March 24, 1942

NAT

Herbert Alexander Bruce

National Government

Mr. BRUCE:

I suggest, Mr. Speaker, that the 40-minute rule with regard to speeches be changed to 15 minutes, which would require that the speeches be more carefully prepared and condensed. In order to illustrate my point I should like to tell a story of a clergyman who was asked if he would give a 15-minute address on a particular occasion. He declined on the ground that he had not time to prepare it. When surprise and disappointment were expressed he said, "I should be glad to give you an address of 40 minutes, because I could speak discursively, but if I have to concentrate and crystallize my remarks into a 15-minute speech I have not time to prepare it." That, I think, is a very apt illustration of a good deal of what we have heard here.

I make the further suggestion, that for the duration of the war Hansard be abolished. This would have the effect of saving a good deal of time and money which could then be devoted to war purposes. We are facing the greatest crisis in our history; the issue soon to be settled is whether we are to be free or slaves. We are up against the greatest combination of superbly trained and magnificently equipped military forces that this world has ever seen, who continue to inflict upon us defeat after defeat. Let us not deceive ourselves, but admit the fact that up to the present we have lost every battle, and unless we make a total war effort by utilizing at once all our resources both physical and human, we shall lose the war in this year 1942.

When Sir Stafford Cripps, who should1 be better informed on the situation in Europe, than any other man, arrived in New Delhi yesterday he said, "There is no time to lose and no time for long discussions." The able representatives of the newspapers in Canada in the press gallery can be relied upon to sift the wheat from the chaff, and I am sure the reading public will not suffer as a consequence of what I propose.

The Minister of Munitions and Supply (Mr. Howe), speaking on the radio last night, revealed an alarming shortage of rubber, stating that when our present supply is exhausted there will be no more rubber available until the synthetic plants are built and able to produce, rubber. This, I understand, will take from one to two years. So it is quite obvious that our prospect of getting rubber in the near future is very remote. I wonder whether the government have done all that is possible to conserve our rubber supply. Have they taken an inventory of the tires in the hands of manufacturers and dealers throughout the country? Only two weeks ago I was told by a responsible citizen that

lie had been offered new tires for his car by a dealer who said that up to that time no inventory had been taken of his stock and therefore no one was in a position to check up as to what he did with his tires.

To be caught at this time with a shortage of rubber seems to indicate a lack of foresight on the part of those responsible for our war effort. I was told more than a year ago by a high official in the rubber industry in Canada that Japan was very likely to destroy our major sources of rubber. This man had1 this information; so surely some one connected with the Department of Munitions and Supply or with the war departments of the government would equally have had the opportunity of knowing what the situation was likely to be. Again "too little and too late".

The minister also announced last night that the speed limit wrould be reduced to forty miles an hour. Why not to thirty-five miles an hour? I know that investigators in the laboratories of some of the oil companies have proved that the most economical speed in regard to the use of gasoline and oil is thirty-five miles an hour, which was the speed limit in Ontario until a few years ago. I suggest that it be again reduced to thirty-five miles an hour to save gasoline and rubber tires.

I wish to express my approval of the suggestion made by the hon. member for Vancouver South (Mr. Green) last evening that we send a token force to Australia. We fought side by side in the last war, and I think all hon. members will appreciate what a wonderfully stimulating and encouraging effect that would have upon our brothers down under. The force need not be large, a regiment or a brigade. It would1 be very much better for us to fight Japan in Australia 'than in Vancouver.

I feel that some comment should be made on the recent adoption by the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Ralston) of the suggestion made by the hon. member for Vancouver South when the minister announced the appointment of officers to the supreme command on the west and east coasts of Canada. We are fighting Germany and Japan whose policy has been and is to require their senior officers to be trained in the three arms of the service-the navy, the air force and the army-before they are given a unified command. May I ask the Minister of National Defence what training the recently appointed commanders in chief on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts have had in the air force and the navy? We have had many indications that our enemies have adopted entirely new methods of warfare, which have been very successful, and if we are to have a chance of

War Appropriation

defeating them we also must adopt new methods. Is Canada adopting new methods similar to those to which I have referred? True, we have three ministers of defence; I think it is true also to say that the plebiscite bill recently passed was a defence measure- a defence of members of the government for their past performances. May we not learn from our enemies, who have introduced into this war entirely new tactics? Only to-day a Japanese general is reported on the radio to have said, "Defence methods will never lead to victory." I would1 addi that Australia did not hesitate to place her military forces under the command of a man of experience and proven ability, even to the extent of going to the United States to secure such a man, when they obtained General MacArthur. Mr. Churchill did not hesitate to go to Australia to secure a man militarily and diplomatically capable of filling a position in the middle east, when he appointed Hon. Richard Casey of Australia to that important post, at the same time making him a member of the British war cabinet.

I have just one more suggestion to make, which I have saved till the last because, in my opinion, it is the most important of all. I am sure no one will gainsay the truth of my assertion when I say that we have in Canada to-day a man who has the knowledge and experience, and who stands out as the greatest leader this country has ever produced. I refer to Lieutenant-General A. L. McNaughton, whom I now suggest that the Prime Minister appoint as minister of war and deputy prime minister. It may be urged that he could not be spared from his position overseas, but I venture the opinion that after two years of effort and training and planning, someone else could now be found to carry on his duties over there. I am sure that this would go a long way toward satisfying and relieving the anxious and much perturbed Canadian people.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION
Subtopic:   SUPPLEMENTARY PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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CCF

Alexander Malcolm Nicholson

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

Mr. A. M. NICHOLSON (Mackenzie):

Mr. Speaker, in concluding his remarks last evening the hon. member for Vancouver South (Mr. Green) sounded a very realistic note. While I do not agree with everything he said, I believe that his remarks in discussing many national problems should be carefully considered by every member of parliament. If there were other hon. members who felt disposed to follow along a similar line, I would hesitate to take the time of the house to say what I am going to say to-night.

The subject which I propose to discuss no doubt will appear to many hon. members as one which should be left until after the

war is over. I refer to the housing of the Canadian people, particularly those in our defence area. The hon. member for Park-dale (Mr. Bruce) made reference to the distinguished commander of the Canadian forces overseas. When General McNaughton was interviewed last fall by a delegation of Canadian editors and asked for a message which they could bring back to the Canadian people, which would convey to us the most urgent need of the moment, he is reported in an article written by Hugh Templin, which I believe appeared in most of the weekly newspapers of Ontario, as follows:

Asked what is the most urgent need at present, General McNaughton replied: Put every emphasis on the production of weapons and equipment. We need technical improvements such as can be worked out under the direction of the national research institute and others who work under Mr. Howe. Then these improvements must be put into production quickly. . . .

General McNaughton would not say how many should go into the army and how many into industry. 'We should survey our man-power first. We want no flash in the pan. We must plan for a w'ar of long duration and not put all our goods in the show window now.

I realize, Mr. Speaker, that the reverses have been many, and the thing that may impress many people at the moment as being most important may not necessarily be most important in the long run. I think that before Hitler will be defeated we must follow the suggestion of General McNaughton and prepare great quantities of the most modern equipment; and if that is to be done, the question I am now discussing becomes a matter of very great importance. Mr. Charles Abrams, in a recent copy of the New Republic, states.

. . . housing cannot win the war, but it can lose it. The habitats of thousands are now boxcars, pews, jails. Defence workers, bidding against each other, have doubled room rents and brought back the three-shift hot-bed. Increased rents have wiped out wage rises. Employers complain of labour turnover, inefficiency, disaffection; health officers warn of epidemics. Lack of housing has upset the production time table. Our programme of defence housing has failed; our wartime housing programme is threatened.

If all the workers in industry could live in surroundings similar to those enjoyed by members of parliament in Ottawa, there would be no question of our production being affected by housing. But in order that hon. members might understand the problems facing the workers, I would suggest that for the next three months we live on a budget similar to that followed by workers in industry, and then set out in this or any other city in Canada to find suitable housing for our families. In the city of Ottawa a great deal has been said

War Appropriation

about the difficulties experienced by stenographers who come here; and reliable reports indicate that already we are facing a very serious turnover of labour in all the cities of Canada where our large industries are located, as a result of workers being unable to secure housing. During the last war in the United States they found that in key industries they had a labour, turnover of from 100 to 1,000 per cent per annum, as a direct result of not being able to find houses for their people. In the production of munitions this year we shall spend at least a billion dollars; and for the . sake of argument assume that we may have a wastage of 10 per cent as a direct result of workers not being able to find living quarters. Thus, in terms of dollars and cents you have a wastage of $100,000,000.

Let me illustrate the problem that arises. In the city of Hamilton, for example, we have many of our largest war industries. Men have gone to that city from all parts of the dominion. Recently I visited one of my constituents who moved there. He spent days and days trying to find a place for himself, his wife and his family to live, and at last in desperation he bought a house for which he paid a cash payment of $300 and arranged to pay the balance in monthly payments representing about twice what that house was actually worth in terms of rental. In all probability this man will be leaving Hamilton when the war is over; but if he had not been in a position to pay the amount I mentioned, I do not know what he would have done for housing accommodation. He happens to be a trained artisan; but had he been unable to find housing in Hamilton, and if he could have found in Guelph or Palmerston or Georgetown a place to live, so that his children could go to school, naturally he would have left the essential war industry if he could have found any sort of employment, even in a non-essential industry.

I realize that the government has given consideration to this question. A year ago it was so impressed with the matter that $10,000,000 was appropriated to set up Wartime Housing; and at a later date, when the Minister of Munitions and Supply (Mr. Howe) is in the house, I plan to say something about Wartime Housing projects. I o-night, however, I make a special plea to the Minister of Finance (Mr. Ilsley), before he writes finis to a very interesting chapter in housing in Canada, the national housing administration. Representations have been made to the Minister of Finance from many places in Canada appealing to him to have activities in connection with national housing

continued for at least another year. I know the problem confronting the minister in finding money, spending it, and satisfying the many demands. It might seem to him that this is a place where economy might be effected, and that we might discontinue the building of cheap permanent houses until the war is over. But let me remind the house of the condition which prevailed in Canada at the commencement of the war.

Canada and the United States had two of the most unenviable records, as far as providing houses within the range limit of people receiving low incomes is concerned. No civilized country in the world waited as long as we did, before giving consideration to this national problem. We have said that this was a problem for the municipalities. The municipalities have replied, "We cannot cope with it; the provinces should assume the responsibility." The provinces, in turn, pass the buck to the dominion.

In the time at my disposal, I am unable to review the development in Canada since 1913, when the very first Canadian conference ever to be held in connection with town planning was assembled in Winnipeg. I have before me a table showing the building activities in eighteen of the most important countries in the world between the years 1929 and 1937. Canada is outstanding in this report in two respects. Taking 1929 as a base period of 100, our percentage dropped to a level lower than that of any of the other countries-namely to a point of 9-7 in 1933. It remained at the lowest level in 1937, when it stood at 24. Other countries, such as Great Britain, did not get below 114 in 1933 and 151 in 1937. In Great Britain they took the attitude, quite correctly, "Here is a field where the government should spend a large sum of money. Money invested by a government in providing low-priced housing is a good investment." They realized that workers who otherwise would be unemployed would in this way be engaged in using raw materials to build something of permanent value. The result is that in the United Kingdom they had a comparatively good record.

If we take 1932 as a base period at 100, we find that the figure for south Africa in 1937 was 582, or five times as much building in 1937 as there was at the depth of the depression. Unfortunately statistics are not available for a very wide area in Canada. As a matter of fact, Winnipeg is the only city in Canada that has prepared a careful annual report which gives any true picture of the prevailing situation. The last report from Winnipeg points out that during the last five years the total dwellings and suites provided was 1,886, while

War Appropriation

during the same period there were 18,322 marriages, or one dwelling or suite for approximately every ten marriages. Of course, many of the marriages are of people from outside the city; but if three-fourths of the marriages were of city people, the rate would be only one dwelling or suite provided for approximately every seven marriages.

The figures show that in 1941 Winnipeg had the most serious housing shortage in its history. There were only 111 vacancies, including suites and houses, as compared with 337 in the previous year and 704 in the year before that. In other words, the vacancies amounted to less than one per cent. Last week the mayor of Winnipeg appeared in Ottawa with other mayors to present the housing problem to the Minister of Finance. AVhile here, he told me of some of the problems which arise in a city like Winnipeg. The wife of a man who is overseas had informed him she had been notified to vacate, and she had not the faintest idea where another house could be secured. He pointed out that this was very bad for the morale of our troops. It is not good to have married men in the forces learn that housing is not available for their dependents here, and that there will not be sufficient housing for them when the war is over.

I realize it is very important that our men and materials should be used in the production of those things which are most necessary. But we have in Canada a great many middle-aged men who have been associated with the building trades, and who will be in the ranks of the unemployed unless we continue our house building programme. I am referring to houses built under plans such as the national housing administration. Housing under Wartime Housing Limited is being carried on by large contractors, and the small contractor has not a chance to enter the picture at all. So, from the point of view of housing our people who are in war industries, and housing the relatives of our men in the forces, I suggest that the minister should give this problem very careful consideration before he dismisses it. I am sure it has been presented to him with great force by many delegations.

I do not approach the subject from the point of view of those real estate people who are concerned about the carrying on of a national housing activity from a purely personal point of view. I am thinking only in terms of a national problem. Again I must say that unless a maximum housing programme is carried on in Canada, we are going to have a very serious reduction in our production, and we shall have a whole host of social problems before the war is over, and after it.

I believe the national housing programme is one which might give the Minister of Finance a great measure of pride. I have in my hand pictures sent to me by the Quality Homes Corporation of Vancouver, showing homes which had been built in Vancouver under Wartime Housing Limited. As has been stated repeatedly, these houses are only temporary. Assurances have been given that they will be demolished- when the war is over. Wartime Housing Limited have been able to satisfy public opinion that these houses will not interfere with the investments of the other property owners. The houses built in Greater Vancouver by Wartime Housing Limited are built at an average cost of $2,996.97 per house, without basement or furnace. In the same city permanent houses have been built with full-sized basements, containing furnaces. These houses are of permanent construction, and they are built at a cost of $2,500, or approximately $500 per house less than these flimsy wartime houses.

On motion of Mr. Nicholson the debate was adjourned.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION
Subtopic:   SUPPLEMENTARY PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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At eleven o'clock the house adjourned, without question put, pursuant to standing order. Wednesday, March 25, 1942 The house imet at three o'clock.


TAXATION

AGREEMENT WITH BRITISH COLUMBIA RESPECTING VACATION OP TAX FIELDS

LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Hon. J. L. ILSLEY (Minister of Finance):

I desire to lay on the table copy of the agreement between the dominion government and the government of British Columbia relating to vacation of tax fields.

Topic:   TAXATION
Subtopic:   AGREEMENT WITH BRITISH COLUMBIA RESPECTING VACATION OP TAX FIELDS
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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

Are printed copies available, or are they not to be distributed?

Topic:   TAXATION
Subtopic:   AGREEMENT WITH BRITISH COLUMBIA RESPECTING VACATION OP TAX FIELDS
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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

No, it was not intended that copies be distributed.

Topic:   TAXATION
Subtopic:   AGREEMENT WITH BRITISH COLUMBIA RESPECTING VACATION OP TAX FIELDS
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PRIVATE BILLS

PETITION OF SAGUENAY TRANSMISSION COMPANY, SAGUENAY ELECTRIC COMPANY, AND ALUMINUM POWER COMPANY

LIB

Julien-Édouard-Alfred Dubuc

Liberal

Mr. J. E. A. DUBUC (Chicoutimi) moved:

That the petition of the Saguenay Transmission Company, Limited, Saguenay Electric Company, and Aluminum Power Company, Limited, presented on the 24th instant; praying for the passing of an act to approve of the site and plans of their electrical transmission lines

Alberta Natural Resources

crossing certain navigable rivers, together with the report of the Clerk of Petitions thereon, be referred to the standing committee on standing orders to consider the suspension of standing orders 92 and 93 (3) (a) and (c) in relation thereto.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS
Subtopic:   PETITION OF SAGUENAY TRANSMISSION COMPANY, SAGUENAY ELECTRIC COMPANY, AND ALUMINUM POWER COMPANY
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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Hon. R. B. HANSON (Leader of the Opposition):

I cannot understand why special legislation is required for this application. We have a Navigable Waters Protection Act. It may 'be that a situation has arisen which is not covered by the act, but we ought to have some explanation by the mover as to why this legislation is required.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS
Subtopic:   PETITION OF SAGUENAY TRANSMISSION COMPANY, SAGUENAY ELECTRIC COMPANY, AND ALUMINUM POWER COMPANY
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LIB

Georges Parent (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

This motion is presented only in order to cover delays which have taken place in connection with the petition. It is purely a formal matter.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS
Subtopic:   PETITION OF SAGUENAY TRANSMISSION COMPANY, SAGUENAY ELECTRIC COMPANY, AND ALUMINUM POWER COMPANY
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Motion agreed to.


ALBERTA NATURAL RESOURCES

AMENDMENT OF TRANSFER AGREEMENT RESPECTING ROYALTIES ON OIL PRODUCTION


Hon. T. A. CRERAR (Minister of Mines and Resources) moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 18, to amend the Alberta Natural Resources Acts. He said: In 1929, by agreement between the federal government and the province of Alberta, the natural resources in that province were transferred to the Alberta government. At that time there were certain licences outstanding for oil rights and timber rights. These licences had been issued by the federal government, and of course the Alberta government accepted the responsibilities which attached to the licences. Under the terms of the transfer agreement it was held that their conditions could not be varied. In 1938 it was necessary to amend the transfer agreement to enable the Alberta government to put into effect certain conservation measures in respect of the oil development in the Turner valley. The present amendment to the transfer agreement also relates to oil produced in Alberta. The Alberta government have been desirous for some time to secure the power to vary the royalties which may be charged. Certain wells were capable of paying higher royalties than other wells, but the government was limited to similar treatment for all wells covered by dominion licence. The matter has been the subject of discussion between the provincial authorities and the majority of those interested in the oil industry, and the amendment to the transfer agreement which is here proposed is to give effect to certain understandings which have been reached between the provincial government and these oil interests.


NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

Would the minister say that the matter referred to has been the subject of correspondence which could be laid on the table for the information of members of parliament?

Topic:   ALBERTA NATURAL RESOURCES
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT OF TRANSFER AGREEMENT RESPECTING ROYALTIES ON OIL PRODUCTION
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LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

I should be glad to bring down any correspondence which relates to the matter, but my recollection at the moment is that there is very little. I recall that over a year ago the matter was first broached to me by the minister of resources for the province of Alberta, and the suggestion was made then that, since certain oil interests were concerned, the provincial authorities should discuss the matter with them before we would be warranted in giving authority to vary the terms of the licences which had been issued. Subsequently that was done, and we were advised several weeks ago by representatives of the oil interests and by the province that they wished to have the agreement amended to give effect to certain understandings they had reached.

Motion agreed to and bill read the first time.

Topic:   ALBERTA NATURAL RESOURCES
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT OF TRANSFER AGREEMENT RESPECTING ROYALTIES ON OIL PRODUCTION
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QUESTIONS

March 24, 1942