There have been remarks, Mr. Chairman, about the past history of this measure, and I thought it worth while to get the facts. We are all relying on our memories in connection with a rather hectic period last, summer. I find that the then acting Minister of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment in the person of the present member for Fort William,, introduced this measure on its being returned amended from the Senate, and Hansard of last session very clearly sets out what was the attitude of 'hon. gentlemen opposite, who then composed what has since been described as the "shadow government", towards this principle of permitting the Exchequer court to be the deciding factor, and also towards the general principles of this legislation. It is interesting to note that the concluding exercises in connection with this particular measure last session consisted of a further effort on the part of the Acting Minister of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment to get the House to pass the bill as it came from the Senate, and he was met with the objection by my right hon. leader that we on our side of the House had not yet had time to consider fully the changes proposed by the Senate, and we asked for time, at least until after the six o'clock recess, to look into the proposed changes. It is interesting to note that this matter never came up again. Other very important matters came up. Now, Mr. Chairman, we on this side of the House have had time to consider the effect of the changes proposed last year by my hon. friends opposite, and we now come here and say we agree. Coming here in a spirit of agreement, we now find our hon. friends opposite have changed their minds again, and they want something different.
So far as the Exchequer court is concerned, if it were to be used as a court in the city of Ottawa to adjudicate on the value of soldier settler lands, of course that would be an
Soldier Settlement Act
expensive and impossible procedure for the soldier to take. But my understanding is, and this was the explanation made a year ago with regard to it, that it is possible for the Exchequer court to name individual officers of the court in various parts of the country to act for them in adjudicating matters of this kind, and it was on that assurance from my hon. friends opposite that I was willing last year to accept 'the Exchequer court.