May 26, 1925

CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I did not say revaluation. I said that I would make the same percentage of rebate everywhere, applicable to all purchasers and applicable to land as well as to chattels. That does not involve land revaluation. That is very clear. I do not know any other principle that can be followed. I know that objections can be raised to it, but none as formidable as can be raised to this government's proposal. It is at least the most unobjectionable of any course that can be taken. It is the fairest; it is the same for everybody.

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT ACT, 1919, AMENDMENT
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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Argenteuil):

Then my

right hon. friend would argue that the purchases in the first place were all based on equality?

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT ACT, 1919, AMENDMENT
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

So they were.

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT ACT, 1919, AMENDMENT
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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 think we

have ample evidence that that is not true.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I know that. You will always get opinions that one piece was bought cheaply and another at a high rate. It may be that within a certain radius that is the case. But you cannot go on that basis in evolving a principle of remedy; you have got to do the same for the one buyer as for the other. If the government get into that field it will be landed in a morass from which they will never extricate themselves without serious difficulty.

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT ACT, 1919, AMENDMENT
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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Argenteuil):

No government on earth could apply the remedy that would be required, for instance, for the Dauphin situation or that outlined by the member for Comox-Alberni, as my right hon. friend suggests and still meet the acute cases, No government could stand it.

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT ACT, 1919, AMENDMENT
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Certainly no government can meet every acute case. It cannot be done, and I say with the utmost frankness-that if the government get into this responsibility; if they go into the original value-and the present value of every piece of land and every horse and every cow, why, they will never get out of it. You cannot perform a great service on that principle. Now I think I have made at least clear what I would propose. It would seem to me to be a great deal fairer, a great deal less objectionable, to proceed as I have suggested. Certainly it would not reach out into every service -and meet every demand, but it is based on a sound principle and that cannot be said of the legislation before us. But what is to be said for the suggestion that the revaluation of land does not come before us now because the Ralston commission says that that can be done at the end of twenty-five years? Actually I think if the minister had thought a little longer he would not have read such an absurd thing to the House. Why, in twenty-five years the man's son will be on the land. The proportion of those now on the land who will be there in twenty-five years will be mighty small; it is the case everywhere. I cannot think of anything more grotesque, anything more laughable, than the suggestion that there might be a revaluation of these lands in the interest of the purchasers at the end of a quarter of a century.

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT ACT, 1919, AMENDMENT
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CON

Thomas Langton Church

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CHURCH:

I think it is the desire

of every group in this House that some equitable means should be adopted to bring this act up-to-date. When you compare the total expenditure of the country, $400,000,000, with that spent on soldier settlement, $6,000,000, and immigration, $2,000,000, it is no wonder the returned men have not been successful on the land. This legislation does not go far enough. In 1921, $6,000,000 was , provided for this purpose as against $8,400,000 the year before. Last year there were 1,038 new settlers under this scheme. There are now on the land 23,743, as against 27.000 three years ago. The number granted entries without loans was 6,435. I do not see why we should discriminate between various classes of solilie'- : those who do not make good get help and those who are thrifty and are making

Soldier Settlement Act

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT ACT, 1919, AMENDMENT
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PRO

Robert Alexander Hoey

Progressive

Mr. HOEY:

In view of the fact that

several members of the House who are deeply interested in this question, the hon. member for Prince Albert (Mr. Knox) the hon. member for Humboldt (Mr. Stewart) andi several others, are absent attending the funeral of our late colleague, I wonder if the minister would consent to report progress and let this matter come up again.

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT ACT, 1919, AMENDMENT
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LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Immigration and Colonization)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

We have spent almost a whole afternoon and evening on the resolution. I think we might very well let the resolution pass and I will promise not to advance the bill to a second1 reading until the hon. members have returned and that will give them ample opportunity of discussing it; indeed they will have the same opportunity they have had to-day and we will have the chairman of the board beside us.

It was only to-day that my attention was directed to the question, asked by my hon. friend from Bow River. I recall that that afternoon many questions were asked on the orders of the day. I admit that I was busy signing my letters, and my desk mate said to me, "He is asking about soldier's revaluation", and I said, "Yes". It is a warning to me after this to have questions repeated, because I sometimes do not hear everything.

I have been looking over the report of the committee of last year, and I notice recommendation No. 4 reads:

Your committee further recommend that the Soldier Settlement Board shall have discretionary power to relocate bona fide settlers that are found to be located on manifestly unsuitable farms, such relocation to be made without financial loss to the settlers.

I am going to send) for the board and go into the matter very carefully, and find out what powers they have under the act. They have had experience -as to the possibility of

Soldier Settlement Act

affording some relief in some instances. I observe from the remarks of the right hon. leader of the opposition that he concurs in my statement that generally speaking the land was well bought. But there are cases-and we seem to agree upon that-in a few odd sections where the land was not wesll bought. I shall consult the Soldier Settlement Board about that.

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT ACT, 1919, AMENDMENT
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CON

Leon Johnson Ladner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LADNER:

The nature of the resolution apparently fixes an arbitrary sum, a percentage of reduction. Now at different times since the war prices have been high or they have been low. In some cases chattels were bought at advantageous prices, while in other cases unreasonable prices were paid. Does the minister think -that, as a matter of policy, it is sound to make a set specific reduction, irrespective of the original cost price, or whether they have any relationship to the market value.

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT ACT, 1919, AMENDMENT
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LIB
CON

Leon Johnson Ladner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LADNER:

I do not know anything

about that.

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT ACT, 1919, AMENDMENT
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LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Immigration and Colonization)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

I gather from my hon. friend's remarks that he is not in accord with the sentiments expressed by his leader.

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT ACT, 1919, AMENDMENT
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CON

Leon Johnson Ladner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LADNER:

I do not care about that.

We are in committee and I am speaking for myself. I have my own idea. There are isolated cases where ridiculous things have ' been done. You may have purchased a grade cow for $200 four years ago. The cow perhaps at that time was worth $125. It may now be worth only $75. If you make a reduction of 20 per cent which is $40, you then bring your price down to $60, and you have the price so far -above the market value to-day that there is no inducement for a man to stay on the farm and milk that cow and endeavour to produce results. You may apply the argument to the purchase of a whole dairy herd, or to all the stock and machinery a man has on the farm. My point is this: That I think the basis of the whole resolution and policy is unsound, because the reduction should be made having regard to the relationship of the reduction to the market value to-day; so that when a man is faced with what his obligations are, he knows it is in his interests, and it is better for him, to remain there and face those obligations, because he has an asset which will be worth something when he discharges his obligation. If you put the whole thing above the market value he will have no incentive to stay there, and you will have a section of

the men saying to the government, "After you have made the reduction you are far above the market value, and you are not going to hold us to that market value-."

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT ACT, 1919, AMENDMENT
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LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Immigration and Colonization)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

Does the hon. member suggest that we had better drop the whole legislation?

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT ACT, 1919, AMENDMENT
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CON

Leon Johnson Ladner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LADNER:

No, my suggestion is that

the reductions should be made in relationship to the actual market value of the goods or chattels to-day; so that when the reductions are completed there will then be left an equity, or an incentive or an inducement to the man to stay there and utilize his machinery, whatever it may be, and carry on with his dairy herd to obtain results. In that way the government would be further ahead than if they let the 'man walk out and sell at the actual market value.

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT ACT, 1919, AMENDMENT
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IND

William Charles Good

Independent Progressive

Mr. GOOD:

The minister asked the House to consent to the passing of this resolution. It seems to me under the circumstances he would be very 'well advised to let the matter stand over because the House will be committed to something pretty specific if this resolution is passed to-night, and when the bill appears before the House they will not be at liberty to make any changes.

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT ACT, 1919, AMENDMENT
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LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Immigration and Colonization)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

I say very frankly to hon.

members that if they do not want this resolution I am not going to pursue it much longer.

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT ACT, 1919, AMENDMENT
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PRO

William John Ward

Progressive

Mr. WARD:

Just there I would like to

have a word very directly with the minister in charge, in regard to my fear of this matter being passed to-night. The result will be that in a week from now this will go out into the hinterland, where returned men are waiting, day after day to hear what is going to happen. I was one of those who was fool enough to accept the statement of the Minister of the Interior a year ago; I went back to my constituency and I peddled if all over among the returned men that we had a definite assurance by the government-and I did believe it, because I had faith in their sincerity-that they intended to carry that assurance into practice, and I told my people that, and implored scores of them to stick to their bargain. I am safe in saying that I have had at least a hundred appeals from returned men throughout my constituency asking me what they would do. They would say something like this: The situation is such and such; what would you advise me to do? Would you advise me to stay on the farm? I would reply to them, simply: Yes; the government is, I am sure, going to give us a revaluation next year, and I think the percentage will be

Soldier Settlement Act

sufficient to warrant you in remaining on your farm. If it goes out to-night and is spread broadcast as it will be in the papers to-morrow morning that the government has brought down its legislation for this year and that no provision is made for revaluation of soldier lands, I fear the result.

The minister has endeavoured to build up a case to-night based upon the report of the Ralston commission. He has given us certain figures which he has taken from the report of that commission and so on. He has told us of payments made last year and so on. An hon. member speaking in this House last year when the resolution was before the House said this, and we shall see whether what has happened in the last year coincides very closely with what the minister has stated:

After having made a survey of my constituency-

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT ACT, 1919, AMENDMENT
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May 26, 1925