May 26, 1925 (14th Parliament, 4th Session)


James Alexander Robb (Minister of Immigration and Colonization)



I shall come to that in a moment. In considering this matter I think it is well for us to be fair to the country generally, to the tax-payers who are advancing the money, as well as to the thousands of soldiers who came back and entered upon their work as citizens without receiving any advances from the government. I submit that of all the countries that were in the war not one has dealt more generously with its soldiers than Canada has done. Both the government of Canada and1 the people were unanimous in extending generous treatment to the returned men, and I want to put on record for the information of the House just what this country has done in the matter of soldier settlement, leaving aside altogether the gratuities that were given to the men when they returned. I am dealing now particularly with the scheme of settling soldiers on the land. In the first place, no interest on stock and equipment purchased was charged for two years, and this consideration represented a saving to the soldiers who settled on the land of approximately $1,500,000. There was also pay and allowance to the soldiers while in training, and to their dependents, amounting to $224,418.04. By the 1922 amendment to the Soldier Settlement Act, those soldiers who had been established up to 1921 were granted interest exemptions amounting, it is estimated, to $10,269,108.87. Adding all these concessions together we find that the total contribution to the returned soldiers in this direction was $11,993,526.91. But there was another contribution to the soldier settlers who took advantage of the government plan of the day and went on the land; I refer to the matter of low interest. They were charged interest on their advances at five
per cent, while at that time, as every hon. member knows, money was worth considerably more; many of their civilian neighbours were paying from 6i to 8 per cent. I have here a record of the losses on reverted lands. In 1,571 cases where land, equipment and stock have been completely resold, the deficit on stock and equipment amounted to $779,660. Then we paid taxes, insurance and sundry charges to an additional amount of $431,646. That made a total loss to the department of $1,211,306.

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