May 30, 1922

ST. LAWRENCE WATERWAY-CORRESPONDENCE

LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister) :

I beg to hand my hon. friend from West York (Sir Henry Drayton) the correspondence requested by him yesterday between the government of the United States and the Govenment of Canada respecting the St. Lawrence Waterway project.

Topic:   ST. LAWRENCE WATERWAY-CORRESPONDENCE
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"GENERAL" MACDONALD'S ARMY


On the Orders of the Day:


CON

Thomas Langton Church

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. T. L. CHURCH (North Toronto) :

I wish to call the attention of the Prime Minister to telegrams and letters I have received from those in charge of "General" Macdonald's army which is marching from Toronto to Ottawa. The 200 men on the march are good citizens and they did their duty overseas. Their leader was disabled in the war, and his pension has since been cut off. Here is a newspaper containing a photograph of his wife and family of six children. These men-

Topic:   "GENERAL" MACDONALD'S ARMY
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LIB

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order. Will the hon. member kindly put a question to the Government instead of continuing his argument.

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CON

Thomas Langton Church

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CHURCH:

I should like to ask the Prime Minister if any arrangements have been made to receive these men and to send them back to their homes, or to have a

committee meet them and go into each man's case? These men hope by a campaign of education to have something done for them.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister) :

The Government will be pleased to receive the deputation to which my hon. friend has made reference as soon as they reach Ottawa. In the meantime I would ask my hon. friend to send me copies of the telegrams and letters to which he has just referred.

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THE BUDGET

CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE


The House resumed from Monday, May 29, the debate on the motion of Hon. W. S. Fielding (Minister of Finance), that Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair for the House to go into Committee of Ways and Means, and the proposed amendment thereto of Hon. Sir Henry Drayton.


PRO

Arthur John Lewis

Progressive

Mr. A. J. LEWIS (Swift Current) :

Mr. Speaker, I wish to associate myself wth those who have congratulated the Minister of Finance (Mr. Fielding) on the long and faithful service that he has rendered to his country. It is a record which I think every young parliamentarian might with profit try to emulate, and I only hope that as long as I remain in this House it may be said of me that I have been as faithful as the hon. gentleman in the performance of my duty.

I notice that the hon. member for New Westminster (Mr. McQuarrie) in the course of his speech last night mentioned the name of the hon. member for Last Mountain (Mr. Johnston) about fifteen or sixteen times. The hon. member for New Westminster seemed to be in a very inquisitive mood in regard to where we stand m relation to the budget. Of course, he jumped to certain conclusions as to what we are going to do, and he said repeatedly that we as a Progressive party had always come to the rescue of the government. Indeed, he seemed to be very much concerned about the defeat of the Government. I do not know whether he is afraid that if he had to stand again in New Westminster he would not be returned. As, however, he seems to think that we always come to the rescue of the Government, I thought I would look up the record of the divisions that have taken place this session. There have been seven divisions so far, and this

The Budget-Mr. Lewis

is how the Progressive party voted on each occasion:

There was a division on March 28 in which we find that the Opposition was opposed by the Government and the Progressives. On the 10th of April another division took place in which the Conservatives and the Government, almost without exception, voted against the Progressives. On April 24, the Conservatives and the Government again voted against the Progressives; and on April 25 the Conservatives and the Government voted together against the Progressives. So that the evidence is ample to prove that every one believes he has the right to vote according to conviction. On the 5th of May there was a mixed vote; the hon. member for New Westminster (Mr. McQuarrie) voted with the hon. member for Marquette (Mr. Crerar) and the hon. member for Last Mountain (Mr. Johnston). On May 8, there was another vote in which we find that the Conservatives were arrayed against the Government and the Progressives. On the 15th of May there was a mixed vote, but a preponderance of Conservatives voted with the Government. So that in the final analysis there have been seven divisions in the House, three in which the Conservatives and the Government voted against the Progressives, two in which the Progressives and the Government voted against the Conservatives, and two mixed votes in which the Conservatives in one of them voted in preponderant numbers with the Government. I think, Sir, that if any one is afraid that the Government is going to be defeated, it is the hon. members to my right.

Moreover, it was said that my leader, the horn member for Marquette (Mr. Crerar), and the hon. member for Last Mountain, would feel more at home if they were sitting on the Liberal side. Well, every one has the right to his convictions, and the convictions of these hon. members are such that they sit on this side. I will not say there is not a worse side they could sit on than that which is occupied by members of the Government. Let us remember that we have come here not to play politics; we all have the best interests of the country at heart. I can conceive that hon. members to my right have the interests and wellbeing of the country at heart; but let them also remember that we on this side and those on the Government side also have those interests at heart, although we may view them from different angles.

Now, it was not my intention to enter into any argument with any member of this

House. What I wished to bring before the House is matter relating to the budget, with a view to seeing whether a fiscal policy could not be brought forward that would remedy a great many of the evils which exist in our country to-day.

In the first place let me say that it is the easiest thing in the world to attack a budget, involving, as it does, the taxation of the whole country with all its ramifications. We certainly can find weaknesses in any budget, no matter who brings it in. It seems to me, therefore, that the only fair basis upon which a man has a right to express criticism of the budget is to try to place himself in the position of the responsible minister of the Crown, the Minister of Finance, and to realize the great problems which confront him, including the duty of imposing taxation which will be adequate to meet the needs of the country. That is the basis of my criticism. The task of the Minister of Finance is not made one whit easier by the present state of our country, the condition of depression, the crises which are taking place, the unrest .which prevails, the lowering of wages which has been proceeding-all these things, in their cumulative effect, do not make the task of the Minister any easier. Moreover, it does not make the task of the Progressive party or any party in this House easier in its support or in its criticism of the budget of the day.

I would like to say a few words in regard to the fiscal policy of this country. Of course, I am a free trader out and out, and I am not ashamed to admit it. But, Sir, this is a democracy, and apparently the majority of the people of this country do not believe in free trade. They believe, perhaps in freer trade than is at present in existence. In a democracy the expressed will of the majority of the people has the right to prevail. When we who believe in free trade shall have educated and reformed the people of this country so far as their views on fiscal policy are concerned, then we shall be returned to power and have an opportunity of putting those principles into practice.

I have carefully gone over the budget speech, and 1 am unable to discern very much difference between the Liberal policy and the old National policy. I am not saying this merely for effect; that is as far as I am able to analyze it. I believe in a tariff for revenue purposes, and as the Liberal platform expressed approval of a tariff for revenue I was in hopes that the

The Budget-Mr. Lewis

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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LIB

James Joseph Hughes

Liberal

Mr. HUGHES:

Will the hon. gentleman allow me an explanation? I find that the exemptions from the sales tax are very numerous, and include nearly all the necessaries of life purchased by a family of small or moderate means. I have the list here and will pass it over to my hon. friend, because it gives information that I think would be useful to the House, and I think it would remove about nine-tenths of the objections raised by the Progressives to the sales tax. I forgot to mention this when I spoke yesterday.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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PRO

Arthur John Lewis

Progressive

Mr. LEWIS:

I understand that the sales tax last year brought in something like $60,000,000 of revenue, when there were already numerous articles exempted. As a result of the new Government coming into power, the additional exemptions include alfalfa meal, salt radium, and job printed matter, but that is all.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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LIB

James Joseph Hughes

Liberal

Mr. HUGHES:

The exempted list is already very large.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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PRO

Arthur John Lewis

Progressive

Mr. LEWIS:

Yes, but if the sales tax brought in last year $60,000,000, and it is

The Budget-Mr. Lewis

increased 50 per cent, it will bring in this year about $90,000,000, which bears out the argument I presented to the House a moment ago.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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LIB

James Joseph Hughes

Liberal

Mr. HUGHES:

The tax does not weigh so heavily upon men of small means.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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PRO

Arthur John Lewis

Progressive

Mr. LEWIS:

It may not seem so to my hon. friend, but if he had a large family he would think differently.

I am going to .speak for a few moments on economy. I think the hon. Minister of Finance in his own heart felt that the system of government book-keeping which has been in vogue for a number of years past was not altogether satisfactory. Through some method of fictitious valuing, every government that went out of power showed that they had a surplus-but anyone knows that if we are raising a revenue of something like $350,000,000, and are expending annually at the rate of $450,000,000, whether on capital account or any other account, that deficiency must be raised -some time the chickens are bound to come home to roost. I think the time must soon come when the approximate expected revenue of this country will exceed the expenditure, and thus in a measure overtake the large expenditure of the past.

We heard a good deal last night about optimism about our fair country. Well, the West is always optimistic; we are all an optimistic people, but an optimism which is based on a fallacy does not get us anywhere, and we have no right to be so optimistic that we take authority to place an undue burden on generations to come which will be very hard for them to bear. There are various ways, I think, in which we can decrease our expenditure at the present time. This year, for instance, we are asked to vote $9,000,000 for the Welland canal. I do not think that the vote has passed yet. Surely the time has not yet come when we, a people of less than nine millions, should take upon ourselves great national undertakings of this sort which, when completed, will be a competitor against our national railways.

I am glad to find that so far the Dominion Government has not replied to the United States in regard to the St. Lawrence deep waterway scheme, and I hope they will not for another twenty years. I think that so far as Canada is concerned, we have ample provision now for exporting and importing our goods. We are a people of less than nine millions, and we have no right to overburden the populace with taxes. We

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REVISED


talk about people going to the United States or other countries to live, but is it any wonder when we place a sales tax on the family man which makes it almost impossible for him and his family to live? We had a discussion on immigration in this House some time ago. I believe that the best way to increase the population of this country is through the family, by increasing the number of children. But people will not raise large families unless they have the same conception as I have, unless they find it easier for them to live. So far as I am concerned, I believe that Canadian children are going to be the salvation of this country-far better than any immigrants we could bring in from any part of the world. I would advise my hon. friends from British Columbia, who are concerned over the Japanese problem, to look at the low birth rate of the white people in British Columbia, and to see to it that their birth rate becomes normal, and that they do not commit race suicide as the birth rate shows they are doing, and then there will not be the menace from oriental immigration. There ought to be a normal birth rate in Canada. It is a healthy sign when the birth rate is normal, and the Canadian race is one of the most vigorous on the globe. Neither the Italian nor the German nor any other nation should be allowed to make up the deficiencies in our own population. I want to say just a few words in regard to the tariff for revenue, especially in regard to the new tax that has been imposed. Referring to the tax on cigars, in Schedule II, I find that in the year 1920 194,335,000 cigars were consumed in Canada valued at $14,102,399. Now, as regards the imports and exports it is practically negligible, and so for that reason I am not going to say anything about it. At the same time there were consumed, as we were told by the Finance Minister over 2,450,000,000 cigarettes valued at $24,000,000. The duty on those cigarettes was $15,000,000. This year the duty has been increased and the result is that the Finance Minister expects a decrease of 10 per cent in the revenue from this source. Now, I want hon. members to mark that fact: That when you increase the duty on an article, in the opinion of the Finance Minister, you decrease the consumption. That may be true in regard to cigarettes, but is it true in regard to the general commerce of the country? That is a point that my hon. friends to my right ought to consider


May 30, 1922