April 23, 1918

UNI L

John Flaws Reid

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. J. F. REID:

Would it not toe better if it did?

Mr. MEI'GHEN: I could not answer very well, because I do not know what the provincial law is in the province referred to by the hon. gentleman.

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UNI L

John Flaws Reid

Unionist (Liberal)

Mr. J. F. REID:

In all municipalities in Saskatchewan there is a weed inspector who looks after noxious weeds.

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UNION

Arthur Meighen (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Yes, I think these

leases will toe subject to that law.

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L LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Laurier Liberal

Mr. E. LAPOINTE:

Will it be the policy of the Government to have the land cultivated under the direction of the Superintendent General with the money of the Indian band when no lease is granted? The Government will have that authority under subsection 2 of section 4. The Superintendent General is authorized to expend the capital moneys of the band for the purpose of cultivating or improving the land, even wimout the consent of the band. I think there is danger of the condition arising referred to by the Ijon. member for Neepawa (Mr. Davis). If the operations ,are not successful financially, the Indians will be the losers as a result of that expenditure. The Superintendent General himself could have the land cultivated.

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UNION

Arthur Meighen (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Certainly. But the Act provides that if we do, we give the Indian the fair rental value of the land leased, less such of the moneys as have gone into permanent improvements, of which, of course, he gets the benefit.

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L LIB
UNION

Arthur Meighen (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

No, under subsection 3.

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L LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Laurier Liberal

Mr. E. LAPOINTE:

Yes, but under subsection 2 the expenditure ef the capital moneys of the band is authorized for the purpose of improving or cultivating the land. There is no provision that the Indian shall receive nothing. Of course, he will receive something if the operations are successful, but if they a.re not he will lose as . a result of the expenditure of that money.

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UNION

Arthur Meighen (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

It is not the purpose to expend the capital moneys on anything except permanent imipTovements, and the Act provides that -these shall toe only for such purposes as may be considered reasonable and proper. Then subsection 3 clearly indicates that the purpose of the expenditure of the capital funds is for permanent improvements only. In case we use the land, we- pay a fair value.

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L LIB

Frank S. Cahill

Laurier Liberal

Mr. GAHILL:

If I may be permitted I would like to ask the hon. member for Calgary (Mr. Tweedie) what he thinks might become of the Indians on the Sarcee reserve when this Bill comes into force? About how much of the reserve, is under cultivation at the present time?

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UNION

Thomas Mitchell March Tweedie

Unionist

Mr. TWEEDIE:

The effect of this Bill

will certainly be that the capital fund of the Sarcee Indians will be increased, because thousands of acres in that reservation which are not under cultivation, which are not being used for grazing purposes, and which are not producing one single cent to the Indians, will then be producing revenue. Under this system the Indians are bound to receive some money, and if the Government follows the policy of leasing the land to independent tenants, then the Indians receive that money without the expenditure of one single cent, and the general revenue of their capital fund will be increased to the extent of these rentals. On the other hand, if the Government spend money on the cultivation of the land, the Indians then will be in the same position, I take it, as an independent farmer, and if a profit is made out of the crop, as the Sarcee Indians made last year and the year before in raising grain, then their capital fund will be increased to that extent. It is a profit-making transaction from almost every angle from which you look at it. There is this possibility, that, if they invest their money in seed grain or build a fence, they get no revenue from the fence other than the protection of their crop. If there should be a frost, or hail, or a drought, there will be no crop, and they will lose the cost of their seed grain, and they will have put in their own services and their own energy, which will be lost to them, just as would be the case with any other farmers under similar conditions,

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L LIB

Frank S. Cahill

Laurier Liberal

Mr. CAHILL:

But will the Indian of

the Sarcee reserve be satisfied? There is only a small acreage on that reserve under cultivation. The greater part is partially fenced, very poorly fenced, part of it. But the whole of it is fenced now.

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UNION
L LIB

Frank S. Cahill

Laurier Liberal

Mr. CAHILL:

The reserve contains something in the neighbourhood of 70,000 acres. Will the Indians be satisfied that they are being treated fairly? Will they accept the conditions we are laying down, or are they dissatisfied?

' Mr. TWEEDIE: Well, the Indian may be satisfied and he may not. My personal view with regard to the Indian is that he is the ward of the Government, and being a ward he is bound to accept the treatment given him. The treatment of the Indian should be the very best that can be offered him under the circumstances. But it seems to me that it is no part of the treatment of the Indian to allow thousands of acres of land to stay out of cultivation and not put to use for grazing purposes. It seems to me that the position of the Indian as a ward is almost the position of any other ward, and that the guardian of that ward is bound to exercise his judgment, as the Minister of the Interior points out, in the best interest #of the ward. When we produce revenue for the benefit of the Indians themselves out of land which is now lying idle, I think that is the treatment which should be accorded to the Indians; and I believe it to be the duty of this Government to make use of the Indian lands for the benefit of the Indians themselves.

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L LIB

Isaac Ellis Pedlow

Laurier Liberal

Mr. PEDLOW:

It seems to me that this enactment is designed for the purpose of benefiting farmers whose land adjoins Indian reserves. It is not reasonable that an inroad should be made on Indian reserve lands in the West until the other lands throughout that country have been 'taken up. There is something in connection with this enactment which does not seem square to the Indians. The Indians are the wards of Canada, and deserve every consideration at our hands. I think that we should not too hastily approve this legislation.

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L LIB

John Patrick Molloy

Laurier Liberal

Mr. MOLLOY:

I have heard it stated outside the House that the department fences the land and then leases it to a rancher, who puts on the land so many head of cattle per acre. Does the department fence the land and then lease it, or does it not?

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UNION

Arthur Meighen (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

It is usually provided in the lease that the lessee shall fence, but under section 90 of the Act, as amended by this amendment, the department has power to fence and to charge the cost to capital account as permanent improvement. The cultivation could then be done and rental

paid to the band on a fair value basis. In order to make it clear that no capital fund shall be used except for permanent improvement, I move:

That dtfter the word "in" in the sixth line of section 4 there he inserted the words "subsection 1 of."

Subsection 1 clearly sets out that the improvements shall be permanent.

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L LIB

Joseph Read

Laurier Liberal

Mr. JOSEPH READ:

The Government are doing the right thing in protecting not only the general public, but their wards as well. But the Government have other, landed wards who own, control, and hold out of use large tracts of land in'Western Canada -I mean the big interests. What is the Government going to do about them?

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UNION

Arthur Meighen (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Unionist

Mr. MEIGHEN:

We feel that they are quite capable of taking care of themselves.

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Amendment agreed to, and section as amended agreed to. On section 5-taxation of dogs, protection of sheep:


April 23, 1918