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.
Subtopic: THE SOLDIER SETTLEMENT BOARD.