February 10, 1937

CCF

Abraham Albert Heaps

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. HEAPS:

With full plumbing?

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   HOUSING POLICY
Sub-subtopic:   ELIMINATION OF SLUM CONDITIONS AND PROVISIONS FOR OVERCOMING SHORTAGE OF DWELLINGS
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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

I said bathroom. I do

not know how one could have a bath without plumbing.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   HOUSING POLICY
Sub-subtopic:   ELIMINATION OF SLUM CONDITIONS AND PROVISIONS FOR OVERCOMING SHORTAGE OF DWELLINGS
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CCF

Abraham Albert Heaps

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. HEAPS:

That is all right, but the

cost seems to me extremely low. I have had some experience in housing, and if it can be done at that price it is a revelation to me.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   HOUSING POLICY
Sub-subtopic:   ELIMINATION OF SLUM CONDITIONS AND PROVISIONS FOR OVERCOMING SHORTAGE OF DWELLINGS
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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

I shall not dispute with my hon. friend regarding it. I simply say that these matters are necessarily under continual study by the housing administrator, who is a qualified architect. I have already said that one of the criticisms we are receiving is that our specifications are too stiff. At the same time we are anxious, as I put it, not to start building new slums with dominion government aid. We must have minimum standards and decent homes. But one cannot expect a rush to build under a scheme which rests, as I pointed out, on a degree of willingness on the part of private lenders to cooperate. We have not had 100 per cent cooperation in that regard; I admit it frankly.

A number of the great insurance companies have cooperated splendidly, in working under the Dominion Housing Act. Others have not. May I say for the benefit of those who complain of what great corporations do or refuse to do that the least cooperation we have had has been from the local financial institutions in various parts of Canada. The local institutions have not cooperated under the dominion housing scheme to anything like the same extent as the great insurance companies doing business from coast to coast in Canada have done.

I do not intend to take a great deal of time, Mr. Speaker, but I did think it was due the house to be advised of the progress which has been made under the present housing act. WTthout claiming that it is perfect, I believe that it can be developed at a much greater rate. One of the insurance companies states definitely that it has now five hundred loans in sight for spring building; another company states that it can see two hundred loans coming, from the maritime provinces alone, relating to spring work. One company submitted, on February 3, thirteen loans, all in Nova Scotia. That is an indication of the way in which the use of the act is growing. With respect to growth, I might point out that in the first six months the total amount involved was only $810,000; in the second six months it jumped to $3,037,000, nearly four times as much, and the final quarter of 1936 showed an amount four times as large as during the corresponding quarter of 1935. Of course this is not a great quickacting hundred million dollar over-night scheme. But I submit that, having regard to the fact that it is wholly experimental, that administrative regulations had to be developed, agreements entered into with all sorts of lending institutions for working under it, and difficulties ironed out from day to day and week to week, $5,300,000 worth of building under the scheme constitutes a fair start. And while we are talking of greater schemes and plans for slum clearance and the rest, I hope the house will not overlook the fact that we have within the four corners of the Dominion Housing Act a possibility of steady, sound growth along lines which will do a great deal of good if we can keep up reasonable cooperation on the part of lenders and if we can deal with the problems associated with loaning in the smaller and more remote communities. There is a very considerable development along that line since the regulation was changed with respect to the cost of inspection. If we can do these things we are accomplishing something, having regard to

Homing Policy-Miss Macphail

the fact I stated at the outset, that while all that flows from bad housing constitutes a national problem, the authority which deals with housing is not in this chamber but in the legislature of each province.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   HOUSING POLICY
Sub-subtopic:   ELIMINATION OF SLUM CONDITIONS AND PROVISIONS FOR OVERCOMING SHORTAGE OF DWELLINGS
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CON

James Earl Lawson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LAWSON:

Would the minister permit a question?

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   HOUSING POLICY
Sub-subtopic:   ELIMINATION OF SLUM CONDITIONS AND PROVISIONS FOR OVERCOMING SHORTAGE OF DWELLINGS
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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

Certainly.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   HOUSING POLICY
Sub-subtopic:   ELIMINATION OF SLUM CONDITIONS AND PROVISIONS FOR OVERCOMING SHORTAGE OF DWELLINGS
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CON

James Earl Lawson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LAWSON:

I wanted to seek some information in connection with his last statement. Has the minister or the government considered whether there would be any question of jurisdiction if, let us say, the government of Canada through a statute of this parliament, and authorized by this parliament, proceeded to build one hundred houses in any given community? Does any question of jurisdiction enter into that? It is true that the provinces have jurisdiction with respect to property and civil rights, but surely the dominion government can build houses just as they can a public building if they want to.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   HOUSING POLICY
Sub-subtopic:   ELIMINATION OF SLUM CONDITIONS AND PROVISIONS FOR OVERCOMING SHORTAGE OF DWELLINGS
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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

I cannot give an answer to a lawyer, but my impression would be that the dominion would have to comply with provincial law with respect to the building of those houses.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   HOUSING POLICY
Sub-subtopic:   ELIMINATION OF SLUM CONDITIONS AND PROVISIONS FOR OVERCOMING SHORTAGE OF DWELLINGS
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CON

James Earl Lawson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LAWSON:

Unquestionably.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   HOUSING POLICY
Sub-subtopic:   ELIMINATION OF SLUM CONDITIONS AND PROVISIONS FOR OVERCOMING SHORTAGE OF DWELLINGS
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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

Well, that, of course, is the whole point. I do not deny that this government can give out money, but I am finding it more important than I formerly thought it to be that we should have jurisdiction over what we spend money on. I am finding that particularly in connection with old age pensions, a well intentioned piece of legislation on the part of the dominion, worked out, because of the provincial jurisdiction involved, by means of agreements between the dominion and the provinces. Rather more than a year ago the administration of that legislation was turned over to the Department of Finance. During the coming year it is not going to be an easy task to iron out the difficulties which have arisen, and they rest solely upon the point that we are spending seventy-five per cent of the money but the provinces have the jurisdiction in the administration; we deal with them only by agreement; we can deal with them by withholding that which we agreed to pay, but that is not a very satisfactory method of working out a partnership arrangement. I do not want to be too emphatic on this; I am sure my hon. friend realizes the force of the point as well as I do.

Miss AGNES C. MACPHAIL (Grey-Bruce): I wish first to congratulate the hon. member for Greenwood (Mr. Massey) upon his excellent speech. I was sorry that he was not in the house from 1929 and on to make speeches like that, but I am very glad that he is here now and that he has spoken as he has.

I think we all know now that the time for governments to spend or to encourage spending along such lines as housing is in the depths of a depression. Much as I appreciate the speech just concluded by the Minister of Finance (Mr. Dunning) and glad as I am that the housing act has been followed up by one providing for a renovation of buildings, I am sure that as we get further away from the depression expenditures by governments will be less useful. We ought to have gone early into the housing problem. The scheme should have been ready when the depression started so that we could have gone on with it at the time when the greatest need for employment existed, and there was just as much need for housing then as there is now. However, it is easy to say that; let us bear in mind the days that are to come. When conditions are good is not the time for governments to spend, because individuals are then doing it, but rather when depression comes making extensive individual spending impossible, government activity should greatly increase. I believe that Canada is at least a decade behind the times in evolving or setting up a housing act. I am glad we have it now.

The Minister of Finance touched upon something which we all know is true, when he said that the most difficult problem is to get houses for the low wage groups, whether they are workers who receive a pay envelope or those who live on farms or in smaller communities. Even yet there has not been evolved a plan whereunder people with low wages can be assured of good housing. When we are considering the cost of housing we should be willing, and I think we are, to subtract from that expenditure a good portion of the cost of sanatoria, of hospitalization, of reformatories, of gaols and of penitentiaries, because it need not be proved from the authorities that poor housing leads to poor health and1 crime and all the allied difficulties and charges they entail. The cost of good housing is never too great, since the better the housing, at any rate up to a reasonable standard, the less will be the costs in these other directions. [DOT]

I noticed in to-day's Montreal Gazette a statement made by the Child Welfare Association in these words:

Inadequate incomes, poor housing conditions, tuberculosis and lack of understanding regarding

Housing Policy-Miss Macphail

nutritional and mental health needs, are the problems faced to-day by those who are seeking to improve the health of the community.

I am not going to deal particularly with Canadian housing conditions, because that has been well done, and we have available to everybody a series of pamphlets published by the Social Service Council of Canada on that subject, as well as the report of the Bruce commission. But I want to take a few minutes to tell the house something about housing as I saw it in Sweden this summer. I was not able to be in Sweden as long as the hon. member for Greenwood (Mr. Massey)-

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   HOUSING POLICY
Sub-subtopic:   ELIMINATION OF SLUM CONDITIONS AND PROVISIONS FOR OVERCOMING SHORTAGE OF DWELLINGS
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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin

Liberal

Mr. MARTIN:

Were you there together?

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   HOUSING POLICY
Sub-subtopic:   ELIMINATION OF SLUM CONDITIONS AND PROVISIONS FOR OVERCOMING SHORTAGE OF DWELLINGS
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UFOL

Agnes Campbell Macphail

United Farmers of Ontario-Labour

Miss MACPHAIL:

No, nor at the same

time, I am sorry to say. But I was very much struck by the housing enterprises, and spent a good deal of time seeing them. It is hardly believable that one third of the city of Stockholm has been rebuilt since 1921 as part of the tremendous building program by which Sweden sought to overcome the depression. That was a building program which in my opinion was carried on at the right time. They went through the small depression, as we did, from 1921 to 1924, and seeing that they might again need an extensive program of public works, when the better times came between 1924 and 1929 they prepared very carefully for public works which would carry them through the next depression. They called them in many cases reserve projects. Not all were of a housing nature, but so much rebuilding was done that one-third of the whole city has been built or rebuilt since 1921.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   HOUSING POLICY
Sub-subtopic:   ELIMINATION OF SLUM CONDITIONS AND PROVISIONS FOR OVERCOMING SHORTAGE OF DWELLINGS
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LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

By the government, or by private enterprise?

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   HOUSING POLICY
Sub-subtopic:   ELIMINATION OF SLUM CONDITIONS AND PROVISIONS FOR OVERCOMING SHORTAGE OF DWELLINGS
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UFOL

Agnes Campbell Macphail

United Farmers of Ontario-Labour

Miss MACPHAIL:

In all sorts of ways- some by federal assistance, some by municipalities entirely, and some by cooperatives.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   HOUSING POLICY
Sub-subtopic:   ELIMINATION OF SLUM CONDITIONS AND PROVISIONS FOR OVERCOMING SHORTAGE OF DWELLINGS
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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

Some entirely cooperative.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   HOUSING POLICY
Sub-subtopic:   ELIMINATION OF SLUM CONDITIONS AND PROVISIONS FOR OVERCOMING SHORTAGE OF DWELLINGS
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UFOL

Agnes Campbell Macphail

United Farmers of Ontario-Labour

Miss MACPHAIL:

Yes, some by cooperatives entirely. Even yet housing in Stockholm is not particularly cheap; it is a difficult city for building. To begin with, it is built on fourteen islands; it is rocky; the cost of the numerous bridges and of the blasting necessary in making excavation makes it expensive, and housing was too dear. That I think is one reason why they have developed such splendid cooperative schemes, because it is not so long ago that housing cost almost fifty per cent of the average income, which was much too high a proportion. This led to a great deal of investigation. They went

into several schemes. They have studied housing needs much more thoroughly, I think, than we have. They do not consider that all who want houses have families of about the same size. One thing I found very interesting was that they have houses for elderly people of slender means, started by what they call the flower fund. Instead of sending flowers to show respect at a time of bereavement, people send to the flower fund and with that fund apartment houses have been built for elderly couples. These apartment houses have a central dining room, and trained nurses in attendance. That is a scheme by itself. They are good-looking apartment houses, built particularly for the sort of people who occupy them.

Then I went through some apartment houses built to accommodate five hundred families, who had three or more children. The federal government was anxious that children should not be raised in slums, with resulting ill health and juvenile delinquency. Working with a cooperative concern they build apartments for families of different sizes. Where the parents cannot support the children as the state thinks they should be supported, for a family of three the state, that is, the federal government, pays thirty per cent of the rent. If the family consists of four children the government supply forty per cent of the rent, and for families of five they supply fifty per cent. The H.S.B. house agent who showed us through these particular apartment houses said that on October 1 five hundred such families who were all being assisted by the federal government would move in.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   HOUSING POLICY
Sub-subtopic:   ELIMINATION OF SLUM CONDITIONS AND PROVISIONS FOR OVERCOMING SHORTAGE OF DWELLINGS
Permalink
LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

In speaking of the federal government does my hon. friend mean the national government?

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   HOUSING POLICY
Sub-subtopic:   ELIMINATION OF SLUM CONDITIONS AND PROVISIONS FOR OVERCOMING SHORTAGE OF DWELLINGS
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UFOL

Agnes Campbell Macphail

United Farmers of Ontario-Labour

Miss MACPHAIL:

Yes, the national government. The agent said further that they planned to accommodate 2,500 such families in Stockholm in the next year or two.

In Sweden over twenty-five per cent of all married women in Stockholm work outside the home. They have built houses designed for such families. In connection with the apartment house there is a nursery, which is complete or separate except that it is in the house. There are facilities to care for the children, sleeping rooms, play rooms and kitchen for the preparing of three meals daily for the children, and a trained nurse in attendance. The particular one that I visited had a central dining room, and a gymnasium which the families in the house could use not only as a gymnasium but also as a concert and lecture hall.

___________ Housing Policy-Miss Macphail

I suppose the best known cooperative concern for house-building in Sweden is the Tenants Savings Bank and Building Society, known to all the people in Sweden as H.S.B. They build three kinds of houses, known as the A, B and C types. In the A type house the person who is going to occupy the apartment-to purchase it really, because they can purchase apartments as well as houses-

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   HOUSING POLICY
Sub-subtopic:   ELIMINATION OF SLUM CONDITIONS AND PROVISIONS FOR OVERCOMING SHORTAGE OF DWELLINGS
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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

If my hon. friend will permit me, the H.S.B. does not build houses, but apartments?

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   HOUSING POLICY
Sub-subtopic:   ELIMINATION OF SLUM CONDITIONS AND PROVISIONS FOR OVERCOMING SHORTAGE OF DWELLINGS
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UFOL

Agnes Campbell Macphail

United Farmers of Ontario-Labour

Miss MACPHAIL:

Yes, cooperative apartments.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   HOUSING POLICY
Sub-subtopic:   ELIMINATION OF SLUM CONDITIONS AND PROVISIONS FOR OVERCOMING SHORTAGE OF DWELLINGS
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February 10, 1937