January 30, 1967

HOUSING

ANNOUNCEMENT OF POLICY OF DIRECT LOANS TO BUILDERS

LIB

John Robert (Jack) Nicholson (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Hon. J. R. Nicholson (Minister of Labour):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to make a brief statement concerning housing policy.

Additions to the housing stock in Canada reached a record level in 1966, with the completion of 162,192 new dwellings. Constructions starts, however, at 134,474 units were down 19.3 per cent, and this decline is reflected in the number of units under construction at the end of the year.

The reasons for the decline in starts and dwellings under construction are well known, I think, to most hon. members in this house. On more than one occasion I have indicated that demands on private capital resources were exerting undue restraint on residential construction in most parts of Canada. For this reason assurances were given that direct lending by Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation would provide for at least as many starts and new dwellings in 1966 as in 1965.

I should like to draw to the attention of members that in actual fact direct federal loans in 1966 increased by more than 10 per cent in terms of units and 18 per cent in terms of dollar volume. With some moderation in prospect this year in other demands on the economy and with an additional source of mortgage funds provided, I hope, by the proposed amendments to the Bank Act, we can, I believe, be somewhat more optimistic concerning housebuilding in 1967. Other incentives should arise from the November amendments to the National Housing Act and from the formula introduced to automatically adjust the interest rate on loans under the act.

However, Mr. Speaker, it will take time for these forces to exert maximum impact in the residential construction field, and the government has authorized Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation to institute a spring program of direct loans to builders. This program will be similar to recent annual fall direct lending activity that was so successful in encouraging winter construction and stabilizing

employment during winter months for workers generally.

Effective March 1, Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation will accept applications from merchant builders for loans to be made in the period April 1 to May 31 inclusive, without a presale requirement. Federal funds will be available for up to 20,000 new dwelling units during that two month period. I would estimate that some 16,000 of these units will take the form of single family dwellings for home ownership and about 4,000 will be rental units in smaller communities and in new resource areas.

While we hope it will be possible to introduce this special program without a quota arrangement, loans to any builder will not exceed his physical and financial capacities nor will lending in major centres be permitted to drain off excess amounts at the expense of resource or growth areas and smaller centres where the need for both home owner and rental housing is acute.

Of necessity, the program will be kept under close review. Its purpose, simply stated, is to ensure immediate stimulation of housebuilding activity.

Topic:   HOUSING
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF POLICY OF DIRECT LOANS TO BUILDERS
Permalink
PC

George Louis Chatterton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. G. L. Chatterton (Esquimalt-Saanich):

Mr. Speaker, I think the minister started off by stating that he was going to make an announcement on housing policy. Well, Mi. Speaker, if the housing policy of this government consists of merely providing 20,000 direct loans, then in my opinion it is no policy whatever.

In the first place, Mr. Speaker, when the government raised the National Housing Act interest rate by a full 1 percentage point last year they increased the cost of housebuilding to the point where today a person with an average income cannot afford to buy a house under the National Housing Act. This cost was aggravated by the 11 per cent sales tax. Because of the shortage of housing there was a tremendous competition for the available housing, and that competition again raised the cost of houses. For many months we have been urging that the government should have made available more direct loans. When the minister raised the interest rate to 7J per cent he certainly implied that this should make available from private lenders all the money

January 30, 1967

Housing Policy of Direct Loans that would be necessary. Now he admits that this is not the case, and makes provision for another 20,000 houses by way of direct loans.

The minister has not made any proposal to solve the problem of those Canadians who earn in the neighbourhood of $5,000 annually. It is impossible for these people to build under the National Housing Act. I believe also that the provision for loans up to an amount of 10,000 in respect of existing houses, as we warned the minister, also has proven to be insufficient. It is my understanding that very few applications have been received. I submit that before long the minister will be forced to increase that amount in order to achieve the objective the government has in mind.

The government has not made any mention of further measures to assist low income families. Last year not many more than 2,000 rental units were provided for low income families in Canada. The Senate report on aging showed there are something in the order of

300,000 Canadians who are in immediate urgent need of low cost low rental housing.

Mr. Speaker, I think there will be nothing but disappointment in all parts of Canada with this minor change in the policy of the government in respect of housing.

Topic:   HOUSING
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF POLICY OF DIRECT LOANS TO BUILDERS
Permalink
NDP

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

New Democratic Party

Mr. T. C. Douglas (Burnaby-Coquitlam):

Mr. Speaker, whether the government is aware of it or not this country is facing a housing crisis. The proposal the minister has announced today is about as adequate to meet the housing crisis as it would be to feed a peanut to an elephant in the hope of assuaging its hunger. The proposal the minister has outlined to make direct loans to the builders to enable them to construct some 20,000 housing units certainly will be of help to the builders, but it will be of little assistance to the people who really need houses and who are in the moderate income brackets.

As the minister himself has admitted, one would need an income of $8,000 or more per annum in order to buy a house today. The latest figures show that a house which cost $25,000 in 1966 could have been purchased in 1965 for $20,000. The cost of property is going up, and the housing program the minister has announced will benefit mainly those persons whose incomes are such that they can afford to pay the very large price that is involved here.

My colleagues the hon. member for Dan-forth and the hon. member for Broadview have been urging the minister over the past two or three years to announce a housing

policy of direct loans to persons desirous of becoming home owners and not just to builders; that is, to the people in the middle income groups. The government is in a position to borrow money at much lower rates than the average individual can borrow money even under the National Housing Act. Unless the government is prepared to make very large sums of money available to prospective home owners by means of direct loans, the people in the middle income groups are not going to be in a position to buy or build homes.

We hope the government will take some cognizance of the request that homes be made available, by means of direct lending, without a down payment and at low interest rates. We hope some such action will be taken to reduce the cost to those people who want to buy lots.

[DOT] (2:50 p.m.)

The last report carried in the Toronto Daily Star indicated that people in the metropolitan Toronto area were paying as much as $10,000 per lot. That price makes it prohibitive for individuals with incomes of $4,000, $5,000 or $6,000 per year to purchase homes.

We have been urging the government, and urge them again, to embark upon a large scale public housing program which will make homes available to a great number of Canadians who today have no hope of owning homes under the present provisions of the N.H.A. It is not enough for the minister to compare housing starts and housing completions with those of 1965. Under present circumstances there has to be a greatly accelerated program. It is estimated that something over a million new homes are needed in Canada. The present tepid and inadequate approach will not give very much encouragement to those Canadian people who are looking for homes in which to live. There is little value in having an affluent society when at the same time thousands of young couples have no means to build houses in which to live and raise families.

We hope the government will make some announcement very soon in respect of a housing policy rather than give us bits and pieces which, added together, indicate that it really has no policy and no imaginative approach to this very serious housing crisis.

Topic:   HOUSING
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF POLICY OF DIRECT LOANS TO BUILDERS
Permalink
RA

Raymond Langlois

Ralliement Créditiste

Mr. Raymond Langlois (Meganiic):

Mr. Speaker, I wish on this occasion I could congratulate the Minister of Labour, but I am afraid I cannot. Following the mini skirt budget brought in by the Minister of Finance, we have observed the Minister of Labour

January 30, 1967 COMMONS

attempt to apply a band aid policy to a serious situation. That is a "band aid" policy rather than a "bandit" policy, but perhaps the second meaning is not far off the mark.

I think the announcement is somewhat ambiguous and falsifies the facts. Some 20,000 new starts are to be made, but it is clearly understood that they will not necessarily have to be sold prior to the commencement of construction. I understand why the minister has made that provision. The new houses will not be sold to that category of individuals we desire to help. They cannot afford them.

Perhaps it would be of value for the Minister of Labour to consult with the Minister of Finance, because this whole problem is of a financial nature. This government appears to be operating much like a finance company. The cost of money and of construction in respect of houses is so high they are beyond the means of the ordinary wage earner in this country. I suggest that we are not helping to solve the housing crisis which exists at the present time in Canada.

The difficulty now faced in the housing industry in Canada is not the result of people not wanting to buy houses, but results from the fact they cannot afford them at the present time. We have serious credit restrictions in effect, and we are faced with an 11 per cent tax on building materials. This increases the cost of construction and is an influencing factor in respect of weakening our economy. The minister has suggested that this might be counteracted or resolved when amendments to the Bank Act are passed. I do not believe that will be the case, because banks do not necessarily have sufficient funds to make available mortgage money in respect of the number of houses we need to solve this shortage in the country. We saw them a year ago asking permission to lower their reserves to permit them to operate, because they were working with a tight-belt system. They are not in any better position at the moment, and the situation will not get any better in future. The cost of living is too high to allow the situation to improve.

This policy does not contribute to lowering the cost of living. The fact that we can build

20,000 houses does not mean they can be sold. The contractors will be asked to support this cost, and it will not help the situation one way or the other. It is just a band aid solution or a band aid applied to a major problem for which we need a major cure. The minister certainly has not given us that major cure today.

Housing Policy of Direct Loans

Topic:   HOUSING
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF POLICY OF DIRECT LOANS TO BUILDERS
Permalink
?

Mr. A. B. Paiterson@Fraser Valley

Mr. Speaker, I have been told on many occasions that we ought to be thankful for small mercies. Even though I agree with many of the criticisms that have been voiced today I want to express appreciation for the small step that has been taken by the government in further attempting to meet the housing problem that exists in Canada today.

I remember the Liberal party proclaiming the fact that they were interested in assisting Canadians to own their own homes. That was a very commendable objective, but we have found during the past months, and indeed the past two or three years, that many of the policies that have been followed by the government have really worked against this objective. Instead of helping our people to own and live in their own homes, these policies have practically placed homes beyond the reach of many thousands of individuals.

In his statement the minister referred to the demands on private capital resources which were exerting undue restraint on residential construction. We in the Social Credit party have maintained for years that the government ought to make use of the Bank of Canada for its social capital requirements. We believe that if the government would use the Bank of Canada to meet its social capital requirements it would take the pressure off the private capital supply, so there would be substantial amounts of money available to carry on the business of this nation and also to enable our people to acquire housing and the other facilities that are required.

I agree that the price of housing today is far beyond the reach of many thousands of would-be home owners. One reason among many is the fact that interest rates have climbed to such an extent as to pretty well take housing out of the reach of those in the middle or low income brackets.

The suggestion that this measure will provide for 20,000 new dwellings is, I think, entirely inadequate. The minister of manpower, I believe, has announced that additional endeavours will be made to encourage immigration to this country. If with this consideration you couple the need of housing for new family formations in Canada, I suggest that 20,000 units is far, far too few to in any way meet the demand in this field. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, while expressing appreciation for small mercies, we are looking for bigger mercies in the days that lie ahead.

January 30, 1967

House of Commons HOUSE OF COMMONS

Topic:   HOUSING
Subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF POLICY OF DIRECT LOANS TO BUILDERS
Permalink

MOTION TO AMEND PROVISIONAL STANDING ORDER RESPECTING ADJOURNMENT FOR MEALS

PC

Gordon Minto Churchill

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Gordon Churchill (Winnipeg South Centre):

Mr. Speaker, I should like at this stage to move a motion based on rule 41 affecting the times of meeting of this house. The motion is expressed in the following terms. Moved by myself, seconded by the hon. member for Ontario (Mr. Starr):

That provisional standing order No. 6 be amended by adding after subsection (1) the following:

(2) At 6:00 o'clock p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays and at 7:00 o'clock p.m. on Thursdays, Mr. Speaker shall leave the chair until 8:00 o'clock p.m.

(3) At 1:00 o'clock p.m. on any day upon which a morning sitting of the house is held Mr. Speaker shall leave the chair until 2:30 o'clock p.m. and that the present subsections (2) (3) and (4) be renumbered (4) (5) and (6).

[DOT] (3:00 p.m.)

Topic:   MOTION TO AMEND PROVISIONAL STANDING ORDER RESPECTING ADJOURNMENT FOR MEALS
Permalink
LIB

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Order. As some members will suspect, there is some doubt as to whether this motion is acceptable at this time, and I would certainly like to hear the hon. member on the point of order. I suggest to him that this is a type of motion which can hardly be moved without notice, even at this time. If the hon. member wants to submit an argument refuting my suggestion I would be pleased to hear him. If not, I am prepared to enter a ruling on the point.

Topic:   MOTION TO AMEND PROVISIONAL STANDING ORDER RESPECTING ADJOURNMENT FOR MEALS
Permalink
PC

Gordon Minto Churchill

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Churchill:

Mr. Speaker, I should like to say something on that point of order. The reason for not giving notice of my motion is based on standing order 41 and on the precedent in 1951 when the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles) presented a motion to extend the sitting hours, which was followed by a debate on the point order which I am now raising. Mr. Speaker Beaudoin found that it was within the right of a member to make such a motion without giving prior notice because it dealt with the hours of sitting of the house and not with days of sittings or with the adjournment.

My motion is based on the standing orders, with the sole exception of that section of my motion which deals with the retention of the private member's hour on Thurdays from 6 to 7 p.m. I admit that this could have been expressed in another way, namely by saying that the hours of sitting of the house shall be on Mondays and Tuesdays from 2.30 p.m. to 6 p.m. and from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. and on Thursdays from 2.30 p.m. to 7 p.m. and from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., and on Fridays from 11 a.m.

to 1 p.m. and 2.30 p.m. to 6 p.m. However, the wording of the two parts of my motion which indirectly determine the hours of sitting of the house by informing the house that the Speaker may vacate the chair at certain specified periods is based on the standing order.

I suggest that since my motion deals solely with the times of sittings of the house it is covered under standing order 41 and therefore is in order. Standing order 41 reads as follows:

Forty eight hours' notice shall be given of a motion for leave to present a bill, resolution or address, for the appointment of any committee, or for placing a question on the order paper; but this rule shall not apply to bills after their introduction, or to private bills, or to the times of meeting or adjournment of the house.

It was under that standing order that I felt I was within my right in making my motion without giving prior notice.

Topic:   MOTION TO AMEND PROVISIONAL STANDING ORDER RESPECTING ADJOURNMENT FOR MEALS
Permalink
LIB

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Does the hon. member for Kamloops wish to support that argument?

Topic:   MOTION TO AMEND PROVISIONAL STANDING ORDER RESPECTING ADJOURNMENT FOR MEALS
Permalink
PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Hon. E. D. Fulton (Kamloops):

I was going to say that one further consideration might be taken into account by Your Honour, namely that the standing order says-

-this rule shall not apply to bills after their introduction, or to private bills or to the times of meeting or adjournment of the house.

I doubt very much whether Your Honour would reject the motion on these narrow grounds; however, if Your Honour were to say that this standing order does not apply to the motion by the hon. member for Winnipeg South Centre one could say equally well that a motion having to do with a dinner recess has nothing to do with the actual hours of meeting or adjournment of the house. This is the only ground on which it could possibly be held that the motion is not covered by standing order 41. I am sure Your Honour will not rule on that narrow ground, because surely the words "times of meeting or adjournment of the house" include the hours of sitting and the arrangements for the sittings of the house.

There is one other point I should like to ask Your Honour to consider in making your ruling. If Your Honour were to say, for instance, that this motion has nothing to do with the hours of meeting or adjournment of the house but is a motion to suspend the standing order, and Your Honour were inclined to rule against the motion on that basis, would you then give us a moment to change the wording

January 30, 1967

of the motion so it would read "for the balance of this session the hours of sitting shall be"? This might bring the motion into line with what may be Your Honour's feeling as a result of its present wording. We would appreciate the opportunity to reword the motion if Your Honour feels that it is not in order under standing order 41.

Topic:   MOTION TO AMEND PROVISIONAL STANDING ORDER RESPECTING ADJOURNMENT FOR MEALS
Permalink
LIB

George James McIlraith (Minister of Public Works; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Mcllrailh:

Mr. Speaker-

Topic:   MOTION TO AMEND PROVISIONAL STANDING ORDER RESPECTING ADJOURNMENT FOR MEALS
Permalink
LIB

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Topic:   MOTION TO AMEND PROVISIONAL STANDING ORDER RESPECTING ADJOURNMENT FOR MEALS
Permalink
PC

Michael Starr (Official Opposition House Leader; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Michael Starr (Ontario):

Mr. Speaker, I know I am not in order in speaking on this point after you have given your ruling, but I think this is a very important matter, which will save a great deal of time in the days ahead if these particular hours of sitting are agreed to. There is considerable discussion about whether we should or should not have a dinner adjournment. I should like to ask whether there is unanimous consent to the adoption of this motion. I think we would be able to proceed in a more orderly fashion in the days ahead.

Topic:   MOTION TO AMEND PROVISIONAL STANDING ORDER RESPECTING ADJOURNMENT FOR MEALS
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

Topic:   MOTION TO AMEND PROVISIONAL STANDING ORDER RESPECTING ADJOURNMENT FOR MEALS
Permalink
LIB

George James McIlraith (Minister of Public Works; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Hon. G. J. Mcllrailh (Minister of Public Works):

Mr. Speaker, I am completely amazed at the method of proceeding today. There has been no request made on this subject, and no intimation on the part of the hon. gentleman opposite that any such proposal would be made. Under these circumstances I do think it would not be appropriate to adopt this motion. Since we are to consider the second reading of a bill, I do not believe any hardship will be imposed on any hon. members if we refuse consent at this time.

[DOT] (3:10 p.m.)

Topic:   MOTION TO AMEND PROVISIONAL STANDING ORDER RESPECTING ADJOURNMENT FOR MEALS
Permalink
PC

Gordon Minto Churchill

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Churchill:

I rise on a question of privilege to refute the statement made by the house leader. This matter was discussed before Christmas, and the house leader informed me that when the house opened in January he would get the consent of the house so we would not be faced with the situation of repeatedly asking for a luncheon or supper break. Nothing has been done since to obtain that consent, so we are still going through this silly procedure. On some occasions a minister will grant the request and on other occasions a minister will petulantly refuse it. This is the situation in which the house finds itself. Members generally do not want to sit through the luncheon or supper period. It was for this reason I tried to have the situation corrected.

January 30, 1967

Concurrence in Committee Report

Topic:   MOTION TO AMEND PROVISIONAL STANDING ORDER RESPECTING ADJOURNMENT FOR MEALS
Permalink

INDIAN AFFAIRS, HUMAN RIGHTS AND CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION CONCURRENCE IN FOURTH REPORT OF STANDING COMMITTEE

January 30, 1967