ACT AMENDMENT.
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LIB

William Erskine Knowles

Liberal

Mr. KNOWLES.

I am of one mind with the hon. member for Calgary (Mr. McCarthy) in approving of the announcement of the minister that the legislation contained in this Bill is not necessarily final. There is no doubt that the exigencies*of the occasion with regard to the freeing of the odd numbered sections from the control of the railway companies call for immediate action with respect to a large tract of land in the Northwest. I might observe that a very large part of the district affected by this Bill is in the part of the country that I myself represent and in the district farther west. Whether any part of Manitoba should be included under the operation of tlie Act is something that the minister is in a much better position to decide than an ordinary member, because he is familiar with the details of his department, the records and the reports, and upon that matter I am pleased to simply adhere to his judgment. We have, after all, in dealing with a Bill of this kind, to recognize that there must be, to a considerable degree, an arbitrary drawing of the line. It is impossible to make legislation with regard to certain classes of land because you must state what townships and ranges are to be included in the Act and therefore it is absolutely necessary, and it is something that is certain to happen, that there will be certain tracts left

out, which, if they were taken by themselves it might be desirable to place under the operations of the Act. In my own riding there are tracts left out of the district that I should prefer to see placed in the district, but for the purposes of administering the law it is necessary to make a more or less rough classification. I was much interested in listening to what the hon. member for Kings and Albert (Mr. Fowler) had to say in giving his evidence, as he said, based on his own experience, with regard to the condition of the agricultural class in the west. He opposes the pre-emption clause, and as his reason states that where 160 acres are not sufficient .to give a man a livelihood 320 acres will not be. I wish to give my evidence in contradiction of that statement. I have had just as large and varied an experience in the west as the hon. member for Kings and Albert. I have been perhaps farther away from the railway than he has. I have been from 40 to 100 miles away from the railway in districts which are affected in this regard, and I have no hesitation in saying that there are many districts where a man cannot make a living on 160 acres, but he can make a living on more land because it gives him an opportunity to engage in mixed farming, it provides him with pasturage and it enables him to summer fallow his land oftener which is essential where the land is of a somewhat arid nature. 1 would have been very much pleased if the minister had stated that in certain districts he would take power to give a man a whole section. There are large districts where a whole section, and in fact two sections would not be anything like as good a source of livelihood as a quarter-section would in another part of the country. When hon. gentlemen opposite were in power they gave men three quarter-sections in many cases; they gave a homestead a second homestead, a pre-emption and, as I am reminded, a free claim, which would make a section. I trust the day will come when the minister will have the power, where the circumstances justify it, and especially in the ranching country, to give a man, not only 320 acres but 640 acres. I speak on behalf of the ranching industry which is one of the most important industries in this country. These men go in there and are compelled to conform to the same restrictions, limitations and regulations with regard to the amount of land that they can get, as the ordinary homesteader. They are compelled to make the same improvements, to perform the same duties and to comply with the same requirements as to residence as the man who takes land where perhaps an acre is worth as much as ten acres in the country especially devoted to ranching. I trust the minister will take into his serious consideration the wisdom of making provision for the encouragement of ranching in that country. 4 do not think Mr. KNOWLES.

it would be out of the way to give to a rancher a whole section for the purpose of carrying on the ranching business. Ranchers are bringing great wealth to the country, they are large purchasers, they are large producers of wealth and a very desirable class of citizens whom we should encourage in every legitimate way, and I have been very much impressed with the fact that while the homesteader is making rapid inroads upon the ranching country the ranching industry is not favoured as it should be. I am glad to know that the minister is giving his attention to this question with the idea of relieving the situation in such a way as will prevent the rancher from being put out of business altogether. The provincial government have put an unreasonable burden upon the rancher in their tax of 1 cent per acre. X would have been pleased if the minister had seen his way clear to have met and counteracted that burden by reducing his own rent tax. At the present time it is two cents an acre and il think that there was burden enough upon the rancher prior to the imposition of the provincial tax and especially in view of the hard winter which lie had to undergo a year ago. I would have been pleased if the minister had come to the relief of the rancher by equalizing the rental in the manner which I have suggested.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DOMINION LANDS ACT AMENDMENT.
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L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. SAM. HUGHES.

I have proposed in the House several times that the homesteader who is married shall get his patent after two years of residence. What does the hon. gentleman think of a proposition of that kind?

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Subtopic:   DOMINION LANDS ACT AMENDMENT.
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LIB

William Erskine Knowles

Liberal

Mr. KNOWLES.

I have a word to say upon that and if my hon. friend (Mr. Sam. Hughes) will kindly allow me to finish what X am now saying I will deal with the question of giving consideration to the married homesteader. I desire to take the opportunity of impressing upon the minister the need of making more favourable regulations and of providing more favourable laws, if you like, for the rancher than you do for the homesteader. I think that every fair-minded member of the House will agree with that proposition. Where land is not worth one-quarter of what it is in the ordinary agricultural or wheat belt a man should get more land and there should be less onerous requirements imposed upon him. It is unreasonable that a man upon that kind of land should have to bear burdens as heavy and to comply with regulations as strict as those which are imposed upon the man operating a farm of much greater fertility and smaller area. I would be pleased if the minister could have a commission go over the land and classify it. separating that which is proper to use as ranching land or for grazing purposes from that which should be set aside as wheat land for the use of agriculturists.

There is a large tract of country in the neighbourhood of the Cypress Hills, Willow Bunch and south of 'Swift Current which, as the minister knows, will never be a wheat growing country and I would be pleased if the minister could put the ranching industry on a permanent basis by granting in the prairie grazing tracts a twenty-one year grazing lease by which it would have a stability that it does not now have by which the rancher would have an assurance of the continuation of his occupancy of the land for the carrying on of his very valuable industry.

I would be very glad if the minister could have a classification made of the land, setting aside on the one hand that which is suitable for ranching purposes only and making arrangements with regard to it; and on the other hand setting aside agricultural land and making arrangements with respect to it, because the regulations that apply to the one class of land cannot equitably apply to the other.

As to the suggestion of my hon. friend (Mr. Sam. Hughes) with regard to making some concessions to men who are married and take their families on to the homestead, I agree with the spirit of that suggestion, and in fact I would go further. I don't quite agree with the idea that such a man should have his patent in two years, but I would be glad if the minister would provide that where men are able to convince him that because of financial or other reasons they are compelled to absent themselves from their homesteads, probably in order to earn sufficient to maintain their families on the homestead, then that the residence of the man's wife and family would be accepted instead.

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Subtopic:   DOMINION LANDS ACT AMENDMENT.
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L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. SAM. HUGHES.

It is accepted now.

Mr. KNOWLES Not at all ; the homesteader must personally perform his duties under the present law, and no such thing is allowed as residence by the wife and family. I would not so much advocate giving the patent in two years as I would advocate that the minister should have power-or if you do not wish to give the minister that discretion, make the rule statutory and general-that residence on a homestead by a man's family would be counted as residence by himself. If it were thought necessary to make it equitable, then perhaps you could make the residence a little longer where that concession was taken advantage of, or you could make the improvements a little larger than in the ordinary case. I do submit that for the development of the country and for the best settlement of these new districts there is nothing more desirable than that the settlers should take their wives and families there. Look upon it from whatever standpoint you like, it is far better for the country to have the families on the land than to have a homesteader living alone. His wife and his children enter into the school life, and into the church life, and into the social life of the community, and in the very best way the object is attained which the government has in view by compelling residence on the land.

I wish now to direct the attention of the minister and the House to a class of citizens in the west; I refer to men employed on railroads, and who cannot get six months' leave of absence to perform residence duties. I would be very pleased to see a clause inserted in this Act which would provide that in the case of men working on the railroad they might be enabled to perform settlement duties-by the residence of their families if you like- while they were holding positions on the railway. These men are large wage-earners ; they generally have considerable savings, and I think it would be a very worthy desire on the part of the Minister of the Interior to afford them an opportunity to put their savings into improvements oh the land and into the additional expense of keeping their families in residence there. Such a provision would give to these railroad men an opportunity of assuring for themselves a home in the future. We know that the vicissitudes to which these men are subjected by the hazardous nature of their employment and their liability always to meet with accident or to become physically unfit to discharge their arduous duties, and that if they lose their position on the railway they are in a very unfortunate condition indeed. With that view in my mind, I should be very glad if there was some arrangement made by which these very excellent citizens would have an opportunity of securing for themselves a home to which they always could look as a certain means of livelihood for themselves and for their families. This provision of residing by family, would doubtlessly be taken advantage of (by very many citizens other than railway men, for the purpose of securing a home for future years for a man and his family. Even if it were found necessary-and I do not for a moment say it would be found necessary-[DOT] but if it were found necessary, some greater restrictions might be placed upon their homesteading ; larger improvements might be asked, or perhaps a longer residence of their wife and family required than six months in the year. If this were provided for, the very spirit of the Dominion Lands Act in compelling a residence on the land would be attained. I had the honour of introducing a deputation to the Minister of the Interior with a view of making some provision for meeting the wishes of the railway men in this way, and I am glad to know that the minister is giving the matter favourable consideration, and I sincerely hope that in the way I have outlined or in

some other way the reasonable wishes of the railway men may be met. The Bill now before us is something of an experiment, and it is to be hoped that It will be followed next session with other changes and improvements, amongst which will be included provision for the interests of the ranching industry and the needs of the railway men. I trust these two matters which I have brought to the attention of the House now will meet with the first and the most favourable consideration of the minister, as I regard both these matters of the utmost importance.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   DOMINION LANDS ACT AMENDMENT.
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July 4, 1908