March 30, 1925

LIB

George Perry Graham (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

My hon. friend has just

told them to keep their powder dry.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   FEDERAL ELECTION
Permalink
LIB

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

Liberal

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

The government have not decided upon the date of an election, and, so far as I am aware, the matter has not been considered.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   FEDERAL ELECTION
Permalink

THE BUDGET


The House resumed from Friday, March 27, consideration of the motion of Hon. J. A. Robb (Acting 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 Sir Henry Drayton.


CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. H. H. STEVENS (Vancouver-Centre):

The other afternoon the hon. member for Brandon (Mr. Forke) in his address in connection with this debate gave expression to these words:

That the financial statement given to the House does not reflect exactly and faithfully the conditions of the country at the present time, nor our financial standing.

With these words I entirely agree, in so far as they reflect my view in connection with this budget. In making this statement the hon. member intimated that perhaps his failure to interpret and understand properly the financial statement as presented by the Acting Finance minister (Mr. Robb) was attributable to his lack of expert knowledge of accountancy. Let me assure my hon. friend that such is not the case. I am prepared to assert, with a good deal of positiveness, that the more expert the accountant is who will examine into this statement as presented to the House, the more convinced he will be that it does not accurately reflect the condition of the country or correctly present the

existing state of public finances. As a matter of fact, it was a presentation that was hopeless in its confusion and baffling in its inaccuracies. This budget I icannot conceive as being other than deliberately designed to deceive the people as to the correct condition of affairs. It is a subtle expedient designed to shield a guilty and moribund government from the just indignation of an awakening public opinion.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OP THE ACTING MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OP THE ACTING MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

The Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Motherwell) may burlesque these things when he has an opportunity, but I refuse to allow him to do so now. The public is demanding a showdown in connection with the financial affairs of this country. The government, through the lips of the Prime Minister, as chief spokesman, who has been passing through this country during the last year or two, has been promising an approximation of free trade to one section and has oeen assuring another section that this government is anxious to protect and care for industry. In despair, the government, realizing that these chickens are coming home to roost, realizing that in these two different sections where there is a conflict of opinion as to what the fiscal policy of this country should be, the people are demanding delivery of these promises, the carrying out of these pledges-

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OP THE ACTING MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Two or three times my hon. friend has made these statements about different representations having been made in different parts of the country. Each time I have asked him to place on record the different representations. Until he is able to do that, I wish he would not repeat a statement which he knows not to be correct.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OP THE ACTING MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

On the contrary, there is nothing in the way of public utterances that I am more certain of than the accuracy of the statement made, and that is, that in all of the Prime Minister's trips through western Canada, the key-note of all his addresses was that there was no difference between his policy and the policy of my hon. friends to my left, the policy of the Progressive party. That has been his assurance. He pleaded with them: let us join together; we are in the same boat. Will he for a moment suggest that, in his speech in York recently, he did not assure the people of the east that there was to be no more progress towards free trade?

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OP THE ACTING MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Let my hon. friend bring down the statement of which he complains.

The Budget-Mr. Stevens

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OP THE ACTING MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

Had I thought my right hon. friend would question my statement, I would have brought plenty of evidence in support of it. I have none under my hand at the moment, but I have no doubt of the accuracy of what I have stated. What are the impressions sought to be conveyed by this budget? The Acting Minister of Finance (Mr. Robb) first assured the House that these accounts had been verified by two outside eminent chartered accountants. It is true he limited that verification of fact to certain things, but the impression that went forth to the public was that these accounts of the Dominion had been submitted to and approved by two outside, eminent chartered accountants. The next impression conveyed was that there was a surplus of $24,000,000, and some of my hon. friend's supporters are already claiming that such was the surplus. The third was that taxation had been reduced by $52,000,000, and the chief Liberal organ m the country the Globe, across the front page of its paper, the next day assured the taxpayers that there had been placed in their pockets by the government the enormous sum of $52,000,000. As regards the railways, there is an ominous silence, and I pause here to ask: Why, three months after the close of the railway fiscal year, we could not have had some accurate, definite, clear statement of the condition of our great railway investment. The next impression conveyed by the minister was that there was a favourable trade balance. Briefly, these statements summarize the impressions sought to be conveyed by the minister in his speech, and I purpose examining them at some length, step by step.

In the first place, let me examine the certificate of character which the minister presented to the House from the two eminent chartered accountants. I ask hon. members to listen to this certificate and to judge of its value. Personally, I assert before I read it that it is a perfectly meaningless and useless certificate. Will hon. members follow me for a moment while I read it? I shall not read what the minister said preceding it unless someone challenges me. I have the statement from the public accounts so that there will be no mistake about it. It is attached to the balance sheet of the Dominion of Canada for the last fiscal year ended March 31, 1924. This is what the accountants said:

We have examined the balance sheet of the Dominion of Canada as at March 31, 1924, and we certify that the balance sheet conforms to the balance sheets of previous years in not including in the net debt of the Dominion, issues of the Canadian National Railway company and companies included in its system, which carry the guarantee of the

Dominion of Canada. Such guaranteed issues are shown year by year as indirect liabilities.

Geo. Edwards,

Of the firm of Edwards, Morgan & Co.

W. Garth Thomson,

Of the firm of Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co. Ottawa, Canada, 27th January, 1925.

An absolutely meaningless, useless certificate -perfectly true!

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OP THE ACTING MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

James Alexander Robb (Minister of Immigration and Colonization)

Liberal

Mr. ROBB:

My hon. friend says now that

it is perfectly true. I am glad to have that admission from a leader of the Tory party, because the only exception taken to our statement of last year was that it did not conform.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OP THE ACTING MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

The Budget-Mr. Stevens

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OP THE ACTING MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
PRO

Thomas Wakem Caldwell

Progressive

Mr. CALDWELL:

Before the hon. gentleman leaves the railway situation would he give us the direct loans in cash and the indirect loans on guarantee of bonds by years?

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OP THE ACTING MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

My hon. friend has put

to me a perfectly proper question, and he will find the details set out in the voluminous schedules to the public accounts. I should rather not, however, pause now for it would take probably half an hour to read these very long, complicated and technical schedules, and they would only confuse the issue. The government's claim of $52,000,000 reduction in taxation went out as the main feature of the budget. I admit, Mr. Speaker, that I think a great many people are overtaking that hoax, for if ever there was a hoax perpetrated upon a long-suffering public it is that claim. It is absolutely false. What it amounts to is that the employee, the man who is fortunate enough to have a job to-day, is being called upon to pay taxes, and the man who is unemployed and unable to purchase is not thereby contributing any share of the burden.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OP THE ACTING MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

Willis Keith Baldwin

Liberal

Mr. BALDWIN:

Has the hon. member any confidence in chartered accountants?

106i

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OP THE ACTING MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

I do not know whether

my hon. friend was in his seat when I opened my remarks. If he was not, and he will do me the honour of reading Hansard to-morrow, he will find I fully explained that point.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OP THE ACTING MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
LIB

Willis Keith Baldwin

Liberal

Mr. BALDWIN:

Thank you.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OP THE ACTING MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

I have great confidence

in chartered accountants, and I have such confidence in the two chartered accountants referred to that I am certain they would never give a certificate of approval to the accounts of this government as presented to the House. Now, what a mockery it is to say to an unemployed man with five children, "It is true, my friend, you cannot buy nourishing food for your children; it is true you cannot buy boots to put on your children's feet or clothing for their backs, but we have reduced taxation; we have put into your pocket $52,-

000.000. Why, we are a friend of yours. We have actually added to your resources as taxpayers $52,000,000." I say, Mr. Speaker, the thing is a mockery. What does this $52,000,000 consist of? What is the interpretation of it? In the first place I ask, have taxes been reduced? Is there one item of reduction in taxation? Has the sales tax been reduced? Has this onerous tax upon business, not upon individual incomes, but upon business in Canada, been reduced? Has the stamp tax, or the receipt tax, or any other tax been reduced? Not a nickel, not one cent. Not only have they not been reduced, but as a matter of fact business is being strangled, thousands are out of work, and 2,200 factories, large and small, in the last three years, with a magnitude of liabilities of $100,000,000, have gone to the wall. That is the condition.

Now let me examine this tax question for a moment. I have under my hand figures from the Customs and Excise department, and I find this; that in excise taxes, that is chiefly the sales tax, with a little from the stamp tax, but it does not include the taxes on liquor, which are kept separate-we will keep our mind on the sales tax, because this excise tax is chiefly made up of that-in 1923-1924 there was a collection of $115,000,000 of sales tax. This year there was a collection of $78,000,000, or a reduction of $37,000,000 and by the way that is in eleven months only. The minister made an estimate for the year, but I have given the actual figures for the eleven months ending with February and they show a. reduction of $37,000,000. If this is interpreted in the form of purchases, it means that there has been a falling off in purchases in Canada of $700,000,000. That is what it means. It simply means that business is not

The Budget-Mr. Stevens

being done. It does not matter what the government says to the public; it does not matter one iota how much they rebuke us for constantly calling attention to the condition of business; the stubborn fact is that there must have been a falling off in purchasing of $700,000,000. That is the interpretation of this saving of $52,000,000.

Now let me pass on to the income tax, of which I have particulars before me. I am not going to spend much time on it, but I want to show how we by our form and method of income taxation are militating against Canadian business men as compared with those against whom they are competing. I drew the attention of the House to this subject in the debate on the Address from the Throne, and I now have figures which I will give briefly because they are very illuminating. I will take the income tax of an individual doing business in Vancouver as against a man doing business in Seattle, and these figures are for personal income, not business income. On an income of $5,000 th<' Canadian would pay to the Dominion $126, and to British Columbia $95, or a total of $221. The man in Seattle would pay a tax of $50, or less than one-quarter of what his competitor in Vancouver has to pay. I bring it down to these intimate details so that we may appreciate more directly the onerous nature of this tax. I could go on down the list and give the income tax on incomes of $5,000, $6,000, $7,000, $8,000, $9,000, $10,000, $15,000, $20,000 and $25,000, but I shall take only a few to illustrate my point. The man in Vancouver or Canada with a salary of $7,000 pays in income tax a total of $493; the man in Seattle pays $100, or less than one-quarter, almost one-fifth. The man in Vancouver with an income of $10,000 pays $1,084; the man in Seattle pays $220. The point I want to make is this: We m Canada cannot expect to go on prospering and expanding in our business operations with the handicap of a tax of this kind. It is the application of this tax which I am asking the government to consider.

A moment ago I pointed out that a large number of firms had failed in business in Canada. On Friday last my hon. friend from Dufi'erin (Mr. Woods) made a statement in the House to which I wish to refer. I do not know whether he is in his seat; I think not, but he made this statement-Hansard page 1632:

I want to refer to a manufacturing concern in my own county. It is a woollen manufacturing industry and the only one we have in the county of Dufferin. That company to-day is running night and day shifts.

Mr. Caldwell: I thought the woollen mills were

all shut down last year.

Mr. Woods: There were rumours to that effect.

However the one in the county of Dufferin did not shut down but is running night and day shifts at the present time.

I thought that was strange, and I sought immediate and definite information. I have in my hand copies of wires received from Dods and Company, the firm referred to, in regard to this statement, and I shall read them, not because I want to embarrass the hon. member for Dufferin, but because I think it is well for us t.o face the facts. This ie from the secretary of the association:

Dods Knitting authorize me to inform you plant has not been operating night and day; that they are being forced to go on part time immediately. He is wiring explaining more fully.

Then I have this from Dods Knitting Company themselves:

Dods Knitting Company are not working day and night and are arranging to close to part time.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OP THE ACTING MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
UFO

Robert Henry Halbert

United Farmers of Ontario

Mr. HALBERT:

Where did the hon. member say that was located?

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OP DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OP THE ACTING MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink

March 30, 1925