April 20, 1926

REPORT TABLED


First report of the select standing committee on Railways, Canals and Telegraph Lines-Mr. Cahill.


CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS- ANNUAL REPORT

LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Liberal

Hon. C. A. DUNNING (Minister of Railways and Canals):

Mr. Speaker, I beg to

lay on the table copies of the annual report of the Canadian National Railway system for the year ended December 31, 1925. This report is printed in English and French and copies are being supplied to the Senate and House of Commons post offices, to be placed in the post office box of every member of both houses.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS- ANNUAL REPORT
Permalink

CANADA SHIPPING ACT, AMENDMENT


Mr. A. C. CASSELMAN (Grenville-Dundas) moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 23, to amend the Canada Shipping Act. He said: The object of this bill is to do away with the discrimination which now exists between ships clearing from Montreal eastward and those clearing from points west of Montreal eastward with respect to pilotage dues, the latter, class being obliged to pay such dues if they go east of Montreal whether they carry pilots or not, while in the case of the former class pilotage dues are not charged unless pilots are used. Motion agreed to and bill read the first time.


REARRANGEMENT OF DEPARTMENTS POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT


On the Orders of the Day:


CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Right Hon. ARTHUR MEIGHEN (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, last evening the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) announced certain orders in council transferring departments. I observe no mention was made of the Post Office Department. What is the intention of the government in respect to this department?

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING

(Prime Minister): The Postmaster General,

Hon. Mr. Murphy, as my right hon. friend knows, occupies a seat in the Senate. No change will be made in that regard during the present session of parliament.

Topic:   REARRANGEMENT OF DEPARTMENTS POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
Permalink
CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I am asking what is the intention of the government. Is it the intention to make the change later?

2612

The Budget-Mr. Forke

Topic:   REARRANGEMENT OF DEPARTMENTS POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
Permalink
LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I will give my right hon. friend further word on that point later.

Topic:   REARRANGEMENT OF DEPARTMENTS POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
Permalink

THE BUDGET

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


The House resumed from Thursday, April 15, the debate on the motion of Hon. J. A. Robb (Minister of Finance), that Mr. Speaker do now leave the chair for the House to go into committee of Ways and Means.


PRO

Robert Forke

Progressive

Mr. ROBERT FORKE (Brandon):

Mr. Speaker, before dealing with the subject matter of my address I want to compliment the Minister of Finance upon the presentation of his budget. It was concise, well put together and expressed in clear, terse language. I like the human touch which he gave in the concluding paragraph of his businesslike address, a touch that we sometimes lack in this House, and I compliment him on his very able presentation of a difficult subject. With the subject matter I shall try to deal as concisely as I possibly can.

I do not pretend to be a financial critic at all, Mr. Speaker, and what remarks I have to make in connection with the financial statement will be very largely a repetition of what the Minister of Finance has already told us in his budget statement. However, just to make it plain to myself at all events, I am going to run over some of the figures that he gave us at the commencement of his address.

He told us that the total estimated revenues for the year ended March 31, 1926, amounted to $376,800,000; that the estimated expenditures chargeable to consolidated fund amounted to $321,800,000, leaving a surplus of revenue over ordinary expenditure of $55,000,000.

Capital expenditure for public works amounted to $4,930,000; for railways and canals, $12,005,000, of which the larger amount, he explained, was for the Welland canal. The total net capital expenditure for the year amounted to $16,935,000. Other expenditures, such as the adjustment of war claims and the refunding of maturing war loans, amounted to $4,155,000, making a total of $21,090,000. Deducting this amount from $55,000,000 leaves a surplus of $33,910,000.

The total expenditure for all government services was $342,890,000, and the estimated revenue receipts for the year, $376,800,000 leaving a surplus of $33,910,000, as I have already said.

Then there have been special receipts and expenditures not included in the year's

fMr. Mcighen.]

business, one of which was the loan of $10,000,000 to the Canadian National Railway. There were, other special expenditures, bringing the total excess of special expenditures over special revenues to $11,557,000. This deducted from the $33,910,000 leaves a surplus of $22,353,000, which amount can be deducted from the national debt.

The national debt for 1925 amounted to $2,417,437,685.59 After deducting $22,353,000 from this amount, we have the total national debt at $2,395,084,685.59. I have no criticism to offer, Mr. Speaker, in connection with these figures. We are glad to know that there has been some slight reduction in the national debt, and that there is a surplus of $22,000,000 odd in the year's budget.

Now in regard to the estimates for the coming year, the amount named in the main estimates is $345,771,351. To this must be added other expenses and something for supplementary estimates, bringing the total for these additional expenses up to about $36,000,000, making the total estimated expenditure for the year $381,871,351. Looking over that amount it seems to me there is not going to be much less spent this year than last, and I think the minister has been quite optimistic in making up his budget when he thinks we are likely to have the amount of revenue he estimates for the year. If things go well and the country prospers during the next year, and we have a good crop, perhaps we may have a balanced budget, but if it should be otherwise, I am afraid it is just possible we may have a deficit instead of a surplus next year; but I am not going to pour cold water on the minister's hopes, and trust that we shall have a prosperous year;

There has been a wonderful revival of trade during the past year. Our exports increased over those of last year by the sum of $249,000,000. Our imports increased by $130,000,000 and our exports exceeded our imports by the sum of $402,695,000, I am inclined to believe, Mr. Speaker, that this large increase in our exports over our imports is largely due to the magnificent crop we had last year in the Dominion of Canada, more especially in the western provinces. Of this increased trade, 90 per cent is accounted for by empire trade. This, I am inclined to believe, would be made up very largely of our exports of agricultural and other natural products that we exported to Great Britain and other countries during the past year.

One of the encouraging features of our export trade is the large growth that has taken place in our export of cattle. For the year 1923 we exported cattle to the number

The Budget-Mr. Forke

of 25,758, valued at $2,809,796, and three years later, in 1926, we exported cattle to the number of 106,200, valued at $11,283,007, or almost five times the value of our exports three years previous, in 1923. This is very 'encouraging, and emphasizes the necessity of adequate provision being made in regard to the shipment of our cattle across the Atlantic ocean, and that freight rates be brought down to a proper point so that this trade may be increased.

Reviewing the cattle trade for a moment, during the years from 1901 to 1911, those wonderful growing years for Canada, when immigration was pouring into the country and we were building railroads and spending vast sums of money, we had a good trade in cattle, and the demand was domestic. These immigrants were pouring in, and hundreds of thousands of men were employed as railroad labourers, and they consumed nearly all the meat that was raised in the Dominion of Canada at that time. Consequently we had a good market then for our cattle. But then there came a flattening out about the year 1913, when things became very dull in the cattle trade. The war broke out in 1914, and we know what happened then. Prices rose very rapidly, and a ready market was found at high prices for all the cattle that we could raise. During the war the United States was glad to buy our cattle at high prices. But when the war was over, what happened? Our friends to the south again put up the fence. We had let our export trade go to pieces, and had no arrangements made for shipping cattle to Great Britain, and consequently the whole cattle trade fell very flat, and as a great many people are aware, a good many people were ruined. They were really bad times so far as the cattle trade was concerned. Since then we have tried to rearrange our cattle export trade to Great Britain, and as I have already pointed out we have made a considerable advancement in the three years from 1923 to 1926, almost $12,000,000 being received for the cattle we exported to Great Britain in the year 1923. This, Mr. Speaker, I think should be a reason why the government should be alive to the fact that it is necessary to see that proper bottoms and adequate accommodation are provided for the export of our cattle, and that freight rates on the Atlantic be reduced to the lowest possible point. It was rather unfortunate that the attempt that was made last year to make some advance in this direction did not succeed, but I hope the government will not be disheartened and that something will be done to see that this trade is properly taken care of.

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

Hewitt Bostock (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

May I ask hon. members not to indulge in conversation. I cannot hear the speaker.

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

Robert Forke

Progressive

Mr. FORKE:

I want to say a few words in regard to our railway finances. The annual statement of the Canadian National Railways for the past year shows that the surplus of net earnings amounted to $33,000,000. This is very satisfactory indeed. The report goes on to say that the annual interest charges for the past year amounted to $71,-

800,000. In the hands of the public there are interest bearing bonds and other securities amounting to $40,400,000, leaving a balance of $31,400,000 that is a liability to the government for interest and so on. Now if we take the $40,400,000 of interest that is due the public and deduct the $33,000,000 surplus of net revenue we find there is a deficit of $7,400,000. I am sure that when the public learns the fact that the deficit on the Canadian National Railway amounts to only $7,400,000 there will be a sigh of relief throughout the country. The statement goes on to say that during the year just closed the financial assistance to the railways by the government amounted to $10,000,000. There were no government guarantees and no floating indebtedness has been incurred. An unspent balance from 1925 of $2,700,000 has been utilized. The advance of $10,000,000 has been charged to the net debt of the Dominion, the railway loans being treated as non-active assets. I am inclined to believe they will be non-active for a very long time indeed. However, that is by the way. The loan of $10,000,000 covers the loss of $7,400,000 already referred to, leaving a balance of $2,600,000 for capital purposes. The total loans and payments made by the government to the railways now amount to $601,000,000. This includes interest and capital cost of the government railways. The financial position of the railways has improved immensely during the last few years, and no patriotic Canadian can read the statement without feeling proud of the achievements of the management of the Canadian National railways. A splendid service has been given the country, and year by year the system has been advancing until we are almost within measurable distance of the time when there will be a balanced budget, and perhaps in the not very far distant future these railways will be an asset to this Dominion instead of a liability.

I do not like to pass from a consideration of the railway situation without saying a word in regard to the Canadian Pacific Railway. Every patriotic Canadian wishes to see the Canadian National Railways flourish and become a profitable asset. At the same time

The Budget-Mr. Forke

he also wishes success to the Canadiaa Pacific Railway. There cannot be any other desire than that the Canadian Pacific should go on and prosper. It has done great things for Canada although, of course, many people think the country has done a great deal for the Canadian Pacific. Undoubtedly the interests of Canada and the Canadian Pacific are interwoven and when one flourishes the other must flourish also. Of course, we want our freight rates to be as low as they possibly can be. At the same time we can still carry on the battle and hold our end up. Our desire is that both the Canadian National Railways and the Canadian Pacific should flourish and prosper.

This leads me to say a few words in regard to income tax reduction, and I am going to read an extract from the Manitoba Free Press in regard to that subject which will give hon. members an idea of what the opinion in Manitoba at least is with regard to income tax reduction. The Manitoba Free Press says:

The cuts in taxation are all economically sound and politically judicious.

I hope my hon. friends to the right will notice the statement that what has been done is politically judicious anyway. The editorial goes on to say:

The rate of taxation upon automobiles was a scandal; once it was directly attacked as it was both last year and this session by Progressives and Liberal members, it became evident that it could not stand; but there was still the doubt whether the government would have the courage to deal with the question directly. To have passed the difficulty to the tariff board, which the government was beseeched to do would have been a political blunder of the first order. The tariff on automobiles is still substantial-27J per cent on cars costing over $1,200 and 20 per cent on cars below that figure. These rates, with a drawback of 25 per cent on raw material will still leave the automobile manufacturers in a strongly protected position, while the cuts will mean a substantial reduction in the price of cans. Those artless souls who think there is no connection between duties and prices are herewith advised to keep an eye for the next few weeks on the price of motors.

Mr. Speaker, to that last sentence I direct the attention of the hon. member for Fort William and Rainy River who argued in this House a few days ago that the higher the protection was, the lower the price on the article would be. So I want that hon. member just to keep his eye on the price of cars for the next few weeks and see if it works out exactly in the way he imagines.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
Permalink
CON

Eccles James Gott

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GOTT:

How does this reduction compare with the other reduction in Ford cars?

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

Robert Forke

Progressive

Mr. FORKE:

I do not know what reduction the hon. member refers to.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE.
Permalink
CON

Eccles James Gott

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GOTT:

The last reduction, the reduction prior to this one?

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

April 20, 1926