January 19, 1911

CON

Frederick Laurence Schaffner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SCHAFFNER.

Did not the government receive a revenue a number of years ago from liquors going into the Yukon?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   YUKON-REPEAL OF BEER IMPORT TAX.
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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

From spirituous liquors. That remains; it has not been interfered with.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   YUKON-REPEAL OF BEER IMPORT TAX.
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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

I had supposed that a Bill -would be founded on this motion, but the minister tells us that is not the case. This, I understand, is to rescind a tax which has been, up to this time, leviable and levied, the proceeds of w'hich have gone into the revenue of the Yukon.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   YUKON-REPEAL OF BEER IMPORT TAX.
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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

No, we passed an ordinance in 1908 to levy such a tax; but, in 1909, at the request of the Yukon Council, we passed an ordinance repealing the ordinance of 1908, thereby repealing the tax. Now, it is the repeal of the tax that' we ask the House to approve of. As soon as the ordinance was passed by the Governor in Council, the tax was thereupon and thereby repealed. It remains repealed if parliament approves of that order; if parliament does not approve of that order, then the order in council of 1908, establishing the tax, would, of course, again become effective.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   YUKON-REPEAL OF BEER IMPORT TAX.
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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

Then, it is a question whether we leave this tax on or not?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   YUKON-REPEAL OF BEER IMPORT TAX.
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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

Yes.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   YUKON-REPEAL OF BEER IMPORT TAX.
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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

That affects their revenue?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   YUKON-REPEAL OF BEER IMPORT TAX.
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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

Yes.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   YUKON-REPEAL OF BEER IMPORT TAX.
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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

To what extent?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   YUKON-REPEAL OF BEER IMPORT TAX.
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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

It would not be possible for me to give a reply to that question' without a reference to the records. And I fear it would not be possible to give an answer without a reference to the records of the Yukon. I am not certain that we have the information he):e that would enable me to give the answer.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   YUKON-REPEAL OF BEER IMPORT TAX.
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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

I think that makes it a rather important matter for us to think about. If there is any shortage in carrying on the affairs of the Yukon-which is a very costly appendage to the Dominion at the present time, under the government of my hon. friends opposite-Canada

as a whole must come to the rescue. Prima facie, articles like this, I think, should bear a tax, and usually do. What in the world is the reason actuating the Yukon Council in taking off the tax? The matter of revenue is so important that I do not think the minister ought to put his resolution through without giving us information as to how this affects the revenue. Does not the minister think that reasonable?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   YUKON-REPEAL OF BEER IMPORT TAX.
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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

I do not agree at all with the view of my hon. friend (Mr. Foster). The Yukon Council is an elective body, not a nominative body, as it was a few years ago. It has pleased the people of the Yukon to elect the council, and the council have come to this conclusion. If it was a body independent of our control, I could appreciate the objection of my hon. friend. But this is now an elective body, and therefore they carry with them the will of the people of the Yukon.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   YUKON-REPEAL OF BEER IMPORT TAX.
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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

I think there is a weak point in the argument of my right hon. friend. If they are elective and therefore their will should be carried out, what business have we with this thing here at all ? But the very legislation under which they are acting is legislation of such a kind that this parliament holds the final -approval of the matter in its own hands, and that is why the minister comes here. If the Prime Minister wants to give full democratic elective legislative power to the Yukon Council, let him get rid of anything which makes it necessary to bring down tp this House the ordinances and laws passed by that democratic body. Evidently the meaning of the law was that there should be a supervision over them, and I think properly, in this sense, that after all, we have to come to the rescue in all financial matters with reference to -the Yukon. It is inconsistent in the Prime Minister to demand this to be carried out. If he stands on the ground of representative power, let him . Mr. FOSTER.

abolish the necessity for revising -their -acts in this parliament. Does not my right hon. friend think that is right ?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   YUKON-REPEAL OF BEER IMPORT TAX.
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LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER.

No, I think my -hon. friend's -memory is short. This law was passed when a council for the Yukon was adopted. That council was not elective but was nominated by this government, and therefore to a certain extent, we were responsible for their actions. Also, if my memory does not fail me, this provision was introduced at the time giving power to this parliament to review the acts of this nominative body, and I think it was at the suggestion of the hon. member for North Toronto himself that it was done. I think, if he will consult ' Hansard ' he will find that it was his own suggestion, and a good one it was, -that when the council was nominated by us, we should keep a hand over it. But since that -time the council has been made elective, and though the council was made elective this provision was not abolished, and still we have to comply with the law, and give the sanction of parliament to this ordinance, blow my view of the matter is thi-s, and I think my hon. friend will agree with me, that unless we are prepared to substitute our own wisdom for the wisdom of the Yukon Council, and to say that we know better what is good for the people of that territory than they know themselves, then we can say that -we have power not to accept this, and to set it aside. But I -think, unless there is a strong reason to the contrary, there is a prima facie case why this ordinance -should be passed.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   YUKON-REPEAL OF BEER IMPORT TAX.
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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

The Prime Minister has stated something which alters the case. But he must not hold me at fault, although he says it was a proper restriction to make when the council was nominated; I think it was. But when i-t was changed from a nominative to an elective body, that changed the basis, and the Prime Minister himself should -have seen that this legislation was taken off, so that we would not lay traps for -the unwary. But it seems to me it would be instructive -to this House and to the people at large, if we could know why it is that an -exception is made in the gay and merry Yukon, by not taxing commodities which in every other part of the Dominion, I think in almost every civilized country, are considered properly -taxable. Surely the minister -has some information with reference to that.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   YUKON-REPEAL OF BEER IMPORT TAX.
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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

I could not say what might have been the inner reason for their so doing. But it was thought wise by this government in ths early history of the Yukon, to make provision not only for the levying of the ordinary license fees upon the retail and wholesale sale of liquors within the Yukon territory-which, of course, is

provided for, and which does exist undjr the authority of the Yukon council-but it was thought proper that in addition a tax of $2 per gallon should be put on spirituous liquors taken into the Yukon territory over and above any customs duty or inland revenue. It was a super tax of $2 per gallon on liquor taken in, which I understand goes to the revenue of the Yukon territory. There was no such tax on bear. As I have said, I cannot give the inner reason why the idea struck the Yukon council in the year 1907, but tha idea apparently did strike them; that the precedent in the case of the stronger intoxicant should be followed at a measurable distance in the case of the weaker intoxicant, and that if $2 a gallon was charged on spirituous liquor, it would be proper to charge fifty cents under like circumstances on malt liquor. They passed a resolution in accordance with that idea, and we acted upon it. After a year's experience I do not know why they saw fit to rescind their former resolution ; but they did, and we followed that by our action.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   YUKON-REPEAL OF BEER IMPORT TAX.
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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

Now, we are getting down to a point where we can appreciate the whole case. As I understand it, this is an import duty-

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   YUKON-REPEAL OF BEER IMPORT TAX.
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LIB

Frank Oliver (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. OLIVER.

Yes.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   YUKON-REPEAL OF BEER IMPORT TAX.
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CON

George Eulas Foster

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. FOSTER.

Which no province of the Dominion has a right to put on, and which the Yukon has exercised, and which we for a time exercised, and the benefit of that went to the Yukon. So it was done by this House for the benefit of the Yukon. The import duty on spirituous liquors is still on, but it is proposed now that the import duty on malt liquors shall be taken off, as I understand it, and as I think the House understood it. It would be a dangerous thing, to give an idea that in the Yukon you had free beer and whisky, and if that impression were to go abroad we might have less members of parliament here than we have now.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   YUKON-REPEAL OF BEER IMPORT TAX.
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CON

Adam Brown Crosby

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CROSBY.

I would like to ask the Minister of the Interior whether that tax of 50 cents a gallon pertains to all beers made in Canada, or only to those imported. I would like to know if there is any way by which we can discover whether thsre is any beer imported into the Yukon outside of Canadian beer.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   YUKON-REPEAL OF BEER IMPORT TAX.
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January 19, 1911