May 26, 1925

LIB

Charles Gavan Power

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

I am not measuring it in

dollars and cents, and I do not want the hon. gentlemen to put words in my mouth. But they got very fair treatment-in fact too fair treatment. The soldier agriculturist got far better treatment than any other class of soldier, and I do not think he has a right to come back and complain that the country does not treat him well.

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT ACT, 1919, AMENDMENT
Permalink
PRO
LIB

Charles Gavan Power

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

He was a farmer and had no business to mortgage his life.

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT ACT, 1919, AMENDMENT
Permalink
PRO

Edward Joseph Garland

Progressive

Mr. GARLAND (Bow River):

The hon.

member has an excellent speech on tap, and I would hate to have him spill it in putting questions to me. I do not wish to prevent him asking me questions, but I do not want him to raise arguments just now.

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT ACT, 1919, AMENDMENT
Permalink
LIB

Charles Gavan Power

Liberal

Mr. POWER:

My hon. friend raised the argument when he tried to put in my mouth words I did not utter.

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT ACT, 1919, AMENDMENT
Permalink
PRO

Edward Joseph Garland

Progressive

Mr. GARLAND (Bow River):

If the hon. member leaves himself open he must take his medicine.

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT ACT, 1919, AMENDMENT
Permalink
LIB
PRO

Edward Joseph Garland

Progressive

Mr. GARLAND (Bow River):

When this case was under consideration last year I took the matter up with the present Minister of the Interior-the minister who was in charge was on the ocean, I believe on his way to England-in regard to these areas, and I mentioned one in particular, the Slade lease. The minister promised if I would send him a statement covering the case he would have it fully investigated and would try to see what could be done in the matter. I sent him the memorandum and I went home, and I heard nothing about it till October 1-in fact I heard nothing about it on October 1. Some time previous to that I wrote to the minister and subsequent^ received a letter informing me that Mr. Robb, who was in charge of the Soldier Settlement Board, had just returned to his office and he was taking the liberty of referring that letter to him. I hold in my hand now the letter I received from Mr. Robb, which reads:

My colleague, Hon. Charles Stewart has transferred to me for attention your letter of September 26, concerning the Slade lease.

I have discussed the matter with the chairman of the Soldier Settlement Board, who has just received a report from our district superintendent at Calgary, who personally visited the settlement on our instrue-tions-

Soldier Settlement Act

Note, on our instructions.

-with a view to looking into the situation. He that 1923 was the first year when any acreage to speak of was put down to crop in this district, and he is informed that the average yield for the district was twenty-five to thirty bushels per acre for that year. This year, however, there was a poor crop so far as soldier settlers are concerned, but it will probably average from five to eight bushels per acre. The summer-fallowed rand in the vicinity shows a fairly good crop. Mr. Waymark, for example, adjoining this settlement, threshed the other day fifteen hundred ibushels off forty acres of summer-fallow. All the opinions canvassed in the district both as to soldier settlers and civilians were agreed that when our settlers get down to a system of summer-fallowing they can expect reasonable crops year in and year out. Their crop this year, although poor, is sufficient to enable them to carry on.

I wish the hon. minister had been down there when this letter was read:

The district superintendent, who interviewed every soldier settler in the community, with the exception of A. J. Tompkins, who is absent in British Columbia, talked with them all and not one of them, except E. E. Day, mentioned the price of the land or evinced any desire for reduction in price or to be moved elsewhere. As a matter of fact, the district superintendent had not been in the district for more than three hours when he received two offers for Tompkins' property at the price Tompkins paid for it, plus the cost of improvements put on it.

While some of the settlers on this lease possibly paid too much in comparison with the price paid by others and in other districts, in the light of such reports as we have before us on the situation, it does not appear that any action can be taken until the whole question of revaluation has been considered.

Hon. gentlemen will notice the sentence "until the whole question of revaluation has been considered." I took the liberty of sending a copy of that letter into that district, and I particularly called the attention of the people responsible for the organization of the soldiers there to the sentence:

The district superintendent, who interviewed every soldier settler in the community, with the exception of A. J. Tompkins, who is absent in British Columbia, talked with them all and not one of them, except E. E. Day, mentioned the price of the land or evinced any desire for reduction in price.

I received a letier at once to this effect: There is something very funny about this information sent to Mr. Robb. However. I am sending your correspondence to Mr. M. Bradshaw, our president. My daughter will take it to him to-morrow, Tuesday, and he will call a meeting. I know for sure that the acreage Mr. Waymark had in on summer fallow was double forty if not more, and I am very anxious to know whose opinions were agreed. I have just one idea, I do not know for sure, but I think that Mr. Arnold, Mr. Spreeman and Mr. Bayliff are all left their farms to seek work for the winter. Mr. Besant is working for Mr. Campbell (rancher) of Dorothy. I will communicate with you later.

I then had further communication with this district, and finally on February 3, I received the following letter from Mr. Bayliff, the man who is particularly mentioned in the report: fMr. E. J. Garland.]

I received the enclosed communication together with a questionnaire-

The enclosed communication was a letter from the district superintendent of the Soldier Settlement Board of Calgary asking that the questions on the attached sheet be answered and mailed to the office.

The letter continues:

-with questions (1) and (2) this last mail and in order to keep you posted fully of any movement from this end I am enclosing the letter and exact copy of the completed questionnaire, the original of which I am sending in to Calgary office this mail.

You can take it for granted the other settlers will fill in their form along similar lines, placing their estimate of value at five dollars per acre.

I have met the most of the settlers within the last week end and the general idea was to ask you if possible to instruct your colleague who was on the inquiry committee appointed by the House to press for an absolute distinction to be made as between a soldier settler who was fortunate enough to acquire an up-to-date, fully improved property with land ready for crop, as some did in 1919 and 1920, realizing $2 per bushel and over for wheat and one settler was able to pay for his holding outright from his first crop. This particular instance is freely quoted by the officials of the Calgary office.

Then when you figure the great difference of position between those fortunate settlers and we who had to take on raw prairie entailing a number of years and so much more hard work before the land is under cultivation, there is a vast difference between the two propositions calling for ail together separate consideration. The one secured an up-to-date, proved property in an established district. The other took a pioneer's chance in new country and we were unfortunate enough to settle on "poverty flats" as this country is known for miles around.

It may be too late now to have this distinction made but we honestly think a distinction should be made as between a settler who secured land fully improved, ready for crop and the settlers who were game to pioneer. The one was on velvet, the other is on the rocks and we have sent out our S.O.S. call.

Accompanying this letter I have a statement filled in by every settler on the Slade lease, every one of them urging on this government- and on myself to use my influence with the government-to have a revaluation in that locality proceeded with if they are to keep the men there. I have been down to that district ;

I went there during the recess; I had a meeting with the men, and I found their condition to be as they stated in their communications to me. The statement made to the minister upon which he based that letter certainly does not cover the whole of the facts.

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT ACT, 1919, AMENDMENT
Permalink
LIB

William F. Carroll

Liberal

Mr. CARROLL:

Did the hon. member investigate the statement of the officer that respecting Mr. Tompkins' farm an offer was made for more than he originally paid plus the cost of improvement?

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT ACT, 1919, AMENDMENT
Permalink
PRO

Edward Joseph Garland

Progressive

Mr. GARLAND (Bow River):

I am not

sure. I will read what is said in reply to the investigation I tried to have with regard to

Soldier Settlement Act

Mr. Woods' visit to that locality. Mr. Woods is superintendent of the Soldier Settlement Board at Calgary. This is from a letter written to the Minister of Immigration and Colonization (Mr. Robb:

That Mr. Woods' visit was misunderstood we are well aware, as he did all in his power to make it so in his report to your department, and had we allowed his misrepresentations to pass unchallenged, it would have added to the injustice to the soldier settlers as well as being misleading to your department. Furthermore, in permitting a report to be circulated that all soldiers were satisfied would have prohibited any complaint registered with respect to revaluation or any dissatisfaction. And again we wish to make it clear to you that we did not take this matter uip with any intention of asking or expecting any special favour /for the soldiers in this locality, but merely to ask that as an 'injustice had been wrought the same be righted. For it is preposterous to charge soldiers eight times the amount paid by the Soldier Settlement Board and which land would ordinarily have gone to the homesteader regardless of his citizenship or nationality for ten dollars per quarter.

In this instance we consider the question of the soldiers in this district quite apart from the question of a general revaluation or any question of a reduction in stock and equipment.

I cannot find any statement with regard to the particular point; but aside from that altogether, I have consulted the board in connection with this matter. I have had a talk with both Mr. Woods of Calgary and the officials of the board here. They all agree with ' me that in localities of this particular kind revaluation is justified and they are prepared to proceed with revaluation. I venture to say that if the minister is sufficiently interested and would so request, the board could present him within a few days with legislation that would fully meet the requirements of the west in this connection and keep hundreds of our soldier settlers on the land. I appeal earnestly to him to refer the matter to the board and take their advice and recommendation.

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT ACT, 1919, AMENDMENT
Permalink
LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Argenteuil):

What was

the original price paid for the Slade lease by the so'diers? I notice the hon. member says they value it at $5 an acre now.

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT ACT, 1919, AMENDMENT
Permalink
PRO

Edward Joseph Garland

Progressive

Mr. GARLAND (Bow River):

I do not

know. I will look that up.

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT ACT, 1919, AMENDMENT
Permalink
LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Argenteuil):

It was purchased by the board, was it not, complete for settlement?

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT ACT, 1919, AMENDMENT
Permalink
LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Immigration and Colonization)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

The hon. member for Bow

River has read to the House and put on Hansard a copy of a letter that was sent to the department by an officer of the department who was instructed to visit this particular locality, look carefully into the situation and report. The officer reported that revaluation was not desired. I am not going too far in making this statement. The member for the district from his place in the House has made a statement which cannot be understood other than to mean that he contends that the officer has misrepresented the situation and has made a report that is not in accordance with the facts. I think I had better give the hon. gentleman an opportunity if he has any charges to make against this officer. If this officer is not doing his duty, he is of no use to the department. I will have the hon. member's remarks carefully referred to the department and will request them to make another report on that situation.

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT ACT, 1919, AMENDMENT
Permalink
PRO

Edward Joseph Garland

Progressive

Mr. GARLAND (Bow River):

I shall be

glad if the minister will do that.

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT ACT, 1919, AMENDMENT
Permalink
UFA

Alfred Speakman

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. SPEARMAN:

I think the minister

and the committee will agree that I am not in the habit of making rash or unconsidered statements in this regard. I have given this question some amount of study, in my work here in the various committees of the House and at home where I have made a point of meeting some hundreds of the returned men on the land. I think in my district, which is, perhaps, one of the better districts in the west, certainly in Alberta, I have more men under this act than in any other district in Canada. I have made it a point to visit them, to go through their accounts, to examine their methods of farming and as far as possible to put my valuation on the work done and the properi." which they hold. I do not pretend to be an expert valuator of land, but I have lived in that district for nearly thirty-five years on the farm and, to some extent, at least, I understand the productive value of the farms there. Last year when the committee went into this question fully and, I think, giving it careful consideration from the standpoint not only of the soldier settlers, but of the country's finances, they came to some very definite opinions. There was some disagreement as to the methods by which the desired end should be carried out, but as to the necessity of the case and what should be done I found almost unanimity of opinion throughout that committee. The main recommendations of that committee were three in number. The one with which the minister deals in part in his resolution to-day is that live stock should be revalued to the extent of sixty per cent and forty per cent in the years indicated. This recommendation was arrived at after very careful consultation with the officers of the board and, on my part at least after writing to a number of the stockyards and to those in charge of sales held throughout Canada, particularly western Can-

Soldier Settlement Act

ada as to the result of those sales. We found that although the reduction in value varied in one district from another the average reduction was at least sixty per cent and forty per cent in the years indicated, and we so reported. I found no difference of opinion as to that. The officers of the board who were present agreed with that consideration. I found no one in that committee who suggested that the valuation reset upon live stock at that time was too large. It is a matter of great disappointment to me-I will say frankly-to find that this question has been dealt with in what I consider an inadequate manner, a manner which will involve loss to the government without fully performing the function which it was expected to perform, without bringing the relief and establishing the men upon the basis upon which it was hoped they would be established. The second recommendation is one that has not been touched upon.

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT ACT, 1919, AMENDMENT
Permalink
LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Immigration and Colonization)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

lias my hon. friend taken into consideration the valuation of stock under the Animal Contagious Diseases Act which we passed a few moments ago, when we provided for a maximum value?

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT ACT, 1919, AMENDMENT
Permalink
UFA

Alfred Speakman

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. SPEAKMAN:

Yes, I have taken all that into consideration but not as a very serious factor inasmuch as those maximum values apply to a very different class of stock from that ordinarily acquired by the soldiers. There are a few animals in regard to which these maximum values are paid.

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT ACT, 1919, AMENDMENT
Permalink
LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Immigration and Colonization)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

There are two grades; the pure bred was placed at a maximum of $150 and the grade stock at a maximum of $60. And they pay only two-thirds of that, or $40.

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT ACT, 1919, AMENDMENT
Permalink
UFA

Alfred Speakman

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. SPEAKMAN:

That proves our contention, that there has been a considerable reduction in values; but I fail to see what else it proves. Last year everyone connected with the inquiry, not only members of parliament who might be considered particularly sympathetic to the men in their own districts, but the officials of the board who made the purchases and the sales, agreed as to the extent of the reduction in values and as to the recommendation that should therefore be made. There was no disputing that fact; I met no authority at that time who was conversant with the situation who disputed our assertion to that effect.

Now, coming to the next point which has not been touched upon, with regard to a general revaluation. I appreciate the minister's arguments as showing, so far as they showed anything, that no definite depreciation in value had taken place since the time of

purchase. But there was one factor which apparently had not been called to the minister's attention and which to my mind is of great importance. It is true that in the resale of land there was shown in the aggregate a slight appreciation in value as compared with the price paid by the buyer at the time of purchase. It has already been pointed out however that in many districts only the better parcels of land have been sold, while the parcels of land of less value and not so easily saleable are still lying there unsold. That may be considered as a matter of opinion; I know that it is a matter of fact in many districts. The point has been brought forward that the appreciation of price as shown is above the amount of indebtedness owed by the settler and does not take into account any moneys which have been paid, or improvements placed on the land by the settler himself. In other words, he has lost that. And the third point, which is a fact so obvious that I am surprised it escaped the minister's attention, is that at the time of the purchase of these farms cash was paid for every farm that was acquired. Now, any man who has been accustomed to buy land knows that if you go into a district and offer cash down for a farm you can get it at a fair value; and if you sell it again, as is done by the board, on a twenty-five year term at a maximum of 6 per cent interest, it will show a great appreciation.

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT ACT, 1919, AMENDMENT
Permalink

May 26, 1925