November 12, 1945

SC

Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. LOW:

I understand that my hon. friend is a firm believer in collectivism. But we won the war through the magnificient efforts of individuals. One of the freedoms for which Canadians fought the war was the freedom to live their lives as individuals and not as parts of regimented groups. That is what I am fighting for, and if the government would fulfil its proper function of getting purchasing power into the hands of the consumers it would1 not have to bring in a bill to provide for the building of houses, because the people would then do it for themselves and make an extremely good job of it.

But I wish to point out am entirely different principle in this bill. We have before us another attempt, as I see it, to set up by law the "Corporation Money Lenders' Charter". I see in this bill an attempt to reintroduce in different clothes the Central Mortgage Bank Act of 1939, and that is what I take objection to. There are evidences, plenty of them, in the bill, that this is so. Just look at part II, beginning with section 28 and1 including sections 29, 30 and 31, and you will see that the corporation to be set up under this measure is not confined to financing housing loans, but is empowered and authorized to go out into the field and buy up and secure any mortgage in existence in Canada.

Topic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   CENTRAL MORTGAGE AND HOUSING CORPORATION- DISCOUNTING FACILITIES
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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

That is correct; mortgages held by lending institutions. That is a second feature.

Topic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   CENTRAL MORTGAGE AND HOUSING CORPORATION- DISCOUNTING FACILITIES
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SC

Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. LOW:

That is right. It is to that, that I am now drawing the attention of the house, because it is important that the Canadian people should know just what is being done under this legislation. I recall that when the Central Mortgage Bank Act rvas put through the house in 1939, it came before the house near the end of the session when the government was very busy preparing for

Housing Act

the coming of their Majesties the King and Queen, and the members were naturally anxious to get home and did not have much time to spend on the bill. But I remember the decided upsurge of feeling there was throughout the whole of Canada against it. That may be the reason why the act was never proclaimed. It has not yet been. And n-ow I see that same proposal being brought back into the house, dressed up in a very innocent-looking, indeed a very worthy dress -housing. I do not think that is the right vray of dealing with a thing of this type. It has yet to be shown that a central mortgage bank is necessary to provide plenty of houses for the Canadian people. When the Minister of Finance has shown that that bank is necessary to provide plenty of houses for the Canadian people I shall be the first one to assist him to get it into operation.

I see in this bill what might be one more attempt to arrogate to the dominion government the powers and rights that were allocated to the provinces under the British North America Act. I see in it one more inroad on the - power of the provinces, the waning power 'of the provinces, over property and civil rights which was given to them under the British North America Act. That was the basis of the opposition of this group to the Central Mortgage Bank bill in 1939, and if I am correct in my assumption that this bill reintroduces many of the provisions of that act, then I say to you, Mr. Speaker, that that still must be our basis of opposition, that it does centralize. We are determinedly set against the centralization and the arroga-tion of provincial rights into dominion hands. This bill undoubtedly, if it goes through and is applied, will result in the further diminishing of provincial authority in the field of property and civil rights.

An lion. MEMBER: Explain.

Topic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   CENTRAL MORTGAGE AND HOUSING CORPORATION- DISCOUNTING FACILITIES
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SC

Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. LOW:

Yes, I will explain, but first let me give one quotation from Lord Macmillan, with whom most members of the house are familiar. He said:

Provinces are sovereign within their own sphere of jurisdiction. Therefore, the citizen can look only to his provincial government for protection of his property rights. And the question of debt enforcement by depossession is essentially a matter concerning property rights oi the citizen.

Now, in answer to the question just asked, I see in this bill provisions which might take out of the hands of provincial governments the right to arrange debt settlements under certain mortgage agreements relating to homes, farm property or any other property within

the confines of the province. I say that such a possibility is dangerous, and it is on that ground more particularly than anything else that this group stands firm in its opposition to the bill.

There is certain information which I have been trying to get, and which will come along, I am sure, within the next day or two, that will enable me to complete my case. Whether it is the intention of the minister to press for the early passage of this bill I do not know, but if it is I am sure that the minister will indicate it.

Mr. II.SLEY: I certainly want to get it through to-day if I can.

Topic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   CENTRAL MORTGAGE AND HOUSING CORPORATION- DISCOUNTING FACILITIES
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SC

Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. LOW:

There is certain information that I require to complete my case, and- if I could be assured that the committee stage would not be completed to-day but would be deferred until Monday I would not do what I otherwise must do. If it is the intention of the government to try to finish the whole thing up to-day, I should like to move the adjournment of the debate at this stage.

Topic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   CENTRAL MORTGAGE AND HOUSING CORPORATION- DISCOUNTING FACILITIES
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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

I would oppose the adjournment of the debate, but if the hon. gentleman can make a case for waiting until Monday I do not think I would be justified in refusing him. I think, however, we had better go ahead and give the bill second reading and then go through the clauses. I should like to hear the hon. gentleman's case, even on the assumption that the information which he expects comes. I have not heard any case yet against the bill.

Topic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   CENTRAL MORTGAGE AND HOUSING CORPORATION- DISCOUNTING FACILITIES
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SC

Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. LOW:

I need the information to present a comprehensive case. I cannoi do so at the moment because I am not in possession of all the information I have been seeking. For that reason I should like to move the adjournment of the debate.

Topic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   CENTRAL MORTGAGE AND HOUSING CORPORATION- DISCOUNTING FACILITIES
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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

I shall have to oppose the adjournment of the debate. Would not this be satisfactory to my hon. friend? Let us have the second reading and go into the clauses, dealing with those that are not objectionable to him. He is objecting, as I understand, to clauses 28 and 29 which empower this corporation

Topic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   CENTRAL MORTGAGE AND HOUSING CORPORATION- DISCOUNTING FACILITIES
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SC

Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. LOW:

And sections 30 and 31.

Topic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   CENTRAL MORTGAGE AND HOUSING CORPORATION- DISCOUNTING FACILITIES
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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

Well, the group of clauses

which centre round the power given the corporation to buy mortgages.

Topic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   CENTRAL MORTGAGE AND HOUSING CORPORATION- DISCOUNTING FACILITIES
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SC

Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. LOW:

That is right. [DOT]

Topic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   CENTRAL MORTGAGE AND HOUSING CORPORATION- DISCOUNTING FACILITIES
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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

We believe that to be a most valuable feature of the bill, and I will give reasons for that belief. The hon. member

Homing Act

perhaps does not share it. Let us leave those clauses, or one or some of them, until he gets the information he wishes to have for the purpose of making a case against those provisions.

Topic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   CENTRAL MORTGAGE AND HOUSING CORPORATION- DISCOUNTING FACILITIES
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SC

Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. LOW:

I have no objection whatever to a procedure of that kind so long as I am sure that we shall have a full and complete opportunity for presenting our case and for further questioning of the minister in order that we can leam the whole story. I do not wish to delay the house in this matter; I have not shown that tendency in anything we have done this session. I assure you, Mr. Speaker, that I shall be prepared to go into the committee, if the rest of the members so desire, and discuss the clauses, if we hold over one or two so that we may resume discussion of them on Monday.

Topic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   CENTRAL MORTGAGE AND HOUSING CORPORATION- DISCOUNTING FACILITIES
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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

I will agree to that.

Topic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   CENTRAL MORTGAGE AND HOUSING CORPORATION- DISCOUNTING FACILITIES
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PC

John Bracken (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BRACKEN:

May I be permitted a question. I have been interested in the discussion between the hon. member for Peace River and the Minister of Finance. We wish to facilitate the work of the house as much as possible, but frankly we had hoped that the minister would not press this' matter to a final decision to-day. Two of our members in particular are interested in it and they are away; they were not aware when they left last night that this measure would come up to-day. I wonder if the minister would be agreeable to leaving it in committee to-day. Pass the second reading, go into committee, and leave it there, dealing with it finally on Monday.

Topic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   CENTRAL MORTGAGE AND HOUSING CORPORATION- DISCOUNTING FACILITIES
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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

That was what I undertook to do in the remarks I made in reply to the member for Peace River. The leader of the opposition may wish to have certain clauses stand, but can we not deal with some of the clauses in committee?

Topic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   CENTRAL MORTGAGE AND HOUSING CORPORATION- DISCOUNTING FACILITIES
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PC

John Bracken (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BRACKEN:

I do not know what

clauses hon. members would like to have left over, but I am sure the Minister of Finance would not mind holding over until Monday any clauses that hon. members might wisl^ to discuss.

Topic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   CENTRAL MORTGAGE AND HOUSING CORPORATION- DISCOUNTING FACILITIES
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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. KNOWLES:

How about these four

clauses and the short title?

Topic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   CENTRAL MORTGAGE AND HOUSING CORPORATION- DISCOUNTING FACILITIES
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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

All right.

Topic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   CENTRAL MORTGAGE AND HOUSING CORPORATION- DISCOUNTING FACILITIES
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LIB

Thomas Reid

Liberal

Mr. THOMAS REID (New Westminster):

I would not mind the house going into committee but if we went into committee at once some members might be debarred from discussing certain phases of the bill1 with which they can deal only on this occasion.

I have just a few remarks to make before you leave the chair, Mr. Speaker, and I shall be as brief as possible.

The hon. member for Peace River (Mr. Low), the leader of the Social Credit party, stated that the dominion government under this bill was jeopardizing provincial rights. From what I see of provincial governments to-day it is my opinion that they are nothing more or less than glorified municipal councils. As a matter of fact they are not doing as good work in many cases as the municipal councils are. Be that as it may, I would just make this further statement. The hon, member chided the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles) and I was very much interested in the statement that hon. gentleman made. He said that he agreed with the bill, but I think the issue as between state-owned and private industry is becoming just a little confused in this house especially on the part of members of the C.C.F., because what we are actually doing now is separating this company from the government and setting up a crown company. I am not opposed to the setting up of a crown company as such, but when it is supported by the people's money I object to giving it powers that are not within the control of this parliament. I will mention what-I have in mind to support that statement.

Under this measure, just as under National Housing, we are guaranteeing the lending institutions, and that is the main fact which no one can dispute. The lending institutions in the past have often been extremely arbitrary, and I have before me a letter which came to me the other day indicating the attitude they sometimes take-and it affects ex-servicemen. This is from the citizens rehabilitation committee of New Westminster. I quote:

At the last meeting of our committee it was brought to dur attention that a veteran who was building a house under the National Housing Act could not occupy it because it had no bath installed. However, in most instances shower connection had been . installed and this was passed by the local health inspector, and we consider that the veteran should be allorved to move into a home of this kind.

The hon.. member for Davenport gave a touching account of the poor homes in northern Ontario and northern Quebec; but from what I see in this bill, and looking back at the past operations of the National Housing Act, I would say that this measure will not help those people about whom he is speaking, if past services are any criterion. We had under the act applications, for instance, from the municipality of Burnaby to the lending institutions, and there were also applications

Housing Act

from the Surrey municipality, on King George highway, where people wished to build close to the city. Would these lending institutions lend any money there? No. They would not lend a dollar, and when I took the matter up the excuse they gave was that the municipality of Burnaby had; gone into liquidation. The fact was that that municipality was just honest, because it was in a better position than many cities which claim to-day to be doing well. The debt was not as great as the debt of Montreal or many otheT cities; yet the lending institutions were lending freely in those centres. But when it came to Burnaby and other districts where the people had steady jobs the lending institutions took the attitude that they would not advance any money for houses.

I would ask the minister to tell the house just what power is in the bill whereby he can say to the lending institutions, "You shall not discriminate, and that this legislation shall be operative throughout the country."

I am glad the Minister of Veterans Affairs is here because tlmre is another matter which I will mention in his presence. There is nothing in the bill to assist veterans. The veterans rehabilitation committee in New Westminster has gone into the question of how veterans will fare under the National Housing Act, and I am glad the Minister of Veterans Affairs is here because it has been called to his attention. Since it is a matter for the Minister of Einance, however, I am putting this illustration on the record now for his information.

Under the Veterans' Land Act, if a man takes out the full amount of loan of $6,000 it works out in this way. I will give two comparisons to show that the veteran who wants to build a house under the National Housing Act will lose over $2,000 on a $6,000 home compared with the veteran who takes up land under the Veterans' Land Act. This committee has gone into these questions in detail and therefore I am placing these facts before the house. Say the cost of the land and building is $4,800 and the cost of chattels, $1,200. That is a total of $6,000, add the veteran's down payment is $480; two-thirds of $4,800, and with interest at three and a half per cent means a payment of $4,853, or a total payment of $5,333.50. The loss of the veteran's gratuity, or credit, because he does not get gratuity if he comes under the Veterans' Land Act-he cannot have both-he cannot get the credit, so that with the loss of the reestablishment credit the actual cost of the home to the veterans under the Veterans' Land Act works out at $5,833.50.

Take the man who buys a house under the National Housing Act. He decides to get a house at $6,000. If he is in the service he can get a credit of $500. He makes a down payment of $1,000 on a $6,000 home. The interest is four and a half per cent on the balance of $5,000. On the twenty-year plan that works out to a total of $7,564.80. Therefore the house costs him $8,564.80, less his credit of $500, which makes the actual cost to the veteran $8,064.80. The value of the house is . $6,000; therefore his loss is $2,064.80 as against the veteran who takes up a loan under the Veterans' Land Act, costing $5,833.50.

We are dealing with a new housing act, or at least the act will probably be new. We are taking the housing act and placing it under what I call a crown company. I want the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles) clearly to understand, in his own mind at least, the difference. This is not a state company; it is a crown company.

Topic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   CENTRAL MORTGAGE AND HOUSING CORPORATION- DISCOUNTING FACILITIES
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November 12, 1945