June 22, 1925

CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Right Hon. ARTHUR MEIGHEN (Leader of the Opposition):

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PRO

Thomas Alexander Crerar

Progressive

Mr. CRERAR:

That, I thought, was clear at the time.

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LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

I had been under the impression that the discussion of the proposed amendments to the rules of the House would take place this morning, but I yield to the request made by several members that, as the session is soon to conclude, the matter may be allowed to stand until next session. I desire to say, however, that the child is full of life; it is not an orphan. If I am here next session I will press for the consideration of the subject.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I hope you will permit me, Mr. Speaker, to say that it is a matter of real regret to myself that the advantage of the work of the committee cannot be availed of this session. It is only the fact that a discussion of that kind would be necessarily somewhat detailed and lengthy that prompted me to make the suggestion which I offered on Saturday night. I know of no work of any committee that appeals to roe as having been more thoroughly carried out than that of the committee which revised the rules this session, and I sincerely trust that those of us who are back next year will be prepared to consider the matter. I assure the House that the party which will be in control at that time will not allow to pass into oblivion the work of the committee during this session.

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LIB

William Daum Euler

Liberal

Mr. W. D. EULER (North Waterloo):

As a member of that special committee I should regret very much if we could not take advantage of the work which it has done so very carefully. If the matter is postponed until next session, will it be necessary for the work of that committee to be done over again?

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

No.

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LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Undoubtedly another committee will have to be appointed, I trust the same; and I should think that as a matter of course the same report would be adopted. I do not think we can improve on the report that has been brought in, except by general discussion. I repeat, however, that the child is by no means an orphan; it is perfectly legitimate and it will be present here next session.

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LAB

William Irvine

Labour

Mr. WILLIAM IRVINE (East Calgary):

As the mover of the resolution that led to the investigation of this question, and in view of the fact that the next year is uncertain for a whole lot of us, I should like to see the matter proceeded with this year.

Hon. GEORGE P. GRAHAM (Minister of Railways): I want to assure the hon. gentleman 'as well as the House and the country that the revision of the rules will be looked

into next session. I want to offer the assurance, from this side of the House, that the party which will be in power at the next session will see to the matter.

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IND

William Charles Good

Independent Progressive

Mr. W. C. GOOD (Brant):

May I ask

what obligation another parliament would be under to proceed with this matter? Suppose the composition of the next parliament were considerably changed, would there be any obligation upon it to take up this important question?

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LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

At least a moral obligation.

MOVEMENT OF ALBERTA COAL On the Orders of the Day:

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CON

Henry Lumley Drayton

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir HENRY DRAYTON (West York):

Will the Minister of Railways say what accuracy there is in the report that appears in the press this morning with reference to the moving of Alberta coal? The newspapers say that Sir Henry Thornton is not going on with the experiment with regard to a lower rate owing to the fact that it will be looked upon as affecting the whole rates schedule. That does not necessarily follow. Time and again when I was chairman of the Board of Railway Commissioners we had emergency low rates put into effect, with the accompanying intimation that such rates were not commercial but were purely to meet an emergency.

Hon. GEORGE P. GRAHAM (Minister of Railways): I have no intimation on this matter except the news item that has appeared in the papers. I did receive information indirectly some days ago that there was some difficulty regarding the question as to what parties were to make up any deficiency as a result of the arrangement. I think the railways will accept the coal at $7 provided that the losses will be guaranteed by the other parties to the arrangement. However, I shall inquire into the matter.

CIVIL SERVICE SUPERANNUATION On the Orders of the Day:

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PRO

Thomas William Bird

Progressive

Mr. T. W. BIRD (Nelson):

Is it the intention of the government to bring in an amendment to the Superannuation Act of last year making provision for the children and widows of civil servants who were superannuated under the old act?

. Hon. J. A. ROBB (Acting Minister of Finance) : Since the adoption of the Superannuation Act last year there have been representations on behalf of several organizations for amendments. It is not the intention of the government to submit any amendments to the act this session.

Soldier Settlement Act

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SOLDIER SETTLEMENT ACT, 1919, AMENDMENT


Hon. J. A. ROBB (Minister of Immigration and Colonization) moved the second reading of Bill No. 208 to amend The Soldier Settlement Act, 1919.


PRO

Alan Webster Neill

Progressive

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

Before the motion carries I want to correct a mistake I made when discussing this measure on a previous occasion. I said at that time, speaking without my notes in answer to a question by the minister, that as far as I was aware there were forty settlers in the particular neighbourhood of which I was speaking, that is to say Courtenay. There are 144 settlers there. Whilst I am on my feet I want to quote briefly one or two paragraphs from the petition they presented to the government in connection with this matter:

And whereas many settlers have been compelled to abandon their farms, whilst in this district alone, although only sixteen cases are shown as actual salvage cases, there are upwards of forty settlers out of 141 who have left their places with no intention of returning, making a percentage of thirty-two per cent.

And whereas the government will at the present time sell any of these abandoned places to the public at cost price plus amount spent on permanent improvements, thus showing a complete loss of amounts spent Dn stock and equipment as well as loss of all interest due.

And whereas very few salvage properties have been re-sold and in some cases where re-sale has taken place the properties have again reverted to the board, thus indicating that such properties are considerably overvalued.

And whereas the prevailing price of wild land in this district is $7.50 per acre and the average price paid by soldier settlers averages $40 per acre. Whilst cost of clearing same is from $200 to $300, making cost of further clearing prohibitive at original price paid for this land, such land being valueless for farming purposes until cleared.

And whereas it is believed that any reasonable adjustment as hereinafter suggested will in the aggregate cost the country less than the alternative, namely, a number of salvaged farms to be sold at a considerable loss and an equal number of ruined farmers.

Therefore the following alterations in legislation affecting soldiers are suggested:

1. To make the reductions in the repayments due to

the board so far as livestock is concerned in accordance with the recommendation of the special committee on Re-establishment of the Returned Soldiers as set out in clause one, sections A and B of their report to the House.

2. To make a reduction of 25 per cent on original cost

of cleared land and permanent improvements purchased and made in the years 1919, 1920, etc. Also a reduction of 50 per cent on original cost of all uncleared land purchased during those years.

I hey end up by saying:

We respectfully request that you give your support to the above alterations with special reference to Vancouver Island, where conditions are altogether different to any other part of Canada.

I earnestly trust that the minister will give an expression of his determination to have his

officials examine certain districts where the conditions are so flagrantly unjust and unsatisfactory that some measure of relief will have to be granted by way of revaluation, if not this year, then at any rate not later than next year.

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Motion agreed to, bill read the second time and the House went into committee thereon, Mr. Gordon in the chair. Section 1 agreed1 to. Title agreed to.


PRO

William John Ward

Progressive

Mr. WARD:

Mr. Chairman, before you report the bill, I wish to support the suggestion of the hon. member for Comox-Alberni (Mr. Neill), that if we pass this bill in its present form the Soldier Settlement Board will be instructed to at once examine into conditions in certain sections of the country and see if something cannot be done to bring about some form of revaluation next session. Since the debate first took place in this House I have received several communications from my constituents, not only from the settlers themselves but from business men, urging upon me to oppose this bill and to press for something further in the way of revaluation. I wonder if the minister will give us an assurance to this effect before the bill passes.

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PRO

Leland Payson Bancroft

Progressive

Mr. BANCROFT:

Mr. Chairman, I should like to support the proposal that provision be made for the revaluation of lands in connection with this bill. I am sure that the officers of the department are familiar with the situation and know that in certain districts it is imperative that revaluation should be made, otherwise the land will be completely abandoned and will be unsaleable to anyone else. One section I have in mind is between the lakes in Manitoba, in the constituency I have the honour to represent. During the early days the board by some means or other got hold of some stony scrub land, with very shallow loam and a gravelly sub-soil, that is absolutely unfit for farming purposes. I can show the minister farms in that district with only ten or fifteen acres under cultivation that were sold to the soldier settlers at from $20 to $25 an acre. It was because of this unsatisfactory condition that the board made a cleanup of its Winnipeg office-in 1920 I think it was-and got rid of practically all the valuators who were in the field at the time the original purchases were made. I submit that that is an acknowledgment that something was done at the time that should not have been done. In view of this acknowledgment, it was certainly the duty of the government

thpn, and the duty still remains upon the government to-day, to compensate the soldier settlers who have been put in such a serious position because their land was not as represented to them at the time they acquired it.

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PRO

John Millar

Progressive

Mr. MILLAR:

Mr. Chairman, I desire to

support the suggestion of the hon. member for Comox-Albemi. Possibly it is too late now to do anything more than the bill provides for, and if that is so I am quite willing that the bill should pass, but I believe his suggestion is a good one and should be adopted. It seems to me it would be a great mistake to allow some of those soldiers, who are good farmers and are doing their very best to succeed, to be forced off their land, which they took up when prices were so high that they are never likely to be able to free themselves from debt.

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LAB

William Irvine

Labour

Mr. IRVINE:

What was the suggestion made by the hon. member for Comox-Alberni?

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June 22, 1925