June 5, 1908 (10th Parliament, 4th Session)


William James Roche

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. W. J. ROCHE (Marquette).

The Minister of the Interior referred to certain difficulties incident to allowing applications for land where the land has not been
jmSTE 5, 1908
thrown open. But he must admit that under the present system there is a great deal of room for collusion between the land agent and friends of his, or between the homestead inspector, who knows when the lands will be thrown open and who could easily give the tip to some of his own friends. This could be done, and I think is done at the present time. The present system, to be Impartial, should be accompanied by the greatest publicity. Every facility should be afforded the public of knowing the exact date when the lands will be thrown open. Numerous complaints have come to me with reference to this practice. About a week ago, a letter was sent from Edran's post office, Manitoba, to Mr. W. W. Cory, Deputy Minister of the Interior. it is as follows:
Dr. Roche, M.P., has kindly sent to me your letter to him

I had some communication with the department on behalf of this correspondent.
-re my application for northeast quarter-section 31, township 12, range 13, dated April 28, 1908. Now in the latter part of your letter to him you say that ' there does not appear to be any ground for complaint from Mr. Seaman insofar as the land in question is concerned.' Now I entirely dissent from this statement. What are the facts? Some three or four years ago I, with a number of others, applied for northeast quarter section 31, township 12, range 13. We were informed that the land was not open for homestead entry, but as soon as it was, we would be notified. Now the former policy of your department was that applicants were given a chance to enter according to priority of their application. About a year ago I received a letter on a Friday evening from the land agent that the land was opened for entry, and if I desired to enter I was to apply. The following morning at 10.30 I phoned to the Brandon agent and asked to be permitted to make entry by agent living there, as was formerly the practice, but was surprised to be told by him that Mr. Leslie Sanderson had already entered for this land. Now, Mr. Sanderson had never applied for this land before, and he got private information that it was open for entry before my letter arrived. Now I am aware of the fact that this homestead was given for political services rendered. This land was promised to another man during the last Dominion election, and subsequently he was requested to give up his claim to the fulfilment of the promise, with the promise of a better homestead in another district. He gave up his claim and got another homestead in another place ahead of 17 applicants who had previously applied, whereas he had not previously applied. They were all notified by letter to appear at the land office to enter, but the chosen individual got private information over the telephone, and the individual who dickered in these homesteads was a Liberal member of parliament who boasted that he had the saying of who should get the homesteads. Now I am an Englishman by birth, and I have too much fight in me to tamely submit to this injustice without protest, and
for every vote that the favoured individual got, I will get a dozen for the opposition side. This gross political partiality shall cut two ways. Had one of those got the homestead that had made prior application to myself, it would have been right and proper, and I would not have said a word. But the changing of the regulations so that the first person appearing at the land office with his $10 gets the entry, permits private information to be given to favoured individuals, and is an exactly similar case to those Burrows timber deals that we hear so much about. I had hopes of better and fairer play from Hon. Mr. Oliver's administration, but am disappointed. Will you please show Hon. Mr. Oliver this letter, and by so doing you will oblige,
Tours truly, ,

Topic:   SUPPLY.
Subtopic:   190S
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