May 6, 1914

LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

In the first place-and I

make no apology for dealing with the matter from this point of view-I think I have already established in the minds of the members of this House the fundamental importance of the question of homesteading to the welfare and progress of the whole Dominion of Canada; and, when we find that homestead and pre-emption entries 2101

are on the rapid decrease, that is a time when we can surely impress upoln the House and upon the country the reason for that decrease that is so detrimental to the welfare of our country.

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

James McKay

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. McKAY:

When the hon. member

speaks of homestead entries that were made, does .he include the purchased homesteads?

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

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

I am just giving the return ; I think they are included. At any rate, the purchased homsteads are not so numerous as to make any serious difference in the total count.

There is no doubt that first and foremost, in the years of rapid increase from 1905 to 1911 there were favourable conditions in regard to crop prices which stimulated homesteading. There was a further belief in the minds of settlers of that day that the Government of the day, in its policy and administration, had the interests of homesteaders and homesteading, the interests of the residents and cultivators of the western country, at heart, and that in the efforts they were making they could depend upon it that the Government was behind them. It need not be emphasized, as the facts have been brought forward in this House time and time again, that since our friends took office, since their views in regard to public policy have had sway, that condition has been absolutely reversed, and that to-day the homesteader of the West- the resident, the farmer

feels that he has not the sympathy arid support of the Government, that he has not the advantage of a Government policy that is favourable to the success of his endeavours.

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

John Allister Currie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CURRIE:

That is what the hon.

gentleman and his followers are trying to make them think; they are discouraging them.

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

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

I am placing before the

House a certain condition of facts which is shown in the blue book issued by the Minister of the Interior. It is for the House and the country either to take cognizance of these facts or not as they please; but the facts are there and it is not what I say or what anybody else says, it is the fact that homestead entries are decreasing and showing a continued decrease showing that people do not want the land of the western country as they did under former circumstances. That is not a matter of argument; it is a matter of fact, and I am taking the opportunity to place before the House and the country and the Government the tremendous responsibility that rests upon the Government in adherence to the policy

which they have enunciated in this House from time to time since they took office.

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

William Henry Sharpe

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. W. H. SHARPE:

In what way has this Government reversed the policy against the farmer of western Canada?

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

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

My hon. friend knows

that in the elections of 1911

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

Samuel Simpson Sharpe

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SHARPE:

But you carried on the

Government before that.

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

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

The Government of the

day administered the affairs of the West to the satisfaction of the people of the West.

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

Samuel Simpson Sharpe

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SHARPE:

How have we changed

that?

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

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Air. OLIVER:

My hon. friend has changed it in this way, that he has not changed his policy or his administration to meet the change of conditions. As long as prices were high and were going up, a condition of facts existed that called for a certain administration; tout when prices were going down a different administration was required, and that is where there is a lack of confidence to-day. When there is a falling of prices in the West, instead of means being taken by this Government, as were taken by their predecessors, to improve conditions, the demand for an open market has been turned down specifically and repeatedly in this House by the Government and its supporters, including my hon. friend.

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

James Albert Manning Aikins

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. AIKINS:

Wherein is there any difference between the policy of the late Administration prior to 1911 and the policy of the present Administration relating to homesteading?

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

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

I will deal with the homesteads later. I am dealing now with the trade question, with the general question of the prosperity and welfare of the country; and I say that this Government has taken a stand, ever .since it has been in office, which has created a distrust and dissatisfaction in the minds of the people who are on the land in the western country that is reflected in the conditions of homesteading as shown by the return from the Government itself. I say therefore that the Government must accept on behalf of its policy the results which are shown there and be responsible for the necessary consequences and results of that policy to the country.

Now, as to the administration of

the land. I shall not weary the House or burden it with details, but the first act of this Government when it took office was to practically make a clean sweep of the land administration throughout those western provinces and establish, from beginning to end, an absolutely political administration, a political organization absolutely for political purposes. The facts have been placed before the House repeatedly. It is not necessary, at least at this late date in the session, to go into details. We have the facts, homestead inspectors canvassing for votes along with candidates of the Conservative party, homestead inspectors tried for intimidating voters in their positions as homestead inspectors.

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

Frederick Laurence Schaffner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SCHAFFNER:

Is that anything

new?

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

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

I am apoligizing for repeating it, but to round out the argument I wish to do so. It is a fact that a homestead inspector named Ambrose Grey was himself a candidate in the Alberta elections. He is to-day homestead inspector. I need not multiply instances; there are plenty of them. From Winnipeg to the Rocky mountains they have established a political organization in control of the heritage of the people of this country. They have established a reign of terror among the homesteaders on the prairie, and the result is reflected in the returns as you see them here. I am not young in that country; I have been [DOT] there a long time. I have seen several changes of Government, and the very model of the administration that has .taken place since this Government came into power is the Administration! that pre-\ ailed from 1878 to 1896, with the result that in 1896 there were a few less homesteads taken up than in 1878. We had twenty years of absolute stagnation in that country as a result of the methods that our hon. friends opposite installed the moment they took office, and which they have carried on consistently ever since. They cannot hlame Providence; they cannot blame circumstances for conditions that they themselves have absolutely created, and for which they are immediately .and directly responsible. If this country, today, is suffering from a condition, of stagnation so fair as western progress is con* cerned-and western progress means eastern progress as every man in this House knows,

and as most men in eastern Canada are beginning to thoroughly understand-it has resulted from the policy of the Government, and the Government must take full responsibility for it. The stagnation of western Canada means the stagnation of the whole of Canada.

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

William Wright

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WRIGHT:

My horn, friend is criticising the homestead inspectors and the officials. I would ask him if he can name a single inspector who was removed from office by the present Government who had not been proved to be a violent partisan under the late Administration.

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

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

Most undoubtedly. Some time ago I asked for a return in regard to officials removed in my district, and the return showed that there was not even a suggestion of partisanship against the dismissed officials.

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

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

Yes: Gordon Macdonald

is one; Peter Tompkin is another. They made a general accusation against the latter, but there was absolutely no evidence of partisanship, and no investigation was held. In the other cases there was no pretense of removal because of political partisanship. These removals were made for the purpose of appointing political partisans in order to establish a party organization in the prairie provinces at the cost of the people of Canada. That party organization is at work to-day. It has established a reign of terror amongst the homesteaders with the result that homestead and pre-emption entries have decreased, and the minister has to come forward and suggest relaxation of the conditions in order, as he hopes, to stimulate further interest. I hope he will be successful.

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

William Wright

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WRIGHT:

I would like to say that travelling through that northwestern country I met man after man who told me, when I asked which party he supported, that he was supporting the Liberal party simply because he could never hope to get a patent without supporting that party.

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

May 6, 1914