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


Howard Charles Green (Minister of Defence Production; Minister of Public Works; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Howard C. Green (Minister of Public Works):

After having had such a nice epitaph written about me I am not sure that it is safe for one with Irish blood in his veins to say anything at all at this time because, after all, we are a bit superstitious. However, this has been a very useful debate and I am grateful to those members who have taken part in it. Many suggestions have been advanced in addition to quite a few new ideas, all of which will be given, as I promised when speaking at the resolution stage of this measure, the most careful consideration.
It is very fitting that there is such interest shown by members of the house in this housing question, which, after all, is pre-eminently a human question. The lives of our Canadian people are so involved in the whole matter that naturally all of us are deeply concerned about working out the best possible solution to the problem.
I think it would be inappropriate if I were to deal with the questions which have been raised during last evening and again this afternoon, but there are one or two points which I would like to place before the house. The first is this: There are other schemes under the National Housing Act which bring about lower rental housing, for example, the limited dividend plan under
[Mr. Barbes.l
section 16. Hon. members will be pleased to learn that great advantage has been taken of that section during the present calendar year. In fact, during the last ten months Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation has received more applications for loans to limited dividend companies than in any previous period of comparable duration. In these 10 months there has been more than $21 million committed for loans to limited dividend corporations.
Then there have been many different schemes in which a provincial government and the federal government have shared. We are always on the lookout for a redevelopment plan and I am sure that was also the attitude of the former government.
One of the members mentioned today that the Jeanne Mance project in Montreal had been delayed by the present government. We are going right ahead with the plans for that huge project and we are hoping it can be completed at the earliest possible time. Mind you, there was some difficulty about it some weeks ago because it was all mixed up with the municipal election in the city of Montreal. One group wanted to go ahead and another group did not want it to go ahead, so until that dispute could be resolved it was rather difficult for the government to step in and show much activity.
We would be delighted to see redevelopment schemes of this kind in other cities. One, for example, has been recommended after a survey, for which we paid a large portion of the cost, in the city of Vancouver, and some reference was made to this by the hon. member for Vancouver-Kingsway (Mr. Macdonald). I am hoping that the city and provincial authorities will see fit to start moving on that project at a very early date. This type of work, I am sure, has the wholehearted support of everybody in the house.
Some hon. members have referred again today to the interest rate. I dealt with this matter last evening. It is a situation which has to be faced, and there is one further feature which I did not mention last night but which I think is material, that is, that under our small homes loan plan, commonly called the agency plan, loans have already been approved for almost $150 million, as I pointed out yesterday, involving 15,456 units. Part of the money we are now requesting is to carry on this agency plan. Hon. members will realize it would be very unfair to the people who have signed up under the plan if we were to make a change in the interest rate at the present time. It is not as though the money were not being taken up; it is being called for at a very rapid rate and I believe that with

the additional funds for which we are now asking there will be perhaps 25,000 housing units built in Canada during this winter period as a result of the plan.

Topic:   IS, 1S57
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