March 12, 1937

LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

Jurisdiction, no; but responsibilities. They are all included in that. Jurisdiction is a different thing. The provinces now have certain responsibilities, and we have been told by the privy council just what they are. It will be within the purview of the commission to review the responsibilities which the governmental bodies, dominion and provincial, are under by virtue of the constitution.

The Budget-Mr. Woodsworth

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

James Shaver Woodsworth

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

I suggest that in practice it will be difficult to do the one without doing the other.

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

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

A bit difficult, that is right.

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

James Shaver Woodsworth

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

I do not know whether the inference can be taken from the decisions of the judicial committee of the privy council that unemployment is a provincial matter, but supposing it is, what will be done? What is needed to-day is some rearrangement, not only of the responsibilities but of the jurisdictions of the dominion and the provinces.

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

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

That is involved in what I suggested.

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

James Shaver Woodsworth

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

I want to impress upon the minister the absolute necessity of this commission being charged with wider duties. The commission should not have to confine itself narrowly to financial relationships.

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

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

Quite.

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

James Shaver Woodsworth

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

Then the commission could perform valuable functions.

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

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

It would be useless otherwise.

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

James Shaver Woodsworth

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. WOODSWTORTH:

Practically so. Let me turn to another matter. In criticizing monetary fallacies the minister said:

Fundamentally our need is an increase in our aggregate national income-an increase in material wealth, not a different yardstick by which to measure it.

In making that statement the minister ignores the fact that because of the inflation and deflation which has taken place during the last few years tens of millions of dollars have been transferred from one set of pockets into another. The yardstick is a very important matter and it cannot be ignored, even although some of us cannot agree with all the policies put forth by certain monetary reform groups. The hon. member for Winnipeg South Centre (Mr. Maybank) suggested this afternoon that the wages of our railway workers should be restored. He also mentioned that the dollar had shrunk in value. I think that is true. He denounced soft money, and so on, but he did not apparently recognize the relationship between real wages and monetary control. After all, the dollar as it is to-day does vary from time to time. I think we ought not to fail to recognize that fact. But aside from monetary control I suggest to the minister that fundamentally our problem is not so much an increase in our aggregate national income, much as that is to be de-

sired, as a just system of distribution. I am convinced that if that took place there would follow a release of productive energies.

According to the Canada Year Book of 1936 the total value of the productive activities of the Canadian people in 1933 was $3,340,000,000. How is that distributed? Some indication is given by the income tax returns. According to the year book of 1935, income tax payers receiving under $2,000 per year numbered 85,385, and paid a tax of $950,120. Taxpayers receiving from $2,000 to $3,000 numbered 41,918, and paid total taxes of $938,923. Going to the other end of the table, we find that those receiving from $10,000 to $15,000 numbered 2,815, and paid a total income tax of $2,402,696. Those receiving $15,000 and over numbered 259, and paid a total income tax of S6,458,127. I recognize that a different rate applies to those in the higher income brackets, but nevertheless it is astounding how few people are able to pay an income tax of any large amount. A footnote in the Canada Year Book states that the reports are presented in a way "to conceal net income and identity of taxpayers." I cannot see why people who are receiving such large incomes should be so much afraid of having their identity disclosed, nor why governments should pander to that fear. It seems to me that we should know or have at least an approximate idea of what the incomes of these large income taxpayers really are.

The fact is that the vast majority of Canadians are too poor to pay income tax. This is said to be largely an agricultural country, but agrarians who pay income taxes number only 416-an astounding situation!- and pay only $824,083. On the other hand, those who come under the class "financial" number 11,673 and' pay $6,379,503-thus clearly demonstrating that in Canada we are witnessing a widening breach between those who labour and those who live on other people's labour; and unfortunately the budget does not seem calculated to lessen that breach very much.

Let me suggest to the minister and: to the house that the gaining of wealth is not necessarily an indication of ability. Sometimes it is largely a matter of chance. Often it is merely an indication of cunning and greed and heartlessness. May I suggest to him that the opportunities to make money are very largely dependent upon the artificial arrangements of our national economy; for example, our tariffs, the protection of corporations, and such matters. As indicated in this budget, the government is doing very little to check this tendency. The sales tax remains unaltered, although it bears very

The Budget-Mr. Woodsworth

heavily on- the masses of the people, and the income tax also remains unaltered, although it does not take as much as should be taken from those who are wealthy.

Speaking of unemployment and invention and technical improvement, the minister said:

As it indicates an increased efficiency in the productive mechanism, its results are not to be deplored. Its ill effects are temporary; in the Jong run it increases employment by cheapening production and expanding consumer purchasing power.

I am not at all sure that those statements, for many years accepted by economists, are to-day endorsed by some of the very best economists. The minister however says that this development is not to be deplored1. Looking down from Olympian heights upon the struggling masses, he may be so aloof from the petty worries of the ordinary man that he can utter such a sentiment. Can it be forgotten that over a million people are unemployed to-d-ay? Surely at least the immediate results are to be deplored. The minister says the ill effects are temporary. Well, that is not very much consolation to the million-odd people who are under relief, or to the 400,000 odd who are out of work.

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

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

A moment ago you said a "million."

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

James Shaver Woodsworth

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

Under relief.

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

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

You said, a million unemployed.

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

James Shaver Woodsworth

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

If I said so I correct it. I should have said, in- the first statement, "under relief," and I said just now that there were 400,000 unemployed. The minister suggests that -these ill effects -are very temporary. I suggest that to a doctor, symptoms-

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

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

I think you inserted the word "very." I do not think I used the word "very."

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

James Shaver Woodsworth

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

That the ill effects were temporary.

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

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

You said "very temporary."

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

James Shaver Woodsworth

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

The minister said:

Its ill effects are temporary; in the long run it increases employment by cheapening production.

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

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

That is right.

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

James Shaver Woodsworth

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

Well, I do not think we can take very great consolation out of the fact that in the course of the next twenty, thirty, forty or fifty years these effects will have passed. We are dealing with things as they are to-day, and under

these circumstances it seems to me that this budget should contain some cheer for those who are unemployed or under relief. Again, the -minister says:

It is probably true that a hard core of unemployment and relief will always remain.

And he added that some may become permanently unemployable.

The depression will leave ns with a new problem which will demand new methods of treatment from the appropriate authorities.

Here, again, the solution is left indefinite. Who are the "appropriate authorities"? Certainly in the last year the government has been trying to shift very largely the responsibility for the unemployed from the federal government to provinces and municipalities who are ill -prepared to care for it. Again- and I criticize these statements because I believe that very often we take for granted the truth of a great many of these general statements,-the minister calls special attention to the expansion of our foreign trade. Canada has -moved from fifth to fourth place among the nations of the world. I should like to ask the minister whether that fact is in itself very significant. What are we doing with our huge exports? Paying debts; very largely paying debts. The -minister himself says that we have had a total credit balance o-f $617,000,000. This, to -use his own words-

-gave Canada an ample supply of foreign exchange funds with which to meet interest and dividend payments to foreign creditors as well as other invisible debit items in our balance of payments, and at the same time enabled us to effect a very substantial reduction in our net capital indebtedness abroad.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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March 12, 1937