March 5, 1953

INTERNAL SECURITY

INQUIRY REGARDING ALLEGED COMMUNIST


On the orders of the day:


PC

Henri Courtemanche

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Henri Courlemanche (Labelle):

I

would like to direct a question to the Minister of Justice (Mr. Garson). Can the minister confirm or deny the statement of Mr. Pat Walsh that the chief communist school operating in the province of Quebec is located at or near L'Ascension, in Labelle county? If this statement is true, does the Minister of Justice plan to take any action respecting this school?

Topic:   INTERNAL SECURITY
Subtopic:   INQUIRY REGARDING ALLEGED COMMUNIST
Sub-subtopic:   SCHOOL AT L'ASCENSION
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LIB

Stuart Sinclair Garson (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Hon. Siuari S. Garson (Minister of Justice):

In reply to my hon. friend, may I say that the hon. member for Portneuf (Mr. Gauthier) on February 27 last asked me a question based upon a statement made by Mr. Walsh. To the answer which I gave the hon. member for Portneuf on that occasion I have nothing further to add at this time.

Topic:   INTERNAL SECURITY
Subtopic:   INQUIRY REGARDING ALLEGED COMMUNIST
Sub-subtopic:   SCHOOL AT L'ASCENSION
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INQUIRY FOR RETURNS

REFERENCE TO RETURNS PASSED FOR MEMBER FOR WENTWORTH


On the orders of the day:


PC

Frank Exton Lennard

Progressive Conservative

Mr. F. E. Lennard (Wentworth):

On January 28, Mr. Speaker, a number of questions standing in my name were passed as orders for returns. I should like to ask the parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Defence Production when I might expect an answer to some of those twenty questions.

Topic:   INQUIRY FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO RETURNS PASSED FOR MEMBER FOR WENTWORTH
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Defence Production; Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Right Hon. C. D. Howe (Minister of Defence Production):

Mr. Speaker, I think the position of the department should be stated. I presume that we have the largest staff of any department engaged in dealing with questions and orders for returns. I point out that this department was formed towards the end of 1950. Many of the questions go back far beyond that date, and I believe that applies to the orders for returns of the hon. member. The answers to these questions entail a good deal of research. We have buying officers in every part of Canada, in London and the United States. When we are asked about general purchasing, we have to get reports from all these agencies.

It is the policy of the department to give first priority to answering questions which come from the committee on defence expenditure. I think hon. members will realize that that is an active committee and entitled to get information just as fast as it can be prepared. The second priority is given to answering questions asked here in the house. We cannot do the impossible. In between answering questions and looking up data to prepare orders for returns, the senior members of our staff are required to carry on the day to day activities of the department. I may say that our department is not overstaffed and our responsibilities are heavy. It may be good fun for some of our junior members to pile questions on the order paper, and while they are entitled to their fun we can only do the best we can in answering them. We are doing just that. I cannot promise when the orders for returns will be answered.

Topic:   INQUIRY FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO RETURNS PASSED FOR MEMBER FOR WENTWORTH
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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulion:

When we get around to it; that is what you said yesterday.

Topic:   INQUIRY FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO RETURNS PASSED FOR MEMBER FOR WENTWORTH
Permalink
PC

Frank Exton Lennard

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Lennard:

First, I want to say that none of my questions were funny, though they might be a bit embarrassing.

Topic:   INQUIRY FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO RETURNS PASSED FOR MEMBER FOR WENTWORTH
Permalink
LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Order.

Topic:   INQUIRY FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO RETURNS PASSED FOR MEMBER FOR WENTWORTH
Permalink
PC

Frank Exton Lennard

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Lennard:

Topic:   INQUIRY FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO RETURNS PASSED FOR MEMBER FOR WENTWORTH
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THE BUDGET

ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE


The house resumed, from Wednesday, March 4, consideration of the motion of Hon. Douglas Abbott (Minister of Finance) that Mr. Speaker do now leave the chair for the house to go into committee of ways and means, and the amendment thereto of Mr. Macdonnell (Greenwood), and the amendment to the amendment of Mr. Coldwell. (Translation):


IND

Raoul Poulin

Independent

Mr. Raoul Poulin (Beauce):

Mr. Speaker, when I requested the adjournment of the debate at six o'clock last night, I was saying that the Canadian people will be rather poorly rewarded for redoubling their efforts during the last year since they are being asked to pay in taxes, during 1953-

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

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Order.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
IND

Raoul Poulin

Independent

Mr. Poulin:

-during the year 1953-1954, $335 million more than they paid during the fiscal year 1952-1953.

I would now like to resume my speech by adding that, in my humble opinion, in order to reward the Canadian people the government should have avoided increasing the amount of taxes they will have to pay next year. I must add that the Minister of Finance (Mr. Abbott) did not apply the reductions in rates in the best possible places. For instance, the 11 per cent reduction in the individual income tax rate will benefit a class of people who are undoubtedly worthy of compassion and brings them a small measure of relief that will be welcome, but, just the same, the class of people to which it applies is not the poorest. There is another and even poorer class which would only be happy to be able to pay a little income tax. To that class of people, the minister has brought no relief whatsoever; I am referring to small labourers, farmers, at least small farmers, settlers, the sick, the crippled, and to all those who, for one reason or another, earn barely enough to feed themselves miserably and to dress and house themselves even more miserably. Still, it would have been possible to grant them some relief, by reducing the general sales tax which will yield next year, according to present forecasts, $590 million. A rate of 6 instead of 8 per cent, for instance, would have represented a saving

The Budget-Mr. Poulin of $150 million, and everybody would have benefited by it, the poor as well as the rich.

As a matter of fact, the public is wondering whether this budget will be the last before a general election.

Should this not be the case, I wonder if the Minister of Finance would not be well advised to lend an ear to my humble suggestion so as to implement it in his next budget which, of necessity, would be the last before the great adventure! Alternatively, there would be another measure with an almost similar effect and which would benefit everyone, or at least all those families with children-the very group which we should protect more than any other-and that would be to increase the family allowances to a level more or less proportionate to the rise in the cost of living we have experienced since this excellent social measure was introduced in this country.

And this brings me to say that, to my mind, the state does not give sufficient practical recognition to the importance of the part played by the family in our Canadian society. I can of course well imagine what some people will say to that: "But what of family allowances or income tax exemptions which increase with the number of children?" Now, it will be noticed, first of all, that I have not said that the state refused to recognize the part played by the family. I claim, however, that this recognition is not tangible enough.

Nowadays, every thinking person-thank God, there are still many, and fortunately even in our parliaments-wonders anxiously what means should be taken to provide the community with the well-trained subjects it needs so much. And yet, the answer is there, the machinery exists. It merely needs to be activated, improved and applied fully. This machinery, the only one which, to my mind, can be utilized, is the family to which the state should give all the necessary help and protection. The distinction is not sufficiently clear-cut in our fiscal methods, between families with children and those who have none or only a few; the former are in a state of inferiority compared to the latter. As the number of children increases, so does this disadvantage.

In the case of income tax, for instance, the amount of the exemption for each child is absolutely inadequate and illusory, and should be increased. Let us take, for instance, the case of a head of family who is the sole supporter of a household comprising a wife and

2638 HOUSE OF

The Budget

Mr. Poulin 5 children, or, sometimes, 8 or 10 children. Who will believe that family allowances or the lowering of income tax rates, if he pays income tax, will compensate for the amount he will have to pay in the form of excise tax or sales tax, since he has to foot the bill for 5, 8 or even 10 consumers? That, I believe, is a serious mistake which it is urgent to correct if the government wants to show that it really has faith in that sacred institution, the Canadian family.

In another chapter of his statement, under the title "Federal-Provincial Relations", the hon. Minister of Finance said, as reported at page 2130 of Hansard:

Of course the extent of federal taxes does make substantial tax increases by provincial governments more difficult. No royal commission is needed to discover this truth.

The minister was undoubtedly referring to the commission of inquiry just set up by the Quebec government.

The field to be covered by that commission is quite extensive. It will not limit itself to finding out whether it is difficult for Quebec to increase taxes further, as might be implied by the rather pungent innuendo of the hon. Minister of Finance.

That commission will inquire fully, at least I hope so, into the matter of fiscal relations between the federal government, the provinces and the municipalities; it should then be in a position to make suggestions acceptable to all concerned, which would precisely permit the correction of the present state of affairs.

Might it be, perchance, that the minister would want to limit the commission's field of activity? Would he have us believe that the province of Quebec must accept what has already been done and welcome any proposal made by the central power? If such is the case, the minister may have to sing a different tune one of these days.

The hon. member for Montmagny-L'Islet (Mr. Lesage), for whom I have much respect and whose talent I appreciate, has asked more than once since last year, of what taxation rights the federal government had deprived the provinces? The answer is that of course the federal government has not taken the rights themselves, since it cannot do so, but it has taken the taxes, the money, and that is the reason why the minister, whose worthy assistant he is, said in his speech that it would not be easy for Quebec to increase her own taxes. The federal gov-

ernment has not drained out the spring, but it has taken almost all the water, which amounts to the same thing.

Now, the minister having mentioned the Quebec royal commission on constitutional matters, it may be in order to quote here an appreciation which may be found in UAction Catholique for February 23, 1953, in an article entitled "Researchers worthy of their task", over the signature of Mr. L. T. Roy, editor-in-chief. I quote:

When the provincial government decided to implement the suggestion made by the chambers of commerce and to institute an inquiry into constitutional problems, there were some skeptics who doubted the seriousness of that suggestion. The act setting up the commission only reassured them to a limited extent. In other words they were waiting for the designation of the commissioners to form a definite opinion.

Now that these have been named, it is extremely difficult indeed not to find this choice excellent. Along with many others, this paper had expressed the wish that the persons chosen should be both competent and detached from politics. There is no possible doubt about the matter, this wish has been fulfilled.

With such commissioners the investigation into constitutional problems will most certainly be serious and the report which will result therefrom will no doubt be authoritative.

This at least holds out some hope that, at the next federal-provincial conference, if it is held, Quebec will have some concrete proposals to submit and its position will thus be strengthened.

There is no need for a royal commission, the minister said. Not any more, indeed, than there was need for the Massey-Levesque commission to establish a learned distinction between education and culture and to recommend that the central government should go still further in its encroachment upon the field of education. Not any more, I presume, than there was need for a Rowell-Sirois commission to recommend fiscal centralization.

No need for a royal commission? And yet, the federation of chambers of commerce of the province of Quebec came to Ottawa, on February 25 last, to remind the government that there would be one.

What is more, it told the Minister of Finance and the government that they should take its recommendations into account at the federal-provincial conference it has asked them to call.

However, Mr. Speaker, 1 would be unfair if I did not have a word of praise for the Minister of Finance, that is for the good and reasonable features of the budget he recently brought down.

For instance, I find excellent the tax credit allowed in respect of corporations operating in the provinces which have not signed a tax rental agreement with the federal government. Such a tax credit places corporations in our province on the same basis as those operating in other provinces and does away with a policy of discrimination. I thank the minister for that intelligent and commendable move, even if some smart people pretend to see in it a coarse appetizer placed on the table of the great electoral banquet which is near at hand.

As for the radio licence, it is a nuisance which is disappearing but I am not sure that this new 15 per cent tax on radios and their various components-tubes included if I am not mistaken-will not actually impose on radio users a financial burden which may equal or even sometimes exceed the amount of the former licence.

I also thoroughly approve of the discontinuance of stamps on cheques and other instruments. I must admit however that all this will profit but very little the farmer or worker with a small income. As I said at the outset, I am delighted with the 11 per cent income tax reduction; however, I contend that a more practical formula might have been adopted in this field. In my humble opinion, before granting this reduction-or better still, instead of granting it-the government could perhaps have raised the basic exemptions to $2,000 for the single person and to $3,000 for married men.

I also welcome the government's decision to grant a $400 exemption for each child over 21 who pursues special studies.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink

March 5, 1953