September 11, 1950 (21st Parliament, 3rd Session)


Agar Rodney Adamson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Adamson:

Yes, but they are very useful. The other day a lawyer friend of mine said to his wife, "Take a note of what you are offered every day in a week, and indicate how much it would have cost if you had bought everything offered to you." At the end of the week it was indicated that if his wife had accepted everything offered for sale she would have had to spend almost $350.
That was the experience in only one week. Commodities were offered on long-term credit, with the option of a dollar down or five dollars down or only to sign on the dotted line. I suggest to the minister that there may be a way in which this high-pressure door-to-door selling could be restricted. The husband goes to work, and the wife is left at home alone, harassed by the daily chores of keeping house. She is subjected to pressure by door-to-door salesmen to purchase articles which, had she not been importuned, she would not have thought of buying. In consequence there must be many people in Canada today who have made purchases which can be considered only as purchases made under pressure of commodities they do not want, and which they are incapable of adjusting to their weekly budgets.
These are points which have impressed me in connection with the problems of urban dwelling. While I realize that to a degree the matter of selling comes within provincial jurisdiction, and while there is some question as to whether it would come within the currency sections of the British North America Act, the fact remains that the expansion of credit is just as inflationary as the expansion of the money base.
If this continues there will be many families who will find their obligations tremendously increased. They will find themselves obligated in the evening for things they did not want, and indeed which they did not have in the morning. Not only is this an inflationary practice, but it is infuriating to many husbands who work hard all day and return to their homes at night only to find
Consumer Credit Act
that some salesman has been around and sold something to their wives while those husbands have been out earning their daily bread. They come home to find some wretched thing in the house they did not want, and for which they will have to pay for months. I should think some sort of agreement might be arranged with the provinces by way of licensing the salesmen of these goods. I realize that under our economy goods have to be sold, and that in a normal year the salesmen must go out to make sales. We realize that the function of the salesmen is an important one. Today, however, with the tremendous inflationary pressure and the constantly rising cost of living, I do believe there might be some way in which the Minister of Justice (Mr. Garson) and the Minister of Finance might get together-and I should hope more happily than did the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Howe) this afternoon-to see if some agreement could not be worked out with the provinces whereby this pressure to purchase unwanted goods might be restricted in this emergency.
I am very much in agreement with the bill. Debts outstanding, my own included, frighten me. I hope they frighten other people, but I find that sometimes they do not. There are many people who are paying greater and greater proportions of their incomes by way of fixed charges. In an expanding economy, with tremendously inflationary pressure being exerted, that is one of the great problems. While I will not say it will destroy our economy, I will say the average man will find it more and more difficult to maintain a home and to make ends meet at each pay period, whether it be at the end of a -week or the end of a month. I would welcome any measure which would make it easier for the average householder in this difficult time to meet the strain of the increased cost of living.

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