December 17, 1957

LIB

Wilfrid Lacroix

Liberal

Mr. LaCroix:

Mr. Chairman, five o'clock.

Topic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING AGGREGATE AMOUNT AVAILABLE, DOWN PAYMENTS, ETC.
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PC

Howard Charles Green (Minister of Defence Production; Minister of Public Works; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Green:

You will notice the difference in the section which provides for the down payments. There is a definite provision for the figure; the resolution brought in by the government properly deals with that matter. Therefore I submit, Mr. Chairman, on these two grounds the amendment is out of order.

Topic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING AGGREGATE AMOUNT AVAILABLE, DOWN PAYMENTS, ETC.
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IND

Henri Courtemanche (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Independent Progressive Conservative

The Chairman:

When the house resumes at eight o'clock I hope to be in a position to deal with the point of order raised by the Minister of Public Works.

It being five o'clock the committee must rise in order to permit the house to take up private and public bills.

Topic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING AGGREGATE AMOUNT AVAILABLE, DOWN PAYMENTS, ETC.
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CRIMINAL CODE

AMENDMENTS WITH RESPECT TO SUBVERSIVE ACTIVITIES

LIB

Wilfrid Lacroix

Liberal

Mr. Wilfrid LaCroix (Quebec-Monimorency) moved

the second reading of Bill No. 13, to amend the Criminal Code (subversive activities).

He said: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this bill is to prevent communism from extending its propaganda activities in this country. For the last few years the communist party of Canada and the Soviet embassy in Ottawa have been using the mails to pour out floods of propaganda originating in Russia and

designed to establish international communism. I have here a pamphlet entitled, "The Fortieth Anniversary of the Great Social October Revolution", essays by the propaganda section of the Marxist-Leninist Institute, which openly advocates world revolution in favour of a socialist and communist system in all nations on earth. Those pamphlets have been sent to all hon. members of this house, to a large section of the Canadian population and they have been more particularly distributed in the province of Quebec. It seems to me high time that the necessary steps be taken to stop this active propaganda which is likely to contribute to the creation of communist cells whose spying is bound to be detrimental to us in the event of a war against Russia.

It will perhaps be claimed that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are keeping an eye on communist activities in this country but- and I want to stress this point-they will be powerless against the infiltration of communistic ideology among the poor, the unemployed and even among certain so-called intellectuals. All of these, once converted by that propaganda might do us considerable harm in case of war with Russia.

I have already submitted this bill on various occasions when I was sitting on the government side. Everybody here knows its contents. This year I have introduced changes to make it identical with an act passed by the United States government which, according to Mr. Edgar Hoover, chief of the federal bureau of investigation, has proved most effective in curbing communist activities.

I should like this afternoon by keeping my remarks brief to avoid taking up too much of the only hour reserved to a study of this bill so that hon. members who favour the adoption of the bill may vote before the house has used up all the time reserved to the consideration of public bills. I would therefore ask those who are in favour of the bill simply to abstain from any prolonged discussion which would rule out all possibility of this bill going through for otherwise it would drop down to the bottom of the order paper.

There is nothing to prevent us from approving the bill on second reading and then referring it to a committee of the house which would consider and even amend it should the committee feel that it falls short of the objective I have in mind. I strongly object, however, to any attempt to kill it by protracted discussion which indeed would prevent a committee of the house from giving it further study for what I am seeking through this bill is to prevent communist propaganda

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from spreading in our country at a time when the taxpayer is being heavily burdened precisely to face this enemy.

It might perhaps be suggested that if this bill were to pass it would lead to a breakoff of our diplomatic relations with Russia. This would be a misconception because the United States, in spite of their having adopted similar legislation, still have an ambassador in Moscow. I may add that the former leader of the opposition, the present Prime Minister (Mr. Diefenbaker), has often advocated in this house legislation against the communist party.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS WITH RESPECT TO SUBVERSIVE ACTIVITIES
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PC

John Borden Hamilton (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. John B. Hamilton (York West):

Mr. Speaker, regardless of how laudable we feel this type of legislation may be, that is the purpose to which it might be put in connection with the safeguarding of our institutions in this country, I believe it has some serious shortcomings in its ability to root out the type of person who might eventually be prosecuted under it. It seems to me that by far the best way to ensure that the type of person who would be subjected to prosecution under the proposed amendments to the Criminal Code would be known to the public would be for us to continue to see that they are out in the open, subject to public scrutiny in the ordinary course of our daily living.

In connection with the amendments proposed by the bill which is before us it would be almost impossible to determine what constituted a totalitarian dictatorship. As a matter of fact before I rose to my feet I was just in the process of going to the table of the house to see if it were possible to find even a dictionary definition of the term "totalitarian dictatorship". I am almost certain that no reference to it would be found in any legal dictionary and it seems there would be such wide latitude in the interpretation of the phrase "totalitarian dictatorship" that it would be impossible to maintain a prosecution under the particular section of the Criminal Code which the bill before us seeks to add.

It will be observed that almost all the subclauses in clause 1 which seeks to insert a section to be known as section 62 (a) following section 62 of the Criminal Code contain a reference to the term "totalitarian dictatorship". I have not had an opportunity of consulting the Criminal Code in this respect but I am almost certain that this term is not included in the original definition section.

As I said the whole intent and purpose of this section would go for nought if we were to get into any degree of difference of

Criminal Code

opinion about the meaning of these words. The words appear in subclause (a) of clause 1 as follows:

(a) attempts in any manner to establish in Canada a totalitarian dictatorship-

In subclause (b):

(b) performs or attempts to perform any act with intent to facilitate or aid in bringing about the establishment in Canada of such a totalitarian dictatorship;

In subclause (c):

(c) actively participates in the management, direction, or supervision of any movement to establish in Canada such a totalitarian dictatorship;

In subclause (d):

(d) actively participates in the management, direction, or supervision of any movement to facilitate or aid in bringing about the establishment in Canada of such a totalitarian dictatorship;

Subclause (e) reads:

(e) conspires to do anything made unlawful by this subsection,-

This of course again refers to the terms of the subclauses I have just read out. It seems to me that if we are in any doubt as to the proper definition of the key words in this amendment we could not expect any successful prosecution under it. As a matter of fact it reminds me somewhat of some of the legislation we had in the immediate postwar period. The wartime prices and trade board was asked to prosecute people for sales of various articles, which had formerly been under price control, at prices which were unreasonable and unjust. If you refer back to decisions of the Supreme Court of Ontario at that time you will find that the learned justices determined that it was impossible, under those circumstances, to interpret the words "unreasonable and unjust".

I might say, sir, that we have a habit of describing certain types of governments as being totalitarian dictatorships. On the other hand, from time to time, we seem to be able to get along with them; we seem to meet with them around the bargaining table and successfully carry out negotiations of various kinds for the general betterment of conditions throughout the world. It might be that with this type of designation we would run into continuing trouble in attempting, in these very serious times, to arrive at some method of communication with governments which might be described in the terms used in this bill.

I think it will be agreed, sir, that this legislation involves not only the descriptive words to which I have referred, but the second clause, section 154A, having to do with the use of the mails for the distribution of literature, in fact, represents the same kind of thinking. You will note that this section reads:

Everyone who posts, or causes to be posted, for transmission or delivery by or through the post any communist newspaper or any newspaper the purpose of which is to establish in Canada a totalitarian dictatorship the direction and control of which is to be vested in, or exercised by or under the domination or control of, any foreign government, foreign organization, of foreign individual . . .

Here again, sir, we find the use of the same words "totalitarian dictatorship". As a matter of fact, sir, we are asked to include in the Criminal Code the word "communist". I would respectfully suggest that there is even some doubt in my mind whether the Criminal Code contains any reference to or definition of the word "communist". I think, sir, that what we may be trying to achieve may be fairly important in so far as the government of the country is concerned. I know, that you, Mr. Speaker, are aware that we receive through the mails almost daily in the House of Commons literature of the type which my hon. friend has attempted to describe in this section. Sometimes I have thought it is not the type of literature which should be posted through our mails, but at other times I have felt that I would be a great deal happier if I knew or was able to read the thinking of people who disagree so violently with us as do the people who have used the mails for this purpose. Taking it all into consideration, sir, I have felt that perhaps we may have a better understanding of some of the other sides of the questions which come before us daily in the exercise of our government powers.

But you can see, sir, the problem which would face the Post Office Department in attempting to supervise or police-and I think it would fall to them to do this particular job-the literature of this kind which is coming through the mails daily. First of all, I assume it would be almost impossible to screen all the literature that comes through in this way. If it is picked up on spot checking, as they used to do with some of our mail during the last war, it would be necessary for the Postmaster General (Mr. Hamilton) on each occasion to refer the particular item or piece of literature to the Department of Justice and to the law enforcement officers. Then, of course, we would get into the problem of determining what is the true meaning of "communist" because, as I say, I do not think it is defined in the code. We would be up against the question of determining the meaning of the expression "totalitarian dictatorship" and I am afraid, we would find we would be hopelessly entangled in legislation which would not bring any real protection to the Canadian people.

There is no doubt in my mind about what the hon. member is attempting to accomplish.

It is just as great a worry to us as it is to him. Whether, as a result of this legislation being placed on the order paper, it may mean that more serious study will be given to this particular problem will be for the Minister of Justice (Mr. Fulton) to decide. I do not think that anything but good will come from it, and perhaps we can look the situation over thoroughly with a view to seeing if some kind of legislation may be devised to better take care of this particular situation.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS WITH RESPECT TO SUBVERSIVE ACTIVITIES
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PC

Robert Hardy Small

Progressive Conservative

Mr. R. H. Small (Danforlh):

Mr. Speaker, when the bill first came to my office and I had a chance to read it over I immediately said that its purpose was good. After thinking over the purpose that it was intended to accomplish I saw the situation in a different light. This thought ran through my mind. From the time the revolution took place in Russia, when violent changes were made, what have we accomplished by the methods we adopted to see if we could frustrate, handicap or defeat communism as we know it? In the early days of the advent of communism in this country we did not take it very seriously, because we did not think that communism could for one moment gain a foothold in Canada. I still think there is no possibility of communism gaining a foothold in this country. Communism gets a foothold in a country only where there is poverty and where people are living on subsistence levels. Be that as it may, it is a very serious situation that we have to consider. If we become complacent about it and just take for granted that it is not going to make any advances in this country, then it becomes a real danger; but I do not think that situation will arise or even make any serious progress.

I can remember some individuals in Toronto who were of the communist complexion in the early days and the methods they adopted to advocate the cause of communism. The inroads they made at that time were not too serious. There was a John Macdonald and his wife who were quite active in the labour movement in Toronto. They took a very prominent part in the trades and labour council of Toronto. They were advocating the policies of bolshevism as it was called in those days. There were a good many academic discussions about bolshevism, Leninism, Trotsky and so on and what parties would comprise communism at that time. But it soon became apparent that no parties were to be allowed in Russia and that communism was a philosophy, and in a way, operated without any parties.

Mr. Macdonald and his wife were both very admirable people. They were respected because of their education and their high

Criminal Code

standing in the community. They were accepted generally throughout the city, particularly in the labour field. But they were not aggressive enough for the communists. They were not possessed of the spirit of the Lenin and Trotsky segment of communism and ceased to take a very active part in communist affairs in Toronto.

Then Mr. Tim Buck was put in charge. I can readily realize what the hon. member has in mind when he refers to the progress they are making because in my own union we did not take too serious a look at the situation and we ended up by finding that the president and secretary of our union were avowed communists. They were representing our particular union at meetings of the trades and labour council of Toronto.

That was also the time of Jimmie Simpson, one of the outstanding labour men of that day. In fact, he was at one time a controller in the city of Toronto. He came to me and said that the communists were making certain inroads into the trades and labour council and asked me to do something to help to get our union back on the rails. I had not taken an active part before but I proceeded to do so then and it was not very long before the two officers were removed and we were back in control. The influence of the communists should not be taken too seriously. But it does take the co-ordinated effort of all who believe that inroads can be made if we become complacent, as I mentioned a moment ago.

In the course of events it was not very long before we put Mr. Tim Buck in his place. He carried on as their leader and he did enlist some outstanding men such as Charlie Sims and Stewart Smith. They embraced the communist philosophy and at one time the city of Toronto even had a communist controller and three communist aldermen, something that we did not believe it was possible for them to attain. But we contained them and kept them in their place until the war came along. Then they went underground and that is something I want to emphasize in connection with what the hon. member is trying to accomplish through this legislation. He desires to defeat the communists completely and wipe them out and that is where the danger lies so far as the legislation is concerned. It is not possible to wipe out any organization to the extent that the hon. member has in mind. You will drive these people undergound and when you do they become more dangerous than if they are out in the open. If they are out in the open you can watch them, trace them and trail them and you have a better understanding of what they are planning.

Criminal Code

In Toronto such members of the communist movement as Joe Salsberg, a very affable and clever fellow, and A. A. Macleod succeeded in becoming members of the legislature of Ontario, and they always presented their very best front. They took advantage of every slight depression or adverse conditions to advocate the cause of communism, but at no time were we unable to contain them. As soon as the ban on communists was lifted they were back in their old circles and engaging in their old activities and it was much easier to keep them under control and observation.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police are doing a remarkably good job of keeping these people under observation. Under the control of that organization they will be kept where they rightfully belong. The hon. member for York West (Mr. Hamilton) referred to the fact that the literature which reaches our desks is rather annoying. I used to take it as it came to my desk and throw it in the wastepaper basket as not fit to be read but lately I have started to read it. Over the years this literature has been coming to my desk through different avenues. The branding of a man as a red or a communist was sufficient for people to say that he was a person who ought to be ostracized and that no consideration should be given to that movement. A lot of good people in this country have been branded as communists because they have had advanced and radical ideas. They have been smeared when they advocated something for the general good and have been called reds or communists or given some other appellation that indicated they belonged to that ideology.

Even Jimmie Simpson was classified and branded as a red in his early days in Toronto but he turned out to be one of the most sincere and ardent advocates of the poor and the labour people of Toronto. At the time of his unfortunate end by accident he rated very high in the city of Toronto. Yet at one time he was classified as a communist.

As I said, I have taken the trouble to read some of the literature that has come to my desk and I find there is a lot of good subject matter. Mind you, I would say that about 75 or 80 per cent of it is just tripe and does not come anywhere near the ideals of the people of this country with regard to the right of the individual to freedom of thought, freedom of assembly and to follow the dictates of his own conscience. Nevertheless, I feel we are capable of containing these people and should not be above reading some of these articles.

I recall one I read last week, which I thought was interesting. The writer was talking about sports and how sport had got

into the realm of professionalism. He referred to the methods followed in the days when we were young when sport was primarily a game and people took part for the fun of it whereas now those taking part in rugby, hockey and other games dress in armour as if they are going into a battle. The writer pointed out that if sport is to be what it should be it should get back to being an honest game in which everyone can indulge, have fun and receive the physical training and so on that appeal to people's common sense.

The mere fact that it has been branded as communist literature does not mean that we should not read it. I went through a lot of it and I found that there were worth-while articles. The fact that this literature emanates from a particular group is no reason why we in this house should brand it as something that should not enter the country. After all, I think we should pride ourselves on the fact that we can keep our own philosophy, our own ideals and our way of life, even though this literature might be available.

While I would like to go along with the legislation suggested by the hon. member, I do know that in the past we have never been able to accomplish this objective and drove the communists underground. We proved that during the war. Even the investigation induced by Gouzenko, when Gouzenko, tried to tell us what was happening in our country. Finally he had to appeal to the prime minister because everybody was sceptical. An investigation was conducted and we found out what was going on. All this took place because we drove them underground. Had we allowed them to operate in the open, we would have been able to pick them off when we wanted to do so.

There was a group operating right in the Russian embassy in Ottawa and they were doing so because we had driven the communists underground, one also sat in this house. I think under the circumstances, knowing the way they have operated in the last 25 or 30 years since the Russian rebellion, we should leave them out in the open where we can observe them. We want them to be where we can see what they are doing and where we can get them if they are trying to upset the government of the day through subversive activities.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS WITH RESPECT TO SUBVERSIVE ACTIVITIES
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PC

David James Walker (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. D. J. Walker (Rosedale):

I want to compliment the hon. member for Quebec-Mont-morency (Mr. LaCroix) on the very sincere and very eloquent, if very short, appeal he made. I want to tell him through you, sir, that every one of the hon. members in this house sympathizes with his objective and

appreciates what he has in mind. But, Mr. Speaker, it is only a question of what is the best means of attaining the same end. No one can question the sincerity of the hon. member who has moved this resolution. Nevertheless, must he not realize that since 1950, when this very problem was debated so vehemently in this house, conditions have changed very materially. I am open to be convinced by my hon. friend that the legislation which he suggests should be put on the statute books; I have an open mind.

I could not help but refer to the words of the then prime minister, now Leader of the Opposition (Mr. St. Laurent), as found in Hansard for 1950, page 2086:

Mr. Speaker, I do not think there are many Canadians who do not believe that there is ideological warfare going on and that there has been for a number of years a conflict between communism and Christian civilization. I am sure that there are very few Canadians who do not wish to see that war won by Christian civilization. It is a matter of opinion as to what are the best methods to be adopted to prevent the spread of communism in our country. I firmly believe that it has diminished over the last few years.

Now, those words were spoken in 1950 when there was one scare, one alarm, after the other. The then prime minister believed the problem had diminished, and if that was so in 1950 might I suggest to the hon. member for Quebec-Montmorency it is doubly so at the present time. Indeed, today the threat has receded in Canada to such an extent that one can only wonder whether there is a threat at all. All the prominent communists with the exception of Tim Buck, who recently had his way paid to Russia to meet with the communist party, have disappeared. They have at last been forced to find work. One finds them in different capacities, as waiters, shoe shiners and other vocations in which they are earning their daily bread.

It seems to me, Mr. Speaker, that they no longer espouse a cause which is popular. It seems to me it might be a mistake, and I say this with the greatest deference to my friend, to bring in legislation at this time since there is no real desire for it. After all, the communist thrives on opposition. Everybody thrives on opposition, and without opposition people often disappear because of the futility of the cause which they espouse. I cannot help but think that nobody would be more delighted than the communists themselves to have a bill such as is before the house passed. It would give them fresh incentive, fresh hope, because then they would have some opposition which would unify them and would tentatively drive them underground where they could carry on their dire work.

They are in retreat, they are rent in twain. They have nothing in common. They have

Criminal Code

not even a doctrine in common. How different it is since the death of Stalin. Until that time communists were united in their common belief Stalin was a superman, almost a god on earth, and that communism itself was a sound doctrine. With the passing of Stalin and the explosion of the myth which was Stalin, we find the communists in Russia terribly divided, and this situation is reflected amongst the communists in Canada. Rent in twain as they are, without any fixed ideal, without any fixed objective, they are finally disintegrating and disappearing.

It is my respectful submission to my hon. friend, and in this of course I may be mistaken, that to make them prominent again, to make them popular again, even popular through the opposition that is being raised in this house against them, is exactly what they want. They are a badly disillusioned crowd. They believed in the principles of communism, but now they see there is no such thing as communism even in Russia. They say that they were the socialist states of Russia, but with the passing of Stalin they have found that it was one of the greatest autocracies, one of the greatest tyrannies of the world. Even the sincere communists in Canada have been disillusioned, disappointed and under the circumstances are ready to quit.

I think one of the most striking examples, Mr. Speaker-my hon. friend will perhaps agree with this-is that Her Majesty's minister for external affairs, running against a communist, was able to obtain over 10,000 votes against 212 for the communist. Even a dog catcher, without any experience in any affairs except that of dog catching could have done much better. In this world of ours we cannot afford to be narrow minded. We cannot afford not to heed the words of the hon. member, for whom I have so much respect. I have respect for him because he represents that other great race which forms an important part of our country. I say to him that he speaks beautiful English and I, in my stumbling French, will try to tell him what the situation is:

(Translation) :

It was well and truly spoken, sir, in terms worthy of the pulpit. I congratulate him and, with your permission I will now attempt to speak French. I hope I do as well in French as he did in English.

May I emphasize, Mr. Speaker, that in the great fight which Canada has been waging against communism since the war, our greatest bulwark against that philosophy which at one time threatened us has probably been the province of Quebec and the great French Canadian people.

We like French Canadians for many reasons: their outlook upon life, pervaded with

Criminal Code

what is called "joie de vivre" (joy of living), their natural kindness, their courtesy, their good manners, their appreciation of the fact that there are greater and more important things in life than the mere accumulation of material wealth. For all those reasons, we esteem the French Canadians, but what we admire most in them is their steadfast, unshakable faith, and their deep, bitter enmity to the godless doctrine of communism. For all this, we raise our hats to French Canadians, one and all.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS WITH RESPECT TO SUBVERSIVE ACTIVITIES
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PC

Robert Jardine McCleave

Progressive Conservative

Mr. McCleave:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS WITH RESPECT TO SUBVERSIVE ACTIVITIES
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PC

David James Walker (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Walker:

For all of this, hats off to French Canadians, without exception.

It is time we practised our French today. I will try even harder next time.

(Text):

You can therefore appreciate, Mr. Speaker, that we of the English speaking part of this house appreciate perhaps more than anything else in this house the contribution of the French Canadians to keep us on solid ground because never in the history of our dominion have we had a more solid, substantial body of 5 million French Canadians who, through thick and thin, through good weather and bad, have always wholeheartedly maintained their faith in the one Supreme Being and their hatred and detestation of communism. All of us appreciate that.

We know that communism, in its inceptions, and because of what it propagates and because of its very godlessness, is a hideous monster. It is a demon from hell incarnate. It is a blasphemer of God. It is the destroyer of millions in the image of God. By whom and for what purpose? By nations crazed with the lust for things material and with no thought of things spiritual. Have we not recently but staggeringly emerged from two of the most stupendous, blind and furious struggles ever known to the ages, to be met, when it is all over, by this communist threat which we are glad to see in this our dominion has faded out. It will continue to fade out, so long as hon. members of this house, of which the hon. member opposite me is a distinguished member, can guide the destiny of our dominion in such a way-above party, above race, above partisanship, above "isms" of every kind-so that we can keep this country prosperous, so that we can keep this country what Sir John Macdonald planned it should be, namely the country of the twentieth century where peace, happiness, bounty and goodwill are predominant. That is the best way in which to abolish the threat of communism.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, to bring this discussion down to the practical level, may I

say that the section of the Criminal Code, which I need not read to hon. members of this house-they are no doubt conversant with it-namely section 60 covers, I submit with great respect, every possible contingency which might be raised by the threat of communism. To my mind, speaking as a lawyer and speaking also as the parliamentary assistant to my distinguished friend and colleague the Minister of Justice, it is my respectful submission that there is at the present time no need for legislation such as this because section 60 of the Criminal Code covers every possible situation. But nevertheless if I am wrong in this submission, I am willing to be convinced. If my hon. friend, through his eloquence and that of his supporters, can convince me otherwise, then I am willing to be convinced that there should be an amendment. But let us all think well before we stir up and give fresh life and fresh hope to what is at present a very dormant cause.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS WITH RESPECT TO SUBVERSIVE ACTIVITIES
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PC

Frank Charles McGee

Progressive Conservative

Mr. F. C. McGee (York-Scarborough):

Mr. Speaker, in rising, at this moment in this discussion I find a considerable degree of confusion. Certainly I am confused by a number of things about this debate. If I may be permitted to elaborate as to the nature of this confusion, may I say that I was under the impression during the recent election campaign that certain leading members of the so-called Liberal party laid claim to certain small "1" liberal principles. In fact, I recall from memory a statement made by the right hon. the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. St. Laurent), then prime minister, in Winnipeg to the effect that he wished his brand of Liberalism to be worthy of the small "1" as well as the capital "L". I recall further the words of one who looks to be very promising in the forthcoming race for the leadership of the so-called Liberal party to the effect that he liked to think that over the years the capital "L" Liberal party has been the best embodiment of small "1" liberal philosophy. Certainly the suggestion that information of any description should be suppressed is not, I submit, consistent with any interpretation of small "1" liberalism. This afternoon, from the capital "L" Liberal side of the house we have such a suggestion. From this side of the house we have had objections.

May I refer to the principles outlined by John Stuart Mill, who was an important man in small "1" liberal circles, to the effect that everything in the way of literature is either all good, part good and part bad or all bad. If you apply suppression and censorship- which is what part II of this amendment

amounts to-to something that is all good, the good in it is lost. If you apply censorship to something which is half good and half bad, the good part of it is lost. If you apply censorship to something that is all wrong, you merely strengthen it by suppressing it.

These principles in part have been enunciated by hon. members from this side of the house who have preceded me in speaking on this matter. If I may be permitted to recall an article which I was asked to write for the week end edition of the Globe and Mail of June 9, I should like to do so. In the city of Toronto a Conservative candidate was asked to write on the Liberal party, 1957; and a Liberal candidate on the other hand, was requested to write on the Conservative party, 1957. I was fortunate enough to be asked to write on the Liberal party, 1957.

In that article, speaking again from memory, the conclusions I reached and the statements I made were to the effect that, by reason of their activities, the leaders of the so-called Liberal party had no right to lay claim to the honourable title or small 1 liberal. I suggested further that if voters on the following day or the day after that voted against or to remove the Liberal party they would not be deserting their party but would be voting against the leaders who had deserted them. This I submit is but one more piece of evidence of the fact that this party, which you may recall was originally known as the Liberal-Conservative party, has inherited the support of those people in Canada who believe in liberal principles and do not merely preach them.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS WITH RESPECT TO SUBVERSIVE ACTIVITIES
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PC

Frederick Coles Stinson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. F. C. Stinson (York Centre):

Mr. Speaker, may I first of all through you, sir, extend my congratulations to the hon. member for Rosedale (Mr. Walker) who has spoken with such eloquence on this matter this afternoon. I have had the pleasure of hearing that hon. member speak in a number of places and in great variety of circumstances and I can assure the house that the eloquence he has displayed today is indicative of the manner in which he may be expected to speak in this house over the years to come.

Now it is perhaps appropriate that a matter of this kind should be under discussion here this afternoon at the very time when certain leaders of the government of this country are in consultation with the leaders of the free nations of the western world who are attempting to work out programs under which the peace and security of the world may be maintained. While they are so engaged I think it is perhaps appropriate that we should be considering the kind of legislation which

National Housing Act

is proposed today and which is concerned with protecting the people of this country against the activities of those who might seek to bring us, through their actions within this country, under the domination of a foreign power.

I am pleased that we have this opportunity to discuss a measure which has to do with the liberty of the subject. In my constituency there are several thousands of Canadian citizens who have come to this country since the end of the second great war. I have the opportunity each weekend of meeting many of these people. I would like to tell hon. members of this house that while many of these people when they came here had in mind the building of a better way of life, from an economic and material standpoint, in most cases they came here to live in a country where they might enjoy freedom, the freedom which they had lost in the countries from which they came.

It therefore seems to me that when we consider legislation of this kind we must be very very careful in assessing the possible invasions of those freedoms which we now have with respect to our political activities. I have read the proposed amendment to the code with care and with great interest and I think it may very well be that the present provisions of the Criminal Code respecting those matters referred to in the proposed legislation may already accomplish in a very satisfactory way the objectives which the hon. member has in mind. I refer particularly to those sections of the code which define sedition and which refer to the offences relating to seditious activity and provide penalties for persons found to be guilty of engaging in such activities. I think that any of the activities which the hon. member plans to cover in the legislation he has put forward in his proposal this afternoon are already adequately set out in the provisions of the Criminal Code relating to the offence to which I have referred.

Mr. Speaker, may I call it six o'clock?

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS WITH RESPECT TO SUBVERSIVE ACTIVITIES
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PC

Charles Edward Rea

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Rea):

It now

being six o'clock the house will resume in committee of the whole the discussion of the resolution which was interrupted at five o'clock for private and public bills.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS WITH RESPECT TO SUBVERSIVE ACTIVITIES
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NATIONAL HOUSING ACT

AMENDMENTS RESPECTING AGGREGATE AMOUNT AVAILABLE, DOWN PAYMENTS, ETC.


The house resumed consideration in committee of the following resolution-Mr. Green-Mr. Courtemanche in the chair: That it is expedient to introduce a measure to amend the National Housing Act, 1954 to increase



National Housing Act from two hundred and fifty million dollars to four hundred million dollars the aggregate amount that may be paid out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund under subsection 1 of section 22 of the act; and also to provide for the reduction of down payments. At six o'clock the committee took recess. AFTER RECESS The committee resumed at eight o'clock.


IND

Henri Courtemanche (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Independent Progressive Conservative

The Chairman:

Before the committee rose at five o'clock the hon. member for Regina City had moved an amendment to the resolution respecting the National Housing Act in the following words:

That the resolution be amended by deleting the period after the word "payments" and by inserting at that point the following words: "and for a reduction in the rate of interest that may be charged by lenders under the act."

During the dinner hour I had an opportunity to read the remarks made by hon. members when they were discussing the point of order raised by the Minister of Public Works. I have also had an opportunity to study the authorities in regard to the relevancy of the proposed amendment and I would like to read those authorities to the committee. Campion in his introduction to the procedure of the House of Commons, fifteenth edition, at page 278 states:

The scope of amendment is limited by the terms of the resolution which has received the King's recommendation. Any amendment exceeding the terms of this resolution would amount to the exercise by the house of the initiative in expenditure which is constitutionally reserved to the Crown.

It should be clear that not only any increase in the amount of the charge recommended but any alteration in the objects to which it is directed, even if no additional charge is incurred, implies the exercise of such an initiative and is therefore out of order. The King's recommendation may be figuratively represented as drawing a line round the objects of expenditure set forth, often in great detail, in the recommended resolution. Any changes entirely within, or exclusions from, this circle are in order. But nothing may be brought into it from outside.

May in his fifteenth edition at pages 678 and 679 in discussing this point says:

The guiding principle in determining the effect of an amendment upon the financial initiative of the Crown is that the communication, to which the royal demand or recommendation is attached, must be treated as laying down once for all (unless withdrawn and replaced) not only the amount of a charge, but also its objects, purposes, conditions and qualifications. In relation to the standard thereby fixed, an amendment infringes the financial initiative of the Crown, not only if it increases the amount, but also if it extends the objects and purposes, or relaxes the conditions and qualifications, expressed in the communication by which the Crown has demanded or recommended a charge.

[The Acting Speaker (Mr. Rea).]

Citation 439 of Beauchesne's third edition reads in part as follows:

The object of the resolution recommended by the Crown is to give the house a first opportunity to discuss the advisability of making a certain expenditure.

On the ground that the amendment attempts to impose a charge upon the crown, as the Minister of Public Works has stated, the amendment is of course out of order. On the other hand an amendment must have some meaning and must be relevant to the subject under consideration. I can find no provision relating to interest rates in the resolution before the committee. Therefore, basing my decision on the citations quoted above and on citation 344 of Beauchesne's third edition which in part reads as follows:

It is an imperative rule that every amendment must be relevant to the question on which the amendment is proposed-

I must rule that the amendment is out of order on the ground that it is not relevant to the resolution before the committee.

Topic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING AGGREGATE AMOUNT AVAILABLE, DOWN PAYMENTS, ETC.
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SC

Frederick George Hahn

Social Credit

Mr. Hahn:

Mr. Chairman, this resolution is indeed an extremely timely one and the Minister of Public Works is to be congratulated for bringing it in at this time. Hon. members I am sure will agree that over the past 18 months this house has heard many discussions on the problem of housing and the relationship of tight money thereto. It has been frequently said that one of the reasons the country was finding itself in the awkward position of having so many unemployed was by reason of the fact that we did not have any money allotted to our housing scheme as we had in earlier periods of relative prosperity.

It would be the tragedy of all time, and in fact it probably is, that the conditions apparent today in housing are such that we have thousands and thousands of people who are desirous of owning their own homes but who have been denied and are being denied the right to do so merely because they lack the financial means which makes it possible for them to partake in the terms set out in the National Housing Act and the regulations made thereunder.

The fact is, however, as I noticed with some regret that the proposed amendments to the act are not received throughout the country as enthusiastically as many of us supposed they would be. I have a clipping from a daily newspaper, the British Columbian, dated December 9, 1957, which is headed, "Few Benefits Seen From N.H.A. Changes" and which reads in part as follows:

The Conservative government last week handed the voters a bright, shiny apple in the form of amended N.H.A. regulations-

I am sure that sounds very gratifying to the minister but the paragraph continues:

-but it will take up to three months for the voter to discover the worm.

I recognize that this article might be somewhat biased in its views because it expresses only the thought of certain real estate agents in respect of the application of the act. However I think it warrants some consideration because these were the views of a group of real estate people who are a part of the over-all scheme of selling homes. After citing the above opinion of two prominent realtors the article continues:

Their findings were backed up at the weekend by the Vancouver real estate board, which termed "inaccurate and greatly exaggerated" first impressions of low down payments on N.H.A. homes. The city realtors said that the new loan regulations, aimed at creating employment, would actually have an adverse effect In the next two months.

They added that the promise of N.H.A. homes for from $1,000 for a $10,000 house and $3,200 for a $16,000 house was "not borne out by the facts".

People are going to be awfully disappointed when they try to buy an N.H.A. home for $1,000 down. There is going to be the complaint that the builder has grabbed up the extra money," said Mr. Williamson.

That is the thinking of a New Westminster real estate agent. Further on in the article I find the following important comment:

Mr. Noseworthy said that the lending value of a house was usually from $2,000 to $3,000 below the minimum amount for which the property could be sold.

In simpler terms, a contractor may put up a house for an actual cost to himself of $12,000. His N.H.A. loan will be based on this figure. He will sell the house for $1,500 to $2,000 more, which means the buyer will still have to make up the difference. At the most, the buyer's down payment will be reduced $800.

The two realtors said the Ottawa announcement had had an immediate effect on the New Westminster area housing market.

"Many realtors have had sales cancelled by people who think that in a couple of months they will be able to buy an N.H.A. house for $1,000 down," said Mr. Williamson.

Another realtor quoted in this article is a Vancouver realtor, a member of the Vancouver real estate board who said:

-false hopes that good homes can be bought here for as little as $1,500 down can only lead to disappointment.

This is a consideration which I feel the government should take under advisement, the fact that many people will be disappointed because they expect as a result of the announcement made by the minister they will be able to obtain a home for $1,000 down. It may be that the government through the regulations will take such remedial action as is necessary to make it possible for homes to be made available for $1,000 down and I would be delighted to see such action taken.

As I indicated earlier, the question of housing has been discussed very often in this

National Housing Act

house. The Minister of Public Works has been possibly one of the most loquacious in respect of housing needs and he is probably as familiar as anyone is with what he said. The Minister of Agriculture likewise had a great deal to say about housing, and because the Minister of Public Works might just not know what the Minister of Agriculture had to say from time to time I shall read what the Minister of Agriculture said on April 1, 1957, as reported in Hansard at page 2920:

I should like to turn to another matter, Mr. Speaker. One of the notable omissions in the budget speech of the Minister of Finance is any review of the present situation in regard to housing construction, or any measures designed to improve it. During the latter part of the 1956 session we had many indications that the tight money policy of the government was having, and was likely to have, very serious effects on the housing industry. The replies of the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Public Works to inquiries made in this house last summer, and again throughout this session, as to what measures were contemplated to prevent a great decline in house building were really nothing more than a sort of soothing syrup.

Of course, the Minister of Agriculture has been accustomed to using fine phrases in criticizing some of the actions that the former government took along similar lines. While I am delighted that there is to be an amendment to the act, I also must agree with the Minister of Agriculture that perhaps the terminology he used in the quotation I have just given might apply equally at the present moment.

The hon. member for Regina City proposed an amendment which was commendable in every sense of the word. The people of this country realize full well that the interest rate paid on housing loans eats up a great deal of the amount used as a payment on a house; but-and there is a "but"-a question comes to my mind immediately and it is a serious one because it is something that we have been up against in the past several months. If we reduce the interest rate, will money be made available by private companies to make it possible for a continued expansion in housing that we would like to see? It is a very serious problem. It is a fact that we can borrow money on the open market at probably 6 per cent to 7 per cent. But when it comes to housing loans, and we try to reduce the interest rate to a point where the people can afford to pay it, we find at this time the money is denied us. It is indeed a very serious problem. The government should make it its business to see whether it is possible to bring the interest rate permitted on all loans in the country to the point where the public would be in a better position to pay and get the money at the same time. I know it is a difficult question. I realize it full well because if the

National Housing Act

people or the lending institutions who have the money do not get the interest rate which they have the right to demand, then the money will go across the line to the United States or to someone else who is prepared to pay the interest rate.

The suggestion that the interest rate on housing should be 4J per cent is even unreasonably high because, since the Bank of Canada issues money at a lower interest rate, I believe the function of the bank should be to give Canada money at cost so that Canadians themselves would benefit thereby and not be paying an unduly large amount of their payments in interest in their endeavours to buy houses.

I did indicate that this question has been discussed frequently in this house. The lumbering industry in my province is in a desperate condition, which has been brought about by this and other factors. The fact that we have not a foreign market has affected it as well, of course, but the fact that the tight money policy had an adverse effect on housing loans made the problem just that much more acute. The effect has been that more than 50,000 men in my province who are dependent on a $500 million industry have practically lost their positions. Probably it is significant that in the change of government the former minister of trade and commerce, Mr. C. D. Howe, was not elected to this house. Probably the reason we have the present government is that he made statements such as the one I shall now quote which appeared in the Financial Times of February 15, 1957. The article is headed:

"Get Back to Normal" Howe Tells Industry Via Lumbermen

The article reads in part, and I shall not read very much of it:

And finally, and most significantly, the lumbering industry can not expect the government to do anything about it.

The reason we have had a change of government, Mr. Chairman, is that the lumbering industry expected the government to do something about it. If this housing plan that is proposed does not do all that we hope it will, then it is just going to be that much eyewash so far as the lumbermen in my own province are concerned. I am hopeful that it will be of considerable help. I expect it will be. I have said so before. If the people in British Columbia and in the rest of Canada are not in a position to find the down payment of $1,000 or more they will still be denied the right to buy a house and, of course, our industry will suffer. The relation of this problem to the unemployment situation has been well demonstrated, and it is one of the reasons why so many of us have

asked from time to time to have a change made in the present interest rate. We are hoping that it will do something for the industry as a whole.

One of the objections that I have to the present amendment-and I wish that the minister had gone farther-is that it means that a man can only buy a house-that is, a man who has a desire to get one-if he has an income of approximately $5,000. When we were discussing the income tax bill the other day the Minister of Finance indicated that there were some 3 million Canadians who had an annual income which required them to pay income tax on not more than $2,000. This afternoon the hon. member for Regina City quoted figures to show that 81.6 per cent of the Canadian workers earn less than $4,000 a year. This act, even as amended, is not going to be of any particular value to the people who are desperately in need of houses.

The problem of interest rates, which I mentioned a few moments ago, was also brought to the attention of the government in a brief submitted to the federal government by the 39th annual general meeting of the Canadian construction association on February 26 of this year. I recognize that another administration was in office at that time. I draw the minister's attention to pages 4 and 5 of the brief, where I find the following:

The housebuilding section of the construction industry has to date been most seriously affected by the present credit situation and the competition for investment funds.

I would say that bears out some of the arguments I presented earlier with respect to the impossibility of getting money at a lower rate of interest.

It is still too early to assess whether or not the recent increase to 6 per cent from 51 per cent in the interest rate for National Housing Act loans will be effective in increasing the amount of investment funds allocated for this purpose by the lending institutions.

We know as a matter of fact that increasing the rate to 6 per cent did not help. Despite all the hopes that the former administration had in that respect, no greater amount of money was made available for housing.

One certain result of the increase in interest rates, however, will be an added average expense of $900 to the homeowner spread over the life of the mortgage. In the association's submission to you a year ago it was stated: "... most of those with N.H.A. mortgages have annual incomes of $5,000 or more. Relatively few earning less than $3,600 a year finance the purchase of a house under the N.H.A. and yet the intent of the original national housing legislation was to assist those with modest incomes to own their own home."

That is a very pertinent statement. When the National Housing Act was put on the

statute books in the first instance its purpose was to give the man who wanted to buy his own home and who earned $3,600 or less the opportunity to purchase such a home. That is being denied today. I do not feel the present act is doing much to alleviate that situation or that the proposed changes will do so either. Despite the earlier statement respecting the point of view of the real estate agents, I am fully aware that even if we say to the individual that he can buy a home by paying $1,000 down it will be just as difficult for him to find $1,000 as $1,400. For that reason I commend to the minister's attention the suggestion made by the hon. member for Hamilton South respecting the rent-lease idea and also the suggestion of the hon. member for Restigouche-Madawaska who advocated following the same method used in the United States where a down payment of $400 on a $10,000 home is considered as sufficient.

X realize that there will be difficulties but the problem must be met. The objective in building homes is to provide homes for people who cannot afford the expensive type of luxury home because they do not earn enough to begin with or they have not even been able to save $1,000. In order to assist in financing I would urge the government to make use of the credit unions. Let the government make capital available to them so that they can make loans to their membership. In so doing the government will not only be helping the credit unions but also the individual who wishes to own his own home. I would say that the credit unions should have the same guarantee respecting housing loans as is now found under the insurance clause in the National Housing Act.

I should also like to draw the attention of the minister to a brief submitted to the former minister of public works by a large construction firm in the lower mainland of British Columbia. I am satisfied that when the Minister of Public Works hears the name he will recognize it. I refer to Greenall Brothers, a very well known firm. The management of the company was good enough to provide me with a copy of the brief and I should like to read parts of it and make certain comments with respect to the subject matter because I think this is going to be very pertinent not necessarily at the moment but in 1958 when we run into the problem of raising more money. The brief reads in part as follows:

May we say at the outset that we are not against the principle of credit restriction as we feel the need for some control is self-evident in every car lot and appliance house across Canada . . .

That is self-evident. In that regard may I suggest that if the government should consider implementing credit restrictions at

National Housing Act

some future date those credit restrictions should not be imposed against a major industry such as the housing industry, as has been the case in the past year and a half, but rather against the use of credit to purchase smaller items such as appliances and so on. I believe that today there is some $814 million on the books of various merchants across the land. If that money were put into housing it would provide homes for a good number of people. But there is a more important point. It is not too difficult for the housewife to wait an additional six months to buy a General Electric teakettle at $14.95 but it is a lot more difficult to do without a home as so many people are wont to do because they do not have the wherewithal to purchase a home and they have pretty well used up their credit in some other way. The brief goes on to say:

The Arm of Greenall Bros. Ltd., have specialized in the production of low cost homes for income brackets of up to $4,000-

I should like the minister to recognize that fact. This firm has made it their specialty to make homes available to those with incomes of less than $4,000. I continue with the brief:

The claim by C.M.H.C. that unsold N.H.A. homes in the Vancouver area constitute a surplus is not a valid one because the unsold houses are all at a cost level that effectively excludes the low income purchaser and we defy C.M.H.C. or any other body to show us unsold N.H.A. homes in the $9,000 to $11,000 cost range.

In keeping with that, Mr. Chairman, I have here a copy of the Financial Post of October 5, 1957 in which there is a table with the heading, "These Houses Didn't Sell." I find that 75 homes costing less than $10,000 did not sell. Between $10,000 and $14,999 there were 794, between $15,000 and $19,999 there were 671, over $20,000 there were 872 and there were 245 with regard to which the price was unknown. The total to the end of August was 2,657, and I would have you note, sir, that of the total of 2,657 only 75 of the homes costing less than $10,000 did not sell while 872 of those costing over $20,000 had not been sold or about one-third of the total number. The other figures are quite uniform, 794,671 and 872.

There, indeed, is the problem in a nutshell. The people who require assistance are not going to get it under the proposed changes in the act. Homes costing less than $10,000 represented only 3 per cent of the total number of homes still for sale at the end of August in the whole of Canada, a very nominal figure indeed. The brief to which I referred earlier continues in this fashion:

The need for housing of low income workers is well established and through our agents we have a large number of people signed up as home owner applicants who are patiently awaiting what appears

National Housing Act

to be a non-existent loan set-up in the iace of a definite housing shortage; it now appears that we will have to return their deposits.

In many instances these people have been refused loans. I have not checked into this question too closely, but as I understand it they have been refused loans on the basis that the contractor has money made available to him other than under the National Housing Act. A contractor may be building National Housing Act homes, he may use other money as well. Within a short time that particular source dries up and he is left without the means of carrying on the housing scheme because Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation will not permit direct loans. The minister might care to comment on that later. I cannot vouch for the authenticity of this statement, but I did obtain that information by discussing the question with a building firm within the area. This seems to be part of the problem.

There is one other observation that this firm had to make, and I shall read again from this brief:

One of the most effective ways to control a wild building boom with its spiralling of land and building costs is to require that all sales be to home owner applicants.

I think that would be a desirable feature.

This would effectively cut out speculative building and stop over-production of housing units which are priced over the market.

Now, Mr. Chairman, because I am so short of time I shall not read any farther. Probably the minister has a copy of this brief available to him. If he has not I shall be delighted to send him a copy. I think it is one which should be carefully considered, because here we have one of the largest construction firms in the lower mainland of British Columbia giving us their views on the reasons why potential home owners are not able to purchase homes, that is individuals who are earning $4,000 and less. I believe those views are worth noting.

Just before closing, I have one further question. I should like the minister to comment on what our research laboratories have turned up in the last ten years which makes it possible to reduce the cost of building a house, either through a reduction in labour or material costs or a combination of both. I am particularly interested in that because I find we spend a great deal of time in this house discussing principal costs, interest costs and a thousand and one other things. We have spent many hundreds of thousands of dollars on our research branch, and I have yet to find a single item that has in any tangible way reduced the cost of construction to the potential home owners in Canada.

Topic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING AGGREGATE AMOUNT AVAILABLE, DOWN PAYMENTS, ETC.
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December 17, 1957