Mr. W. ROSS MACDONALD (Brantford City):
Mr. Speaker, may I at the outset congratulate the Minister of Finance (Mr. Ilsley) upon the conciseness and clarity of his budget address. May I also pay a tribute to him for the manner in which he has directed our country's financial policy. It must indeed be a source of great satisfaction to him to know that other nations have adopted these policies which have prevented a vicious spiral of rising prices, otherwise known as inflation. In past wars this has not always been possible. I would remind the house that during the last great war prices rose sharply. Perhaps I could give a few instances. In 1919 flour sold at $7 a bag; to-day it sells for $3.10. Sugar reached 25 cents a pound in 1919; to-day it is only 8 or 9 cents a pound. Butter sold for 80 cents a pound; to-day you can buy it for 38 cents. Eggs cost $1 a dozen; to-day you can buy them in any store for 43 cents a dozen.
Canadians should indeed be proud. Not only have other countries adopted our fiscal
The Budget-Mr. Macdonald (Brantford)
policies and1 our plans for the rehabilitation of our armed forces; they have marvelled at the great industry of our industrial workers and our farmers who have produced such prodigious quantities of war equipment and food. Over and above all this is the crowning glory which comes to us through the gallant deeds of our soldiers, sailors and airmen. The Right Hon. Peter Fraser, speaking in this house on Friday last, paid great tribute to Canada when he said:
The fact that 800,000 men and women have been enrolled in the forces, and the further fact that 2.000,000 persons are taking part in the industrial war effort of this country, are sufficiently eloquent and convincing testimony as to the whole-hearted way in which Canada has thrown itself, without reserve, into what it knew was a struggle for the existence of all that is decent in the life of mankind.
Canada and her allies among the united nations are by nature peace loving people. We were not prepared for war in 1939, and it has taken us four years to attain maximum production. To-day we are geared to a high tempo in war production. It is only natural therefore that there should be few changes m the budget.
The hon. member for Dufferin-Simcoe (Mr. Rowe), whom I should like to congratulate upon being recently elevated to the important post of financial critic of His Majesty's Loyal Opposition-had very little to say of a critical nature with respect to the budget. In one sentence he objected to the abolition of com
pulsory savings on the ground that it would result in lowered financial returns to the government and might start an inflationary trend. Then, in the very next sentence, on behalf of his party he proposed even greater reductions. If a small reduction would cause an inflationary trend, surely a greater reduction would cause a greater inflationary trend. I have never heard anything more inconsistent and more insincere-and this, I may say, from a party that prides itself on total war.
Subtopic: DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE