May 1, 1925

CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON:

Yes. I take it that that committee is not very much overworked with international matters at the present moment; if it is, my hon. friend will correct me. I would remind the hon. minister that we now have so many committees meeting that it is not at all unusual to have five functioning on the same day. I know that so far as I myself am concerned, usually I am supposed to be present at four different committees every single day, and the heavy work there takes up practically all my time, so that I have not been able to be in the House for a considerable period now owing to my attendance on those special committees. I think the government might well consider whether this special committee business is not really getting a little bit played out. Either

Old Age Pensions

that, or else the members will be played out if on the one hand they are going to try to do their duty in this chamber and at the same time be in attendance at three, four and sometimes five committees when the House is in session.

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PRO

Alan Webster Neill

Progressive

Mr. A. W. NEILL (Comox-Alberni):

Mr. Speaker, it is perhaps noteworthy that every hon. gentleman who has spoken this afternoon urging the government to plunge immediately into a policy of old age pensions, without assistance from the provinces-which would of course involve an enormous expenditure- were a few hours ago condemning the government for not reducing expenditures.

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CON
PRO
CON
PRO

Alan Webster Neill

Progressive

Mr. NEILL:

A few hours ago they voted

for an amendment to the budget condemning the government for not reducing expenditures. Now, so far as the committee is concerned, I do not think it would be wise to remove the duties which were imposed on the committee appointed last year and place them in the hands of another committee, because the gentlemen who composed the committee last year are naturally cognizant of the subject, and I think they were all very keenly interested in it and could be relied on to take an active interest again, in spite of the numerous other committees that demand their attention. The hon. member for Vancouver Centre (Mr. Stevens) took a point which I think he was mistaken in, that inasmuch as one province at least has refused to have anything to do with the joint scheme, therefore it was impossible to go further. But the report of the committee of last year specifically recommended that the bill, if introduced, should be of such a character that it would be open to any province to co-operate should it choose to do so, much in the same way, I imagine, as in the case of the legislation regarding grants for good roads of which certain provinces took advantage, and others did not.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

May I ask a question?

-and this is not asked with any desire to embarrass; I am quite serious. Assume, we will say, that six provinces adopted it and three refused-already three have indicated that it should be done by the federal authorities- and legislation was passed in those six provinces on the matter; would there not be a tendency for the indigent aged to drift into those provinces that had provision for an old age pension from the provinces where the old age pension provisions did not exist? Take

Alberta and British Columbia, for instance; if one had an old age pension scheme, and the other had not, would not the aged in the province without the provision have a tendency to drift into the other province with the old age pension scheme, and thus saddle that province with unfair and undue burdens?

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PRO

Alan Webster Neill

Progressive

Mr. NEILL:

There might be a danger of

that kind, but I think it could be largely avoidable. The same objection has been raised in connection with the Mothers' Pension Act, but that objection has been met by suitable regulations. I do not think the inducements offered by any old age pension scheme, such as we could afford to provide, would be of such a character as to lead people to drift very far, but it could be easily regulated by requiring a certain number of years' residence in the particular province before qualifying for the pension. I was only explaining the matter to the hon. member, because I know he was not a member of the committee, and I wanted to point out that we are not precluded from going on with the legislation this year because one or more provinces have refused to have anything to do with it. The recommendation of the committee was of an optional character.

With regard to the remarks of the right hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. Meighen) that there was no more knowledge to be acquired by the committee, it might well be, if it was found on a consideration of the reports that have been made, and others yet to be obtained from the different provinces, that united action was absolutely impossible or practically so, that it would be necessary to seek to formulate some other scheme. I saw in the press yesterday, for instance, that the British government are starting out with a new insurance system of a very extensive nature and of a contributory character-I do not think that ' would be adaptable to our conditions here, yet in default of being able to devise a scheme along the lines the committee recommended, it might be that we would have to consider something of that character. The committee would be able to obtain that information, and its report might be of some value to the government in formulating its policy.

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Motion agreed to.


LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

If the House

would give unanimous consent we might appoint the committee now, just naming the same committee as was appointed last year. I think there is a general agreement that if any committee is to be considered, it should be the same committee.

Dominion Lands Act

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CON
LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

With the

unanimous consent of the House I move:

That a special committee be appointed to make an inquiry into an old age pension system for Canada, with power to send for persons, papers and records and to report from time to time, and that the said committee do consist of the following named members, namely, Messrs. Fontaine, Irvine, Logan, McConica, Munro, Neill, Preston, Raymond, Robichaud, Sexsmith, Spence and St. Pere.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Could there not be

further words to this effect?-"and that there be referred to such committee for examination and report the correspondence which has occurred since the last session between the several provincial governments."

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Yes, I thank

my hon. friend for the suggestion. I move to amend the motion accordingly.

Motion as amended agreed to.

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DOMINION LANDS ACT AMENDMENT


Hon. CHARLES STEWART (Minister of the Interior) moved that the House go into committee at the next sitting to consider the following proposed resolution: Resolved, that it is expedient to amend The Dominion Lands Act, chapter 20 of the statutes of 1908, and the acts in amendment thereof, by providing,- (1) That notwithstanding anything contained in the waid act, no person shall be granted entry for lands situate within that part of the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta south of the south boundary of township 16 in the Dominion lands system of survey unless such person submits evidence satisfactory to the Minister of the Interior that he or she is in permanent residence and conducting farming operations upon a farm of not less than eighty acres distant not more than nine miles in a direct line from the parcel for which entry is desired, exclusive of the width of road allowances crossed in the measurement, or that such person is the father, mother, son, daughter, brother or sister of a settler in permanent residence and conducting farming operations as aforesaid; (2) That notwithstanding anything to the contrary in the said act, the minister may sell school lands required as right of way for any project or for reservoir, church, cemetery or hospital sites, at a price to be fixed by an officer of the department as the actual market value of the land, and upon such terms of payment as the minister may prescribe, provided that the government of the province in which the land is situated expresses its approval of the sale and price in each case; (3) That where an application is made by the holder of unpatented school lands purchased under the provisions of this act prior to the first day of January, 1923, or by the legal representative, or registered assignee of such holder, the minister may, with the consent of the government of the province in which the lands affected are situate, rescind such contract, or contracts of sale, as to any portion thereof and in such form and area as the minister may prescribe. Upon such rescission the holder or his legal representative, or registered assignee, shall be held to be indebted to the crown for principal and interest in accordance with the terms and conditions of the original contract, or contracts of sale, in respect only of the area to which such contract, or contracts, have been confined, and the account, or accounts, of the holder, legal representative, or registered assignee, in the books of the department, shall be adjusted accordingly. In such readjustment, any moneys paid on the original contract, or contracts, may, in the discretion of the minister, be applied in satisfaction of the principal and interest owing, or principal accruing under the contract, or contracts, as amended; provided that there shall be no refund of any moneys. He said: His Excellency the Governor General, having been made acquainted with the subject matter of this resolution, recommends it to the favourable consideration of the House.


CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

It would help the discussion when we get into committee if the minister would at this stage tell the precise intent of each of these clauses. I think I understand them fairly well, but I am sure many hon. members will not.

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LIB

Charles A. Stewart (Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Argenteuil):

With reference to clause 1, as hon. gentlemen know, we have a regulation that prohibits the homesteading of land south of township 16 in the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

For how long?

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LIB

Charles A. Stewart (Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Argenteuil):

I cannot

give my hon. friend the exact date.

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May 1, 1925