Mr. G. R. PEARKES (Nanaimo):
Mr. Speaker, I should like to indicate briefly my desire to support this resolution. I do so, first, because I am a returned man. These men who took up farms under the soldier settlement board were comrades of mine in the first great war and I feel that justice should be done to them. Therefore I should like to express my support of this resolution which I believe indicates the road to justice.
Second, I rise because I represent another part of the country. I come from Vancouver island, at the opposite end of the country to that from which the previous speaker comes. On that island there are a large number of veterans who settled under the soldier settlement scheme. I know for a fact that these men have had a trying and difficult time. They have honestly done their best to try to make ends meet.
Farming conditions on Vancouver island are not easy. There are no large farms. There are a few dairy farms, but mostly they are fruit, vegetable and poultry farms. These farms are encircled by the forest, and unless the farmer keeps hard at work, day in and day out, nature encroaches on the small clearing that he has made. You see the bracken and the fern growing up very thickly in the pasture. It is not an easy life.
I noticed that when the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) was speaking the other day he called attention to the fact that eggs were the only farm product which was not selling at parity according to the definition of parity as given that night. A great many of these returned men are in the poultry business and, as one can see from that statement, they must be having considerable difficulty as far as marketing their produce at reasonable prices is concerned.
I also endorse the statement that was made that a large number of these men left their farms at the beginning of this war, either for
motives of patriotism or because of dire necessity. Many of them felt that they would have a better opportunity of making a livelihood from the grants and pay they would receive for their services to their country. Whether it was from patriotism or because of necessity, they joined up in such organizations as the veterans guard of Canada and they did faithful duty in that corps in the way of guarding outlying forts and prisoners of war.
I think I am correct in saying that these men are not entitled to any consideration under the new Veterans' Land Act because they are considered to be too old and therefore not a good risk. As I understand this resolution, it would put that class of men on a parity with the veterans who will be discharged from this war and who may want to take up land under the Veterans' Land Act. I hope most sincerely that the house will give sympathetic consideration to the resolution.
At six o'clock the house took recess.
The house resumed at eight o'clock.
Subtopic: SOLDIER SETTLEMENT