The hon. member for Pictou (Mr. Macdonald) yesterday asked for information in reference to money orders and parcels for Canadian prisoners of war. First, in regard to money orders, the answer is:
About the beginning of the year 1916, arrangements were made by the Chief Paymaster, London, England, through the Red Cross and Post Office, to forward small
amounts of pay to prisoners of war in Germany. The requests come from the men themselves by post card, and up to January, 1917, the remittances were made by post office order. This practice was discontinued at our request because no receipts or absolute guarantee that the money reached the men were obtained. Since January, 1917, the American Express made payments in cash to the men themselves and obtained individual receipts, at first through their own agents in Germany, and, since United States declared war, through Dutch agents of the American Express Company in Germany. Small sums are sent, not exceeding three pounds, which are charged to the men's accounts in London. I may add that the pay of prisoners of war is credited to the men's accounts, and accumulates, less these small remittances.
to parcels for Canadian prisoners of war, the answer is rather a long one, and therefore I will lay on the table of the House the particulars in reference to this matter. These particulars are set forth in the regulations which were in effect prior to the 1st of February, 1917, and the regulations which have been in effect since that time.
I would ask my hon. friend the Minister of Militia if he would be good enough to assent to the proposition that the answer in regard to parcels be published in Hansard. The question is an important one, and that would be the most convenient way by which the matter could be made public for the information of the House and the country generally.
I have before me the statement submitted by the hon. the Minister of Militia. While, it is somewhat out of the usual order, yet, owing to.the importance of this document and the desirability of this information being published as widely as possible, with the unanimous consent of the House, I can see no objection to this document being considered as read for the purpose of being printed in Hansard.
The regulations are:
Post Office Department,
Regulations in Force Prior to 1st February, 1917.
Re Correspondence for Prisoners of war in Germany.
1. Letters (letters should be left open) postcards and postal parcels should be addressed as follows:-
1. Rank, initials, name.
2. Regiment, or other unit.
3. British (or Canadian, French, Belgian
or Russian) prisoner of war.
4. Place of internment.
Place of internment should be stated always if possible, and parcels cannot be accepted unless place of internment is stated. All addresses must be in ink.
2. Communications should be limited to private and family news and to necessary business communications, and should not be sent too frequently. -
No references to the Naval, Military or Political situation or to naval or military movements and organizations are allowed. Letters or postcards containing such references will not be delivered.
3. Friends of prisoners of war are advised to send postcards in preference to letters as postcards are less likely to be delayed. If letters are sent, they should not exceed in length two sides of a sheet of note paper and should contain1 nothing but the sheet of note paper. On no account should the writing be crossed.
4. Letters cannot for the present be accepted for registration.
5. Postage need not be paid either on letters or parcels addressed to prisoners of war.
6. No letters should be enclosed in parcels, and newspapers must not on any account be sent. So far as is known there is no restriction on the contents of parcels; tobacco may be sent and will be admitted duty free but foodstuffs of a perishable character should not be sent. Parcels should not exceed 11 pounds in weight.
7. Remittances can be made by money order to prisoners of war. Instructions as to how to proceed can be obtained from Postmasters of Accounting Fost Offices. The transmission of coin, either in letters' or parcels, is expressly prohibited. Postal notes and Bank notes should not be sent.
8. It must be understood that no guarantee of the delivery of either parcels or letters can be given and that the Post Office accepts no responsibility. In any case, considerable delay may take place and failure to receive an acknowledgment should not necessarily be taken as an indication that letters and parcels sent have not been delivered.
9. So far as is known, prisoners of war in Germany are allowed to write letters or postcards from time to time; but they may not always have facilities for doing so and the fact that no communication is received from them need not give rise to anxiety.
Regulations at present in force. Circular to Postmasters.
Post Office Department, Ottawa, Canada, 29th January, 1917.
Effective on and from 1st February, 1917. Communication with prisoners of war interned abroad.
1. Letters, postcards, parcels (up to 11 lb. but not to contain foodstuffs or articles of clothing as set forth in the following regulations), and Money Orders may be sent free of all postal charges to prisoners of war (of whatever nationality) interned abroad and to British civilians interned in Austria-Hungary, Germany, Turkey and Bulgaria. In the following paragraphs the term "Prisoners of war" includes all interned persons, military or civilian.
2. Letter Post:-
(a) Method of address-The address of letters whether for officers, non-commissioned officers, privates or civilians, must be on the following form and must be written distinctly in ink. As regards the address of parcels, see paragraph 3 (a).
The place of internment, if known, should always be stated. Correspondence for prisoners of war employed in working camps in Germany should be addressed preferably to the "parent" camps to which they belong, and not to the working camps.
(b) Only letters and postcards may be sent by Letter Post. Letters must be left open. Anything else must be sent by Parcel Post (see below). Communications intended for Prisoners of War must be addressed direct to the persons who are to receive them. Communications apparently intended for a person other than the addressee will not be forwarded. Communication through Prisoners of War with persons residing in territory occupied by the enemy is not permitted.
(c) Letters to Prisoners of War in Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, Germany or Turkey should not exceed two sides of a sheet of notepaper and should be clearly written; otherwise they are liable to delay, and may even not be delivered by the authorities in the country to which they are addressed. They must not contain any kind of printed matter, pictorial illustrations or photographs, except unmounted photographs of persons (see also paragraphs 2 (e) and 8).
(d) Letters to Prisoners of War in neutral countries should also be short and clearly written in order to avoid delay. Letters containing newspaper cuttings or unmounted photographs of persons will not, however, be stopped, but will be liable to considerable delay (see also paragraphs 2 (e) and 8).
(e) Letters to Prisoners of War in any foreign country must not contain any information which might be of use to the enemy. No reference to the naval, military or political situation or to naval or military movements or organizations, is allowed. Letters containing such references will not be delivered. Illustrations of warships, camps, docks, or conspicuous landmarks or bird's-eye views must not be sent. Any enclosures whatever in a letter may entail delay.
(f) All letters must contain the name and address of the sender.
3. Parcels for British (including Canadian) and Allied Military or Naval Prisoners (other than officers), or Civilians.
(a) Method of address.-Parcels for a Canadian Prisoner of War belonging to the Canadian Contingent must be addressed in care of the Prisoners of War Department, Canadian Red Cross Society, London, England. Unless they are so addressed they cannot be accepted. The address should be in the following form:- No. 12345, Private A. G. Robinson, 48th Highlanders, Canadian Contingent, B.E.F.,
Canadian Prisoner of War, Gottingen, Germany, c/o Prisoners of War Department, Canadian
Red Cross Society, London, England.
Parcels for Canadian Prisoners of War belonging to the Imperial Forces, for Canadian civilian Prisoners of War, and for Allied Prisoners of War, must be fully addressed to the place of destination, care of Central Prisoners of War Committee, 4 Thurloe Place, London, S.W.
(b) Packing.-^-Parcels should be packed in the same manner as parcels for delivery in the United Kingdom. Despatch Notes and Customs' Declarations are not required. The parcels will be repacked before being despatched from the United Kingdom.
(c) Prohibitions.-The following articles, in addition to those mentioned in paragraph 5 (d), must not be included:-
(i) Tins or other receptacles which cannot conveniently be opened for inspection.
(ii) Foodstuffs of all kinds.
(iii) (To enemy countries only).-Regulation uniforms, and all articles of clothing, and boots for naval and military prisoners other than officers.
(d) Persons desiring to have food or articles
of clothing sent to a Canadian Prisoner of War belonging to the Canadian Contingent should send money for the purpose to Prisoners of War Department, Canadian Red Cross Society. Articles other than food or clothing for such prisoners may also be purchased through the Prisoners of War Department, Canadian Red Cross Society, London, England, or may be sent to the Prisoners of War Department,Canadian Red Cross Society, London, England, to be forwarded if not prohibited. A letter (closed) containing a remittance and asking the Prisoners of War Department, Canadian Red Cross Society, London, England, to send food or other articles to such a Prisoner of War should be addressed to the Prisoner of War, care of the Prisoners of War Department,
Canadian Red Cross Society, London, England, in the form indicated in paragraph 3 (a), and
if so addresed, may be sent free of charge in respect of postage or (where necessary) of registration.
The remittance should be in the form of a Post Office Money Order drawn in favour of the Prisoners of War Department, Canadian Red Cross Society, London, England, for the Prisoner of War in question.
The letter will be opened by the Prisoners of War Department, Canadian Red Cross Society, London, England, and the parcel will be sent in accordance with the request contained in the letter. The name of any adopter or relative at whose expense a parcel is sent will be communicated to the Prisoner of War.
(Letters addressed to the Canadian Red Cross Society, London, England, as distinct from those addressed to Prisoners, care of the Prisoners of War Department, Canadian Red Cross Society, London, England, must be prepaid).
In the case of Canadian Prisoners of War belonging to the Imperial Forces or of Canadian civilian Prisoners of War or of Allied Prisoners of War, the terms of this regulation apply, and the same procedure should be followed, with the exception that in all such cases letters should be addressed care of, and Money Orders drawn in favour of the Central Prisoners of War Committee, 4 Thurloe Place, London, S.W., England, who are acting for this class of prisoners.
4. Parcels for Officers :-
(a) Method of address. Parcels should be addressed in the manner stated in paragraph 2
(a) as applicable to letters. Parcels will not be accepted for transmission unless the address includes the name of the place of internment. The address must be clearly written in ink in at least two places on the outer cover of each parcel.
(b) Packing.-Parcels for Officer Prisoners of War must be very strongly packed. Ordinary thin cardboard boxes such as shoeboxes, and thin wooden boxes should not be used; nor does a single sheet of ordinary brown paper afford sufficient protection. Parcels which are found to be inadequately protected will not be forwarded. Even where proper materials are used, it is important that the contents should be tightly packed so as not to shake about during transit. All parcels should be packed in such a way as not to impede examination by the censors.
(c) The following forms of packing are recommended :-
(i) Strong double cardboard or strawboard boxes. Those made of corrugated cardboard and having lids which completely enclose the sides of the box are most suitable.
(ii) Strong wooden boxes.
(iii) Tin boxes such as are used for packing biscuits.
(iv) Several folds of stout packing paper.
Parcels for Prisoners of War in Bulgaria and
Turkey must be packed in wood, tin or hemp canvas ; no other kind of textile material may be used. Parcels packed merely in paper or cardboard cannot be accepted.
Parcels for Prisoners of War in Germany or Austria-Hungary must not be packed in any kind of textile material.
Butter, etc., should be wrapped in several folds of grease-proof paper and enclosed in a tin which should have a tightly fitting lid but not be sealed against inspection ; the tin should be enclosed with any other articles for transmission in an outer box.
(d) Customs Declarations, which must be prepared in ink in duplicate, are only required for parcels addressed to Holland.
Despatch Notes are only required for parcels sent to Turkey and Bulgaria.
(e) In addition to the articles mentioned in
paragraph 5 (d), perishable foodstuffs must
not be included in a parcel for an officer.
5. Parcel Post-General.-The following regulations are applicable to all parcels for Prisoners of War, whether officers, naval or military prisoners other than officers, or civilians.
(a) The name of the sender must be clearly shown on the covers of all parcels for Prisoners of War. A list of the contents must be given on the cover of the parcel.
(b) The address of the sender must also be clearly shown.
(c) No Customs Duty is payable. Information as to any special restrictions that may be imposed from time to time at particular camps, may be obtained from the Central Prisoners of War Committee, 4 Thurloe Place, London, S.W., England.
(d) The following articles must not be included in a parcel:-
(i) Written communications (letters must be sent separately by letter post).
(ii) Printed matter.
(iii) Pictorial illustrations and photographs.
(v) Stationery, stamps, playing cards and similar articles affording facilities for secret communications.
(vi) Textiles, wool, cotton, leather or rubber. (Articles of clothing may, however, be sent to Officer Prisoners of War).
(vii) Tennis-balls, footballs, and golf-balls.
(viii) Spirits or solidified spirits for cooking stoves, matches or other inflamable material.
(ix) (To enemy countries only.) Photographic apparatus, field glasses, sextants, compasses and other instruments of use for Military or Naval purposes.
(e) Any parcel found to contravene these rules will be returned to the sender or sent to the Dead Letter Office for disposal if the name and1 address of the send'er are not known.
6. Printed matter from the United Kingdom (i.e., newspapers, books, magazines, etc.) may not be sent to Prisoners of War in neutral or enemy countries except by the holders of special permits from the War Office (publishers or newsagents in the United Kingdom) to whom therefore orders for the dispatch of papers, books, magazines should be given by members of the public desiring to have such articles forwarded. Addresses of firms holding permits for this purpose may be obtained from the Chief Postal Censor, Strand House, Portugal St., London, W.C.
Educational books (not fiction, magazines or current war literature) may also be sent from the United Kingdom to British (including Canadian) Prisoners of War through the medium of the British Prisoners of War Book Concern (Educational). Information respecting that scheme may be obtained on application to A. T. Davies, Esq., Board of Education, Whitehall, London, S.W.
7. No printed matter to be sent from Canada. No newspapers, books, magazines, or printed matter of any kind, are to be sent from Canada to Prisoners of War interned in neutral or enemy countries.
8. Registration.-Letters addressed to Prisoners of War in Holland only may be registered.
No charge is made for registration ; but the fact of registration does not necessarily give any claim to compensation for loss.
9. Remittance of Money.-(a) Remittance may be sent direct to Prisoners of War and should be made by means of Post Office Money Orders, which are issued free of commission. Instructions as to how to proceed can be obtained from Postmasters of Accounting Offices. The transmission of coin, either in letters or in parcels, is prohibited.
(b) Postal notes, bank notes and cheques may not be sent to Prisoners of War in enemy countries.
(c) Bank notes and cheques may be sent to Prisoners of War in neutral countries.
10. No guarantee of delivery of either parcels or letters can be given. Considerable delay may take place, and failure to receive an acknowledgment need not be taken to mean that letters and parcels sent have not been delivered.
11. Prisoners of War abroad are allowed to write letters or postcards from time to time; but they may not always have facilities for doing so; and the fact that no communication is received from them need not give rise to anxiety.
12. Central Prisoners of War Committee.- Persons seeking information and advice in regard to British (including Canadian) Prisoners of War are invited to apply to the Central Prisoners of War Committee, 4 Thurloe Place, London, S.W., England.
13. It is to be noted that the above regulations governing communication with Prisoners of War contain numerous and important changes, superseding previous regulations on and from 1st February, 1917.
Mr. Speaker, I wish to call the attention of the hon. the Minister of Militia (Sir Edward Kemp) to the case of Lance Corporal Read, who is now at the front and who is a member of the 13th Battalion. Corporal Read wrote me a letter, dated the 7th April, in which he calls attention to something which I believe is important not only to himself but to others in a like situation. He was married on the 8th October, 1916, with the permission of his commanding officer, after having fulfilled all the formalities required of a soldier. He finds now that a separation allowance is refused his wife, the conditions having been changed. He sets forth all the facts in a communication to the chief paymaster of the regiment, and he asks me to call the attention of the minister to the case. I do so now because Corporal Read was formerly a resident of Notre Dame de Grace, Montreal. Two certificates accompanied the letter. His wife has been left without support of any kind. I hope the minister will give the matter his attention.
Would the hon. the Minister of Militia be good enough to give the House a statement, similar to that which he has just given in reference to the treatment of prisoners of war, in regard to the position of the canteen system in the various camps in England which are under the control of the Canadian authorities, as to whether there are wet canteens still in existence, as to who the contractors are who have to do with their maintenance and carrying on, and what is the policy of the Government and the department overseas in regard to the matter?
Honourable Sir THOMAS WHITE (Minister of Finance) moved:
That the Speaker do now leave the Chair for the House to go into Committee of Ways and Means.
He said: Mr. Speaker, I avail myself of the opportunity afforded by this motion to make the annual budget statement.
The features of the public finances in which I conceive the House to be chiefly interested at the present time are the relationship between national income and national expenditure and the increase in the national debt. For the first year of the war the revenue from all sources was about one hundred and thirty million dollars. It rose during the second year to $170,000,000. For the year ended March 31 last, I am happy to say, our income will reach two hundred and thirty-two millions, or one hundred million in advance of the fiscal year 1915. In round figures, $134,000,000 of the aggregate was derived from customs, $24,000,000 from excise, and $12,500,000 from the business profits war tax. From this last named tax, which was introduced by the Budget of last year, we estimated that we should receive twenty-five million dollars during the three years of its currency. Our experience has proved that this estimate will be largely exceeded. This tax was retroactive, being levied in Tespect of business accounting periods ending subsequently to December 31, 1914. The profits of the first accounting period of businesses subject to the tax were much affected by the severe depression and dislocation of business in-
cidental to the first months of the war. Nevertheless, from this first period the sum of $12,500,000 has already been collected, and when the full levy is made we expect [DOT]to have collected in respect of this period as much as $15,000,000. For the second accounting period the taxes for which are payable during this year we estimate that the amount collected will be much larger- in fact, as high as $20,000,000, or more. The increase will, of course, be due to the business prosperity which has prevailed in Canada during the past year and the profits made in supplying munitions of war. On the whole, notwithstanding the difficulty of organizing on short notice the official machinery necessary to cover so large a country as Canada the tax has worked out much more satisfactorily than we expected, and the total results will be much greater than the estimate.
I have said that the total income of the past fiscal year was $232,000,000. Leaving aside for the moment our direct war expenditure, our outlay for the past year was upon ordinary account $145,000,000 and $27,000,000 upon capital and subsidy account, or a total of $172,000,000. It Is to be borne in mind that of our ordinary expenditure $25,000,000 represents increased interest and pension charges due to the war. Taking our total revenue at $232,000,000 and our total current and capital expenditure at $172,000,000, we find that during the past fiscal year we were able to pay from our income all current and capital expenditure, all charges of interest upon our increased national debt, all pension outlays, and in addition devote the sum of $60,000,000 to payment of the principal of our war expenditure. For a country such as Canada, of sparse population and without the conditions of long-established and concentrated wealth prevailing in older and more settled communities, the result must be regarded as extremely sa'tisfacto' /.
Coming next to the .question of our direct war expenditure, we find that with our increasing military effort it also' is continually increasing. Since the beginnng of hostilities our total war outlay, including estimated and unadjusted liability to Great Britain for the maintenance of our troops at the front and inclusive of withheld pay, totals, so far as we can calculate, about $600,000,000. As the result of this large war expenditure, the net national debt of Canada, which was $336,000,000 before the outbreak of war, has risen to over $900,000,000, although this will not 'be shown by our official statements for some months to come.
By the end of the present fiscal yeax it may reach 51,200,000,000.
From the beginning it has been clear that it would not be possible for the people of Canada to pay, during the war, more than a part of the principal of our war expenditure. The policy of the Government has therefore been directed along two main lines: first, to fund the war indebtedness so as to postpone its maturities to periods well beyond the end of the war, and secondly, by increased taxation on the one hand and the recuiction of current expenditure on works on the other to be in a position to meet from annual income all annual outlays including increased interest and pension charges and in addition a substantial amount of the war expenditure itself.
In order to carry out this programme it will be necessary, as our war expenditure, and consequently our interest and pension charges increase, to increase also' our income. This raises the question of the sources of revenue still open to us. A higher customs taxation upon luxuries has been frequently suggested, but this proposal overlooks the fact that most articles of this character are embraced under fixed rates in the treaty with France, and the tariff cannot therefore be raised in respect of these. Apart from this we should hesitate at a time when France needs the advantage of all her sales on this -side of the a*i - *-[DOT]- i 11ci cxcnange, to place a
prohibition or increased duty against importations from our great Ally.
Then it has 'been frequently suggested that following the example of Great Britain and thte United States, we should adopt an income tax upon all incomes beyond say 51,000 or 52,000. The comparison in this regard, however, of Canada with either of these countries is fallacious. We are not a country of large accumulated wealth find of incomes derived from investments. Canadian incomes are derived mostly from personal earnings, and while there are many exceptions, the rule prevails generally throughout, the Dominion. So far as I am aware the incomes of the professional and salaried classes throughout Canada have not materially increased since the outbreak of the war. In the case of many they havie actually declined. This being so, it does not seem equitable to impose upon these the burden of an additional income tax-for they are taxed now upon their incomes by municipalities land (provinces-at a time when owing to the war the cost of living has so greatly increased. If such a tax is
to be imposed, it seems to me that so far as the great majority of Canadians are concerned, it might better be levied in time of peace, when the cost of living is again normal. It is further to be pointed out that the maximum amount which would be obtained from such a tax in Canada would in terms of Dominion finance be comparatively small and that its administration would require almost a second Civil Service sufficient in number to cover every municipality, rural and urban, throughout the Dominion. The cost of levy and collection of such a tax would be much higher proportionately than in a geographically small, wealthy, densely populated country like Great Britain or than in the United States, which although of the same area as Canada has twelve times the population and much more than twelve times our wealth. On the whole it would appear to me that the income tax Should not be resorted to by the Dominion Government until its necessity becomes clea/rly and unmistakably apparent notwithstanding the drawbacks which I have mentioned. In connection with this tax it is also to be observed that the larger incomes in so far as they are not personally earned are derived in part from holdings in joint stock companies already subject to taxation under the provisions of the Business Profits Wa- tw ~ alau oe remembered that the Canadian public are voluntarily supporting the Canadian Patriotic, Red Cross, and other funds. The amount contributed annually to these funds is much in excess of the amount likely to he realized from any income tax. It is true that some wealthy men do not contribute their fair share to these funds. But this would also be true in any scheme of income taxation especially with issues of Dominion bonds exempt from Dominion taxation.
The question of further revenue then narrows down to abnormal profits made by business firms during the period of the war and this in my view is the proper and legitimate source to which to look for increased revenue to meet the increased cost of the war. If a business is making, in war time, profits above the normal, they
must be due to the abnormal conditions created by the war, thajt is to say such a business is deriving advantage from the war. It follows that it may properly be required to contribute a share of such profits to the Government for the purposes of the war. I do not see, -Mr. Speaker, that
Topic: THE BUDGET.
Subtopic: ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
3. That the tax shall be paid each year within one month from the date of the mailing of the notice of assessment;
4. That with 'respect to every business, liable to taxation hereunder the period for which the returns shall be made and during which it shall be liable for assessment shall be at least thirty-six months, commencing with the beginning of the first accounting period ending after the thirty-first day of December, 1914, or for such less period as the business may have been carried on from the beginning of the said accounting period to the end of the period for which the said tax may be levied under the said Act.
Topic: THE BUDGET.
Subtopic: ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
paid considerably less than $60,000,000 on account of opr war expenditures - from the beginning up to the present time. Now, it is a fair question to put to this House and to the country: With our expenditures on war account, great as they are, and with this country so prosperous, whether it is satisfactory that we should have contributed out of our revenue toward that expenditure only $60,000,000 or less? Are we now doing our full duty, or are we leaving too much to the future to pay? I believe that we are borrowing too -much and paying too little.
There are facts which should be carefully considered in this connection. Aifter the war, we shall have a national debt of from $1,300,000,000 to $1,500,000,000, with charges for interest and pensions approximating, as I have already pointed out, $100,000,000 a year, which must be paid and for which the people must be taxed. We shall have a simalfex -supply of capital, interest rates will be higher, -and tihe productive capacity of the country will be less. The transition from a state of peace to -a state of war was made easier in our case by the absorption qf men into the army, but the transition in the reverse direction will be complicated, not only by the discharge of munition workers from their employment, but in addition there will be the demobilization of the army. These are important facts and should be considered in discussing the question whether we should or should not now tax ourselves more in order to pay a greater portion of our war obligations than we are paying. We must further remember that the immense expenditure for war which is being added to our debt is unproductive. It leaves us richer in ideals and in history, it is true, but in a monetary sense the expenditure is unproductive. If the *amount which we -are obliged to borrow for war purposes were expended in the construction of railways, the development of agriculture, and the establishment of industrial enterprises, it would add to the productive power of industry and trade thus making it relatively easier to meet interest and sinking fund charges upon the debt. With these things in mind, i-s the Government policy with respect to taxation for war expenditure the correct one? Is it one which is approved by the best judgment of our people? Are we not handing down to posterity the obligation to pay too largely for our patriotic performances?
Taking the position, as I do, that we are not presently contributing sufficiently to
[Mr. A. K. Maclean 1
war expenditures, I realize that hon. gentlemen opposite will naturally inquire what *suggestion hon. members on this side would make, what policy they would propound. In the first place I assert, and this ,is but a repetition of what we on this side have said on every budget deliverance of the Minister of Finance since the beginning of tile war, there should he further retrenchment in civil expenditure so as to leave a greater amount to apply to war expenditures, thus minimizing the additions to our delbt. We have presented this view in the past, generally and in detail, and there *is no necessity fox me to repeat at length these arguments, nor do I intend to do so. Some little improvement has been made, and I think hon. gentlemen on this side of the Hou-se have reason tp feel gratified that their criticisms in this respect in the past, have borne some fruit at least.
Our consolidated fund account expenditure for the last year amounted to $122,392,000. Our interest charges and pensions, due to the war and payable in the last fiscal year, amounted to $14,500,000; at least that is what 1 make it from an official statement furnished me, although I understood the Minister of Finance to say this afternoon that it amounted to $25,000,000. But, I think $14,500,000 represents the actual additional amounts chargeable to war and paid on interest and pension account for 'the year ended March 31 last. If you deduct this $14,500,000 from the $122,392,000, the total amount of the consolidated fund expenditure last year, you have a net consolidated fund account expenditure of $107,482,000, not a cent of whicli is attributable to war. The question naturally arises, and I put it to the House, if that is a fair amount for this country to expend in war days, a sum which is above the amount expended for similar purposes in days of peace, and when the country was growing and developing in population and in wealth, and when every branch of the public service was adequately fed. In 1910 our expenditures on consolidated fund account amounted to $79,411,000; in 1911 to $87,774,000 and in 1912, to $98,161,000. These were prosperous days in Canada; they were days of peace. Am I making an extravagant statement when I say that in the year ended March 31 last, having in view the circumstances and conditions prevailing, $107,-
482,000 was an expenditure for ordinary purposes which w7as unnecessarily excessive. If that had been reduced to the amount of the expenditure in 1910, our sur-
plus for this year, instead of being $60,000,000, would have been over $80,000,000, and that we would have reduced the national debt to that further extent.
On previous occasions I have discussed with some particularity the financial operations of some of the departments of Government. I find that still there is very little reduction, if any, in many departmental expenditures, and it is very difficult for me to understand why this should be so, because in several of these departments at least there is not the peace time activity, and there is not accordingly the necessity for the same volume of expenditure as in days of peace. I find that our Immigration expenditures for 1911 and 1917 are practically the same, the difference being only $68. In 1911 I suppose our immigrants numbered
300,000 or more-I am speaking from memory only-last year our immigration did not much exceed 50,000. The quarantine branch expenditures are practically the same as in peace days notwithstanding the fact that at our national ports we have no immigration. I suppose if one took the time to inquire why there was no diminution in the expenditure of this particular branch of the Government one would find that at the ports of Halifax, St. John and Quebec we have quarantine officers who are being paid the usual salaries which they received in peace days, notwithstanding the fact that there is absolutely no immigration at any of these ports, and there has been none practically during the last three years, yet these quarantine officers, I believe it would be found, are being paid for services which are not performed. The expenses of administration of the Indian department are a little larger than they were in 1911, a circumstance which is difficult to understand and more difficult to explain. The Dominion Lands expenditures to-day are greater than in 1911 notwithstanding the fact that our lands entries in the Canadian Northwest are necessarily far below those of peace days, the natural result of the loss of immigration. In the Public Works Department there was last year a very substantial reduction, a reduction which should have been commenced immediately after the beginning of the war. I might inform the Minister of Finance that the Public Works Department made unnecessary expenditures in 1915 and 1916 which will exceed the amount he will likely obtain next year from the taxation proposals which he announced to-day. We find that public works expenditures on consolidated fund account are still practically spending what it was in 1911. I have not the figures before me, but they are somewhere about $8,000,000. I repeat what I have said on many other occasions when discussing the budget that there is no reason why the expenditures of this department should not be very much reduced below what they were last year, and they were very considerably below
what they were the previous year. I find that the Post Office Department expenses were greater than in 1911, or 1912, by about $6,000,000. I do not intend to refer to the departmental expenditure at greater length. I have said what I have largely to again impress upon the Government if I can the fact that the method of procuring money to meet war expenditures and to keep the national debt down to the minimum, is to retrench in our civil expenditures, and I submit to-day, as I have oftentimes done in the past, that there is an opportunity for a saving of $25,000,000 in that field, which is a very substantial sum, and it should be saved.
It should be said that very substantial reductions have been made in two or three branches of the public service; but they were forced reductions, they were unavoidable. For instance, in the fiscal year ending in 1917 the expenditures on account of the militia were $3,800,000. In 1914 the expenditures for militia were $11,000,000. Here we find a saving of over $7,000,000 in one department alone. That, of course, was a forced reduction in expenditure. It was inevitable, it was unavoidable. Similar reductions have occurred in respect of the naval service, in respect of steamboat mail subsidies; and were it not for the fact that in respect of these three branches of the public service savings aggregating ten or eleven million dollars, have been forced, there would have been, in reality, no reduction in the civil expenditures of the country as compared with the expenditures of former years.
One cannot but ask: Why are not some very substantial reductions being made in our ordinary expenditures? I think I have established pretty clearly, and pointed out, I trust, in a very fair way, that there is an opportunity of administrative retrenchment which would amount to $25,000,000 or $30,000,000, and naturally I ask: Why is this not done? I submit that if the Government made up its mind to be'bold and strong in the crisis and to part company with patronage and party considerations, this could be done, and that if patronage and
party considerations were eliminated from war expenditures we would be relieved of adding to our public debt a sum which would approximate over $100,000,000. The announcement of the application of $60,000,000, being the surplus, towards the reduction of our war expenditures was received with much gratification by hon gentlemen opposite. But that is no proof or evidence of proper administration upon the part of the Government. The statement I make is that instead of the application of a surplus of $60,000,000, there should have been an application of a sum of considerably over $100,000,000, and that would have been more gratifying still to hon. gentlemen opposite, as it would have been to hon. gentlemen upon this side of the House.
Upon the occasion of the Budget debate last year, we received from the Minister of Trade and Commerce some encouragement that hereafter there would be an elimination of party and political considerations in the expenditure of public money, particularly in these days. I should like to read to the House, in order that hon. members may not forget, the very noble utterance, the solemn exhortations, of the Minister of Trade and Commerce upon that occasion directed largely to his own colleagues in the Government and his friends behind him, in respect to this phase of public affairs. He said:
Now, as to patronage, I have been thirty-four years in public life; I have to n a pretty close student of political parties and political history in this country, and I have simply this to say-* I give it as my individual opinion-I have long felt it and I feel it now
that in the whole course of my political life I cannot point to a single, instance where political patronage ever raised the status of the bench, ever promoted the efficiency of the Civil Service, ever helped to economy in administration or enhanced the status of public administrators, no matter what functions they performed, ever helped a member of Parliament in reality, or ever strengthened a) Government in reality. On the contrary it almost always causes the dry rot and disintegra-' tion that break up government after government and party after party, and I wish now, in the white heat and light of this great contest and struggle and the self-sacrifice that we are called upon to make, that we might speak from the heart out, and make an agreement in this country between both parties, that hereafter patronage shall not be applied by political parties in the administration of our public services.
I had hoped for much from these remarks of the Minister of Trade and Commerce, given to the House last year. I had hoped that he would have been a powerful influence in translating this solemn exhortation into actual practice. I had hoped that he would have exercised a favourable
and compelling influence upon his colleagues towards the elimination of patronage and waste in respect to Government expenditure. But, the Minister of Trade and Commerce has been on -many and on long journeys since then. I fear he is absorbed in visionary occupations which consume too much altogether of his time and energy and which apparently up to this date have all been barren of result, so far as the good of the country is concerned, jft would seem that the solemn injunctions of the Minister of Trade and Commerce last year and the practice of the Government in this respect are practically two separate currents, running in absolutely opposite directions and seldom, if ever, gliding into one another. A great gulf, I am sorry to say, separates the preachments of the Minister of Trade and Commerce and the actual practice of the Government in this respect to war expenditure during the year that has jusit closed. In respect to war expenditures I wish to submit, though I do not propose discussing the matter in detail, that we still find partisanship and patronage entwining their vulgar forms around the beautiful administrative ideals which the Minister of Trade and Commerce held up to our adoration last year and which he exhorted the Government to adopt.
I notice upon the Order Paper a Bill .standing in the name of the Minister of Railways, entitled " An Act to Encourage and Assist the Improvement of Highways." I have not seen the Bill, but, according to the newspapers, it involves a contemplated expenditure of $10,000,000.
Topic: THE BUDGET.
Subtopic: ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.