July 22, 1946 (20th Parliament, 2nd Session)


Douglas Gooderham Ross

Progressive Conservative

Mr. D. G. ROSS (St. Paul's):

Mr. Speaker, year after year since I have been in the house I have spoken on the subject of housing and the condition of houses in my riding in the city of Toronto, but I have never had much success, never had much sympathy from the government. Early in the war I saw what was going to happen. I remember bringing to the attention of the minister what should be done. AVe had big plants around the outskirts of Toronto, and at that time I suggested that we ought to have wartime housing put up there, but nothing was done about it. AVe had great numbers of people working in factories at De Havilland, Malton, Leaside, Dawes road and elsewhere, for whom housing was an urgent necessity. There was a great influx of people as a consequence. At the present time we find ourselves confronted with a crisis, and it is going to be difficult to do much about it. The lack of wartime housing in these places has accentuated the difficulties which we have in Toronto.
What I rose to comment upon was something said by the minister this afternoon to the effect that he had taken off the priorities in connection with certain types of building. He said he thought that was a good thing. Well, I do not think it is a good thing. What he actually did was to pass the buck to the

municipalities. It is all very well to say that the city of Toronto have control as regards all the houses and other buildings to be built in Toronto, but they have not control to the same extent as the government has. The government knows wThat is necessary. We know we need houses.
Here is the situation. Permits for the city of Toronto are up some S2,898,000; at the end of June they stood at $7,982,000 as compared with $5,084,000. The building applications which have been received and on which construction has not been started cover 289 structures, of an estimated value of $10,067,000. AA'hat are all these? One thing the government can tell us is whether they are necessary or not. There is a plastics factory, 8264,000; another factory, $125,000; and may I say it seems peculiar to me that, with all these surplus structures formerly used as war plants, it is necessary to have these new buildings. We have also another office building at $580,000; and I admit that we need office space. But there is a government warehouse at $850,000, with all these war buildings around the city going for a song. AATe have also a bank building, S3 million. I want as much as anybody to see a bank building put up in Toronto, but I want to see houses built first of all. Then there is another office building, $482,000. Then we have $920,000 for four theatres. All these buildings require material and workmen, and it is mainly the shortage of workmen which makes it difficult to get houses built. Yet another warehouse, $161,000. An apartment building-which we probably need-to cost S133.000. Another factory,
$150,000-as I said before, with factory buildings all around the city being given away for a song. Two more factory buildings, at $350,000 and $150,000 respectively; a
garage, $120,000; why? Another theatre, S140,-000; yet another theatre, $115,000. There is no justification for this kind of building when people need houses to live in, and these theatres take considerable material and employ a good many men. Another factory, $140,000; an industrial building. $100,000.
The whole thing does not "add up"; that is all. AVhat. do we want more theatres for? AA7e need houses. AA'e want people to put those houses up, and the material which is going into theatres should be going into those houses.
I should also like to know whether these factories and theatres get priority on the wrought iron pipe which is so necessary for construction purposes. Is it to be understood that they can get plumbing fixtures, the necessary wiring, and the men to instal them when

Housing Act
house-builders cannot? As I say, the thing just does not add up. The city of Toronto cannot control the situation; it is a bigger job than they can be expected to handle. It is true that a certain amount of material is allocated to the metropolitan district. I speak only for the city of Toronto, but I know also that in the surrounding district quite a number of theatre buildings are going up at the present time, though we do not need them, and the people need houses.

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