March 11, 1938

LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

I know that applied to lands which had been abandoned by soldier settlers and have not yet been resold by the board. Coming back to the crown they were for a time in the position that taxes could not be collected from the crown in the right of the dominion. I was not so sure that it applied in the case of the settler still on his land who got in arrears with his taxes.

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT
Subtopic:   INTEREST RATE ON REPAYMENTS OF TAXES AND INSURANCE PREMIUMS-ARREARS OR INSTALMENTS SUBJECT TO BONUS PRIVILEGES
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

The minister is quite right. For reasons which will be well understood it was not put in those clear

Soldier Settlement Act

terms, because that would have been, a direct incentive not to pay the taxes, and would make the crown the collecting agency, which is a task of great difficulty. But in practice the endeavour was to deal through the people on the ground, so that the school districts and the municipalities would not be ruined through being unable to collect the money. The minister realizes how difficult it has been to deal with some, especially in the west.

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT
Subtopic:   INTEREST RATE ON REPAYMENTS OF TAXES AND INSURANCE PREMIUMS-ARREARS OR INSTALMENTS SUBJECT TO BONUS PRIVILEGES
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CCF

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. DOUGLAS (Weyburn):

Has the minister considered the possibility of including under this section provision for the cancellation of interest payments in districts where there has been no crop? In the drought area mortgage and loan companies have cancelled interest; in some cases they have made very substantial reductions in principal as well, yet farmers under the soldier settlement scheme have not had the advantage of that. I have in mind now the case of a man in the Candiac district, under the soldier settlement plan, who also has a loan under the farm loan board. During the bad years he has been able to pay his taxes and make his living with a minimum amount of relief. As the result of these bad years, however, there has been an accumulation of interest, until now, having made his payments ever since the war, he actually owes more on the farm than he engaged to pay in the first place. It seems strange that men who are on farms under a government scheme should not at least be able to get the same type of reduction that other farmers are getting from private mortgage and loan companies. Last year, for instance, there was no crop, and the 1937 interest is being added to his debt, as well as the principal payment that was not made. If we are to pass legislation to guarantee the payment of taxes it might be worth while keeping in mind the possibility of cutting off the interest payments in the years when there is no crop. I wonder if the minister could give consideration to that point, either under this legislation or under some subsequent legislation that will be brought in.

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT
Subtopic:   INTEREST RATE ON REPAYMENTS OF TAXES AND INSURANCE PREMIUMS-ARREARS OR INSTALMENTS SUBJECT TO BONUS PRIVILEGES
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LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

Consideration has been given to the matter just referred to by the hon. member for Weyburn. The difficulty, of course, in a government scheme of this kind is to pick out particular districts or areas and confer upon them certain advantages or privileges, if you like, by way of interest remission. If we attempted that, for instance in the particular district represented by my hon. friend, I think I am safe in saying that immediately we would be faced with requests from other districts and other parts of Canada until it would come to the point where it would have to have general application. The dollar for dollar bonus-

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT
Subtopic:   INTEREST RATE ON REPAYMENTS OF TAXES AND INSURANCE PREMIUMS-ARREARS OR INSTALMENTS SUBJECT TO BONUS PRIVILEGES
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IND

Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. NEILL:

Are we discussing that?

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT
Subtopic:   INTEREST RATE ON REPAYMENTS OF TAXES AND INSURANCE PREMIUMS-ARREARS OR INSTALMENTS SUBJECT TO BONUS PRIVILEGES
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LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

No, we are not, but I want to point it out as an illustration, in reply to the hon. member for Weyburn. The privilege given under the dollar for dollar bonus was one that applied right across Canada. Everything that has been done in the way of easing the situation of the soldier settlers has required general application, and I think if my hon. friend from AVeyburn will reflect for a moment he will see the reason for that. The soldier settlers in the dried out areas in Saskatchewan have suffered very severely, of course. They have not been able to take advantage of the provisions with respect to the dollar for dollar bonus privilege. This legislation will give them an opportunity to do that for the next three years at any rate.

There is one piece of machinery of general application that has been set up by the federal government. I refer to the Farmers' Creditors Arrangement Act. If a soldier settler in Saskatchewan wants to get an adjustment of his obligations or wants to have his situation eased he can apply under the Farmers' Creditors Arrangement Act and no objection will be raised by the soldier settler administration. Indeed I think I am safe in saying that the soldier settlers are encouraged, when their circumstances warrant it, to seek an adjustment under the Farmers' Creditors Arrangement Act, because, as I have said, that is an act which is general in its application. The same thing will apply to the soldier settler in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, British Columbia or any other part of the dominion. If we should depart from that principle and attempt to have legislation conferring benefits upon a part of Saskatchewan or a part of New Brunswick I am afraid we would be getting into a great deal of trouble. I can assure the committee that the whole object of the administration is to administer this legislation sympathetically. We believe there is still a very considerable asset here.

There is another fact that I might mention, if I could have the indulgence of the committee for a moment. Out of the total number of those who belonged to the expeditionary force only about two per cent come under the category of soldier settlers. We have many returned soldiers who are farming and who are not under this scheme at all. For one reason or another they did not care to come under this scheme but established themselves on farms. Again, we have a great many returned soldiers who have purchased homes for themselves or established themselves in small businesses, all without government aid. I do not think any effective criticism can be made of this or any previous

Soldier Settlement Act

government, from the time this soldier settlement scheme was inaugurated down to the present time, on the ground that the soldier settlers have been in any way harshly dealt with. I think the general consensus, not only in the public mind but also in the minds of a great many returned men themselves, is that the treatment they have received under this scheme since its inception on the whole has been quite fair.

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT
Subtopic:   INTEREST RATE ON REPAYMENTS OF TAXES AND INSURANCE PREMIUMS-ARREARS OR INSTALMENTS SUBJECT TO BONUS PRIVILEGES
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CCF

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. DOUGLAS (Weybum):

I quite appreciate the minister's point with reference to the desire not to discriminate as between one part of the dominion and another, but it is a fact that in the drought area you have a part of Canada that has been subjected to unusual recurring conditions, and there has been discrimination in favour of all the people in that area by private lending institutions. In view of that fact it would seem that the government would not be exceeding its prerogative in bringing its policy into line to some extent. It might be done by having the interest payment cancelled or in any case reduced in years when the average crop per acre did not come above a certain amount, or under some general principle that would apply in any part of Canada, so that a soldier settler who had not produced a crop that would enable him to meet his obligations would not have the interest piling up.

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT
Subtopic:   INTEREST RATE ON REPAYMENTS OF TAXES AND INSURANCE PREMIUMS-ARREARS OR INSTALMENTS SUBJECT TO BONUS PRIVILEGES
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LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

May I ask my hon.

friend who would be the judge as to whether he had produced a sufficient crop to meet his obligations?

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT
Subtopic:   INTEREST RATE ON REPAYMENTS OF TAXES AND INSURANCE PREMIUMS-ARREARS OR INSTALMENTS SUBJECT TO BONUS PRIVILEGES
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CCF

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. DOUGLAS (Weybum):

That is a matter of administration under the act. It would not be very difficult-

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT
Subtopic:   INTEREST RATE ON REPAYMENTS OF TAXES AND INSURANCE PREMIUMS-ARREARS OR INSTALMENTS SUBJECT TO BONUS PRIVILEGES
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?

Mr CRERAR:

I think it would be very

difficult.

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT
Subtopic:   INTEREST RATE ON REPAYMENTS OF TAXES AND INSURANCE PREMIUMS-ARREARS OR INSTALMENTS SUBJECT TO BONUS PRIVILEGES
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CCF

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. DOUGLAS (Weyburn):

I do not think it would be difficult to find out how much a man was selling through an elevator. At present the municipalities are checking up very closely, and it would not be very difficult for the government to keep in touch in order to find out what crop a man was actually selling. I do see the minister's point, however, with reference to the Farmers' Creditors Arrangement Act. Although the minister may not have the exact figure, could he give approximately the amount of interest and principal that has been thrown off under the Farmers' Creditors Arrangement Act in favour of soldiers who have come to or applied for protection under the boards of review of the different provinces.

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT
Subtopic:   INTEREST RATE ON REPAYMENTS OF TAXES AND INSURANCE PREMIUMS-ARREARS OR INSTALMENTS SUBJECT TO BONUS PRIVILEGES
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LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

I believe I gave that information the other day when the bill was in committee. However, I shall look it up.

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT
Subtopic:   INTEREST RATE ON REPAYMENTS OF TAXES AND INSURANCE PREMIUMS-ARREARS OR INSTALMENTS SUBJECT TO BONUS PRIVILEGES
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SC

Charles Edward Johnston

Social Credit

Mr. JOHNSTON (Bow River):

With respect to the suggestion of the hon. member for Weyburn, I would like to urge that particular consideration be given to the drought areas. I have in mind particularly the area in my own constituency. These people would appreciate it if some of the arrears in interest could be reduced. It is not a case of discrimination, as has been suggested. It is recognized throughout Canada that the people in the drought areas are up against a situation which never existed before.

I do not see why other parts of Canada should believe that there has been discrimination. It is a case of necessity. Already the dominion government has offered assistance, and this is one way in which it can assist, without a direct expenditure. The machinery is already set up, and it would be great encouragement for the returned soldiers in the dried-out areas -I am not so much concerned about the outside areas-if something were done. I am referring to the area already set aside by the dominion as one in which the people are not in a position to take care of themselves. It would -be in the interests of all concerned and to the advantage of Canada to take into consideration some sort of remission or reduction in arrears of interest.

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT
Subtopic:   INTEREST RATE ON REPAYMENTS OF TAXES AND INSURANCE PREMIUMS-ARREARS OR INSTALMENTS SUBJECT TO BONUS PRIVILEGES
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LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

I have the information sought by the hon. member for Weybum. The advantage accruing up to date under the Farmers' Creditors Arrangement Act is about $1,400,000. This is practically all in the western provinces.

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT
Subtopic:   INTEREST RATE ON REPAYMENTS OF TAXES AND INSURANCE PREMIUMS-ARREARS OR INSTALMENTS SUBJECT TO BONUS PRIVILEGES
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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. COLDWELL:

I asked the ministe the other day if, having taken advantage of the Farmers' Creditors Arrangement Act, the soldier would be debarred from obtaining any further remission from this parliament. The point I had in mind was this. The Farmers' Creditors Arrangement Act provides for a bankruptcy proceeding. Once having gone into bankruptcy and having been declared insolvent and a computation and settlement made with the creditors, is it possible that a soldier or other settler would be entitled to take advantage of subsequent legislation by this parliament? That was the point in which I was interested the other day.

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT
Subtopic:   INTEREST RATE ON REPAYMENTS OF TAXES AND INSURANCE PREMIUMS-ARREARS OR INSTALMENTS SUBJECT TO BONUS PRIVILEGES
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LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

I do not see why not. If a soldier settler applies under the Farmers' Creditors Arrangement Act I should think he would come under the benefits of this legislation.

Soldier Settlement Act

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT
Subtopic:   INTEREST RATE ON REPAYMENTS OF TAXES AND INSURANCE PREMIUMS-ARREARS OR INSTALMENTS SUBJECT TO BONUS PRIVILEGES
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

In the absence of any restriction he would, certainly.

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT
Subtopic:   INTEREST RATE ON REPAYMENTS OF TAXES AND INSURANCE PREMIUMS-ARREARS OR INSTALMENTS SUBJECT TO BONUS PRIVILEGES
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LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

And there is no restriction.

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT
Subtopic:   INTEREST RATE ON REPAYMENTS OF TAXES AND INSURANCE PREMIUMS-ARREARS OR INSTALMENTS SUBJECT TO BONUS PRIVILEGES
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Quite.

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT
Subtopic:   INTEREST RATE ON REPAYMENTS OF TAXES AND INSURANCE PREMIUMS-ARREARS OR INSTALMENTS SUBJECT TO BONUS PRIVILEGES
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LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

Consequently he would still be a beneficiary under this legislation.

Topic:   SOLDIER SETTLEMENT
Subtopic:   INTEREST RATE ON REPAYMENTS OF TAXES AND INSURANCE PREMIUMS-ARREARS OR INSTALMENTS SUBJECT TO BONUS PRIVILEGES
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March 11, 1938