December 18, 1957 (23rd Parliament, 1st Session)


James Lorimer Ilsley

Mr. Ilsley:

They are not limiting the construction of houses at this time at all. The limitation at the present time is physical, and is found in the present capacity of the country to produce materials.
Mr. Speaker, I have just quoted at length what was said on that occasion to illustrate that in 1945 it was suggested we could not build houses because we were short of materials. In 1957 we are told we cannot build houses because we are short of money, though we have an abundance of materials. In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I suggest that by using in housing the methods we used during the war and mobilizing our credit behind the full resources of this country we could provide the lower income groups in Canada with all the houses they require on a very sound basis.
I just forgot this, Mr. Speaker: I had intended before sitting down* to bring to the attention of the minister the fact that there are certain people who are trying to do their best in present circumstances. Does the minister realize that there are small lumber operators in the interior of British Columbia who are working on a very small margin of profit and have been doing so for the whole of this year, although in a good number of cases these are efficient and well operated 96698-1621
National Housing Act
mills. Some of them, indeed, have been running at a considerable loss. At the same time there are employees in the lumber industries in the interior of British Columbia who have voted not to accept a 6 per cent increase in wages to which they were entitled under a two-year contract, in order to help keep the lumber industry going. These people have been shipping lumber to the prairies, particularly No. 1 common fir, in log lumber, two by four, two by six, two by eight and two by ten, shiplaps, sidings, boarding materials generally, at prices f.o.b. southern interior of British Columbia points-I can see the parliamentary assistant pricking his ears up as he hears me speak of this-ranging from $57.50 to $62 a thousand. I think the parliamentary assistant should be asked to find out what the lumber yards are charging to persons who wish to build homes with this same lumber after making allowance for the cost of transportation and so on.
In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I suggest that now is the time for an examination to be made of all aspects of this problem-the need for providing an adequate fund, sound methods of financing the cost of materials, the type of materials and the services to be provided. The average man earning a low income cannot afford to pay more than $6,000 for a home. I say that from my personal experience. I think a great deal more could be done to provide the type of house necessary to a person in the low income group. Could not some further study be undertaken, particularly with respect to the possibility of the owner-building of homes and the possibility of using more of the procedures and methods which have been used so successfully under the small holding section of the Veterans Land Act.

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