Is it right to ask a woman who has given her husband to the country to raise this money? She may be bringing up three or four children on the land, and that is surely a benefit to the State. I think there should be some clause in the Act providing for a case of that kind.
So long as the woman [DOT]is able to raise the money and get the patent, there is no difficulty in her way except the financial one. Of course, if we - were ito take the ground that wherever there is a debt to the Crown by the widow of a deceased soldier, that debt should be cancelled, we would be open to the charge of inequality because it would hardly be fair to treat the widows of soldiers who were indebted to the Crown on one scale, and the widows of soldiers who had discharged their indebtedness on another scale. There can be no inconvenience to the widow in paying her debt so long as she gets the land immediately. She gets the patent and pays what indebtedness there may be due on the land to the Crown.
I -agree with the minister's contention if the indebtedness has been paid off after the soldier has been enrolled. But 1 do not see why the widow should get the refund if the -deceased soldier had discharged his indebtedness before he enlisted.
Suppose there are,two men -side by -side; one man pays off his indebtedness because he owes it, and is able to; the other man is -also able to pay, we will suppose, but does not do so, because he is getting the money at five per cent. My hon. friend would say that in the case of this -second man, if his- widbw paid while her husband was at the front, the money should be refunded to her, but that in the case of the other one who is honest enough to pay before going to the front, the money should not be refunded?
I -assume that these people are honest and that they will pay when they have the money. My hon. friend assumes that they won't pay when they have the money, preferring to have the use of the money at 5 per cent.
Then why not alleviate the widow's burden without necessarily having to refund to the other woman the money that has been paid? The woman in the second case is on the lan-d with her children and is not deprived of anything; she has everything the farm has produced. The two cases I submit are not on all fours. However, I do not take any exception.
As to the question raised by my hon. friend regarding the different status of a man who entered, either before enlistment or immediately after, it seems to me this matter is passed over rather lightly. I recognize the contention of the Minister in this respect, that there must be some arbitrary line drawn, but surely not one quite so arbitrary as suggested. The point is that the man should be a bona fide entrant. Should there not be some way of providing what a bona fide entrant is? I know of young men who enlisted early in the war who did not know about this regulation, but when it became known, others made entry for homestead, and they were put in a different position entirely from those who first enlisted, because if they entered after they enlisted they would have -a different standing entirely from those who entered before enlisting. It would seem to be quite reasonable that there should be some clause setting out what a bona fide entrant is- some provision such as that -a man must be on the ground, or must have done something in connection with the land, to make him a bona fide entrant.
doubt, of inequality under this law. As I stated before, I was impressed with the need for a change when the question was first addressed to me. At that time I was not minister of this department. I took the matter up with the officials and the minister of the department, and I was persuaded that the line was drawn in the best possible way. I do not know of any rule that could be adopted that would better determine the bona fides of an entrant, or better determine his right to be considered a homesteader that the fact that he entered his land, paid his entrance fee, and committed himself to his homestead quarter section. Some better rule might be discovered, and if the hon. gentleman would
think the matter out, and make a specific suggestion, I would be very glad to consider it. But we must remember that up to this point, in the administration! of the department, entrants who made their entry, and then enlisted, got the benefit of this provision. You have to bear in mind that, up to the present time, they got the benefit of this provision. What the hon. gentleman from Saskatchewan suggested was not that you should go back, but taking the case of the man actually residing on the land, that you should not only give him the right, but extend the right to others who had not resided on the land. I was combatting that suggestion. If my hon. friend would-suggest a specific rule as to a fairer test to apply to decide whether the homesteader should get the right to count his enlistment time as homestead time. I would be very glad to consider it.
should be either one thing or the other, either along the line suggested by my hon. friend from Saskatchewan, to put them all on the same footing, by giving everybody the right, or along the other line, and provide that no one shall be given the right, unless he is a bona fide entrant. But the word " bona fide " should be defined in some way.
This question of allowing time to count in the case of a soldier filing subsequent to enlistment has been brought to my attention hundreds of times. On several occasions when regiments were going overseas from Calgary almost the entire regiment went down and filed, which, of course, would be subsequent to enlistment. This matter has been brought to my attention by men who have pointed out the extreme cases cited by the minister. I quite realize, that if we should make an absolute rule we might have difficulty in that others who are overseas might file, and so practically all the available suitable land would thus be taken up and not developed. I would suggest that the matter should be carefully considered with the view of providing, if it is at all possible that those who have already filed subsequent to enlistment should be given their homesteads. I do not know the number who have so filed, but the relative importance of the question can be better understood when the number is ascertained. There is a great feeling of unrest in regard to these cases.
Another matter which has to be taken into consideration is the Soldiers' Land Settlement Scheme. It seems to me there might
not be sufficient suitable land to give a homestead to each soldier under this Act, and also provide for him under the Land Settlement Scheme. It is very possible that if the regulations should allow them to, keep the homesteads under this Act they might have to keep them in lieu of the land they would obtain under the Soldiers' Land Settlement Scheme. If we had the information as to the number who have filed we would then know whether it is possible to grant them this privilege.
Calgary will bear in mind thait if all enlisted men who have entered and homesteaded recently were granted this privilege, then we would be in difficulties with the other man who had not entered. He would say: "You said you would not count my
enlistment time; therefore I did not enlist, and you have discriminated against me grossly." I do not know what answer you could give him. Therefore II think, subject to any suggestion that may be made, that we had better stick to the ru],es we made, especially because it is not improbable that many of the returned soldiers, in view of the privilege that is granted them of making the soldier entry as well as tha homestead entry, will want to abandon the entry they have made and will want to re-enter again, in a locality where they can have the homestead and soldier entry together. In view of that, I think there would be very great difficulty encountered if we receded from the rule we have followed so long.
The minister realizes, I suppose, that he is departing from the English common Saw. This is the first time, I think, in the history of legislation in any British country that we .have drawn this distinction. At English common law an alien can hold all kinds of property except property in shipping. That has been the law for ages and the minister is now departing from it. It is a very radical change and it ought to be very carefully considered.