Francis FOX

FOX, The Hon. Francis, P.C., Q.C., B.A., LL.L., D.E.S., LL.M., M.A.

Personal Data

Blainville--Deux-Montagnes (Quebec)
Birth Date
December 2, 1939
executive, lawyer

Parliamentary Career

October 30, 1972 - May 9, 1974
  Argenteuil--Deux-Montagnes (Quebec)
July 8, 1974 - March 26, 1979
  Argenteuil--Deux-Montagnes (Quebec)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada (October 10, 1975 - September 13, 1976)
  • Solicitor General of Canada (September 14, 1976 - January 27, 1978)
May 22, 1979 - December 14, 1979
  Blainville--Deux-Montagnes (Quebec)
February 18, 1980 - July 9, 1984
  Blainville--Deux-Montagnes (Quebec)
  • Minister of Communications (March 3, 1980 - June 29, 1984)
  • Secretary of State of Canada (March 3, 1980 - September 21, 1981)
  • Minister for International Trade (June 30, 1984 - September 16, 1984)
August 29, 2005 - July 9, 1984
  Blainville--Deux-Montagnes (Quebec)
  • Minister for International Trade (June 30, 1984 - September 16, 1984)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 305 of 306)

March 27, 1973

Mr. Francis Fox (Argenteuil-Deux-Montagnes):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to put a question to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce.

Could he tell the House whether he is aware of reports that General Motors has definitely dismissed a great number of workers at the Sainte-Therese plant while increasing the production of Vega at its Lordstown plant in Ohio?

Subtopic:   INDUSTRY
Full View Permalink

March 27, 1973

Mr. Fox:

Mr. Speaker, I should like to put a supplementary question.

Would the minister consider the possibility of communicating with the company in that connection, so as to endeavour to improve the employment situation at the Sainte-Therese plant?

Subtopic:   INDUSTRY
Full View Permalink

March 22, 1973

Mr. Francis Fox (Argenteuil-Deux-Montagnes):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to ask a question of the Minister of Environment.

In view of the responsibility of the Quebec Department of Natural Resources as regards flooding in that province, could the minister inform the House whether a request for assistance was received from that department to deal with the flooding in the Deux-Montagnes Lake and Mille-iles river region?

Full View Permalink

March 19, 1973

Mr. Francis Fox (Argenteuil-Deux-Montagnes):

Mr. Speaker, the act to amend the National Housing Act now under consideration is part of the lengthy progress of the Canadian society to carry out a housing policy consistent not only with the needs but also with the aspirations of our people.

A housing policy throws a lot of light on the government which promotes it. Is it a reforming government? Is it a government which is responsive to the various needs of the people? Is it a government which has drawn up its policy based on needs which could vary from an area to the other in that huge country? Is it a government which has secured the support as well as the willingness to act of other levels of government and the private sector, without which only a measure of success could be achieved?

The government's achievements in the field of housing and urban affairs since 1968 indicate the extent of the efforts made to achieve these objectives: From mid-1968 to the end of 1971, almost 750,000 housing starts were recorded. Forty per cent, or 315,000, were financed under the National Housing Act and 160,000 of these were, in turn, homes built for low income families thereby exceeding the total produced in all previous Canadian history. Nearly $11 billion was invested in housing during this period. Of this amount, $6.6 billion was injected under the NHA and 2.7 billion of that was direct federal funds loaned by CMHC.

Federal-provincial meetings about urban and housing matters were also quite successful. This has to be pointed our, however, since usually, only contentious cases in federal-provincial relations are referred to in his country.

Being aware as well of the gaps of the previous legislation, which failed to meet the ever growing needs of the Canadian society, the government has proposed the new measures which are now before us. The minister responsible for this legislation pointed out that these measures had earned the support of the provinces at the federal-provincial conference in January.

If we analyze the text that was put forward in the House, use can find that the minister proposes ten new measures or programs which will enable people to get a decent dwelling at a reasonable price.

Let us look briefly at these measures. The new communities program is designed to secure urban growth in ways that the unregulated spread of cities. We are all aware of what such growth of their urban centres has cost our American neighbours, and it is important to avoid their mistakes.

What about the land assembly program? Land prices undoubtedly represent one of the most costly features of housing. The government proposes an overall strategy designed to encourage provincial and municipal governments to become more active in getting land in order to meet future housing needs. The federal government is ready to spend some $100 million each year, for the next five years, towards public land assembly, including land for new communities.

Moreover, the government is thinking about the development of an assistance program for homeownership. I wish to speak at some length, Mr. Speaker, about this part of the amendments to the act. I suggest that it is difficult nowadays to state as principle that one should rather be a tenant than an owner. Some people may prefer, for worthwhile reasons, to be tenants rather than owners, or vice versa. The important thing is that our society make this choice a little more real, and insures to a larger number of people a choice in fact rather than in theory in this regard. And the bill which is now before the House represents a big step in that direction.

In his March 15 speech, the minister gave as an example that a wage-earner with two children and an annual income of some $7,500 would be able to purchase a $19,000 house by monthly payments of $137. It means that houses of $14,000 to $15,000 would be accessible to families with incomes lower than those the minister mentioned.

March 19, 1973

There are also programs for assistance to non-profit organizations, for co-operative housing assistance for neighbourhood improvement for rehabilitation of existing family housing for Indians living in reserves and a research and development program.

The last feature of these amendments, as outlined by the minister, covered the question of purchaser protection of homes. The amendments proposed will protect purchasers from the insolvency or bankruptcy of the contractor. In such cases, funds for the completion of houses would be advanced to the buyer through the mortgage insurance fund. The minister has stated that he expects to announce a national system of warranties for house buyers "before many months". Recent experience indicates that this is indeed a field parliament must look at closely. While I believe that protection against insolvency and bankruptcy are important I would like to see the federal government make strides to improve purchaser protection in areas which are clearly within its jurisdiction.

I realize that only 40 per cent of housing is financed through the National Housing Act and that housing is also subject to provincial legislation. The fact remains that builders are hungry for CMHC loans and that with its leverage CMHC ought to be in the forefront of exacting high building standards and eliminating shoddy workmanship which so often entails high maintenance costs and, at its worst, turns a dream house into a house of financial horror for the purchaser.

I recently read a booklet put out by CMHC called "What you should know about the inspection of your House". According to the booklet, and I quote:

The inspection routines are designed to make sure that the complete house will be adequate security for the NHA mortgage loan. They are not intended to police builders or to provide comprehensive supervision of construction.

Mr. Speaker, I suggest that this kind of statement is not in keeping with the spirit of the legislation presently before this House. What we are interested in providing is decent housing at a reasonable cost. That is the prime objective, and if we reach that objective, NHA loans will be adequately protected. It is sufficient to say that the homeowner who has agreed to meet payments on a mortgage over a number of years, must be confident that a CMHC-inspected house means much more than that CMHC has looked after itself.

The question of purchaser protection can only be solved through interaction of provincial and federal governments. I am delighted that the minister proposes to pursue this matter with speed. But let me say that while additional legal safeguards for the purchaser will be most welcome, we all know the burden which legal action to enfore rights of this nature may place on low and middle income families. Strict enforcement through inspection by the appropriate authorities which would permit the identification of defects at an early stage would be a more satisfactory way of attacking this problem.

National Housing Act

Which is to say, Mr. Speaker, that the minister's initiative in taking the first steps to protect the purchaser is a most laudable one.

It is easy to see how far our concept of a housing policy has evolved since 1968. Not so long ago, the role of the Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation was that of a banker. It was thought then that the way to solve Canada's housing problem was to build up a stock of available housing, rather haphazardly and without reference to specific needs. In the light of the changes that have taken place since 1968, it is hardly surprising that our total stock of new houses at reasonable prices for low income families is far bigger than similar stocks in the past. The initiatives that the minister has announced show how much progress the present government has made in this field.

A housing policy must offer stability, so that private enterprise, whose job is to build quality housing, can work in close collaboration with the three levels of government, whose job is to ensure that the new buildings go up in a healthy environment where Canadian families will be able to live the sort of life they want.

A housing policy must also have flexibility, if it is to adapt to our society's evolution. The measures that have been applied by the government since 1968 show that it has succeeded in combining these two essential elements of a sound housing policy.

Full View Permalink

February 26, 1973

Mr. Francis Fox (Argenteuil-Deux-Montagnes):

I am

particularly pleased, Mr. Speaker, to participate today in the debate on the budget.

As member for Argenteuil-Deux-Montagnes, a riding which incidentally has sent to this House a Prime Minister, Sir John Abbott, and several other distinguished par-liamentaries, Progressive Conservatives as well as Liberals, I would like first to congratulate you for your election as Speaker of the House of Commons. You are known both inside and outside this chamber, for what you are: an honest, fair and impartial man whose contribution to the efficient work of this House is above criticism.

Mr. Speaker, my fellow citizens and I believe in a strong, united, wealthy and humane Canada. The legislation that we pass in this House must be considered in the light of these criteria.

One criterium, Mr. Speaker, underlies all others, includes them and gives them their meaning: the human criterium.

Our constituents entrust us with a rather general mandate. We are responsible for public welfare, for the conduct of government affairs geared to improving the lot of the population. However, our constituents also vest in us a specific duty: to see that the ever more powerful government remains and becomes increasingly aware of the aspirations of the individuals it is to serve.

I believe, Mr. Speaker, that the budget the Minister of Finance (Mr. Turner) has brought forward on behalf of the Canadian government does meet this very concept.

I do not believe it is necessary to repeat the highlights of the budget. It will suffice to underline that the main objectives of the budget are to reduce unemployment and encourage faster growth, to reduce inflationary pressures and offset the effects of past inflation, to increase real income and ensure older Canadians of a fairer share of prosperity and to contribute to more balanced economic expansion among all regions of Canada.

I was particularly pleased to see increases in both old age pensions and in war veterans allowances. I have always felt that parliament has a special responsibility toward those who have made a contribution to the building of this nation, and I am particularly proud to be a member of parliament at this time.

The Budget-Mr. Fox

The budget before the House can justly be called a family budget. Along with increased pensions for Canadians aged 65 and over, basic tax exemptions have been increased for all taxpayers effective January 1, 1973, and a tax decrease of 5 per cent is proposed.

Perhaps the most important long-term innovation is the indexing of the tax system beginning in 1974. It will raise tax brackets and income tax exemptions each year by an inflation factor based on the consumer price index. Reductions in tariffs and cuts in sales tax should also help curtail the rise in the cost of living.

Furthermore, the government has come to the help of the ratepayer. The general equalization system will be broadened in the next fiscal year to include grants on account of municipal taxes. This should enable provinces to come to the relief of hard pressed property owners and tenants who have had to carry an increasing burden of local school taxes. Under this program, the province of Quebec will receive an additional $78.6 million in equalization payments from the federal treasury in 1973-74.

I was also pleased to note the undertaking by the Minister of Finance (Mr. Turner) that measures will soon be announced for assisting small business. I find this area to be of utmost importance, as approximately 60 per cent of the Canadian labour force is working in establishments having the characteristics of small businesses. The Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce (Mr. Gillespie) recently noted that 3,500,000 Canadians are employed by businesses with 15 or fewer employees. Small business provides the economic livelihood of the majority of working Canadians. Small business constitutes a source of entrepreneurial activity and growth that should be tapped when seeking increased job opportunities and greater regional development.

The Minister of Finance also proposed a change to the Income Tax Act which is important for the preservation of the family farm. Under the present legislation, when a farmer dies and leaves his farm to his children, his farm is deemed to have been sold and there may be a capital gains tax liability. Under the proposed changes, effective January 1, 1973, if adopted by parliament, there would be no deemed sale on the death of a farmer and hence no capital gains tax liability if the farm is left to the family. [Translation]

Mr. Speaker, it should not be expected that the budget will solve all the problems of Canadian society. Its purpose is to promote an expanding economy and the development of an economic climate allowing our citizens to progress towards achievement of their destiny.

Conversely, one short and long-term problem which we must face is that of employment. I did notice with great pleasure the following paragraph of the masterly speech delivered in this House on January 11 last by the Minister of National Health and Welfare (Mr. Lalonde), and I quote:

the social security system as it applies to people who can work must contain incentives to work and a greater emphasis on the need to get people who are on social aid back to work.

I believe that most Canadians agree in this regard.

The employment problem brings forward challenges that politicians of the 70's will have to take up. As years go

February 26, 1973

The Budget-Mr. Fox

by, the number of Canadians and technological innovations increase. New plants incorporate these technological advances which demand more and more investments and less and less labour.

It is time for us to begin to think seriously about benefits and other consequences of this post-industrial era.

Will our present work ethic be able to solve these problems? Should our society not get prepared at once for such changes? We must try without delay to find answers to those questions.

To palliate these problems forthwith, the government introduces a highly expansionary and innovating budget, a student employment program, the Local Initiatives Program and winter works projects. All these programs are excellent, though I suggest that the Local Initiatives Program could be improved. In my view, its criteria should be altered in order to bring more incentive to municipalities. We are all aware of financial problems encountered by municipalities. I suggest that we might take advantage of such a program to try to bring along the decentralization of decision making process which might be very valuable.

Mr. Speaker, I do not want, in my first statement in this House, to let aside the fact that at the beginning of 1975, Mirabel, the new Montreal international airport, located in the riding of Argenteuil-Deux-Montagnes, will welcome its first passengers. Its effects have been felt since 1969 in the riding of Argenteuil-Deux-Montagnes.

The airport area being designated as a "special area", many projects have been achieved which are designed to improve the infrastructure of this riding.

For the expropriated people the airport is not a future development but a reality of every day and it has been so since the expropriation plans were tabled in 1969.

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Parliament must not forget in his concern to see this country move ahead that men and women, even whole families, have and still have to move to make room to that progress. Houses, land held by the same families from time immemorial, neighbourhood relations dating to the beginning of our history are wiped out by bulldozers and concrete runways.

The federal government has expropriated over 3,000 owners many of whom have now become government tenants.

These people who used to be owners are now in daily contact with federal government officials responsible for the management of the expropriated territory.

And I say to all those officials, Mr. Speaker, that they must remember that they are essentially at the service of the public and that it is their main raison d'etre.

Mr. Speaker, Ste. Scholastique, now Mirabel, is not a land concession for the administration of a few civil servants; Ste. Scholastique is people, men, women, children who were upset in their daily life and who have a right to be treated with all the dignity that their pride as Canadians calls for.

In addition to a fair expropriation allowance, these people want clear and specific information inasmuch as it is possible on what their territory is to become.

[Mr. Fox.l

I know, Mr. Speaker, that the Minister of Transport (M. Marchand) is very concerned about those problems. Last week he met in his office with the Ste. Scholastique community information and animation committee and the citizen help committee. In the light of those meetings I am confident that some of the problems will soon be solved.

In conclusion let me reiterate my fundamental belief in people-oriented government. "Policies for people" is a motto to which I wholeheartedly subscribe. It is a motto which ensures our responsiveness to the aspirations of the Canadian people whom we have the honour to represent in this parliament.

Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Full View Permalink