September 22, 1949

PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

Oh, Mr. Speaker, we are arriving now at something. My hon. friend's opinion in respect to the constitution depends upon where he is located at the timh.

I suggest that instead of a dominion-provincial conference, there should be convened a constitutional convention, representative of all the provinces of Canada and of all shades of political thought in all the provinces of Canada. It should not be a meeting of the political heads of provincial governments and attorneys general, but representatives of the body of the Canadian people from every province and every political party. A similar suggestion was made in 1937 by a former prime minister, a great prime minister of Canada and an authority on the constitution, Right Hon. R. B. Bennett. The Minister of Justice laughs at that observation, but he was a great lawyer and a great Canadian, irrespective of his views.

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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. Pouliot:

You are a greater orator than Mr. Bennett ever was.

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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

The hon. member for Temiscouata (Mr. Pouliot) will no doubt accept Mr. Mackenzie King as an authority.

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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. Pouliot:

He was not a practising lawyer.

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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

I shall not enter into a controversy on that subject, but he certainly was a constitutionalist. This is what he said on January 26, 1937, as recorded on page 281 of Hansard. He talks about amendments to the constitution and the manner of going about it. He had had experience with interprovincial conferences. He said:

One is the suggestion of my right hon. friend that the question should be considered by a constitutional conference, composed, as he has suggested, of members of the dominion parliament and the provincial legislatures, such membership to be representatives of all shades of political thought. I believe that method might be described as the ideal one.

To the Minister of Justice and the government I submit views of two former prime ministers. This is a problem that is not being faced in the speech from the throne. We are securing autonomy to do something that is not denied. We are dividing up the constitution and allowing the government of Canada to determine what affects the provinces and what affects the dominion. In my opinion we shall never secure those amendments, which I believe are so necessary to meet changing conditions while preserving and protecting minority rights in this country, by taking the uncertain steps designated in the speech from the throne. I suggest that something be done along the lines suggested by Mr. Bennett and Mr. King, to the end that this problem be faced and that we may come to a decision which will be

The Address-Mr. Herridge accepted unanimously in this country-a decision not dictated by the whims of the government of Canada, but arrived at as a result of wholehearted co-operation among all the provinces making up this confederation.

I come back, sir, to the point at which I started. This parliament has an appointment with destiny. We are not going to revive the recriminations and prejudices that characterized the election campaign. We in this parliament have a responsibility which transcends all others, that of preserving, maintaining and extending the boundaries of freedom. To that end, sir, I have suggested a committee on a national declaration or a bill of rights, in keeping with the international responsibilities we assumed a few months ago under the United Nations. We should assure to the individual in this country his right of appeal, when his freedoms or constitutional rights are invaded, to the supreme court which, after this session, if the government's proposal receives the support of the house, will be the highest court of appeal so far as Canada is concerned.

When amending the Supreme Court Act, I ask parliament to give to the man and to the woman, however humble they may be, wherever they may be, the constitutional right to carry their appeal to the foot of the throne when and if their constitutional freedoms are in any way interfered with. On the question of the amendment of our Canadian constitution, let us not proceed in a manner that can only arouse animosities. Let us endeavour to bring together in a constitutional convention men and women from all the legislatures of this dominion, no matter what their party may be, so that they may together in unity rebuild where necessary and desirable this country's constitutional foundations, while maintaining and assuring as fundamental and inviolable the minority rights of all our people under the British North America Act.

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CCF

Herbert Wilfred Herridge

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

Mr. H. W. Herridge (Kootenay West):

In

rising to speak in this debate, Mr. Speaker, I wish first to extend my congratulations to the mover and seconder of the address, the hon. member for Nicolet-Yamaska (Mr. Boisvert) and the hon. member for Vancouver South (Mr. Laing). In doing so I am not going through some mere formality or simply extending courtesy. I am expressing sincerely my appreciation of effort and ability when I see it demonstrated in this House of Commons.

I should also like to join with others in extending a welcome to the members from Newfoundland who now sit in this parliament. I know their stay here will be to the

benefit of Canada and to the advantage of the province in which they live.

I am going to make a few brief remarks with regard to the speech from the throne, before proceeding to a subject that I wished to pursue last session but was unable to do so because of its short duration. First of all, let me say that I endorse wholeheartedly the approach of and the statements made by the leader of this group, the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell), when he spoke in this debate some days ago. I am pleased to note that the question of amendment of the constitution is being considered by the government, and that the government is attempting, with the provinces, to work out some convenient procedure by which that may be done here from time to time when necessary. I am of the opinion that such a move will meet with the support of the majority of the Canadian people.

I am also glad to notice that at last the government has officially, and in this parliament, recognized the seriousness of the housing situation. I listened with attention to the minister's statement yesterday, but until I hear further details and further explanations I shall not comment further on it. I trust that this government will not submit to pressure from certain groups for the abolition of domestic rent control. I have received letters from many types of organizations expressing great concern over this matter. Thousands of Canadians are anxious about this question, because they realize the inconvenience under which they would be placed should rent control be abolished now. I have received communications from trade unions, Legion branches, women's organizations, women's institutes and other groups interested in the cost of living and the cost of rent; and, as I say, I hope the government will not give way to the strong pressure that is being exercised from some directions for the abolition of rent control.

I am pleased to note that it is the intention of the government to proceed with assistance to the provinces in connection with the building of a trans-Canada highway. I am sure many people and many organizations throughout Canada will welcome this step. I presume that the government's action in this regard has been influenced to a great extent by the strong demand for some action that has grown throughout the country in recent years.

As one who represents many constituents who are particularly interested in forest conservation, I particularly welcome the reference to a measure being brought forward in this house with respect to forest conservation. While we have heard a great deal con-

cerning the devaluation of the dollar, I think the most serious devaluation the Canadian people have ever suffered to date is the devaluation of their natural resources owing to the lack of an over-all conservation policy.

With these few remarks, Mr. Speaker, I wish now to proceed to a subject in which I am personally interested, and one which interests many of my constituents. I wish to take the opportunity presented by this debate to bring to the attention of the house a matter which interests not only the people of my constituency but the people of British Columbia generally, and should interest all Canadians who have at heart the development of the country as a whole. Before proceeding further, for the information of the new members I should like to refer them to a speech which was made in this house. I do so not because I happen to have made the speech, but rather because it contains factual information concerning a large area of British Columbia, namely the Columbia river basin. If they are interested in this subject, and I trust that they are, I refer them to a speech I made in this house on February 21 and 22 of this year, dealing with the development of natural resources in the Columbia river basin, which is the drainage basin of the Columbia river system within Canada.

Since Thompson descended the Columbia in 1911, it has become rich in history and rich in romance, and day by day it is becoming richer in possibilities for development. I am sorry if this afternoon, in order to support my argument, I am obliged to quote somewhat extensively, but I intend to do so in order to give some proof of its validity.

First I wish to quote Professor William Denison Lyman, professor of history in Whitman college, Walla Walla, Washington, who wrote an excellent book on the history and the possibilities for development of the Columbia river system. This is what he had to say:

. . . Although not half as long as the Mississippi, the Columbia equals it in volume. Well Joined, in truth, are the sublime river and sublime mountains. One cannot fully understand the river unless he has seen its cradle and the cradle of its affluents beneath the shadows of the great peaks of British Columbia.

I want to review briefly the development of navigation in order to illustrate the importance of navigation in the past and in the future to the residents of the Columbia river basin, both in the United States and in the Canadian section.

The use of Hudson's Bay Company bateaux as one form of navigation on the Columbia commenced, generally speaking, in 1814, when the Columbia Express was organized to carry furs from Fort Astoria to Boat Encampment

The Address-Mr. Herridge on the Columbia river north of Revelstoke. All fur was transported from here over Athabasca pass to Edmonton, Edmonton to Churchill and Churchill to London.

Hon. members will be interested to know that in those early days the Hudson's Bay Company took out of the Columbia river basin approximately $20 thousand worth of furs a year. The Columbia river basin and its developments should be of interest to Canadians of French descent, because many Canadians of French descent played a great part in the development of the fur trade and in the development of the lumber industry. Some of their descendants live in the district today. While this development was proceeding on the Columbia river in connection with the fur trade carried on by the Hudson's Bay Company, there was a discussion between Great Britain and the government of the United States concerning the international boundary. That was known as the Oregon boundary question. After a great deal of discussion between both governments, and at one point it almost seemed as if war was imminent, the Oregon boundary treaty was signed on June 15, 1846. This district was still slowly developing when we had the advent of steam navigation. Steam navigation commenced on the lower Columbia about 1850 and after a few years the Oregon Steam Navigation Company was formed. In reading the history of this company at one time I found that such was its development that greater profits were made in comparison with capital expended than had been made in any western American developments to that date.

On the Canadian section of the river steam navigation commenced about twenty years later. Small steamers proceeded from south of the line carrying miners and prospectors to north of Revelstoke. The Kootenay Steam Navigation Company was organized under charter in 1890, and commenced to build a fleet of stern-wheel steamers. This fleet was purchased in 1896 by the Canadian Pacific Railway, and this company increased the number of steamers by building some larger ones and improving other ships. For some years, up until about 1925, they carried on a very fine service on the Arrow lakes, which are an extension of the Columbia river, and on the Kootenay lakes, to the profit of the Canadian Pacific Railway, according to the minutes of the directors' meetings of the C.P.R. of those days.

This service declined after the building of the Kettle valley railway, because then it was possible for people from the interior of British Columbia to proceed to the coast via that route. I would recommend to any hon. member who has not been out to British Columbia that he go to Revelstoke and take

The Address-Mr. Herridge a steamer trip south on the Arrow lakes and then proceed to Vancouver over the Kettle Valley railway. If he does so I am sure he will enjoy one of the finest inland trips in Canada. In that connection I want to quote Professor Lyman as follows:

The journey down the Arrow lakes from Arrowhead to Robson is one to dream of, one to recall in waking hours, and even, we almost suspect, in another life. The two lakes together constitute 130 miles of steamboating, and every mile has its special charm.

Then later came the development of navigation on the upper Columbia. The late Captain Armstrong, whom I knew very well, built and operated the North Star, the Gwendoline and the Ruth. Owing to the expansion of the district he informed me himself that on a few occasions he grossed over $2,000 a trip in his operations on the upper Columbia.

I want to deal briefly with the possibilities of navigation on the Columbia. The United States government has given serious consideration to this question; our government has not studied it to the same extent. As my authority for the possibilities on the Columbia, I am merely going to quote Professor Lyman's book. This is what he had to say in 1909:

When improvements now in view by government are completed, our river will be one of the most superb steamer courses in the world. That may truthfully be said already of the 220 miles from The Dalles to the ocean, as well as of the 300 miles from Kettle Falls, Washington, to Death Rapids, British Columbia.

That is north of Revelstoke. I continue:

The government engineers in Senate document 344, February, 1890, name the amount of navigable water on the Columbia and its tributaries at 1,664 miles. This may, perhaps, be an underestimation, since President Roosevelt has recently referred to it as twenty-five hundred miles, in which he probably included the lakes.

It will be a great day for the historic and scenic river of the west when some magnificent excursion steamer descends the thousand miles from Revelstoke to the outer headlands. And with canals at Celilo, Priest Rapids, and Kettle Falls, with some improvements at minor points, at no immoderate expense, the thing can be done.

Then I go on to quote Professor Lyman after his investigation of the upper Columbia:

Inspection of a map will show that the Columbia possesses the only water level route from the vast productive regions of the inland empire to the seaboard. As has been shown in the course of this volume, the river is navigable throughout the larger part of its course from Revelstoke in British Columbia to the ocean. In that distance there is one canal, with locks. That is at the Cascades, sixty-five miles from Portland. Before the river can be continuously navigable it will be necessary that a canal be constructed to overcome the obstructions at the Dalles, a few miles above the city of that name, another at Priest Rapids, seventy miles above Pasco, and still another at Kettle Falls.

IMr. Herridge.]

In addition to that, Mr. Speaker, engineers of the dominion government, after an extensive survey of the upper Columbia river in 1914, found that navigation was quite feasible and practicable at considerable cost. I also recall, Mr. Speaker, listening as a boy to the discussions concerning the possibilities of hauling lumber, pulp and other forest products of the Columbia basin from Revelstoke to the sea, and also the possibility of transporting grain from Revelstoke to the sea. At that time navigation in the upper Columbia and the Arrow lakes section played a greater part than it does today. That was previous to the building of dams for power development in the United States section.

In order to indicate the value of river transportation even at the present time, which in our opinion has been greatly overlooked by this government, I wish to quote from the "Columbia Basin Joint Investigations River Transportation, Problem 21, United States, Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, 1945." This is the result of an investigation to see what could be done in the further development of the lower Columbia in the United States for transportation purposes. In brief, this is what the report has to say in summing up:

The savings, which will accrue to the settlers and industrialists of the Columbia basin project by use of Columbia river transportation channels in the development and operation of the project, are a measure of the significance to the area of that river as a commercial route. These savings are computed on present rates for rail haul, and a probable future water rate, which it is estimated will prevail upon completion of the projects proposed for the Columbia river. Although the spread between rail and water rates may be less in the future, it is believed that rail rate reductions will result mainly from increased use of the river as an artery of transportation. Therefore, the estimated annual savings of $732 thousand represent the value of the improved river to the project area.

I have given these quotations to illustrate the importance of navigation on the Columbia today so far as the United States section of the Columbia is concerned, and how important it really is to us on the Canadian side.

I shall now deal with the point which I wish to bring before the house this afternoon. I refer to article II of the Oregon treaty which was signed on June 15, 1846:

From the point at which the 49th parallel of north latitude shall be found to intersect the great northern branch of the Columbia river, the navigation of the said branch shall be free and open to the Hudson's Bay Company, and to all British subjects trading with the same, to the point where the main stream of the Columbia, and thence down the said main stream to the ocean, with free access into and through the said river or rivers; it being understood, that all the usual portages along the line thus described, shall in like manner be free and open.

In navigating the said river or rivers, British subjects, with their goods and produce, shall be treated on the same footing as citizens of the United States; it being, however, always understood, that nothing in this article shall be construed as preventing, or intended to prevent, the government of the United States from making any regulations, respecting the navigation of the said river or rivers, not inconsistent with the present treaty.

Then further, Mr. Speaker, to indicate just how important navigation was considered at that time, and how important the right given to us under article II was considered by the government of the United States and by the public of Great Britain, I should like to quote from a senate speech in the United States, and also from the London Times of 1846.

Senator Lewis Cass of the United States senate said in 1846, with respect to the terms of the Oregon treaty-and he is objecting to the signing of the treaty, in the belief that the United States got the worst of the bargain:

We grant the free navigation of the Columbia south of 49 degree indefinitely, or in other words forever. The stipulation reads thus: "From the point at which the 49th parallel shall be found to intersect the great northern branch of the Columbia river, the navigation of the said branch shall be free and open to the Hudson's Bay Company and to all British subjects trading with the same, to the point where the said branch meets the main stream of the Columbia, and thence down the said main stream to the ocean," et cetera.

Here, sir, is a grant of free navigation, limited indeed in its use, but unlimited in its duration. It is to endure as long as the Hudson's Bay Company shall endure, and to ascertain the longevity of the one we must seek to ascertain the longevity of the other.

The Hudson's Bay Company was incorporated by Charles the Second, by a charter dated May 2, 1671. The third section of that charter provides, that "The persons named, et cetera, shall be one body, corporate and politic, et cetera, in deed and in name, et cetera, really and fully forever, et cetera. And the twelfth section provides, that the corporation shall enjoy et cetera, all and singular the premises hereby granted, with their and every of their rights, members, and jurisdiction, prerogatives, royalties and appurtenances whatsoever, to the, et cetera, and their successors forever, et cetera, paying yearly to us for the same, two elks and two black beaver, whosoever et cetera we our heirs et cetera shall happen to enter into the said country, et cetera.

Thus we find the corporate life perpetual; and applying the charter to the treaty, we have the true measure of the obligation, which this stipulation will impose upon us. No one in this body will deny that the grant is without limitation, and will exist as long as the grantee exists, unless there are restraining circumstances, which will reduce this broad term forever within narrower limits."

No objection was raised to that point in the United States senate. It was recognized at that time that this right of navigation to Canadian citizens from the upper reaches of the Columbia to the sea was granted forever.

I wish to quote from an editorial in the London Times of 1846, written in an attempt

The Address-Mr. Herridge to pacify and mollify British opinion, which was somewhat aroused owing to the loss cf the Oregon territory through the signing of the treaty. This is what the London Times had to say:

This would be a concession as far as superficial area of ground is concerned. It would leave the United States master of the greater part of Oregon. But it would secure the principal advantage of the country, the free navigation of the Columbia to the servants of the Hudson's Bay Company, as well as harbourage, anchorage, and settlements for English vessels trading with China and our possessions in Australia and New Zealand forever.

There we note the Times wishes to pacify British public opinion by pointing out that although they have lost a certain area of land they have retained forever this right to navigate the Columbia from its source to the sea, through United States territory.

What is the position at the present time? We know that in recent years there have been power developments on the Columbia river. Dams have been constructed, and it is proposed to construct others. The development of the water resources of the main stem of the river in the United States is planned by means of ten dams, three of which-Grand Coulee, Rock Island and Bonneville-are in operation; one, McNary, is under construction; one, Chief Joseph, is authorized by congress; three-Priest Rapids, John Day and The Dalles-are being recommended for authorization at the present session of congress, while the remaining two are potential projects with respect to which plans have not been finalized.

The building of the Grand Coulee dam affected our access to the sea, and that is the one with which I wish to deal at the present time. It is the one which prevents navigation from Canadian territory to the sea. Americans are developing navigation of the river from the sea to Grand Coulee. Deep-sea vessels come some distance up the river; then river craft are used for carrying the natural resources of that area to the sea. The building of the Grand Coulee without locks has prevented navigation to the sea.

Construction of the Grand Coulee dam, 151 miles downstream from the international boundary, was initiated in 1933 by the United States government and the dam was substantially completed late in 1941. This structure, which rises 550 feet from the bottom of the river, was built for irrigation and power purposes. The operating head on the power plants is 348 feet and provision is made for a total installation of 1,944,000 kilowatts, of which 972,000 kilowatts are in operation. Installations under way will provide additional blocks of 324,000 kilowatts in each of

The Address-Mr. Herridge the years 1949, 1950, and 1951. Neither navigation locks nor fishways are provided, but provision is made for transferring salmon from the downstream side of the dam to tributary waters in the United States.

Now, it appears that, regardless of article II of the Oregon treaty, no representations of any kind whatsoever were made by any Canadian government to the government of the United States to protect Canadian interests. In this connection I wish to refer to Hansard of June 13, 1935. This matter was first mentioned in the house by the former member of New Westminster, Mr. Thomas Reid, who took a great interest in it because of his general interest in the Pacific salmon fisheries. He has always been interested in wanting to find out the effect of the building of dams, the damming of waters, on the spawning of fish, so far as the salmon industry is concerned.

I would ask the house to bear with me while I quote from page 3590 of Hansard, June 13, 1935:

Navigation of Columbia River

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LIB

Thomas Reid

Liberal

Mr. Reid:

"According to a treaty entered into in

1846 between the United States of America and Her Majesty on behalf of Canada for the settlement of the Oregon boundary, in clause 2 thereof, it was expressly agreed that the Columbia river and its branches were to be kept open for the free use and navigation of all British subjects from the 49th parallel of north latitude to the Pacific ocean,-

1. Is the government aware that the provisions of this clause have been violated?

2. If so, what steps have been taken to protect the interests of the Canadian people so as to keep inviolate the provisions of the treaty and particularly clause 2 of the agreement?

3. If not. will steps be taken to see that the terms of the treaty are lived up to in every particular?"

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LIB

Colin Emerson Bennett

Liberal

Mr. Bennett:

The question does not quite correctly state the terms of the treaty of 1846 for the settlement of the Oregon boundary. The second clause of the treaty reads as follows:

"From the point at which the 49th parallel of north latitude shall be found to intersect the great northern branch of the Columbia river, the navigation of the said branch shall be free and open to the Hudson's Bay Company, and to all British subjects trading with the same, to the point where the said branch meets the main stream of the Columbia, and thence down the said main stream to the ocean, with free access into and through the said river or rivers; it being understood, that all the usual portages along the line thus described, shall in like manner be free and open."

The government is fully aware of the development which is taking place in the lower Columbia river, in the United States of America, and of the possible relation of that development to article II of the treaty. It would not be in accordance with public policy for the government to state at this stage whether or not they are of the opinion that the treaty has been violated or may be violated by the completion of the construction plans which are under way. The question will continue to receive the attention of the government.

Although Mr. Bennett replied in that manner at that time I do not think any one can find evidence that the Conservative govern-

ment headed by Mr. Bennett of that day or the Liberal government since, has made any representations to the United States in respect to the violation of article II of the Oregon treaty and with respect to Canadian interests and rights.

The objections to the effects of the dam are two. There is interference with the salmon coming up to the upper reaches of the Columbia for spawning purposes, and there is interference with navigation to the sea. I realize that the direction of development has changed since early days, even since 1914, when there was considerable discussion concerning navigation on the Columbia; but I do not think that, in view of the fact that we surrendered a right which had been extended to us forever in article II of the Oregon treaty, the government of Canada should have attempted to protect our rights and to obtain some reasonable compensation.

I submit that all governments of Canada have failed to realize the immense developments that are possible in the Columbia river basin on the Canadian side of the boundary. In the past they have failed to give attention to the potential value of that rich and productive area. A satisfactory development of the Columbia river basin depends upon joint action by the governments of the United States and Canada. I am quite certain that if the government of this country approached the government of the United States our claims would receive reasonable consideration. I know personally that officials of certain departments of the United States government were quite surprised when no protest was made by the Canadian government about the violation of the Oregon treaty and the interference with fish coming up to the upper reaches of the Columbia.

This matter is important to the constituency which I represent, and to the surrounding constituencies, as well as to the people of British Columbia and the Canadian people generally. I submit that under the circumstances we are fully justified in making a claim for adequate compensation for the surrender of those rights.

The residents of my constituency are much concerned about the continuance and improvement of steamship service on the Arrow and Kootenay lakes. We realize that for many years the Canadian Pacific Railway operated a splendid service on these and other interior lakes, but since the building of the new lines traffic has lessened and the service has gone downhill because it is being operated at a considerable loss. In view of this situation with regard to the Oregon treaty, the loss of our right of navigation and other rights, I should like to make two or three suggestions.

I urge the government to bring this matter to the attention of the United States government where I am sure it will receive favourable consideration. If adequate compensation is obtained for the loss of the right granted to us forever in article II of the Oregon treaty, I suggest that it would be fitting indeed if that compensation were used to subsidize a further development of the steamship service on the Arrow and Kootenay lakes.

While it may be argued that I am somewhat local in my point of view, I think it must be admitted that this steamship service on the Arrow and Kootenay lakes and on other lakes in the interior of British Columbia constitutes a great tourist asset. As Canadians we would be making a great mistake if we permitted this service to lapse. Not only is it of value to the people there in making their living; it is of great value to the people of British Columbia and Canada generally as an unusual tourist attraction.

Finally, in order that the British Columbia point of view may be considered with complete knowledge and understanding as a result of direct contact with the people of British Columbia and a knowledge of British Columbia conditions, I urge again that the government consider appointing a qualified British Columbia resident to the joint international commission.

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LIB

Joseph Ingolph Hetland

Liberal

Mr. J. I. Hetland (Humboldt):

Mr. Speaker, being a new member I hope that you will bear with me if at times I get out of order. I am a westerner from Saskatchewan, one of those fourteen members, and as such I am greatly interested in agriculture. Before I go any further I should like to say that we in Saskatchewan were greatly concerned about the health of the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner). During the time he was in hospital I was amazed at the number of people who came to me from all parts of my constituency and expressed great concern about the minister's health. The agriculturists of this country know that they have a champion in the person of the minister. Before June 27 a number of people from the different parties came to me and said that they were quite satisfied with the way the Minister of Agriculture had handled our produce and our agreements in the years past. Because those views were held they voted for me accordingly and I am here today.

I am glad that I won and I think that is natural for any one who tries to win a race or any contest. I have always been interested in the east and I think the west should become better acquainted with it. We in the west certainly need the east and I think you in the east need the west. I think it would be a good thing if we could meet more

The Address-Mr. Hetland often with people from the east. I have as deskmate the hon. member for Beauharnois (Mr. Cauchon), and if the other eastern members are like him at all I think we shall get on very nicely.

We have made a study of your problems in the east, particularly those of Newfoundland and the maritimes, and I think you should also study our problems, because that is the only method by which they can be solved to our mutual advantage.

I do not live very far from Saskatoon. We have a forestry farm near there, and it is a beautiful little spot. Thousands of people visit it every year. It has been suggested that a paved road be constructed to that forestry farm in order to keep down the dust. There is nothing more discouraging to a superintendent than to see fine grey dust settling on his flowers, his lawns and his trees. It takes a lot of moisture to keep them in good shape. I should like to offer a suggestion. If we cannot get a paved road, which naturally costs quite a lot of money, there is a great deal of oil in the constituency of the hon. member for The Battlefords (Mr. Bater), and I believe the government should consider oiling these gravel roads. The cost would be small. With a certain amount of money they could cover quite a large area. That would serve my purpose. I think we would attract more people by hundreds to that very beautiful spot.

It has also been suggested that little cards be printed for use when crossing the boundary. I happened to pass through Kingsgate about six weeks ago. I drove up to the customs office. A lady came out and said, "You will either have to eat those peaches or destroy them." Because of that, the ladies in my party ate too many peaches, and they were quite incensed. Therefore I believe the idea of printing little cards is a good one, telling about the danger of bringing in fruit diseases into this country.

I have been sitting in the house for the lqst week, and have been quite amused at the way some of the backbenchers get after the government. They remind me somewhat of backseat drivers. You know what that means. If a backseat driver keeps pushing and prodding the driver he can be almost a menace. When I say that, I refer to some members, not all. I should like to point out to those members that in the driver's seat we have a man quite capable of driving, the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent), a man who has good judgment. He will not break any speed laws. He will keep within the speed limit.

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CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

He is not in that much of a hurry.

156 HOUSE OF

The Address-Mr. Fleming

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LIB

Joseph Ingolph Hetland

Liberal

Mr. Helland:

We will get there safely and at the same time our car will be in good shape, which is very important.

Because I am a Liberal I believe in the Liberal government, and in the next four years I look forward to great things; I look forward to the future with pleasure and confidence.

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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Donald M. Fleming (Eglinton):

Mr. Speaker, this is the first opportunity, I have had, and I should like to embrace it, to extend to you my very hearty and sincere congratulations on your election to the high office that you hold.

It is in no perfunctory sense that I likewise extend very cordial congratulations to the mover (Mr. Boisvert) and the seconder (Mr. Laing) of the address which is now under debate. The hon. member for Nicolet-Yamaska (Mr. Boisvert), in moving the address, made certain remarks in which I took particular interest. At page 15 of Hansard he said:

The French spoken in Quebec is not the fancy French spoken by the Parisian. It is the old French of the seventeenth century, which we jealously safeguard, knowing that from the standpoint of basic French it compares with Parisian speech.

(Translation):

Mr. Speaker, I sometimes feel the urge to deliver speeches here in the French language.

I do not know if the French I use is invariably the seventeenth century idiom as also spoken by the hon. member for Nicolet-Yamaska (Mr. Boisvert).

As a matter of fact, in the course of his visit to my riding during the recent election campaign the representative for Quebec South (Mr. Power) referred to the French I use in this house as "the Sorbonne-Oxford brand of French spoken by the hon. member for Eglinton". I am not very sure but it is quite possible that my French is simply Toronto French.

Now, Mr. Speaker, every time I make a French speech in the house, I do so as evidence of my sympathy with my Frenchspeaking fellow citizens. That is my modest personal contribution to national unity and to the mutual respect felt by the two great races that have built our beloved Canada. (Text):

I should also like to extend a special and very warm expression of congratulations to the Prime Minister. One would not wish to subtract anything from his triumph, which has been fully recognized in all parts of this house. There is one aspect of that triumph to which I should like to make special reference because I think it is a matter of direct interest to all members of the house. It is certainly something that I am sure is of

direct interest to all Canadians. In the political success which the Prime Minister has enjoyed, and which has been crowned so effectively by the Canadian electorate, I think the name of Madame St. Laurent is deserving of very special and grateful mention on the part of us all because of the very gracious and very great contribution which she has made to her husband's career. As one who counts himself honoured to be acquainted with the members of the Prime Minister's family, I want to say to him that in this country, whose greatness after all depends upon the strength of the Canadian home, his family has been a great credit to him, and as the head of that family he has been a model of the Canadian father and husband. It is worthy of mention also that the leader of the opposition and leaders of the other parties in this house can be congratulated upon the same score. I think that is a matter for pride on the part of the Canadian people and on the part of this Canadian House of Commons.

I do not propose today to discuss at length the terms of the speech from the throne. So far as it is indicated in that speech that measures are to be introduced at a later date, they can best be discusssd when the full measures are before hs. I believe I shall make a contribution towards shortening the debate if I confine my remarks to several subjects on which direct action appears not to be con templated and to one upon which action is contemplated in the speech from the throne.

In this country we congratulate ourselves, Mr. Speaker, on the improvement that has occurred in external relations during the past year. It is not quite a year ago that I had the privilege of traversing most of the countries of western Europe and of seeing there the beginning of the recession of communist influence. In a large measure this has been due to the show of united strength and determination on the part of the United Kingdom and the United States to stand up to Russian aggression. It has been due also to the generous assistance rendered by the United States to those countries west of the iron curtain. Marshall aid has performed an invaluable service in the recovery of those western nations and in their determination to resist any further westward march of communist aggression.

We have been taught one lesson, Mr. Speaker, and taught it clearly and emphatically. It is that those who direct communist aggression in the world today do respect strength. They respect determination; that has been abundantly shown. The Atlantic pact has already borne useful fruit. Now that it has been followed by the decision of the United States congress to aid in the rearmament of Europe we may look forward

with a measure of confidence to the restoration of better conditions, and to the checking of further communist designs in the west. Unhappily the same cannot be said of conditions in the far east. At any rate, the determination of the western nations to mass their strength to resist aggression has borne fruit and we applaud the results of the Atlantic pact.

Since this increased security and peacefulness have been enjoyed in the western world, peace seems to have permeated the atmosphere in this chamber. Since the opening of the session all has been peace, all has been tranquil. It is difficult for those of us who sat in the last house to adjust ourselves to this placid atmosphere. It may be that, in the past, it has not been my part always to contribute to the placidity of the debates in the house, but at this point I wish to say that I do not wish to subtract anything from the high plane on which my leader opened the debate on Monday.

I turn to the subject of trade, which is recognized as one of vast importance to all Canadians. The average Canadian has a greater interest in international trade than the citizen of any other country in the world. We have been through a crisis, and it is still with us. It is a crisis in trade, Mr. Speaker. The timing of the crisis, I am afraid, was one of the things that may have guided the government in the selection of June 27 as the election date. I am not going to go pack to review election issues, I want to make that clear. They are all water under the bridge now, but I do consider it the duty of members of this house to take cognizance of events that have transpired since the election.

The last reference to the subject of trade prior to dissolution in this house was made by the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Howe) on April 25 and is recorded at page 2520 of Hansard. In reply to a question he said this:

The present state of our markets in the United Kingdom is quite normal.

He went on to say that his forthcoming trip to the United Kingdom was simply for the purpose of taking part in the opening of the British industries fair, not for any reason having to do with a changed situation in respect of British trade. We have his statement that trade with Britain was normal. You will realize with what surprise, then, just three weeks later in Toronto, I heard from the Right Hon. Harold Wilson, the president of the British board of trade, these words:

We have reached a critical situation in Anglo-Canadian trade.

The Address-Mr. Fleming

Those are the words of the opposite number of the Canadian Minister of Trade and Commerce just three weeks after the minister's remarks in this house. Of course, Mr. Wilson was right. There was a crisis in Anglo-Canadian trade but the crisis was not admitted by this government until after the fateful day of June 27.

Our exports to the United Kingdom last year as compared with the previous year dropped by $67 million. During the first seven months of this year our exports to the United Kingdom have undergone a further reduction. But reductions more grave than these in their portent were announced on July 14 by the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he stated that Britain had found it necessary to reduce her spending in United States and Canada by $400 million during the current fiscal year. Imports of tobacco, cotton, timber, paper and pulp, non-ferrous metals, steel, copper, raw materials, machinery, manufactured goods and sugar would be affected. An official of the Department of Trade and Commerce, speaking to the press in Ottawa, is quoted in the press on July 15 as saying this:

He estimated on the basis of Sir Stafford Cripps' announcement in London cutting the United Kingdom's 1949 dollar purchases by 25 per cent, Canada would lose by sixty to eighty million dollars this year. "If the slashes continue, then next year- 1950-will be the crucial year," the official said. A continued 25 per cent cut next year in Canadian exports to the United Kingdom would mean the loss of more than $100 million.

That is full of the gravest portent for Canada and particularly for the Canadian primary producer. The disastrous effects of that decision cannot be overestimated in this country.

We must remember to what extent ERP has continued to maintain our exports to Great Britain. Up to July 31 the United States had appropriated through ERP for the purchase of commodities in Canada $785 million. The $785 million allotted to Canada represented 38 per cent of the total offshore authorizations made by ERP. Shipments to the United Kingdom up to that time had amounted to $648 million.

The continuance of ERP means so much to the economy of this country. When the Canadian Minister of Finance (Mr. Abbott) went to the United States recently to participate in the Washington discussions, I am sure it was a matter of great satisfaction to all Canadians that he returned with a tentative assurance that the United States would be prepared to appropriate $175 million for the continued purchase by Great Britain of Canadian foodstuffs, particularly our wheat.

I do not wish to leave this subject without emphasizing this, that the events which have occurred since this house was last in session

158 HOUSE OF

The Address-Mr. Fleming on April 30 have abundantly justified and vindicated what we in this part of the house said then in warning of an approaching crisis in Canadian trade.

Devaluation, Mr. Speaker, is not the whole answer to the problem. If Great Britain's purchases from Canada continue to be seriously reduced as is now threatened, regardless of whether devaluation had or had not occurred, we would still face a critical situation. However, devaluation has occurred and the purchasing power of the pound in the Canadian market has been reduced. The pound is now worth only $3.07 in the Canadian market whereas formerly it has been quoted at $4.03.

This afternoon I marvelled at the jaunty air of the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Howe) when asked a question about the effect of this reduction in the purchasing power of the pound in Canada on British purchases from Canada, particularly our foodstuffs and raw materials, when he shrugged it off and said that that is making an assumption, as much as to say: "Well, who can say that it does mean any reduction in British purchases in Canada?" Does any serious person think that the reduction in the purchasing power of the pound in the Canadian market will not be reflected in reduced purchases of Canadian goods?

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LIB

George James McIlraith (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Mcllraiih:

That is not the assumption that was in the question.

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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

That is the implication that was in the question, if the hon. member will have regard to the question.

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LIB

George James McIlraith (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Mcllraiih:

I have. I have read it carefully and accurately.

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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

Then I am sorry that the hon. member has not more intelligently interpreted the question, because the whole purpose of it was to invite the Minister of Trade and Commerce to indicate what steps, if any, the government might have in mind in view of the fact that we are being faced with a reduced purchasing power of the British pound in the Canadian market.

This matter of the ten cent devaluation of the Canadian dollar is no final solution of our problem here. It is only an incident and nothing more. As a matter of fact, our own Minister of Finance (Mr. Abbott), on arrival in England on July 19, was asked about the possibility of cuts in the value of the Canadian dollar. As reported in a Canadian press dispatch from London, he said:

I do not think dollar cuts are a sure cure for anything. There has to be a positive solution.

Sir Stafford Cripps on June 7 made this statement at Blackpool:

You cannot possibly find any solution to our present problems by juggling with money, incomes or finances or fiscal measures.

Those are words with which I think no one can take issue. This is not a solution. As a matter of fact, everything that was wrong before in our exchange relationships continues fundamentally, because the rigidity is there, as is the artificiality and the attempt by government to manage trading relationships. Those things are all there. We have made no step whatever toward the restoration of convertibility, and convertibility must be our goal. We may not be able to achieve that goal today or next week, but our efforts-and Canada has a mighty stake here-must be directed towards achieving the convertibility of exchange. We shall not achieve that end simply by trying to retain all this artificiality in our exchange relationships, all these attempts by government to master-mind the whole of our exchange relationships. We have seen that it just does not work. Britain tried it. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has tried it and he has failed. Surely we have seen that nowhere in the world in any government are there minds big enough to be able to master-mind the trading and exchange relations of the world.

Before I leave this subject of devaluation, Mr. Speaker, may I say that it is quite apparent that we are to be faced with more restrictions on trade. We have had an intimation of that already from the Minister of Trade and Commerce in a statement he made on July 13 in which he indicated that more import restrictions on United States goods might be expected. We have had it also in a recent statement made by the Canadian high commissioner, Mr. Dana Wilgress, at the conference that is taking place at Annecy.

There are two matters that I just wish to mention before leaving this subject of devaluation. I wish that the government could take some account of the plight of the imperial pensioners in this country. They will suffer seriously as a result of the reduction in the purchasing power of the pound sterling. I wish that the government could also take account of the plight of those who have immigrated to Canada from the United Kingdom in recent years and who, under the United Kingdom exchange control regulations, are permitted to withdraw from the United Kingdom only 250 pounds per annum for the first four years of their residence in this country. This devaluation will mean a serious crimping of the means of those who have immigrated to this country from the United Kingdom since the war, and it will also probably have a discouraging effect on others who may be purposing immigration to this country, bringing with them needed skills.

I mention briefly the subject of gold because reference was made to that yesterday in the statement made by the Minister of

Mines and Resources (Mr. Gibson). The gist of the statement he made is that, having regard to the fact that, in consequence of devaluation gold has increased by ten per cent or $3.50 per ounce, a corresponding reduction is to be made in the subsidy paid to producing gold mines under the Emergency Gold Mining Assistance Act, commencing January 1. I submit that this statement indicates that no adequate account has been taken by the government of the fact that the restoration of the ten per cent discount on the Canadian dollar has simply had the effect of restoring the price of gold which Canadian gold producers received up until the time of the devaluation in June, 1946. In that intervening period the costs of gold producers in Canada have increased at least thirty per cent. They are now given a restoration of the price that was reduced by ten per cent at that time, and now the government says: You must accept a corresponding reduction in the benefits that were promised to you under this three-year act.

As every hon. member of this house knows, the act gave assistance to the producing mines but it did not give assistance to development work carried on apart from the big gold producers. I am waiting for some members representing constituencies in northern Ontario and supporting the government to rise in this house and make some plea for assistance to the gold mining industry. Believe me, Mr. Speaker, it is not just a question of assisting the stockbrokers in Toronto. I am not making any plea for the Toronto Stock Exchange. I am making a plea for the recognition of the difficulties of an industry which means a great deal to the economy of this country and which contributed substantially to pulling this country through the depression of the thirties.

A great and well-informed Canadian recently had something to say about the failure of members of parliament to recognize what the gold mining industry has contributed to Canada. I refer to Dr. Charles Camsell, former deputy minister of mines and resources. In a prepared address that was delivered at Oxford on July 14 last, he is quoted as saying this to the fourth Empire Mining and Metallurgical Congress:

Many of Canada's legislators do not appreciate to what extent gold has been responsible for the development of Canada . . . "The influence of gold on our Canadian economy has been vastly greater than mere production statistics would indicate." A casual trip through the belt extending through northern Ontario and Quebec revealed the influence of gold deposits in developing the country and making it possible for permanent industry or agriculture to "live and thrive." Canada today needed strong mining industry more than ever before, particularly for strategic reasons.

The Address-Mr. Fleming

Then going on to speak of the northwest territories, Dr. Camsell said:

I know of nothing that will take any considerable body of population into that country except the lure of gold or some other mineral such as uranium.

When he spoke in northern Ontario in the election campaign, the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent), gave certain assurances to the gold mining industry as to the extension of the benefits of the Emergency Gold Mining Assistance Act. I take it that these assurances are to be given legislative effect, notwithstanding what was said yesterday by the Minister of Mines , and Resources (Mr. Gibson). It may be that these assurances were what he was referring to in the concluding paragraph of his statement, although, sir, it is not altogether clear.

I should like to turn briefly to the subject of housing to make preliminary and passing comment upon the statement made in the house yesterday by the Minister of Reconstruction and Supply (Mr. Winters). It is quite obvious, Mr. Speaker, that we must wait for the legislation which he indicated in his statement, before being able to make a completely considered statement upon the policy that the government announced. The statement, while timely, was perhaps inevitably vague, and I do not propose to make detailed comment upon it until I see the legislation.

There are one or two features of it which the house will receive with pleasure. The first is that, at last, the government is recognizing we have not in this country been keeping pace with the housing problem. The minister said as much in his statement yesterday. Statements have been made by responsible officials before this. Last April we had a statement by the assistant general manager, Major-General Young, of Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation, when he said that Canada's housing situation is getting worse instead of better. At last, Mr. Speaker, we can apparently expect an end to these airy statements which we used to hear so often from the government about the improvement in housing conditions, and the worst being over, and our having passed the hump- statements that bore no relationship to reality. At last we have an admission of the fact that the problem has been growing bigger. The fact that at last we have that admission is encouraging.

The second thing I should like to say about the statement is this. The dominion government has accepted, in terms clearer than we have heard hitherto, at least a measure of responsibility in connection with housing. We have heard so many denials of responsibility, so many statements to the effect that it was the responsibility of the provinces, that

The Address-Mr. Fleming this indication of some proposed limited assumption of responsibility on the part of the dominion in respect to housing conditions in Canada is indeed welcome.

In the third place, if the statement is to be considered as going the full way and justifying the interpretation that has been put upon it in some quarters, that the government is willing to assist in providing for subsidized housing, then the government has gone a long way since October 27, 1947, when the Prime Minister said, "No government of which I am a part will ever pass legislation for subsidized housing". The statement made yesterday represents an advance and I am sure the house will welcome it.

In the fourth place, I would like to comment on the fact the statement does recognize that this country must look to private enterprise to provide in principal measure the answer to the problem of the lack of housing.

I wish to make a special observation, sir, on the proposal to assist in the purchase of new houses by contributing an additional mortgage advance of one-sixth of the building loans provided for under the National Housing Act so as to help to bridge the gap between the present loan under the National Housing Act and the purchase price of a house. The house will welcome this, but the house will regret that the government has been so long in doing something that it obviously ought to have done long ago. The need was there. The need was debated in this house. I well remember hearing the then hon. member for Vancouver-Burrard, the distinguished Mr. C. C. I. Merritt, whose absence from this house today I deplore very greatly, more than once pointing out to the government the great deficiency which was being created in our housing measures by the fact that the government, through the Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation, was giving a very rigid and unsympathetic Interpretation of the provisions of the housing act. In section 4 the National Housing Act deals with the extent of the loans which are permissible under part I. It bases this upon the percentage of lending value, but the lending value as administered by the government agency did not bear a close relationship to the cost of construction. In that way, by writing down the lending value of the house, the government agency created that big spread between the price of the house to the home owner and the amount available to him by way of loan under the National Housing Act.

The province of Ontario took action two years ago to fill that gap in dominion legislation, a gap which this parliament and this government, which are responsible for dominion participation in redress of our housing

problem, should not have permitted to continue. But now at last the government invites us to believe that a new day is dawning simply because it is moving now to copy the example which the government of Ontario gave two years ago when my leader was premier of that province. Yes; it was this government and its agency which largely nullified the intent of parliament and the National Housing Act, necessitating this additional provision of dominion assistance, which this house will welcome, although it will be regarded as too late.

More will be said on this subject when the house has the bill before it, and there will be an opportunity of reviewing what the government's proposals, are, if any, to assist in slum clearance, to assist in the provision, in greater supply, of needed building materials, and precisely what they propose to do in the statement they have made in regard to assisted rentals, always bearing in mind, sir, that just as important as legislation will be the spirit behind the administration. If there is drive and determination behind the administration of this legislation we can look for some improvement. If there is to be lackadaisical administration, if the government is to countenance, as it has done at times in the past, the nullification in part of measures that parliament has approved, simply because it has not put drive behind those measures, then I think the house will expect to call the government to account.

I shall mention just one other subject because my time is passing quickly. I refer to communism. In the speech from the throne there is only one reference to the subject of communism, and it is in these words:

The menace of communist totalitarianism continues to threaten the aspirations of men of good will.

The measures which the government has in contemplation with respect to this menace of communism apparently are external only. There is no suggestion in the speech from the throne about any measures which may be taken within the four corners of Canada to combat this menace of communism. We congratulate organized labour in this country on the determined steps which it has taken in recent days to expel communism from its ranks, to combat this evil menace. Their example might well inspire this parliament. I recall that the Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. Pearson) had this to say in his speech at Montreal on July 19, as recorded in the press. He told the Montreal Rotary Club:

The domestic threat of communism must be met "by strengthening, if necessary, our criminal code against actions which threaten the security of the state."

I scanned with interest the speech from the throne to find any indication that we were to strengthen the Criminal Code against actions which threaten the security of the state, on the part of these communist enemies of Canada who are working within our midst.

I found no such indication, however, and when he returns to his place in the house from the important duties he is discharging elsewhere I hope that the Secretary of State for External Affairs will have something to say in support of legislation to strengthen the Criminal Code, the necessity of which he admitted in the speech he made in Montreal on July 19.

Sir, failing that there will be, I trust, further opportunity at this session to raise that question. Because, believe me, resolute action within this country-by democratic methods, yes-must accompany our efforts in the external field to combat the ravages of aggression by communist totalitarianism.

I do not need to repeat what has been said in the house about the responsibility of the opposition. The vast government majority puts a heavy responsibility upon those of us who sit in this part of the house. We will not be daunted by the fact that government supporters not only fill the side of the house to your right, Mr. Speaker, but overflow to this side in numbers greater even than the official opposition.

Those of us who sit here have Liberals in front of us, Liberals to the right of us and Liberals in a hurry to the left of us. We are surrounded by Liberals, and Liberals in a hurry. But, sir, we have no intention of being daunted; we have no intention of being turned aside from performing that duty which the Canadian people expect of us. Whether they are numbered among the 1,742,000 electors who honoured us with their support, or whether "they voted for other candidates, nevertheless they appreciate and will insist upon the importance of the duty laid upon His Majesty's loyal opposition under our parliamentary system.

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CCF

Alistair McLeod Stewart

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

Mr. Alistair Stewart (Winnipeg North):

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Eglinton (Mr. Fleming) has commented upon the tranquil atmosphere which has descended upon the House of Commons. For a moment or two I thought he was going to break that atmosphere of tranquillity. Now there are certain dangers in an atmosphere such as that, because a legislative body can become embalmed in tranquillity. In some ways this government has already reached that stage.

Today I am going to speak on certain matters of policy about which the government can feel no tranquillity at all. First of all I should like to refer to the statement made

The Address-Mr. A. Stewart respecting housing by the Minister of Reconstruction and Supply (Mr. Winters). I shall comment upon this at some length. I think we know from his statement just what the government's policy is, and what its intentions are. My only hope is that the policy will show improvement by the time the legislation is brought before us.

I listened carefully to his statement. In common with many others I have read it even more carefully. As I read it and thought it over it became obvious to me that although the mountain had groaned in the pangs of birth something considerably less than a mouse had been born.

For some weeks the minister travelled across the country from city to city. On the one hand he may have been a peripatetic record of "his master's voice." On the other hand he may have been trying to find out some of the facts of life about housing in this country. But what he displayed to us yesterday in the way of policy certainly was not very encouraging. In almost every city he went to he delivered an address which dealt with the fact that he was proud of the record of his government. I am not surprised at that pride, because I have found so many Liberals who worship the very ground their heads are buried in.

Even during the election campaign we were told how proud the government was of the fact that 81,000 new housing units had been constructed in this country. They kept careful silence about the other fact that there were 90,000 new families in Canada, families created either by the marriage of Canadians, or through immigration to this country. And there was even greater silence over the fact that the average cost of those homes in this country must have been in the neighbourhood of $7,000-and I think that is a rather conservative estimate. In my constituency the average wage is between $37 and $38 a week. I fail to see how a man earning that sum, with prices as they are, and with the cost of living as it is today, could possibly hope to buy a house-even with the reduced down payment

costing at least $7,000. And until the government tackles that problem it is merely toying with the housing situation as it exists in Canada today.

In the minister's statement I detected certain changes of mind-at least I hope they were such. For instance, I recall one of the lengthy debates we had in this chamber in 1946 on the subject of housing. At page 3686 of Hansard for July 22, 1946, the then

minister of reconstruction and supply said this, concerning housing:

This government, as a matter of policy, is not prepared to introduce subsidies either in the form of a grant towards capital cost or subsequent contributions to a rent i eduction fund.

162 HOUSE OF COMMONS

The Address-Mr. A. Stewart

I would be the last to say that the government is eating its own words; but at least it would seem that it is starting to nibble at them. And I should hope that there would be some further enlightenment upon this matter of subsidies when legislation is brought before the house.

A year after that was said the then Secretary of State for External Affairs, who is now Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent), speaking at a meeting at McMaster university on November 4, 1947, said this:

I am against subsidized housing because it would be available to a few privileged ones.

There I say the right hon. gentleman showed a complete lack of appreciation of the housing problem, and how it can be handled in this country. Then he went on to say-and with a horrible reflection upon some of his colleagues-

It would be risking temptation to put into the hands of politicians a few thousand houses which could be given to certain persons. It would be a temptation to buy votes.

As I say, the right hon. gentleman knows his colleagues much better than I do; but I am certain of this, that with any adequate housing scheme in this country certainly members of parliament would not have the responsibility of allotting a few thousand houses to individuals here and there. If the job is to be done properly it must be done at the municipal level, and all that parliament can do will be to authorize funds and supervise expenditures.

The report of the speech of the then Secretary of State for External Affairs goes on to say:

He emphasized he felt it unwise to build and provide housing units at less than cost, repeating, "I'm against subsidized housing."

Apparently he has changed his mind-and the change, indeed, is a very welcome one. But there is another area in which there has been no change. At page 3688 of Hansard for July 22, 1946, the then Minister of Reconstruction and Supply said:

Slum clearance, however, is considered to be inopportune at the present time. The requirement for shelter is so great that the government cannot afford to permit the destruction of livable shelter of any kind. Slum clearance will come later when the pressing need for the occupation of every housing unit is lessened.

How late is "later"? When is a "pressing need" pressing? In my constituency I have seen people living in chicken coops, garages, basements, shacks, garrets and shanties. When is "later"? I say we are entitled to know that.

Yet the present Minister of Reconstruction and Supply takes roughly the same attitude by stating that the time is not opportune to take the people out of the slums; the time is

not opportune to give the people that dignity about which the Liberal party spoke so glibly during the campaign. One of the planks in their platform-an admirable one indeed- was their belief in the dignity of man. There is no dignity in man when you compel him to live in a slum. There can be no dignity when you compel people to live in poverty. By the inaction of this government thousands of people must continue to live under these conditions. Does the government think that people like to live in slums? Does the government think that people prefer squalor, that they want to bring their children up under these wretched conditions rather than in decent homes? If so, it had better change its mind because such is not the case.

Yet the minister tells us that in 1949 although 100,000 new houses would be built in this country we would be barely keeping up with current needs and would be making no inroads into the backlog. In other words, the minister has condemned these people to live in slums and to continue to live in slums knowing that there is no method by which they can get out of them. If that is the policy of the government then it is time it was changed. The government has an unprecedented mandate to do the job' it has the power to do the job and there can be no excuse for not doing it.

I should like to give the minister a few facts about the situation in my own constituency of Winnipeg North. I am sure that the condition which prevails there is not unique to that city but can be duplicated in every city in this country. In one area, Point Douglas, 44 per cent of the houses have more than one person per room. When you have that situation you have overcrowding and, when you have overcrowding, if you have not a slum already you are starting to build one. But what is worse is the fact that in these overcrowded slum areas there is an obvious and serious increase in juvenile delinquency. As yet the only answer our society has far juvenile delinquency is to punish the delinquents. Those who should be punished are those who are responsible for creating the slum conditions which lead to juvenile delinquency. The answer is not to send these youngsters to prison; the answer is not to punish them; the answer is the awakening of the conscience of the community to the point where its responsibility is realized. We in this parliament of Canada are the voice of the communities of Canada and we cannot ignore our responsibilities.

Slum areas all across Canada are creating social casualties. Every time there is a social casualty who cannot be rehabilitated the responsibility must be laid squarely on the doorstep of this parliament, and especially of

The Address-Mr. A. Stewart

this government which has the power to help. In this one area of Winnipeg fifty infants out of every thousand born will be dead at the end of the first year. Statistical records show that the infant mortality rate for Winnipeg as whole is 35. Therefore, because of the slum conditions and poverty in this one area, we are condemning fifteen infants to death. Yet we still prattle about our concern over human dignity and human life.

It is scandalous that a society should allow its human resources to be wasted in such a way. I can assure the government that the families of the poor have as much affection for their children as do the families making up any other group in this country. They suffer as much sorrow and heartbreak at the avoidable death of an infant as would any one in this chamber. And yet in this area in Winnipeg, as in other areas throughout the country, we have these slums and. this increase in infant mortality which, as I said, is a shocking, scandalous and unforgivable waste of human life.

It has been said that statistics show that the slum population is moving. In my area the population is moving out of the slum areas, but what they are doing is simply to move from one overcrowded area to another. The population is moving but it is still doubling up and sharing accommodation with others. It is moving from one overcrowded area but is crowding another area and is spreading the wretched disease of overcrowding and potential slums further throughout the city.

I do not know whether the minister saw some of these slum conditions when he was in Winnipeg. If he had got in touch with me I should have been happy to have taken him around. I make to him the same offer that I made to his predecessor three years ago, and I shall willingly subsidize the minister. I suggest that he come to my constituency and live in a room in one of these slums. To make sure that he suffers adequately I shall give him $10 per week, which is what an old age pensioner gets. Let him live in that room amidst filth and vermin and dirt and then at the end of the week let him come back here and tell us that he adheres to the same policies.

According to the last report I have received, in Winnipeg there is not one vacant apartment; there is not one vacant suite; there are 22 vacant houses, eight of which are unfit for human habitation and 14 of which are for sale. Yet I have here a report of 56 families made up of 22 adults and 58 children, 80 souls in all who have to live in stores, garages, sheds, shacks and cellars; but we are told that the time is not opportune to remove slums.

On other occasions I have told this House of Commons of the conditions under which some of our people live. I have here the report of Mr. Austin, chief inspector of the sanitation and housing division in Winnipeg. He reports one two-and-a-half storey house containing eighteen rooms in which 17 family units live. There are two water closets, one bath, one wash basin and three sinks to take care of those 17 families. The comment of the inspector is very brief, as follows:

Cooking and sleeping in every room. Unvented gas ranges.

Any one who has been in rooms like these knows what an unvented gas range can do to an infant lying in a cot or to a youngster who is brought up in that poisonous atmosphere. Here is another house of two and a half storeys containing 16 rooms in which reside nine family units totalling 30 people. There are three water closets, one bathroom, no wash bowls and five sinks. The comment is that the house is in very dilapidated condition, with defective plumbing and then there is the tremendous understatement that it is overcrowded and verminous.

There is another one-storey house of three rooms containing two family units made up of five men, six women and five children, 16 human beings in all. We are again reminded that there is gross overcrowding.

The next is a terrace of eight houses-88 rooms in all-in which reside 57 family units totalling 140 human beings. This terrace is reported to be in an advanced degree of dilapidation, continually in the city's hands for plumbing defects and so on. One could go on giving description after description of these houses in which people have to live against their wills. As I said, I have yet to meet a man or woman who wants to live in a slum out of choice and I repeat that this situation is not unique to Winnipeg.

The Curtis report which was published a few years ago should have warned, and indeed did warn, the minister of the situation. It said that for the next decade after 1946 there would require to be built in Canada 731,000 homes and that 543,000 homes would require substantial repairs in that time. According to the last statistical information in 1941 there were 650,000 farms that had no bathing facilities. Almost as many are dependent on outhouses for toilet purposes. In twenty-seven cities there were 281,000 houses with either no flush toilets or shared flush toilets. There are 428,000 houses with no baths, or baths which are shared. The housing shortage is not something new. The need for it has been evident for years, and yet the government apparently does not recognize its responsibility. It still depends upon private enterprise, and yet private

The Address-Mr. A. Stewart enterprise cannot be expected under any circumstances to provide the type of housing which is needed for the underprivileged third of the Canadian people who are earning less than $1,600 a year.

If these people are going to be housed adequately, then housing has to be subsidized; and since the financial power in Canada is in the hands of the federal government then the federal government must take the responsibility for the subsidizing of these homes. We know that the Canadian housing industry is one of the most inadequate and incompetent industries there is. It is still in the horse and buggy age. Therefore there should be some impetus on the part of the government towards improving the methods of building, and when the legislation comes before the house perhaps the minister will be able to tell us what has been .done by way of research.

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LIB

Gladstone Mansfield Ferrie

Liberal

Mr. Ferrie:

May I ask the hon. member a question?

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LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

With his permission.

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LIB

Gladstone Mansfield Ferrie

Liberal

Mr. Ferrie:

May I ask a question?

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September 22, 1949