April 14, 1947

PC

John Thomas Hackett

Progressive Conservative

Mr. HACKETT:

There are bright wits on the other side of the house who, I admit, have some difficulty in following anything

that is logical, but I know you are not of that number, Mr. Speaker. I invite your attention for a few minutes.

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LIB

James Horace King (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

May I suggest to the

house that, in view of the importance of the different representations which I have received from both sides of the house, I should like to study this situation most carefully before giving a ruling. Therefore I would ask the house to proceed with the debate.

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PC

John Thomas Hackett

Progressive Conservative

Mr. HACKETT:

I shall be grateful if you will consider the things I would have said had an opportunity been afforded.

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PC

Harold Aberdeen Watson Timmins

Progressive Conservative

Mr. H. W. TIMMINS (Parkdale):

Mr. Speaker, when this bill was first brought down in the house I had the temerity to ask why it was necessary to include in it sections having to do with veterans preference, and the house was advised at the time that the government proposed to bring down a separate bill having to do with veterans preference. Having regard to the magnitude of this bill and the fact that never before has parliament had before it a similar bill, I would have thought that during the Easter recess the Minister of Justice (Mr. Ilsley) would have laid upon the table such a bill having to do with veterans preference, so that in due course we could have discussed that matter in its proper place. It seems to me to be a waste of time, and I think the people of Canada will feel we are wasting time in parliament if we deal specifically with each of these orders and then, when the specific bill is brought down, which the minister says will be brought down, deal with the matter all over again and probably not achieve any better results.

An hon. member in the party to my left asked a similar question with respect to old age pensions, and he was told by the minister that a bill would be brought down to deal with old age pensions. We are all agreed that old age pensions is a matter that has to be discussed in this parliament. We may not all agree upon the method to be adopted or what is to be achieved in respect to a bill, but I think we are all agreed that we are going to deal with the matter to the best of our judgment and ability. I see no reason why in dealing with Bill No. 104 we should now go through the business of old age pensions. Why should we not save steps? Why should we not deal with the matter specifically when the specific bill is brought down?

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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. MARTIN:

Does the hon. member realize that, if the course suggested were followed, 214,000 old age pensioners will not be receiving the full amount of pension to which they are entitled under the existing law?

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PC
PC

Harold Aberdeen Watson Timmins

Progressive Conservative

Mr. TIMMINS:

I am suggesting that there is some civility in this house between hon. members. We have the undertaking of the minister that a bill dealing with old age pensions will be brought down this session, and I think we should absolve ourselves from discussion of the matter on Bill No. 104. Let the minister bring down his bill and then we can discuss the matter at the proper time. I am not suggesting for one minute that we obviate the necessity of dealing with this matter at considerable length and in the detail to which it is entitled.

Then we have the labour sections of this bill. There are quite a number of sections dealing with labour legislation which was passed during the days of the war. As a matter of fact, some of the provinces did not pass coordinating labour legislation during the war. Just the other day one of the legislatures passed its own labour law. I am not suggesting that we should in any way obviate the necessity of dealing with a national labour code when it is brought before us, but I do think that some civility should be shown by one party to the other with respect to the magnitude of this bill and that we should take the minister's undertaking in regard to bringing in of a separate bill. I am suggesting that the bill should be brought down as soon as possible so that we may obviate the necessity of discussion at the present time.

One of the items to be dealt with under this bill is leaseholds. This is the first time since October 11, 1941, that we in this parliament have had a chance to deal with these leasehold measures. While we have sat here day after day prepared to deal with these measures, new orders dealing with matters which parliament should be dealing with have been passed.

I do not think we have any right to delegate these powers to the minister because they are matters with which we ourselves are concerned. Some people say that the emergency is over, while others say that it is not over, but the fact of the matter is that these wartime leasehold regulations are the responsibility of parliament. No matter what we may be told, I do not think we can swallow all the regulations and orders which have been passed with respect to commercial and residential leaseholds.

Perhaps some hon. members have had some experience with leasehold matters and realize the difficulties that have arisen in respect thereto. Commercial leaseholds are covered by order 315 of the wartime prices and trade board. This order permits a landlord, who finds that his premises are being leased at less than similar premises in the same or a similar

district are being leased at, to make application to have his rentals increased to that level. As a matter of fact, in the city of Toronto from which I come, not only has there been a levelling here or there, but what has happened in the last few years is that the whole floor level has been raised. Almost every commercial building in the city has found ways and means of getting a higher rental from one tenant, and then lifting up one by one the rents of all the other tenants in the building. Then that would spread across the street to another building; it would spread down the street and then into the next street until the whole downtown district was affected. That was the case not only with light manufacturing buildings but also with our office buildings.

I do not suppose that there is an office building of any size in the city of Toronto which has not had its rentals increased during the war by ten, fifteen or twenty-five per cent. Then what happened? While we were sitting in parliament, new regulations were passed under date of March 1, 1947, to increase commercial rentals by another twenty-five per cent. It may be all very well, but I do not think there was any necessity for increasing commercial rentals in that city by fifteen per cent and then allowing another increase of twenty-five per cent to be made.

However, even supposing it was proper, what about the other order, No. 294, having to do with residential leases? The fact of the matter is that there is no similar clause in the residential order. As to residential properties there has been no provision for levelling up of rents in accordance with natural justice even in cases of extreme hardship.

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LIB

William Ross Macdonald (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER:

May I call the hon. member's attention to the fact that on second reading there should be only a discussion of the general principle of the bill, not a discussion of any specific orders in council. The hon. member is discussing certain orders in council. That would be permissible when the house is in committee; but at the present time he should discuss just the principle of the bill.

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PC

Harold Aberdeen Watson Timmins

Progressive Conservative

Mr. TIMMINS:

Mr. Speaker, I shall accept your ruling in the matter. But I wish to point out that the leasehold orders before us, comprise nine or ten different amending orders with which we are asked to deal here. I have dealt with these matters in some particularity in order to place before the house difficulties which may arise in connection with the passing of this bill, and I have done it for a purpose.

The purpose is this. I think the passage of the patent bill tonight, and the ease with which the export-import bill passed the house must

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indicate to hon. members the fact that these leasehold regulations should be brought to the house in the form of a separate bill, in the same fashion as these other three matters, namely pensions, soldiers preference and labour matters. They should be 'brought down in separate bills. I suggest in all sincerity that they should be referred, probably to the committee on banking and commerce in order that they might be worked out, and the incongruities in the bill dealt with.

As I said, this is the first time since October 11, 1941, that this matter has really been before the House of Commons, so far as leaseholds are concerned. The people of Canada, whom we all represent, are entitled to know that members of parliament have had some say and have put themselves on record in some way or another in respect of these rental orders and regulations. I do not think we shall be through here until the end of August, if we are to deal with this bill of fifty-seven varieties in any kind of detail, and I say that in all sincerity. If we as business people were dealing with this matter, we would not do it in the way we are doing it here.

That brings me to the matter of regulations in the bill which have to do with building materials. From time to time statements have been made in the house by the Minister of Reconstruction and Supply (Mr. Howe), having to do with building in Canada. We were told by him in the early days of the session that in 1946 some 60,000 housing units were built. When we analyse the minister's figures we find that in that time only 6,812 wartime housing units were built, 566 integrated housing units, 28 units under Housing Enterprises Limited, and about 2,599 veterans houses. In addition, there were a thousand or so emergency housing units; 1,643, to be exact.

I received a return from the minister this afternoon and, although I have not it before me at the present time, it shows that the Department of Reconstruction and Supply had to do with some 11,000 housing units in 1946. I say to the house that those 11,000 housing units with which the government was concerned in 1946 in no sense constitute a housing programme for the Dominion of Canada. When we are going to deal with controls as they are set out in this omnibus bill, No. 104, which have to do with building materials, it seems to me that, having regard1 for the sanity of the house-and I use the word advisedly-a separate bill should be brought down having to do with building materials. That bill, too, ought to go to the banking and commerce committee in order that it might be dealt with, with some degree of orderliness; for as a matter of fact, if under its system of priorities the

government has succeeded in providing only 11,648 housing units in 1946, then I suggest that the priority system we have been working under should be discarded.

Not only have these orders been made in previous years, but on February 1, after the opening of this session, another order was made in respect of building materials. It seems to me that this is a matter to be dealt with by parliament, and not by the minister of any department. We are going to put this whole matter in statute form, and I say that now is the time for all of us here in parliament to take some part in seeing either that an extensive housing programme is worked out, or that this system of priorities is ended.

Many questions have been asked in the house in respect of nails. Indeed this has become a subject of laughter among hon. members. But in the district from which I come it is not the subject of laughter. Rather it is a matter of whether we shall have houses in 1947, or whether we shall not have them.

I take it that the matter of housing is probably the most important one that has come before the house this year, and if we do not make some progress in respect of housing in 1947 we shall hear about it from people all across Canada.

I have before me a series of telegrams, perhaps twenty-five of them, and also some letters from builders in my community, advising me that they are in a desperate dilemma in respect of completing houses started in 1946, and that they cannot continue until they get nails. I also have a return from the Minister of Reconstruction and Supply in respect of the output of nails for 1947. So far as I can make out, the output in this year will not amount to as much as twenty per cent increase over the output in 1946.

I should like to place on record my questions in this connection, and the answers thereto. My question was:

1. How many firms manufactured nails in Canada in 1946, and what was the output of each firm in that period?

2. What is the estimated output for each firm in 1947?

The answer is that there were seven firms which manufactured nails in 1946, and their output was 58,843 net tons. It is indicated that in 1947 the estimate is that 70,170 tons will be produced. I am saying to the house that that is not good enough; it is not half good enough.

If, as a matter of fact, when the minister found that the output of soil pipe was not sufficient to keep the building industry going, he considered it wise to offer an incentive bonus-to ensure that sufficient soil pipe was

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produced, then I say to him that in respect of nails we are in the midst of a serious blockade in this year 1947, and I suggest that either he should devise some incentive bonus so that nails will be produced this year in much greater supply, or he should tell the house frankly that the government cannot carry on the building programme it adopted for 1947, and should get out of the business.

As a matter of fact, if only 11,648'homes were built in 1946 under government priorities, out of some 69,000- or 60,000, then I say to the house that the ordinary private builder, building homes over and above the 11,648, units-namely upwards of 48,000 homes-did so, not with the help of the Minister of Reconstruction and Supply, but in spite of him. You say, what has this to do with Bill No. 104?

An lion. MEMBER: I am wondering.

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PC

Harold Aberdeen Watson Timmins

Progressive Conservative

Mr. TIMMINS:

And you will be wondering perhaps at the end of August when we are still talking about it. I suggest that these detailed matters we have before us are not the kind of matters we should debate in the house day after day. As a newcomer to the house, I suggest in all sincerity that the Minister of Justice, with his ingenuity, should find some way to help us, help him get this bill through so that we can each take our part, for what we know, in respect of this bill, and let us not debate it here day after day when a number of these matters could be settled quickly in committee. I am suggesting to the minister that the best thing which could be done in respect of this bill would be to dissect it. We have already dissected it into four or five sections. There are at least sixteen measures in this bill which should not be there and which could be taken out. I am suggesting that the minister find ways and means of accepting some of the suggestions which have been made by other members of the house and by myself with respect to the bill.

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CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

Mr. Speaker, since a number of members have been on the train for a few nights and only got into Ottawa this morning, perhaps as I har e some extended remarks to make on this measure I might be permitted now to move the adjournment of the debate.

On motion of Mr. Gillis the debate was adjourned.

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BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE


Mr. ST. LAURENT moved the adjournment of the house.


PC

John Bracken (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BRACKEN:

Would the minister indicate the programme for tomorrow?

Mr. ST. LAURENT: We shall continue with the debate on the second reading of this bill and then go into committee. I hope that progress can be made. I think all the members will realize that they are not committing themselves to anything by the adoption of the second reading of the bill. There is a schedule upon which their individual opinions can be expressed with respect to each item, and I would hope that we would get to the consideration of these separate items where the divergences of opinion can be fully recorded and each one's position made clear.

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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. FLEMING:

Might I ask the Acting Prime Minister a question as to the method the house might pursue in committee with reference to the schedule? The schedule itself simply refers to these fifty-seven orders by date, number and subject. Are we to be permitted in committee of the whole to use that volume called the consolidation of these measures as the basis not only for discussion but for any amendments hon. members might wish to introduce.

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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

The amendments would have to be to the orders in council tabled, but the consolidation could be used as the basis. If any amendment were proposed it could be properly drafted to apply to the orders in council which have been tabled.

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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. FLEMING:

I am thinking of the technical difficulty, reference to page and fine. It is going to be difficult with some of these long orders. I am sure that members want to be helpful and that there is no thought of trying to delay progress. We wish to find a way of making progress.

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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

It is not going to be difficult. This whole thing was done before in Great Britain and Australia. No provision is made in the bill now for amendments, but if amendments are made to any of these orders in council a section has to be added to the bill giving effect to the amendment and a statement is put in the column of the section and order that is amended. That is the order in council on the table, not the order in the consolidation, but the consolidation had better be used as a basis for the amendment.

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PC

Harold Aberdeen Watson Timmins

Progressive Conservative

Mr. TIMMINS:

The orders and regulations of the wartime prices and trade board are voluminous. Will those orders and regulations be tabled, or have we to swallow them holus-bolus? I am thinking of the leasehold orders. As hon. members know, there were two orders, one dealing with commercial property and the other with residential, and they are just as much a part of the law as orders

Inquiries oj the Ministry

in council themselves. Are those to be tabled, or are we to be asked to swallow them holus-bolus, or what?

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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

If any member wants any particular order I will certainly produce it, but to produce all the orders of the wartime prices and trade board would mean the production of a very large number of orders. I will not hazard a guess as to how many, but there are a great many thousands of them dealing with prices.

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April 14, 1947