If the ministers could only get together before they begin contradicting me, rather than after, we would make much better progress. The conference they are now holding should have been held before they came into the chamber. In any event I shall leave the matter there.
The next point I should like to discuss is that of housing. I am not going to deal with it at any length, because it has been dealt with by several hon. members. It was referred to by my leader, and undoubtedly further reference will be made to the subject in the house, unless something is done very quickly.
So far as housing is concerned, conditions in Vancouver are deplorable. Housing conditions in most cities of Canada were bad before the war. They have continually become worse. I am not blaming the government for that, because it was inevitable that that condition should develop. In British Columbia, since the beginning of the war there has been a great increase in population. From 1941, when the census was taken, to 1944, the population increased from 818,000 in the earlier year to an estimated 932,000 in the latter year. It is considered that over 60,000 of those people are settled in Vancouver. The situation grows worse daily as many of the men from the armed services who enlisted in other provinces are taking their discharge in British Columbia, or are coming to that province after being discharged. That happened after the last war, and it is happening again this time.
The government is leaving the matter of housing to private enterprise. I hold in my hand a news item from the Vancouver Daily Province, dated July 16, which says, "Ilsley introduces vast scheme to provide veterans' homes. Ottawa guarantees builders against loss." I thought my friends favoured private enterprise, and urged that private enterprise had a right to its profit because it was prepared to take risks. But the private enterprise we have to-day asks the government to take the risks while it takes the profits. Surely that is a poor sort of private enterprise. And when it reaches that stage I say it ceases to be private enterprise and should receive no further consideration from anyone.
When during the war we needed so many planes, so many tanks, so many ships and so many guns the government planned for the production of them. So far as it was able it did not permit anything to interfere with that production-and it had wonderful success, bur when veterans need homes, when war workers need homes, when our people generally need homes, why in the world can we not decide how many homes we need, and then plan and organize to build them? Why should we leave those things to private enterprise, while we guarantee them against loss, if they should have any, and at the same time permit them to take a profit, if there is one? We cannot carry on the business of making provision for our people that way.
In the short time remaining to me may I make the admission that perhaps the reason for the mental gymnastics of which the Minister of Labour complained a few minutes ago is that I have been trying to understand the social and economic philosophy of the official opposition. During the election and since that time I thought they wanted the removal of controls, and a return to private enterprise so fast that it would make one's hair stand on end. But since coming to parliament and listening to them I have decided that their tune has changed. Perhaps when I say that I am not altogether correct. In my view they have two tunes, if I have caught the strains correctly, one of which is entitled Throw the Controls out of the Window, and the second of which is Let the Government Get Action. But they cannot have both. The authority which is going to get action must have control. If we want the government to act-and this group does want it, and is willing to give the government the authority and control for action-it must have control. But hon. members to my right want it both ways. I should like to quote their position as it was placed before the house last night by the hon.
The Address-Mr. Maclnnis
member for Vancouver-Burrard (Mr. Merritt'). This is what he says as reported on page 107 of Hansard:
The end of laissez-faire means another thing. It means that the government are no longer solely the administrators of the affairs of this country; that they can be content just to let things go. The government are ultimately responsible for every part of our national life, and there is no ill which befalls the people of this country which it is not the duty of the government to correct. If they are to correct all those ills, they must get a new outlook.
Somewhat earlier in his address-and as I said before, his maiden speech was a good one-the hon. member said we do not want a new social order. Now it seems we must have a new outlook without a new social order.
Mr. FRASER; What Canada needs is a new leader.
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY