April 24, 1917

CON

Frederick Laurence Schaffner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SCHAFFNER:

That is what hurts.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
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LIB

John Gillanders Turriff

Liberal

Mr. TURRIFF:

It dojs not hurt me half so bad as my hon. friend will get hurt if he appeals to his constituents again.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
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CON

Frederick Laurence Schaffner

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SCHAFFNER:

Are you sorry that wheat was placed on the free list? What are you mad about?

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
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LIB

John Gillanders Turriff

Liberal

Mr. TURRIFF:

I am not mad about it. We are pleased to have it on the free list, and my hon. friends are entitled to all the credit they can get out of it. But now the 'Government have left it in such a position that not even an Order in Council is necessary; for as soon as the war ceases, unless the Order in Council is amended or wheat is placed on the free list in the ordinary way which should have been followed, wheat will be no longer free. As it stands to-day this accomplishes exactly the purposes hon. gentlemen opposite have in view -to enable their candidates in the West to declare that this means free wheat for all time, and the candidates in Ontario and in the East generally to do as they have been doing, to tell their electors that this is only a war measure and that as soon as the war is over things will be as they

were before. It is the same old story- playing the double game, one policy for the West and another policy for the East. Now, my resolution only asks these hon. gentlemen to make it clear that they have done that which they say it was their intention to do-to put wheat permanently on the free list. The cry pi the Government is for more production. But how can they expect the farmers to go into heavy expenditure for increased production with the prospect before them that the moment the war ceases they will lose the American market?

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

That is not correct.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
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LIB

John Gillanders Turriff

Liberal

Mr. TURRIFF:

Will the hon. gentleman make it clear.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

It is clear.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
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LIB

John Gillanders Turriff

Liberal

Mr. TURRIFF:

The hon. gentleman will excuse me, but it is not clear. I have taken the advice of lawyers who have looked into this question, and they tell me that not only is it not clear that the effect is what hon. gentlemen opposite say it is, but on the contrary it is clear that the moment war is over wheat will no longer be ,on the free list.

The Minister of Finance took great credit to himself for raising $12,500,000 of revenue from the wealth of Canada. He said Canada was not a wealthy country, that the wealth was not where it could be reached by an income tax. But the hon. member for Montreal, St. Antoine, spent five minutes in telling us how wealthy Canada was in that it could absorb hundreds of millions of the war debt. Does not that prove that the wealth of Canada is a good field for taxation? Wealth yielded $12,500,000 in taxes last year, but I venture tp say that the Workingmen of Canada paid $25,000,000 within the same time. The Minister of Finance proposes to tax wealth more heavily. That is a move in the right direction. Why should not the incomes of very wealthy men be very heavily taxed? We have men in Ottawa with incomes of $200,000 and $250,000 a year, and they are not asked to pay a cfollar on those incomes, while the poor man with half a dozen children, who finds it hard to furnish his table with proper and sufficient food, is taxed at every turn.

The Minister of Finance stated this afternoon that there was some correspondence on this subject of free wheat between the Prime Minister (Sir Robert Borden) and himself. May I ask if he will bring down that correspondence?

48 i

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
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CON

William Thomas White (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir THOMAS WHITE:

The hon. gentleman. knows I could not do that without violating my oath of office. The correspondence from the Prime Minister, of course, is confidential,

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
Permalink
LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

I am surprised at that ' statement from the Minister of Finance. Surely, on reflection, he will agree that correspondence between one minister and another is not necessarily confidential. Before the recess an ex-minister laid before the House correspondence that had passed between himself and the Prime Minister while they were both members of the Government.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
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CON

William Thomas White (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir THOMAS WHITE:

That may be entirely in the discretion of the minister. I regard any correspondence between myself and the Prime Minister as being of the same character as discussion at the Council Board. Apart from the question I have raised as to a minister's oath of office, there is no doubt that the correspondence to which reference has been made was in fact confidential and could not be brought down,

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
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LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

That puts it on another ground.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
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CON

William Thomas White (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir THOMAS WHITE:

It puts it on both ' grounds.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
Permalink
LIB

John Gillanders Turriff

Liberal

Mr. TURRIFF:

My hon. friend (Sir Thomas White) cannot blame me ot im-impute to me any wrong motives, I am sure, because he himself mentioned this correspondence. Now may I ask whether before passing this Order in Council the Government had any correspondence with the Government of the United States to know whether that Government would accept an Order in Council putting wheat on the free list as they would accept an amendment of the Customs Act for the same purpose? And will the minister please say if the United States was notified when this action was taken?

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
Permalink
CON

William Thomas White (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir THOMAS WHITE:

We had no communication whatever with the Government of the United States before taking this action. Immediately after the action had been taken, and after the close of the exchanges for the day, I notified the press, and at the same time I wrote a letter to the Consul-General of the United States in Ottawa, Colonel Foster, enclosing a copy of the Order in Council, and Colonel Foster immediately despatched it to Washington, and, I understand, also telegraphed it.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
Permalink
LIB

John Gillanders Turriff

Liberal

Mr. TURRIFF:

And, of course, the Government have not had any further word from the United States as to whether they will accept that as satisfactory or not. Now, in conclusion, I move the resolution which I have already read. I hope the Government will see its way clear to carry out the idea expressed in this amendment, in order to satisfy the farmers throughout Canada that it is the intention of the Government that wheat shall remain on the free list and shall not he subject to an Order in Council or to automatic reversion to the dutiable list on the ending of the war. If this is done, the farmer will have some inducement to put in larger crops. Not this year, for nothing that this House can do now will effect the size of the crop of the present year. But the season from the latter part of May to the middle of July is the time when, in the West, new ground is broken for wheat for the following year. If it is made clear that wheat is on the free list permanently, you will have a largely increased acreage broken during the present spring and summer and a largely increased acreage sown to wheat during the next year which will be a benefit not only to Canada but to Great Britain, the Allies and the whole world. It was stated here today that there was a possibility of there being a food famine in the world on account of this terrible war and if anything can be done to increase production it ought to be done. There is nothing that can be done that will have as good an effect in increasing production as having it made absolutely clear to the farmers that wheat is on the free list permanently and that it is not to be taken off either by Order in Council, or automatically, as soon as the war ceases.

On motion of Mr. Meighen the debate was adjourned.

On motion of Sir 'Thomas White the House adjourned at 10.30 p.m.

Wednesday, April 25, 1917.

Topic:   THE BUDGET.
Subtopic:   ANNUAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
Permalink

April 24, 1917