Alan Webster Neill
The minister did not tell us that it was only for the soldiers generally; it is very small if it dropped down to 30 per cent.
He told us that in the succeeding clauses some protection was given to the soldiers, but- there is no more protection than we all have already. If we are able to pay up the back taxes, we get the land back.
The minister said that the government might redeem the lands and in that case they would make a new agreement. They cannot
do that because it would be only a reversion to the existing agreement. The government can at any time rescind and I give them credit that they have not enforced their rights unduly.
This is the situation I am trying to set forth. Let us take the average farmer-and heaven knows we have heard this time after time in the house-a man with a thoroughly equipped farm, improvements, stock and everything else, who does not owe any debt on the land, and who to-day cannot pay his debts, his taxes. There are members in the house who have said they cannot pay their taxes. The soldier settler is in a different position; he has a heavy mortgage due to the government hanging around his neck. That must be so because he would not be a soldier settler if he had paid up in full. All these soldier settlers have mortgages varying from 81,000 to 85,000 with amortization and interest charges due every year and they will be very much less able to pay their taxes than will the ordinary settler. Most of them having started more or less recently are not so well equipped as the ordinary settler. The government has recognized that fact and very properly so. I heard the minister say in the house last year that during the depression they would not unduly squeeze a man who was trying to make any kind of effort to make good. If he was not going on relief and was trying to do what he could to make good, they would not worry him about his payments in arrears, and I suppose during the depression these men have been carried along. Anyone who reads the provisions of clause 3 of this oill knows that the very moment the municipalities begin to put into force the law with regard to unpaid taxes, the agreement is automatically rescinded. The government has not any option; the agreement is rescinded forthwith, with all that it involves. It does not matter if the man has been carried along during these years; Now, either the municipality or the government takes possession and puts him out. In that way I maintain that conditions will be worse under this bill than they were before for the soldier settlers. After all, the main object is the benefit of the returned man and keeping him on the land. We have kept him on it now for five or six years of depression; another year might put him on his feet again, but under this bill the agreement will automatically be rescinded.