January 27, 1948

UNITED NATIONS

ACCESSION OF CANADA TO CONVENTION ON PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES-EXEMPTION FROM TAXATION


Right Hon. L. S. ST. LAURENT (Secretary of State for External Affairs): Mr. Speaker-


?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear.

Mr. ST. LAURENT: Mr. Speaker, the C.N.R. is sometimes late, but it always does come through.

Topic:   UNITED NATIONS
Subtopic:   ACCESSION OF CANADA TO CONVENTION ON PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES-EXEMPTION FROM TAXATION
Permalink
PC

Karl Kenneth Homuth

Progressive Conservative

Mr. HOMUTH:

Other aspirants had better look out after that.

Mr. ST. LAURENT: In accordance with section 4 (2) of the Privileges and Immunities (United Nations) Act 1947, I have the honour to table order in council P.C. 3946 made on October 1, 1947. By this order the governor in council authorizes the Secretary of State for External Affairs to execute on behalf of Canada an instrument of accession to the convention on the privileges and immunities of the United Nations with the reservation that exemption from taxation imposed by any law in Canada on salaries and emoluments shall not extend to a Canadian citizen residing or ordinarily resident in Canada.

Topic:   UNITED NATIONS
Subtopic:   ACCESSION OF CANADA TO CONVENTION ON PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES-EXEMPTION FROM TAXATION
Permalink

VETERANS AFFAIRS

ROSELAND AND OLIVER SUBDIVISIONS, WINDSOR, ONTARIO


Hon. MILTON F. GREGG (Minister of Veterans Affairs): Mr. Speaker, in response to the question submitted yesterday by the hon. member for Eglinton (Mr. Fleming), with your permission I would like to make a statement on the Roseland and Oliver subdivisions of the Veterans Land Act, located near Windsor. Perhaps hon. members might bear with me if I review briefly the history of these subdivisions. Early in the war it was realized by my predecessor that as a result of high priority wartime expansion of industry, there was likely to develop in Canada a housing shortage and that those likely to be most seriously affected by the shortage would be the veterans overseas. Accordingly plans were made to meet some of this anticipated shortage under the terms of the Veterans Land Act, and in 1945 construction was commenced on about 2.700 houses across Canada. One hundred of these were located outside the city of Windsor on the Oliver and Roseland subdivisions. As had been anticipated when the men came back from overseas, there was a very serious shortage of veterans housing in Canada. The Windsor subdivisions were available for occupation in the summer of 1946, and although we realized there were some deficiencies in the houses, we felt that rather than deny the veterans in that area shelter, we should allot the homes as soon as they were reasonably ready for occupancy. About June 1946 the veterans started to move in. They had examined the houses, but we were not at that time in a position to tell them what the final price would be. Accordingly agreements to purchase were not asked at that time, although veterans did sign applications and the majority of them made a deposit of $600. After the veterans had been in occupation for some time, defects which are inevitable in all immediate postwar construction became apparent. I would ask hon. members to bear in mind in assessing these defects that the director of the Veterans Land Act built these homes during one of the most critical building periods in Canada's history. Material was in very short supply and much of it was not of the quality we would normally have wanted. Skilled labour was equally scarce. When the defects became apparent, my predecessor said on the floor of the house that the houses would be placed in first class condition at no cost to the veteran. That undertaking is being carried out. The majority of the repairs have been completed, but there remain a few things still to be done. I can assure the house, however, that there will be no skimping on any of this necessary remedial work. In the summer of 1947 we were in a position to inform the veterans what their homes would cost. These prices were not acceptable to the veterans and they refused to sign their agreements to purchase. As a result of this, the deputy minister of the Department of Veterans Affairs, the director of the Veterans Land Act and other departmental officials, met with the veterans in Windsor last fall. They gave most sympathetic consideration to the complaints which were voiced. Veterans Affairs



The main difference between the department and the veterans was on a matter of price, because by that time it had become apparent that the department intended to live up one hundred per cent to its undertaking to put the houses in first class shape. The veterans at this time pressed for an independent committee to appraise the value of the houses. My predecessor in this portfolio agreed that this should be done. It was his wish that no veteran should be compelled to sign an agreement to purchase a house which did not represent fair value, and he agreed that the only way to make sure that values were equitable and fair was to appoint a committee of independent experts. In the fall of 1947 the committee was appointed. I would like hon. members to pay particular attention to the names of the men who comprised that committee. It was headed, first of all, by Mr. J. L. B. Price, a man who through the Canadian Legion has long been identified with veterans work. Mr. Price in private life is one of Canada's outstanding building contractors. As a member of the legion he headed the national committee on veterans housing. He has devoted long hours trying to help veterans from one end of Canada to the other with their housing difficulties. The second member of the committee was Mr. Malcolm D. MacPhail, a very highly regarded Windsor real estate man who has had many years of experience as a valuator. The third man was Mr. Frederick R. Larkin, mortgage supervisor of the London Life Insurance Company at Windsor. These men in my opinion were unusually qualified to pass on real estate values in the area in which these subdivisions are located. The committee presented their finding to the department on December 18, 1947. I now table the report. Briefly their finding was that in 54 cases the prices which they set on the houses were below the prices which had previously been quoted by the department. In four cases the price they set was the same as that of the department, and in 42 cases their findings show that the value of the houses as fixed by the independent appraisal committee was above the price quoted by the department to the veteran. I want to make it absolutely clear that this independent appraisal committee set their prices without any reference to the prices previously quoted by the Veterans Land Act administration. They did not have in their possession the prices which the veterans had originally been asked for the houses. The department has accepted their report in full with the one notable exception. Where the department price has been found to be below that set by the independent committee, the price to the veteran remains the same. Where the appraisal committee's report of values is below the price set by the department, the lower price is being charged. The price reductions range from a low of .814.03 to a high of $685.71. The total decrease across the two subdivisions is S24,581 out of a total original capital expenditure on this project of 1694,490 78. I should inform the house that in living up to our undertaking to put these properties in first class shape we are expending a total of 886,004 in remedial repairs. In addition to this, the contractor has accepted responsibility for certain extensive remedial work which is being done at no expense to the public. There, of course, will be no charge against the veteran for any of this work. I should emphasize, too, that the original price quoted to the veteran was the exact cost of these properties to the director of the Veterans Land Act. It means in effect that in the remedial repairs and the present reduction a total of $110,000 approximately has been spent on these properties to ensure that the veteran is getting maximum value for his money. To bring the house up to date on: the situation, I may say that a meeting was held with the veterans on Sunday last at which the district superintendent announced to the veterans the present prices on their houses. These prices were not acceptable and a demand has been made for a further downward revision. I am informed that at Sunday's meeting the veterans went on record unanimously as being completely satisfied with the progress and the quality of the repair program. There were still, it is true, a few minor complaints. But in the main I can assure the house that the veterans are satisfied with the quality and that the one remaining point at issue is the matter of price. That this is true is best evidenced by the fact that when the president of the veterans committee asked for a show of hands from those veterans who intend to purchase their houses, all but two expressed their intention of doing so. I am advised that the two who did not raise their hands included the president of the committee who is planning to build his own house under veterans individual housing. So we now have a situation where apparently the veterans are satisfied with the conditions of their homes; they are satisfied that the department will complete the remedial pro- Veterans Affairs gram in a way acceptable to them. We have prices set not by the department but by an independent appraisal committee as requested by the veterans themselves, but we still have the veterans refusing to accept these prices. The one request which was made to the veterans at Sunday's meeting was that they let the department know whether they are prepared to sign a purchase agreement or whether they want to go on a temporary rental agreement basis, pending sale to another qualified veteran. I think hon. members will realize that we must bring this situation to a conclusion. There are at present approximately 250 veterans in Windsor qualified under the Veterans Land Act who have not yet been able to find a home. Further, the house should note that of the 2,673 houses constructed on subdivisions throughout Canada, 2,372 veterans have signed their purchase agreements and furthermore are meeting their payments satisfactorily.


LIB

Donald Ferguson Brown

Liberal

Mr. BROWN:

I was at the meeting on Sunday last. The veterans there raised the question of the cost of landscaping which had been charged to them, and some claimed that credit should be given for that work. Is the minister prepared to consider that particular matter?

Topic:   VETERANS AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   ROSELAND AND OLIVER SUBDIVISIONS, WINDSOR, ONTARIO
Permalink
LIB

Milton Fowler Gregg (Minister of Veterans Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. GREGG:

If any undertaking has been given by the department which in the opinion of the hon. member has not been carried out, 1 shall be willing to consider it.

Topic:   VETERANS AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   ROSELAND AND OLIVER SUBDIVISIONS, WINDSOR, ONTARIO
Permalink
PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. FLEMING:

In view of the revelations in the public accounts committee last summer in connection with the administration of the Veterans Land Act, will the minister be prepared to submit this question to the public accounts committee before the ultimatum issued by the department is pressed, so that there will be an opportunity to sift out the facts from the propaganda that is being issued by the department which has shown itself so hardhearted in its treatment of the veterans?

Topic:   VETERANS AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   ROSELAND AND OLIVER SUBDIVISIONS, WINDSOR, ONTARIO
Permalink
LIB

Milton Fowler Gregg (Minister of Veterans Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. GREGG:

I want to say that there has been no ultimatum. I would refer the hon. member to the paragraph at the end of my statement. I shall be glad to consider the other point raised by the hon. member.

Topic:   VETERANS AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   ROSELAND AND OLIVER SUBDIVISIONS, WINDSOR, ONTARIO
Permalink
PC

Norman James Macdonald Lockhart

Progressive Conservative

Mr. LOCKHART:

Have similar meetings been held in other sections of Canada? I have in mind Niagara Falls, Welland and a smaller division in St. Catharines. If such meetings have not been held, is it intended to hold them? There has been definite dissatisfaction in those localities.

Topic:   VETERANS AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   ROSELAND AND OLIVER SUBDIVISIONS, WINDSOR, ONTARIO
Permalink
LIB

Milton Fowler Gregg (Minister of Veterans Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. GREGG:

I will take that into consideration.

Topic:   VETERANS AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   ROSELAND AND OLIVER SUBDIVISIONS, WINDSOR, ONTARIO
Permalink
PC

George Randolph Pearkes

Progressive Conservative

Mr. PEARKES:

Will the minister appoint a similar committee to investigate the Braefoot project, where conditions are even worse than those that prevailed at Windsor?

Topic:   VETERANS AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   ROSELAND AND OLIVER SUBDIVISIONS, WINDSOR, ONTARIO
Permalink
PC

Alfred Johnson Brooks

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BROOKS:

I should like to ask a question with regard to the payment of the cost of extra work. What proportion are the contractors paying and what proportion is being paid by the government? How was the apportionment appraised?

Topic:   VETERANS AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   ROSELAND AND OLIVER SUBDIVISIONS, WINDSOR, ONTARIO
Permalink
LIB

Milton Fowler Gregg (Minister of Veterans Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. GREGG:

I will take into consideration the questions asked by the hon. members for Nanaimo and Royal.

Topic:   VETERANS AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   ROSELAND AND OLIVER SUBDIVISIONS, WINDSOR, ONTARIO
Permalink

PRIVILEGE

MR. REID-THE BAGPIPE AS A MUSICAL INSTRUMENT

January 27, 1948