I protest against the remarks of the last speaker. We discussed this -matter last year. This is a case where my hon. friend from Digby-Annapolis (Mr. Short) was very indignant because I suggested that he give up the graft which the Atlantic fishermen have been enjoying for the past twenty-six years. This money is voted by statute for the improvement of the deep sea fisheries. That is what the statute says and nothing else, but the money has been deliberately diverted from the purpose of encouraging deep sea fishing throughout Canada into a means of giving
I will not call it graft-but a little hand-out to a few fishermen on the Atlantic coast-$1.45 to one fisherman, 89 cents to another, and they call that encouraging deep sea fishing. The money is being entirely wasted from the point of view of the purpose for which it was granted, if it was granted for the encouragement of deep sea fishing. Secondly, the money is ibeoing deliberately diverted from the British Columbia coast, where we are just as much entitled to the bounty as the people on the Atlantic coast. My friends
from New Brunswick will no doubt get up and say, as they did last year, that it has always been so. That was the biggest argument that they could advance, but when did antiquity lend countenance to a wrong? If it has been a wrong, the sooner we stop it the better. The fact hat it has -been done for a number of years does not establish more than that beautiful thing called a precedent. They claim that this bounty was granted on account of some concession given to the Americans in return for which the Americans agreed to pay a sum of money, two or three million dollars, and this $160,000 is the interest on that sum. But that money was not ear-marked for the Atlantic fishermen. It was put into the treasury of the country, into the consolidated fund. * You can read the act under which t-his money is voted from beginning to end and backwards again and you will not find anything in it which says that the money is to be devoted entirely to the fishermen of one province. I suggest that we stop paying this bounty, a little dab here to this fisherman who goes out in a boat, and a little dab there to that fishermen. That does not encourage deep sea fishing. Is a man going to be encouraged to engage in deep sea fishing by giving him $1.35 a year? The thing is ridiculous. This money should be used for some advantageous purpose, such as the development of biological work. I could quote plenty of cases where it could be used to advantage on the British Columbia coast.
I would suggest that you give it all to the Pacific coast for the next few years to make up for the thirty years during which you have been swiping our share of it from British Columbia. I will not go into details, but there are lots of opportunities on the Pacific coast where money could be well spent in the development of the deep sea fisheries. I protest against this bounty for these two reasons: The money is being
utterly wasted, and secondly, British Columbia is as much entitled by law to receive a share of this money as the Atlantic fishermen. I do not want my friends to get up and talk about precedents. What the statute says is what counts. The statute must be read by itself, and it says that the money is for the purpose of encouraging the deep sea fisheries of Canada. If there were any other intentions, they do not appear in the statute.
Item agreed to.
Supply-Soldier Land Settlement
IMMIGRATION AND COLONIZATION
Amount required for soldier land settlement advances and cost of administration of soldier settlement, $1,445,000.
Amount required for general land settlement advances and cost of administration of general land settlement, $1,400,000.
minister the case of a returned soldier in my constituency. It is in connection with a barn built on the Ogilvie farm. Oglivie secured a full loan from the soldiers' settlement board for land and equipment. He ordered lumber to the value of over sixteen hundred dollars from a lumber firm in Edmonton, and engaged this returned soldier to build the barn. Ogilvie afterwards left the place. The lumber company lost the full amount of their account, not being able to place a lien on crown property. I am not fighting for payment of the claim of the lumber company. Like any business concern, they always set aside a certain amount for bad debts, and it was up to them to look after their own business. But the returned soldier is not in the best of circumstances. He was anxious to get the work in order to support his family, and when Ogilvie engaged him this returned soldier aoted in good faith and built a very excellent barn. All he charged was four hundred and eighty dollars. The legion have done their best to help this man, and every time I visit the district they take the case up with me. When I was there last they drove me out to view the barn. This man not only built the barn, but he overhauled the house as well. The board resold the farm to a British family settler. The purchase price of the land to Ogilvie was fifty-five hundred dollars, leaving out the stock and equipment, which are separate items. The board resold the farm for fifty-two hundred dollars, or at a loss of only three hundred dollars. The officers of the department have assured me that the barn added a thousand dollars to the resale value of the farm. In other .words, if the building had not been erected, the board could not have resold the farm within a thousand dollars of the price they received for it.
I have placed the case before the minister on several occasions, in fact it has been pending for several years. He is sympathetic, but he thinks he has no means of getting the money to pay this claim. I would ask him if there is not some way by which he can take care of the debt owing to this returned soldier.
Mr. Chairman, I admit this case involves considerable hardship to the carpenter concerned, but for the department to deal with it as my hon. friend wishes would
open up a pretty wide field. For the information of the house I might read the statement from the soldiers' settlement board:
This settler was established about 1920, receiving the full amount as allowed by statute to be advanced to soldier settlers: viz: $7,500. The following year he engaged to build a barn, obtaining the lumber on his own credit and hiring a man to build the barn. The soldier settlement board had nothing to do with the arrangement in building the barn. A year or two afterwards he loft the farm and it reverted to the board. No purchaser was found for it until it was set aside for settlement under the 3,000 British Family Settlement Scheme in 1926.
The carpenter who built the barn made a claim on the board for his work, about $480. The board, not being in any way responsible for this debt, have refused to pay same. When the farm was sold to the British family settler it showed a loss to the board of something like $1,700, not including any interest. If interest was included it would be over $4,000. The board has neither power nor authority to pay out any moneys on the private debts of delinquent settlers.
Now, to deal with this case as requested would establish a precedent for ten thousand soldier settlers to incur debits on their own responsibility, and their creditors would look to the board for payment. I admit the hardship in this individual case, but really I cannot see any other course open to the board than to repudiate the debts of soldier settlers incurred on their own responsibility after they have obtained full loans under the act. Unfortunately a principle is involved that we cannot ignore, otherwise we might stretch a point in this particular case.
The loss on the resale which is given in the statement read by the minister of course includes the original loan for stock and equipment. But the new settler who purchased the farm did not get any of that The land in the first place cost fifty-five hundred dollars, and it was sold for fifty-two hundred dollars; so the actual loss to the board was only three hundred dollars on the farm itself. I think any officer of the department who has seen the bam will frankly admit that if it had not been on the farm the board would not have realized within a thousand dollars of the price on the resale. In order to aid our soldier settlers in 1922, we wiped out approximately eleven million dollars of interest, and the last revaluation will probably involve something like fourteen million dollars. Now here is the case of a returned man who did not go on the land. He is trying to support himself and his family, and in good faith he goes and builds a barn on government property; he does certain work and is not paid for it. He is not asking for
Supply-Soldier Land Settlement
charity; he is simply asking for pay for services rendered. The government in this case have something they have not paid for, and I think it is . the duty of the minister to try to find some means of doing justice so fat as this man is concerned.
If this were a private matter the man could file a workman's lien and that would stand before any other debt.
I do not think it is quite fair, because the government occupies a peculiar position, that it should simply ignore a responsibility which any ordinary private individual would have to meet. If in private matters it is simple honesty that a workman's wages should take priority to any other claim, surely to goodness the government will not act less honestly.
I thoroughly sympathize with the carpenter in this case, which seems a hard one. We took the advice of the Department of Justice, but if there is any way whereby we can meet the situation I shall be glad to take the matter up again with a view to having the man paid.
East Calgary has pointed out, if this were private and not government property the man could file a lien and have his bill paid. Is the government going to take a different stand from the position which any ordinary individual would find himself in, and refuse to pay the man?
My hon. friend must bear in mind that we have to deal with a large number of soldier settlers, and if they could incur private liabilities and charge them to us we do not know what the government would be let in for. The principle is bad; the hon. member can readily see that. Of course, this carpenter has some recourse in relation to the individual who had the farm in the first place. However, I will look into the matter and see what can be done.
minister that in the first instance the officials of his department were lax in this matter. They allowed Ogilvie to get into the condition we see in this case and get away scot free, and therefore I say there was laxity on their part.
been out of his pay all these years. The man is trying to make a living and it is a real hardship on him. The people of that district are incensed over the affair. This man has been held up in connection with $480 worth of work and the whole thing has left a bad feeling in the district. I hope the minister will find some way of settling the question.