April 2, 1918 (13th Parliament, 1st Session)


Arthur Meighen (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)



There are cases, n-o
doubt, of inequality under this law. As I stated before, I was impressed with the need for a change when the question was first addressed to me. At that time I was not minister of this department. I took the matter up with the officials and the minister of the department, and I was persuaded that the line was drawn in the best possible way. I do not know of any rule that could be adopted that would better determine the bona fides of an entrant, or better determine his right to be considered a homesteader that the fact that he entered his land, paid his entrance fee, and committed himself to his homestead quarter section. Some better rule might be discovered, and if the hon. gentleman would

think the matter out, and make a specific suggestion, I would be very glad to consider it. But we must remember that up to this point, in the administration! of the department, entrants who made their entry, and then enlisted, got the benefit of this provision. You have to bear in mind that, up to the present time, they got the benefit of this provision. What the hon. gentleman from Saskatchewan suggested was not that you should go back, but taking the case of the man actually residing on the land, that you should not only give him the right, but extend the right to others who had not resided on the land. I was combatting that suggestion. If my hon. friend would-suggest a specific rule as to a fairer test to apply to decide whether the homesteader should get the right to count his enlistment time as homestead time. I would be very glad to consider it.

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