It is my belief that the government should eliminate the agencies that intervene between the Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation and the man who is building homes. If this government is going to continue and extend its underwriting of the cost of house building-and I hope it will-and if the nation's credit is to be used, it is only right that this government should endeavour to get this credit to those who are building homes at as low an overhead cost as possible. Using the chartered banks or insurance companies is not serving that useful purpose; it is only adding to the cost of administration. When the people's money is used to underwrite the cost of homes, let us underwrite the cost of homes and not the cost of profits.
I have looked for an upward revision of family allowances, old age pensions and pensions for the blind and the elimination of the means test from all our regulations connected with pensions. For our senior citizens I think Canadians as a whole would welcome the announcement that this government is prepared to pay $65 at age 65 without a means test.
I have one observation to make with regard to the last federal election. I have been given to understand that had I been a candidate in some areas in this dominion I would have had to submit my election material to a municipal police officer for his approval. I have been told, what is more, that I would have had to obtain a licence or a permit for every one of my 400 volunteers who helped with the carrying of this literature into the homes. To me, Mr. Speaker, this is a serious matter. It is an infringement of the right of the people of Canada to be Canadians, and it violates the principle of free elections. We do not like the rigged elections that take place in other parts of the world. We greatly deplore them. Surely even a Liberal government will not stand idly by and let this type of election gain a foothold in our free land. When this government conducts an election, I submit it must be a free election. This government was freely elected by a politically free people in a democratic manner, and as such
I must accept it as my government and bear it allegiance, as I do. However, I would find it extremely difficult to pay my respects to a government that was elected otherwise than in the manner in which it has been elected. I respect my government because it has been elected in a free election. Let this parliament protect the political rights of our Canadian citizens and put its foot down on anyone, big or small, who will play with dynamite in our midst.
In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, may I refer to the sentence in the speech from the throne which reads as follows:
Much remains to be done before there can be permanent and durable peace in the world.
I regret that in this speech there is nothing to indicate that this government realizes the significance of that sentence. I regret that in his amendment the Leader of the Opposition fails to admit that free enterprise is a thing of the past.
Today we have monopoly enterprise. The issue today is who shall control monopoly enterprise. We cannot ever go back to free enterprise, no matter how much you wish it. It is a thing that belongs to the pages of history. The issue today is this. Shall the people, through their freely elected parliament, control the major industries of the nation in their own interests, or shall they be left to the whims of those who happen to have the management of the investment savings of the people and who claim those savings as their own and operate big industries therewith while paying a mere 3, 4, 5, or 6 per cent to the owners of life insurance policies and so on, yet who claim they are justly entitled to profits away over and above that. That is the issue today.
Here is a perfect example. I notice in the Canada Year Book, the issue of 1952-53, page 1132 and the pages immediately thereafter, a list of fire insurance companies registered with the dominion government. There is a list of their net premiums collected and the net claims they have had to pay since the year 1880. That is a long time, a period of 73 years. I must admit that not every year is given. For a long period only every fifth year is given. But for the last
II years every year is given.
The statistics there show that not once have the companies, taken as a whole, sustained a loss. The consumer has always taken the rap. For the year 1951 the percentage of claims to net premiums paid was 38-71 per cent. If I may be permitted to do so I will leave out the odd numbers and speak in round figures. Out of $134 million of premiums paid there were claims of but
The Address-Mr. Balcom $52 million. If you take from the net earnings the refunds that they made to the policyholders; if you take off their income tax, and if you take off all other forms of tax on these companies, they still had left a net profit of over $33 million. They had a net profit of $33 million after income taxes and refunds to the policyholders. Before income tax, other taxes and refunds to policyholders they had a profit of $46 million. Net claims paid, $52 million; gross profits, $46 million. There are 277 insurance companies in business. Where is the free competition? Where does the consumer get the break?
Mr. Speaker, I am now going to conclude. Canadians now know that there is no need for any of our citizens to be in want. Canadians also know that for the sake of our jobs, for the sake of our farms, for the sake of each and every one of us, and for the sake of world peace, our products must move in ever increasing quantities and with ever increasing speed to the hungry markets of the world.
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY