July 3, 1944

SC

Robert Fair

Social Credit

Mr. FAIR:

The minister is admitting now for the first time that the farmer does work overtime. If he wants to base it on that I shall have an answer for him on another occasion. But this is the first time I ever heard the minister admit that the farmers work overtime.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

I have never denied it.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
SC

Robert Fair

Social Credit

Mr. FAIR:

Then why not see that the farmer gets a little pay for his work?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

I have no objection at all.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
SC

Robert Fair

Social Credit

Mr. FAIR:

And his wife and children should not be forgotten.

I shall refer only briefly to family allowances because Mr. Speaker would rule me out of order if I dwelt upon that subject, but the minister made reference to it in his budget speech. I accuse the Minister of Finance of stealing some of our platform. I am also going to accuse him of calling this provision family allowances and of paying these allowances under a system that should not be in existence. We advocate a dividend for all, paid with debt-free money. The minister advocates allowances for children up to a certain age, and paid for either with debt money or by taxation. His proposal amounts only to a redistribution of the poverty we still have in this country. The programme is not wide enough, and, when the minister studies things a little longer, I believe he will see that there is a better way of putting his plan into effect.

I consider that the old age pensioners have been neglected. A short time ago an amendment was made to the regulations to permit an old age pensioner to earn up to $125 a year without any deduction being made from his $25 a month pension. When a man or woman reaches seventy years of age there should not be any restrictions on the amount of money he or she may earn because, if they are ambitious and strong enough after all those years of toil to go on working, they should be free to earn all they can without affecting the amount of their pension which should be 150 a month at sixty.

Another problem that we have in this country is our educational system, and perhaps there is a reason for keeping it in existence. The taxes imposed on business are always charged back to the farmer, so that

the farmer is the basic taxpayer of the country, and he is overridden by taxation at the present time. Our municipalities and provincial governments cannot supply an adequate system of education under our present taxation system, and if we want competent teachers to stay in the teaching profession grants will have to be made by the dominion government to the provinces and these grants will have to be administered by the provinces in the interests of Canada as a whole. Our educational standard is not high enough. It is better perhaps than in some other countries;: but why compare a poor system of education with one that is poorer? The best that we could have is none too good for Canada, particularly when Canada could well afford a better educational system if only our affairs were properly managed.

Some proposals have been brought down with respect to a health programme. These are long overdue. I should like to see different means brought about for financing these health services. Of course, I am well aware that the health services ane yet only on paper and that it may be some time before they are a reality, but I hope we do not have to wait long for these health services, which Canada can well afford to put into operation.

I come now to agriculture. I must not forget that, particularly because the Minister of Finance has given the farmers some consideration in this budget. In his budget speech at page 4184 of Hansard I find this:

Canadian agriculture will he faced with important opportunities in the post-war period and if it is to take full advantage of them, its costs of production should he at the lowest practicable level. Recognition of this fact was given by the farm improvement loans hill and several important provisions of the bill for the extension of the bank charters now under consideration by the banking and commerce committee. These measures have as one of their most important objectives the provision of credit facilities to farmers which will enable-them to purchase agricultural implements at: the lowest cost on a cash basis. With the same end in view, the government believes it appropriate to provide at once and without waiting for the completion of reciprocal arrangements with other countries for the removal of all customs duties on agricultural implements. It is therefore recommended that agricultural machinery, including cream separators, and parts thereof, be made free under all tariffs. While if is impracticable from a revenue standpoint to remove the war exchange tax on the general range of commodities, the war exchange tax on agricultural machinery and cream separators and parts thereof is being removed, along with the customs duties.

On behalf of farmers all over Canada I say t* the minister, "Thank you for removing those custom duties and the war exchange tax". I feel that they should- never have been put.

The Budget-Mr. Fair

on. I do not think there was any excuse for it. Agriculture was down in the gutter and being stepped on right along, and those things are just further impositions to keep the farmers down where they should not be.

In connection with credit facilities to purchase farm implements, the rate of interest in the past was too high; it is still too high; and any benefits which may accrue through the farm improvement loan bill can speedily be offset by an increase in the prices of the implements we have to buy. It is my belief that the implement business has been a racket for a number of years. My suspicions were confirmed by the committee which, I think in 1938, investigated) the farm implement business. So that if the government would see to it that unnecessary profits were not reaped from this business it would do agriculture a great service. I feel also that the farmers are being turned over once again to the bankers, with part of the credit guaranteed' by the government, so that we can see where the government's friends come in.

I am glad that the Minister of Agriculture

were in full control of prices during the crop years 1935-36 to 1942-43 inclusive, and farmers did not live any too prosperous a life during that period. I admit that at the moment conditions are better than they were in 1935; but why should one be expected to compare conditions which are not up to standard with poorer conditions? In 1935-36 the farmers of Canada marketed 216,273,373 bushels of grain at a price of 874 cents a bushel. Had we received what we were entitled to, the price paid would have been $1.60; that is, if we were given the same treatment as organized labour, and who will argue that we are not entitled to similar consideration? I am stating this because organized labour was allowed the highest level of wages between 1926 and 1929. Using the 1926 to 1929 figure for fixing our parity price-and I do not agree that that is the proper period to be taken for this purpose- we should have received $1.41 a bushel for our wheat. This means that upon that crop alone we did not receive $116,579,373 to which we were justly entitled. That is based on the 1926-29 period, when the farmers received 16-6 per cent of the national income, although constituting approximately one-third of the total population. In tabulated form the figures of wheat sales for the crop years 1935-36 to 1942-43 are as follows:

Year Bushels sold Price Suggested parity Amount not received1935-36 216,273,373 [DOT] 87J $1.41 $116,579,3731936-37 165,628,731 1.22 32,087,3221937-38 125,471,078 1.31 12,913,5331938-39 290,539,457 .80 179,189,4171939-40 427,312,750 .70 306,740,9471940-41 458,382,611 .70 329,093,7411941-42 227,854,572 .70 164,590,3781942-43 268,219,159 .90 139,403,292Less wheat board payments $1,280,598,003 60,000,000Loss to farmers based on $1.41 per bushel.. $1,220,598,003

So that when some people tell us that the farmers are living in clover during the war years, I say that such people had better study the problem all over again. The figures I have given cover wheat only; if we go into other products, here are some prices to which we are justly entitled but which we are not getting. In the case of oats-based again on the same terms for labour-we should receive 69 cents a bushel, and we are receiving 61| cents. For other products the corresponding figures are: barley, 79| cents instead of 90 cents; flax, $2.75 instead of $3. Again let me point out that if we were getting parity prices

{Mr. Fair.]

the figures should be based on the period 1915-19'instead of 1926-29. In the fourth year of the last war wheat averaged $2.24 a bushel, and up to the present time our high price this year is $1.25. Perhaps I should quote the prices for the various crop years: in 1935-36 874 cents; in 1936-37 $1.22; that is on the open market, there being no wheat board purchases; 1937-38, $1.31 on the open market. In 1938-39 the initial price of wheat dropped down to 80 cents. In 1939-40 we were threatened at first with a price of 60 cents a bushel, which would have netted farmers for the top grade of wheat a little over 40 cents, but this was finally

raised to 70 cents. In 1940-41 and 1941-42 the price of 70 cents was maintained. In 1942-43, after more than 400 farmers and other business representatives came from the western provinces to interview the government, the price was raised to 90 cents; and only last September, for the crop year 1943-44 the price was increased to $1.25, guaranteed.

For the purpose of computing income tax a five-year instead of a two-year period should be used, because there are plenty of ups and downs in the farming industry. While a farmer might break even or even make a little profit in one or two years, over five years he might experience a considerable loss.

Another question, which I believe is receiving the consideration of the Department of National Revenue, is that of taxation on payments we are getting from the wheat board on the 1940-1941 and 1942 crops. I notice that the Minister of National Revenue (Mr. Gibson) is present. I would point out to him that we farmers, while waiting for our money from the wheat board, were paying interest on debts which should have been discharged with this wheat board money, also paying storage on the grain and interest on the initial payment. During the years 1940, 1941 and 1942, income taxes were much lower than they are at present, and it would be entirely unjust to require the farmers to pay the high rate of tax which prevails on incomes at the present time. I understand that the committee is working on this matter, and I hope the point I have raised will be taken into consideration. Last year I asked the Minister of Finance to exempt farmers entirely from the income tax brackets until the injustices that prevail are removed. He did not see fit to do so, and I am renewing that request to-day.

There are other things that are not satisfactory. For instance, there is hog grading. We had a change of system which is very good, but it is not working out in dollars and cents from the point of view of the farmer. Someone near by says that it has been fixed up for him as a start. That may be another way of fooling the farmers a little longer. The packers who finally handle the hogs when they are ready are guaranteed the full amount of profits, and the farmer gets what is left, or a certain share of it.

There are other things to be fixed up and I trust the Minister of Agriculture will see to it that a number of them are attended to. The same thing is going on in connection with the beef cattle market. The farmers are not satisfied with the services that are being rendered. Wool prices are in the same unsatisfactory condition. While last year the minister made

1, 1944 4451

The Budget-Mr. Fair

comparisons with prices paid in the United States, his argument did not hold very much water, because he was arguing on the basis of our wool being shipped to the United States and sold there. My argument is that there is no reason why our wool in Canada should not bring as good a price here as United States producers receive there for their wool, because in most cases they buy at a better price than we are allowed to buy at.

We are told that when we have legislation providing floor prices under agricultural products everything will be all right. I can agree with that, provided that the floor is placed at the proper level. If it is placed in the basement, or if the basis for fixing prices is taken on what prevailed during the depression years, in 1932, for example, when farmers received five per cent of the national income, then we might as well have no floor. We have to get to the point where the farmers will have their proper share of the national income before we shall have a proper adjustment basis. In that connection I might say that we have on the order paper a resolution which has been standing there since February 7 in the name of the hon. member for Bow River (Mr. Johnston) as follows:

Whereas agriculture has seldom received its fair share of the national income of Canada;

And whereas the cost of producing all agricultural products varies considerably from year to yoELr *

Therefore be it resolved,-That, in the opinion of this 'house and in the interest of the nation as a whole, the government be requested to set the prices of agricultural products at such a level that it will guarantee to the farmers of Canada such a yearly percentage of the national income as will have the same relation to the national income as the agricultural population bears to the national population of Canada.

On these grounds I believe we shall get that which is properly coming to us, but while we continue to figure on some false foundation there is no possibility in the world of Canada becoming the nation it should be. There is no reason either why the farmer should be treated as the poor relation. The farmers are finally waking up to the fact that they are not receiving just treatment. Perhaps that is why our Saskatchewan friends cannot agree with the reading of speeches in the house or even speeches delivered in any other way by some hon. members, because the farmers of that province not very long ago told the government in very plain terms that they were not satisfied and that something had to be done. When I say that I do not mean that the farmers of Saskatchewan and the businessmen out there voted for socialism. They were simply not satisfied with the machine they had. They did

Private Bills

not think it was giving them what they wanted and they thought they would break the machine and then get the necessary changes. I believe the farmers of Saskatchewan want security with freedom just as the rest of us do, and perhaps in the very near future we shall have things built up in that province on a more satisfactory basis.

Dealing again with the old soldier settler problem, I suggest that we have to continue pressing for this, particularly because of certain articles that appeared in the Legionary, the official organ of the Canadian Legion. I have seen the May issue, which contained a bitter attack upon the requests that have been and are being made by soldier settlers for clear titles to their land. It was written by a civil servant of the government, who, I understand, went to the legion convention and got in his work there. He wandered into a committee room where a committee was dealing with the resolution on soldier settler business, and burnt-out veterans, and said that he hoped he was not intruding. When the facts are known I think it will be seen that he was intruding and that he is not wanted by the soldier settlers of Canada.

I cannot place all the blame on this particular civil servant. The minister in charge has to accept his responsibility also, and if the Veterans Land Act which is being administered at the present time is to be a success, then the business of the old Soldier Settlement Act and the Veterans' Land Act must be removed from the charge of the Minister of Mines and Resources and a different man put in as director. I am quite satisfied that we shall not and cannot have a satisfactory administration while the present set-up exists there.

At six o clock the house took recess.

After Recess

The house resumed at eight o'clock. PRIVATE BILLS

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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CONSIDERED IN COMMITTEE-THIRD READINGS


Bill No. 16, for the relief of Pinnie Rosenhek Leopold.-Mr. Casselman (Grenville-Dundas). Bill No. 29, for the relief of Joseph Ulric Edouard Burns.-Mr. Hill. Bill No. 51, for the relief of Goldie Anker Lazanik.-Mr. Boucher. Bill No. 58, for the relief of Adelard Belanger.-Mr. Hill. Bill No. 81, for the relief of Alice Robert Rajotte.-Mr. Hill. Bill No. 113, for the relief of Frances Eleanor Campbell Coleman.-Mr. Mellraith. Bill No. 114, for the relief of George Igaz.- Mr. Casselman (Grenville-Dundas). Bill No. 115, for the relief of John William Frank Draper.-Mr. Emmerson. Bill No. 116, for the relief of Sam Sokoloff.- Mr. Mellraith. Bill No. 117, for the relief of Leon LeBrun. -Mr. Macdonald (Brantford City). Bill No. 119, for the relief of William Taffert. -Mr. Mellraith. Bill No. 120, for the relief of Belle Bailey Leibovitch.-Mr. Mellraith. Bill No. 121, for the relief of Gertie Shulman Friedman.-Mr. Mellraith. Bill No. 122, for the relief of Sarah Slutsky Shapiro.-Mr. Mellraith. Bill No. 123, for the relief of Jessie Dickson Mackie Toy.-Mr. Hill. Bill No. 124, for the relief of Angele Pauline Edgar Marie Lambert Choux.-Mr. Fulford, Bill No. 125, for the relief of Margaret Kathleen Hollenbeck Fortin.-Mr. Fulford. Bill No. 126, for the relief of Hulda Von Koughnet Lynch-Staunton.-Mr. Boucher. Bill No. 127, for the relief of James MacMillan McHale.-Mr. Homuth. Bill No. 128, for the relief of Vernon Ross Aiken.-Mr. Boucher. Bill No. 129, for the relief of Frederick Richard Channon.-Mr. Factor. Bill No. 130, for the relief of Ernest Charles Hazard.-Mr. Whitman. Bill No. 118, respecting the General Missionary Society of the German Baptist Churches of North America, and to change the name to the North American Baptist General Missionary Society.-Mrs. Casselman.


SECOND READINGS


Bill No. 140, for the relief of James Russell Popham.-Mr. Mellraith. Bill No. 141, for the relief of Norma Segal Katz.-Mr. Maclnnis. Bill No. 142, for the relief of Harold Almond Jelley.-Mr. Douglas.. Bill No. 143, for the relief of Josephine Kurys Kulczycki-Mr. Whitman. Bill No. 144, for the relief of Shirley Harte Harvey Payne-Mr. Hill. Bill No. 145, for the relief of Pearl Anneta Benn Russell-Mr. Whitman. Bill No. 146, for the relief of Joseph Adelard Paul Begin.-Mr. Maclnnis. Bill No. 150, for the relief of Eugene Charron.-Mr. Macdonald (Brantford City). No. 151,' for the relief of Lillian Bessie Noall Salmon.-Mr. Hill, The Budget-Mr. Fair Bill No. 152, for the relief of Joan Helen Gorham Glover.-Mr. Emmerson. Bill No. 153, for the relief of Elsie Hollingsworth.-Mr. Casselman (Grenville-Dundas). Bill No. 154, for the relief of Louis Joseph Jules Laurencelle.-Mr. Macdonald (Brantford City). Bill No. 155, for the relief of Freda Altman Scheien.-Mr. Factor. Bill No. 156, for the relief of Ivan Walter Moore.-Mr. Mcllraith.


THE BUDGET


The house resumed consideration of the motion of Hon. J. L. Ilsley (Minister of Finance) that Mr. Speaker do now leave the chair for the house to go into committee of ways and means, and on the proposed amendment thereto of Mr. Rowe.


SC

Robert Fair

Social Credit

Mr. FAIR:

When the house rose at six o'clock I had commenced to deal with the problem of soldier settlers who settled on the land after the last war. I had made one or two recommendations and I do not intend to deal with this matter in detail this evening, because several members including myself have dealt with it in detail on other occasions.

On June 14 I went into this matter very fully and I feel that the government is now well aware of the conditions existing. It is sufficient at this time to say that after the end of world war No. 1 some twenty-five thousand veterans settled on the land. After twenty-five years we find that just over four thousand of those have obtained titles and that at the end of March of this year 6,153 still remained on the land, being indebted to the extent of some $7,700,000. I am making a further plea to have clear titles granted to those people.

Under the present set-up of the Veterans' Land Act, 1942, the free grant provided for those settlers amounts to approximately thirty-nine per cent of the total amount expended by way of credit. At the present time the 6,153 are still indebted to the board to the extent of only twenty-nine per cent of their original debt. If this amount is forgiven, if clear titles are issued, those old soldier settlers who were settled on the land under the improvised scheme will not receive nearly as much as those who are to be settled under the Veterans' Land Act. Under the new measure the persons affected are asked to pay off only sixty-one per cent of their total indebtedness. I think the government might very well take this into consideration, when they deal in the near future with the problems of old soldier settlers.

My time has almost expired, and with what is left of it I shall refer to only one or two further matters. I would speak first about our national debt. I believe that, since confederation, in only fifteen or seventeen years have we had a balanced budget, or a surplus. Yet we have been told by the present Minister of Finance that we can and will pay off our national debt. The only way I can see in which that can be done under our present system is by refunding or by renewing the old notes. That is not good enough, because the interest being paid is eating up a lot of the money which should be used for social services, and other things for the welfare of the people.

I say, therefore, that some new system of financing will have to be devised; otherwise we shall soon be the total slaves of our financial system. The main function of the government, as I see it, is, first, to win the war and, second, to make preparations for winning the peace. We have been told time and again that unless those preparations are made before the end of the war, it will be too late. On several occasions we in this group have recommended that certain changes be made in order to make that preparation for winning the peace. To do this, our basic industries-and, first of all, agriculture-will have to be placed on a sound footing. That is one thing which has not yet been done in Canada. All sections of the country and all occupational groups must be treated fairly and equitably; otherwise we cannot have a prosperous or contented people.

If hon. members want any illustrations of this, let them note how the farmers have been treated in the past, and then compare that treatment with the treatment given bankers. I believe one of the best exhibitions of the way in which bankers have been treated has been shown in the banking and commerce committee in the .last weeks. What has happened in that committee has opened the eyes of the people of Canada. They have found out just what is going on along those lines. The battle against the money powers, which was promised by the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) in 1935, is being fought and lost, so far as the people of Canada are concerned.

I hold in my hand a clipping from the Saskatchewan Cooperative Consumer of March 15, 1940. I believe this is well worth reading this evening, and I am reading it particularly because we have heard a number of government supporters tell us just what a great man the Prime Minister is. This article will, I believe, state my case just as well as

The Budget-Mr. Fair

I could in my own words. The article is headed "That Astonishing Person"-and I am adding the words "The Prime Minister". It is as follows:

This parable, by an unknown author, illustrates the sad dilemma into which civilization has drifted.

"Man can circle the earth without touching the ground; men can kill other men twenty miles away; man can weigh the stars of heaven; man can drag oil from the 'bowels of the earth; mail can compel an icy waterfall to cook his meals hundreds of miles from the stream; man can print a million newspapers in an hour; man can breed the seeds out of oranges; man can coax a hen to lay 365 eggs in a year; man can persuade dogs to smoke pipes and sea lions to play guitars. Man, in other words, is quite an ingenious and remarkable package of physical and mental machinery.

But, when this astonishing person is confronted with one problem, he retires defeated to his hut. Show him six men without money and six loaves of bread belonging to_ men who cannot use it, but who want money for it, and ask him how the six hungry men can be put in possession of the six surplus loaves and watch him then. It is then that-"

The Prime Minister-

"-attends conferences and appoints committees cries out that a crisis is upon him. He does and holds elections and makes speeches and a score of useless things and then retires to his hut, leaving in the shivering twilight the tableau of the six hungry men and the six unapproachable loaves."

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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LIB

John Knox Blair

Liberal

Mr. BLAIR:

Poppycock.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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SC

Robert Fair

Social Credit

Mr. FAIR:

In order to get the Prime

Minister out of this dilemma I am going to suggest just one solution. There is only one way in which he can get out of that terrible mess into which he has got himself, and which he apparently does not seem to be able to get out of. The answer is: Social credit. There is no other way out of it. I can find no more suitable words with which to finish my speech this evening than to ask the Prime Minister to put into effect a genuine social credit policy, and give the people of Canada economic security with freedom.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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CCF

Alexander Malcolm Nicholson

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

Mr. A. M. NICHOLSON (Mackenzie):

Mr. Speaker, while I do not share the social views held by the Minister of Finance (Mr. Ilsley), yet I believe that if the war effort of Canada is to be financed according to orthodox methods, then in the present minister we have as fair a servant of the people as could be found. .

When one consider? the record of the present government, since a minister of finance presented the first war-time budget in 1939, he must be impressed by what the people of Canada have done under the stress of war. The minister has exploded pretty completely the theory that the efforts of any nation

should be limited in any way by the amount of gold available in bank vaults, or any other place. It has been demonstrated that whatever is physically possible can be made possible by a nation in war time.

We see that while in 1939-40 the total peace-time requirements were only $308,000,000, in the next year those requirements had increased to $390,000,000, while in the next year they were $444,000,000 and in 1942-43 were $561,000,000. The estimated amount for 1943-44 is $630,000,000. But if one looks into the war-time expenditures he finds that they have been increased from $118,000,000 in the first year to $752,000,000 in the next, $1,339,000,000 in 1941-42 and over $3,324,000,000 in 1942-43. In the present year, 1943-44, the amount is $4,624,000,000.

Then, when one considers the expenditures of one department, such as the Department of Munitions and Supply, he finds, that those expenditures have increased from $79,000,000 in 1940-41 to $725,000,000 in 1943-44, or almost ten times as much in four years.

When one takes note of these very large expenditures he might think that hon. members would have been able to support the subamendment proposed by the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell), the leader of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation. May I say in passing that while I support the amendment offered by the official opposition, I should like to have it clearly understood that if I had to choose between having as Minister of Finance the present minister and having as minister the financial critic of the official opposition, I would much prefer retaining the present minister. If one considers the amendment submitted on behalf of the Conservative party he will see it is obvious that it does not really deal with anything fundamental. The first clause reads:

That no adequate steps have been taken to simplify the forms and modernize the methods of taxation.

I hope when we are in committee the mover of that resolution will submit a form that will be simple enough to enable the administration to collect money from the taxpayers by a painless method. The official opposition found it impossible to support the subamendment, which reads:

This house regrets, further, that the government has failed to make provision or plans for the expenditure of, at least, five billion dollars during the first two post-war years for the purpose of establishing a comprehensive national system of social security and of maintaining full employment through public investment in such projects as a low-cost housing programme in town and county, rural electrification, the conversion of government-owned war plants to the production of peace-

The Budget-Mr. Nicholson

time goods, the public development of Canada's oil and mineral resources, the promotion of scientific research, and artistic and cultural work throughout Canada.

The fact that the official opposition was unable to support that amendment indicates pretty conclusively that they really did not believe in an alternative to the methods now being presented by the Minister of Finance.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

You had only one speaker who rose and supported it.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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CCF

Alexander Malcolm Nicholson

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

Mr. NICHOLSON:

The official opposition did not give us any support; to a man they voted against it.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. COLDWELL:

We said all that was necessary to say.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

You spoke, and of course that answered it all.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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CCF

Alexander Malcolm Nicholson

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

Mr. NICHOLSON:

It was pretty clear that the so-called Progressive Conservative party is really as Tory as ever with the Meighens and the people of King and Bay streets, Toronto, controlling the policy of this newly named political party. When one considers the very large government appropriations in times like these; when one considers that this year the federal government will spend over four billion dollars in directing Canadian production, he must realize that if this country is not going to guarantee an expenditure of at least two and a half million dollars for the first two years after the war is over, then Canada will slide into the worst depression we have ever known in our history.

Some time ago one Progressive Conservative suggested that the synthetic rubber plant at Sarnia should be left to free enterprise. While there are several large companies interested ih the management of this plant, there was no private, enterprise prepared to expend $48,000,000 to experiment in producing a substitute for natural rubber. The people of this country collectively supplied that money. Now that it has been demonstrated that a product which compares favourably with natural rubber can be made in large quantities, a product that promises to be an important factor in Canadian economy when the war is over, we see what must be the policy of this government when the war is over.

Is the government to hand this industry over to free enterprise? Are we to have one synthetic rubber plant or are we to have five or ten? Are ten times $48,000,000 or ten times the amount of material and labour used in the construction of this plant to be expended in the building of unnecessary enterprises? I submit that unless the administration of this country is prepared after the war to continue the

spending of large sums of money, then Canada will not be able to provide full employment for those in the armed services and those now working in war industry.

I think the minister has overlooked the importance of popularizing some of the work done under his direction. While some years ago he boasted of his faith in free enterprise, he found that it was imperative to have control of foreign exchange, to set up the wartime prices and trade board, to have rationing and priorities. As I say, I think it is unfortunate that more publicity has not been given to the important functions carried on by these branches under the Minister of Finance and the part they have played in our national economy. Instead of allowing those who'have been cramped by these regulations to count the days until the war is over, until they will be free from these controls, until prices will rise without any restrictions, until the sky will be the limit in the making of profits, we should be giving the public the details of what has been done. The minister should endeavour to bring the public with him in supporting these controls, not only ib war time but after the war is over, because the danger of inflation will not disappear with the firing of the last gun and the signing of the peace treaty.

I wish to use most of my time to-night to discuss a subject which I think will be a very important one in the post-war period, a subject which unfortunately has not received the attention it should have received in parliament. Since the war started very few members have taken the time to discuss the place that housing plays in the life of Canada. I should like to congratulate the government-the members of this group do congratulate the administration from time to time-upon the excellent report on housing and community planning which was tabled on March 24 and which has recently been printed.

In January, 1943, the administration set up a sub-committee on housing and community planning as part of the advisory committee's work on reconstruction. Professor C. A. Curtis, professor of economics of Queen's university was chairman, and E. R. Arthur, professor of architecture, university of Toronto, was a member. Mr. J. S. Galbraith; Mr. F. W. Nicolls, director of housing, Department of Finance, Ottawa; Mr. J. M. Piggot of Wartime Housing Limited and a number of others were also members. Doctor Marsh acted as research adviser and Doctor Firestone also did valuable research work, as did Mr. Greenway of the dominion bureau of statistics. Never before in Canada have we had such a comprehensive study of housing legislation in the

The Budget-Mr. Nicholson

different provinces and communities. It contains some very useful suggestions and suggests a pattern of the things to come. I should like to remind the house that while Canada has had a great abundance of lumber, cement and other building materials, our housing achievements have been anything but spectacular.

Housing legislation in Great Britain dates back to 1851. The first legislation passed in that year was based on the findings in the Chadwick report. Apparently in those days in Great Britain it took some time to get things done. That report was tabled in 1838 and it took about thirteen years to get action, but by 1851 they had legislation on their statute books and had made a real start toward the clearing of their slums.

A start was made some years ago in the United States, and when I last discussed the question of housing I devoted a great deal of time to describing some of the housing projects I had seen in Boston and in the green belt in Maryland. I want to make it clear that they have not solved their housing problem in the United States. In all their large cities there are slum areas which are eyesores to the people who have to live in them. The cost of maintaining those slums is a very important factor in the taxation structures of the communities, but in Canada we have a very short history in the field of housing.

During the last war the government recognized that you could not have full production if men working in war factories had to travel many miles to and from work, or if three or more families had to live in crowded quarters. It was realized that an appropriation would have to be made to relieve the housing shortage. But following the war it was not until 1935 that the Dominion Housing Act was passed. The results of its first two years of operation were quite disappointing. By 1936 only 936 units were built, but the following year this number was doubled and some experience was acquired which convinced the people of the country that some improvement should be made in the act. Later, in 1938, the National Housing Act was passed. That act has made it possible for people in the higher income brackets to acquire a house at lower costs than previously prevailed. By advancing twenty per cent of the cost and only ten per cent for the lower price houses, people were able to acquire ownership of homes on monthly payments amortizing principal, interest, insurance and taxes which did not amount to much more than they would have had to pay for rent. But the National Housing Act has not relieved

the situation in some areas. It has not made any appeal to the people in the lower income brackets. There are very few lower paid workers who are ever in a position to advance-even the ten per cent necessary to get them started owning their own ho-mes.

Since the war started we have had Wartime Housing Limited, which has relieved the pressure in some of the larger industrial areas, but we cannot view that experiment as having solved anything. Many of the houses built under Wartime Housing were of a temporary nature. The undertaking was given that they would be demolished after the war, so-that they would not become slum areas, but experience has proven that temporary houses; are never demolished as long as less desirable houses are being occupied. With very few exceptions where these wartime houses have been built there is a shortage of permanent houses, and it is hardly conceivable that any administration will compel people to move out of these wartime houses into the public parks so that these hastily built houses may be demolished. They have not been built with a view to permanence, although the Minister of Munitions and Supply (Mr. Howe) indicated on occasions that basements for them would be constructed and some attempt made to have them become permanent houses.

When members consider the very large shifts in population that have taken place-since the war started they will appreciate the immediate problem of having quarters available for our heroes when the war is over. Manj' of these young men got married just before enlisting and going overseas. Their brides stayed on writh their families. It is not good enough to ask these young people to wait for four or five or six years after the husbands return before they will be able to get into quarters of their own.

In Halifax, for example, the number of employees in 1939 totalled something over

8,000, and in 1942 over 16,000, an increase of over 108 per cent. In Saint John the number of workers increased from 6,000 to

11,000 between 1939 and 1942, an increase of seventy-eight per cent; in Quebec, an increase of ninety-eight per cent; in Montreal, an increase of forty-nine per cent; and further increases w'ere: m Ottawa, forty-seven per cent; Toronto, fifty-six per cent; Hamilton, seventy-one per cent; London, twenty-nine per cent; Windsor, 121 per cent; Winnipeg, thirty per cent; Vancouver, eighty per cent, and Victoria, ninety-five per cent. The total

The Budget-Mr. Nicholson

increase in these twelve metropolitan areas was from 521,000 in 1939 to 826,000 in 1942, an increase of 305,000.

The instructions to the committee were issued in January, 1943. Here we are in the first week of July, 1944. We have this excellent report, but we have no machinery at Ottawa or in the provinces to start the real task of building houses when materials are -available after the war. I think the time is long past when the administration should have announced in detail its housing plans. While some criticism might be made of this report 1 want to urge the administration to implement it, making whatever changes in it they think desirable, but without further delay to announce its plans for housing to the house and have some of the suggestions contained in this report carried out.

It is imperative that the federal administration should make known its plans with respect to town planning. Since the start of the war there has been a very large movement of population to cities like Hamilton, Windsor, Halifax, and the people of these cities naturally wonder whether this influx of people is to be permanent or whether the people will be returning to the prairies or some other part of Canada. It is pointed out in this report that at the time of confederation Canada did not have any large metropolitan areas. Winnipeg, one of the largest cities in the west to-day, at that time had a population of about 200; Moncton, now a busy city, had a population of only 500. There were three fairly large centres at that time: Montreal with a population of 130,000, Quebec with 59,000 and Toronto with 59,000. Ottawa at that time had a population of about 20,000. While Halifax has a very long history, it had then a relatively small population. At the time of confederation those wise fathers of confederation did not anticipate that Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal would in the course of seventy-five years grow to the very large centres they have become, and accordingly did not provide for dividing the responsibility between the dominion and the provinces in regard to town planning and housing. We have not yet determined whether an extensive housing programme should be the responsibility of the federal government, provincial governments or municipal governments. The question has been a convenient football to be kicked around from one administration to another on the ground that the British North America Act did not clearly define the responsibility.

Therefore I suggest that without further delay a conference of the nine provinces with the dominion should be called, with representatives also from the cities and rural municipal organizations across Canada, to discuss the one, single problem of housing with a view to reaching an agreement for the setting up of machinery after the war to relieve the housing situation, so that men now engaged in the construction industry building factories and war plants will be available to go into high gear building homes for our people.

One interesting section of this report deals with farm housing. Again I am grateful that at last a department of government has recognized that people on the farms in this country deserve better houses than they have hitherto had. I find, according to one of the bulletins issued by the bureau of census on farm dwellings in Canada, that in Saskatchewan where I live only one farm house out of 100 has running water; in Manitoba, two out of 100; Alberta, three; Prince Edward Island, nine; Nova Scotia, fourteen; New Brunswick, eighteen; Quebec, twenty-five; Ontario, fourteen; and British Columbia has the largest proportion, with thirty-four out of 100.

The situation with respect to electric lighting is similar. Saskatchewan has the worst record in that respect, w'ith only five homes out of 100 having electric lighting. British Columbia has the best record, with thirty-six out of 100. In Saskatchewan, where we have plenty of frost in the winter time and people should be able to store up some ice for summer use, owing to depressed conditions over many years only seven farms in every 100 have mechanical and ice refrigeration.

In connection with the value of farm dwellings, I find that in Saskatchewan the value of the average farm house is $950. New Brunswick, however, has the poorest record in this connection. It has produced very large quantities of lumber, and it should have been possible to acquire some paint there, but the average value of dwellings in that province is only $861. Values in the other provinces are: Prince Edward Island, $1,049; Nova Scotia, $953; Quebec, $1,019; Ontario, $1,421; Manitoba, $966; Alberta, $999; British Columbia, $1,173. Hon. members will be interested in knowing that in the cities in these different provinces people have much better houses. For example, in Halifax ninety-eight per cent of the houses have running water; in Quebec city, 100 per cent; in Regina, eighty-four per cent; Saskatoon, seventy-six per cent. As regards houses equipped with baths or showers, the proportion per hundred in Halifax is seventy-three; in Saint John, New Brunswick, sixty-three; in Regina, sixty-four; in Saskatoon, fifty-eight.

The Budget-Mr. Nicholson

The fact that the people on our farms in all parts of Canada have been obliged to sell their products at such low prices and have had to pay high prices for farm machinery and other manufactured goods has been largely responsible for the small amounts made available for housing.

In the November, 1943, issue of the Economic Annalist, published by the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner), there is an interesting report of a survey made in several parts of Saskatchewan; in the prairie area, where we have our good farm lands; in the park area, where we have good lands too but where a good deal more work was involved in clearing the land; and in the pioneer areas, where the heroes of the last war were obliged to eke out a living. In this survey the houses were classified as "poor", "fair" and "good". In deciding whether a house would go into these different categories, the enumerators noted poor foundations, faulty roofs, lack of paint, windows missing, et cetera. In the best area in Saskatchewan only 6-1 per cent of the houses were classified as good, seventy per cent as fair, and twenty-three per cent as poor. In the park area, 9-6 per cent were classified as good, fifty-eight per cent as fair, and thirty-one per cent as poor. In the pioneer area, only 3-7 per cent were good, thirty-nine per cent were fair and fifty-six per cent were poor. In one of these areas-the pioneer area -the average value of the poor houses is given as $207. I am amused, when members of the Progressive Conservative party outline ambitious programmes of housing, to recall the attempts which were made under the premiership of Viscount Bennett, when he was here, to re-house our farm people. We had in Canada in those days plenty of carpenters, lumber and paint. The only thing which seemed to be lacking was gold. Because we were short of money the farmers were not able to acquire lumber. The average value of the poor house in the pioneer area of Saskatchewan was, as I have said, 8207. The fair house was valued at $524.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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July 3, 1944