I should like to support
the bill, but before doing so may I point out, as other hon. members have done, that although the measure represents a step in the right direction it does not begin to meet the needs of soldier settlers. Last fall when I interviewed the superintendent of the soldier settlement board in Calgary he said he was puzzled because he had not received applications from my constituency. I pointed out to him that the reason was obvious, namely that in the majority of cases the soldier settlers in the south-eastern part of Acadia were in such a hopeless position that they would be unable to repay their indebtedness to the board even if extensions were made indefinitely.
About the time the war ended the soldier settlement board was put into operation and field supervisors were appointed for the purpose of advising and reestablishing returned soldiers. At that time the dominion government had information from their engineers to the effect that the drought areas were unsuitable for settlers. In spite of that fact, however, the supervisors helped a number of soldiers to reestablish themselves in the drought areas, and for that reason the government incurred a direct liability. Although the land had already been condemned as unsuitable, many returned soldiers were established in these areas, and to-day they find themselves in a hopeless position. They have lost what little capital they had and are totally unable to repay their indebtedness. Surely it is the responsibility of the government to reestablish those men in areas in which they might have a chance to succeed. I would urge upon the minister that he make a thorough investigation into the whole problem with a view to a reduction of interest, a revaluation of land, and an extension for at least five years of the dollar for dollar bonus. After five years of depression and low prices the returned men even in the better districts are finding themselves in a precarious position.
Topic: SOLDIER SETTLEMENT ACT
Subtopic: EXTENSION OP TIME FOR PAYMENTS OF ARREARS OR INSTALMENTS SUBJECT TO BONUS PRIVILEGES