February 23, 1915

PRIVATE BILLS INTRODUCED.


Bill No. 48, to incorporate Austral Insurance Company.-Mr. Bickerdike. Bill No. 49, respecting The Calgary and Fernie Railway Company.-Sir James Aikins. Bill No. 50, respecting The Canadian Western Railway Company.-Sir James Aikins. Bill No. 51, respecting The Kettle Valley Railway Company, and to ratify and confirm an agreement with the Vancouver, Victoria and Eastern Railway and Navigation Company.-Mr. Green. Bill No. 52, respecting The Montreal, Ottawa and Georgian Bay Canal Company. -Mr. G. V. White. Bill No. 53, to incorporate The Marcil Trust Company.-Hon. Chas. Marcil. Bill No. 54, respecting The Toronto Terminals Railway Company.-Mr. Macdonell. Bill No. 55, to incorporate Vancouver Terminal Railway Company.-Mr. Stevens.


INSURANCE ACT AMENDMENT.

RENEWABLE TERM POLICIES.


Mr. E. A. LANCASTER (Lincoln and Niagara) moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 56, to amend the Insurance Act, 1910. He said: The Bill deals simply with that class of life insurance policies known as renewable term policies, under which a man takes out a policy for six months or a year and is called upon to pay an increased premium each time that he renews it. Such policies as at present issued give a schedule of the rates which each man will have to pay, the premiums increasing steadily until he reaches the age of sixty; but the insurance company gives him no assurance as to what will happen when he reaches that age or after he passes it. The man finds that when he is sixty years of age he is at the mercy of the insurance company, and has to pay enormous premiums or lose all the money that he has paid in premiums up to that time. This Bill gives him an option at any time to exchange that policy for what is known as an ordinary life level premium policy by paying to the company the difference in the premiums that he would have paid, with compound interest computed yearly, so as to make the policy equitable to every one. That is the purpose of the amendment. It is not the custom to debate a Bill on its first reading, so I will defer any further remarks until the second reading. Motion agreed to, and Bill read the first time.


SENATE AND HOUSE OF COMMONS ACT AMENDMENT.

MEMBERS ON ACTIVE SERVICE.


Hon. C. J. DOHERTY (Minister of Justice) moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 57, to amend the Senate and House of Commons Act. He said: The purpose and effect of this Bill is to render eligible to and capable of sitting in this House and of sitting in the Senate all officers and men in active service in the military or naval forces, notwithstanding the fact that they receive the pay pertaining to their position as such; and furthermore to provide that in the computation of days of absence on the part of any member of either House, any days during which he may be absent on active service in the military or naval forces shall not be computed. Motion agreed to, and Bill read the first time.


PROPOSED INCREASE IN FREIGHT RATES.


On the Orders of the Day being called:


LIB

John Gillanders Turriff

Liberal

Mr. TURRIFF:

A few days ago I asked the Prime Minister if the Government had taken any steps to appoint counsel to

protect the rights of the people in connection with the coming meeting of the Railway Commission to consider a proposed general increase in freight rates. Is the right hon. gentleman now in a position to answer my question?

Topic:   PROPOSED INCREASE IN FREIGHT RATES.
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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

It is the intention of the Government to appoint counsel.

Topic:   PROPOSED INCREASE IN FREIGHT RATES.
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FEDERAL LABOUR BUREAU.


On the Orders of the Day being called:


LIB

William Melville Martin

Liberal

Mr. W. M. MARTIN:

Is it the intention of the Government to introduce this session any legislation looking to the creation of a federal labour bureau?

Topic:   FEDERAL LABOUR BUREAU.
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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

The Minister

of Labour has had the subject under consideration. 1 cannot give my hon. friend a definite answer to-day, hut if he will repeat his inquiry later, we will he prepared to make an announcement.

Topic:   FEDERAL LABOUR BUREAU.
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THE BUDGET.

PROPOSED WAR TAXATION.


Consideration of the proposed motion of Hon. W. T. White (Minister of Finance) for Committee of Ways and Means, resumed from February 11.


LIB

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Liberal

Mr. A. K. MACLEAN (Halifax):

In resuming the debate on the motion that the House resolve itself into Committee of Ways and Means, let me point out that a review of the Budget speech or financial statement of the Minister of Finance naturally involves three main considerations: the war supply; the ordinary or civil supply; and the ways and means proposed to supplement the existing sources of revenue.

A few words indeed will suffice to express my views regarding the war supply, which has been outlined in the Budget speech of the Finance Minister, and by resolution. In August last, the war supply Bill amounting to $50,000,000, was submitted to Parliament by the Government, and was speedily and unanimously voted. In the same prompt, generous and patriotic spirit will the representatives of the people vote the proposed war supply of $100,000,000. Engaged in one of the most momentous as well as one of the most tragic of wars known to human history, we are fortified by the strong belief that it is a war not for domination but for the preservation of our national and individual liberty; a war for the extermination of military

autocracy and the perpetuation of democratic institutions and rule by the people; a war to enforce the submission of nations to their treaty obligations and to the well established principles of international law; a war to redress the wrongs committed against an outraged people and to restore to a kingdom its sovereignty and its soil. In these circumstances, enjoying an unshaken belief in the justice of our cause, let me say, Mr. Speaker, that His Majesty's loyal Opposition will with promptitude and unanimity facilitate the passage of the War Supply Bill of $100,000,000, and we shall ever stand ready to supplement the same in order to continue the struggle to a successful issue and until peace under proper terms may be safely assured.

In doing this, however, we impose one condition upon and exact one promise from the Government: a strict accountability for the destination of the moneys so voted and a faithful realization on its part of the great trust resting upon it. The people of Canada expect from the Government unceasing vigilance against departmental follies and laxities, and dishonest contractors and patronage brokers. Nothing should more instantly provoke the overwhelming indignation of Canada than the thought that money voted for war purposes was diverted from its true destination by the profane hands of dishonest contractors and vendors, patronage brokers and party camp followers, and more so if it occurs owing to the lack of vigilance or duty on the part of the national trustees, the Government. I realize it to be too true that in Canada the public sense respecting Government expenditures is not so delicately and correctly adjusted as it should be, and it frequently appears but like the voice of one crying in the wilderness to protest; yet I feel it to be our duty to fortify as much as we can by protest the weak places in public expenditure. Having said this, I shall no longer direct your attention to that feature of the Budget programme.

Upon the balance of the Budget programme I find myself in'unqualified conflict with the Government. Our national expenditure, revenue and taxation is a domestic affair, always demanding the most careful and mature consideration, not less in war than in peace, but rather more. National and individual interests to-day call louder than ever in our history for a frank, critical consideration of what might be termed this year, the civil Budget. We are on the threshold of a new era in Canada. New economic issues of tremendous

importance are on the horizon. Old issues are likely to pass away, other problems are before us. We must abandon many of our national practices. National finance, as Gladstone once remarked, is more concerned with expenditure than with revenue. There never was a time in our history when a critical examination of our finance was so necessary as to-day, because we have had from the Minister of Finance the most disastrous financial statement ever delivered by a Finance Minister. Therefore, while intending to do no violence to a reasonable construction of the public sense of a party truce, I propose at some .little length dealing with the matter of expenditure.

Therefore I approach consideration of the matter of our ordinary revenue and expenditure. It being some days since the Minister of Finance delivered his Budget, I wish to refresh the memories of honourable gentlemen by repeating the summary of the financial statement made by him in respect to the fiscal years 1915 and 1916. The financial operations for the year ending March 31 next are estimated about as follows:

Revenue, (estimated). $130,000,000

Expenditure ordinary. $140,000,000

Capital and special.. 50,000,000 190,000,000

, Deficit for 1914-15 $ 60,000,000

The result of our financial operations for the year ending March 31 next will therefore show an excess of ordinary and capital and special expenditure over revenue, to the extent of $60,000,000, which will accordingly increase our debt to that extent, being the greatest in any year since Confederation. To this, of course, must be added the war expenditure for 1914-15 which the minister estimates will reach the amount authorized, $50,000,000. Including this amount the addition to the public debt will exceed $110,000,000. I do not wish to emphasize the war expenditure at the moment-in fact I mean to exclude it altogether from my remarks and calculations-but rather the fact that our ordinary and capital expenditures for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1915, will exceed the revenue by about sixty million dollars, increasing the net public debt by that amount.

l,et me summarily state the conclusions reached by the Minister of Finance respecting the next fiscal year. The estimated revenue and expenditures for 1915-16, calculating revenue on the basis of taxation in force prior to the presentation of the Budget speech a few days ago, is as follows:

Revenue (on previous tariff duties) $120,000,000 Ordinary expenditure. $140,000,000 Capital and special

expenditure 40,000,000

Investments, Treasury bills and bank indebtedness 24,000,000

War expenditure 100,000,000

304,000,000

Excess of expenditure $184,000,000

Eliminating again entirely the war expenditure, it will be seen that calculating

revenue upon the basis of the old tariff taxation, we were face to face with an estimated deficit of eighty-four million dollars, for the next fiscal year. Taking, therefore, the present and the next fiscal years together, we find that our total expenditures, exclusive of war expenditure, will probably exceed revenue, calculated on the former customs and excise rates, by over $144,000,000.

The Minister of Finance proposes meeting this situation partially by special and tariff taxation, and to the extent he recovers revenue from such sources the deficits I 'have stated will be reduced.

These figures, which disregard altogether war expenditures, disclose a condition in our finances which is indeed serious and calls for our careful consideration. Might this situation have been avoided by a sound businesslike administration of the public services? Is the Government wholly or partially responsible for this condition in our finances? Were the supplemental taxation measures introduced by the Minister of Finance avoidable under careful administration of public affairs? Were the causes producing the condition avoidable? These are questions which are agitating the people of Canada to-day. These are questions which we, as the parliamentary representatives of the people, must seriously consider and examine. While not a popular subject for exposition, I must discuss with some particularity the matters involved in these questions. I think I shall be able to show that our present financial condition was almost entirely avoidable, that it is due to an utter disregard of public interests and the lack of sound administration of the public services. I think I shall be able to

show that the Government deliberately and in the face of warning, brought about our present financial condition, that they never did and are not today making an effort to maintain the equilibrium between revenue and expenditure, and place public expenditure upon a sound basis. They are almost entirely responsible for o.ur present financial position. It was once remarked of the financial record of one

of the governments of Great Britain in office a few years ago that,- " they were the heirs of a highly solvent estate; they have reduced it to a declaration of partial insolvency." Might not the same observation be made to-day respecting this Government?

On this side of the House we long ago prophesied the present condition of our finances. From the first day hon. gentlemen opposite assumed the treasury benches they gave great promise of prodigality in expenditure and regarded it even as a virtue. Extravagance has characterized their expenditures ever since. The country was promised and expected something quite different. The present Government party, when in Opposition, promised, if elected to power, a reduction in public expenditure. The late Government's ordinary expenditure was characterized as extravagant and wasteful. When in 1910 ordinary expenditure was about eighty million dollars, the present Prime Minister was so seriously alarmed and impressed with its magnitude that he declared it to be prima facie evidence of corrupt expenditure. They promised time and again by their leaders that if honoured with the confidence of the electorate, they would carry on the public services for a much less sum. And they professed much regard for the sanctity of public pledges given by political leaders. In their election handbook of 1911, I find this:

If there is one thing more clear than another in the government of a democratic country it is that political leaders should be held to a strict account for their pledges, and platforms. These form the basis of the contract between them and the electorate. These undertakings are solemnly given. They are not actionable in Courts of Law ,and therefore all the moreshould they be held cognizable in the great

moot courts of the people, and their terms rigidly exacted.

Let us see if they have observedfaithfully their pledges. Under this code of political ethics are they guilty or not guilty? What are the facts regarding their ordinary or consolidated fund expenditures? Here are a few figures showing ordinary expenditures since 1910:1910

$ 79,411,749 121911

87,774,198 321912

98,161,440 771913

112,059,537 411914 127,384,472 991915

140,000,000 001916

140,000,000 00

Does this show a fulfilment of their public pledges? Do these figures indicate restraint or prodigality in expenditure? If an ordinary expenditure of $79,000,000 in

1910 was prima facie evidence of corrupt expenditure, are not honourable gentlemen constrained to admit that an expenditure of $140,000,000 in 1915 is a plea of actual guilt? The expenditure of $140,000,000 in 1915 is almost double that of 1910, and I have no doubt that were it not for the little restraint that actual conditions have enforced upon them, the ordinary expenditure of 1915 would be more than double that of 1910. Such, doubtless, was their intention, for the amount voted for ordinary expenditure in 1915 was over $156,000,000. When the late Government came into power in 1896, ordinary expenditure was $36,949,000, and in 1910, fourteen years after, it was but $79,411,000; a little more than double the amount, and that was in a period of prosperity and development and rising revenues. The present Government have almost managed to double in less than four years, the expenditure of 1910, which they charged was prima facie evidence of corruption. Let me put this question to honourable gentlemen'. Has any substantial change occurred in Canada since 1910 in respect to our material condition, our needs and necessities, to drive ordinary expenditure from $79,000,000 in 1910 to $140,000,000 in 1915? Let hon. gentlemen answer.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   PROPOSED WAR TAXATION.
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February 23, 1915