January 21, 1957

CCF

Harold Edward Winch

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

Mr. Harold E. Winch (Vancouver East):

Mr. Speaker, in rising to take part in the debate now under way I should like first of all through you, sir, to thank the Minister of Trade and Commerce and the management of Trans-Canada Air Lines for their kind cooperation in enabling me to get home speedily on the death of my father. I appreciate their help very much. In the same vein, sir, to you, to the Prime Minister, certain members of the cabinet and a great many members of the House of Commons, may I express on behalf of my mother and family our great appreciation of the telegrams and letters sent to us on that very sad occasion. They were most welcome, and the expressions of sympathy and understanding were of great assistance to all members of our family.

At this stage of the debate on the address in reply to the speech from the throne it may seem rather difficult to believe that there are still some things that have not yet been said and which we feel should be said. It is not my intention to emphasize or repeat in any way the requests made by other members with regard to the changes they feel are required in government policy and legislation. In only one way do I wish to add my voice to those of members of all parties who have asked the government to bring in at this session improvements in the legislation respecting allowances paid our senior citizens, our blind, our disabled and our veterans.

A great deal has been said already on this subject and, as I said, I am not going to go beyond what has been said except to add that I was most interested in the remarks made a few moments ago by the hon. member for Burnaby-Richmond. I want to say to him that if what he said is correct, if the Liberal

The Address-Mr. Winch party is a democracy and not a cabinet dictatorship, then why do they not bring in increased allowances? In the opinion of every member on this and the other side of the house the time is past when these allowances should have been increased.

There is one matter having to do with those of the low income groups about which I want to speak. I refer to the question of housing. There is still a very serious shortage of low rental housing for our aged citizens and those in the same income category. Until about eight years ago nothing whatsoever was being done on their behalf, but a start was made at that time. Some municipalities were interested and made land contributions. Some governments were interested and made grants up to one-third of the capital cost of nonprofit housing on a low rental basis for our aged citizens.

Unfortunately there has never been any major effort made by the federal government to interest itself in this most serious problem. I want to give commendation where commendation is due. There is legislation which enables the Minister of Public Works to make a contribution through Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation to housing for our senior citizens by way of mortgage at an interest rate not greater than 1 per cent more than the rate paid by the government on its own borrowings. However, I feel we have now reached a point with respect to the serious problem of supplying low rental housing for our old age pensioners and others in the same category when there is not only a request but an insistent demand that the federal government show greater interest in the problem and make a greater contribution to its solution than providing mortgage facilities.

Some seven or eight years ago, with a grant of land from a municipality for the nominal sum of $1 and a capital grant of one-third from a provincial government, it was possible to provide good housing for a couple for approximately $22 a month. With the increased costs of construction I can say with authority that now, even with the land free from the municipality, a one-third grant from a provincial government and a mortgage loan from the federal government at 3J per cent, it is not possible to make a good home available for a couple for under $35 a month. I know whereof I speak in that regard.

At the pension rates we have in Canada people cannot afford to pay even $35 a month. The low income groups cannot do so. I believe it is only fair that the entire responsibility should not be left on the municipality and the provincial government. Instead, I think the federal government should give

[Mr. Winch.l

most serious consideration to matching the grants of the provincial governments in order that we can take care, on an increased scale, of the housing needs of our senior citizens. I hope the government will give some thought to the matter. But if they will not do so, Mr. Speaker, I would most certainly request that they do not put obstacles in the way of those who want to do something about the situation.

Unfortunately this government puts obstacles in the way of those who want to do something about giving good houses to our old age pensioners. Under the acts of the provincial legislature in their making of grants, and under the terms under which money can be borrowed from Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation, first of all it must be done by an incorporated company; it must be a non-profit company, and it must put up a certain amount of cash. But when you have churches such as the United Church in British Columbia, an organization such as the Swedish association in British Columbia, an organization such as New Vista in Burnaby and a fraternal organization like the Rotary club at Kelowna interested in this problem, the cash required must come through donations, and we find that as a general rule donations mostly come from the same source.

Those who are willing and able to give also expect that under the Income Tax Act the donations shall be allowable as charitable donations. Mr. Speaker, this government does not allow, under the Income Tax Act, deduction for purposes of income tax of donations to any non-profit, incorporated organization trying to meet the government's responsibility in supplying homes to old age pensioners and those in the same low income category. We know that. We have the ruling of the legal department of the Minister of National Revenue that such donations are not covered and cannot be covered.

That being the case, Mr. Speaker, surely it is not asking too much of the government that, if an amendment is required, they introduce at this session the required amendment in order to take care of the church and fraternal organizations that are trying to do the job that should be the responsibility of government. At least do not put obstacles in their way.

I would also ask you to note this fact, Mr. Speaker. The reason we are turned down by the legal department of the Minister of National Revenue is that we are operating a business. Mr. Speaker, I think there would be a revolution in this country if you tried to tell those who donate to the Y.M.C.A., the Y.W.C.A., or the Salvation Army that they

could not have exemption under the act because they are operating a business. They are all operating a business in connection with hotels and hostels, the renting of rooms, and doing a wonderful job; and they are sustained to a great extent by charitable donations, directly or indirectly, through the community chests and the red feather drives. Yet, Mr. Speaker, when it comes to the provision of homes for the aged on a low rental basis, the government says, "You cannot have any exemption".

Just the other day we heard the Prime Minister tell us about the new Canada Council -that is a wonderful thing and something which is long overdue-and he emphasized the fact that provision would be made that donations given to this council for the advancement of culture and the arts would be exempt as charitable donations. Mr. Speaker, I agree with that course. But I say it is a confounded shame that the government should boast that they are going to make provision for the exemption of gifts for the advancement of culture and the arts, and refuse the same right for the building of homes for the aged of the Dominion of Canada. I certainly hope that something will be done about the situation. I am interested in the advancement of culture and the arts. Maybe I need some myself. But I am interested first of all in decent homes for those who have built our country, and the government should have the same interest.

To go on from that point, there is another matter I desire to raise. It may seem small, but to many it is important. I am extremely grateful that the Minister of Labour is in his seat, because I am certain he will take note of it. Under the British North America Act there are divisions of jurisdiction as between the federal government and the provincial governments. One of the responsibilities and jurisdictions of a provincial government is the enactment of legislation on hours of work. Legislation varies in the different provinces of Canada, but most of the provinces are interested in hours of work and they make laws as to how many hours it is lawful to work in a day and how many hours it is lawful to work in a week.

It always happens that law is behind what has become general practice and what is the demand of organized labour. But it seems to me onlv reasonable to suppose that any activities of the federal government or of any department under the federal government would be in line with the laws of the province, or would be of such a nature as not to discriminate against people if they want to live up to the laws of the province. Therefore through you, Mr. Speaker, I want

The Address-Mr. Winch to say to the Minister of Labour that I think it is wrong that the attitude of the unemployment insurance commission should be that if a person becomes tired of working too much overtime, finally rebels against working too much overtime, even above the trade union agreement and the law of the province, and quits the job because of the overtime, then when he makes application for unemployment insurance he should be told, "You are not eligible because you did not have a legitimate reason for quitting the job".

I know this applies in particular to one phase of operations. If a woman is single, works overtime and does not complain, then after being married if she does not want to work excessive overtime but wants to go home after work she is denied lawful hours. The unemployment insurance commission says "You are now married. You did not object to this overtime when you were single, so you have now no reason for quitting your job. You are not eligible for unemployment insurance".

Mr. Speaker, I assure the Minister of Labour that I am not talking through my hat. I have cases; I have decisions. I have on my desk one decision of the appeal board that such is the rule and such is the policy. I just want to say through you, Mr. Speaker, to the Minister of Labour that it is definitely wrong, and I sincerely hope he will interest himself in that one little phase of a large operation; because it is not only wrong in principle but is placing a burden on people who do not wish to work overtime but are forced to do so. If they quit their jobs they are not eligible for unemployment insurance. Surely in our country, in our provincial and our federal policies, our goal should be that everybody should work reasonable hours. As long as we have immigrants who want to come here and are told they cannot because we have no employment, then we should have a federal policy which coincides with provincial law on hours of work in a day or a week.

There is another subject which I will not discuss at any length because, as I said, I do not wish to take up too much time in this debate. It is an important subject. I merely wish to ask if and when this government is going to give at this session some information to the people of Canada and in particular to the people of British Columbia as to what government policy is going to be on major developments in regard to international rivers. It is not enough to read in the papers about surveys and studies. They may extend over many years, and the developments about which I have read recently perhaps will not be undertaken for 25 years. The problem of the Columbia river is of such a nature that

The Address-Mr. Winch there should be some indication by the government now as to government policy and co-operation between governments as to development of that great resource of British Columbia.

One of the great regrets in my years in public life is that we have to wait until the last moment to find out what a government has in mind. The speech from the throne was one of the most barren documents I have ever heard or read in my life. It gave no indication whatsoever to the common people as to what they might expect. We all know there is going to be an election this year, and the major guessing game which is going on across Canada today is trying to find out what is government strategy. To me it appears that the government strategy is to wait until we have been here a few weeks; then perhaps have the Minister of Finance bring down the budget; then ask for six months' interim supply, and then dissolve the house, when the members of parliament will have no right to discuss the people's business or to interrogate on government policy.

It will be a marvellous thing when we have true democracy in this country. That will be when we have a government that operates on principle and not on political election expediency. It has always been that way in the past but there is no reason why it should be that way in the future. There is no reason why a government should have to use a strategy for election purposes. In the same light there is no reason why an opposition should have to use parliament for election strategy purposes. Sometimes, however, the hands of the opposition are forced in trying to force the hands of the government.

Mr. Speaker, I opened by giving you the thanks of our family for your expression of sympathy on the death of my father. May I conclude with the final words that man, who was for 24 years in the British Columbia legislature, left as his epitaph. I think if we will guide ourselves, as government members or as opposition members, by these four lines we will have a greater Canada, more democratic and more honest elections:

Not as a ladder from earth to heaven;

Not as a witness to any creed.

But simple service, simply given,

To his own kind in their common need.

When parliament follows that rule we will have democracy.

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LIB

Joseph-Alphonse-Anaclet Habel

Liberal

Mr. J. A. Habel (Cochrane):

The mover (Mr. Hanna) and seconder (Mr. Robichaud) of the address in reply to the speech from the throne deserve our sincere congratulations. Both these hon. members delivered

very interesting speeches, and in so doing brought credit upon themselves and honour to their constituents. The hon. member for Edmonton-Strathcona lived up to the trust placed in him by the Prime Minister. Although I was not present when the hon. member spoke I read his speech in Hansard and found it very interesting. I should like to congratulate him for having spoken in French as well. This is a mark of good will that is deeply appreciated by all Canadians of French descent. The hon. member for Gloucester is also deserving of my felicitations. His talent as a good speaker was already known in this house, and on this occasion his words were carefully chosen and were most interesting to read.

May I digress for a moment, Mr. Speaker, to tell the hon. member for Restigouche-Madawaska, although he is not in the house and no member can ever be sure when he will be in the house-

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PC

J.-Wilfrid Dufresne

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Dufresne:

We never know when you are in the house, either, because this is the first time you have spoken.

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LIB

Joseph-Alphonse-Anaclet Habel

Liberal

Mr. Habel:

Speak for yourself. In answer to the hon. member for Quebec West I would only say this much, Mr. Speaker. We have had to listen to his ballyhoo for three or four years, but most likely after the next election we will not see him any more.

I was going to say, for the benefit of the hon. member for Restigouche-Madawaska-I hope he will have occasion to read my words-that had he understood the speech of the hon. member who seconded the address in reply to the speech from the throne he could have learned a lesson in politeness and reasoning. This lesson would have been very useful not only to the hon. member for Restigouche-Madawaska, but would have been of great benefit to the Conservative members who are so uneasy when the hon. member for Restigouche-Madawaska indulges in petty politics, trying to belittle not only hon. members in this house but even the ministers of the crown.

I know that some will cry, "Heavens, we are in a democracy". With that I fully agree; but we will have democracy only as long as opposition party members will criticize loyally the policies of the government, rather than trying to belittle men who enjoy the confidence not only of the electors they represent in this house but also of the majority of the people of this country. After all, what achieved the election of the great number of Liberal members who were returned to this house in 1953 if not the policies and the integrity of the right hon. Prime Minister and his cabinet? It is normal indeed that

the opposition may differ in its opinion on ways and means, and it is the duty of the opposition to criticize where it is felt better things could be done; but why not suggest constructively rather than criticize destructively, as does the hon. member for Resti-gouche-Madawaska?

I think also of the hon. member for Broadview, a young man who appears to have had rather a fair schooling but who cannot participate in any debate without rehashing his old song "Tired Old Men" when he refers to the ministers. He seems to forget that the Tory party and government of Great Britain was led by a man much older than our Prime Minister but who on many occasions showed that he had more brains than many young would-be politicians like the hon. member for Broadview, who also appears to have forgotten that his father was born before him, and how lucky he is that this was so.

Mr. Speaker, if I mention these two hon. gentlemen it is not because I want this house to think for a moment that I hold a similar opinion of all members of the opposition. I have great respect for all hon. members in this house whatever party they belong to; and moreover, with regard to some who may have a slip of the tongue in the heat of a discussion, it is soon forgotten. But to a very few, and especially the two hon. members I have mentioned, I would say beware; for in the long run you will notice that you are not helping your own party by belittling men like those in the cabinet today. They have proven by deeds and not simply by mere words that the confidence placed in them in five elections has been justified; and should there be an election early this summer I am sure the Canadian people will return the same men to office.

You have a new leader, and I congratulate him on his appointment as such. Would it not be better for Conservatives to try to build up their party to be worthy of more confidence on the part of the Canadian public, rather than attempt to undermine men who have served so faithfully and so well not only the party to which they belong but the whole of Canada; and I would say even outside of Canada, for it is no secret that all the ministers who have represented us in other countries have been a credit to this nation. Please notice I said "nation" rather than referring to the party to which they belong, because when they are abroad they think and act on behalf of the nation.

(Translation):

Mr. Speaker, I have no intention of posing as a master in democracy but I did feel it my duty to make those few remarks in the hope

The Address-Mr. Habel that they might be useful. After all democracy will survive as long as public men respect authority, truth and justice and even the electorate.

Opposition parties seem to find the speech from the throne lacking in a sufficient number of new measures. I feel sure that, before the end of this session, we shall hear them say that what new legislation or changes are suggested will be only brought in because of a forthcoming general election. This of course, as I have said, is rather normal. Nevertheless, if I am any judge of public opinion, when the people of this country will be called upon to judge between actions and promises, it will give the government another vote of confidence. This vote of confidence will go to a government which possibly did not do all that was requested of it . . .

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PC

J.-Wilfrid Dufresne

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Dufresne:

Certainly not.

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LIB

Joseph-Alphonse-Anaclet Habel

Liberal

Mr. Habel:

. . . but which, I am convinced has done a lot and for the general good of everybody.

Mr. Speaker, the people I have the honour to represent here include farmers, settlers, professional men, merchants and all kinds of workers. The extent of the constituency of Cochrane is such that it is more an empire than a county. A rather extraordinary fact is that, from one end of the county of Cochrane to the other, various groups, whatever their origin, live in perfect harmony. The various classes of people live together in one happy family. When I see that happening in my constituency, I wonder why it cannot be the same the world over.

My constituents are appreciative of the work done by the present government to maintain peace in the world. They have the greatest respect for the hon. Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. Pearson) who plays such an important part on behalf of the government of Canada in international affairs.

Like many other Canadians, they would welcome a reduction in our national defence budget but they fully understand that, as long as communist Russia nourishes the same ambitious designs, we owe it to ourselves, and to future generations, to maintain a moral and spiritual force and even an armed force to provide for all emergencies.

In a speech I delivered before a social club, early last October, I stated my conviction that the majority of the people now behind the iron curtain are not communists, and I am still convinced this is so. A few weeks

The Address-Mr. Hahel after that speech, Hungary was in a turmoil and this gallant nation would be today a free nation if Russian tanks and machine guns had not interfered with her freedom. How courageous this nation was to try to overcome such an intolerable situation. We must therefore welcome with open arms these refugees who suffered so much and whose only dream is to gain freedom.

There has been a spontaneous response to the appeal of the hon. minister of immigration (Mr. Pickersgill) just about everywhere in Canada. And I am proud to say that in the town of Kapuskasing, where I live, a committee has already been formed, which includes various religious confessions, to take care of the Hungarian families who might want to come there. His Excellency Mgr. Louis Levesque, Bishop of the diocese of Hearst, asked that each parish manage to receive at least one family. This organization is doing fine and should the opportunity arise, these families will be welcomed with the best of attention.

The Spruce Falls Power and Paper Company, of Kapuskasing expressed its willingness to hire Hungarian workers. I imagine that those men will want to bring their families along with them. So although housing is at a premium in our town, the committee is busy finding dwellings for them.

It may be that, in a country as prosperous as Canada, there had to arise such tragic circumstances to make us realize and appreciate our security properly, from the spiritual as well as from the material point of view.

There may be people, though not many, who believe that we are doing more than our share in admitting all these refugees, but I hope that, when they understand what a blow these patriots dealt the Russian bear and communism, not only in Hungary, but in France, in Italy, as well as in all the countries where the devotees of communism have been a constant menace, they soon will change their minds.

Now, Mr. Speaker, there is a point on which I would like to say a few words. I shall do so by reviewing a situation that might be forgotten in times of prosperity, even with the best of intentions. I am speaking of taxation, of the income tax.

The opposition parties claim that the income tax is far too high, and that we must cut down expenses. Curiously enough, however, they dare not say where and how to cut them down.

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PC

J.-Wilfrid Dufresne

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Dufresne:

We have told you already.

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LIB

Joseph-Alphonse-Anaclet Habel

Liberal

Mr. Habel:

Would they agree to a decrease in the national defence appropriation? I doubt it. Would they agree to a curtailment of social legislation benefits? Again I doubt it, especially before an election. Would they welcome a decrease in the amounts voted for public works? Judging by the requests made even by the opposition parties when the estimates of the public works department are before the house, those appropriations should be increased to satisfy them. Would they agree to cut the salaries of the civil servants who are surely not overpaid? Again I doubt it since they seem to take such an interest in them, especially before an election.

They talk about a surplus, as if we ought to be ashamed of it, forgetting that a surplus means that our country is even more prosperous than we could foresee.

Mr. Speaker, I am no socialist but I find that we are very fortunate to have a planned economy in Canada. Is not all this outcry about a possible surplus as well as about income tax simply a political shenanigan? For my part and I speak, I think, in the name of the majority of my electors, I would rather be in a position to pay income tax rather than go back to a depression such as we experienced under the Bennett administration.

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PC

J.-Wilfrid Dufresne

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Dufresne:

Brought on by the previous administration.

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LIB

Joseph-Alphonse-Anaclet Habel

Liberal

Mr. Habel:

I did not understand the hon. member's interruption.

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PC

J.-Wilfrid Dufresne

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Dufresne:

A depression brought on by the former regime.

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LIB

Joseph-Alphonse-Anaclet Habel

Liberal

Mr. Habel:

By people like you, opportunists who know not where to go. Yet, Mr. Bennett had promised . . .

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PC

J.-Wilfrid Dufresne

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Dufresne:

It is not very convincing!

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LIB

Joseph-Alphonse-Anaclet Habel

Liberal

Mr. Habel:

... a full lunch pail and at least $5 a day. Paying taxes when there is full employment, when we are enjoying as we do today a booming economy is not the worse of all evils.

During the economic depression, that is the years 1930 and 1937, the constituency I have the honour to represent today was nothing more than a pioneer settlement, and having then the honour and the task of representing that county at the provincial legislature in Toronto, I had there an experience that I would not want to go through again. Rather than suffer the misery of those years, the people of the constituency of Cochrane prefer

by far to be subject to income tax when their income warrants it. During the last election campaign, some of the speakers who were supporting my conservative adversary, tried to discredit income tax. But the electors, particularly those who had known the depression years, still remembered what they had been through, and they did not refrain from interrupting those speakers to tell them that they would much rather pay income tax than go back to the unemployment relief or pittances of 20 cents a day.

No, Mr. Speaker, Canadians enjoy social laws and the administration of a democracy which serves the people. Therefore people understand too that the money for national defence, for social laws and family allowances, for old age pensions and pensions for the blind, the disabled, and the veterans; and the grants for hospital construction, and so on, has to come from taxes. And since he enjoys the benefits of a democracy with truly Christian social laws, the citizen of Canada also understands his obligations. And those who have to pay income tax do it, as a rule, willingly.

I would not have to dwell on this matter, except perhaps to say, incidentally, that it would be appropriate to study the situation as it is today, and with due regard to the high cost of living. For families and individuals alike, there may be reasons in favour of raising the basic exemption. Even if families receive children's allowances, the price of food, rent, clothing and our Canadian standard of living have increased to such extent that the present exemption must seem obsolete if it is not balanced by a quite considerable increase in social security benefits.

I would ask the hon. Minister of Finance (Mr. Harris), on behalf of all those I represent here, if there is no way of increasing the basic exemption for bachelors to $1,500 and for a married couple to at least $2,500 and perhaps $3,000 if possible. It is true that we are speaking of health insurance, which, if voted, would mean further expense. But, until the provinces show enough interest in this project, such increase of basic exemptions would seem feasible to me.

As regards the possible surplus at the end of the fiscal year, part of it might be used to increase old age pensions, which would be a great help to a great number of my fellow citizens. On that point, Mr. Speaker, I would add that the provinces are very slow to give our older citizens the additional amount they might need. Yet, when the federal government undertook to pay $40 a month, the province of Ontario was thereby saved a very large sum of money which it could easily have used, at least in part, to pay an addi-82715-32

The Address-Mr. Hahel tional amount in case of need. For our older citizens who have no other means of support $40 a month is indeed insufficient. Provinces which are not as rich as Ontario pay such additional amounts, and it is hard to understand why that province shows such reluctance to do so.

For my part, Mr. Speaker, I would like the government to increase not only these pensions but also family allowances, as suggested in many requests from my constituents. Since their inception these allowances have contributed to raise the standard of living of many families of modest means. An adjustment which would take into account a rise in the cost of living would have great moral value in a number of homes. I will even go so far as to say that it is absolutely necessary, because of the constant rise in the cost of living.

Another point on which I would like to touch, Mr. Speaker, if I have time, is the delicate matter of a truly distinctive Canadian national flag. There is nothing new in this as far as I am concerned. In 1939, when Their Majesties the King and Queen were visiting this country, I spoke in the legislative assembly in Toronto and deplored the fact that we were the only nation in the commonwealth that had no distinctive flag with which to greet its sovereigns. On this point, Mr. Speaker, I think that the suggestion put forward by the hon. member for Lake St. John (Mr. Gauthier) is very valuable. His suggestion is that the leaders of the various parties here arrange for consultations in order to arrive at a solution so that this matter of a choice of the flag will not be a political bone of contention. After all, Mr. Speaker, this problem of a flag which is symbolic of the very heart of a nation, should be resolved by the various party leaders, and the Canadian people would foe all the better for it.

I should also like to say a few words about the trans-Canada highway. In my constituency, the highway connecting the east and west boundaries is the only true trans-Canada highway at the present time. In 1941, the Ontario government, a Liberal government at the time, opened to traffic the 153-mile highway connecting Hearst and Gerald-ton, which gave us then a fully Canadian highway. Since then, that highway has brought in tourists and has been used for transportation generally. In fact, I would like a survey made of the number of heavy trucks using that highway. I am sure the government would be surprised at the ever growing number of its users. Who knows, such a survey might lead to an agreement with the provincial government whereby that high-

490 HOUSE OF

The Address-Mr. J. W. Murphy way would be considered as part of the trans-Canada highway, not only because of its importance from the commercial and touristic point of view, but specially from the point of view of national defence. Highway No. 11 is already in existence and useful; no one can ignore its importance from the point of view of national defence as well as for trade and tourism.

In this same connection, I wish to join with the hon. member for Chapleau (Mr. Gourd) to ask the Department of National Defence as well as the Department of Public Works to consider the possibility of connecting northwestern Quebec with northeastern Ontario. To connect Norembega, in Ontario, to La Reine, in Quebec, there remains only a distance of about 40 miles to complete that road. The soil is well suited for road construction. There would be perhaps a few bridges to build but, if the federal and provincial governments came to an agreement, the cost would be rather insignificant when one considers the usefulness of a road which would shorten considerably distances between Quebec, Montreal and western Canada.

Mr. Speaker, I conclude by thanking the house for its forbearance and by assuring the government that the population of my constituency has the greatest confidence in the future of our part of the country, especially now that we are sure to get natural gas, a most essential product to the early development of an area filled with prospects and minerals of high value. Owing to natural gas, we look to the future with hope. In a few years the constituency of Cochrane will be among the most prosperous constituencies in our province as well as in the country.

Now Mr. Speaker, the subamendment and the amendment constitute a non-confidence motion in the government; so, I don't have to tell you that, on behalf of my constituents,

I will vote against those two motions. I trust that the present government, conscious of its responsibilities, will go on improving our social legislation every time the opportunity arises.

So Mr. Speaker, I believe that, should there be an election this year, the constituency will keep faith with the government which, for more than 20 years, has been leading our country with a touch that is envied by so many other nations as well as other political parties in our own country.

(Text):

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PC

Joseph Warner Murphy

Progressive Conservative

Mr. J. W. Murphy (Lambton West):

Mr. Speaker, there is no problem which concerns the Canadian people so much at the present

[Mr. Habel.l

time as that of the value of their dollars. To the man on the street the exercises of the Bank of Canada in tampering with the bank rate and the apparently fuzzy money policy are bewildering. The government's tight money policy, supposedly intended to control inflation, has only aggravated a serious situation. This is altogether too evident when one considers the difficulties of Canadian municipalities in financing their debenture issues. The whole unhappy business filters through the house construction industry and injures enterprises large and small all across the country.

It is being reflected not only in the decrease in the number of houses being built, but in its adverse effect on the small businessman who is experiencing difficulty in obtaining loans for his month to month operations. To cut a long story short, it is getting to the point where it is being reflected in higher prices all across the board. The rising cost of living is now exerting a real pressure on Canadian family budgets, and the house will await with real concern the statement promised by the Minister of Finance on this subject.

While on this subject of rising food prices I might mention that the Minister of Justice has not yet, I understand, declared his position with regard to the latest curse in merchandising, the gold bond stamp, the blue chip stamp or, in other words, the premium stamp. Retailers and retail organizations across the country are definitely opposed to this new gimmick which was introduced by one retail organization to beat the competition of all others in the same line of merchandising. It may rest with individual crown attorneys or with the provincial attorneys general to take action in this situation, but it would appear nevertheless that some leadership might be forthcoming from the federal government and the Minister of Justice.

These stamps by their very nature contribute to inflation, which is something that should concern the Minister of Finance as well as the Minister of Justice. The retail organization or association of Canada contends that the use of these stamps in a so-called give-away program only adds to the cost of doing business. The chain stores and others in competition operate on a very narrow margin of profit and depend entirely upon a vast volume of sales. Because of this narrow margin of profit these retail stores cannot afford to give away something for nothing. Consequently housewives are being duped day in and day out into believing they are gaining valuable premiums for nothing as they purchase family supplies.

Actually the contrary is the case. Ever since this stamp business was introduced the

prices of many staple items of food have been edging higher and higher; in other words, prices have been increased to take care of the cost of the stamps and of the premiums that are given away when the shopper accumulates a sufficient number of stamps.

Before this merchandising curse spreads to the extent that it has spread in the United States and fastens itself upon the economy as a multi-million dollar leech, some government action should be taken to eradicate it altogether.

I think, Mr. Speaker, that action should be taken without delay. This is a most deceptive practice, but unfortunately many shoppers cannot see through the idea and have been sold on the notion that by obtaining these stamps when they purchase their grocery requirements they are actually getting something for nothing. I do not think any hon. member of this house, regardless of the party to which he belongs, would not agree that this is a practice which should be stopped, and I think it must be stopped at the highest government level without delay.

Mr. Speaker, since coming to this house in 1945 I, like many other members of the official opposition and others, have made proposals to the government concerning the plight of the municipalities across this country. As an illustration, we have urged that crown companies should be subject to taxation in the same way as any other industries in a municipality. The government through one of its senior ministers opposed that idea for several years and it was not until 1949 that a formula giving effect to our views was adopted, the same formula that was prescribed by me in the five years prior to its announcement.

It took repetition to have this idea accepted by the government and, Mr. Speaker, I make no apology tonight for again bringing to the attention of the government the plight of the municipalities. If the matter is as serious as we claim it is, and I am sure government members must know how serious it is, it bears repetition. We have advocated in the house that crown property in any municipality be subject to taxation. Some few years ago after considerable argument a 4 per cent fringe, so to speak, was put on, and if crown property amounted to that percentage of the total assessment there was payment in lieu of taxes. That was later reduced to 2 per cent, and I am happy that this year the 2 per cent has been removed so that crown property is wholly subject to taxation.

That is one very minor form of relief to which the municipalities are entitled, but it 82715-32J

The Address

Mr. J. W. Murphy is still not enough because, as we have said over the years, the senior government is getting such a high proportion of the tax dollar that it is squeezing the junior governments to such an extent that municipal bodies find themselves today in a strait-jacket, hardly able to raise enough revenue to do the necessary financing to take care of administration, schools, sewage disposal and all the services required by the people living in the municipality.

According to the dominion bureau of statistics, in 1939 the federal government received 48 cents of the tax dollar, the provincial governments 22.3 cents and the municipal governments 29.7 cents. At the present time the federal government has increased its share to 77 cents of the tax dollar while the provincial governments have been reduced to 12 cents and the poor cousins of the senior government, the municipal governments, have had their share reduced to 11 cents.

I think everyone will agree that it is actually at the municipal level that you get the most for the taxpayer's dollar, and it is most unfortunate that in our growing cities today home owners find their taxes are so high that they almost wonder whether or not they should have bought a home. Certainly in this day and age we do not find, as we did years ago, homes being constructed for rental purposes. That time has gone, and I do not expect it will ever come again.

I would urge the government to consider the idea we have advocated for several years, one that several members have put forward much more forcefully than I have ever been able to, namely that the sales tax that municipal governments have to pay should be abolished. No provincial government pays a sales tax. The municipal governments are in a more serious situation than even the provincial governments, and I submit in all fairness that is all the more reason why the sales tax on their purchases should be removed.

I had a telegram today from our city manager in the city of Sarnia containing the information that sales tax paid by the city in 1956 and by contractors working for the municipality amounted to $150,000. For a city the size of Sarnia that means less than $4 per head, but after all is said and done it is no small amount inasmuch as it is the home owner who has to bear the burden of all the financing that is necessary in a municipality. I hope this principle can be adopted during the present session and made applicable to every municipality throughout the country, because I do not know of a municipality that would not be very grateful

4S2

The Address-Mr. J. W. Murphy for this much relief per capita by way of exemption from sales tax.

As hon. members are aware, in the United States municipal taxes on a home, for instance, are deductible from a person's income for income tax purposes. We have suggested before in the house that this principle be applied in Canada, and I urge that the government follow suit or at least consider the necessity for taking such action. It has worked out fairly well in the United States, and I think it is one measure we could adopt with profit and a great deal of satisfaction to the home owners of Canada.

I am going to speak for a moment about the Sarnia Indian reserve, inasmuch as I had a question on the order paper recently asking the amount of money paid to the city of Sarnia in the year 1956. My question was: What amount, if any, was paid by the federal government to the city of Sarnia for work or services of any kind in connection with the Sarnia Indian reserve for the year 1956?

This was the answer given by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration:

Water supplied to council house, etc. ..$ 113.37

Fire calls 375.00

Sarnia board of education (tuition) _ 1,862.22

Sarnia separate school board (tuition) . 280.00

I feel that this matter must be brought to the attention of the house and the government again, because we understand that the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration now has the responsibility of determining what amount will be paid by the government for services to any Indian reserve. In a letter to me of October 31, 1955, concerning this matter and in reply to a letter I had written to the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration said:

My colleague, the Hon. Mr. Harris, has referred to me your letter of August 29 in connection with a request from the city of Sarnia for payment for services provided to the Indian reserve within the limits of the city.

Incidentally, Mr. Speaker, it will be of interest to hon. members to learn that this particular reserve is now actually in the process of being sold at a consideration of some $7 million, though it may take some time before the transaction is completed. Therefore you can appreciate that we are not dealing with a very small project. If the deal goes through it will be one of the largest real estate deals that has ever taken place, in fact I think the largest in Canada. This is Indian property, and it is within the confines of the city of Sarnia. The minister goes on to say:

The June 15, 1955, amendment of the Municipal Grants Act excluded Indian reserves from the definition of "federal property" and consequently it has been necessary to consider an alternative

arrangement to enable payment for services provided by municipalities to Indian reserves. It is hoped that shortly we will be able to deal with claims from municipalities for such services, at which time the matter will be taken up with the clerk or the manager of the city of Sarnia.

The return I received showed that the amount paid to the city of Sarnia was $2,630.59 for 1956, but the telegram I had today from the city manager indicates that only $375 was paid to the Sarnia city treasury by the federal government in connection with the Sarnia Indian reserve. As a matter of fact the amount asked for by the city of Sarnia was in the neighbourhood of $27,000 per year for services rendered to the reserve, and the city contended that amount was rightfully owing to the city for such services.

I submit that in all fairness there is no reason whatsoever why veterans, young people and our older people should be obligated to pay for services amounting to $27,000 provided to this reserve, when realty sales have been made over the last two years at the rate of some $2,000 per acre and considerable acreage has been sold. Hence it is not working any hardship to those who are living on the reserve. I therefore think the government, in all fairness, should make it a policy across this country that where a municipality services an Indian reservation, that municipality should be reimbursed for any amount it has been required to spend for that purpose.

There is another matter, Mr. Speaker, with which I should like to deal for just a moment. Down in our section of western Ontario we have an extremely high-grade agricultural area specializing in cash crops in order to give a return commensurate with the capital investment in the property. We have farms in many areas down in western Ontario where land values are $200, $300 and $400 an acre.

The point I am making is this. Where these people must engage in specialized farming, it is necessary that these growers or producers obtain the necessary help at the necessary time. Down there we have early vegetable growers, sugar beet growers, fruit growers and so on. I know that last year the acreage in sugar beets was small and that the canners could have taken in a good deal more fruit and vegetables had the producers had available to them the necessary labour. However, it was not available.

In connection with the government's immigration policy, I think they will agree with me that a small portion of 1 per cent of the immigrants are capable of doing this sort of work, but there are people from various countries in Europe who can readily be trained. I would suggest that it should

be the policy of the federal government to see that those in these specialized industries, such as the fruit and vegetable growers in Essex, the sugar beet growers and the tobacco growers, get the required help at the time they actually need it. It is no good to have this help coming in a week or two after it should have been there.

I hope and expect that the government's immigration policy, through the minister, will be such that the necessary labour to take care of the proper cultivating and harvesting of these crops will be made available in co-operation with organizations requiring this specialized help. I have, as I am sure have other members, a petition or resolution from the flue-cured tobacco growers and from other organizations sent to the government asking for specialized help to harvest their respective crops. I therefore hope the government will not handicap these producers and processors, but will do what is necessary so they may continue to survive as an important segment of our agricultural economy. They must not be handicapped by any policy or lack of policy of the government.

Another matter with which I wish to deal just briefly, Mr. Speaker, is this, and I think that every hon. member will agree with me that it has considerable merit. I refer now to the cases of war veterans who are petitioning the pension board for pensions. I say this because I want to relate one particular experience which causes me to bring this matter before the house. We have the case of a young chap who was on the Murmansk run, who prior to his enlistment, had been active athletically and who, for some four or five years or a little longer, I believe, was attempting to get a pension because of a certain disease which caused the loss of a leg and a couple of fingers. He had not been successful in obtaining any pension. As does every other hon. member, I appreciate the fact that it is not the responsibility of the pension board to produce the evidence that is to come before that board. They are a tribunal. However, I say this. I say that advocates or those in charge of producing the particular evidence in a particular case should be well versed as to what is necessary in order that the man's case gets a fair hearing.

This particular individual was not able to get a pension of any kind. It happened to be my good fortune to talk to a couple of senior members of my party, one of whom is now in tile house. Through their co-operation we were able to give this matter a little more thought, with the result that we got in touch with some of the authorities in the London

The Address-Mr. J. W. Murphy area. They were kind enough to come up to my house, and we discussed this man's case.

In this particular instance, Mr. Speaker, I am extremely happy to say that they had carefully prepared the evidence. In fact they had three top-class police officers from the Sarnia police department and two young lads who had been in service and who were able to corroborate the fact that this man had complained of his illness while he was in service. I happen to have had the pleasure of going down to London to hear the evidence when it was placed before the tribunal, and at the conclusion I could not help but feel that the man would be entitled to his pension.

I must pay a tribute of respect to those in that area who prepared the evidence in this case. It could not have been prepared better. The result was that the man received a 100 per cent pension. He also received a clothing allowance of $6 a month, I believe, and he gets another $720 a year as a helplessness allowance.

My point in bringing this matter to the attention of the house is simply this. This unfortunate young man who enlisted in His Majesty's service to serve his king and country waited five years for justice. He did not know what evidence was required in order to entitle him to a pension. When the proper evidence was submitted he obtained it without any hesitation. In all fairness to advocates in any place in Canada, and in fairness to the war veterans to whom we owe so much, I submit that the cases should be prepared, with all the available evidence, at the earliest opportunity, in order that the particular veteran may get what he is entitled to without being obliged to wait for four or five years.

In this particular case the man waited for five years. He had the evidence, and it could have been available. Had the evidence been presented some four or five years ago this war veteran would have had the same entitlement that he is getting today, or at least that he obtained beginning on October 1, 1955.

I do not make any apology for bringing this matter before the house, because I feel that undoubtedly there are many other cases in Canada where the same situation exists. If there is entitlement to a pension I hope that in the future those who are charged with the responsibility of presenting evidence on behalf of the veteran will see that the proper evidence is produced at the first hearing, and will not wait until four or five years have passed to produce it in order that, at that particular hearing, he may get the justice to which he was entitled a long time previously.

494 HOUSE OF

The Address-Mr. Dupuis

Now, Mr. Speaker, in closing I would like to say that our party have always felt that this 20-year requirement for old age assistance should be reduced to 10 years. I think the government should give consideration to that idea. I believe it was suggested at a recent provincial-federal welfare conference convened by the federal government that we have many new residents in this country who are making their contribution to Canada. There should be no quarrel with the idea that these people should be entitled to old age assistance without having to wait 20 years. I suggest, Mr. Speaker, that 10 years is sufficient.

I do hope that during this session the government will take whatever action is necessary without delay to see that measures are introduced which will effectively curb inflation.

(Translation):

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LIB

Hector Dupuis

Liberal

Mr. Hector Dupuis (St. Mary):

I want to extend my hearty congratulations to the mover (Mr. Hanna) and seconder (Mr. Robi-chaud) of the address in reply to the speech from the throne, not only because it is customary, but because they well deserve it. They admirably carried out a task which is less easy than it may seem, because not only does it require some knowledge of Canadian politics, but those who are chosen for this part generally get little advance information on the matters which are to be submitted to the house during the session. The mover and seconder are therefore to be commended because they have shown their ability to read the future, if I may say so, by their serious and profound description of certain aspects of the projects to be drawn to the attention of hon. members.

I also want to congratulate the government on the legislation mentioned in the speech from the throne, which will be considered during this session. I congratulate it not as a supporter but as a representative of a working class constituency, comprising also people of all classes.

It is not my intention to analyse all proposals that will be submitted to us but, on the other hand, it is my duty to underline some of them, more particularly those concerning the advancement of arts in our province and the subsidies granted to the universities of the various provinces.

The Canada Council for the encouragement of the arts, humanities and social sciences will no doubt have a difficult task to accomplish. That task will consist of setting up an organization which will give our artists the opportunity to develop their talents on the national level. It should be admitted that 25 or 40 years ago our artists would

not have been able to avail themselves of the advantages that the government is offering them now, because there were not enough of them at that time. However, at the present time we have a very great number of artists, French or English speaking, musicians, stage or motion picture actors.

While we are on the subject of motion pictures, and even though I am not sure I will have an opportunity of appearing before this future committee, I feel I should take this opportunity of putting forward the following suggestion. May I point out first that with regard to motion pictures, I was told recently that in Great Britain they are not allowed to import American pictures over and above a certain quota determined by the production of British films.

I do not know that we could establish a quota in this country. Our motion picture industry is developing, and I am told that steps are being taken to give considerable expansion to this very remunerative activity. Under those circumstances, I wonder whether it would be proper to limit the importation of American films to the number we would be allowed to export across the 45th parallel. That is a suggestion which comes at the appropriate moment since, I repeat, in certain quarters, we are getting ready to develop more fully our movie industry; it would be beneficial to us to find on the American market an outlet which would give that industry an opportunity to be on its own.

In the fields of music and drama, I believe that the only way to help our artists with due respect as usual for provincial autonomy, is to grant some subsidies to recognized institutions, which could distribute them to young artists in order to help them to create for themselves a career which would provide them with sufficient income so that they can devote all their time to it.

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CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

Ten o'clock.

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LIB

Hector Dupuis

Liberal

Mr. Dupuis:

Already ten o'clock.

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CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

Yes.

(Text):

On motion of Mr. Dupuis the debate was adjourned.

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BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

January 21, 1957