Mr. D. C. FRASER (Guysborough).
I beg leave to support this Bill with all my heart. I believe, as the hon. member for North Norfolk has said, that the land of this country belongs to the country for the people who till it ; and if that fundamental principle is kept in view, our country will increase as it never has done before. I will go further than the hon. member. Not only would I prohibit the giving of any land to large corporations, and give it only to those who would become bona fide settlers upon it, but I would to-morrow find some means of estimating the value every acre of land that belongs to the Canadian Pacific and every other corporation, and I would pay them what they are entitled to for their land, and throw it open to actual settlers. We never can succeed in a country like the North-west except by the settlers settling down as near one another as possible, and under the most favourable conditions. Indeed, there are those who think that it might perhaps be a good investment for the government to make it still easier for the settlers by building small houses for them, and in the meantime holding the land as security. I will not go that far, for I think that any man who gets 160 acres of land in that country under the conditions now prevailing will have no difficulty, if he is a diligent and careful man, in making a better living there than he could in the older provinces. But 1 would not hamper him at all. I would give him the opportunity of getting the land. I would open every district in the country, making it as free as it was before we obtained possession of it, to every good man who wanted to go in and settle there. That country will never become as great as it was destined to be until these restrictions are removed. It is right in principle, and what is right in principle will always work out in practice. This is not the first time that I have declared in this House most emphatically, and I will continue to declare, that any government of this country would do a wise thing for the country if they could again obtain possession of the lands which we have given to various corporations, and throw them open to the people. The effect of this Bill will be that the land will only be given to bona fide settlers. That will have a double effect. In the first place, settlers knowing that they can get land there, and that it will not be tied up, will be more ready to go into that country ; and in the next place,
the alternate sections not being held by the corporations, the settlers will come nearer to one another. Their roads, their school-houses, and all their material interests, are bound up in this question. I support this Bill, and trust that it will receive the sanction of this parliament.
Topic: DOMINION LANDS ACT AMENDMENT.