Mr. Van Horne:
In the United States they have an act called the national housing act. In Canada we have an act corresponding to it called the Central Mortgage and Housing Act. And it was none other than your own Mr. Bates who, in the May issue of Canadian Business, said that in the United States there is a lower down payment under their housing act than under ours and also there is a lower interest rate, namely 4J per cent instead of 5 per cent. There is a longer amortization period, namely 30 years instead of 25. The United States give veterans a preference. They have no down payment to pay on a house. Furthermore the down payment is very much lower than the down payment required in Canada.
The biggest and the most unjust thing about this Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation legislation is that it refuses to recognize a mortgage loan on a house which is already built; that is, an older house or a house not built to Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation standards. What does that do? It prevents a fellow with an older house from selling it and getting fair value because he cannot get a mortgage loan that equals the mortgage loan that Central Mortgage gives on a newer house built to their standards. In other words, it is the same thing as if the government came along and put their hand in the pocket of a home owner and said, "We are going to take away this value from you, because we refuse to recognize the mortgage loan value of your house".
If the national housing act in the United States is able to recognize almost the same loan value on a house which is already built as on a new house, then why cannot the Canadian government do the same? The failure of the Central Mortgage and Housing Act to recognize a loan value and lend money on a house which is not built under the Central Mortgage and Housing rules is killing the value of the older houses, of houses not built to Central Mortgage and Housing standards. This stupid restriction is taking away value, like a man who puts his hand in your pocket and removes all the money. It takes away the equity which people have invested in homes that are not built under the Central Mortgage and Housing specifications.
In other words, some people in this country cannot build or buy a home of their own. Those people are denied the right to obtain a mortgage loan on their property under the Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation
Act. In the United States a family may purchase a home through this national housing act and maintain a mortgage on it which goes up to 90 per cent of the value of the house whether new or old. In Canada it must be a new house built under the Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation Act, and the down payment required is far more than the average citizen can afford to pay.
If these required amendments to the Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation Act to bring the act up to par with the national housing act in the United States and provide the same benefits were to mean the expenditures of large sums of money on the part of the Canadian government, I would say that possibly we should study the matter further. The government is denying countless thousands of Canadian citizens the chance to acquire a home.
I would also like to say a word, Mr. Speaker, in regard to agriculture. On November 8 I sent a telegram to the Minister of Agriculture saying:
Hon. James W. Gardiner,
Minister of Agriculture,
After careful study of urgent and deplorable problem of the potato farmers in the maritime provinces I urgently suggest and strongly recommend the immediate adoption of reciprocal tariff measures between the United States and Canada for importation of potatoes into Canada and the immediate adoption of a diversion program based on same lines and same prices as now in operation in the United States. The government is sitting down on the job in regard to the solution of the potato problem. The farmers need and require immediate action if disaster is to be averted.
I have not received any answer to that telegram, but as a result of the tremendous pressure which was put on the Minister of Agriculture finally at the eleventh hour he consented to give a little assistance, but it was too little and too late; it was not enough, and it did not solve anything. It did not get the potato farmer out of the plight in which he had found himself for three long, hard years. These farmers have seen their farms mortgaged to the hilt. They have had their backs against the wall, unable to carry on.
I ask the Minister of Agriculture why his government insists on selling butter to the communists at 37 cents a pound when the poor people of this country must pay 70 cents a pound for it. I ask him if that is right when there is so much utter poverty in Canada. The government seems to be worried about surpluses and where to store those surpluses, and this at a time when there is utter starvation in this country. Any hon. member can prove that to the government.
It was a pleasure during my campaign to know that the Minister of Transport was in my riding campaigning actively against me.
The Address-Mr. Van Horne His presence in my riding served a most useful purpose, for it drew attention to the fact that the Canadian government had for years without number neglected the transportation facilities of the maritime provinces and of my own riding in particular. I ask the Minister of Transport why he has not seen fit to provide year-round docking facilities at Jacquet River, New Brunswick, which would be a natural outlet for the production of the mines near Bathurst. This locality furnishes one of the best opportunities on the eastern seaboard for a year-round port. I understand that the minister did take time to investigate the pitiful condition into which the port of Dalhousie has been permitted to deteriorate.
The federal government is always so anxious to know how the St. Lawrence seaway will affect the United States, but it never concerns itself one bit with how it will affect the maritime provinces. The history of the past 20 years in the maritime provinces is one of complete disregard by the federal government of our economic problems. It is true that for many of those years we have had in the maritime provinces complacent, dormant and weak provincial Liberal governments. I remember well the Liberal convention of 1948 when Hon. John McNair requested the federal Liberal government of that time to do something for the maritimes. But that was all that was ever done by the Liberal governments in the maritimes in the way of acquainting the federal government with the problems that existed down there.
I should like to say a word about the Canadian National Railways. Mr. Donald Gordon has indicated in effect that he is out to wreck the unions of the C.N.R., and he is doing just exactly that. The Liberal government is standing idly by and permitting him to do it. It is also permitting Donald Gordon to make the C.N.R. unsafe. I recently investigated one case where an engineer and fireman were killed in an accident and I can assure you that the whole tragic accident was wrapped up in negligence and skulduggery and covering up on the part of the C.N.R.
Donald Gordon is wrecking the unions of the C.N.R. in another way. Maintenance and repair work in the shops is being given out to contractors, which means that employees who for long years have fought through their unions for whatever rights they now possess automatically lose all those rights the minute they are laid off and are rehired by the contractors to do maintenance work on the tracks or repair work in the shops.
According to information we have received from the union, as of May 1 next year all repair work in the shops will be done by
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The Address-Mr. Robichaud contract. That cuts out the unions entirely, and it does not give the men a chance. After having worked so hard to acquire these rights the employees of the C.N.R. should not have them taken away overnight. It is true that many of them will be hired by the contractors but it will be done without any question of the union, their rates of pay may even be reduced, there will be no overtime, and they will not have the benefits which they have obtained through years of negotiation with the C.N.R.
Recent events have served to prove how farseeing was the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Drew) when years ago he foretold and stated publicly what the government should do for the employees of the C.N.R. in order that their rights might be recognized and their unions safeguarded. There is no question about it that today the C.N.R. is in the position where its employees are forced to take drastic action precisely because the federal government did not wish to recognize their rights. I see that my time is about up.