The debate on the Budget was resumed.
Mr. JOHN A. MAHARG (Maple Creek): Mr. Speaker, before commencing to discuss
the Budget, I should like to refer to the few remarks that the hon. member for Toronto Centre (Mr. Bristol) directed at the farmers of Western . Canada in particular. I am sorry the hon. gentleman is not in his seat, I would have been better pleased if he had been. I am at a loss to understand why hon. members, particularly those from the cities, have to be continuously referring to the position of the farmers. I have not heard the farmers or their representatives speaking in a similar fashion in regard to them. This reference to the farmers seems to come particularly from those who have a protectionist argument to advance. They seem to use the assumed prosperity of the -western farmers as an argument why they should not be asking for more tariff reductions. If the farmers or their representatives so desired, they could use the very same argument in regard to those gentlemen. We could find it easy to do as they have done, to refer to automobiles, men of means and leisure and so forth, and we could go further; we could speak of limousines. There are many other things that we might use for our argument. But if you, Sir, will permit me to use the expression, that is not our style, we do not resort to that kind of argument to bolster up anything we wish to say; if we cannot tackle a question fairly and squarely from an economic standpoint and make our case good, then we are prepared to leave it absolutely alone. The hon. member said that the farmers should be prepared to pay a fair share of the tax. The farmers are prepared to pay their fair share of the tax. The farmers were the first class of people in Canada to ask that the income tax, which is now being so heavily imposed, should be levied. That request is and has been for a number of years a plank in their platform. What they, however, do object to paying, is a tax where for every dollar that goes into the public treasury, anywhere from two dollars to four dollars go into the pockets of private individuals or private interests. We do object to paying a tax in that way.
The hon. gentleman referred to the Saskatchewan farmers as men of leisure. He said: They keep no stock; they buy condensed milk. He made a number of equally absurd statements. I. would advise the hon. gentleman, before he attempts to make another display of his supposed knowledge, to take the statistics of the western provinces, compare them with similar statistics of the eastern provinces, and I think he will not make as big a blunder and exhibit such a lack of knowledge of conditions outside
of Ilia own little sphere as he did in this House to-day. It is said that the smallest place in which a man can possibly live is within himself, and I am afraid that the hon. member for Toronto Centre is a very close inhabitant of that particular place.
He referred to the western farmers as all having automobiles. There are between
130,000 and 140,000 farmers in the province of Saskatchewan alone. ' The number of automobile licenses taken out last year in that province was a trifle over 30,000, nearly 20,000 of which, or possibly just a little more, were owned an the cities and towns. Consequently 10,000, out of 140,000 or so of western farmers, possessed automobiles. The hon. member anight have looked ujp the statistics a'ong that line. He also referred to the farmers as having to build gymnasiums on theur farms so that they might take exercise. The waistline is a very good indication of the amount of exercise that a man takes, and il think if the hon. gentleman will go to the trouble of sizing up a few of the western farmers represented here to-night, he will find out that he is mistaken. I myself am probably about as corpulent as any of them, but up to the present I have found no difficulty in seeing my toes, neither have the rest of our friends. _
The western farmers do not provide as much merriment for the boys when they come into the cities. The boys do not go up to the -western farmer and ask him to gelt out and not be hiding behind that barrel as they do with some of our city friends. It is a common expression of the boys at least in some of the cities I have visited, when they see some of those gentlemen coming along the street, to ask them: " Why are you always hiding behind that baTrel? I am free to admit that the farmers of western Canada are in a better position now than they were a few years ago and if that were not the case, very few of them would remain on the farm. If they are prosperous, it cannot be said of them- as was said by a Toronto editor of the manufacturers of eastern Canada, that their prosperity is ninety-five per cent due to protection and five per cent due to brains. For the farmers have had no protection whatever; they do not want it; they absolutely refused it when it was offered them. They were offered protection on their products going into the markets of the Old- Country but they said: No,
we will have nothing whatever to do with protection, we are prepared to isell our products in the open markets of the world, and if we cannot meet the competition there we will switch to another product on which we can compete in those markets ; we will not ask for protection to enable us to live on the labour of others. There are, in my judgment, only two ways of securing wealth; either produce it yourself, or take it from, the fellow who has produced it, and we believe in producing it ourselves.
I must congratulate the Acting Minister of Finance on the fearlessness he displayed in his Budget. I may criticise him a little, but it will be for sins of omission rather than for sins of commission. II also wish to congratulate the hon. member for East lOalgary (Mr. Redman) on his remarks the other evening. I might be tempted to say he stole my thunder, but I will not.
I am very pleased indeed to know that the young men of Canada, partieularlyy of western Canada, aTe alive to the situation that confronts us at the present time as it is only by facing it squarely that we shall 'be able so to guide the destinies of this country as to escape the dangerous shoals. The only criticism I have to make of his remarks is that he -might have gone a little further, and so should the Acting Minister of Finance. I do not see why the Income Tax -should not be applied to smaller incomes than $1,000. There are thousands of young men in Canada, at all events in western Canada, who are earning higher wages to-day [DOT] than they ever did before; -thousands of them are working on the farm for from $600 to $800 a year, and found. That leaves a farm labourer with a nice sum at the end- of the year, and I can see no reason why -the tax should not be applied to such an income.
I would not suggest that the same rate of taxation be applied, but a moderate tax. The minister has seen fi-t to tax the necessities of life of every one of us, so why should he not apply the Income Tax to all incomes, putting a moderate tax on the moderate income?
The Acting Minister of Finance referred to the taxes on household articles as a tax on luxuries, but I cannot -quite agree that tea, coffee, and tobacco, if you will-I never use it myself-can be tdrmed luxuries. But if they are luxuries, what shall we _say about silks and satins and fine furs and other expensive articles of clothing? Surely these must -be luxuries- too. _
I was disappointed at not finding in the Budget any provision for giving assistance or encouragement in any way to agricultural production. We had thought the minister