Mr. KING (Kootenay):
As I stated a few moments ago, the Canadian National is being carried on and operated as a distinct company, under directors and a board of management. Are you going to place it in a different position from competing lines? The manager says we should not give this information. If
we did we would open the doors to our competitors and it would be unfair to us. That statement has been made by the Minister of Railways (Mr. Graham) and I think it is probably an answer to my hon. friend's suggestion. I think the government would' have to be guided by the advice of the president or management of that railway in regard to information of that character.
Before passing on to another criticism, I desire to say that I have had some little experience in these matters. I have listened to many budget speakers, not in this parliament but in provincial legislatures, where political warfare is waged very much as it is in this parliament, and on each and every occasion when the government has a surplus I have found that it has been a bitter pill to the opposition; they do not like it. But being a bitter pill to the opposition does not prevent it being soothing and gratifying to the taxpayers of the country. The surplus of last year, the reduction in taxation, i.e., the reduction in the customs duties and in the sales tax of some twenty-four or twenty-five million dollars were well received by the taxpayers of the country, and although the surplus is not as large this year, it is still gratifying to the people of Canada to know that, after the final closing of accounts for the year of revenues received and the expenditures made by the government, there was a balance in favour of the country and that there was a substantial surplus.
My hon. friends have taken exception to the manner in which the government have handled the Roumanian and Grecian loans. It was rather surprising when one considers the history of these loans. The loans were made by our hon. friends opposite when the Canadian credit was almost at the breaking point, when the Canadian dollar was worth from eighty to ninety cents, and during my hon. friends' term of office it was a frozen loan, there was no interest paid and it accumulated, but in 1922 arrangements were made, through the high commissioner in negotiation with the Roumanian and Grecian governments, whereby the interest that was due was consolidated in the form of a bond and became part of the joint debt of those countries to Canada. The Acting Minister of Finance (Mr. Robb) very properly stated the other day just what took place. We had a loan made by the late government on which there was no interest being paid. The interest had accumulated to some $4,000,000. A bond was taken from these countries for the payment of this interest and the whole loan consolidated. In the arrangement new
The Budget-Mr. King (Kootenay)
securities were given to the Dominion for the total indebtedness, and they were further secured by specific charges on certain revenues of these countries. In the case of Roumania the security of the new bond is a fixed charge upon the export duties charged on wheat and other export products. In the case of Greece their obligations are a charge upon the revenue of the International Financial Commission appointed to administer specific revenues of the Greek government, for the purpose of meeting the charges in connection with their external indebtedness. These governments since 1922, have been paying their interest charges regularly and promptly, and in the case of Greece part of the principal. You have this position to-day: what was a frozen Joan formerly is now a loan on which not only the interest is being paid but the principal is being liquidated.
Subtopic: THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic: CONTINUANCE OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE ACTING MINISTER OF FINANCE