Mr. GARLAND (Bow River):
Apart altogether from the point raised by the 'hon. member for Macleod (Mr. Coote) respecting the monetary policy involved in the financing of a scheme of this kind, .may I say that this government is perhaps as responsible as any other body for the present lack of housing throughout the country. I would direct the attention of the minister and the committee to the fact that extraordinarily high tariff duties, especially dumping duties, have resulted in such high costs to those who construct houses that they cannot continue to do so. I have in my hand a comparison in costs of plumbing fixtures necessary in construction. A bath 4 feet 6 inches in length would cost $31.50 in Vancouver and only $11.45 in Seattle,-precisely the same specifications. A 5-foot bath costing $24.30 in Vancouver would cost only $13.45 in Seattle. The next size would cost $32.30 in Vancouver and only $16.45 in Seattle. A recess bath would cost $45.30 in Vancouver and only $27.95 in Seattle; the next larger size would cost $55.10 in Vancouver and only $31.25 in Seattle.
I set out these illustrations simply to indicate that there is an extraordinary discrimination against Canadian contractors building houses, or those wishing to pay for the building of them. That discrimination arises through the high tariff duties and especially the high dumping rates assessed against the trade. I have in my hand a letter from one of the big concerns in Vancouver, the Sanitary and Heating Association of British Columbia, complaining about this condition. They point out that while they might be able to meet the 35 per cent duty and freight charges for equal quality products, they cannot compete in the face of present dumping duties. There appears to be no competition in the supply of these goods; the manufacture of plumbing fixtures would seem to be in the hands of what is virtually a monopoly. Certainly the control in the west is in the hands of two concerns. There is no doubt about the measure of price fixation which must ensue, and no doubt that they take the fullest advantage of the duties and the dump. This means an added cost in plumbing fixtures to the extent of 30 per cent to 50 per cent, and in some cases as high as 70 per cent. Obviously if the government were interested in the building of houses, as one of its first acts it would have undertaken to modify the rates of duty on these goods which enter into the construction.
While under section 3 of the bill the economic council is advised to study practices which enter into the construction of houses, I contend that the minister and the government already know sufficient-possibly I should say that the facts are already sufficiently known-to have justified them long ago in taking this step towards reducing the cost of house construction.
Topic: DOMINION HOUSING ACT
Subtopic: PROVISION FOR LOANS BY GOVERNMENT AND LENDING INSTITUTIONS UP TO EIGHTY PER CENT OF COST OF CONSTRUCTION