June 4, 1931

?

An hon. MEMBER:

Hear, hear. .

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

All right. But the point

is this, they now say that the falling off in our farm exports is due to the fiscal policy of this government. Which horn of the dilemma are they going to sit'on? Either one will be uncomfortable for them, I am afraid. The fact is that during their term of office the sales of farm produce to the United States dropped 75 per cent; that was the decrease under ithe guidance and the policy of the Liberal party of this country.

Now, then, I want to invite the attention of the house to the question of wheat exports.

I suppose, sir, that of ail our exports, wheat is perhaps the largest. It is one of the most important, and brings into Canada directly the largest return. Remember, the hon. gentleman charged, as I have said before, that the falling off in exports is due to the fiscal policy of this government. Very good. For the crop year ending July 31, 1930, 155,000,000 bushels were exported.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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CON

James J. Donnelly

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DONNELLY:

What was the money

value?

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

If my hon. friends opposite will wait, I will analyse the whole business for them. For the ten months of this crop-year .there already have been exported 195,000,000 bushels, as against 155,000,000 bushels for the whole crop-year of 1930. We have information regarding the bookings for June and July, and making our estimates much below the actual figures for April and May, the total for 1931 will be 234,000,000 bushels, as against 155,000,000 bushels in 1930. Those figures represent an increase of 80,000.000 bushels this year over last. I ask hon. members to bear this in mind: If the fiscal policy of this government is affecting the exports of the country, then the government is entitled to .credit for this increased export of wheat. I want to give the actual figures now. For the year ending April 30, 1930, the export of wheat was 173,000,000; for the same period ending 1931. we exported 218,000.000 bushels, or an increase of some 28 per cent.

Now comes a very significant and interesting analysis of values. I have shown an increase in the export of wheat in this crop-

The Budget-Mr. Stevens

year over last of, roughly speaking, 50 per cent. The dollar value of the 1930 crop-year was 8188.000,000 for 155,000,000 bushels. I am giving round figures. For the 234.000,000 exported this year only $165,000,000 was received. I should like my hon. friends opposite to follow me an this. Had we received this year the average price that prevailed last year our wheat would have brought us $282,000,000.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

Just what is the reason

for that laugfh? I want to put this to my hon. friends: They have argued that there is a drop in imports and exports, but here we have a drop of $120,000,000 in the value of the exports, whereas the quantity increased. What was the reason for that? It was due to a condition which is world-wide.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Low prices.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

I want to say just a few words on that subject of low prices in connection with wheat. The hon. member for Melville (Mr. Motherwell), who was then Minister of Agriculture, took a trip to Europe. The ex-Minister of Justice, the hon. member for Quebec East (Mr. Lapointe), took a trip to Europe. The hon. member for Shelburne-Yarmouth (Mr. Ralston) took a trip to Europe, as did one of the other ministers, the ex-Miruister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Malcolm), who I am sorry is not with us this session. These ministers all went to Europe in 1929, with the exception of the former Minister of Agriculture, who went over in 1928. In the fall of 1929 it is alleged by European buyers-I want to make this clear-that due to the action of the wheat exporting trade of Canada they were unfairly treated. That is their argument. I am not endorsing it-*

An bon. MEMBER: The wheat pool.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

The wheat exporters of

Canada, pool and otherwise. It was argued by the buying countries that they were unfairly. treated by the Canadian wheat exporter, who held up his wheat so that they were forced to buy Argentine wheat. It was further stated that the mills of Holland, Belgium, France, Germany and Denmark, as well as those of some of the other countries, changed their silk screens for tihe milling of Argentine wheat. When we came into office we found the door closed not only by tariffs but by prejudice based upon a conviction that they had not been treated fairly.

I am not passing judgment on Canadians at all; I may say that the wheat pool officials and others denied . that they held up wheat. Whether or not that is true, the oonviction was fixed in the minds of European buyers that it was the case. Now I ask, where was the government of the day during the autumn of 1929 and the winter and spring of 1930? Where was Mr. Dunning, who is the outstanding champion of cooperative wheat farming and marketing in western Canada? Where was he? Where was the hon. member for Melville? Where was the hon. member for West Edmonton (Mr. Stewart)? Where were the ministers of that government? So far as I have been able to discover, not one of them moved a finger to correct thait situation. If, Mr. Speaker, there was any truth in the statement, if Canada was to blame, why did not the government of the day use its influence, if it had no control, to correct that situation?

I may say this, that when we went over last fall to attend the Imperial conference, my right hon. leader and my colleagues, the Minister of Justice and the Solicitor General, and myself, we did everything we could to correct that condition. I think. Mr. Speaker, the figures I have given are indicative of the fact that at least some good was done to Canada in the correcting of thait difficulty. Am I called in question on that? Let me just read a few details in this matter. Giving the round figures. Great Britain purchased this year 132.001,090 bushels of wheat as against 112,000,000 bushels last year-

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
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CON

Robert James Manion (Minister of Railways and Canals)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

In spite of the Dunning

budget.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

Yes, in spite of the

Dunning budget. Belgium took 11.000 000 bushels each year. Between the dates I have mentioned. France took 9,800,000 bushels this year as against 6 000 000 bushels last year. Germany took 5.600.000 bushels this year as against 5.400.000 bushels last year. Greece took 5,284.000 bushels this year as against 3.675.000 bushels last year. Italy, a market we thought we had lost to Russia, took 12,281,000 bushels this year as against 5.845.000 last year The Netherlands took 7 888.000 bushels against 5.950.000 bushels last year; Norway took 849,000 bushels as against 1.000.000 last year; Sweden took 1,369.000 bushels as against 1.614.000. The total during the period mentioned is 188,000,000 bushels to Europe, as against 155,000,000 the previous year, and this was accomplished in spite of the fact that there was a prejudice against Canada when we went over last year, because

The Budget-Mr. Stevens

of the action of the previous year. Again I say there was a grave responsibility resting on the government. I am not saying the government should have stepped in and taken the wheat and sold it, but I say that the minister who viewed the agricultural prospects of Europe from the spas of Europe, and who toured that country so extensively, never had a word of advice for his friends :n the west. The former Minister of Finance, Mr. Dunning, who is supposed to be the outstanding authority on this subject, particularly in connection with marketing, had no word to say. So I could call the roll; none of them had a word of advice, and the results are to be seen in the figures I have presented.

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

John Vallance

Liberal

Mr. VALLANOE:

Would the minister

mind teililing us, now that he has gone so far. just what he did to bring about these results?

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

I will tell the house what we did. I think we were successful in removing from the minds of the buying countries of Europe the feeling of prejudice and bitterness against Canada, based largely upon the assumption which they held, rightly or wrongly, that Canada was out to corner the world market and to dictate prices to Europe. We removed that feeling.

Then, Mr. Speaker, we are large exporters of certain other commodities to which I wish to refer. Let us consider copper, and here again we have the reason, largely, for the fall in the value of our exports. During 1929-30 copper sold for over 18 cents a pound; the average price was nearly 19 cents, but there was a fixed price of 18 cents. Copper is now SI cents per pound, the lowest it has been for many years, showing a reduction of 46 per cent. Lead was 8 cents per pound; it is now 2j cents, and indeed I saw a quotation to-day below that. There is a drop again of more than 46 per cent. Zinc was 7 cents per pound; now it is 2f cents or less, a drop of 38 per cent. I am afraid these percentages are a little low; as a matter of fact they should be higher. In any case, there was a serious drop in the values of these articles. I have here a statement in detail dealing with the exports, but I do not wish to read it at length. The export of copper, by weight, has dropped 26 per cent; the export of lead has dropped 7 per cent, and the export of nickel by 23 per cent, but the export of zinc has increased by 34 per cent. In other words, the falling off in the amount of these metals exported is much less than the fall in value. That again accounts for a large portion of the fall in the value of the exports.

I think it well for Canada as a whole to recognize these facts, because whatever may be the desire of our political opponents to belittle the government, I do not think any hon. member opposite desires to belittle Canada, and if we can give to the world a picture less depressing than perhaps certain figures indicate, it is doing this country a good service.

My hon. friend who preceded me, acting as critic for the opposition, referred to unemployment. He gave the decline in employment as from 107.8 to 99.7; that is to say, at the end of April, 1930-I believe that was the month-the figure was 107.8, while this year it is 99.7. Well, he was correct. But may I point out that he chose the worst point he could. And it will perhaps surprise the house when I state that, with all the unemployment we have to-day and the bad times we are experiencing, with this figure of 99.7 which the hon. gentleman gave, there were only three years out of the nine during which my hon. friends opposite were in office when the figure did reach that point, 99.7. In other words, in six years out of the nine they were in office employment was below 99.7. And the years in which it exceeded that figure were 1928, 1929 and 1930, which were boom years practically the world over and which we cannot claim brought any great advantage to society by reason of the collapse of the boom in New York. That was largely a stock market boom and its collapse was perhaps one of the worst blows which we have suffered in modern times.

The older members of this house will recall the mission which the right hon. the leader of the opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King) undertook some years ago when he went up and down this country talking about the high cost of living. Oh, how well we remember it. But that was before he became Prime Minister. It was in the year 1920-21, and the right hon. gentleman was than a free lance; he was seeking office and he went through the country, into the highways and byways, talking about, the high cost of living. At that time you could hear nothing else from the right hon. gentleman. Now I call the house to witness that he got into office and the high cost of living continued just the same. He did nothing to reduce it, and this year, for the first time since the right hon. gentleman took office in 1921, the cost of living is down.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

Mr. STEVENiS: My hon. friends do not like that. Well, I will give them the facts.

The Budget-Mr. Stevens

The family budget to-day is 8.86 as compared with 11.24 in April, 1930-a very substantial decrease of over 21 per cent. Now, employment was at 99 this year, as pointed out by my hon. friend, and this he said was low as compared with what it was a year ago. Let me point out, however, that it is higher than it was during six years out of the nine in which my hon. friends opposite were in office. And, as I have shown, the cost of living is lower to-day than it was at any time during their term of office. But hon. gentlemen opposite had certain cut and dried appeals which they made to the people of the country, appeals whereby they sought to beguile the poor in support of their policies.

I wish to say now a few words in connection with .the income tax. My hon. friend declared that this was a rich man's budget, and he cited the income tax to support his contention. This is not a rich man's budget, nor does it propose a rich man's income tax. My hon. friend did not do himself justice today, for he did not give to the income tax proposals the study which he ought to have given and which he might have given had he carefully perused the resolutions. There has been published in the press an abundance of information in the form of analyses by newspaper men. editors and others, to show that far from being a rich man's income tax budget, the budget is really of benefit to the poor.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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?

An hon. MEMBER:

Explain.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

Such interjections are not creditable to my hon, friends. In the first place, out of 142,000 who -are paying income tax in Canada and that is all who are paying income tax-100,000 will benefit; in other words, 100.000 of the lower class. The budget will benefit that number of the total. Now the corporation tax increase is equal to 25 per cent. What does that mean? My hon. friend suggested that the income tax should be imposed upon those most able to bear it. Well, the larger corporations are representative of the more wealthy people of the country as well as, of course, the smaller shareholders. The fact is, however, that the wealthy men of Canada are the largest owners in the large corporation. That, I think, is accepted. Now, these are not questions to play with; they are questions of economics purely and simply. The increase of 25 per cent in the corporation tax will take from the wealthier men of the country-those, to use my hon. friend's words, who are most able to bear it-more than will be saved to them by the reduction of the maximum in the income tax to 25 per cent.

I shall come to that in a moment. Let me state it clearly: the increase of 25 per cent in the corporation income tax will bear more heavily upon the richer men and will cost them more than they will save by the reduction of the personal tax maximum to 25 per cent. Let us take the other point, the proposal in these resolutions to reduce to 25 per cent the maximum that may be taken in income tax. Why is that done? In the first place, there are two main principles that ought to guide a government in the imposition of income tax. The first is revenue.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

Mr. Speaker, I rise to a point of order. The forty-minute rule is very rigidly insisted upon when it applies to members in this corner of the house. I should like to know why there ought to be any extension of the hon. gentleman's time in this instance.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
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CON

Pierre Édouard Blondin (Speaker of the Senate)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

If the hon. member will

read the rule he will see that it is being applied.

Mr. WOODSW'ORTH: I ask for your ruling, Mr. Speaker.

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Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
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CON

Pierre Édouard Blondin (Speaker of the Senate)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

My ruling is that the

Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Stevens) is quite in order in continuing to speak.

Mr. WOODSW'ORTH: May I ask-

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Read the rule.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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June 4, 1931