Last year the minister took the view that he could curb extravagance in this country by imposing luxury taxes, but he found that those taxes practically destroyed business, and on the eve of the Christmas holidays, in an attempt to restore business, he was compelled to wipe out those taxes. All through this resolution there is a tax on the food of the people, an unfair tax. Take the tax on lumber and on material that goes into the construction of a house or barn. I am told by a responsible contractor that on a $5,000 house, which is not an extravagant average price, the materials going into that house represent $3,500. The minister proposes to put a tax of $105 against that house; there is no question about that. The minister puts a tax of $105 against
the building of a house at a time when every one is calling for more houses in this country. The same is true with regard to the building of barns throughout the country. I am told by the same contractor that the average cost of the material going into a piodern barn would be 80 per cent of a $2,000 building. The minister proposes to put a tax on that $1,600 worth of materials of $48. He is hampering production to that extent.
Coming to foodstuffs, which the minister claims are free, the minister is providing here that the ingredients required for the manufacture of oleomargarine are exempt from taxation. Having adopted that principle, why should he hamper the agricultural industry of this country by putting a tax on all the materials required for the production of butter, cheese and meats-the food of the people? There is to be a tax on mill stuffs which are required by the farmers for the production of milk and butter. Here, again, the minister is taxing production of the foodstuffs of the people. If our farmers are to com-, pete with the farmers of the United States -hon. gentlemen opposite are very much alarmed occasionally, in Budget debates, over the competition of the United States -they should be put upon an equal basis. There is no tax whatever on any kind of mill feed that the farmer of the United [DOT] States requires, and to that extent the farmer of the United States will be able to feed his stock more cheaply than the Canadian farmer.
The minister says that flour is free. But he is taxing the container; he is putting a tax on the bags and barrels required by the mills of this country, and to that extent he is discriminating against the Canadian farmer as compared with the farmer of the United States. The minister may say that there is a refund on the export business, but I say that all this puts us on an unfair basis as compared with our neighbours to the south with whom we have such close competition. The minister may also ask: Ho welse are you going to raise the revenue? We upon this side of the House contend that we would start at the other end: We would reduce expenditure. For all the revenue the minister is going to get out of this tax, he may as well wipe it out altogether. That would at least do something to help popularize the Government of which he is an honoured and a very genial supporter.
I shall not detain the committee any longer, but I think the minister might do
well to sleep over these suggestions, and come along at the next sitting of the House and make a clean sheet of it.