July 26, 1917

CON

John Allister Currie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CURRIE:

Is it a fact that in some of the western provinces the widow of a soldier who dies without making a will does not inherit the property of her husband?

Mr. MeCRANEY: I do not know of any case of that kind. In any event the law of the province governs the way in which the property shall be dealt with.

Topic:   THE DOMINION LANDS ACT AMENDMENT.
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CON

John Allister Currie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CURRIE:

Is it not true that the

Allberta law still holds against the widow? In other words, the children may inherit, but the widow cannot.

Mr. MeCRANEY: As I understand it,

the widow is entitled to one-third, and the children two-thirds of the property.

Topic:   THE DOMINION LANDS ACT AMENDMENT.
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CON

John Allister Currie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CURRIE:

Six or seven years ago,

one of my friends told me the first thing he did when he got married was to make

his will in order that his wife might inherit hie property in Alberta, because without a will the law of Alberta did not permit of the wife inheriting from him.

Topic:   THE DOMINION LANDS ACT AMENDMENT.
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LIB

George Ewan McCraney

Liberal

Mr. McCRANEY:

I think my hon. friend is in error. Probably he has in mind the fact that in Saskatchewan and .Alberta, until recently, it was within the power of the husband to make a will cutting his wife out of any interest in the estate. This has been changed, I believe, in both provinces.

Topic:   THE DOMINION LANDS ACT AMENDMENT.
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LIB

James McCrie Douglas

Liberal

Mr. DOUGLAS:

I am under the impression that under the laws of Alberta if a man dies without a will the wife is entitled to one-third of the estate. I should think the minister would be well advised if in the case of a soldier killed on active service a patent was immediately issued to his wife, because the pension will be probaibly her only means of support, and that is only a matter of about -3384 a year, if she gets the full amount. If she had not the land she would be left in a very precarious position. I think the country would not suffer in any way if a patent were issued immediately under such circumstances.

Topic:   THE DOMINION LANDS ACT AMENDMENT.
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CON

Frederick Laurence Schaffner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SCHAFFNER:

Why should it not

be so in every case, whether it refers to the widow of a soldier or not?

Topic:   THE DOMINION LANDS ACT AMENDMENT.
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LIB

Frank Oliver

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER:

This is a special provision in regard to soldier's homesteads, and it differs from the action to be taken in regard to the ordinary homesteader, because the patent is issued without further duties or further responsibility, the idea being to close up the transaction at once in favour of the widow.' I think the idea of the hon. member from Strathcona is a very good one, and I would urge that in the special case provided for by this section the patent should be issued to the widow, and that it should not be a matter of letters of administration at all. If she is the widow of a soldier who was a homestead entrant in good standing, the patent should issue to her immediately without any question except as to proof of identity. There is no legal reason why this should not be done. The granting of the homestead is an act of grace on the part of the Government, which has a perfect right so far as authority is concerned, to give the homestead to the widow. Having this right,

I maintain it would be a just and proper thing to do, instead of leaving the widow subject to whatever may be the laws of the different provinces in regard to her heirship of her husband's property. It is but

TMr. Currie.l

fair and just that she should be given the homestead patent, and I think that would be appreciated by our soldiers and their dependents.

Topic:   THE DOMINION LANDS ACT AMENDMENT.
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LIB

Levi Thomson

Liberal

Mr. LEVI THOMSON:

The suggestion made by the hon. member for Souris (Mr. Schaffner) is a sensible one. I do not see why we should make a distinction between the widow of a returned soldier and the widow of any other man, and I do not see any reason why the minister should change his plan. I have every consideration for the .widow, but I have also some consideration for the orphans, and to my mind there is no reason why the orphans should be cut out entirely. I do not know that a soldier's widow is any better than any other man's widow, and I do not know that you are any more positive she will not abuse her rights, if you give her any special rights, than you are that any other man's widow will not. The only safe way is to leave the property to be dealt with according to the laws of the province in which it is situated. It is true there is'sojne difference in the laws of the provinces. For instance, in the province of Saskatchewan, if a man dies leaving a widow and no children, the widow gets the whole of the property, if there is no will. I understand this is not the case in some of the other provinces.

Topic:   THE DOMINION LANDS ACT AMENDMENT.
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CON

Frederick Laurence Schaffner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SCHAFFNER:

It is the same in Manitoba.

Topic:   THE DOMINION LANDS ACT AMENDMENT.
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LIB

Levi Thomson

Liberal

Mr. LEVI THOMSON:

I think the legislatures of the different provinces are thoroughly cognizant with all the phases of the matter, and will deal with it properly. I am willing to grant all the concessions you possibly can to the soldier, but there is no reason why you should make a difference between a soldier's widow and any other widow.

Topic:   THE DOMINION LANDS ACT AMENDMENT.
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LIB

William Roche

Liberal

Mr. ROCHE:

The practice has been to

issue patent to the administrator when am ordinary homesteader died. The reason we have asked the change is because of the requests which have come in from the estates of some of the deceased soldiers, desiring to expedite the issue of patents. We thought there would be less delay in getting matters wound up if we did not wait for the issue of patents until the letters of administration had been secured from the local courts. The patent is issued in the name of the deceased homesteader, and after the administration papers are gotten out the local courts qf the province take the matter up.

Topic:   THE DOMINION LANDS ACT AMENDMENT.
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LIB

Levi Thomson

Liberal

Mr. LEVI THOMSON:

Is there a distinction between the widows and orphans of returned soldiers and other widows and . orphans?

Topic:   THE DOMINION LANDS ACT AMENDMENT.
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CON

John Allister Currie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CURRIE:

My hon. friend is making a mistake in referring to the widows and orphans of returned soldiers. There is no discussion except as to the widows of soldiers # who are killed at the front. There is a great deal of force in what has been urged by the hon. member from1 Strathcona (Mr. Douglas), 'SO that title should issue direct to the widow. Take the case of a widow whose husband has had a farm, and the settlement duties are not completed; she has to get letters of administration before she can obtain title to that property, or before she can have it arranged so that she and the children may acquire the property. In order to get letters of administration somebody must go security for her, or she must go to a trust company and pay a large sum of money out of her estate to get them to put up the necessary security. Of course this is very fine, and makes a lot of work for lawyers-and I like to see them get as much work as possible, because some of them need it-but the property should go to the widow of the soldier without any charge whatever; then she will have an immediate security on which she can raise funds to educate her children.

The wives of deceased soldiers are entitled to every consideration. There will not be very many cases that will come under this law because every soldier at the front carries his will in his passbook and if his body is found the will will also be found. Arrangements are made for copies of these wills being sent to an officer at headquarters. There are very few cases in which soldiers do not make their wills, but in case there is no will in the passbook, or if no passbook is available, I think it would be only proper that the state should give the property direct to the widow and avoid having the widow chasing around to get a lawyer or paying a trust company five per cent to look after the estate. I quite appreciate the remarks of the hon. member for Strathcona (Mr. Douglas). I believe that the wives of soldiers who are at home would very much appreciate it if a concession were made in that regard. I do not think anybody would be hurt by such a change in the law.

Mr. LEVI THOMSON. In case, there are children, they would be cut off entirely.

Topic:   THE DOMINION LANDS ACT AMENDMENT.
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CON

John Allister Currie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CURRIE:

They could homestead

when they grew up..

Topic:   THE DOMINION LANDS ACT AMENDMENT.
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LIB

Levi Thomson

Liberal

Mr. LEVI THOMSON:

Supposing there were young children they would be cut off. The widow might marry and the children would get nothing.

Topic:   THE DOMINION LANDS ACT AMENDMENT.
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CON

John Allister Currie

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CURRIE:

My hon. friend is accustomed to police court cases where mothers abandon their children, but the mothers of Canada and the wives of soldiers ark not built that way. They will attend to their children.

Topic:   THE DOMINION LANDS ACT AMENDMENT.
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LIB

James McCrie Douglas

Liberal

Mr. DOUGLAS:

A case I have in mind is one of a mother with two or three small children. The husband was killed at the front He had a homestead. I wrote to the department to know what disposition would be made of the land and they said that the homestead would go to the heirs of the husband on letters of administration or of probate being taken out. This woman was depending on the farm for her livelihood. Her husband was cut off without any notice and there was no accumulation of savings. The cases of a civilian's wife and soldier's wife are not parallel. I think my hon. friend from Qu'Appelle has not fully considered the matter when he says that soldiers and civilians' wives should be treated the same way in connection with a patent for a homestead. This man to whom I have referred went out to do what he considered his duty to the country. It is to be supposed that if he had remained at home he would not have been killed. The widow is left with two or three small children and under the letters of administration she has to retain that land until these children become of legal age. In the meantime it is a source of expense instead of revenue, whereas, if the patent were issued to heTself, she could dispose of the land and use the proceeds for the education of hear children and the maintenance of hex-self until her children were able to take care of hex. As the hon. member for North Simeoe (Mr. Currie) says, the cases will be very few and everything should be done to assist the dependents of those who have given their lives for the cause of the country.

Topic:   THE DOMINION LANDS ACT AMENDMENT.
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LIB

William Roche

Liberal

Mr. ROCHE:

This amendment wtas introduced at the request of some of the estates of deceased soldiers. There .are two alternatives-continuing the usual practice of issuing patents to persons who have taken out letters of administration or issuing them as proposed in this legislation in the name of the deceased homesteader leaving the disposition of the estate to be provided for under provincial law. I am afraid that if we were to issue a patent in the

name of the wife a grave injustice might be done to 'the children. Such a proceeding would practically confer on the department the 'functions of a court and might land us in difficulties. We have two alternatives- we may stick to the present practice of issuing the patent in, the name of the party who has taken out letters of administration or issue it in 'the name of a deceased homesteader, sending out the patent, and leaving the letters of administration to be dealt with subject to provincial jurisdiction.

Topic:   THE DOMINION LANDS ACT AMENDMENT.
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?

Hon. M@

I see there is a difference between the estate of an ordinary homesteader and that of a deceased .soldier where the duties not only of residence but of cultivation are remitted. From the departmental standpoint it would result in cleaning up the books of the department if the patents were issued directly in the name of the deceased soldier but when, it went into the registry office it would have to be dealt with under letters of administration.

Topic:   THE DOMINION LANDS ACT AMENDMENT.
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LIB

July 26, 1917