November 27, 1952

PC

Gordon Graydon

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Graydon:

I am reading what the Prime Minister said.

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PC

James Arthur Ross

Progressive Conservative

Mr. J. A. Ross (Souris):

May I first offer my congratulations, Mr. Speaker, to the mover (Mr. Deslieres) and seconder (Mr. Schneider) of the address in reply to the speech from the throne. I feel that they performed their duties ably, although there will be a great difference of opinion as to some of the observations made by both of those speakers. I should like also to concur in what has been said by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Drew), by the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) and others about that part of His Excellency's address concerning the coronation which is to take place in the old country next June. I should like, too, to concur in what the Leader of the Opposition, the Prime Minister and others have been saying about our pride in our fighting forces both within and from this nation of Canada. I do not think there is any issue within this house about that. We are all extremely proud of those fighting forces of ours.

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LIB

John Horace Dickey

Liberal

Mr. Dickey:

How about the arm chair army?

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PC

James Arthur Ross

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Ross (Souris):

They are well outfitted, but there has been great waste and extravagant expenditure taking place.

The Address-Mr. J. A. Ross

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?

An hon. Member:

That is a matter of opinion.

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PC

James Arthur Ross

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Ross (Souris):

I was going to say that that is a matter of opinion, and I am one of those who have some criticism about the wasteful expenditures in procuring equipment.

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LIB

John Horace Dickey

Liberal

Mr. Dickey:

What are they?

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PC

James Arthur Ross

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Ross (Souris):

You will have a chance to get up and tell your story.

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LIB

John Horace Dickey

Liberal

Mr. Dickey:

I have been up during this debate.

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PC

James Arthur Ross

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Ross (Souris):

Yes, and it was not so convincing, either.

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PC

Gordon Graydon

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Graydon:

You want to convince the Prime Minister; he is the one you want to convince.

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LIB

John Horace Dickey

Liberal

Mr. Dickey:

Go on, what are they?

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PC

James Arthur Ross

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Ross (Souris):

In comparison with some of the Prime Minister's speeches to which I have listened and which I have read in the newspapers in the past few months, I believe the first paragraph in the speech from the throne is rather creating a new pattern. I presume he is now undertaking to make it easier for the Minister of Finance (Mr. Abbott) to bring in his new budget during this session. On several occasions I had heard the Prime Minister point out to the people of Canada that, with the great threat of war and the cost of national defence, we could not expect any cuts in taxation. Now, in the-first paragraph of the speech from the throne it is stated that there are signs of a lessening of the danger of an outbreak of war on a global scale. I think he is preparing the picture for a reduction that we may expect in the next budget. I am not objecting to a reduction, but it is too late.

During past sessions we have listened to the Minister of Finance tell us about his theories on cyclical budgeting. We have come to learn that he did have a plan which meant excessive taxation for three, four or perhaps five years, and then a very fine reduction on the eve of an election. I believe that the people can count on that during this session of parliament. I am one of those who believe that there has been excessive taxation in this country. Economists have pointed out how much that has cost the heads of families and individuals in this country, but I do not intend to repeat those figures.

Just before I rose I listened to the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Claxton) reply to certain statements which had been made during this debate. I think there is still a misunderstanding or a difference of opinion

The Address-Mr. J. A. Ross between the Prime Minister and the Minister of National Defence, because the other day I followed the Prime Minister rather closely. He dealt with the subject of overtaxation at some length. During the discussion of the estimates in this house I recall that the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Howe) pointed out to the hon. member for Greenwood (Mr. Macdonnell) that we might save a million dollars; but during these times what is a million dollars? Well, the Prime Minister goes a long way beyond that, because in his speech about overtaxation he referred to a request for a commission somewhat like the Hoover commission. He pointed out that by such means you could not save $500 million or $600 million. He doubted if it would reach $100 million. We have had inflation in this country, but I did not know it had reached the extent that we could jump from one million to one hundred million, as the Prime Minister did the other day. Speaking in this debate he mentioned the possible saving that might result from a commission such as the Hoover commission being set up in Canada and pointed out that the whole amount to which such a commission of inquiry would apply is something of the order of $621 million. The Prime Minister went on to say, as found at page 43 of Hansard:

It would be rather difficult, therefore, to squeeze $500 million out of that. I submit it would be difficult to squeeze $100 million out of it, unless some of these services were going to be eliminated.

But the Prime Minister certainly does say by inference that there is $100 million being wasted that might well be saved for the taxpayers.

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An hon. Member:

Oh, no.

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PC

James Arthur Ross

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Ross (Souris):

I have put his exact words on the record-

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An hon. Member:

Brilliant.

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PC

James Arthur Ross

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Ross (Souris):

-and he has given the figure of $100 million as the amount that might be saved. That is his guess. It could be that it is wishful thinking on the part of the Prime Minister.

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LIB

John Horace Dickey

Liberal

Mr. Dickey:

Your wishful thinking.

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PC

James Arthur Ross

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Ross (Souris):

With respect to the figures given this afternoon, we have had a set of figures placed on the record, and without repeating them all may I say that I have been told on very good authority that it is costing the taxpayers of Canada $17,000 per man in the armed services of this country per year. That is approximately one-third higher

(Mr. Ross (Souris).]

than the figure for the United States. It is the highest figure for the armed services of any nation in the world today. I think it is recognized that the civilian citizens of that great nation to the south of us enjoy a higher standard of living than we do in Canada. Yet our cost per man in the armed services is one-third higher than the cost per man in the United States.

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LIB

Ralph Osborne Campney (Solicitor General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Campney:

What is your authority?

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November 27, 1952