July 25, 1917

LIB

Charles Marcil

Liberal

Mr. MARCIL:

I was not in the House when section 2 was passed, but I understand that my suggestion was adopted and the Bill amended accordingly. I must thank the minister for having accepted my suggestion. I have had the opportunity of learning in Montreal, since this matter was mentioned in the House, that those who did take part in the war either for France or for Belgium would have thought an injustice had been done to them if they had been left out. Although I have never been west of Winnipeg, I have for twenty years been legislating here on matters connected with the West. Since this matter of land settlement has come up, I have had the advantage of being a member of the Returned Soldiers Commission and attending meetings at Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa, and the impression gathered was that unless very substantial inducements are given to the soldiers to go on to the land, very few of them will do so.

In Toronto, we were told that out of six or eight hundred men .at that time who had been asked as to what their future intentions were, only two per cent declared their intention of going on the land. The same thing might apply in Montreal. It is no exaggeration to say that the great bulk of those who enlisted in the military forces of Canada came from the cities and towns, and that a relatively small number came from the rural parte. If those returned soldiers are to go on the land, we shall have to give them good inducements. Some valuable suggestions have been made here to-night by the hon. members for Edmonton and Assiniboia. It strikes me as most extraordinary that the Dominion Government should allow large tracts of land to remain unoccupied and uncultivated along the line of .any railway in any part where the Government can exercise jurisdiction, and thus compel settlers to go long distances from railroads. The idea of expropriating lands and of giving the soldiers first choice is an excellent one and one well worthy of being looked into. I am sure the House will agree that anything that can be done for the returned soldier will be

heartily supported by hon. members on both sides of the House.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS.
Subtopic:   THE SOLDIER SETTLEMENT BOARD.
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LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

In regard to this land

grant, what will be the decision of the Government as to the point at which responsibility to the returned soldier begins? I think the question was asked and the minister made the reply that it would be provided under regulation made by the board. Has the Government not a definite policy cn that point? That is to say, will men who have never gone overseas come within the provisions of this Bill?

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS.
Subtopic:   THE SOLDIER SETTLEMENT BOARD.
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CON

William James Roche (Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs; Minister of the Interior)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROCHE:

We did consider that point, and the question was discussed as to whether we should include the soldier who enlisted but who did not leave Canada to go overseas. For instance, suppose a man enlisted just before the war ceased. He might not have the privilege of going overseas. Inasmuch as we desire to secure as many settlers as possible for the land, we decided to include those, so that they could take advantage of the provisions of the Bill just the same as those who went overseas.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS.
Subtopic:   THE SOLDIER SETTLEMENT BOARD.
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LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

A large number of men

who have enlisted in Canada, have been discharged in Canada as unfit. Will they be included?

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS.
Subtopic:   THE SOLDIER SETTLEMENT BOARD.
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CON

William James Roche (Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs; Minister of the Interior)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROCHE:

Any person who has enlisted and who has been honourably discharged, through no fault of his own, would he included.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS.
Subtopic:   THE SOLDIER SETTLEMENT BOARD.
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CON

Herbert Brown Ames

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HERBERT AMES:

Wihat would be the position where that clause does not coincide with the corresponding clause in provincial legislation? For instance, the Ontario Act provides that:

The lands set apart shall be reserved for location by persons who since the fourth day of August, A.D. 1914, have been upon active military or naval service with the British forces, out of Canada, against the King's enemies.

In other words, you cannot take advantage of the Ontario Bill for agricultural settlement unless you have been out of Canada. Therefore, there would be a wide class who could take advantage of this Bill, but who could not take advantage of the Ontario Bill.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS.
Subtopic:   THE SOLDIER SETTLEMENT BOARD.
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CON

William James Roche (Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs; Minister of the Interior)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROCHE:

That shows that our policy is much more generous than the policy of the Ontario Government. Hon. gentlemen might as well compare the acreage given by the Ontario Government with the acreage given by the Dominion Government.

The Ontario legislation provides for only eighty acres whereas we provide for 160 acres. The Ontario Government charges 6 per cent whereas we charge only 5 per cent. They have also more restrictions as to the class of individuals whoi can take advantage of their legislation. There need be no difficulty at all on that score. Each legislature has paramount jurisdiction within its own sphere. I think that what has been said goes to prove that, our legislation is much more generous to the .soldier than the legislation of the Ontario Government.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS.
Subtopic:   THE SOLDIER SETTLEMENT BOARD.
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CON

Herbert Brown Ames

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HERBERT AMES:

The Ontario Government legislation restricts the offer to men who have gone overseas, and I think it is the same in New Brunswick.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS.
Subtopic:   THE SOLDIER SETTLEMENT BOARD.
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LIB

Charles Marcil

Liberal

Mr. MARCIL:

That is not fair to the

men who enlisted in good faith and who were not given the opportunity of going overseas, but were sent to Bermuda, and on their return to Canada were discharged. The Ontario legislation leaves them out entirely.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS.
Subtopic:   THE SOLDIER SETTLEMENT BOARD.
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CON

Samuel Francis Glass

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GLASS:

Could a soldier receive assistance from this Government and from the Ontario 'Government as well?

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS.
Subtopic:   THE SOLDIER SETTLEMENT BOARD.
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CON

William James Roche (Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs; Minister of the Interior)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROCHE:

Yes.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS.
Subtopic:   THE SOLDIER SETTLEMENT BOARD.
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CON

Samuel Francis Glass

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GLASS:

'Supposing the Ontario Government had a first mortgage on the soldier's land. What .security would the Dominion Government take if they also loaned money to him?

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS.
Subtopic:   THE SOLDIER SETTLEMENT BOARD.
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CON

William James Roche (Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs; Minister of the Interior)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROCHE:

The facts of receiving assistance from the Ontario Government would not interfere with the soldier's receiving this loan. With this loan he might he able to pay off the first mortgage the Ontario Government held against his land, giving us a first mortgage, and use the balance of the money in working his farm.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS.
Subtopic:   THE SOLDIER SETTLEMENT BOARD.
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CON

Herbert Brown Ames

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HERBERT AMES:

Would it be possible for him to take one farm under the provincial government and one farm under the Dominion Government?

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS.
Subtopic:   THE SOLDIER SETTLEMENT BOARD.
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CON

William James Roche (Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs; Minister of the Interior)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. ROCHE:

Certainly.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS.
Subtopic:   THE SOLDIER SETTLEMENT BOARD.
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LIB

Thomas MacNutt

Liberal

Mr. MACNUTT:

This Bill deals only

with settlement by soldiers, but I wish to say a few words in connection with the general settlement in the West. I think such a discussion is in order because the same principle obtains. Whether a man is a returned soldier or an ordinary settler, we want him to be successful; that is the *main thing. There are two classes of land in the West. One is the homestead system of free government land, and the other is the system of purchasing lands that have

been acquired by land corporations, railway companies, and so on. The good homesteads which attracted people to the West in the first place have been pretty well exhausted, although there are no doubt still many acres of good homestead land in north Saskatchewan and in the Peace River country. It seems to me, however, that the policy of the Government should be to settle successfully those lands that are in the vicinity of towns, with schools, a railroad, and other conveniences. It is better worth a man's while to pay for land of that kind than to go a long distance away and get land for nothing, providing of course the terms of payment are made easy. The difficulty of which I have seen so many instances is not so much the cost of the land, as the terms of payment. A man may be unfortunate and be put back for a year or two, but if he is able to meet his payments he will remain. I have found farmers a very optimistic class of people. I have known some to be hailed out completely, and just as soon as they could get on the land again they would have teams out ploughing for next year's crop, and then go and work with the team for somebody else to earn enough money to carry them over the winter. I have known some of them hailed out two summers running. The people who settle in the West want to make homes for themselves and, with an eye to the future, they are willing to put up with a great many hardships if only they can make both ends meet. That is the class of people we want in the West, whether they are soldiers or not. We should do everything we can for the soldier, but I do not see why this other class of good settlers should not be included in a plan for settling the older parts of the country, even if the settlers have to pay for the land. But they should not have to pay for it on the short terms that are now allowed. I have known many cases where good settlers, with good outfits, have bought good land. They would have to make a first payment down, and sometimes it would be three years before there would be any return, iand their capital would be all eaten up. A great many of these men have left their farms altogether, and others have rented them on tenant shares. They could not make the farms their own, because the payments were not spread over a sufficient number of years. The provincial government of Saskatchewan has taken this matter up to a certain extent, but I think it is i a matter for the Dominion Government to deal with. It would not require any

new railways to develop these lands in the vicinity of the towns. The Government could gradually expropriate the lands, and sell them to bona fide settlers on long terms. I do not think there are many lands that are purchased from speculators in less than six payments. I have made a little calculation. I have put ordinary good land at $20 an acre, six payments, 6 per cent interest. Without going into details a man would have to pay in five years a first payment down of $533, with the interest added each year. Altogether in the five years he would have to pay $3,838.20 on the six-payment plan. If the payments were spread over 25 years at the same interest and the same price, in the five years he would have to pay only $1,754.68, or a difference of $2,083.52. Of course, under the twenty-five payment plan he would still have a lot of payments to make at the end of the five years, but he would be able to make them. It is the first few years, when nothing is coming in, that eats up his capital.

With regard to returned soldiers and set-tiers generally I would say, let them make a first payment down to show they are bona fide settlers, then for the next couple of years let them pay the interest only. This would not cost the country anything. Land bonds could be sold, I suppose, and if a man were to give up his land-I do. not suppose many would-somebody else would take it up 'and work it. I do not think there would be the slightest charge on the country. Do not confiscate these lands by any means, but gradually expropriate them. At the same time no speculator should be allowed to unload lands on to the Government; there should be no favouritism of any kind; the matter should be handled in a business-like way. If this plan were carried out, then, if a settler had a bad year, he would not have a heavy payment to make and could carry on. I should say after about eight or ten years an ordinarily successful settler could start making definite payments.

Mr. .CURRIE: That is provided for in subsection 6 of section 6 of the Bill.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS.
Subtopic:   THE SOLDIER SETTLEMENT BOARD.
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LIB

Thomas MacNutt

Liberal

Mr. MACNUTT:

I did not read the Bill through. If it is provided foT I am endorsing what is in the Bill. If the hon. member has no objection I will continue to endorse it. This is not a new idea. Two or three years ago, when I first thought of it, I believe it was fairly original. With regard to soldiers particularly, and with regard to any settlers, I would make it easy for them

to pay interest, if nothing else, for two or three years. The great thing is that they shall not be obliged to use up what capital they have, whether it is loaned to them by the Government, or whether it is then-own. I live out in the western country and I generally know what I am talking about with regard to matters pertaining to the West. I will give you an instance as indicating the accuracy of the statements I have made. Three years ago about forty families came from the United States and settled about twenty miles south of me, on land they had purchased. Last spring twenty-nine of those families went away, and the rest will follow them. They gave up simply because the payments were too large and came too fast, and they thought they had better go while the going was good. The principle of the thing is this: the people who are there must have a certain capital to work on, unless they want to go away back and homestead, in which case they can make their own capital, as the first homesteaders did. Of course, it takes a great many years to do this, and I do not know that we have very many people who would care to do it at the present time. I do not believe the soldiers will want to do it.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS.
Subtopic:   THE SOLDIER SETTLEMENT BOARD.
Permalink
CON

John Allister Currie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CURRIE:

Will the hon. gentleman repeat what he said about the soldiers?

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS.
Subtopic:   THE SOLDIER SETTLEMENT BOARD.
Permalink
LIB

Thomas MacNutt

Liberal

Mr. MACNUTT:

The soldiers would not care to go away and isolate themselves a long distance from the railways and from civilization, because they are so accustomed to community life. Of course, some of them might do it. At the same time, I think it would be far better if they settled on some good lands, of which there are millions of acres, in the West, in the hands of different companies. If they were able to buy these lands on easy terms, I think it would be far better than if they went away from civilization altogether. It would be to the advantage of the country, because when you put in a lot of settlers, before long they will require transportation facilities, and you will be obliged to Inuld new railroads for them. We have railroads now running through these lands, and our country roads are getting into pretty good shape. We also have our schools, and our little towns. These towns would become larger and the business men would become more successful; they would have more customers, and living might possibly become cheaper on that account. The country will have a great burden to bear later on, altogether apart from the soldiers. The

more settlers come into the country the easier the burden will be borne, and if you make it so attractive that the settlers will come, they will bear their share of the burden. It is a wonderful country, but there is no use trying to settle it and then have the people leave the land, because if that happens matters are a great deal worse than they were before. There are altogether too many abandoned farms at the present time. I know of a man who lived about two miles from me, who came up from the United States and bought a section of land. Last winter he sold everything and went back to the States to live on an eighty-acre farm. He found the payments were coming too fast.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS.
Subtopic:   THE SOLDIER SETTLEMENT BOARD.
Permalink
CON

John Allister Currie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CURRIE:

Was it also because German is taught in the schools there, and he could not have his children taught English?

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS.
Subtopic:   THE SOLDIER SETTLEMENT BOARD.
Permalink

July 25, 1917