The information given to me is that the owners of these claims in many instances have moved away; the larger companies have been acquiring them, I assume, by purchase, and they are being operated by these larger companies.
But many claims that were staked there have been abandoned. The locators may have proved up or they may not, but as with certain oil leases, once claims are applied for and the fees paid they must go to public auction in order to be acquired by someone else.
I think the grants all contain provisions that certain operations have to be commenced within a given time, failure to do which empowers the crown to give notice cancelling the right, such as it is. The hon. member will perhaps remember the Poison case which went to the privy councilr that decided the validity of the notice, since-
which time the department has been very particular to give the notice in the manner prescribed by law. Once the notice is given the claim is cancelled.
I have in mind that there will be many pieces of ground which the prospectors may want to stake again and on which there has been no notice given. It is impossible for such claims to be restaked unless these old titles are cleared away.
I do not think any difficulty should arise, because even if the owners have moved away these original claims are registered, and if a patent has been issued the authorities would not issue a new registration on a claim already held by someone else.
went in to the Yukon as prospectors, staked claims, proved up on them and possibly did not have enough money to carry on, or did not feel that it was a good enough stake, but to-day with the different price of gold it might be a good enough stake. Now, if such a man has died leaving no heirs to take the claim over, there is a blank piece of ground that might be staked by another prospector, but under present conditions it cannot be staked. Is there no way of cleaning that up so that development can go on?
If a patent has issued, obviously the title to the property has passed to somebody else. If no patent has issued the claim may be terminated for non-working. There is either a grant or no grant. If there is a grant there is a patent; the property is dealt with as ordinary property because it belongs to the heirs, and we have no jurisdiction over it. If no patent has issued, there is nothing but a claim, which can be forfeited by reason of non-working, and it would then become available for restaking.
In view of the fact that it was not expected we should reach this item to-night, and as the hon. member for the Yukon (Mrs. Black) is not present and wishes to make some observations with respect to the item, perhaps the minister will let it stand.