July 12, 1944

LIB
SC

Victor Quelch

Social Credit

Mr. QUELCH:

Another thing that puzzles me is that the minister should quote and use the words of a former minister of finance, Mr. Dunning, because if there is one man in this country whose policies have been discredited, it is the Hon. Charles Dunning.

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NAT
SC

Victor Quelch

Social Credit

Mr. QUELCH:

Someone laughs. But just let him go through the years 1935 to 1939, when we were told time and again we could not put the unemployed to work because there was no money, and that the only monejt available was the money received from taxation. Yet within six weeks after this war started,

8200.000. 000 was created for the government by the chartered banks, and in the past year

8900.000. 000 by the chartered banks and the Bank of Canada.

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

I was not laughing at the hon. member, because to some extent I am in agreement with what he said about Mr. Dunning.

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SC

Victor Quelch

Social Credit

Mr. QUELCH:

Well, I am glad we can agree on that point.

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LIB

Gerald Grattan McGeer

Liberal

Mr. McGEER:

And the same applied to Mr. Bennett and Mr. Rhodes.

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

Well, that may be.

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SC

Victor Quelch

Social Credit

Mr. QUELCH:

It was Mr. Dunning who was quoted in this return, and I am wondering why the minister should quote Mr. Dunning to-day, when the memories of those days are still so fresh in the minds of hon. members.

To come back to the resolution, I would favour wiping out all taxation on people in lower income tax brackets-that is, on those with incomes of $1,000 if single, and $1,500 if married. That is, the amount obtained from those people to-day by methods of taxation could be credited to them as savings, and the tax structure on incomes above that would have to be changed so as to have a fair relationship between pure taxation and compulsory savings. That would be necessary, because the minister said that if we eliminated the tax in the lower income brackets, those in the higher brackets would also benefit. That would very well be taken care of by changing the tax structure in regard to the higher incomes.

I would like to see a far wider application of this whole principle. I would like to see all money that has to be taken out of circulation, in order to prevent inflation, removed by a process of taxation; and then the money obtained from the people in the low income

Income War Tax

brackets by that method could be placed to their credit in the chartered banks and frozen there until after the war. No debt would be incurred, because it would not be a case of the government borrowing their money. That is, the money would be placed at their deposit in the chartered banks, and frozen there for the duration of the war, or for as many months after the war as might be considered necessary, to prevent inflation. Then as the government wished to expand the purchasing power of the people it could release so much of that frozen money at a time as necessary. By this method the government would greatly curtail , the expansion of debt. No interest would be paid, and it would be creating a large pool of purchasing power.

We have been told to-day by the minister, and by others-perhaps I should not say the minister, but certainly by the deputy minister of finance-that in order to maintain full employment at home after the war we shall have to indulge in a large scale foreign investment policy. I think we should indulge in a programme of investments in our own markets, at home. Now is the opportune time to freeze this purchasing power which can be released after the war. The minister may say: Would the people be willing to have this money taken, and receive no' interest? I am satisfied the people would far rather maintain their capital intact, without interest, than have it taxed away from them. If I were faced with the alternative of having S100 taken away by taxation, or having that $100 placed somewhere to my credit and frozen without interest, I would choose the latter. That is what I advocate, as far as those in lower income tax brackets are concerned. Then as a man's income increased the structure would have to be adjusted so that there would be a fair proportion of tax and a fair proportion of compulsory savings.

One other word, and it is this. The minister knows very well that there is at the present time a great deaj of opposition to the way in which he is financing the war. Surely the least he could do would be to make the bonds he issues to-day callable, so that if after the war another government were in power, one which did not believe in the type of financing followed by this government, they would be in a position to call in those bonds instead of having to pay interest on them for the next ten or twenty years.

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LIB

George Alexander Cruickshank

Liberal

Mr. CRUICKSHANK:

Mr. Chairman, I am not going to follow the line of argument offered by the hon. member who has just taken his seat. I believe we should clear up one subject at a time. I wish to speak-and I am not afraid to speak, and never have been.

I have never been afraid to speak my mind on anything, at any time, because if the electors of my riding are going to take exception to what I do in the house, then I do not wish to be their member.

I wish to congratulate the hon. member for York-Sunbury upon his forthright and courageous approach to this matter. I believe every hon. member will realize that he was not speaking personally. All those of us who know him will know that he is not in the financial position of many other members. I should like also to congratulate the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar who, without hesitation, put his party on record, in order that there may be no misapprehension in connection with the arguments advanced. And I would include also the hon. member who spoke for the Social Credit party.

I would place before the committee a point which I believe is most important in this connection. I remember that, speaking in 1940, the Prime Minister said1 that the people he wished to represent Canada were the youth of the country, particularly the soldiers, and those engaged in labour and agriculture. I am not using his exact words, but I believe a check in Hansard will show that I am almost correct. I point out to the Minister of Finance that the kind of representation we have in the House of Commons after the next election is his present responsibility, and his only. What earthly chance is there for the young man now working for $1.50 a day overseas, to come home and stand as a member of parliament? There is no hope for the young man who is coming back and who wants to get married. What chance has he to get into this House of Commons, no matter what party he represents?

None of us know which party is going to be in power after the next election. I have my own ideas as to which one I would like to. see in power, but I can assure you that there is one member coming back here. I can say that . for the simple reason that I am not afraid to talk about this or any other matter. I do not fear publicity in my riding. My riding is either rural or straight labour. There is a certain percentage of labour there, and I can assure the minister that every farming district in western Canada and every labour union believe that the labourer is worthy of his hire.

I want to revert to what I think is the most important part of this question. If the democratic form of government is worth fighting for, surely it is worth having it administered by the rank and file, by the ordinary common man referred to by President Roosevelt and Mr. Churchill and by our own Prime Minister.

Income War Tax

I doubt if there is one of the present 245 members who wants to come back as a stooge for some corporation. Such a man would not have to worry about his costs, but he would be a stooge for some organization. I will put it that way, not confine it just to the financial interests. That is not the type of man our soldiers overseas want to represent them. I do not believe the soldiers will begrudge us, even in this present parliament, getting what we should. Two of the most brilliant young members we have-I am not going to refer to them by name-both soldiers in this war, are having to give up politics. They do not want to do this, but they find they have to. They are married men with young families to bring up and they find they cannot afford to stay in politics. Some of the highest ranking men in public life in Canada have practically begged these men to stay in public life. These young men with excellent education and wonderful attainments are forced to take this step for one reason and one reason only.

I took it upon myself to canvass a lot of people in this connection. As I say, I do not care for publicity and never did. If you are honest in your convictions, if you want to be reelected, that is the course to take. I want to tell the committee that a couple of prominent Liberals have said that the publicity about this would not be good with an election coming on. I want to tell those two members that the action they are; taking will do more to harm their party than any publicity that might come out of this. The publicity about motor car allowances did not hurt the Liberal party in the last election, nor did it hurt the Conservative party in 1935, or whenever it was they were last elected. A cabinet minister receives this allowance even though he does not own an automobile. I agree with the hon. member for York-Sun-bury. I am not quarrelling, over their getting an extra salary, but I am quarrelling with any member of the government who will get up and defend the payment of $2,000 for a motor car allowance when he; does not own a car.

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NAT

Gordon Knapman Fraser

National Government

Mr. FRASER (Northumberland, Ont.):

What cabinet minister does not own a car/

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LIB

George Alexander Cruickshank

Liberal

Mr. CRUICKSHANK:

You can make your speech, but I am making mine now.

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NAT

Gordon Knapman Fraser

National Government

Mr. FRASER (Northumberland, Ont.):

I am just asking a question.

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LIB

George Alexander Cruickshank

Liberal

Mr. CRUICKSHANK:

I have no time to answer a question now.

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NAT

Gordon Knapman Fraser

National Government

Mr. FRASER (Northumberland, Ont.):

You do not want to answer that question.

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LIB

George Alexander Cruickshank

Liberal

Mr. CRUICKSHANK:

You can ask the cabinet about that. I do not care if he does

own a car, and I want to make that point clear. I am simply following the line taken by the hon. member for York-Sunbury. I do not begrudge the payment of $2,000 to the cabinet ministers, but- I do think it is a disgrace to Canada that a man sitting down in a plush seat in the Bank of Canada should draw twice the money paid to the Prime Minister of Canada. I think it is a disgrace to Canada that any two-by-four moving picture actor who is brought up here to peddle bonds should draw more money than any member of the government.

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NAT

Gordon Knapman Fraser

National Government

Mr. FRASER (Northumberland, Ont.):

Ten times as much.

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LIB

George Alexander Cruickshank

Liberal

Mr. CRUICKSHANK:

Ten times as much.

I am not begrudging the members of the government what they get, but I think they should have the courage of their convictions and be ready to stand up on the floor of this chamber, as the hon. member for York-Sunbury and the leader of the C.C.F. have done, and give some reason other than "this is not the time."

I wonder if any member of the government knows how much it cost the member for Fraser Valley to-day for one long distance call to Vancouver on business, two telegrams and some air mail stamps? The cabinet members get those free, but we private members do not. I do not say that they should not have those expenses paid, but I do contend that the cabinet should take these things into consideration. I have to pay those charges. If you want just old or wealthy members to come here to represent young Canada, and the men who are fighting for our vested interests, I can tell you one way to do it. Instead of requiring $200 as a deposit, make it $270,000 and in that way you can keep out the ordinary working man from the next election. The people of Canada do not want that. The soldiers do not want that. The government should endeavour to justify themselves to the soldiers overseas by seeing that their fellow soldiers, instead of having to withdraw from parliament this session, can stay in parliament and bring up their families in a reasonable and1 honest manner. So far as I am concerned the answer, "Now is not the time to approach the public", will not go down with the people of my riding, and that applies to the three parties that may be running in the next election. Now is the time to face the issue in order that when the men who are fighting to save democracy come back they will find not a rich man's government but a democratic government which really represents them.

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NAT

Gordon Knapman Fraser

National Government

Mr. FRASER (Northumberland, Ont.):

Mr. Chairman, I would like to take this opportune

Income War Tax

ity to add a few words to the appeal which has been made by the hon. member for York-Sunbury and the hon. member who has just taken his seat in connection with the sessional indemnity-I should like to emphasize the word "indemnity"- paid to members of parliament. I heartily endorse what the hon. members who have just spoken have said regarding the position in which members of parliament find themselves when they are forced to spend from five, six or seven months in Ottawa.

It would seem to be the irony of fate, or perhaps a lack of appreciation on behalf of the powers that be, that as a commercial traveller I can go into a hotel in Ottawa, present my commercial traveller's certificate and receive a consideration of fifty cents per day on the amount I must pay for keep. If I go into the same hotel as a member of parliament the clerk at the desk looks at me with suspicion. After all is said and done, sometimes members of parliament are looked upon with suspicion. He says, "Well, Bill, you are not a commercial traveller, you are a member of parliament." Instead of paying $5.50 per day, I must pay $6 simply because he is suspicious of me as a member of parliament.

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

You look like a capitalist any time.

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July 12, 1944