these years have been just one lap ahead of the sheriff. In times like these when money is tight, and these facilities we are talking about for borrowing money are not multiplied by two, these people are squeezed pretty hard. They borrowed all the money they could get and went into one hole to get out of the previous one. Instead of improving their methods they wanted to improve their opportunities for borrowing, and then they quarrelled with the mortgage company because they could not get still more. *
We will have to assume a different attitude towards debt, Mr. Speaker, before we get our stride properly on the prairies again. I can recall the time especially during and before the war, when some of us took a certain amount of pride in actually boasting about borrowing every dollar we could get on our land, and then going abroad and spending it like a lord, investing it in this and that possibly not connected with the farm and then expecting the farm to carry that obligation and help wipe it out. That is not fair. Very few debts contracted in the West have been spent on agriculture, and I say that advisedly.
I think I am safe in saying that three out of four first mortgages are for the purpose of consolidating store bills and dead horses and such like, with not one dollar invested in any productive enterprise that will help pay back the loan. That was the condition. We rushed in there pell-mell, enthused with the possibilities of the development of that country We thought the thing would never end. We sowed to the wind and are to-day reaping the whirlwind. This condition of affairs, aggravated by the war, has occasioned many, many tragedies on the prairies. There is no question about it. It is something that would make your heart bleed, Mr. Speaker. But what are you going to do about it? Men who lend money must have security.
I have in mind another instance, and there is nothing that could be morp tragic than what I am going to describe. Both of these parties were labourers of my own at the time they were married. They started out for themselves with nothing but the prospect of getting a . home for themselves and $45, and that was not in cash. They had a three-year old filly, and they got a chattel mortgage on the filly for $45, more than what they paid for it, and made the first payment on a quarter section of Canadian Pacific Railway land. They added to that by one means and another till they had five quarter sections, all on time except the initial payment. They bought machinery on time, and horses on time.