May 6, 1914

CANADIAN NORTHERN RAILWAY RAILWAY.


On the Orders of the Day being called:


LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

I wish to place before the Prime Minister a number of inquiries with a view to facilitating discussion on the Canadian Northern aid. I shall simply place them on ' Hansard ' in order that the Prime Minister may procure the information. They are as follows:

Is any part of the money to be raised under the guarantee to be used in the completion, betterment or extension of the Canadian Northern lines in Alberta and Saskatchewan; or for the completion, betterment or extension of the Canadian Northern Alberta, or Canadian Northern Western lines in Alberta, or of the Canadian Northern Saskatchewan lines in Saskatchewan? If so, on what lines is such expenditure to be made, and how much is to be expended on each line in

(a) Payment of existing liabilities,

(b) Completion of construction now hi progress,

(c) Betterment of completed lines,

(d) Extension of existing system?

In case of default of the Canadian Northern and foreclosure by the Government, to what extent are the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan protected by the terms of the resolution in respect of their guarantees to the Canadian Northern and constituent companies by provision for the completion and operation of lines the subject of such guarantees and payment of the interest guaranteed?

Can the terms of section 10 be construed to override in any degree or alter the effect of any agreements made between the provinces of Alberta or Saskatchewan and the Canadian Northern regarding their lines in these provinces?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   CANADIAN NORTHERN RAILWAY RAILWAY.
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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mir. BORDEN:

I am very much obliged to my hon. friend for his courtesy in notifying me in advance of the proposed inquiries. If there are any other hon. gentlemen on either side of the House who can give us suggestions as to information which they desire, I would deem it a favour if they would make us acquainted with them.

I beg to lay upon the table of the House a statement of capital stock authorized and issued of the companies set forth in the first schedule. I may say to my Tight hon. friend (Sir Wilfrid Laurier) that I expected to lay upon the table of the House to-day a considerable number of documents, which included a great many of those that have been asked for; but, in the anxiety to secure copies of these documents, as well as the originals themselves, they are not quite ready at the moment. Since I became aware that the delay had occurred on account of an insufficient number of copies having been provided, I sent word to have

the originals brought in at once, so that they at least may be laid upon the table of the House to-day, and the copies to which I allude will be laid on the table either tonight or to-morrow. I am not sure that the papers alluded to include everything mentioned im the letter I received from my right hon. friend to-day, but I have asked that every effort be made to secure that information also.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   CANADIAN NORTHERN RAILWAY RAILWAY.
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LIB

William Manley German

Liberal

Mr. GERMAN:

Will the Prime Minister lay on the table of the House the amount of capital stock that all these various companies are authorized to issue. For instance, clause 2, subsection a of the agreement says:

Grant a first, fixed, and specific mortgage" or charge upon the shares mentioned in the first part of the second schedule thereto.

Certain shares are mentioned, stock to he transferred free from prior charges. Will the Government lay on the table of the House the amount of capital stock authorized to be issued by all the companies mentioned in the first part of the second schedule?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   CANADIAN NORTHERN RAILWAY RAILWAY.
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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN:

A statement has just been laid upon the table of the House which sets forth the authorized capital and the issued capital of all these companies. So far as I understand this covers my hon. friend's inquiry. If it does not, I shall be glad to give any further information.

Some of the documents to which I alluded a moment ago have now arrived. I desire to lay on the table of the House correspondence including official applications for assistance and detailed statements asked for thereon by the Government showing particulars of capitalization, earnings, cost to complete, etc.

I also desire to lay on the table several corrected copies of the estimated cost of betterments. In reply to the hon. member for South Renfrew yesterday I mentioned that the item of $5,595,754 for Montreal terminals had been omitted from that statement, although it was included in the addition. The copies now laid upon the table have that correction.

I also desire to lay upon the table of the House the report of the first inspection and examination of the company's affairs made by auditors appointed by the Government. There was another, and I think a more thorough investigation, made afterwards, resulting in a more elaborate report. That will be laid upon the table of the House to-morrow. .

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   CANADIAN NORTHERN RAILWAY RAILWAY.
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DOMINION LANDS ACT AMENDMENT.


The House again in Committee on Bill No. 136, to amend the Dominion Lands Act-Mr. Roche. Mr. Blondin in the Chair.


LIB

William Ashbury Buchanan

Liberal

Mr. W. A. BUCHANAN (Medicine Hat):

The minister explained the object of his amendments when the Bill was before the House the other evening. I might go a little more fully into the matter, because I represent a district largely affected by this measure. Those who have taken up homesteads and pre-emptions in the pre-emption district in Southern Alberta find conditions very unsatisfactory; and that is one of the reasons for the demand which has been made upon the minister and the Government for a change in the Act. The crops have been unsatisfactory, and farmers have not been in a position to meet their payments. In my district, the almost general demand is that the payment shall be cancelled altogether, and petitions have been placed in my hand, and no doubt in the hands of the minister to that effect. I know that the proposed amendments are not satisfactory to a great majority of the homesteaders. The petition which has been most largely signed \yas prepared by the Farmers' Union at Foremost, Alberta, and it is known as the Foremost Plan. I might read it to give the House an idea of how the homesteaders feel and what they actually want:

To the Minister of the Interior, Ottawa, Ontario: .

We, the undersigned pre-emption holders humbly petition the Minister of the Interior to allow proof to be made for a pre-emption at the same time as a homestead or any time thereafter, providing the necessary improvements have been made, and without payment at the time of making such proof or obtaining such patent.

The Government refunding the payments of interest and principal to the original payee that have already been made on pre-empted lands, over and above the average hereinafter men* tioned.

The average to be struck from the total amount already paid on all pre-emptions.

Such average amount to be filed against every existing pre-emption in the shape of a lien against the land, hearing interest at 5 per cent, and no further charges to be made for such pre-emptions by the Government.

I think that is the view of the majority of the homesteaders. They have been very much discouraged, and I myself know that they are not actually in a position to make any payments. I have had some letters endorsing the proposals of the minister, and some claiming that more liberal

action should be taken in regard to the provisions of this Act. One objection offered is that it enables the man with money, and who is anxious to get a patent for his land, to pay for it and get out of the country, leaving the land to lie idle. One trouble in many sections of my district is what is known as the professional homesteader who proves up and goes away, leaving the land to lie idle. Consequently, the land is not made productive and settlement is interfered with. The argument has been advanced that if the minister had made provisions whereby settlement would have been guaranteed-if, for instance, he had provided for a reduction in the cost of homesteads and pre-emptions in case of further improvements-it would have been more in the interests of the country and permanent settlement; that if more were required in regard to fencing, and the amount of cultivation, or provision made that a certain number of stock should be kept, the preemption fee might be reduced or abolished altogether, thereby encouraging settlement. Knowing as I do, and as most of the western members in the House do, the effect of abandoned homesteads, I believe that assistance along that line would have been of greater benefit to the country than the proposed amendments. The minister has provided for the removal of a portion of the interest. My own view is he should have gone all the way and abolished the interest for every year. If it is wise to remove the interest for a certain period, certainly it should be wise to remove it altogether; and I want to urge upon the minister and upon the Government that the interest should be removed altogether so as to give some assistance to the homesteaders in that country. .

I would like to emphasize the fact that the proposed provision looks to me to be of more assistance to the man with money, who is taking up a homestead or preemption with the object of getting his patent in order to make a sale, and who then leaves the country, than to the man who wants to become a permanent settler. I would like to read a letter I have here giving the opinion of a homesteader who wants to remain permanently in Alberta, and who is anxious that whatever provisions are made by this Government shall be along the line of encouraging permanent settlers. He says:

I notice in the Lethbridge Daily Herald of March 31, an article Informing us that the Dominion Lands Act is about to be amended. I have read the proposed amendments through carefully, and have honestly concluded that a

worse thing could not possibly happen this immediate locality than to allow those amendments to become law. The Government thought -and, I persume, honestly, that it was doing a great thing for the homesteader when it exempted him from building a $300 house and allowed him to perfect his proof with any kind of a 'shack' or 'hovel'. Whom did this benefit, and what is the result? It surely did not benefit the actual bona fide settler who wishes to make his home here, raise a family, build schools, churches, roads, - bridges, and other evidences of progress and civilization, and who could not possibly live in a house that cost less than $300. The only one it could possibly help is the man that takes up a homestead on a gamble, living on it just long enough to make necessary improvements to comply with the law, and who then returns to the cities or states whence he came, leaving the homestead and 'shack' a breeding place for noxious weeds and gophers, and an eye sore to the actual settler who remained hoping to build up the country, and whose efforts will naturally enhance the value of the absentee's land. Now regarding those amendments, of what benefit are they to the locality as a whole? They will enable a number of those fellows to prove up on their pre-emptions at once, and return to the States with a title to 320 acres of land In their pockets; but the actual settler who wishes to make his permanent home here, what difference does it make to him whether he proves up on his land this year or three years hence? Regarding the amendment allowing a homesteader to have stock instead of breaking, I will say in all sincerity that 320 acres of this land will not support 24 head of cattle all the year, unless the homesteader raises grain and tame grasses; and in order to do so he has to do the break-mg, anyhow. So of what use is this 'concession' ?

I merely read this letter to give yon the opinion of a very intelligent and representative homesteader in my district offering objections to provisions, which, in a way, will help the homesteader who is a speculator to get his land very readily, and. if he so desires, to leave the country. I want, particularly to urge upon the minister that the interest should be removed entirely. If it was wise to remove it for a part of the period, it ought to be wise also to remove it altogether, and that would be of some practical assistance to the farmer. In my district, as I said before, the sentiment is that the amendment should be even more liberal, and, in order to en-. courage permanent settlement, if some amendments had been made to encourage improvements, and the investment of the money in the actual improvement of the land, to offset the payment made to the Government, it would have gone a long way towards encouraging settlers and homesteaders.

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

James Albert Manning Aikins

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. J. A. M. AIKINS (Brandon):

Mr. Chairman, I am indebted to my hon.

friend the Minister of the Interior (Mr. Koche) for having incorporated in this Bill some provisions of the Bill which, in the earlier part of the session, I introduced. Unfortunately, being introduced by a private member, that Bill did not receive the consideration of the House. I would like the Government to take up the question of giving greater opportunities to private members to introduce Bills and carry them through regarding matters of public importance. The Government of Canada is supposed to be a Government for the benefit of the people, and, in the administration of the public domain and property, it is also supposed that it is acting for the benefit of the many and not of the few. It has not always so resulted, sometimes by design, but mainly by reason of a lack of knowledge of the present and prospective values of the lands and natural resources and a lack of foresight.. The result of the policy of homesteading and pre-emption shows it has not been entirely successful. I do not mean to say that -that policy should be discontinued, but it should be so carefully put into operation that it would accomplish its purpose, namely, to give land to the actual settler, who will make full use of the property and fully develop it as it should be developed. This would mean not only prosperity for the man himself, but prosperity for the country.

The total area granted in homesteads, up to the present day, according to the records of the department, is 50,100,000 acres, and for pre-emptions and purchased homesteads it i's 8,400,000 acres, making a total of 58,500,000 acres granted for homesteads, pre-emptions and purchased homesteads under the Act which is being amended. The following statement will show the area under crop, according to the records of the Department of the Interior, in the year 1913, in the three prairie provinces :

Crops. Acres.

Wheat 10,036,000

Oats 5,792,000

Barley 1,025,000

Flax 1,545,000

Other products 565,200

Total 18,963,000

If you allow one-third more for resting the land each year or for fallow, it would give a total area under cultivation of

25,284,000 acres. If to that was added one-third more of the last mentioned area for the purpose of pasture, namely, 8,428,000 acres, it gives a total area which should be properly farmed of 33,712,000 acres, or a

little more than one-half of the total area granted for homesteads, pre-emptions and purchased homesteads. It falls short of that area by 24,788,000 acres, or by about two-fifths. This/ shows one thing very clearly, that the homesteading provisions of the Dominion Lands Act, and the regulations under it, have not accomplished the purpose for which they were intended. If we attribute the whole of the cultivated lands in these three provinces to homesteads, we find that there is about two-fifths of the homestead area not being fully used.

The intention in giving this land to the homesteader was that he would receive it and properly and continuously use and cultivate it. That is not being done. One reason why it is not being done was mentioned by the hon. member for Medicine Hat (Mr. Buchanan) when he said that there are a large number of professional homesteaders. Under the provisions of the Act, the Government has allowed a great many people to take up homesteads who are not qualified to be homesteaders because they do not know how to properly cultivate the farm. In the earlier years of the West there was a large number of remittance men, who took up homesteads with the view of getting a patent. When they received the patent they sold the property to the speculator or to a loan company by means of a mortgage and then left it. In addition, there was at one time a provision relating to second homesteading, but that has now been dropped. The result has been a comparative failure of the homestead law to accomplish the purpose for which it was intended. That failure becomes more apparent if you consider the fact that there are millions of acres outside of the land which was actually homesteaded not under cultivation. Therefore, I think that the greatest possible care should be taken respecting the provisions of the Land Act concerning homesteading, and that instead of relaxing these provisions there ought to be watchfulness to see that all the homestead conditions are complied with. I have the impression that in times past governments have been too lax in granting the lands in the Northwest, not only to settlers, but to private persons, railway companies, colonization companies, and other organizations at a nominal, or certainly inadequate, consideration. We find from the records of the department that the following grants have been made:

Acres.

To railways 31,864,074

Sales, special grants and halfbreeds 7,647,100

River lots 687,600

Sales of Indian reserves surrendered 664,600

Irrigation sales 1,052,100

University of Manitoba .. . . 150,000

Total 42,065,474

Let us say, roughly, 42,000,000 acres.

This does not include in the surveyed area and the Hudson Bay Company land, 6,779,900 acres; the school land endowment, 8,616,900 acres; Manitoba swamp lands, 1,010,000 acres; grazing leases, 3,876,800 acres. Exclusive of these there has been granted in round figures 42,000,000 acres.

We who have lived in the West know that the Government could have easily commuted in the earlier years almost all of these lands at $1 an acre; and later on at $2 an acre. But, say for $3 an acre; and if we take $3 an acre for 42,000,000 .acres, it would mean $126,000,000. Calculating interest on this for a term of twenty years at three and a half per cent compounded the total cost to date to the Government if they had commuted, would be $249,813,540. I venture to say-and those who .live in the West will understand that I .am quite within the mark-that all that land could now easily be sold for an average of $15 an acre. There are large tracts which cannot be had now for $40 or $50 an acre. But take it at an average of $15 an acre, the total value of the .land to-day would be $630,000,000. If we deduct from that $630,000,000 what it would have cost the Government to have repurchased that land or commuted for $3 an acre, and interest, namely, $249,813,540, it means a loss to Canada of $340,186,460. What could not Canada have done with that $340,000,000.. But, instead of the Dominion of Canada and the people of Canada having now the benefit of that large sum the land is held by speculators or by private companies who expect to get the increased value of that land which results from the intelligence and industry of those who are holding adjoining lands.

The very same policy of lavish grants has been pursued in respect to other natural resources such as our great coal areas, gas lands, and coal oil lands. The policy that should have been adopted by the Government is the policy which is adopted by individuals who own property,

to know the value of that property. Only when it knows the value of the property can it deal with it intelligently. The result of not knowing the quality and value has been that those people who do know the natural resources and their value, better than the Government officials, harm speculated in these natural resources and have made millions of dollars out of them of which the people might have received the benefit. It seems to me that the policy should be adopted by the Department of the Interior and by the Government of spending some money in order to ascertain the real value of the property the Crown possesses. That policy will pay the public in the long run. If we do not do this, then individuals and corporations will reap the benefit of superior knowledge, and the people of Canada be deprived of that advantage which is their natural right.

The same may be said of our water-powers. We have in the Winnipeg river one of the greatest assets any country ever possessed. That river drains an area of 55,000 square miles. In that area is the lake

4 p.m. of the Woods, of 1,500 square miles, and Rainy lake of 330 square miles. Into the Winnipeg river flows the English river, and that river has a minimum flow of 12,000 feet per second. If it were properly regulated at the lake of the Woods and at the>

English river it would have a flow of 22,000 second feet. It is not, however, at present regulated. I wish to call the attention of the Minister of the Interior to the necessity of properly regulating the flow. As it is now, even without proper regulation, it may be made to develop

500.000 horse-power. Why has not that- been done? There is in that river a fall of 371 feet from the lake of the Woods to lake Winnipeg, 240 feet of which fall is within the province of Manitoba and about 70 feet in the province of Ontario. There are a number of natural falls and cup basins which make it easy to develop electrical power. One . of these powers on the Winnipeg river is at Point du Bois on the eastern boundary of Manitoba, and has head of 47 feet. That fall has been developed by the city of Winnipeg. The present installation is

28.000 horse-power, and the capacity of the present building is about 50,000 horsepower. The ultimate installation will be

100.000 horse-power. It has cost the city of Winnipeg to develop that power without distribution $3,780,000, and with distribution $6,000,000. Prior to the development by the city of this electrical power and the

transmission of it to the. city of Winnipeg, the citizens were paying for electrical energy from steam plant 20 cents per kilowatt hour. The Winnipeg Electric Company built its hydro plant in the Pinawa channel, but maintained these high rates. The city of Winnipeg thought it proper that they should ask for offers to develop power on the Winnipeg river and transmit it to the city of Winnipeg. The result of such offers was that the Winnipeg Electric Railway Company reduced the cost of electric power from 20 cents per kilo-watt hour to about 10 cents. As another company had offered to supply the city 3,000 horse-power at $50 per horse-power per year, but demanded a monopoly of the city's streets for distribution for fifty years, that offer was refused. The city of Winnipeg thereupon built the plant at Point du Bois at a cost of $6,000,000, and it has reduced the cost of electrical power to the people of the city to about three cents per kilo-watt hour, thus saving annually to the people using power and light in Winnipeg about $500,000. The cost of that power delivered at Winnipeg is $12 per horsepower. When the full installation is made by the city it will be reduced to $10 per horse-power. The city of Winnipeg own the transformers, the right of way to Point du Bois, about 77 miles out, and over 100 miles of distributing system. All this shows what can be done with .the natural resources of our country for the benefit of the people, if they are properly developed. The city of Winnipeg was able to develop that power, because it is a large community and had facilities for raising the money. If the other towns and cities in the province of Manitoba were able to raise the money as the city of Winnipeg did, and procure power cheaply, they, too, would become industrial centres. My hon. friend from Lisgar (Mr. Sharpe) knows well that if they could only get cheap power in Manitou, his city would grow rapidly; and the same thing may be said of Brandon, of Souris, of Portage la Prairie, and of other centres in Manitoba.

These water-power3 belong to the Dominion of Canada, and the Dominion receives abundant funds from the West by the payment of duties by the people. Some of that large revenue ought to be expended by the Dominion for the development of the water-powers in the West, the creation of electric energy and its transmission to the cities and towns. If industrial centres were thus established in the west of Canada, the result would

[Mr. Aikins.l

be a benefit to the farmers also. In their interest I suggest to the Minister of the Interior the propriety of developing these water-powers on the Winnipeg river. It is true that the late Government, through a lack of foresight, gave concessions and grants of a large number of the falls on the Winnipeg river. For instance, in 1906 the late Administration made a grant to the Mackenzie and Mann interests of a waterpower on the Pinawa channel, which channel practically parallels the main channel of the Winnipeg river for about twenty-five miles. By the development of the power on the Pinawa channel-and I wish to call the attention of the Minister of the Interior to this-two other falls on the main channel have been rendered inefficient for development, because so much water is required for the use of the Mackenzie and Mann power plant in the Pinawa channel, namely, a flow of about 8,000 feet per second. The total flow is about 12,000 feet per second; so that there is a flow of only about 4,000 feet per second along the main channel of the river. Thus have been injured the two falls called the Seven Sisters falls, which cannot now be developed efficiently, unless the flow is regulated on the English river and on the lake of the Woods, so as to make it about 20,000 feet per second. Of the Seven Sisters falls, the first has a head of 34 feet, the second a head of 37 feet. If these falls had not been rendered inefficient and were properly developed, there could be produced 34,800 horse-power at the first falls, and 37,800 horse-power at the second falls.

The next fall, that on the Winnipeg river, is the Slave fall. It has a head of 26 feet, including a fall of 8 feet, on a basis of 75 per cent efficiency at an 8/10 gate, it will produce 26,600 horse-power, with a natural flow of 12,000 feet per second, and at a construction cost of $94 per horse-power. If the flow of the river is regulated on English river and the lake of the Woods, it can be made to produce 44,000 horse-power at a cost of about $84 per horse-power.

The next fall is the McArthur fall which has a head of 18 feet. On a basis of 75 per cent efficiency at an 8/10 gate, this will produce 18,400 horse-power at a cost of $123 per horse-power. If the flow is regulated, it will produce 30,700 horse-power at a cost of $97.50 per horse-power.

The next falls are the Grand du Bonnet, Little du Bonnet and Whitemud, a concession of which was made in 1910 by the last Administration to R. R. Muir. This fall has a head of 56 feet, and on a basis of

75 per cent efficiency at an 8/10 gate, it will produce 78,700 horse-power at a cost of $69 per horse-power. As a concession, however, was made to R. R. Muir, this fall has eventually got into the hands of the Winnipeg Electric Railway Company, which can develop that power now in almost any way it thinks proper under regulations which are not adequate for the protection of the public interest.

The other falls granted in 1906 are Silver falls, which with the Pine falls have a total head of 37 feet. On a basis of 75 per cent efficiency, at an 8/10 rate, they will produce 38,000 horse-power at a cost **[DOT]i $70 per horse-power. One fall cannot be efficiently developed without the other. In 1906 there was an agreement of sale made by the last Administration with one J. S. Cummins, of Chicago, of land where the Silver falls are located-river lot 1 and fractional west half of section 1, township 18, range 10,. east 271 acres, at $250 per acre, or a total of $67,750, payable in ten annual instalments. This was made without any regulations at all respecting the development or the use of the power. The effect will be, if the agreement remains outstanding-and I wish to call the attention of the Minister of the Interior to this- that it will render inefficient the Pine falls. There therefore are left for development on the Winnipeg river only two main falls -the Slave falls and the McArthur falls. It will be to the interest of the people of the West if the Government will repossess itself of those powers which are not developed, and will develop them for the benefit of the people of the West, of the cities and towns of the West and of the farming community generally.

I wish now to refer to the regulations which are existing, in order to show that they are entirely inadequate when compared with the regulations of other countries, or with the regulations of the province of Ontario. Under the Act respecting water-powers in Ontario, it is required by paragraph 4, sub-paragraph (d):

That the applicant 'shall furnish proof satisfactory to the minister that the said water privilege is required for the applicant's own mechanical or industrial purposes or to supply an actual or anticipated demand for power in the neighbourhood of the privilege,' and may require a deposit for the proposed development.

There are no such requirements in our Dominion regulations. Paragraph 9 of the Ontario regulations says:

No such lease shall be granted for a longer term than twenty years, but the lessee shall have the right of renewal of such lease for two further and successive terms of ten years 210

each upon such terms and conditions as may be agreed upon or may be fixed by the minister.

Paragraph 13 provides:

The Lieutenant Governor may cancel, if the lessee does not comply with the requirements of the regulations.

Compare that with the Dominion regula-lations. Paragraph 8, sub-paragraph (a) says:

The term of the license shall be twenty-one years, renewable for three further consecutive terms of twenty-one years each, at a fixed fee payable annually, and to be readjusted at the beginning of each term, as hereunder provided.

In other words, those powers are tied up for a period of eighty-four years under the Dominion regulations. Paragraph 8, subparagraph (c) provides:

At the expiry of each term of twenty-one years the Governor in Council may, on the recommendation of the minister, order and direct that the license and any lease granted in connection therewith be cancelled: Provided that the minister shall have given at least one year's notice to the licensee of intention so to cancel.

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

David Bradley Neely

Liberal

Mr. NEELY:

Will the hon. gentleman

be good enough to tell me which particular part of the Bill he is discussing at the present time?

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

James Albert Manning Aikins

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. AIKINS:

Paragraph 1 relates to

water-powers.

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

James Albert Manning Aikins

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. AIKINS:

Land and water-powers.

The Dominion regulations provide for cancellation in certain cases, but not to the extent provided by the Ontario regulations. Paragraph 8, sub-paragraph (e) provides:

That on the termination of the third renewal-that is at the end of 63 years-compensation shall be paid for the works to the amount fixed by arbitration.

The Ontario regulations provide, in paragraph 12, subsection 1:

That at the expiry or sooner determination of the lease the water privilege shall revert to and become . the property of the Crown together with all dams, weirs, tunnels, races, etc., and all buildings erected on land covered by the lease; but the lessee may remove all machinery, but if the buildings are of a suitable character for utilizing the water privilege the Hydro-Electric Commission may fix compensation.

They provide further-paragraph 12, subsection (m):

The lease shall at all times be subject to any general regulations thereafter made by the Lieutenant Governor in Council affecting the construction and operation of works for the development of water privileges or the supply of power therefrom.

There appears to be no similar provision in the Dominion regulations.

The Ontario regulations, paragraph 12, subsection (b), may require the lessee to develop to the full capacity, and makes provision for the use by other parties than the lessee of the surplus or unused water not required by him for the purposes of his business on such terms as may he agreed upon. No such salutary provision occurs in the Dominion regulations.

The Ontario regulations, paragraph 12, subsection (d) provides that if a person desires to have power from the lessee and they cannot agree, on report by the Power Commission, the Lieutenant Governor in Council may fix the rates to be paid by the person desiring such power, and, in fixing the compensation, the commission may demand the production of books, records, verifications, etc. No such provision exists in the Dominion Regulations, nor in those regulations is there any provision that the lessee shall be obliged to furnish power to other persons or public bodies.

The Dominion regulations provide that-a schedule of rates and prices to be charged to the public for the use of power shall be submitted by the licensee to the Board of Railway Commissioners for adjustment and approval before being put into effect, and that the schedule shall be readjusted and approved every seven years; but, as was pointed out, the licensee is not obliged to sell to the public that power nor is there any body provided for fixing rates for power from time to time required by the users of power.

Compare the two sets of regulations, and one can easily see which is more for the interest of the public. We know that under the Ontario regulations the Hydro-Electric Commission has done much to develop the industries of our country by procuring for it cheap power.

The only reason why this amending clause was introduced in the Act was that there should be no homesteading of any lands upon which there are water-powers or which are adjacent to water-powers and are required for their development. I think that this provision is a thoroughly suitable one.

I wish again to call the attention of the Minister of the Interior to the necessity of developing those water-powers which belong to the Dominion Government, so that industries may be established in the West and so that the people of the western country may be placed in a similar position to that of the farmers of the western part of

Ontario who have the benefit of home markets and established industrial centres.

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

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

I do not altogether agree with-my hon. friend when he counsels the Government against any relaxation of homestead regulations. The duties and responsibilities of Government vary with changing conditions. While there is much to be said in favour of the general principle laid down by my hon. friend-much to be said in support of the facts as he stated them, namely, that there is a tendency on the part of the homesteaders in some cases to evade the requirements of the regulations-on the other hand, there is a necessity, under certain conditions, that the regulations should be made more reasonable. It appears to me that in this country either we must face a diminution in our rate of progress or we must make some change in the conditions relating to homesteading. I do not need to airgue that notwithstanding, as my hon. friend has sadd, that only a small proportioai of the land alienated is actually cultivated, the fact remains that it is the bringing under cultivation of that comparatively small percentage that has given Canada the progress that she has niade during recent years. If there i3 a diminution in the rate of increase of homesteading, there must necessarily be a corresponding diminution of the rate of progress of Canada at large- industrially, commercially, financially and in the way of transportation. So, when the minister is face to face with a condition which shows a rapid and steady decrease in the number of homestead entries in our western country and a startling decrease in the number of preemption entries, it is his business to look around and see what he can do to meet the conditions and to recover the rate of progress that is not only desirable but absolutely necessary to the prosperity of Canada. In the answer to a question asked by myself on February 2, it was stated that in the calendar year 1911 the homestead entries were 38,585, in 1912, 35,226, and in 1913, 29,640, not including the returns from Peace River -and Grand Prairie for the week ending December 31. Our pre-emption entries were 10,583 in 1911, 8,947 in 1912, and 6,483 in 1913. Our homestead entries have gone down 10,000 in two years, and our pre-emption entries have gone down very nearly 50 per cent in that time. These being the facts, I think the minister is *well warranted in consider-

ing in what way he may, by relaxation of the requirements of homestead and preemption duties, stimulate further occupation of western lands. There is no denying that the condition exists, and that it has a very important bearing upon our progress. I have already given the figures to the House, but I take the liberty of repeating that sales of land, which amounted in 1911 to 1,496,000 acres, bringing a total of $19,122,937, have fallen to 707,149 acres, bringing $9,367,155 in the fiscal year 19f3. There has been a decrease in the demand for land all along the line.

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

Frederick Laurence Schaffner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SCHAFFNER:

Would not the fact that there are fewer homesteads and preemptions accessible now than there were a few years ago have some bearing upon what my hon. friend has said?

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

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

There are certainly fewer homesteads and pre-emptions available to-day than there -were three years ago; that, of course, goes without saying.

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

Frederick Laurence Schaffner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SCHAFFNER:

I mean near the railways; they are nearly all taken up.

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

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

The construction of railways has largely rendered accessible land that a few years was not accessible because of the lack of railways. There were less lands available for either homestead or pre-emption entry in 1911 than there -were in 1908, but there were a great many more homestead and pre-emptions taken up in 1911 than were taken up in 1908. There is a vast country in the Northwest that is almost untouched by settlement, but to which settlement is going. The great Peace River country is available for settlement; its land is surveyed, and people are going there in thousands. I do not think, therefore, that there is any argument in the suggestion that there is not now plenty of land for people to take if they want to take it. I am prepared to maintain that the people do not want the land in the year 1914, under present conditions, as they did in the year 1911.

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

Frederick Laurence Schaffner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SCHAFFNER:

What are the conditions?

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

May 6, 1914