That has given me a great deal of concern. There is no doubt those men bought land at prices very much higher than they are to-day, and having regard to the setback in connection with the crop failures, it is obvious that many of them are not only unable to pay their instalments, but are having great difficulty in holding their farms. I do not propose to see any of those men have their contracts rescinded. The whole situation in respect to those settlers is under consideration, and I hope some equitable adjustment may be arrived at, although it is going to be very difficult because so many other people are in the same position with the mortgage and trust companies.
of $657,000, with an increase on the other side of the ledger of $302,000 leaving a general decrease of $355,000. That is purely a change of bookkeeping. Farms which were administered formerly under the general land settlement vote now will be administered under the soldier land settlement vote, which shows an apparent increase of $302,000 for that reason. On the other hand, the administration of general land settlement is decreased by $657,000, showing a net decrease of $355,000 for the year.
would depend upon the year in which it was sold. I think it would be a fair statement to say that to-day valuations are considerably decreased from the original price; there will be a loss in almost every case.
that it is right and proper that the land should be sold to-day at its actual value, but that puts us in this position: What about
the empire settlers who are on the land; can you justly refuse them a revaluation? You cannot put yourself in the position of forcing off these men and then selling the land to someone else at a much lower price. If you are willing to take your loss, as you must, and sell to the newcomer at 50 per cent less than the other man paid, why not do justice and keep the empire settler on the land and give him a rebate?
I think something will have to be done with regard to the British empire settlers. As I understand it, most of these men were settled on abandoned soldier settlement land without a reduction. The soldier settlers proper were granted a reduction of 30 per cent last year, and some of these people coming out at the present time are being placed on these lands at their present value. Under present conditions it is hopeless to expect these empire settlers to pay for their lands at the prices for which they were sold a few years ago, and in order to keep them on the land some revaluation will have to be made. I trust that the minister will give this matter his very serious consideration. I have had a number of representations made to me by these men, and I promised to bring the matter to the attention of the minister. Then there is another point with regard to which I should like to ask a question. I refer to what is known as the tripartite agreement.
Here is the situation; A soldier settler takes over land from another soldier settler; that transfer is endorsed by the board, but since the second man was not originally a bona-fide soldier settler, to-day he does not get that 30 per cent reduction. I have in mind the case of a soldier settler who was settled in 1921 by the board. Later on, because of ill health, he was advised to give up farming, so he sold his farm to another soldier settler. After being away for a couple of years he
came back again and repurchased the land. Now he is refused the 30 per cent reduction, whereas had he remained on the land continually he would have been entitled to it.
cases such as the hon. member has described. There is an apparent hardship, and I have the matter under consideration to see if some method cannot be evolved which will overcome that hardship. Fortunately there are not many of those cases.
Mr. Chairman, both when the revaluation was permitted and the 30 per cent reduction was granted it was in the mind of the committee that those genuine eases of tripartite agreements were covered by the act. That was the intention of the committee, but it turns out that according to the phraseology of the act they are not covered.
Then I should like to say just one word in support of what has been said already as to the position of empire settlers and other civilian purchasers of soldier settlement lands. I am not going to bring forward any individual cases, because I think that is more or less a waste of time since they cannot be considered at a time like this. But I have a case in mind which is typical of a great many cases. It is the case of a man who moved from the dry area of southern Alberta into my riding in central Alberta, and who purchased an abandoned farm through the board. Up to about 1930 he did keep up his payments, but of course he is utterly unable to do so this year. I appreciate, and most of the settlers are begininng to appreciate, the fact that the minister has no intention of either putting them off the land or permitting them to be forced off at the present time. Naturally however, their debt is accumulating, the arrears becoming quite a burden; and while they are confident that the minister intends to safeguard them at the moment, they are looking to the future without much hope. The suggestion made by a number of them was that during this year, at least at a time when they do not expect payments to be made on a number of these farms, current interest be cancelled so that their arrears may not increase to a hopeless point. I realize that the minister has just taken charge of his department and is now reorganizing it, but I have no doubt he has the whole
situation in mind. As regards these empire settlers; the soldiers who became settlers, not having been originally soldier settlers; and those civilians who purchased land abandoned by soldiers, none of whom have received the benefit of the reduction, I hope their cases will all be taken into the minister's careful consideration at his leisure, when he is relieved of his responsibilities in connection with the Beauharnois committee. I should like to see something done for these people, not merely from motives of generosity but on a business basis, so that they may be able to pay for the land and retain their self respect.