February 10, 1937

CON

James Earl Lawson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LAWSON:

Unquestionably. What

brought it to my mind was the excellent information given the house this afternoon by the Minister of Finance (Mr. Dunning). I should not wish one word of mine to detract from the laudable objective behind the resolution before the house, but I do feel that there is a correlative problem which any government should consider and with respect to which it should act concurrently, in dealing with any housing problem. I refer to the matter mentioned this afternoon by the hon. member for Jacques-Cartier (Mr. Mallette) who gave expression to an idea which I had in mind.

Frequently in the house I have heard reference to the forgotten man. Usually, when that expression is used, we refer to the taxpayer. I have frequently thought, however, that if there is one man who is more forgotten than all other forgotten men, it is the home

31111-48J

owner who has been burdened by direct municipal taxation, as outlined by the Minister of Finance this afternoon.

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

Samuel Factor

Liberal

Air. FACTOR:

And who is paying high

rates of interest.

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:

Yes, and paying high rates of interest. I shall touch upon that point later. As I see it, the difficulty has been that the municipality has had only two sources of taxation, one property and the other income. In their wisdom, some of the provinces have seen fit to take from the municipalities the power to tax income, and hence the whole burden of taxation in the municipality is today almost a direct tax upon real property. Unless some readjustment is made with respect to taxation between municipalities and provinces, I say seriously that in my opinion a tremendous number of urban and suburban municipalities cannot possibly survive. I realize that is not a problem for this parliament, but I suggest that in any scheme which may be considered or brought down by the Minister of Finance or the government, we should be careful to make sure that by legislation we do not place any additional burden by way of property tax on the home owner in a municipality.

May I illustrate how such a burden could be created. Let us assume that a scheme has been in effect, and that to-morrow we go into municipality A to build one hundred or one thousand new homes. In all probability the streets which we would lay out and upon which we would build the homes would not have local improvements. The new houses would have to be serviced with water service, sewers, roadways and sidewalks. In Ontario and, I believe, in two other provinces only a proportion of the cost of those new local improvements would be assessed against the house receiving the benefit. A proportion of the cost of local improvements, usually about twenty-five per cent, is spread over the whole municipality, and creates an additional burden upon the man who already owns a home in the municipality.

I believe it is incumbent upon the house to take care that in legislation we do not create an additional burden. This afternoon the minister outlined the progress being made under the Dominion Housing Act. A few days ago he indicated his hopes and aspirations as to what might be accomplished in providing employment through the new measure for the renovation of homes. I am thoroughly confident that neither of these measures will meet with the success I believe the minister anticipates. I say they will not for two reasons: One, that literally thousands

Housing Policy-Mr. Lawson

of people in Canada are losing homes they now have and, two, the burden of direct property tax. which I have already mentioned.

To a great extent Canada is a nation of home owners. In looking over the most recent census figures, I was surprised to observe that of all urban and suburban householders in Canada in 1931 approximately 47 per cent were home owners. In my own province of Ontario, of all suburban and urban house holders approximately 52J per cent are home owners. It is for these people that I plead with the minister this afternoon. In literally hundreds of cases working men in Canada have purchased or built homes in days when they had full pay envelopes and a reasonable measure of prosperity. In many cases that was done by dint of frugal living, saving and hard work. Then came the depression. Because of diminishing pay envelopes and, in some instances, envelopes which ceased to be received, and by reason of heavy municipal taxation plus a high interest rate to which reference was made by the hon. member for Spadina (Mr. Factor), hundreds of these people have lost their homes, and thousands to-day are in danger of losing them. In many instances interest rates ran as high as seven or eight per cent. I suggest that it is not going to avail us much if we clean up one slum only to create another, and I urge that in any scheme under consideration, care should be taken of those home owners who are likely to lose their homes.

I am not so sure that the suggestion made by the hon. member for Jacques-Cartier is feasible. However, if I may, I should like to make one, although the minister may not think my suggestion is feasible.

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 realize this is a diffi-.cult question, and I am looking for ideas.

Mr. LAWSON; The former government passed two pieces of legislation, the Farmers Creditors Arrangement Act and the Farm Loan Act. A combination of those two measures enabled the harassed farmer to remain upon his farm and to get a reasonable adjustment of his debts. Under the aegis of the farm loan board he was enabled to borrow money at a lower rate of interest.

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 wish it worked that way, but it did not.

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 can only say that while I have received complaints from persons who had loans on farms concerning rates of interest being reduced, nevertheless every time I talk to any people associated with the administration of the acts I meet enthusiasm. Every time I talk to a fellow who happens

to be a debtor instead of a creditor, he seems to have got some relief.

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:

When I said it did not work that way, I meant the combination of the two acts, that the combining of the two did not prove successful.

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 believe a combination of an adaptation of these two acts would salvage thousands of homes for home owners in our urban and suburban municipalities.

I am not one of those who will rise in his place in parliament and urge upon a government of which I do not happen to be a member that it should embark upon some wild scheme which cannot be financed on a sound basis. However, I do believe there are thousands of homes in this country that could be saved if the means were made available to the home owners to have their loans readjusted at a low rate of interest which it would be possible for the dominion to provide. If a home owner could have his payments amortised and if he were given a short space of time, say six months or a year, before he had to start making his first payment, he would be able to save his home.

I am quite willing to admit that in some cases the payments would not be met, but I doubt whether there would be many cases where losses would occur. The loan on the average house would not be such that it could not ultimately be got out of the property. Do not think for a moment I am suggesting that we endeavour to save the home of a man who has a first mortgage of S3,000 and a second mortgage of $1,500 on a home for which he paid $5,000 in boom days.

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:

That is the fellow who needs help the most.

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 am not so sure that it is. The man who needs it the most

I could take the minister to hundreds of them in the riding I represent-is the man who has either built his own little home or bought it, and over a period of five, ten or fifteen years has been paying out of his wages in order to obtain an equity of ownership in that home. That is the man to whom I want consideration given. Even if some losses were incurred under such a scheme, I believe it would be worth it. We shall never have any finer citizens in this country than the home owners. Show me a nation of home owners and I shall show you a nation that will progress to new heights by evolution and never be torn asunder by revolution. The home owner is the stakeholder in this country. It is for him that I make my plea. Laudable and desirable

Homing Policy-Mr. Elliott (Kindersley)

though it may be that we should have housing schemes, I suggest to the minister that if any such schemes are to be proposed, he consider concurrently and endeavour to bring in legislation which will give relief to the home owners whose problem I have tried to outline in the last few minutes.

Mr. 0. B. ELLIOTT (Kindersley): Mr. Speaker, this subject seems to have resolved itself more or less into a matter of finance. The question has been covered thoroughly from many angles and in my remarks I shall endeavour to avoid repeating what has been said already. The Dominion Fire Prevention Association prepared a statement of certain facts which was read at the convention of the maritime provinces chiefs of fire departments held at Kentville, Nova Scotia, on July 15, 1936. The statement reads as follows:

Sixty-five per cent of our people now live in houses of the cheapest construction, ill equipped and poorly adapted to obvious needs-and one-quarter of the families of the dominion live in accommodations of three rooms or less, while nearly 160,000 families live in one and two room dwellings lacking sanitary conveniences and efficient heating-investigation has revealed.

My purpose in taking part in this debate is to endeavour to prove conclusively, from figures taken from the Canada Year Book and the Labour Gazette, that it is financially impossible for nearly ninety-five per cent of the people of Canada to build themselves homes, even of the cheapest type. Among the facts that should not be ignored in any attempt to solve the housing problem is the social and economic condition of the people. One out of every ten of the entire population of Canada is existing on relief at the present time. Notwithstanding their needs, these people cannot hope to change their living conditions. Of the remainder of the population who are permanently employed, the average earnings are less than $18 per week. If I understood the hon. member for Jacques-Cartier (Mr. Mallette) correctly, he said that there was sufficient money in the country somewhere to provide loans for the building of these homes. I should like to place on Hansard a statement which will show where some of this money is at the present time. I direct attention to a report in the Edmonton Bulletin of September 12, 1936, of a statement by Mr. W. A. Bog, general manager of the Bank of Montreal, with reference to deposits in the chartered banks of Canada. The report says:

" The two greatest depositories for the savings of Canadians in all walks of life are the banks and insurance companies," declared W. A. Bog, general manager, at the bank of Montreal's annual meeting.

Continuing, he said: "There were on 31st October, 1935, over 4,600,090 depositors in the chartered banks with deposits aggregating $2,090,508,000, representing an average of about $450 for each account. It is estimated that there are 3,500,000 life insurance policy holders in Canada and that the assets by which this insurance is protected amount to over $2,000,000,000.

A great part of these funds belonging to depositors and policy holders is invested in securities. The protection of the savings of Canadians, built up so laboriously and with such self denial over the course of years to ensure a measure of security in old age or to provide for dependants after death, is and always has been the first consideration of this bank and should also be that of all government authorities. In most instances, these savings are not large and a loss of only a small portion of the principal is sufficient in many cases to bring want and anxiety.

Any policy which would tend to weaken the sanctity of contracts is to be deprecated as, in addition to harming those who can least afford to bear losses, such a policy would strike at the very core of our economic order, for when there is lack of confidence, a slalcening of business activity takes place, bringing unemployment in its train."

Without an investigation of the truth of the statement that the average deposit in the chartered banks is $450, it might convey the idea that we are becoming fairly prosperous. Nothing is further from the truth, as regards both the average depositor and prosperity in general. The article stresses the fact that we must not lose confidence; but how can we have confidence, especially in our banking system, when we can so easily detect this thinly disguised effort to deceive us by not giving all the facts? If one turns to page 910 of the year book of 1936, one will find a statement of deposits as at October 31, 1935. They are segregated in this manner: There were 4,290,695 depositors, having on deposit $501,881,610, grouped as having less than $1,000 each; 302,743 depositors, having on deposit $598,611,600, grouped as having $1,000 to $5,000 each; 41,815 depositors, having on deposit $376,319,432, grouped as having $5,000 to $25,000 each; 4,402 depositors, having on deposit $199,461,844, grouped as having $25,000 to $100,000 each; 1,223 depositors, having on deposit $407,229,739, grouped as having over $100,000 each.

These figures become even more significant when taken as averages. They show that 92f per cent of the depositors in our chartered banks have an average deposit of $117, or 24 per cent of the entire deposits; 6i per cent average $1,977, or 28| per cent; one per cent average $8,760, or 18 per cent; one-tenth of one per cent average $45,311, or 9J per cent; one-thirty-eighth of one per cent average $33,976, or 20 per cent. Approx*

758 COMMONS

Housing Policy-Mr. Elliott (Kindersley)

imately 7jj per cent of the depositors own 76 per cent of the deposits. So there should be no difficulty in understanding why at least 92f per cent of our population cannot take advantage of the house building plan. If for no other reason it is because they are minus the owner's equity of 20 per cent.

Now let us consider the wages of various groups to ascertain if the wages are sufficient to cover living expenses and leave a surplus enough for the repayment of a loan as provided by the housing plan. At pages 708 and 709 of the Labour Gazette for August, 1938, are given statistics collected by the bureau of statistics and taken from MacLeans Building Reports for 1934, as follows:

Construction Trades

Average Employees wages

Construction and trade contractors and sub-contractors

37,561 $745Cities, towns, villages, municipalities

49,946 385Harbour commissions 1,137 882Provincial government departments

44,810 545Dominion government departments

24,405 493Total

157,859Average

$536

Those are for the construction trades, construction and trade contractors and subcontractors.

Approximately one-half of the construction this year was done directly by government authorities, and if we take the average wage paid to these people in the different provinces we get the following results:

Average wage paid

Prince Edward Island $474

Nova Scotia 662

New Brunswick 481

Quebec 556

Ontario 544

Manitoba 514

Saskatchewan 321

Alberta 408

British Columbia 483

We also find that the minimum wages for the various provinces in retail stores average $12 per week or $504 per year, taking an

No. of

Provinces loans

Prince Edward Island 6

Nova Scotia 94

New Brunswick 12

Quebec 231

Ontario 359

Manitoba 12

Saskatchewan , nil

Alberta nil

British Columbia 10

average of 42 weeks. To be perfectly fair in this comparison, I have taken the fair wage agreements with the contractors as shown on pages 93 and 94 of the Labour Gazette for 1937, in companies constructing buildings and earth traverses at the dominion arsenal at Valcartier, Quebec, which can be considered about the highest average wage paid in the dominion to-day.

From a list of 3:9 occupations I find that men working 44 hours per week earn 65 cents an hour for the average year of 42 weeks, which gives them an annual income of $1,201.20.

Now let us review the cost of the family budget, as taken from the- January issue of the Labour Gazette, covering a family of five, and this does not include clothing, entertainment, medical attention, education, transportation, cosmetics, tobacco, and so forth, but comprises only a very meagre supply of foods, laundry, fuel, light and rent. The weekly cost is averaged at $16.99, or a total of $883.48 a year. So, if we deduct the amount of the average budget from even the highest average wage, there remains a balance of only $317.72 per year.

To aggravate the situation still further, I find that the average index of wholesale prices for building materials increased 4 per cent in the first eleven months of 1936, while at the same time the index value of permits decreased 5-2 per cent. It is difficult to gain confidence in a situation like this where an increase in income is immediately accompanied by an increase in the price of commodities equal to, if not always, greater than the increase in income.

A list of loans made during the year is shown at page 112 of Hansard of January 20 last. These figures must have been just prior to the ones which were given to the house by the Minister of Finance (Mr. Dunning) this afternoon. These figures bear out my contention that the class of people most in need of homes are unable to avail themselves of the loan privileges because of insufficient income. The figures for the various provinces are as follows:

Average Amount Family Units Average loan$5,394 $ 32,364 6 $5,3944,475 420,737 96 4,3823.765 45,179 13 3,4759,668 2,233,394 467 4,7825.863 2,104,085 418 5.0338,380 100,564 12 8,3803,150 31,500 io 3,i50

Housing Policy-Mr. Plaxton

It will be quite understood that the cost of building in British Columbia would be much less than in Saskatchewan and other prairie provinces owing to the difference in the price of commodities and building materials.

Saskatchewan, the third largest province in percentage of population, with 21 [DOT] 67 per cent on relief, has been unable to avail itself of any benefits from this scheme. Perhaps this is because we have the lowest average wage scale in the dominion, in addition to high freight rates on building materials imported into the province.

It has become absolutely plain that the idea of cooperating with loan companies to put out home-building loans will not result in any substantial volume of business within a reasonable time. The business alternative is to make government loans direct without relying on any middleman agency. Companies naturally want profitable business for the companies and the need for ending unemployment is not a company object. To substantiate that statement I would point out that one of the largest financial institutions in this country, namely the chartered banks, has apparently been doing considerable toward helping the unemployment problem by unemploying men. The Canada Year Book for 1936 contains figures showing that from 1920 to December 31, 1935, the banks have closed 1,245 branches in Canada. In Prince Edward Island they have closed 14; in Nova Scotia, 35; in New Brunswick, 24; in Quebec, 77; in Ontario, 363; in Manitoba, 165; in Saskatchewan, 301-over 50 per cent-in Alberta, 215; in British Columbia, 52. In the Yukon one branch was opened, increasing the number from three to four.

The housing problem in Canada is not solely one of monetary returns. It involves the more fundamental question of whether we are civilized or not and whether we are prepared to follow in the path of better housing conditions blazed by Britain and other countries. The fundamental question of whether we are civilized or not is easily answered. So long as this nation has money issuing power and allows its people to subsist on relief just one stage removed from physical distress, this nation is not civilized and I doubt whether it is wholly Christian. Under present money famine conditions the earning power of the nation is rigidly held down far below the basis justified by the available national assets. These assets cannot be brought into active earning profitable account without the use of money. The only way to get the necessary money at work is to break the money famine, and the only power to

break the money famine is in the hands of the government.

There are several adjustments, no doubt, that would aid in this direction. We find the statement by James F. Coughlin, K.C., in his pamphlet Housing and Slum Clearance, with regard to taxation in the different cities:

In the city of Winnipeg, the tax sales art proceeding at such a rate that the assessment roles are being seriously diminished; the 1936 tax sale list included 2,250 parcels representing arrears of $1,128,000, and on the list were 606 homes occupied by their owners, and 527 other houses which were believed to be occupied by their owners.

In the city of Regina, the mayor says, they have reached the point of confiscation of all real estate. And so the story goes through all the western provinces. No doubt the same may be said about eastern Canada.

To my mind the rates of interest in this housing plan are altogether too high. If it is necessary that the banks shall discontinue the payment of all interest charges to depositors in order to reduce the interest rate, I am absolutely in accord with that program. Freight rates also should be adjusted so that those points which are removed from the source of supply shall be placed in some kind of a zone system, whereby such distant places will not be penalized because of their geographical position. There should be a reduction of taxation on homes, and above all else, security for regular income; that, I think, is one of the more important features of our community life. At the present time many people who are able to build homes are not doing so because they have no security for their income, and in many cases where I inquired of people who could build homes why they had not done so, they invariably declared that it would not be safe. If they keep their money in liquid assets, in the event of losing their positions they can always remove it to other districts.

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

Hugh John Plaxton

Liberal

Mr. H. J. PLAXTON (Trinity):

I wish to contribute a few thoughts to this very interesting and vital discussion. It seems to me that the problem of reviving the building industry must be attacked on two fronts: one, by the governments, federal, provincial and municipal, of this country, the other by private capital; its responsibility in this connection is just as serious and profound as the responsibility which is charged to the government under the resolution now before the house. It is true that it is the government's responsibility to assume the task of clearing slums in this country. There are many reasons available to support that state-

Housing Policy-Mr. Church

ment. For instance, one has only to review the experience of the house building industry in England to find support for my conclusion. At the moment there are perhaps two fairly obvious reasons to sustain what I have just said. In the first place, I do not think that any fair-minded person can ask private capital to engage in slum clearance. Speaking with intimate knowledge with respect to my own riding, I know that rents have fallen to such low levels in that particular urban centre that it is absolutely uneconomic and impossible for private capital to engage in the clearance of slums or near slums. Second, as has been mentioned by previous speakers, there is the grave question of jurisdiction, and it is a right peculiar to municipal governments and not to private capital to enforce the tearing down of obsolescent homes. That has been the experience in England, and I think we shall find that it will prove to be the experience in this country. To that extent I must support the resolution before this house.

But what is the duty of private capital? It seems to me that if private capital wishes to maintain as its exclusive field for investment that which it has had for many years, namely, the first mortgage lending and building industry field, it is the obligation of private capital in this country to provide long term cheap money to enable the building industry not only to fill the shortage of homes which has accumulated during the last seven years, due to the total stagnation of that business, but also to provide on a mass scale low cost homes for the wage earners of this country on a basis and terms which will permit of repayment. Private capital in the last seven years has dodged that responsibility. It has tried to maintain a system of first mortgage lending which is absolutely antiquated, and, if I may refer again to England for experience, should have gone out of practice about the time when hoop skirts disappeared. It is the job of private capital- if I may personify it-to provide the financing for mass production of low cost housing in this country. So, if people say to the governments of this country, wake up, and attack this problem of reviving the building industry, I say it with greater emphasis to private capital, because for the last seven years it has passed up the prime field for investment in this country, namely, real estate.

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

Thomas Langton Church

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. T. L. CHURCH (Broadview):

In

the few minutes that remain this afternoon I wish to say a few words on this motion, as in 1935 and 1936 I introduced this question. What the Minister of Finance (Mr. Dun-

ning) has said is nearly the same speech he made last year on a motion introduced by me in regard to housing, and the same speech he made the year before last when a committee was appointed to go into the whole question. But I say to the Minister of Finance, notwithstanding everything he said to-day, that in 1919 Doctor Hastings, medical health officer of Toronto, and I helped to persuade the government to lend $25,000,000 to the municipalities for construction of houses, and every dollar of that was paid back. The motion of mine discussed last year as recorded on page 221 of Hansard, stated:

That, in the opinion of this house, Canada should immediately adopt a comprehensive national housing, building, reconstruction, renovation, slum clearance, land settlement and reforestation policy adapted to its circumstances and also embracing as one of its main features a national policy for youth in relation to education and industry and employment, so as to get people off the dole and back to remunerative employment.

And further, that this house is also of the opinion, that in any such national reconstruction policy a lower rate structure for bank, mortgage and insurance loans is an immediate necessity. Such a reconstruction policy to also embrace protection for industrial workers in urban and suburban areas from forfeiture on the same principle as farmers and fishermen are now afforded by existing legislation.

Now, that debate went on all afternoon and evening at that time, and it is a strange thing that the government to-day has practically the very same reply to this resolution. The municipalities are the only bodies who ever pay money back. This parliament spent over two billions on railways, hardly a dollar of which has been paid back, and on other works such as breakwaters and harbours. Does the Quebec harbour commission pay money back? No. The only people who repay are the municipalities; yet they get no help. The Minister of Finance wants to do something to help housing and slum clearance, let him do something to lower bank and mortgage rates and insurance charges. These companies came here and appeared before the committees two years ago and they have no idea except to keep up the rates.

It is for the minister to offer a policy. Is or is not housing a matter of national policy? The answer is Yes, it is. It was found to be so in England, in the United States, and it is so in Canada, because an emergency exists, and was found to be so by the committee in 1935. But every time it is proposed to do something for the industrial workers in the cities and towns of this country, fifty-one per cent of the people never

Questions

can get any help at all. All the government of the day do is appoint a lot of useless commissions like this National Employment Commission, who do nothing and do it well. They just go around in a circle. The minister can find all this in the housing committee's report. Doctor Coats of the bureau of statistics showed that the municipal, provincial and dominion authorities were spending 1100,000,000 on relief, about $70,000,000 of which could be saved and given back in reconstruction work if it were spent on slum clearance and housing. The financial situation is bad, I admit, but this is a federal problem and upon the government of the day rests the responsibility of solving it. It is being solved in England and England is recovering faster than any country in the world because of balanced budgets, tariffs and a sane policy on housing and reconstruction.

I do not wish to prevent the mover of the resolution (Mr. Massey) from saying a word or two before six o'clock, but let me say that in the old days everyone owned some property in Canada, a mill, a store, a factory or land. We have been slow to see how the ownership of private property has been taken away by big business in Canada. The right to ownership or private property is derived from nature, not from man, and the state has no right to take it away, but only control it. But all this parliament does is to do nothing. The government have appointed three or four useless commissions. Another bill dealt with the other day'-I refer to Bill No. 11, respecting home owners-will1 lead to nothing but a glorious fiasco. I was in a bank the other day and saw a workman there who has a first mortgage and a second mortgage on his home, a chattel mortgage on his goods and a bill of sale and a mechanic's lien and the bailiff in possession for taxes. How can he get any relief out of this glorious fiasco proposed by the Minister of Finance of a loan from a bank when the man has nothing?

I was sorry to hear reference made to-day to what the city of Toronto -has done. It has been a pioneer in public health, in housing and in slum clearance from 1914. In 1914 it gave the first guarantee of bonds; the great Doctor Hastings led Canada in public health and the elimination of slums. I can tell the hon. member for Mount Royal (Mr. Walsh) that Montreal is badly in need- of a clean-up on slums by a health officer like Doctor Hastings.

I may have something further to say on the third reading of Bill No. 11, because it looks to me as if this is not private members' day; the government might just as well abolish private members' day; all this session

the leaders have monopolized the time. I understand the mover of the motion wishes to reply, so I shall say no more now, but I am glad to see the large number of new members of this house climbing on the band^ wagon for housing and construction and slum reform, glad to see the hon. member for York South (Mr. Lawson) also getting active, because two years ago I did not approve when the then government appropriated- $10,000,000 and spent $1,000,000. It was not the housing policy of my resolution on which the committee was formed.

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

William Allen Walsh

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WALSH:

May I say in reply to the

hon. member that the city of Montreal would have been heard- from to good effect this afternoon if it had not been for the peculiar action of the whips on either side of this house.

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

Thomas Langton Church

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CHURCH:

The working people of Toronto have very little to thank the hon. member for, however, in the way he spoke the other day about the textile matter. I did not prevent him from speaking, though.

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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At six o'clock the house adjourned, without question put, pursuant to standing order. Thursday, February 11, 1937


February 10, 1937