Mr. A. B. Patterson (Frasor Valley):
Mr. Speaker, being one of the new members in the House of Commons I feel that I should
The Address-Mr. Patterson first of all recognize my obligation to the electoral district of Fraser Valley and express my appreciation to the residents there for their confidence in electing me as their representative in this house. I recognize the fact that this is not a small honour that has been conferred upon me and I realize that as time goes on, I shall become increasingly conscious of the obligations that accompany the honour.
Hon. members have no doubt heard much about the beauties, the glories and the possibilities of the Fraser valley from the lips of those who have represented that riding in days gone by. It is a considerable riding, extending on the south side of the Fraser river from approximately Aldergrove up to a little beyond Boston Bar, a distance of perhaps 120 miles, and from the river to the international boundary. It includes as well the area along the north side of the Fraser river from Pitt Meadows to North Bend. It is an area that includes some of the very best agricultural land in the province, where small fruits, berries and vegetables are grown in abundance, and also where poultry raising and dairy farming engage the attention of many of the residents. Other industries include lumbering, fishing, mining, and some manufacturing.
For the benefit of some hon. members of the house who will no doubt wish to make their home in that area a little later on, I would like to just pinpoint several of the main areas in our community. In regard to Pitt Meadows, on the north side of the Fraser river, perhaps I should just quote briefly from the publication "The Lower Mainland Looks Ahead", published by the lower mainland regional planning board of British Columbia:
Pitt Meadows, because of soil quality, low elevation and unspoiled land is best suited for agriculture, and urban development should be discouraged. It contains potential industrial sites, however, which could be developed without harm to the surrounding arable land. Industries in these areas could help to provide employment for the Haney area, which in turn should act as the trade centre for Pitt Meadows.
Then the Haney area is dealt with in these words:
The Haney area seems very desirable for urban development. There are industrial sites within or close to it and proper development of Garibaldi park would bring trade to the area, as will the Dutch development in Pitt Meadows.
Then I should like to refer to the Abbotsford area, and I quote:
The Abbotsford area is the crossroads of the valley. It is also the trading centre of a considerable rural area, much of which is not yet developed (50 per cent of the usable land area is undeveloped in Matsqui and 20 per cent in Sumas).
For these reasons alone the Abbotsford area can expect to grow. But two other factors could also promote growth. First, there are suitable industrial sites alongside the railway north of the village. Second, the area would benefit if Sumas mountain were to be developed as a park.
Again, the Mission area is referred to in these words:
The Mission area is already established as a trading centre and also has some industry. There are excellent large industrial sites west of the village and it is not unlikely that industry will find these attractive as sites nearer the metropolitan area become scarcer.
Then as regards the Chilliwack area it has this to say:
The Chilliwack area is very attractive and flourishing. Its economy is mainly agricultural and it has attracted a considerable number of small holders . . . There are some excellent industrial sites nearby in Chilliwack, however, and it is not unlikely that industry might wish to establish there.
Then I would like to refer just briefly to the Harrison Hot Springs area:
By virtue of the natural beauty of Harrison lake and its attractive modern hotel, Harrison Hot Springs is now well established as a tourist centre.
I would also like to refer to Agassiz which is in one of the areas classed by the lower mainland regional planning board of British Columbia as being first-class agricultural land capable of producing a wide variety of crops with high yields.
Further up the valley we have Hope. The future of Hope hinges on regular commercial traffic. It is the only community of any size for many miles. Also it depends upon the tourist trade. Hope's main industry is that of lumbering. Farther up the valley, almost up the canyon, we have Boston Bar and North Bend, which are approximately 40 miles from Hope.
I have just given these few remarks about those areas in order to pinpoint some aspects in connection with the main sections of the constituency. The people of the Fraser valley are optimistic and industrious. Not only are they seeking a livelihood for today; they are building for tomorrow. They are people of vision; not only are they interested in themselves, but they are desirous of assisting in the building of a greater and better Canada. I count it a privilege to speak and to act on their behalf.
Problems of the constituency of Fraser Valley in many instances are those we share with others. Then again there are those which may be particularly our own. In his speech His Excellency made reference to the necessity for a continued expansion in housing. I feel, as do many other members in the house, that adequate housing must be provided to fill the needs and provide for the
enjoyment of our people. This continues to be one of the most insistent problems confronting us. I am sure we are all aware of the importance of housing. But may I say that at the present time houses are practically beyond the reach of a great many of our people in the middle and low income brackets. I am appalled when I see how some of our people are forced to live. I see people, good people, endeavouring to the very best of their ability to bring up their families, to give them advantages, to assist them in the development of character, to prepare them to face life and make a contribution to society; and I am disturbed when I see the conditions under which these people are trying to bring up their children. These housing conditions tend to impede the development of character and, I am afraid, in many cases contribute to juvenile delinquency.
I feel it is the responsibility of the dominion government not only to recognize this matter but, by providing for lower down payments and longer term loans, and by reducing interest rates on housing loans as well as by giving some assurance of continual employment, to make it possible for our people to build and own, or to buy, their own homes. Therefore we suggest that measures be taken to assist especially those families with limited means. In this way they will be greatly assisted in their endeavour to provide adequate and pleasant homes in which to live.
Another problem that has been called to the attention of the house by a number of other members is the plight of our senior citizens. Because of the temperate climate, and perhaps other considerations, we in British Columbia believe we have a larger concentration of Canada's senior citizens than have the other provinces of the dominion. These men and women are endeavouring to do their best with the limited means they have and the little they are receiving. But may I suggest, Mr. Speaker, that when we consider the hardship of the pioneering through which these, our senior citizens, have come, and when we endeavour to appraise the tremendous contribution they have made to the development of their, and our, country, then I suggest our appreciation should be shown in far greater measure than is the case at the present time.
I believe that at the present rate of assistance it is impossible for them to obtain board and room and personal incidentals or, on the other hand, to pay rent and board themselves. I would suggest that the government pay pensions to our senior citizens adequate to guarantee a decent standard of living. Actually 83276-20
The Address-Mr. Patterson these people are not better off than they were in 1939 when they were receiving $20 a month.
Another class of residents in my area who ask for consideration are the war veterans, especially those on war veterans allowances. As I have travelled across my constituency, and as I have conferred with those holding responsible positions in the Canadian Legion,
I have discovered that there is a strong and,
I believe, a justified feeling that, in view of the present cost of living, the basic rates should be raised. It is ridiculous to assume, it seems to me, that allowances of $50 and $90 respectively for single and married veterans are sufficient to provide the bare necessities of life, let alone to live in reasonable comfort, which is their due.
I should like to go on record as supporting their request for basic allowances of $60 and $120 respectively for single and married persons, with the elimination of the means test. I believe also that the permissible ceilings should be raised to $1,200 and $2,000 respectively for single and married persons, as they have requested.
This is not a request for a get-rich mandate, as some would suggest. I believe it is an expression of a sincere desire on the part of these men to engage in labour as their physical condition permits. Not only would this be beneficial to themselves, but it would make them feel they were making some contribution to the sum total of community effort and production. We recognize the fact, of course, that they have served their country well in time of war. Now they desire so far as possible to engage in some constructive effort without being penalized for that effort.
Therefore I wish to go on record in support of their request. I realize that a new provision released only recently has been inserted in the War Veterans Allowance Act, but I am told that the benefits of that section will assist only a limited number of war veterans allowance recipients. The majority are unable to take advantage of or obtain work under this particular section. Therefore they are forced to exist upon incomes entirely inadequate to procure the necessities of life. I would also urge, Mr. Speaker, that their request regarding the establishment of a permanent standing committee on veterans affairs receive the favourable consideration of the government at this time.
Permit me to state as well that I support wholeheartedly the proposal to give assistance to the disabled, as I do the request made by the Canadian National Institute for
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The Address-Mr. Patterson the Blind and the Canadian Council of the Blind on behalf of our citizens who are handicapped by blindness.
A problem that may not concern other constituencies as it does Fraser Valley is the matter of river bank erosion. There are two particular sections in the Fraser Valley constituency that are particularly affected by this condition. In the Agassiz area I am told that throughout the past number of years several hundred acres of the very best farmland have been lost through erosion. In the Albion region, farther down the river, the problem has become so acute that some homes will have to be moved in the near future to save them from the waters of the Fraser. Albion is in the fishing area, and the wash from the fishing boats and also from the tugs that move up and down the river add constantly to the process of erosion.
We feel that this is a problem which cannot be dealt with locally or even provincially. It is one which should have the technical and financial assistance of the federal government. Unless the situation is dealt with and the problem solved the residents of this area envisage the time when the whole area will be threatened. Some of the people have lived there for a good number of years, and they are being forced to watch their lands being slowly swallowed up by the waters of the Fraser river.
There are several other matters I should like to refer to briefly, one being the danger of flooding from the Vedder river in the Chilliwack area. This needs remedial action. The situation is gradually worsening, and grave concern is felt in this district over the ever-increasing dangers that threaten the adjacent area.
There are some other matters to which I should like to direct attention and which concern the people of the Fraser valley very definitely. One is the high cost of feed grain.
I have already referred to the fact that poultry raising, dairying and so on are carried on in my area, and the high cost of feed grain is a matter of great concern to those engaged in these industries. I shall only mention this at the present time, but at a later date I shall refer to it more fully.
Then there is the problem of adequate markets for dairy products, poultry products, berries, small fruits, lumber, fish and other products. For the residents of my constituency to maintain a comparatively respectable standard of living it is necessary that we have continuing and expanding markets for the products of our various industries, and also that adequate purchasing power be maintained in the hands of our people.
I come from the province which has been labelled "wacky" by the hon. member for Skeena (Mr. Applewhaite). If people are "wacky" just because they happen to disagree with or differ from the hon. member's particular political opinions and views, then the people of the Fraser valley are in that category. May I say that this federal constituency is represented in the British Columbia provincial legislature by three Social Credit M.L.A.'s, two of whom are cabinet ministers. I should like to assure the hon. member for Skeena that should he choose to visit us in our valley paradise he will find that the people there possess a fairly high, or may I say a very high degree of intelligence, comparable no doubt to that possessed by the residents of Skeena.
In conclusion I should like to refer to an article which appeared in a recent issue of a newspaper, which suggested that there might be a difference of opinion with regard to the basic principles and policies of Social Credit as between the men who have been in the house for a number of years and those of us who have just been elected, especially from British Columbia. I can understand that this thought would arise in the minds of some, but may I say emphatically that there is no foundation for such an assumption or such a statement.
We have aligned ourselves with the Social Credit movement as being the only satisfactory and acceptable alternative to the present system. We have been elected on the Social Credit ticket. May I assure this house that the Social Credit members who have been here for a number of years and we who have been recently elected stand as one in our adoption of and adherence to the principles and policies of the Social Credit movement.
I should like to enlarge further on this thought and say in those memorable words that we believe all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, and that among those are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We believe that God in His goodness has provided sufficient of the necessities of life to house, feed and clothe all the people of the world.
We believe in a system of free individual enterprise with a program of monetary reform which will take the abuses out of the free enterprise system. We believe in international good will and the establishment of an international trade policy under which goods will be exchanged between nations on the basis of mutual advantage to all and
through which the production of the world will be made available to feed, clothe and house all the peoples of the world.
We may not all look as dapper as does our leader, the hon. member for Peace River (Mr. Low); we may not all appear as businesslike as the hon. member for Macleod (Mr. Hansell); the lion-like expression on the countenance of the hon. member for Lethbridge (Mr. Blackmore) may not characterize the rest of us, but may we say that we are united in the belief that the principles and policies of Social Credit are sound and are the foundation upon which a greater and better Canada can and eventually will be built.
Mr. Speaker, I thank you.
Topic: SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY