May 30, 1984

LIB

Paul James Cosgrove

Liberal

Mr. Cosgrove:

Mr. Chairman, the last speaker indicated that there is 10 minutes of question period. As I understand the rule, those are 10 minutes of the last speaker. Perhaps following parliamentary procedure it would be in order to further develop this debate by asking questions of the last speaker.

Because of responsibilities that I enjoyed in this area for reporting for Canada Mortgage and Housing, I would be interested to know of the position of the Member and of the Party he represents with respect to affordable housing. How does he propose that housing could be made affordable for Canadians generally? Specifically, what is his view of shelter allowance? Does his Party intend to promote shelter allowance?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
Permalink
PC

Frank Oberle

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Oberle:

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to answer that particular question because I know how anxious that Minister is. I give the present Minister of Housing credit as well for

National Housing Act

understanding the problem. Neither of them understand nor have ever understood the solutions.

A quick way of solving the housing problem in the country, and an even quicker way of finding out what the policies of the Progressive Conservative Party are in this area, is to screw up your courage and call the election. You will know immediately what the solution will be.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
Permalink
?

Mr. de Corneille@

Mr. Speaker, I think the subject is too serious to evade in that way. It is time the Opposition became honest about such an important subject. I will repeat the question. If they are going to make comments about policies and talk about them intelligently, they obviously must have a policy in mind. Certainly he would not want to admit that there is no policy there. Is he in favour of shelter allowances?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
Permalink
PC

Frank Oberle

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Oberle:

Mr. Speaker, as I told you earlier, this Party will draw from the experience of many people. We told the Government today what the solutions are. I was very generous.

I told of a number of programs which are in place in other countries that have worked very effectively. I told what the results of these programs are. The problem is that we have given these people all kinds of ideas before. Why do they not take these two ideas and run with them? Why do they not tell your leadership contenders to go and announce them?

I am very much afraid, as was the case with all the other ideas we gave them, that they would bungle the whole thing. It does not take just ideas. It takes people who are committed to doing something. It takes people who are prepared to accept the social responsibility that is associated with being in power to put these ideas across. I do not have confidence, nor do Canadians generally, that these people will demonstrate that kind of responsibility.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
Permalink
LIB

Roméo LeBlanc (Minister of Public Works; Minister responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation)

Liberal

Mr. LeBlanc:

Mr. Speaker, I do not want to filibuster this Bill. It is a very interesting debate. I would like to know what the present Conservative Party thinks of the Mathews Report which, amongst other things, would have suggested the dismantling of CMHC. I will not ask that question.

I know the Hon. Member is seriously interested in the amendments to the rural and native housing program. He seems to suggest that the amendments were brought about because we had a quarrel about signs and credit. If he believes this is the reason, I hope he will check with his provincial government. Does the Hon. Member know that we were unable to deliver to natives and rural people a program in British Columbia because under the law we had to have 25 per cent provincial participation and that participation, without reference to signs or credit, was not forthcoming?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
Permalink
PC

Frank Oberle

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Oberle:

Mr. Speaker, the Minister understands my interest in this area as does the former Minister. In all fairness to him, I fully understand what the difficulties were in British Columbia. No social programs were delivered because the province had its priorities in other areas and did not provide the 25 per cent component, as was the requirement under the arrangement.

May 30, 1984

National Housing Act

In fairness to the Minister, the Government was giving an undue amount of political credits. It was taking all the credits for this housing program and yet the Government did not see fit, at least in my province, and a similar situation exists in other provinces, to get these programs delivered. As I said at the outset, I applaud the Government for taking the necessary initiatives to deliver these programs directly, but that does not get the Government off the hook. This Bill does not attack the root cause of the problem. The housing market is tied to the cyclical nature of the general economy. Unless the Minister has the courage to correct that, we will have continuing serious problems in this area.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
Permalink
PC

A. Daniel McKenzie

Progressive Conservative

Mr. McKenzie:

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Hon. Member for Prince George-Peace River (Mr. Oberle). I am sure he will recall during the last election campaign the Liberal ads which appeared over national television during prime time, night after night. We saw the Minister of Transport (Mr. Axworthy) speak repeatedly on interest rates and what a horrible thing it was that interest rates were rising. Night after night over national television on behalf of the Liberal Party, with its usual pack of lies, he stated the Liberals would reduce interest rates.

That was over four years ago. Does the Hon. Member for Prince George-Peace River think that the Liberal Government should bring forward its policy and program on how it is going to reduce interest rates as the Liberals said they would over national television night after night during the 1980 election campaign? Does the Hon. Member not think that four to four-and-a-half years is just a little bit too long for the Liberals to take to bring in this policy of reducing interest rates? Does the Hon. Member think the Liberals should explain why they allowed the interest rates to go to 21 per cent? Interest rates are now on the rise and the Liberals still have not brought forward this policy of reducing interest rates.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
Permalink
?

Some Hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
Permalink
PC

A. Daniel McKenzie

Progressive Conservative

Mr. McKenzie:

The Liberals are going to mislead the Canadian people again going into the next election.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
Permalink
LIB

Jacques Guilbault (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Guilbault):

The Chair has a problem of whether some questions are allowable. Questions should relate to the remarks made by the previous speaker. The Hon. Member for Winnipeg-Assiniboine (Mr. McKenzie) is referring to something that happened four years ago. The Chair recognizes that the subject of interest rates is in the Bill. The Chair will allow the Hon. Member to reply. This is a border case, which seems to have little to do with what we are discussing.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
Permalink
PC

Frank Oberle

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Oberle:

Mr. Speaker, what my friend, the Hon. Member for Winnipeg-Assiniboine (Mr. McKenzie) has said is indicative of the kind of reluctance I would have in giving the Liberals our program in great detail, because they would not know how to handle it. The Liberals let interest rates run away, even though they promised clearly that interest rates

had to go down. I can recall the present President of the Treasury Board (Mr. Gray) getting up every day during question period saying that interest rates must go down. He was almost falling into the aisle while saying it.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
Permalink
PC

A. Daniel McKenzie

Progressive Conservative

Mr. McKenzie:

He said he would resign.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
Permalink
PC

Frank Oberle

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Oberle:

Interest rates went up. As my hon. friend indicated, the President said of the Treasury Board he would resign if interest rates did not go down. He is still here, Mr. Speaker, and he has not come up with any innovative ideas. The same is true with gasoline taxes. The Liberals said the price of gasoline would go up 18 cents if the bad Conservatives stayed in power. Look at what has happened, Mr. Speaker.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
Permalink
LIB

Jacques Guilbault (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Guilbault):

The question period has now come to an end. For debate, the Hon. Member for Timiskaming (Mr. MacDougall).

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
Permalink
PC

John Alexander Frances MacDougall

Progressive Conservative

Mr. John A. MacDougall (Timiskaming):

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to take part in the debate, but very concerned in another way. Four years have gone by since this Government has been in power. Now we are in a situation where the Liberals are producing amendments not only to the Interest Act through Bill C-36, but also introducing amendments to the National Housing Act through Bill C-37.

This afternoon during question period we heard that we have to work together, meaning federal, provincial, and municipal governments, but when we look at Bill C-37, what do we see? We do not see federal and provincial governments working together. What we see is the federal Government going on its own. It is a sad state of affairs when we as a federal Government cannot work together with our counterparts in the provinces.

Housing to me and to the Members on this side of the House is very important. Everyone in this country should be able to have affordable housing. Everyone has a right to have a home. Let me speak about rural and native housing. There are a number of reserves in my riding of Timiskaming. Let me introduce to you, Sir, one part of my riding, the Moosonee-Moose Factory area. That area is made up of a native reserve and is in the northern part of James Bay. I went to that part of my riding last week. A housing survey was taking place. It was shocking, to say the least. In 1984 we still have people living in tents. I know that is hard to believe, but it is true. That same survey showed in addition to those living in tents two, three, and four families were living under one roof. In two or three rooms were 12, 14 and 16 individuals. I was told that in winter months, people were sleeping in the attic because that was the only warm area. Today, four years after this Government took over, we are only now debating this question. I hate to say this, but is it because there is a chance we will have an election this year and is it just an election issue? I hope not.

This year in the riding of Timiskaming we are allotted 30 homes under the Native and Rural Housing Program. That will not come close to what is required. In one area of my riding, the Moosonee-Moose Factory area, those 30 homes could be used exclusively. There are other parts to my riding,

May 30, 1984

it is a very large rural riding. There are good provisions under this program. There are needy citizens not only in Northern Ontario, but across this country. There are people living in tarpaper shacks. They have pot belly stoves. They are unable to get warm and are unable to provide for their families.

We have to go further. I strongly believe we have to do so with provincial help. We have to work together to resolve the problems in the housing industry. We cannot do it by going it alone. Once again it is determined that this Government will not work with the people. The Liberals have their own thoughts. They do not share the thoughts of Canadians. They have their way of doing things and that is the way it will be.

We intend to change that pattern in a very short period of time. Let me now come to another area. Canadians young and old have always had a dream of owning their own home. We work hard over the years to get what we hope will be affordable housing. People have pride in getting a garden, a beautiful lawn, and a home.

I want to quote something that was said on February 10, 1980, "I would want to manage the economy in such a way that interest rates would, in fact, come down because the economy would be administered in a sound way." The Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) said that in an interview with a reporter from The Toronto Star. Since that date I have friends, and I have colleagues who have friends, who have lost their homes because of this Government's policies and the increasing mortgage rates.

The mortgage interest rate policy of the Government has not been good for Canadians. The mortgage rate in 1974 was 11.88 per cent, in 1981 it was 21.46 per cent, and in 1984 it was 14.25 per cent. Approximately 2.2 jobs are created with every home built in the country. Coming from a resource-based area, I know that means employment not only directly in the construction industry but in the steel, forest and other related industries in the riding of Timiskaming and throughout northern Ontario. The adjustable seasonal rate is 166,000 or

22.5 per cent unemployed people in the construction industry across the country. It is a shameful number and it is due to the high interest rate policy of the present Government.

If a mortgage with a base rate of 12 per cent is renewed at 17 per cent, the first two percentage points are not covered by the insurance. Thus, three-quarters of the difference between 17 per cent and 14 per cent, or 3 per cent times three-quarters, which equals 2.25 per cent, will be paid. In other words, the Government is indicating that interest rates are rising. It is plain. It is in the Bill. There is no doubt that the Government is saying: "Hold on to your hats, here we go back to high interest rates". It is time for the Government to dissolve Parliament and go to the people. Then we could be rid of the problem-this Government.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
Permalink
LIB

Roméo LeBlanc (Minister of Public Works; Minister responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation)

Liberal

Mr. LeBlanc:

Have you read the Gallup?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
Permalink
PC

John Alexander Frances MacDougall

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MacDougall:

The Gallup is fine. It is galloping along the way we want.

National Housing Act

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
Permalink
LIB

Jean-Claude Malépart (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. Malepart:

Will you be back?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
Permalink
PC

John Alexander Frances MacDougall

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MacDougall:

I will be back, and I will bring other colleagues from northern Ontario with me.

There are many areas at which I could look, but before concluding my remarks I would like to indicate that people with mortgage interest rates at 17 per cent, 18 per cent and 20 per cent are facing difficult times. Approximately two years to five years ago families had two working members. Today, if we travel across the country, how many families do we find with two members working? It could be the wife or it could be the husband who are working today. If they cannot afford the mortgages they have today, how will they be able to afford insurance to protect them against rising interest rates? If we are looking at $1,050 on a $70,000 mortgage or whatever, that might be a relief in some areas of the country. However, we are still not getting at the problem, which is the economic policies of the Government. This problem is evident in that mortgage interest rates are rising. The Government has mortgaged the future of our young people and the future of their children. At whatever we are looking, be it Bill C-37 or youth employment, it seems to come down to mismanagement by the Government and it is Canadian taxpayers who are paying for it.

I could refer to many sound areas such as native housing, RRAP and townships which do not qualify, housing geared to income and many other areas; however, I thank the House for the opportunity to participate.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
Permalink
LIB

Jacques Guilbault (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Guilbault):

Are there any questions or comments?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO AMEND
Permalink

May 30, 1984