An hon. Member:
And probably for the last.
And probably for the last.
Mr. Van Horne:
I invite hon. members across the floor to follow their example. I also express my thanks to the numerous supporters of the Social Credit and C.C.F. party who actively supported the official opposition, thereby informing the government in no uncertain way that we are dissatisfied and discouraged with the indifference and lethargy with which this country has so long been governed. The speech from the throne confirms this fact, and makes it abundantly clear that the government is indeed indifferent to the needs of the Canadian people.
My riding of Restigouehe-Madawaska stretches some 210 miles right around the top of the province of New Brunswick. Our breathtaking rivers, the Restigouche, Upsal-quitch and Matapedia, have played host to the world's famous anglers, and our guides on those rivers are recognized to be the greatest guides in the world. The people are hardworking and for the most part are engaged in lumbering, farming, fishing and pulpmill operations. All of us have endured our full share of indifference on the part of the federal government. We are, Mr. Speaker, fed up with the Liberal government.
The riding of Restigouehe-Madawaska is a vital part of the long forgotten and neglected maritime provinces. Alas, our economic history since confederation has not been a happy one. From the bleak stretches along the shores of New Brunswick over to the closed mines at Inverness and to the far reaches of Madawaska county, deserted farms, deserted homes, deserted mining villages, closed factories and shops, mark the long procession of our young people who have to leave the maritimes, forced to go elsewhere to make a living. They were driven from our land by the same economic conditions which yesteryear drove our forefathers from the shores of Europe. Why must we become emigrants' again from the maritime provinces, driven like nomads on the desert, from place to place, to find work and a chance to make a living? The burden of education becomes greater and heavier as we raise our sons and daughters in the certainty soon they will be forced to leave our beautiful part of the country to go elsewhere to find jobs. How can traditions be established and maintained in our families if they are going to be continuously uprooted?
We in the maritimes are going to have our place in the economic sun of Canada. Such men as Premier Smallwood are going so far as to say publicly that unless the federal government wakes up to our needs Newfoundland will leave confederation. This young
The Address-Mr. Van Horne generation is on the march, regardless of party politics. Mr. Smallwood is supposed to be a good Liberal. We are going to get a new deal for the maritime provinces. If this government does not want to give us justice and our economic rights, we are determined to replace it with a government that will. We say this, give us a new deal or quit.
As Hon. Hugh John Flemming, premier of New Brunswick, whose courage and devotion to the cause of the maritimes have earned him the reputation of being an outstanding champion of maritime rights, said recently before the Gordon commission:
Though it is my firm conviction that the great economic experiment undertaken by confederation to make trade flow artificially east and west instead of naturally north and south was like trying to make water run uphill-it has turned out to be like our own famous magnetic hill in New Brunswick-a definite illusion.
At the time of confederation, the voice of the maritimes was heard and heeded throughout Canada. It will be heard again.
New Brunswick is no longer content to remain one of the weakest links in the Canadian confederation. Last Friday I tendered a resolution calling for a new deal in the maritime provinces. It has since been amended to conform to the rules of the house. What we need in the maritimes is an entirely new deal. We feel that the government should put into force immediately an over-all new deal plan to ensure that economic development in the maritime provinces will cease to remain stagnant and will keep pace with the modest economic progress of central Canada.
We ask you for federal financial assistance to help develop our natural resources. We ask you for drastic reductions in transportation rates to the full extent needed to permit competition by maritime producers and manufacturers in confederation-made markets. We ask for regulations promoting and enforcing the development, the manufacture, the processing and the use of the idle and wasting natural resources of the maritimes, such as timber limits now owned and controlled by a few and immobilized by them and going to waste. We ask for regulations controlling the exportation of raw products, such as pulpwood in an unprocessed and unmanufactured state. We ask for remedial measures to offset the ill effects on our economy in the maritimes of the St. Lawrence seaway project. We ask for loans for capital development. We ask for the immediate implementation of a public works program to build the Chignecto canal, and to provide better and more adequate shipping and terminal facilities at our ports, such as Saint John, Dalhousie and Campbellton. We ask the
government to build year-around ports, such as at Jacquet River, to handle the ore coming from the new mining area near Bathurst. We ask you to build the long talked of Campbell-ton-Cross Point bridge. We ask you to erect new post offices. We ask you, the government of this country, to have the Canadian National Railways build new stations where needed, such as at Edmundston. We ask ydu to complete and to entirely pay for the trans-Canada highway in the maritimes.
There are those sitting across the floor of the house who may say, "Would you have us do more for the maritimes than we would do for central Canada?" I answer by saying, "Would you have this country continue indefinitely with one part prosperous and the maritimes in a continuous depression?" That is what is happening today.
The whole economic theory behind confederation was that we in the maritime provinces could profitably trade artificially east and west rather than trade naturally with our pre-confederation markets to the south. And when I see an appropriation like the $26 million voted to the Colombo plan to develop hydroelectric power in Pakistan, while on the same occasion the government refused even to endorse our loan and sign our note so we could borrow money cheaply to build the Beechwood project, I say it is time to have another look at a government that would do such things. I certainly invite my friends across the way who are members of the Liberal government to force the heads of their party to act, to move and do something while there is still time.
In speaking of the modest prosperity in central Canada, my attention was forcibly drawn the other day to the implication which resulted from the facts set out in the admirable speech of the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell) that Canada is not really making progress.
I should like to commence my observation by addressing a few remarks to the Minister of National Health and Welfare. I should like to tell him how the people of my riding resent his inactivity and indifference in the manner in which he has been lately conducting the affairs of his department. I shall speak on the question of health in French, and I shall return to English afterwards.
I now turn to family allowances. I will concede that, when they were initiated
Your leader opposed them.
Mr. Van Horne:
That is not true. The basis used in setting the amounts of family allow-
ances was the cost of living in 1944 or 1945. Inasmuch as the cost of living in the meantime has almost doubled, will anyone suggest that, if this government were honest towards the Canadian nation, it would not consider it to be its duty to raise or even double family allowances. I keep getting hundreds of letters urging me to express to the government the dissatisfaction of the Canadian people for this lack of honesty which prevents the government from recognizing its duty towards the mothers and children of this country by refusing to increase family allowances. * The same is true of disability pensions. As you know, one must be totally and permanently disabled to be entitled to such a pension. In other words, you have to be unconscious to get it, unconscious to keep it, and unless you walk about toting a coffin under your arm, you cannot draw that pension. If that pension plan is supposed to help the disabled, should not the government recognize that the pension should be paid to anyone unable through illness to earn a living at his ordinary trade or occupation? You may say that, to a certain extent, it comes under provincial jurisdiction but every government and every Canadian knows that the Liberal government has everything to say when it comes to administration and regulations regarding disability pensions. I would also like to mention our older men and women, who are forced to retire at 65. Nothing stifles initiative and the joy of living so much as the realization that once you reach age 65 your services will no longer be in demand. We should protect our citizens who, after a long life of hard work, are anxious to work in order to retain their health and happiness. We must afford them the opportunity of taking up another occupation, if their health is adequate, and if they are anxious to continue to work. I am not claiming that they should continue in the same line of work as the one in which they were engaged throughout their life. Laws, however, should be passed to help them, since it is a great pity to see how the health of these men and women is affected immediately upon their retirement. Where would the Liberal party be today had the prime minister been forced to retire at 65, along with the other members of his cabinet? There would no longer be any party. The Address-Mr. Van Horne The general tendency within our industries is to enforce compulsory retirement at age 65. This affects not only the health of those who have to retire, but also the entire economy of the country. I also wish to deal with the matter of old age pensions. 1 cannot understand the thinking of the Liberal party leaders as regards the means test. Under our laws, one has to be poor to be entitled to the pension, one must be very careful to stay poor to keep it, up to the age of 70. Not only must one be poor to obtain the pension, one must also stay poor to keep it. So, a man who worked hard all his life and managed to put something aside, either in the form of real estate or in cash, is penalized by the government for having had the foresight of saving his money, whereas the spendthrift is assured of the old age pension. I am convinced that my electors want the old age pension to be granted to anyone, without the means test, at the age of 65 and the amount raised to $60 a month. If the government had been loyal to the Canadian people, it would have raised the amount of this pension in accordance with the rise in the cost of living. When, if ever, will the government wake up and give us a national health insurance plan? Is not the government ready to admit that, if Canada does not have today a health insurance plan, it is due precisely to its cowardice and complacency towards the Canadian people? Is not the government ready to admit that, before handing out huge sums of money to foreign countries, allowing them to enjoy free medical care, it would be its duty to see to it that we, the people of Canada, have as much as the government is ready to give to the citizens of these foreign countries? Alas, for the past five years the Conservative opposition has been beseeching you to put in force immediately a national health insurance plan for our sick people. Take the poor man with a family who has to live by the sweat of his brow-
Mr. Van Horne:
His chief worry is the thought that he would not have enough money to pay the hospital and doctor's bill if his children fall sick. When will the government recognize that, before giving over a billion dollars to Britain, it should give some to our
The Address-Mr. Van Horne Canadian citizens? Is the Canadian govern-^ injustice on the people of Canada; that is ment not ready to give as much to Canadian' Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation, citizens as to foreigners from Europe- J
Your party voted for it.
Get a translation of this.
It must be good.
Say it in English.
Say it in English.
Say it in English. Is this your party's policy?
Mr. Deputy Speaker:
Mr. Van Horne:
On behalf of all my fellow citizens, I urge the government to concern itself more actively also with the urgent question of mental health. Even our opponents from the other side of the house should concern themselves a little more with the achievement of things like that instead of coming to the house to make us waste our time.
The same thing applies to mental disease, as it does too to old age pensions or pensions to veterans. You are not doing your duty to the Canadian people, and you know it.
Of course, the hon. Minister of National Health and Welfare certainly is interested in the health of the people of this country, but I am unable to understand how it is that he is unable to convince the government that it should give the citizens of this country as much protection and assistance in the field of health as it does, for instance, to foreign countries.
Consequently, and to sum up my remarks, I request the immediate introduction by the government of legislation with a view to establishing a national health insurance plan, and also with a view to amending existing legislation so as to extend the old age pension to every person aged 65 without a means test.
Moreover I ask that this government help our hospitals that are now unable to collect more than 40 per cent of their bills because their patients cannot pay. I therefore believe that if the federal government does not want to help hospitals and does not want to do its duty by setting up a national health insurance plan, it should at least help hospitals that are unable to collect outstanding accounts.
I would like also, Mr. Speaker, to speak about an organization which is working an
Be quiet; grow up.
Mr. Van Horne:
In the United States they have an act called the national housing act. In Canada we have an act corresponding to it called the Central Mortgage and Housing Act. And it was none other than your own Mr. Bates who, in the May issue of Canadian Business, said that in the United States there is a lower down payment under their housing act than under ours and also there is a lower interest rate, namely 4J per cent instead of 5 per cent. There is a longer amortization period, namely 30 years instead of 25. The United States give veterans a preference. They have no down payment to pay on a house. Furthermore the down payment is very much lower than the down payment required in Canada.
The biggest and the most unjust thing about this Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation legislation is that it refuses to recognize a mortgage loan on a house which is already built; that is, an older house or a house not built to Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation standards. What does that do? It prevents a fellow with an older house from selling it and getting fair value because he cannot get a mortgage loan that equals the mortgage loan that Central Mortgage gives on a newer house built to their standards. In other words, it is the same thing as if the government came along and put their hand in the pocket of a home owner and said, "We are going to take away this value from you, because we refuse to recognize the mortgage loan value of your house".
If the national housing act in the United States is able to recognize almost the same loan value on a house which is already built as on a new house, then why cannot the Canadian government do the same? The failure of the Central Mortgage and Housing Act to recognize a loan value and lend money on a house which is not built under the Central Mortgage and Housing rules is killing the value of the older houses, of houses not built to Central Mortgage and Housing standards. This stupid restriction is taking away value, like a man who puts his hand in your pocket and removes all the money. It takes away the equity which people have invested in homes that are not built under the Central Mortgage and Housing specifications.
In other words, some people in this country cannot build or buy a home of their own. Those people are denied the right to obtain a mortgage loan on their property under the Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation
Act. In the United States a family may purchase a home through this national housing act and maintain a mortgage on it which goes up to 90 per cent of the value of the house whether new or old. In Canada it must be a new house built under the Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation Act, and the down payment required is far more than the average citizen can afford to pay.
If these required amendments to the Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation Act to bring the act up to par with the national housing act in the United States and provide the same benefits were to mean the expenditures of large sums of money on the part of the Canadian government, I would say that possibly we should study the matter further. The government is denying countless thousands of Canadian citizens the chance to acquire a home.
I would also like to say a word, Mr. Speaker, in regard to agriculture. On November 8 I sent a telegram to the Minister of Agriculture saying:
Hon. James W. Gardiner,
Minister of Agriculture,
After careful study of urgent and deplorable problem of the potato farmers in the maritime provinces I urgently suggest and strongly recommend the immediate adoption of reciprocal tariff measures between the United States and Canada for importation of potatoes into Canada and the immediate adoption of a diversion program based on same lines and same prices as now in operation in the United States. The government is sitting down on the job in regard to the solution of the potato problem. The farmers need and require immediate action if disaster is to be averted.
I have not received any answer to that telegram, but as a result of the tremendous pressure which was put on the Minister of Agriculture finally at the eleventh hour he consented to give a little assistance, but it was too little and too late; it was not enough, and it did not solve anything. It did not get the potato farmer out of the plight in which he had found himself for three long, hard years. These farmers have seen their farms mortgaged to the hilt. They have had their backs against the wall, unable to carry on.
I ask the Minister of Agriculture why his government insists on selling butter to the communists at 37 cents a pound when the poor people of this country must pay 70 cents a pound for it. I ask him if that is right when there is so much utter poverty in Canada. The government seems to be worried about surpluses and where to store those surpluses, and this at a time when there is utter starvation in this country. Any hon. member can prove that to the government.
It was a pleasure during my campaign to know that the Minister of Transport was in my riding campaigning actively against me.
The Address-Mr. Van Horne His presence in my riding served a most useful purpose, for it drew attention to the fact that the Canadian government had for years without number neglected the transportation facilities of the maritime provinces and of my own riding in particular. I ask the Minister of Transport why he has not seen fit to provide year-round docking facilities at Jacquet River, New Brunswick, which would be a natural outlet for the production of the mines near Bathurst. This locality furnishes one of the best opportunities on the eastern seaboard for a year-round port. I understand that the minister did take time to investigate the pitiful condition into which the port of Dalhousie has been permitted to deteriorate.
The federal government is always so anxious to know how the St. Lawrence seaway will affect the United States, but it never concerns itself one bit with how it will affect the maritime provinces. The history of the past 20 years in the maritime provinces is one of complete disregard by the federal government of our economic problems. It is true that for many of those years we have had in the maritime provinces complacent, dormant and weak provincial Liberal governments. I remember well the Liberal convention of 1948 when Hon. John McNair requested the federal Liberal government of that time to do something for the maritimes. But that was all that was ever done by the Liberal governments in the maritimes in the way of acquainting the federal government with the problems that existed down there.
I should like to say a word about the Canadian National Railways. Mr. Donald Gordon has indicated in effect that he is out to wreck the unions of the C.N.R., and he is doing just exactly that. The Liberal government is standing idly by and permitting him to do it. It is also permitting Donald Gordon to make the C.N.R. unsafe. I recently investigated one case where an engineer and fireman were killed in an accident and I can assure you that the whole tragic accident was wrapped up in negligence and skulduggery and covering up on the part of the C.N.R.
Donald Gordon is wrecking the unions of the C.N.R. in another way. Maintenance and repair work in the shops is being given out to contractors, which means that employees who for long years have fought through their unions for whatever rights they now possess automatically lose all those rights the minute they are laid off and are rehired by the contractors to do maintenance work on the tracks or repair work in the shops.
According to information we have received from the union, as of May 1 next year all repair work in the shops will be done by
178 HOUSE OF
The Address-Mr. Robichaud contract. That cuts out the unions entirely, and it does not give the men a chance. After having worked so hard to acquire these rights the employees of the C.N.R. should not have them taken away overnight. It is true that many of them will be hired by the contractors but it will be done without any question of the union, their rates of pay may even be reduced, there will be no overtime, and they will not have the benefits which they have obtained through years of negotiation with the C.N.R.
Recent events have served to prove how farseeing was the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Drew) when years ago he foretold and stated publicly what the government should do for the employees of the C.N.R. in order that their rights might be recognized and their unions safeguarded. There is no question about it that today the C.N.R. is in the position where its employees are forced to take drastic action precisely because the federal government did not wish to recognize their rights. I see that my time is about up.
Mr. Van Horne:
I certainly feel that these remarks will not be brushed aside. I feel that I should make my debut by at least stating that I believe that after making this speech and after saying what we need in our part of the country, you will at least take the time to go down and see for yourselves that what I have said is true. If you do that and if you do something about these problems you will have the public support required.
I should like the Minister of Transport to come down to my riding once more because he was prejudiced when he was there the last time. Here is what happened. Every election time they get plans ready for a new station at Edmundston, but as soon as the election is over the plans go into the basket and then at the next election they start all over again. This has been going on now for 20 years, and frankly we do not like it.
In closing I want to say that I come up here to try to do a job. What we are after are results. You fellows can have all the credit as long as you give us results. Just come across with something for us. Build the Cross Point bridge, build the station at Edmundston; do these things, and we will tell you that you are a good group of fellows.