June 25, 1935

UFA

George Gibson Coote

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. COOTE:

I should like to say a few

words in connection with this bill; perhaps they relate a little more to section 4 but since section 2 is the interpretation section it has a certain bearing on all the other sections of the bill. I have several objections to this bill. I may say that I have been interested in the question -of government action in connection with housing in Canada for some years and in 1932, during the debate on the unemployment relief bill, I suggested the formation of a housing commission in order to get under way a project for the construction of houses in Canada.

My first objection to the bill is that sixty per cent of the funds will have to be advanced by one of the lending companies and, as the bill is drafted, it seems that this refers in effect to existing mortgage, insurance and loan companies. So it does seem to me that the effect of the bill is to continue to load all housing in Canada with an interest charge of five and a half or six per cent. I should like hon. members to consider carefully the interest burden that is attached to any house carrying that rate of interest. Even on a house costing $3,000-and it seems to me that is the smallest amount for which a habitable house can be built t'o-day-a rate of five and a half per cent per annum means an interest charge of S13.75 per month before you include other charges for depreciation, upkeep, taxes or anything else. That seems to me too high; it seems definitely to make the type of houses that would be possible under this act available only to people with incomes of perhaps more than $1,200 per year.

Then it is quite evident that under this scheme only those wiho can advance twenty per cent of the purchase price will be able to secure any advantage. I think it is clear from the telegrams that were read by the right hon. gentleman that we cannot expect any lower rate than five and a half per cent, and I want to say again that an interest

change of $13.75 per month for any house makes this thing prohibitive to the class of people who need houses so badly.

Mr. JACOBS': Where do you find the interest rate in the bill?

Topic:   DOMINION HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR LOANS BY GOVERNMENT AND LENDING INSTITUTIONS UP TO EIGHTY PER CENT OF COST OF CONSTRUCTION
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UFA

George Gibson Coote

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. COOTE:

himself in this class of people has interviewed the Canadian National railway authorities and has secured from them the use, or I might say the gift, of a lot of old railway coaches and freight cars which the Canadian National Railways would be dismantling because they are going to build new equipment. He has also secured a piece of property and is getting the railway company to lay a spur line to it and is running a lot of these old coaches out to that district and expects to have enough coaches to house three thousand people. That gentleman is to be commended for that work because these people are being forced out of their homes and out of their rooms in Montreal. I was told by another gentleman from Montreal who interviewed me last week, that there is nowhere for them to go. This man before referred to is doing splendid work but I think where a housing scheme ought to start is to provide housing for people in Canada who cannot afford, on their income to-day, to pay economic rent.

Under this housing scheme the government is to advance only twenty per cent of the cost of the houses. I would suggest to the government that they might very well advance sixty or eighty per cent, and at a low rate of interest, and then we could build houses that could be rented to these people for not much more than half the rental necessary under the present contemplated setup.

Perhaps I will be asked where can we find the money to do it? We have in Canada a machine for the creation of money, and we could very well afford to set aside-this would suit me-$100,000,000 as a start until this scheme is in operation.

May I point out to the committee just what has happened in Canada in regard to the amount of money that the government or the government agency has under issue. The Bank of Canada's last statement shows that they have a note issue outstanding of approximately $75,000,000 and they have deposit liabilities of $183,000,000, which is largely the deposits of the chartered banks. Their total deposit liabilities are $259,000,000. The gold reserve of the Bank of Canada is $106,000,000, with gold valued at $20.67 per ounce, but now it is agreed that gold is worth $35 per ounce, so at that valuation the present gold reserve held by the Bank of Canada is worth $180,000,000. The Bank of Canada Act provides for a reserve of 25 per cent against notes and deposit liabilities, and on that basis the present gold reserve of 1180,000,000 is sufficient for a total liability of note issue and deposit liabilities of $720,000,000.

At the present time, as I say, the deposit liabilities of the Bank of Canada together with the note issue amounts to $259,000,000. So that there is a margin for the bank to work on of $460,000,000. Surely with that wide margin the central bank might safely issue another $100,000,000 for the financing of a housing program, and that I think would be quite within the canons of sound finance. The margin that would still be left to the Bank of Canada would be almost two to one.

I would like hon. members to compare the present issue of notes in Canada with what it was in 1920. I take these figures from the Canada Year Book for 1933. On June 30, 1919, the issue of dominion notes outstanding was $300,000,000, and the amount of bank notes outstanding was $228,000,000, or a total of $528,000,000. The issue of Bank of Canada notes at the present time is $75,000,000, and of the notes of the chartered banks $120,000.000, or $195,000,000. I suppose there is still $10,000,000 of dominion notes outstanding, but taking them all together it is not half what it was in the year 1920. I assume that somebody will say that the deposits of the chartered banks in the central bank are equivalent to a holding of dominion notes. For the sake of argument I will grant that. The deposits of the chartered banks are $165,000,000, and adding that to the $75,000000 of notes issued and outstanding, makes a total of $240,000,000 issued. As I said before, with the gold reserve of the Bank of Canada at approximately $180,000,000 there you have the basis for an issue of $720,000,000 including deposits. I cannot see but what it would be the most sensible thing in the world to issue $100,000,000 and to make it available for any housing project which the economic council might recommend, and that it be advanced at a rate of interest not more than two per cent I would say, to build homes for the classes of people in Canada that are most in need of them. I do not want to labour this point.

I just want to say again that what I have suggested here is quite within what I think might be called the orthodox ideas of money, that we must have a 25 per cent reserve for our notes and deposit liabilities of the central bank. It would only be making use of the right of issue of a little over 50 per cent of what is possible under the Bank of Canada Act and I really cannot see what objection there can be to it.

Before I sit down I would like to say again that we are badly in need of some assistance in securing adequate homes in the rural areas, and if this bill does not make provision for

Housing Act

that I hope that such provision will be made in tihe bill before it passes this committee, even though the scheme is not availed of until the projects have been approved by the economic council. But once approved I would like this bill to be wide enough for such schemes as are approved of to be carried out.

I would also like to be sure that there is available money for this project at a rate less than 5J per cent. I agree with what was said by my hon. friend from East Hamilton (Mr. Mitchell) last night, that the man who starts off to pay for a house with money costing 6 or 7 per cent is defeated before he starts. We have seen thousands of cases during the last five years of people who have lost their homes because there was an interest rate of six or seven or eight per cent which had to be carried in the man's payments, and with the low level of wages which the masses of the people are getting to-day and the low prices our farmers are getting for their products they cannot stand these high interest rates. If this scheme is to be started in only a small way, let us at least start it in a sound way. I am not so much concerned about it being started in a big way as I am that it be started in a sound way. I know it is stated that tfhe interest rate under this scheme will be 5J per cent, but by the time the purchaser pays the various charges, inspection fees, and cost of drawing papers the rate is not likely to be under six per cent, and I think six per cent is too high a rate. I do not think it is economically possible for people to carry it. I believe that those who have studied economics extending over the last few hundred years agree with Thomas Woodlock that nature in the long run will allow for a very low rate of interest if indeed she will allow for the payment of any. Let us not begin a housing scheme on an unsound basis. The basis of this scheme is the interest rate; I say the interest rate at six per cent is too high, and the scheme will not amount to very much if it is built on that foundation.

Topic:   DOMINION HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR LOANS BY GOVERNMENT AND LENDING INSTITUTIONS UP TO EIGHTY PER CENT OF COST OF CONSTRUCTION
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IND

Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. NEILL:

Would the minister deal specifically with the point raised by the hon. member for North Waterloo and myself, namely, that apparently this bill contemplates only those people who wish to buy houses. We have urged that the great need of the low wage earner to-day is not to have cheap houses which they cannot afford to buy, but to have cheap tenancy. Has the minister any proposal in mind which he intends to add to the bill, or does he find anything in the bill to permit a poor man, one who cannot afford to buy a house, to obtain cheap rent? The poor

man, the casual labourer who moves around does not wish to tie himself down to a certain town or part of a town. He wishes to be in a position to move and, above all things, must have cheap tenancy.

I see nothing in the bill to prevent a speculator building a row of houses by the aid of cheap government money. Is there anything to compel that speculator to rent his houses to poor people at a price in proportion to the benefit he receives from the government? I can see nothing in the bill to prevent him holding us for as high rentals as the. traffic will stand. I should like the minister to develop those points.

Topic:   DOMINION HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR LOANS BY GOVERNMENT AND LENDING INSTITUTIONS UP TO EIGHTY PER CENT OF COST OF CONSTRUCTION
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CON

George Halsey Perley (Minister Without Portfolio)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE PERLEY:

Paragraph (d) of the interpretation clause states .that "'housing scheme" means a scheme for the construction of houses and their occupation by tenants or purchasers. That covers the first point raised by the hon. member. The workman desiring to move about will be able to rent these houses.

Topic:   DOMINION HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR LOANS BY GOVERNMENT AND LENDING INSTITUTIONS UP TO EIGHTY PER CENT OF COST OF CONSTRUCTION
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IND

Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. NEILL:

Paragraph (d) deals with the definition of the term "housing scheme," and has to do with possible action under section 3, in connection with which we are not legislating at this time.

Topic:   DOMINION HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR LOANS BY GOVERNMENT AND LENDING INSTITUTIONS UP TO EIGHTY PER CENT OF COST OF CONSTRUCTION
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CON

George Halsey Perley (Minister Without Portfolio)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE PERLEY:

It contains the expression "by tenants or purchasers." That means that these houses will be available for tenants or purchasers.

Topic:   DOMINION HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR LOANS BY GOVERNMENT AND LENDING INSTITUTIONS UP TO EIGHTY PER CENT OF COST OF CONSTRUCTION
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LIB

William Daum Euler

Liberal

Mr. EULER:

Where does it say that?

Topic:   DOMINION HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR LOANS BY GOVERNMENT AND LENDING INSTITUTIONS UP TO EIGHTY PER CENT OF COST OF CONSTRUCTION
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UFA

Edward Joseph Garland

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. GARLAND (Bow River):

Apart altogether from the point raised by the 'hon. member for Macleod (Mr. Coote) respecting the monetary policy involved in the financing of a scheme of this kind, .may I say that this government is perhaps as responsible as any other body for the present lack of housing throughout the country. I would direct the attention of the minister and the committee to the fact that extraordinarily high tariff duties, especially dumping duties, have resulted in such high costs to those who construct houses that they cannot continue to do so. I have in my hand a comparison in costs of plumbing fixtures necessary in construction. A bath 4 feet 6 inches in length would cost $31.50 in Vancouver and only $11.45 in Seattle,-precisely the same specifications. A 5-foot bath costing $24.30 in Vancouver would cost only $13.45 in Seattle. The next size would cost $32.30 in Vancouver and only $16.45 in Seattle. A recess bath would cost $45.30 in Vancouver and only $27.95 in Seattle; the next larger size would cost $55.10 in Vancouver and only $31.25 in Seattle.

Housing Act

I set out these illustrations simply to indicate that there is an extraordinary discrimination against Canadian contractors building houses, or those wishing to pay for the building of them. That discrimination arises through the high tariff duties and especially the high dumping rates assessed against the trade. I have in my hand a letter from one of the big concerns in Vancouver, the Sanitary and Heating Association of British Columbia, complaining about this condition. They point out that while they might be able to meet the 35 per cent duty and freight charges for equal quality products, they cannot compete in the face of present dumping duties. There appears to be no competition in the supply of these goods; the manufacture of plumbing fixtures would seem to be in the hands of what is virtually a monopoly. Certainly the control in the west is in the hands of two concerns. There is no doubt about the measure of price fixation which must ensue, and no doubt that they take the fullest advantage of the duties and the dump. This means an added cost in plumbing fixtures to the extent of 30 per cent to 50 per cent, and in some cases as high as 70 per cent. Obviously if the government were interested in the building of houses, as one of its first acts it would have undertaken to modify the rates of duty on these goods which enter into the construction.

While under section 3 of the bill the economic council is advised to study practices which enter into the construction of houses, I contend that the minister and the government already know sufficient-possibly I should say that the facts are already sufficiently known-to have justified them long ago in taking this step towards reducing the cost of house construction.

Topic:   DOMINION HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR LOANS BY GOVERNMENT AND LENDING INSTITUTIONS UP TO EIGHTY PER CENT OF COST OF CONSTRUCTION
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CON

Peter McGibbon

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. McGIBBON:

I should like to endorse the observations of the hon. member for Macleod to the effect that it is very important that the scheme be properly started. I know of no industry which would absorb more of the unemployed than would the building trades. The one great essential exists, namely, a market in the cities, towns and villages for houses. In considering a matter of this kind I believe it essential that the government should consider the type of construction. I believe these houses should be designed by architects; ventilation should be properly attended to and in the cities and towns where electricity is available they should be properly wired. I believe it would be to the advantage of a scheme of this kind if the

houses were standardized; certainly that factor would cheapen them and standardization could be effected with a view to increasing efficiency and utility.

Not long ago I read an article written by Alfred Sloan vice-president of General Motors, in which he pointed out that properly designed houses could be erected in two days, including electric wiring, refrigeration, ventilation and the like. By standardization and through what might be described as high pressure practices they could be cheapened so as to be brought within the reach of nearly every labouring man. Houses built in that way would add to the health of Canadians, a factor which is to-day worthy of serious consideration. If the scheme were carried out properly it could be extended to the point where the labouring man in a town or city or the farmer in the country might have an up-to-date house equipped in every particular.

I do not know of anything which would have a greater effect in absorbing the unemployed than would a project of this kind. Canada has paid out .about $180,000,000 for relief. How much better it would have been if that money and the moneys paid by the provinces and municipalities could have been turned into a. Channel of this kind. I am pressing upon the government the importance of having this scheme properly started. These houses should be properly drafted by competent architects, and ventilation, refrigeration and1 everything of that kind looked after. I think it would add greatly to the health of the country, which is becoming a problem, involving so much expense to the provinces and the municipalities that they cannot keep going. We have here a scheme which practically has no limit, because there is no limit to the market for houses. It only becomes a matter of getting the houses cheap enough so that those desiring them can purchase them. I hope the government has given the situation that study which its seriousness deserves because it is one that will not end this year or next year but will increase from year to year as the efficiency is demonstrated and the necessity grows.

Topic:   DOMINION HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR LOANS BY GOVERNMENT AND LENDING INSTITUTIONS UP TO EIGHTY PER CENT OF COST OF CONSTRUCTION
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Section agreed to. On section 3-Duties.


CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

Under section 3 there

should come more properly a discussion much of which has been going on and to which I have listened with some interest.

I want to make one or two observations and perhaps the right hon. gentlemen in charge

Housing Act

of the bill can clarify what at present is not clear to me. The question has been raised as to provision for that class of person who is unable to put up any money at all for the initial payment, and1 one must recognize that housing is more vitally needed by that class than by any other in the .community. That is basic and should be the gravamen of any discussion -on this matter. With your permission, Mr. Chairman, I should like to refer to section 4 in discussing the section now before us, because the two must be read together. I will not trespass too far on the rules, however. Section 3 provides that the economic council shall study, investigate, report and advise, when required to do so, into certain things, among which we find the following in paragraph (b):

upon a proposal for a housing scheme in any urban or rural locality, submitted by a local authority, and particularly as to the necessity for and feasibility of establishing a housing scheme in any locality for the construction of houses, with the assistance of the state, to be leased to low wage earners.

I read that in conjunction with a clause in section 2, the interpretation clause to which the right hon. gentleman has already called attention. Paragraph (d) of section 2 reads: .

"Housing scheme" means a scheme for the construction of houses and their occupation by tenants or purchasers.

Now I apprehend that the right hon. gentleman means to say, in bis utterances, that by virtue of these two subsections provision is made in this bill for housing for those who are unable to provide any initial payment, and that this shall be on a tenancy basis. If that is so, then I submit that section 4 is faulty or weak in its construction, because section 4 is the operative section of the bill, and it provides the power and the only power in the bill for the Minister of Finance or the government to make payments or to do anything that is effective.

I will read from section 4:

The minister may, with the approval of the governor in council, enter into a contract with an approved lending institution to join with such institution in the making of loans to assist in the building of houses under conditions hereinafter mentioned.

Then in the subsections following I notice it limits to specific things that power of entering into agreement. I submit to the right hon. gentleman that in the subsequent subsections of section 4 .there is no power given to do wihat it is suggested might be done under section 3 or in accordance with the interpretation clause-that is, to loan

money for a housing scheme intended to 'be built on a tenancy basis. If the right hon. gentleman will note that point I will proceed with one or two other observations, so that I may not interrupt him unduly.

Topic:   DOMINION HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR LOANS BY GOVERNMENT AND LENDING INSTITUTIONS UP TO EIGHTY PER CENT OF COST OF CONSTRUCTION
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CON

George Halsey Perley (Minister Without Portfolio)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE PERLEY:

I am only too glad to have the bon. gentleman, make suggestions looking to the improvement of the wording of the bill. When I referred to tenants, in connection with subsection (dl) of section 2, I referred to the fact that there might be put under this scheme houses which would not foe owned by the people who occupied .them; that is to say, they might be erected by a company or association and rented to tenants. That was the idea. With regard to the other question of providing houses for people who are not able themselves to pay anything, this is supposed to be covered by the provision with respect to further investigation, under (b) of section 3. It is mot the intention of this bill, as I understand it, to provide houses for people if they cannot contribute something towards their construction; but it is the intention to have the economic council go into all these matters most carefully and make a report as soon as possible. The question which the ihon. gentleman raises, with regard to houses for people who cannot provide any of the money themselves, is one which the council will have to consider carefully; and if section 3 is not broad enough in its terms, so far as investigation by the counoil is concerned, I shall be glad to consider suggestions for its improvement.

Topic:   DOMINION HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR LOANS BY GOVERNMENT AND LENDING INSTITUTIONS UP TO EIGHTY PER CENT OF COST OF CONSTRUCTION
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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

I am not referring to section 3; I am calling the right hon. gentleman's attention to the inadequacy of section 4. In section 3 we infer-and I submit that is as far as we go-that it is possible that a scheme may be suggested by the economic council which would provide for low rental tenancy habitations. That is suggested, and my point is that the bill does not give corresponding power to the government to do what it suggests in section 3 might be done. I therefore suggest that before section 4 passes there should be added thereto a subsection positively authorizing the government to accept a scheme such as might arise under (b) of section 3. That is in so far as the bill is now drafted.

There is another point I wish to raise. I refer to the situation throughout Canada in many cities, but certainly in the larger cities such as Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Hamilton, Windsor and any of the

Housing Act

other industrial centres. I think there is no one who has visited these places but will agree that there is very grave necessity-and I cannot emphasize that too strongly-for the establishment of sanitary housing on a low rental basis for what might be termed the working class. Furthermore I doubt if there are any cities that do not have on their hands properties that have come back to them under tax sales, what are known in the west as tax sale properties, which might form the basis of a municipal housing scheme. This is nothing new; it is something that has been in operation very extensively in Great Britain. In some United States cities it is now being canvassed very carefully, and I think in some cities it is actually in operation where the municipalities have taken advantage of this property that is now non-tax producing, backed up on their hands, very often well situated, and upon which very suitable, comfortable and cheap forms of housing could be erected in a modern way. I think we must recognize the fact that the construction of houses in Canada as well as in the United States is woefully behind the times; it is oldfashioned, obsolete. We know from some of the great world exhibitions, for instance, that there is a modern type of construction with conveniences that can be erected at very moderate cost permitting of a rental much below what is normal to-day. So I think we should review the situation from that standpoint and anticipate in this bill a new era in type of construction. We should provide in this bill that the government will have power to enter upon such a scheme, because without any doubt the economic municil, if it does its duty at all, will present to the government a scheme of that character. But this bill does not provide for the government carrying out the scheme should such a one be submitted.

Another point I would like to submit is this: in the ordinary method followed in loaning for construction purposes in Canada, the costs of making the loan, the appraisal, the transfer fee, the mortgage charge, the insurance and all those charges usually make initial fees that are entirely disproportionate to the services rendered. That I think is today so commonly an abuse-and I use that term "abuse" advisedly-that it ought to be guarded against in this bill. This measure provides simply that the government, the minister in this case or the loaning authority, as it is indicated, shall cooperate with existing private institutions and carries into whatever scheme is adopted, wherever it is adopted, all of those oldfashioned and I believe ob-

solete abuses which to-day characterize the loaning of money. That feature ought to be eliminated from any scheme into which the Canadian taxpayers' money enters. I believe section 4 should be so redrafted that we would guard against such abuses being again perpetrated.

There is another point to which I should like to draw attention, and for the moment it escapes my mind what is the accepted ratio of rentals to salaries, but if I am in error in what I say I shall be very glad if some hon. member would set me right. I believe it is an accepted principle in economics that no one should be asked to pay more than twenty-five per cent of his earnings for rental; I think that is correct.

Topic:   DOMINION HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR LOANS BY GOVERNMENT AND LENDING INSTITUTIONS UP TO EIGHTY PER CENT OF COST OF CONSTRUCTION
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LIB

Charles Benjamin Howard

Liberal

Mr. HOWARD:

Twenty per cent is better, but twenty-five per cent maximum.

Topic:   DOMINION HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR LOANS BY GOVERNMENT AND LENDING INSTITUTIONS UP TO EIGHTY PER CENT OF COST OF CONSTRUCTION
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CON

George Halsey Perley (Minister Without Portfolio)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE PERLEY:

Twenty to twenty-five per cent.

Topic:   DOMINION HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR LOANS BY GOVERNMENT AND LENDING INSTITUTIONS UP TO EIGHTY PER CENT OF COST OF CONSTRUCTION
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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

As a matter of fact I venture the statement that many of the working class are to-day paying at a rate of about thirty per cent or more, or they overcome that impossible handicap by doubling up. There is not in Canada a city where you will not find in one habitation whose cubic content is suitable only for one family, two and even three families. Why? Because of the economic stress. They cannot afford to pay the thirty, thirty-five or forty per cent as the case may be, so in order to live at all, two or three families will get together and live in one habitation. I was in Montreal not long ago, and I imagine the committee may have had this data before them where it was said that an investigation had disclosed a very serious unsanitary condition because of this doubling or trebling up of families in one apartment or house as the case may be. That is a very serious matter; to my mind it is fundamental; it strikes at the very root of this whole problem of housing. The danger that I see in this bill is that the powers given to the minister or the government permit the carrying of these abuses into any new scheme instead of in a mandatory manner making such abuses impossible in connection with any scheme which is adopted.

There is another point already mentioned by several hon. gentlemen. Leaving for the moment the question of tenancy, we come to a class that may have a small amount of money in hand. A sum of $400, $500, $600 or $700 is something that it would be very difficult for many to find. On the other hand, if a person has $500 to $1,000 to invest in a

Housing Act

home, there is not much that we need to worry about in connection with such a class, but the persons that I am concerned about are, first, the working class in the congested areas of Canada and, second, the other class referred to by the hon. member for Macleod (Mr. Coote), namely, the rural class. I would like to say just one or two words in regard to that. I do not know what a survey of Canada would disclose, but there have been some very excellent surveys made of the United States, and the condition of the average rural home in that country is I think an appalling story largely because of the costliness of sanitary arrangements, lack of proper lighting facilities and the general costliness of construction. I believe we should aim in this bill, as I have already indicated, at providing, first, for the low rental class in industrial centres and, second, a typical, comfortable, sanitary home for those in rural and agricultural districts, so as to make possible decent living conditions in this country. I do not think any survey has been made of Canada, but I recall the survey carried on in some parts of the United States in the last two years and the fact that so few houses have even a bath is simply appalling.

Topic:   DOMINION HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR LOANS BY GOVERNMENT AND LENDING INSTITUTIONS UP TO EIGHTY PER CENT OF COST OF CONSTRUCTION
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UFA

George Gibson Coote

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. COOTE:

Five per cent in the rural districts of Canada.

Topic:   DOMINION HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR LOANS BY GOVERNMENT AND LENDING INSTITUTIONS UP TO EIGHTY PER CENT OF COST OF CONSTRUCTION
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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

Yes. We need to be seized not only with the seriousness of this situation but its disgrace to us as a civilized people, and the absolute necessity of laying the foundation for a new era in low cost sanitary housing in this country.

The last point to which I wish to refer is interest. I do not think this parliament will discharge its duty if we pass a housing bill that contemplates a rate of interest of five and a half per cent, which with charges will be more than six per cent, I think at least six and a half. That rate is altogether too high. I am not concerned about well-to-do people who want a nice home, they can borrow money and pay five and a half or six per cent and take care of themselves. But for those who have low wages or insufficient returns in the price of their produce-and they outnumber the others five to one-a rate of five and a half or six per cent is too high. This bill ought to provide for a rate of interest close to the rate at which it is possible for the government of Canada to borrow money, that is a basic rate of three to three and a half per cent. Therefore I draw the attention of the right hon. gentleman to the fact while subsection (b) of section 3 permits the economic council to look 92582-251

into these things and report, I submit that section 4, the operative section, is inadequate to permit of a reasonably effective measure being put into operation.

Topic:   DOMINION HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR LOANS BY GOVERNMENT AND LENDING INSTITUTIONS UP TO EIGHTY PER CENT OF COST OF CONSTRUCTION
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CON

George Halsey Perley (Minister Without Portfolio)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir GEORGE PERLEY:

My impression

is that the hon. gentleman was not here yesterday evening when we were discussing this question. I simply tell him that there were many here who argued that we should not have any bill at all just now for the provision of housing, but simply go on with further investigation. The government, however, thought that they would make a start at any rate in providing housing under this scheme. The hon. gentleman has said quite rightly that there is no provision in section 4 for the government to take further action on the report made by the economic council under section 3. The idea was that this investigation by the economic council would take some time and would necessitate rather minute inquiry into many phases of this question. They would have to work out something as to cooperative arrangements between municipal, provincial and dominion authorities, and consider other questions such as slum areas and the provision of houses for people who cannot afford to put up any money to .help build for themselves. There was no intention under section 4 that there should be provision for the government to implement the suggestions made by the economic council. The idea we had was that probably before the economic council really made a complete report there would be another session of parliament, and this matter would then be taken up for further consideration and implemented with further legislation. I am just as anxious about providing accommodation for low wage earners as the hon. member for East Kootenay (Mr. Stevens) can possibly be. I think we are taking a step in the direction of doing something about housing which has never been done by this parliament before, and it certainly is not the intention to stop here. But as information is provided and we can see our way to go further it certainly is the intention of the members of this government as I understand to try to do so.

With regard to interest and charges, the hon. gentleman will find that subsection (g) of section 4 gives the minister authority in making his agreement to impose such other conditions as will safeguard the interest of His Majesty. Our idea is that this will be administered under the Department of Finance. The Minister of Finance will give consideration to all such questions and it certainly would

Housing Act

be the aim that the charges incidental to a scheme of this kind should be as low as possible.

Topic:   DOMINION HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR LOANS BY GOVERNMENT AND LENDING INSTITUTIONS UP TO EIGHTY PER CENT OF COST OF CONSTRUCTION
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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

Could the right hon.

gentleman indicate from the telegrams and the memoranda he read a moment ago what rate of interest is contemplated by the companies who have expressed a willingness to cooperate?

Topic:   DOMINION HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR LOANS BY GOVERNMENT AND LENDING INSTITUTIONS UP TO EIGHTY PER CENT OF COST OF CONSTRUCTION
Permalink

June 25, 1935