June 7, 1904


1903-4. - Surplus. Deficit. $ cts. $ cts. 1890-7 519,981 44 1897-8 1,722,712 33 1898-9 4,837,749 00 1899-1900 8,054,714 51 1900-1 5,648,333 29 1901-2 7,291,398 06 1902-3 14,345,166 17 1903-4 (estimated) 16,500,000 00 Total for eight years.. 58,400,073 36 519,981 44 Less deficit for 1890-7. 519,981 44 Total net surplus for eight years 57,880,091 92 Average surplus per year 7,235,011 49 It was the good fortune of our predecessors in the eighteen years during which they managed the affairs of the country to have some surpluses and some deficits. Taking them together and striking the average, we find that during the eighteen years of their administration they had an average surplus of $544,539.61. while during our eight years we have had an average surplus of $7,235,011.49. The question of the public debt is always an important one. In a country like Canada, a comparatively new and young country, it would not be surprising if we had to show large increases of the public debt. I have on several occasions, in referring to decreases which we have been able to show, pointed out that no finance minister in a country like Canada need be ashamed if he has to come before parliament and acknowledge that he is increasing the public debt. That ought to be the normal condition in a young country like ours, with vast resources to develop, with improvements all around us waiting to be done, and with courageous men ready to do them ; but happily we are relieved from any such necessity. The following shows the net debt of the Dominion, beginning with the year 1896, and continuing down to the present date : - Net Debt. Increase. Decrease..Tune 30 $ cts. $ cts. § cts.1896 258,497,432 77 1897 261,538,596 46 3,041,163 69 1898 263,956,898 91 2,417,802 45 1899 266,273.446 60 2,317,047 69 1900 265,493,806 89 779,639 711901 268,480,003 69 2,986,196 80 1902. 271,829,089 62 3,349,085 93 1903. ... 264,912,439 11 6.916,650 511904 (Est.). 257,412,439 11 7,500,000 0014,111,296 56 15,196,290 2214,111,296 56Redu ction in eight y ears 1,084,993 66Average reduction per year 135,624 20 Thus we shall have this happy statement to present to the public, that we have carried on the public affairs of this Dominion for a period of eight years, during which we have engaged in large ventures and great improvements ; we have spent money liberally, our hon. friends opposite sometimes say lavishly ; we have generously provided for all demands for the public improvement of the country ; and we shall be able at the close of the eight years to say that we have not added one dollar to the debt of Canada. On the contrary, from these figures we shall probably be able to show that there has been a reduction in the net debt during the eight years of $1,084,993.66, or an average yearly reduction in our eight years of $135,624.20, against an average yearly increase in the net debt in the preceding eighteen years of $6,563,075. In these statements respecting the public debt, I am confining myself entirely to the actual operations of the government, and the affairs with which we have had ourselves to do-those for which we are responsible and for which we may take credit, if credit there be, or blame, if the reverse be the case. There is however an item in relation to the public debt which I have ignored here. It will be remembered that at an early stage of the session a question arose as to the relation of the adjustment of the accounts of the provinces with the Dominion to the public debt, and I asked the House to suspend judgment on that point, because I had formed the impression that the method of treating that account in its relation to the public debt was not correct. After fuller inquiry, I am satisfied that an erroneous view was taken as to the effect of that settlement on the public debt. I do not wish to enter fully into that matter to-day. Later, however, I shall bring down a memorandum



from the officers of my department showing the position of the accounts. The question however arises, I may say, out of the appropriations made in 1884 by the parliament of Canada as allowances to the various provinces. Certain sums were set apart to the credit of each province, and while, as respects most of the provinces, these sums were immediately carried into the debt of the Dominion, in the cases of Ontario and Quebec they were dealt with ih another form. They were not entered up as part of the debt hut treated in another way to- produce the same result, but I think it would have been more correct, as a matter of book-keeping, to have dealt with them as we did in the case of the other provinces. There has been from time to time discussion as to whether these sums constituted a capital sum of money belonging to each of these provinces, or whether they simply created an annuity. I have always considered that these sums were capital placed to the credit of the province of Ontario and Quebec, properly chargeable to the Dominion, and so long as they remain in the hands of the Dominion, of course they yield revenue to these provinces. It appears however that in the making up of the recent statement of affairs as between the Dominion and these provinces of Ontario and Quebec, the idea that these sums created an annuity ran into the minds of the officials. While they took into account the annuity or annual interest, they ignored the principal sum, and I am satisfied now that in a proper statement of the accounts, the best way would be to charge up that sum against the debt of the Dominion and credit whatever there is on the other side. However, I do not propose to dwell on that feature, but simply call attention to the erroneous view taken by the officials of the Finance Department, for which of course I am responsible, and by the Auditor General when these accounts were prepared.


LIB

Frederick William Borden (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal

Mr. E. D. BOEDEN.

Is this the matter which was discussed somewhat earlier in the session, about two months ago, and is the statement to which the right hon. gentleman refers the one he then promised to bring down ?

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS-THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   STATEMENT OF NET DEBT.
Permalink
LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

My deputy was absent in England and I stated that on his return I would have him investigate the matter and prepare a memorandum. He is doing so, and I will submit it to the House, though not perhaps-in connection with the Budget, but I refer to it to show why I claim credit for less dimunition in the public debt last year than the public accounts show. In that respect the public Mr. FIELDING.

accounts were in error, but the matter will be made right in the accounts of the present year.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS-THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   STATEMENT OF NET DEBT.
Permalink
LIB

Frederick William Borden (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal

Mr. E. L. BOEDEN.

Perhaps the hon. gentleman will see that it is brought down as soon as convenient. Two months have elapsed since the promise was made.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS-THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   STATEMENT OF NET DEBT.
Permalink
LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

I have stated the substance more fully than I intended when I began. I am giving an explanation now almost as full as the one my deputy will be able to give in any memorandum he can make.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS-THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   STATEMENT OF NET DEBT.
Permalink
?

John William Bell

Mr. BELL.

The matter, as it has been treated, would seem to decrease the public debt. As it is to be treated, will it have the effect of increasing the public debt ?

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS-THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   STATEMENT OF NET DEBT.
Permalink
LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

A certain sum, about $3,000,000, was found by the adjustment of accounts, to be payable by the provinces to the Dominion and was placed to the credit of the Dominion. The other item should have appeared on the other side of ,tha accounts, but assuming it was an annuity, it was not treated as a principal sum. It will not materially disturb the figures 1 have given. I am confining my remarks to-day entirely to the operations of this government without reference to that item, which is a book-keeping entry relating to affairs of bygone years. In the statement we submitted we have drawn the line clearly between the reduction of debt brought about by our own operations and that which was assumed to be brought about through the operation of these accounts, so that the public accounts, while not strictly correct, in the matter, are correct in this respect, that we have drawn the line distinctly between the operations of this government and what is the result of a mere bookkeeping entry. Whatever the result may be, it will have to be carried into the public accounts of the present year. The statement I have made deal with the income and expenditure of the government for the whole period of eight years and the result will be as I have said.

It will be interesting to have a statement showing how our interest account stands in view of this change in relation to the public debt. The manner of computing the interest on the public debt is by taking the gross receipts from our sinking fund and other investments. In 1896 the gross interest on our debt amounted to $10,502,429.90. Deducting from this the interest on sinking funds and other investments, amounting to $1,-

370,000.56, left a net amount of interest of $9,134,429.34. Following the figures down we find the following result :

Interest paid on Debt. Interest on Sinking Funds and other Investments Net amount of Interest.1897 10,645,663 27 10,516,757 90 10,855,111 84 10,099,645 20 10,807,954 65 10,975,935 15 11,068,139 17 1,443,003 84 1,513,654 58 1,590,447 91 1,683,050 51 1,784,833 79 1,892,224 09 2,020,953 04 9,202,659 43 9,003,103 32 9,264,663 93 9,016,594 69 9,023,120 86 9,083,711 06 9,047,186 131898

1899 1900 1901

1902 1903

So that our net interest account for the year 1903 was $9,047,186.13 against $9,132,429.34 in 1896. Equally agreeable is a statement of the net debt per head.

Any statement of the general debt fails perhaps to convey a very adequate meaning to the mind unless we see what relation it bears to the ability of the country to pay it. As the country increases in population, we might have a considerable increase in debt without any increase in the burden, because the rate per head would not be advanced. The statement I am about to present differs a little from one of the same character which I presented on a former occasion, because the dates chosen are not the same I thought it well to have a statement showing the population on the same date as the debt is fixed, that is the 30th of June in each case. The census date was April. Take census figures for April and apply them to the debt of June 30 and you will lack some of the accuracy which is desirable. I have therefore had the statement of population made up in the Census Department as on the 30th of June of each year and of course the net debt statement is the 30th of June each year. The result is this, beginning with the year 1891 :

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS-THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   STATEMENT OF NET DEBT.
Permalink

NET DEBT PEE CAPITA.


- Population. Net debt. Per capita. $ s cts.Jline 30, 1891 4,845,323 237,809,030 49 08,, 1892 4,896,739 241,131,431 49 24,, 1893 4.948,701 241,681,039 48 841894 5,001,214 246.183,029 49 221895 5,054,285 253,074,927 50 071896 5,107.918 258,497,432 50 611897 5,162,121 261,538,596 50 661898 5,216,899 263,956,398 50 60ii 1899 5,272,258 266,273,446 50 .)<)1900 5,328,205 265,493,806 49 831901 5,384,745 268,480,003 49 861902 5,441,885 271,829,089 49 951903 5,499.632 264,912,439 48 16it 1904 5,557,991 257,412,439 46 31 We are so near the end of the year 1904, that we can make the estimate closely, and we anticipate that on June 30, 1904, the net debt of Canada will stand at $46.31 as stated in the above table, as against $50.61 on the 30th June, 1896. My hon. friend the Minister of Customs (Mr. Paterson) thinks that I have hardly been liberal enough in estimating the population of Canada to-day ; I have taken the figures as they have been furnished by the Census Department, thinking that was the best way. During the past year we have had some loan operations, the nature of which should be stated to the House although they have been in part already communicated to the House. '


CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

I would like to ask my hon. friend whether in his statement of interest on the public debt he takes into consideration temporary arrangements of overdue loans.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS-THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   NET DEBT PEE CAPITA.
Permalink
LIB

William Stevens Fielding (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. FIELDING.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS-THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   NET DEBT PEE CAPITA.
Permalink

TOTAL TRADE.


1813 $217,801,203 1883 230,339,826 1893 247,638,620 1903 467,064,685


TOTAL IMPORTS.


1873 $128,011,281 1883 132,254,022 1893 129,074,268 1903 241,214,961


TOTAL EXPORTS.


1873 $ 89,789,922 1883 98,085,804 1893 118,564,352 1903 225,849,724


RAILWAY TRAFFIC-TONS CARRIED.


1883 $13,266,255 1893 22,003,599 1903 47,373,417 DEPOSITS IN THE POST OFFICE AND GOVERNMENT SAVINGS BANKS (30th June). 1873 $ 6,121,490 1883 26,219,107 1893 41,849,6561903 60,771,129 30th April, 1904 60,445,322 DEPOSITS BY THE PEOPLE IN CHARTERED BANKS IN CANADA (30th June). 1873 1883 1893 1903 30th April, 1904 ! 57,509,823 98,308,436 170,817,433 378,937,458 405,157,450 DISCOUNTS (30th June). 1873 1883 1893 1903 30th April, 1904


June 7, 1904