May 3, 1939

LIB

Ross Wilfred Gray (Chief Government Whip; Whip of the Liberal Party)

Liberal

Mr. GRAY:

What is the hon. gentleman's policy?

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CON

Robert James Manion (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

I will tell my policy at the proper time, but not in reply to a question by the whip of the Liberal party. As a matter of fact, I think the government in power ought to tell us their policy, in order to anchor the thing down, before we are asked to tell anything at all, because if we should state our policy now, I have no doubt at all that the government would go us one better to-morrow.

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LIB

William Alexander Fraser

Liberal

Mr. FRASER:

That would not be hard.

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CON

Robert James Manion (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

Well, my hon. friend is a pretty slick politician, and no one knows better than he that there was never a government in power in this country at any time that looked more wobbly than his government looks right now.

However, I want to get back to the Minister of Finance, who had the temerity to lecture business and tell it to have courage, enterprise and leadership-the courage, the enterprise and the leadership which he and his government lack altogether. It was no wonder that the staid old Financial Post came back at the minister in somewhat shocked surprise and spoke of his lip-service to economy and the inexcusable failure of government leadership, and then went on to ask of the government the leadership and courage the minister asked from business.

As a result of this budget the debt keeps on growing and growing. I am not one of those who believe than an increase in our debt is going to sink the ship. At the same time I believe that the government in power, when it increases the federal debt, should make an effort to get something in return for the money spent. Unfortunately our assets have not been building up in proportion to

the expenditures made by the various governments throughout the country, particularly in regard to unemployment and relief. It has been said many times that the expenditure on relief by federal, provincial and municipal governments during the last nine years amounts to something like 8900,000,000, and that about two-thirds of that money has been spent wholly without return of any kind. Imagine the good roads, the level crossing protection, the reforestation, the cleaning up of slums and all that sort of work which could have been done through the expenditure of this vast sum of money.

What is in this budget for the poor man? There is nothing at all that anyone can discover. The sales tax remains the same; the sugar tax remains the same; stamps are just as high in price. It is true that the government have removed the 3 per cent excise tax, just as we said they were going to do, although when we said so we were contradicted from the other side. Now they have removed that tax from practically everything, something else which was forced upon them by their bungling when they were negotiating the treaty at Washington. That bungling can be illustrated in many different ways, not only in connection with the 3 per cent excise tax but also in connection with countries enjoying favoured nation treatment. Perhaps that was not altogether bungling, because the government must have known that they would have to extend these concessions to the other favoured nations. But I have in my hand an item, which I am not going to read, which states that, because of the favoured nation treatment handed out to the Scandinavian countries, attempts are being made to bring pulp into this country, and the Minister of National Revenue (Mr. Ilsley) has had to put up the dump duty in order to keep out that pulp coming from those countries frcfm which we have received no favour in return. None of the favoured nations gave us anything in return, yet we have cut down our tariffs to them just the same as we have to the United States. I am receiving word from the industrial centres round my own constituency, London, with regard to a number of industries which think they are going to have to close their doors; in fact, some have already started reducing the number of employees as a result of this treaty. That only means so much more unemployment and so much more relief.

There is another illustration; I refer to the cattle quota. After some questioning in the house we discovered that the quota of 60,000 head per quarter really included cattle

The Budget[DOT]-Mr. Manion

from Mexico as well as cattle from Canada. That had not been mentioned when the Liberals put out their advertising and propaganda through their press releases. As a consequence, the ordinary Canadian cattle raiser did not know about the matter in time to hold up shipments of cattle to the United States. This was another blunder on the part of this government, in not telling the western producers and commission merchants the actual situation. I am told that at least 3,000 to 3,500 head of cattle were shipped to the United States by farmers in the belief that they were within the quota, when as a matter of fact part of the quota had been taken up by Mexico. This caused some farmers and dealers a loss of ljt cents a pound. In view of the fact that this government did not tell the people of western Canada that shipments of cattle were limited, not to 60,000 in the quarter but to 60,000 less the Mexican shipment, I suggest that some refund or correction should be made to these people who were unfairly allowed to ship their cattle across the border thinking they were within the quota.

What of the consumer? I am looking to my right to see if the hon. member for Huron North (Mr. Deachman), the consumers' league gentleman, is in his seat, but he is not. What is there in this budget for the consumer? What about the cost of living? Has it gone down at all since this government came into power? I remember when the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) was leader of the opposition, he was playing jigs and reels and probably even bagpipes, he was playing many tunes about the cost of living. He was telling the people generally what his government would do about the cost of living when they got into power. I made it my business just the other day to look up the figures as to the cost of living, and I found that in 1935, when we went out of power, the index for the cost of living, which includes retail prices, rents, food, fuel, services and sundries, was 79-1. Last year this figure had risen to 84, up five points. How we used to be belaboured by the hon. gentlemen who make up the present government! I hold in my hand a picturesque looking document entitled, "The Forgotten Consumer." He has been forgotten for five years. I read:

Why do the necessities of life cost so much more in Canada than in the United States? Bennett is to blame. High tariffs. . . . Excise taxes. ... Increased sales tax. . . . Fixed valuations and nuisance taxes instituted by Bennett have made the cost of living a heavy burden in Canada. The Liberal party will restore to "The Forgotten Consumer" the rights of which he has been robbed by Bennett and Stevens during the past five years.

I do not know why the member for Kootenay East (Mr. Stevens) is included in this. At the bottom it says, "Vote Liberal and lower the cost of living!" I have shown how the cost of living has actually gone up five points from 79-1 to 84 under my hon. friends. That is only one of the many promises that were made. I have jotted down from memory a few others. They promised to lower taxes, and yet this year the Minister of Finance is collecting more in taxes from the people of Fort-he is taking more from the people of Canada-from the people of Fort William so far as that goes; we have to go back home sometimes-than any other Minister of Finance. Taxes were to be lowered; there were to be balanced budgets; unemployment was to be corrected; unemployment insurance was to be put into force; there were to be stable customs laws; there was to be an investment control board; there was to be a more equitable distribution of wealth, and so on.

The Prime Minister was quite pleased with the results of the election, and I do not know that I blame him very much. On October 14, 1935, he issued a rather lengthy statement which was published in book form. I have a copy here. I assure my hon. friends that they may rest easy because I am not going to read it all. However, there are a couple of passages I should like to quote. The first is:

It is a verdict in favour of the reduction of the burden of public debt and taxation, and in favour of the attainment of a balanced budget.

And a little lower down:

It is a verdict in favour of a more equitable distribution of wealth, with increasing regard to human need, to the furtherance of social justice, and to the promotion of the common good.

Then there is the famous quotation which is too good to miss. The last paragraph is in classical language, and it reads:

In the new era which dawns to-day, the struggle for the rights of the people will, in the realm of economic liberty and security, be carried on as never before. Poverty and adversity, want and misery, are the enemies which Liberalism will seek to banish from our land.

And again:

We take up at once, as our supreme task, the endeavour to end poverty in the midst of plenty, starvation and unnecessary suffering in a land of abundance, discontent and distress in a country more blessed by providence than any other on the face of the globe, and to gain for individual lives, and for the nation as a whole, that "health and peace and sweet content" which is the rightful heritage of all.

No wonder my hon. friends laugh.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Laugh?

The Budget-Mr. Manion

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CON

Robert James Manion (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

It might be funny if it

were not so tragic. I have a number of circulars here. I am going to go through them quickly, and then I think I shall send them down to the archives and let them be kept there. Some day when we are old we can go down together, look them over and laugh over them. We may even succeed in getting some of the social crediters to go along.

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CCF

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

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

Mr. DOUGLAS (Weyburn):

We are laughing now.

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CON

Robert James Manion (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

I do not blame you for

laughing. Here is one:

Vote Liberal and get back from the poor-house.

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LIB

Ross Wilfred Gray (Chief Government Whip; Whip of the Liberal Party)

Liberal

Mr. GRAY:

Is that in the hon. member's book?

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CON

Robert James Manion (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

It has all been put on

Hansard. On the other side it reads:

Jobs or doles-which ?

And again:

After five years of Conservative government more than one-tenth of the Canadian people are on direct relief.

That is just about the figure now. Then again:

Vote Liberal and get back from the poor-house.

Apparently there were a couple of poor-houses at that time. Here is another one:

Lower taxes.

My hon. friend the Minister of Finance has been doing it nicely. He has just increased them by about $140,000,000.

Taxes were reduced by Liberal governments.

And more to come. On the other side appear a number of lists: and again:

Vote Liberal for lower taxes.

We are experiencing the highest taxation the country has ever had. Here is another squib about balancing the budgets. This one is particularly applicable to the Minister of Finance:

Which is better finance? Budget surpluses or budget deficits?

Then they say that the tax burden was heavier under the Conservative government because incomes fell and taxes were raised.

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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

Hear, hear.

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CON

Robert James Manion (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

My hon. friend is the last person who should be applauding a statement like that. No one has ever taken so much from the people of Canada in taxation as has the present Minister of Finance. He is in a class by himself. That is the only thing,

we will admit, that he is in a class by himself when he takes more taxes from the people, $361,000,000 as against $501,000,000.

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LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

What was the income of the people in the year in which you took $361,000,000?

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CON

Robert James Manion (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

The income of the people was lower, but the income of the people to-day is not very high. That is why my hon. friends are so afraid to face the people. That is why my hon. friend's friends are getting up and attacking their own government, because they are not satisfied with the income of the people.

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LIB

Ross Wilfred Gray (Chief Government Whip; Whip of the Liberal Party)

Liberal

Mr. GRAY:

How many?

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CON

Robert James Manion (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

I understand my hon. friend the chief whip kept a number quiet who had intended to rise and speak. If my hon. friend likes, I can name them. I notice he does not answer.

To return to my quotations, here is another real one. This gives the Liberal party's position on some economic problems.

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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of National Defence)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

Fourteen points.

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CON

Robert James Manion (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

Probably there are fourteen, but they were all jettisoned and thrown overboard by this government as soon as they got into power. The first was:

Unemployment is to be our first concern.

They have not done much for unemployment.

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CON

John Ritchie MacNicol

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MacNIOOL:

They have made it worse.

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CON

Robert James Manion (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MANION:

Right underneath I read:

A representative national commission which will cooperate with the provinces and municipalities in the administration of unemployment relief.

That has not been carried out. They appointed a commission, but they disbanded it. They were to institute a national system of unemployment insurance. We all know that nothing has been done about that. Then they said that the government would abolish all unwarranted extra taxes. The Minister of Finance has raised the sales tax from 6 to 8 per cent. That is the heaviest tax on the ordinary man. On the next page it says that they will substitute stability for uncertainty in the administration of the customs law. Then, " Control of credit." I know my hon. friends to my left will be pleased to hear that the Liberal party are going to control credit. They were to create a central bank, filling the functions of rediscount, the control of credit and the issuance of currency considered in terms of public need. I knew

The Budget-Mr. Manion

my hon. friends would rise to that. Then they say they believe that an investment control board should be established. That was just a blind to hoodwink the people. Then there was to be a restoration of responsible government.

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May 3, 1939