Yes, falsify their accounts. I do not think that is too strong a term to use. Their assets were put up to a figure higher than what they had paid for them and much higher than the market prices. If that had not been permitted, some of our insurance companies would have gone bankrupt. That was done under the unemployment relief act. It does seem to me that if the government could handle that situation in that way in the interests of big business, it coidd very easily, if it were in earnest, handle this other situation and protect the living standards of men, women and children, which standards have been so seriously threatened by the practices which have grown up.
The Prime Minister says we have not the money to spend, but that is the same old cry. According to a statement issued by the bureau of statistics, last year, 307 Canadians paid income taxes on incomes of more than $50,000 per year. That little statement shows the real situation. When there is so much money in the hands of some of our people that 300 of them have incomes of more than $50,000- some of these run to exceedingly high figures but we cannot tell exactly, as the Minister of Finance has said that it would not be in the public interest to divulge this information- there is no earthly reason why we cannot adopt policies which will give every man work and a decent living.
Surely there is sufficient credit in the country. I submit that if a war were declared to-morrow the money would be found with which to carry it on, in spite of the enormously heavy debts which we now have. Surely the credit of the country is sufficient to provide every man with a decent job at a decent wage. If it is not, we may as well go out of business entirely. The Prime Minister gets back to his favourite argument, that we must not destroy contracts, that we must maintain our credit and recognize our solemn obligations. I have said before on many public platforms, and I repeat, that while we may be said to have certain obligations to the bondholders of the Canadian National Railways and the government, in my judgment the obligations which we owe to the returned men, many of whom are on the verge of destitution; the obligations which we owe to the scattered pioneers of this country, many of whom are suffering dire want; the obligations which we owe to the coming generation of Canadian children, are infinitely more sacred than those which we owe to the bondholders.
Why take this whole question of contracts for granted? A contract is made on a definite set of conditions, and if those conditions alter, the contract should be altered. That is only equity. If tlhe dollar changes in its purchasing power we will soon reach the stage where we will change the contract in accordance with the changed value of the dollar. We have been saying that from this corner of the house for a number of years, but in spite of all our protestations we find the Prime Minister coming back to his old position and refusing to think of other than nominal values, saying that we must maintain the contracts. He calls us welshers if we do not maintain those contracts. I am not to be bullied by any such words as that flung at me.
Subtopic: ADMINISTRATIVE, ADVISORY AND INVESTIGATORY FUNCTIONS-PROVISION FOR A DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS