April 27, 1970



Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)


Mr. Speaker:

I have the honour to inform the House that the Clerk of the House has received from the Chief Electoral Officer a certificate of the election and return of the following member:

Of Douglas Charles Rowland, Esquire, for the elecLoral district of Selkirk.



Douglas Charles Rowland, Esquire, member for the electoral district of Selkirk, introduced by Mr. T. C. Douglas and Mr. Stanley Knowles.



Second and third reports of the Standing Committee on National Resources and Public Works-Mr. Hopkins. [Editor's Note: For text of above reports, see today's Votes and Proceedings.] [DOT] (2:10 p.m.)




Robert Knight Andras (Minister Without Portfolio)


Hon. Robert K. Andras (Minister without Portfolio):

Mr. Speaker, last February 2 I indicated that a sum of $200 million out of CMHC's capital budget for 1970 was being reserved temporarily in order to proceed with some experimental projects to provide shelter for low-income families. The object was to provide a catalyst to launch an intensive movement to find more effective ways to house families in the $4,000 to $6,000 income group. The reaction this proposal has generated from municipalities and provinces, and especially from the builders, has been most encouraging and I believe has justified our hope of two months ago.

In view of the number of proposals which were received, a special group of senior CMHC officials was formed under the direct chairmanship of the president to evaluate each of them. Proposals varied from municipal offers to convey land to developers at the cost of servicing, to amendments in zoning regulations and bylaws to permit higher densities, to a provincial offer from Alberta to provide the builder with a 2 per cent interest rebate on NHA loans under this program, to various new building techniques that eliminate unnecessary frills and provide higher densities without a dehumanizing overconcentration of units.

In view of this positive response and in order to maintain the incentive effect, I have instructed CMHC to proceed with negotiations on 15 projects which are to be located in the following cities; St. John's, Newfoundland, 50 units; Halifax, 60 units; Moncton, 150 units; Montreal, 1,450 units; Hull, 300 units; Kitchener, 50 units; Calgary, 200 units; Regina, 50 units; Vancouver, 300 units, and Toronto, 1,800 units. I have further instructed the officials to finalize discussions with all possible dispatch. This first phase of this special $200 million program for low-cost housing will involve the release of close to $56 million of this special fund and will provide for some 4,400 units and 200 hostel beds.

Before closing, Mr. Speaker, I should like to emphasize that the real significance of this special program lies in the commitment implicit in these proposals to provide good, clean housing for families with incomes in the range of $4,000 to $6,000 per year. The projects thus authorized will be programmed for 1970 starts, and I am hopeful I will be able to announce the second phase of this program before the House rises.

Topic:   HOUSING

Lincoln MacCauley Alexander

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Lincoln M. Alexander (Hamilton West):

Mr. Speaker, I welcome this opportunity to reply to the minister because I sincerely believe that innovation and experimentation are some of the keys in respect of housing and so far as the future of Canada is concerned. The housing authorities forecast a need for some two and a half million homes by the end of 1970 at a cost of $4 billion. Therefore we can readily see that the housing crisis presents a very great challenge to all of

April 27, 1970


us. It will call for a great deal of imagination and co-operation at all levels of government and also of the industry, which is also so much involved. We are all interested in new house building techniques, and I hope the minister is placing some emphasis on the acceptability of mobile homes, modular construction and pre-fab mass production because of the need for these types of homes to be accepted in order to bring the cost down.

When we speak of innovations and new technique I think we must be aware of the fact that housing starts are down as much as 95 per cent in Saskatchewan, and of course we are all very aware of the figures in Toronto. We must be very concerned about the lack of money which is a critical factor in housing and, of course, one must place a great emphasis on the fact that high interest rates also are a very great deterrent. No matter how many innovations or new techniques we are presented with, the effect of these innovations and techniques will be minimal unless ways are found to ensure that an adequate supply of mortgage money is available.

In my respectful submission, the minister has three choices. First, he can ensure that CMHC makes more money available for mortgages. His second alternative is to have serious discussions with the lending institutions which seem to be more interested in equity and a piece of the action. As a matter of fact, they have stated that the amount of mortgage money so far as they are concerned will be very small. So I think the minister must reassess this whole problem to ensure that more mortgage moneys are allocated for this purpose.

He should also discuss the matter of housing with his confrere, the Minister of Finance who so far as I am concerned-and I say this with a great deal of respect-has shown no appreciation of the need for housing, particularly in view of his white paper which brings homes into the capital gains structure, and has shown very little interest in new societies in terms of bringing more money into housing.

In closing I should like to say that urban renewal also is a fact of life and as long as we have these great megalopolises we shall be continually confronted with urban renewal. I hope the minister will reassess the position he has taken with regard to urban renewal because there are many people in Canada in the low-income brackets who are looking for leadership and direction in this regard.

We on this side of the House are very pleased that there has been concerted action on the part of industry and the government to attempt to solve the very critical housing situation but, as 1 stated earlier, the key to solving the problem of housing lies in the provision of more mortgage moneys and the lowering of the exorbitant interest rates.

Topic:   HOUSING

John Gilbert

New Democratic Party

Mr. John Gilbert (Broadview):

On February 2 when the minister in charge of housing announced the capital budget of CMHC he said that $570 million would be applied to low-income families and persons. The breakdown of that figure indicated that 265 million would go for public housing, $105 million would go for low-rental housing and the development of co-operative housing, and $200 million would be reserved temporarily for innovations and the balancing of distribution based on need.

The minister's statement today is in regard to the $200 million. The minister said in February that that amount of money would produce 35,000 housing units for low-income families. I wish to remind the House that, as I said last week, there are 100,000 families across Canada on public housing waiting lists, and the 35,000 housing units to be built this year will cover less than one-third of the total need. The target should be between 60,000 and 70,000 for this year alone and will necessitate a substantial increase in the public housing budget.

The statement made today is only factual and does not deal with any innovations in the housing field. The minister said there will be 15 projects in 10 different cities, the net result of which will be 4,400 housing units and 200 hostel beds at a cost of $56 million. There is no information regarding the types of projects. There is no information on whether they are to be apartments, condominium housing, single family housing, row housing, mobile housing or co-operative housing. We would also like to know whether these are rental units, whether they carry with them the right of purchase, and whether there is an income range with regard to the purchase of these units and a form of rental subsidy if necessary.

Another important question which we would like answered is to whom these moneys are going. Are they going exclusively to private builders or are they going to other groups? Will any money go toward the development of co-operative housing? I thought the minister would say a few words about a

April 27, 1970


conference in the Maritimes to discuss ways and means of building co-operative houses in that area and to develop techniques with regard to the purchase of materials for mass production building. I thought he would deal with the problem of shell housing in the Maritimes and Newfoundland and give some assistance in that respect. I thought he would deal with the open systems approach which has been developed by co-op housing groups and experimented upon in that field, whereby they integrate parts, they have mass production techniques, and have rationalized building techniques.

[DOT] (2:20 p.m.)

I thought the minister would also deal with moneys and the question of whether they were going to churches or not. Many churches across the country have the necessary vacant land upon which to build homes but they do not have enough interim financing for architectural and other administrative costs. I thought the minister would help trade unions with regard to their house building problems and assist them in land assembly.

The problem of mobile homes is one to which some of these moneys could be directed. The hon. member for Fraser Valley West and other hon. members have urged that the minister take steps with regard to assisting people in mobile homes.

I also thought that the minister would direct certain moneys to the development of homes for the Indian and Metis people that would be suitable to their particular areas and climatic conditions.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, I thought that the minister would say he was setting up a crown building corporation which would specialize in building homes for low income groups, that he would use the facilities of Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation to meet engineering and architectural problems and the research facilities of the National Research Council to develop new building products, and use Polymer Corporation to manufacture these new products.

The statement is disappointing in that it is not bold and imaginative; it is dull and dreary. I would hope that the second-phase statement by the minister will be more exciting and challenging and more productive as a result of incorporating the suggestions of the opposition parties.

Topic:   HOUSING

Mr. C.-A. Gauthier@Roberval

Mr. Speaker, I will only indulge in a few brief remarks to express our satisfaction following the minister's announcement on housing. We hope that these $200 million in subsidies will be well received everywhere in Canada and mainly in the province of Quebec.

I do not want to enumerate everything the minister should have done. I merely want to say that we are satisfied with this announcement as a first step toward the improvement of the housing situation. However, I see that these funds are only intended for important urban centres and will be available to large contractors and, as always, the construction of low-priced housing is neglected.

There is no doubt that we always keep in mind the welfare of the citizens of our regions, and if the minister could some day announce a decrease in interest rates in order to promote the building of low-priced family units this would encourage our local contractors.

I do not live in a large urban centre, but since we always do as the United States do, 1 think the minister should have a look at what is going on there. In fact, our southern neighbour has started to reduce interest rates and I believe that if the Canadian government were to do likewise, this would be a first step giving a new start to the building of low-cost family units in our regions.

Today, while loans are granted at 10 and 10.5 per cent, the man who would like to build a small house for his family is not encouraged to do so. If he decides to build a $6,000 or $7,000 house, he will have to pay back $14,000, $15,000 or $20,000. And when the government claims that it is helping low income families, while at the same time, it allows finance companies and banks to charge such interest rates, I say that this is all a big joke. In my opinion, as long as no decision is taken to standardize interest rates, nothing will have been done to help build low-cost family units.

We wholeheartedly hope that announcing within the next few months the second stage of his program, the minister will state that his first objective was to reduce interest rates.


April 27, 1970

Topic:   HOUSING




Stanley Ronald Basford (Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs)


Hon. Ron Basford (Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs) moved

for leave to introduce Bill C-208, to amend the Bills of Exchange Act.


Motion agreed to, bill read the first time and ordered to be printed.


(Questions answered orally are indicated by an asterisk.)


April 27, 1970