I may be forgiven, then, for presuming that the silence opposite on the
part of hon. members of the Conservative party gives consent to the case as put forward by the hon. member for St. Lawrence-St. George. I just wish to refer briefly to the argument that we should go ahead with the farm relief, that as a country we should compensate mortgagees to the extent of fifty per cent of their losses in connection therewith, but that we should relieve these same mortgagees of the obligation, which the bill passed by this house placed upon them, to extend some relief on their own account to the urban mortgagors of this country. That is the issue.
The saving to the treasury by this amendment, if we accepted it, would not, in my opinion, amount to more than 810,000,000. But can anyone count the saving to urban mortgagors which would be represented by the reduction of their interest rate to five and a half per cent? The hon. member for St. Lawrence-St. George says that most of the mortgages in this part of Canada are held by individuals and not by institutions. If my memory serves me rightly, the figures given in our own banking and commerce committee, of urban mortgages held by institutions represented before that committee, so far as these central provinces are concerned, were in the neighbourhood of $130,000,000, a very large proportion of which would be eligible for reduction in interest, which reduction, under the terms of the bill as it left this house, would be given by and at the expense of the mortgage institutions and not by and at the expense of the federal treasury. The federal treasury would only enter to bear its proportion of the loss represented by adjustments as a result of depreciated values and the other features of the bill along that line.
Mr. STEV.ENS: Would the minister permit a question?