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

L LIB

Andrew Ross McMaster

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McMASTER:

Might I point out that by adding the word " flooded " there, you make it possible of interpretation that the land must always be flooded? I would suggest it would be better to say " or subject to floods from time to time ". I believe that is the meaning of the amendment. I do not apprehend that, in order to have the benefits of this proviso, the land must always be flooded. I would imagine it would be subject to floods from time to time so that it could not be cultivated as fully as if it were not subject to floods.
-Sir SAM HUGHES: I think the point is very well taken. In the Northwest there are tens of thousands of acres of good land that are flooded at times. Such land could be made arable by drainage. Rocky land could not be made good by any process known to farmers. In my opinion the word

"flooded" should not he inserted at all. I can point out to the Minister of the Interior tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of acres of such land in the Northwest of Canada that in time will be the best land in the country, and all it wants is a little drainage. Although that land is flooded to-day, it should not be exempted.
Mr. MEIiGHEN: The section as it has
been amended at the suggestion of the hon. member for Kindersley (Mr. Myers) is the best possible for the following reason. It is not intended to exempt land that ie only subject to flooding, that may be all right one year and perhaps flooded another year, .because the homestead duties can be performed the second or third year. If you make it simply "subject to floods," then the door is opened too wide, because there is a great proportion of land, as the hon. member for Victoria (Sir Sam Hughes) has said, that is subject to floods. But- take the case of land say adjoining lake Manitoba, which is near my own home. A man may homestead a quaTter-section there, and there may be only .a fraction of that quarter-section that is really capable of cultivation. Why? Because the rest is flooded :by the lake. It is not only subject to the floods, it is flooded land, and it is only right and proper that in a case of that kind his duties should be proportionately reduced. ,It has been the practice of the department so to reduce them. To put the word " flooded ", as suggested by the hon. member, covers a case of that sort. If you use the words "subject to floods," the door is opened too wide, and it would enable a reduction to be made, because merely in a certain year the land was covered by water, and in such a case the duties might be capable of being performed the next year.

Topic:   DOMINION LANDS ACT AMENDMENT.
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