Municipal taxes, estimated average $ 165 Hail insurance, 170 acres at 5 to 10 per cent for $10 per acre 100 Fire insurance on buildings and contents, $5,000 at i per cent annually.. 25 Binder twine, 2 pounds per acre and sundries-say 60 Fuel for cooking and heating and illuminating oil-say 100 Cost of taxes and sundries $ 450 Recapitulation- Hired help $ 390 Depreciation, maintenance, etc 590 Taxes and sundries 450 Total operation expenses $ 1,430 Balance net revenue over, for services owner and wife 1,050 Total $ 2,480 Note:-Nothing is left over for interest on capital invested, or if balance over be treated as interest on capital invested, yielding 7 per cent, nothing will be left over for services of owner and wife. With the above figures of cost of land, buildings, implements, horses, etc., any farmer can readily figure out the profit of farming. If, from his experience, his grain will yield more or less of an average per acre over a ten year period, then he can add on or deduct from as the case may be but, when these prices and yields of grain were prepared the farmer was given the benefit of any doubt. It will be noted in computing the revenue that I have allowed $1 per bushel for wheat. I did that because I believe wheat will come back to SI per bushel, and I am looking for us to get that price this year. The compilation of these figures took some time but I thought they would be interesting to hon. members who may not understand the operation of a 320-acre farm in western Canada. This proposed cut of civil service salaries is not a large one and it will be in effect only for this year. It will not fall heavily upon them to make that sacrifice as compared with the sacrifices that others are making, and I ask hon. gentlemen opposite not to be too critical and not to be continually finding fault with this side. I know the right hon. gentleman who is piloting the ship of state; I have known him for over thirty years, ever since he came to Calgary. I do not know of one dishonourable move he has ever made. I have watched his career during the last thirty-two years in western Canada. Thirty-two years ago I had ' Public Service-Salary Deduction the privilege of standing on the platform with him in southern Albeirta when he was first branching out, and I have watched him all down through the years. I know he will, if at all possible, bring this country back to prosperity, and it is a godsend that he is at the helm.
Hon. gentlemen smile and laugh at that remark, but while they were doing so I was thinking of an old ship called Canada on which I left the Prince of Wales landing dock in Liverpool to come home. How she did rock and pitch and roll all over the ocean,, setting in the trough of the sea. At present Canada is in the trough of the sea and we are working to get her out, just as they did with that old ship Canada that ran for so many years across the Atlantic. They put her into dry dock. They took the top decks off her and put her on an even balance. That, from my knowledge during the past thirty-two years of the right hon. gentleman who is leading this party, is what he will do for Canada.
Mr. A. W. NEILL (Comox-Alberni):
Mr. Speaker, I shall detain the house only for a couple of minutes. We all join in the hope that the hon. member for Marquette (Mr. Mullins) will, thirty-two years from now, be again standing on the platform with his chief of whom he thinks so highly. I say that with all good wishes and sincerity.
As regards the subject of the debate, I am willing to agree to the cut not only in the civil service salaries, but in the indemnity as well. But I am strongly of the opinion that the cut should have been extended to all branches of the civil service, including the judges, also that it should have been on a graded scale so that the money forfeited should have come rather from money that would ordinarily be spent on luxuries than from money that would otherwise be spent upon necessities. I am also very much in favour of the suggestion that has been made that there should be a total exemption of the ten per cent cut as regards those having a salary of $1,200 or less. Further, I would point out that the announcement made by the Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) that on salaries under $1,200 a concession would be made by the government paying the contribution of those civil servants towards the superannuation fund, is not a contribution in this regard; that a large number of civil servants do not contribute to the superannuation fund, and if they are receiving less than $1,200 a year, they will get no rebate whatever, so that they
will be heavily penalized. To suggest that the burden be taken off only those who happen to be paying superannuation, is unreasonable.
My real object in speaking was to make some comment on the remarks of the hon. member for Muskoka-Ontario (Mr. McGib-bon) who I am sorry to see is not in his seat at the moment. He said that he had visited one of the departments lately and had seen five of the employees doing nothing. That, in his opinion, was the condition that prevailed generally throughout the civil service in Ottawa. When an hon. member or, indeed, anybody enters an office, it is natural for the employees to look up. Perhaps they were arrested by his striking personality and possibly they did what is recorded of the people in Goldsmith's Deserted Village:
And still they gazed, and still the wonder grew
That one small head could oarry all he knew.
They may have been arrested by some such thought as that. At any rate, we do not know the reason why they were doing nothing at the moment. I must, however, enter my protest against the statement that idleness is the prevailing condition in the civil service. These people in Ottawa are not able to speak for themselves. I should have been glad had some member more directly associated with the service taken up the cudgels, but perhaps this comes with more force from one who lives a long distance away and who has no personal interest in these people. I have had business at many of their offices and I have found them obliging, courteous and for the most part painstaking and willing to woTk. I wish to enter my emphatic protest against the suggestion of the hon. member for Muskoka that the conditions that generally prevail are those of doing little or nothing for their salaries. Of course there are defections in all ranks, but for the most part they are a hard working, industrious, decent body of people.
Mr. J. L. BROWN (Lisgar):
I was glad to listen to the hon. member for Marquette (Mr. Mullins); he always entertains the house for a time. But perhaps the best thing he has done since he has been a member of parliament has been to put on record, for the benefit of the house and the country, what it costs to carry on a farm in western Canada. The hon. member has done just what some of us have been endeavouring to do during the last ten or eleven years, namely, to show what the real cost of carrying on farming in the west is and how little profit the farmer is able to make under present
Public Service-Salary Deduction [DOT]
conditions. If, however, I may say so without offence, I am glad the hon. member is now clothed and in his right mind, for we ean readily recall how he has told the house what wonderfully prosperous conditions have prevailed in the constituency of Marquette. Probably the hon. member has been receiving letters from home.
Will the hon. member
allow me to explain that?
Yes, if the hon. gentleman
does not take too long.
It was to keep the mortgage companies from bothering any of the men who had loans from them, and I did not want to keep on wailing and crying.
That may be so; but after reading some of the wonderful statements made by the hon. member for Marquette in regard to his constituency, I had an incident reported to me of an agent for a machine company who was fired from his firm because he was unable to collect more from those very prosperous farmers. As a further indication of the conditions that prevail in Marquette, the other day I received information that in one municipality there were 271 parcels of land listed for tax sale, most of them quarter-sections as well as some town lots. I had the amount added up on an adding machine in one of the departments and the unpaid taxes amounted to $29,000.
I was interested also in the hon. member's reminiscences of the session of 1926. I do not think any of us who were here at that period will ever forget the hectic time we had. I was interested in the tribute the hon. member paid to the present leader of the opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King) on being able to carry on under such circumstances.
He should have paid it to the hon. member.
I am not unwilling to take
part of it. Perhaps if hon. gentlemen opposite knew of the tremendous efforts that were made by those now sitting on the other side of the house to wean us away from our allegiance, they would realize something of the pressure we had to bear.
The hon. gentleman was weaned anyway.
Before I come to the resolution itself, while I have been listening to the debate that has been carried on from one side of the house and the other, two questions have arisen that are clamouring for an answer. One is this. How did it come about that com-
ditions which in 1930 were entirely the fault of the then government were, six months after, and still are, the result of world wide conditions? Another is, how the present plea for economy in this particular direction can be reconciled with the declared efficacy of the policies which this government has put into effect. We will leave the solution of these problems to a later date; probably when we have nothing better to do we shall try to answer them.
With regard to the matter before us I want to say this. Representing as I do a rural constituency, representing people who have seen not only a ten per cent reduction in their income but the whole equity in their holdings wiped out in the last two or three years; knowing as I do that to-day a letter and yesterday a telegram have come from home reminding me that the farmers are losing their horses and every day or two are compelled to draw one out into the field; knowing that, and knowing that I can get no satisfactory answer from this government as to what they propose to do, and believing as I do that the farmers have borne their full share and more than their share of the burden, I can offer no objection to the general principle of a reduction in salaries. I do believe, however, that the proposed reduction, if made along the lines indicated so far, will not give fair play all round. I believe that the people of this country should bear the burden in proportion to their ability to bear it. If I were discussing this question theoretically I would say that all men, from those receiving the highest salaries to those receiving the lowest, should bear some share of the burden; and if we find it not practicable to levy contributions upon the smaller incomes it is only because the cost of collecting it would be greater than the amount that would be received. So that for practical purposes it is probably desirable that there should be a minimum amount fixed below which there should be no reduction. I do hold, however, and very strongly, that when the government is attempting to levy this burden upon the people of Canada they should try to levy it as equitably as possible, and I want to endorse all that has been said in regard to the exemptions proposed. I see no reason why judges and military and naval officers should be exempt from the burden; I see no reason why they should not be asked to carry a share of the 'burden which the other people of 'Canada are being called on to carry. If the bill when it comes down is framed along those lines I shall have no hesitation in supporting it; if there is any indication that there is an attempt to distribute the burden
Public Service-Salary Deduction
fairly among the different classes in the country. We all realize that it is not a pleasant thing to reduce salaries, but we are face to face with an emergency such as prevailed during the war. At that time we felt that we were under obligation each and all of us to carry what share of the 'burden it was possible for us to bear. Some accepted the burden freely and gladly, while others made the war an occasion for piling up wealth for themselves. While we should like to think that all men are willing to bear their share of the burden we must not forget that there are possibly those who will be only too glad, if they are able, ,to escape their share. I trust that the government, now that they have taken this step to balance the budget, will realize that this is only one of a number of possible means that might be taken; and I hope that the Minister of Finance will not pay any attention to a letter he has received, a copy of which came to us to-night, from some commercial bureau protesting against any increase in the income tax. That to my mind is the one source from which we oould receive large sums of money that would help us to balance the budget.
While accepting the general principle of this bill, that is for reductions in salaries, I should like to see it along a graded line, so that the small salaries would not be burdened while a heavier tax would be laid upon those who are much more able to bear the burden. Let us remember that after all it is not so much what is deducted from our incomes that counts; it is what we have left; and we have good reason in this regard for bearing in mind the commendation of the poor widow who gave her two mites to the treasury. She had given all that she had, and had nothing left. We must therefore judge the measure of sacrifice not by the amount deducted but by the amount left.
Mr. G. G. COOTE (MaCleod):
I regret to have to speak on this resolution at this hour. I did endeavour to get the floor earlier in the debate but did not succeed. I want to say at the outset that I do not intend to oppose the resolution, but at the same time there are features about it that are objectionable. I believe that if we had in Canada an intelligent and scientific monetary system there would be no need of putting wages up and down every few years, nor should we hear ministers making any reference to "normal depressions." If we are to have normal depressions then I suppose wages at such times must be reduced, and we cannot at the present time help ourselves. We have
this system. It seems as though the majority of people are willing that it shall continue, and that being the case I think we must submit to a reduction in salaries at this time.
Most of the people outside the civil service have had a reduction in wages or salaries; at least that is the statement I understood the Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett) to make, and he goes on to justify the cutting of salaries of civil servants because of the fact that in foodstuffs there has been a reduction of thirty per cent; in fuel cost, 5.8 per cent; in rents 7/10 of 1 per cent; in clothing, 23.6 per cent, and in sundries, 2.2 per cent, or an average reduction of 14.4 per cent. Then to-night some speakers on the other side of the house have stated that the farmer has taken a induction in his income amounting in some cases to sixty per cent. In view of all this, I feel that in a great many instances the civil servants can have no valid objection to a reduction in salaries. But I think it is to be regretted that the reduction which is being introduced was not made on a fairer basis. I believe that some of the smaller salaries are too low at the present time and should not be reduced at all; on the other hand, some salaries, particularly those over $5,000 might stand a reduction of more than ten per cent to make it equitable. But one thing I cannot understand-I do not think it is just-is that while the cost of living in some cases has been reduced as much as 14 per cent; while the salaries and wages of civil servants are being cut ten per cent, and while there has been a general cut in wages throughout Canada of about ten per cent, interest rates have been raised. That is, the wages of money have been increased. I believe this matter should receive the serious attention of the house, and at this time we are justified in bringing it to the attention of hon. members. The people of Canada should not be compelled to accept reductions in their wages, and reduced incomes from the sale of their products, and at the same time have the wages of money raised. In so far as it is within the competence of parliament, interest rates should be reduced in the same proportion as wages and salaries.
Exemptions from the reduction form another objection to the proposal now before us. My first objection will be directed towards the exemption given to lieutenant-governors, and next comes the exemption given to judges. I can see no reason why lieutenant-governors and judges should be exempt from the reductions. They are drawing high salaries, and surely if there is any equity in this
country we should begin at the top and reduce the big salaries. Judges hold their positions for life and retire on substantial pensions. To my mind there can be no justification for exempting these people when civil servants, some of whom receive less than $100 a month have their salaries cut.
Next I come to the case of the officers of the National Defence department. I can see no reason why they should be exempt from the reduction of salaries. Mr. Speaker, would you call it eleven o'clock.
At eleven o'clock the house adjourned without question put, pursuant to standing order. Friday, March 4, 1932