April 27, 1954


The house resumed, from Monday, April 26, 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. (Translation) :


IND

Raoul Poulin

Independent

Mr. Raoul Poulin (Beauce):

Mr. Speaker, in the course of my remarks, yesterday, I showed that butter consumption in Canada had considerably declined since margarine was put on the market, and that available butter stocks are now the largest in our history; this jeopardizes to a considerable extent the position of our farmers, and in consequence, that of our working people, because the rural classes are the main consumers of manufactured goods.

I stated moreover that in 1952 and 1953, the farm income decreased by approximately 25 per cent, while the income of wage earners increased by about 13J per cent. I also said that the decline in farm income generally raises the depressing ghost of unemployment. It therefore seems hardly an overstatement to say that the surest means of maintaining employment at a reasonable level would be to bolster the purchasing power of our farming people, even if the workmen had to make certain sacrifices to this end; it would, indeed, be better for a workman to eat butter-even costly butter- and work, than to consume cheaper margarine while unemployed.

Let us not, besides, labour under any delusion. If ever the day comes when margarine producing companies no longer have to fear any competition from butter, we will see the price of their product rise to fantastic heights. I am sure in my own mind that our good working people will have already understood the essential difference between those methods which are used to fix the price of butter and those used to fix that of margarine. In the first case we have 450,000 small producers who will never be in a position to unite closely enough to have any serious influence or any measure of control over the market, whereas in the second case, we have a few large and powerful companies which will always find some way, in spite of anti-combines legislation, of doing away with competition and of selling at exorbitant prices. Workers will then realize, though a little too late, that they have been victimized on two levels at once.

That is why I wish to state quite plainly that in defending the vital interests of the dairy producers, I am at the same time defending the higher interests of the working class. One way, to my mind, of protecting the dairy industry against the flood of margarine would be to levy an excise tax on the sale of the latter product. It is a rare event, 83276-262J

The Budget-Mr. Poulin indeed, to see members of parliament suggesting the imposition of a new tax. But, at the present session, we will have seen and heard everything. I would like to mention in this connection that several agricultural organizations in the county of Beauce have advocated such a measure. I have been the recipient of a number of resolutions adopted at meetings of co-operative unions.

Other groups have sent me delegations of their officers. And here are the names of some parishes whose professional farm groups have deemed it appropriate to take a definite stand on the matter: St. Gedeon, St. Martin, St. Pierre, St. Honore, Ste. Marie, St. Ephrem, St. Victor, St. Benoit, and a few others, the names of which I have not here-

If I add to that the hundreds of representations I have been receiving for some years, concerning that same problem considered from a different angle, I do not hesitate to state that the farming class as a whole, in the riding I represent here, urges the government to rid the market of a product which, as I said, constitutes a serious danger to the welfare not only of the farming class but of the working class as well.

Since I am dealing with the problem of butter and margarine, I would be unfair if I did not pay tribute to the government and to the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) for the general policies they have put forward in the past few years in that respect. I believe that the butter price support program has been an excellent thing. It has protected the dairy producer and enabled him to sell his product at a reasonable price, even if that price is still lower than it should be. The main result however has been to prevent the scandalous state of affairs that prevailed during the winter of 1951-52 when urban workers, for instance, had to pay 80 cents, 90 cents, or even $1 for a pound of butter. I remember very well mentioning the fact in the house and urging the government to take the necessary measures in order to prevent a repetition of such a scandal. Once more I declare I would be unfair if today I did not express my humble thanks to the Minister of Agriculture and to the government. However, it may also be my duty, since I had some congratulations to offer, to take that same government to task in respect to a certain aspect of the problem of margarine, which I raised a few moments ago. During the past few months, on three or four occasions, I have asked the government a few questions in the house in an endeavour to

The Budget-Mr. Poulin establish if the government and its experts really believed that margarine is a product comparable in quality to butter.

Unfortunately, I must say that I did not receive a satisfactory answer. The last question I asked was as follows:

1. In taking as a basis of comparison butter and margarine sold by dealers in Canada, is the nutrition division of the Department of National Health and Welfare in a position to state which of these two products has the greater food value?

2. If so, which product?

I thought that my question was clear enough, well enough put, for our offsprings are always dear to us, but I did not receive a satisfactory answer. I have here the answer and I quote from page 4070 of the Hansard of April 14, 1954:

1. No, because sufficient analyses of butter and margarine as sold in Canada are not available in .the files of the nutrition division.

.2. See answer to No. 1 above.

That means-it is at least the conclusion I am drawing-that the government does not hold on this subject a clear, definite opinion. I wonder then how it happened that the nutrition division of the Department of National Health and Welfare published, during 1953, what I would call a book of recipes for cooks having to serve meals to large groups of people.

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

Louis-René Beaudoin (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Order! I apologize for interrupting the hon. member.

(Text):

May I ask hon. members to converse in more moderate tones. They seem to be competing with the voice of the hon. member who is speaking and it is very difficult for me to hear. 1 always like to listen to speeches by hon. members and I would appreciate it if hon. members would observe silence. (Translation):

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

Raoul Poulin

Independent

Mr. Poulin:

I thank you, Mr. Speaker, for coming to my rescue. I admit quite humbly that I had trouble hearing myself.

Well, if one goes through this publication issued under the authority of the Department of National Health and Welfare, one finds that in exactly 122 recipes, it is advised to use either butter or margarine. If the government is not in a position to give us a comparative statement of the food value of butter and margarine, how is it that in this publication, in 122 different places, the use of either butter or margarine is advised; they are on an equal footing, on exactly the same basis.

I do not want to prolong unduly my humble remarks on this matter, because I would now like to say a few words about another problem which is no less interesting.

In the few minutes I have left I would like to make some remarks on a matter tMr. Poulin. 1

about which I spoke here on March 23 last. It is also a matter about which the Minister of Finance (Mr. Abbott) spoke rather at length in his budget speech of April 6 last.

I have in mind the deductibility of the new Quebec provincial tax from the amount of the federal income tax.

Owing to the importance of this matter,

I shall strive to avoid any word or to take a position which might offend those who do not share my humble opinion on this matter.

Speaking in the house yesterday, the hon. member for Bonaventure (Mr. Arsenault) stated textually as follows, and I quote Hansard at page 4120:

-since the money levied by the Canadian government, under its taxation legislation, is its own property, nobody has the right, through a provincial law or otherwise to prescribe that part ol this money which is the Canadian government's own personal property, shall be, without any agreement to this effect, diverted to the benefit of a province, whatever the motives may be.

Mr. Speaker, there has been no attempt made on the part of the province of Quebec, through its bill No. 43, to take any money belonging to the federal government. In my humble opinion such a statement is absolutely contrary to facts. According to the terms of its legislation the province of Quebec is simply requiring its own taxpayers to pay, in a clearly defined fashion, certain sums of money which it will then use for equally well defined provincial purposes.

That, briefly, is the essential meaning of that act. It being so, who could really claim that the province of Quebec wishes to convert to its own purposes moneys rightfully belonging to the Canadian government? The province of Quebec is merely exercising a right in taking what it is entitled to take. I doubt very much if anybody here, in this house, would deny it that right. As a matter of fact we have not heard any member or any minister speak to that effect. The member for Bonaventure himself recognizes that right. He is reported on page 4119 of Hansard as having said:

We of the Canadian parliament are the first to recognize the right of the province of Quebec, and of any other province, to direct taxation.

That quotation flagrantly contradicts the one I mentioned a while ago; and yet the latter is from the same member and appears at the same page of Hansard.

But I will go further. The province of Quebec, under section 92 of the British North America Act, may exclusively-to use the exact term found in the language of the act -make laws in relation to matters coming within the classes of subjects next hereinafter enumerated. And, under subparagraph 2, I quote again:

Direct taxation within the province in order to the raising of a revenue for provincial purposes.

Brilliant lawyers, there are many of them in this chamber and I recognize their talent, will attempt no doubt to demolish my humble arguments. Will they be kind enough to tell me what the word "exclusive" does mean in the aforementioned text, apart from suggesting clearly that, in provincial matters, not only has the province of Quebec equal rights, parallel rights, as the member for Bonaventure put it, but that it has priority over the federal government?

But the province of Quebec is not so exacting, Mr. Speaker. Far from diverting to its own benefit funds belonging to the federal government, it merely asks that government to amend an existing federal statute, under which the central authority comes and collects from provincial taxpayers moneys that are exclusively theirs according to section 92. Neither does the province ask to recover the total funds to which it is rightfully entitled, but only that part it has the unquestioned authority to collect under the terms of that very section 92.

This was answered by the hon. Minister of Finance in his budget speech. I am now quoting what he said as recorded in Hansard of April 6, page 3732:

If a credit up to 15 per cent of the federal tax were accepted, it would appear to be difficult in principle to later deny full credit for, say, a 30 per cent, a 60 per cent or even a 100 per cent provincial tax.

I must admit, Mr. Speaker, that I am not very much impressed by this argument. The hon. minister said that "it would appear to be difficult in principle to later . . ." But, though that principle is now confirmed by the present deduction of 5 per cent, the government does not, in practice, feel bound by the rule recognized in the 5 per cent section. It remains within the limits of its authority-if not its rights-so long as the majority in this house supports its claim. Though deduction was, in principle, introduced by the federal government, this government is now, in practice, able to refuse a deduction of 15 per cent; why should it not be even more able to refuse 30, 60 or even 100 per cent should such action prove advisable?

The Budget-Mr. Poulin

The federal parliament is always free to do as it pleases, and, if it seems now relatively easy for it to refuse a small exemption, how much easier it will be later on for them to turn down requests which might appear even more exorbitant.

They are taking the Quebec government to task for not having consulted the federal government with a view to coming to an agreement before enacting its legislation. When it came to adopting section 33 of the Income Tax Act, with which the provinces are directly concerned, were the provinces consulted? No, unless I am mistaken. Since it is at least recognized that the provinces hold with the federal government equal rights in that field, why is it that one of those two partners having equal rights should not legislate in a field in which the rights of the other are concerned, while the latter could do it with impunity? One law for one's friends and another for one's foes, some might think. Not even that, but rather the deeply rooted conviction in the mind of certain legislators that the provinces are institutions which are inferior to the federal government, that they owe the latter their right to exist and, consequently, come under its sway.

And yet this statement is the exact opposite of the truth. It is the federal government which owes its existence to the provinces. Without them it would never have come into being. It is of course true that it now has well defined rights which the provinces have neither the capacity nor the right to take away from it, but these rights are limited to those which the provinces agreed to hand over when, through mutual consent, they established this compact from whence sprung the federal state. The hon. member for Bonaventure adds, at page 4121 of Hansard:

It is often repeated-many things are said-that Ottawa draws $300 million in personal income tax in the province of Quebec.

It is never said however that Ottawa gives to the province of Quebec, through old age pensions, family allowances, pensions for the blind and subsidies to help the building of hospitals in Quebec, over $200 million per year. It is never said however that the $300 million received by Ottawa from personal income tax in Quebec is not even sufficient to cover the large amounts generously distributed by the federal government in Quebec by way of pensions, allowances, unemployment insurance benefits, public works, grants of all kinds for the maintenance of its various services.

The least that one could do would be to recognize that what Ottawa draws in taxes from Quebec with one hand it gives generously with the other hand to the people of Quebec.

4154 HOUSE OF

The Budget-Mr. Poulin

Mr. Speaker, I am asking, in all sincerity, whether the hon. member for Bona-venture has well weighed his words, has given careful thought to the matter, before uttering them. Does he claim seriously that Quebec receives more money from Ottawa than it gives it? Would he have the house believe that the federal government gives more to Quebec than it receives from it? Has he not perchance forgotten to add to the $300 million paid by Quebec taxpayers the millions the latter pay to Ottawa under other headings? What about the excise tax, the federal sales tax, customs duties, postal fees, trade permits, etc. He repeats, to use his own formula, that Ottawa collects $300 million in Quebec on personal income tax, but he does not repeat enough that it directly or indirectly collects many other taxes under the headings I just mentioned. If Quebec receives from Ottawa at least as much as it gives in return, this province is therefore a poor relation within the Canadian confederation; in this case, the surplus wealth of other provinces should be offered it as a gift.

But as things are, it is the opposite argument that is invoked by the hon. Minister of Finance and the hon. Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources (Mr. Lesage), when they refuse to admit the deduction claimed by the province of Quebec. These gentlemen pretend that the fiscal agreement policy is based on the recognition of the principle that part of the federal revenue is to be distributed to the poorer provinces. Quebec, they say, is a wealthy province-on this point they are right-and must therefore accept the agreement policy in order to assist the less fortunate provinces. The hon. member for Bonaventure will doubtlessly have to meet the two ministers, whom he commended warmly yesterday-not without ground-and harmonize his views with theirs; otherwise the taxpayers will think-and rightly so-that unity does not yet exist within the great Liberal family, and that all its members are not of one view with regard to an issue of such great importance at the present time.

The hon. member for Bonaventure also claims that the problem is a purely financial one, bearing on the allocation of taxes. Mr. Speaker, I beg to differ completely on that point. That fiscal problem, that question of taxes raises the entire question of provincial autonomy. Since I spoke at length on that particular subject in the house on March 23, I shall not restate my arguments for fear of boring the house. I shall be content to

say that the great majority of the population of Quebec is apprehensive, and reluctant to accept various subsidies which are sometimes given the appearance of a gift. They remember the old saying: He who pays the piper calls the tune.

Need I repeat here, for the third or fourth time within five years, that personally I have no fear whatever-and I say so sincerely and emphatically-that the men who now make up the present government at Ottawa may encroach upon fields that come within the sole jurisdiction of the provinces, nor would I fear such action on the part of a government that may eventually be formed from within the ranks of those who now make up the official opposition. However, I have the right to ask myself what the future may hold for us in that field.

When our children in the province of Quebec have taken our place and formed a new link in the chain that links most of us, through the centuries, to the first settlers who opened our country to civilization, what kind of men will then be at the helm of our country? Nobody knows. In spite of what the hon. member for Bonaventure may think, are we quite sure that the problems pertaining to racial, religious and educational matters will be solved in conformity with the indefeasible rights of the French-speaking people of Canada? Whoever is aware of certain sad happenings in the history of his country, and more particularly of its contemporary history, may wisely entertain some doubts.

Mr. Speaker, the elaborate and very interesting speech made by the hon. member for Bonaventure (Mr. Arsenault) will have had at least one merit, that of calling the attention of the house to a suggestion which it is the duty of the federal government to consider seriously, if that government is sincere in rejecting the request made by the provincial government. For my part, I shall simply declare that its acceptance would deprive a provincial government of its freedom of choice between the various fields of direct taxation which were granted to the provinces by our constitution.

(Text):

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

James Elisha Brown

Liberal

Mr. J. E. Brown (Brantford):

Mr. Speaker, I have only a few brief remarks to make in this debate. There is no doubt the Minister of Finance (Mr. Abbott) would have made himself very popular if the personal income tax or the corporation tax, or both, had been reduced substantially this year. Naturally,

all of us would welcome any prospect of reduced taxation. But, so far, no one has indicated where appropriations could be cut. For example, I have not heard any suggestion from anyone that we cut our defence expenditures at this time-expenditures that consume over 40 per cent of our tax dollar. Nor do I believe that any responsible critic of the government would dare suggest that we trim down our defence expenditures at this time.

Neither do I hear any serious suggestion of reducing the amount set out in the budget for social services. Liberal administrations over the past twenty years or more have built up a comprehensive plan of social welfare, establishing a basic national minimum of social security across Canada. It is a plan that is admired throughout the world. Surely no one will suggest that this long-range plan be interfered with, or that it be diminished in either scope or extent.

One thing that has impressed me since coming to Ottawa has been the activity of the Department of National Health and Welfare. The immensity of the measures taken by the federal government to provide hospitalization and health facilities across Canada, even in the most remote centres, has been an inspiration to many of us who are now in the house at this session for the first time. The record of the government and, in particular, of the Department of National Health and Welfare, ought to be a source of pride to every Canadian. There is not a home in Canada that has not benefited, and benefited to a large extent, from the huge grants made by the federal treasury for the construction of hospital and health centres across the country.

I would be very much opposed to any attempt to curtail or to restrict in any way these facilities, or any effort to lower our standards. I feel sure, too, that any such move would be opposed by the great majority of members in the House of Commons.

How, then, are we going to cut taxes? Are we going to begin deficit financing? Would anyone suggest that we move away from the method of financing that has been adhered to by this government over many years? I believe the Minister of Finance holds an invincible record of achievement in balancing budgets over many years, and in having been fortunate at the same time in reducing substantially the national debt. Indeed there are many who express the hope that eventually the national debt may be wiped out altogether.

I am convinced that, with the exception of a few grumblers, in their hearts the people of Canada salute the Minister of Finance and

The Budget-Mr. J. E. Brown this government for the brave, efficient and careful manner in which they have tackled and are now tackling the financial problems of this country. When I was back home during the Easter recess I found the people still talking about the Prime Minister's world tour. They have expressed their deep admiration for his having undertaken this extensive trip abroad, spreading, as he did, the spirit of good will that Canadians have towards the divers peoples whom he visited.

The people of Canada are very much interested in the peoples of India, Pakistan, Ceylon and other nations in that part of the world. In considerable measure this is due to the long and close association between ourselves and these various nations of the British commonwealth. I find that there is widespread satisfaction that the Prime Minister visited some of the great countries in Asia, as an expression of the feeling of brotherhood and mutual understanding that exists and has existed over a long period of years between the people of Canada and the peoples of these lands.

Accordingly I desire to express the hope that the government will give the most careful study and consideration to developing and extending our participation in the Colombo and other plans, to assist in every possible way in raising the living standards of the peoples in these countries. It would seem that there is very much that we can do, and I would urge that every means possible be taken to cement our good relations with these nations of the commonwealth, and with other friendly nations of the East.

I understand that last year we contributed $25 million to the Colombo project. I would be in favour of substantially increasing this technical and material aid, after the government has had time to discuss measures in detail with those who are responsible for implementing the plan. I should imagine that a great deal by way of further technical assistance in the fields of agriculture, transportation and public utilities would be very much welcomed in the East at this time.

For example, could we not furnish a goodly supply of agricultural tools, implements and equipment suitable for use in the East, as well as a further supply of trucks, buses and other vehicles of transport? Probably this was one of the many subjects discussed with the leaders in Pakistan and with Mr. Nehru during the Prime Minister's visit.

Of course, any large-scale assistance would mean heavier taxes here in Canada. It simply could not be done without in some measure increasing the tax burden; but I believe the majority of people would favour doing this, taxes or no taxes. I find that the average intelligent working man or

The Budget-Mr. J. E. Brown woman is quite prepared to pay taxes in return for increased security from unemployment. I believe that an intensive program of technical and material aid to commonwealth and other friendly countries in the East might help substantially to ease the unemployment situation that exists in some centres, including my own historic city of Brantford. I am quite certain-indeed I have no doubt-that I could carry my constituency on a program of expanded aid to eastern nations. I have reason to believe that the labouring people of Brantford as a whole would support it, and also the farmers and a substantial proportion of the remainder of the electorate. They would like to see the Prime Minister's good will visit backed up by a long-range program of assistance in developing countries in areas of the world that have been suffering for generations from a depressed standard of living. If we can, let us be of real assistance to our friends in the East. I am sure they need and would welcome our help just now, and it would be a way in which we could demonstrate our feeling of brotherhood toward the inhabitants of the several great nations that have been grouped together for so many years in our commonwealth.

The Christian heritage alone of this land impels us, Mr. Speaker, to set a real example of sharing some of our material prosperity with those less fortunate in this regard, but who probably are every bit as, if not more, sensitive to spiritual values. In other words, I should like to see the Prime Minister's trip followed up at this time by a plan in which the people of Canada as a whole could participate. The expressions of good will that have been advanced by the Prime Minister in Asia represent, I am sure, what is in the hearts and minds of the men and women whom I represent, and I venture to say that the people of Brantford are typical of the people of Canada.

For a long time my constituents have recognized the merits of the government's long-range domestic program, or else I would not have been elected to this house; but I believe they are now prepared to have Canada give a little leadership in a new field of endeavour, a field worthy of the very best that is in us, of developing the peaceful arts in many friendly nations, particularly those with whom we are united in the commonwealth, and of aid that is consistent with what we should like in our hearts to see accomplished in the vast and intensely interesting continent of Asia.

(Translation):

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

J.-Wilfrid Dufresne

Progressive Conservative

Mr. J. W. Dufresne (Quebec West):

Mr. Speaker, on April 6 last, the house assembled

to hear the first budget speech of this twenty-second parliament.

The Minister of Finance (Mr. Abbott), having announced with a sigh of relief that he was submitting the last budget of his political career, acted in such a way as to leave with the Canadian people and more particularly with those of the province of Quebec a souvenir that will never fade and which I shall later qualify in the appropriate terms.

The government of the province of Quebec, having taken concrete steps, that is having enacted legislation in order to regain the powers granted it under the British North America Act, the Minister of Finance deemed it advisable to devote an important part of his speech to that firm and energetic attitude of the Quebec government. At the same time the latter requested the right of deducting from the federal personal income tax the amount of the new provincial tax.

That night, all the people of Quebec were listening, and awaiting anxiously the reply of the federal government to the request made on their behalf by the provincial government which enjoys the full confidence of the people under its jurisdiction.

The Minister of Finance, with that arrogance he alone can display, in stating the policy of centralization of a government which has been already too long in power, was evidently pleased and extremely satisfied to announce that the taxpayers of the province of Quebec shall pay from now on a double tax in return for their love of their province and the protection of its autonomy.

That statement of the Minister of Finance and his blunt refusal to grant the legitimate request of the Quebec government, or rather of the people of Quebec, were met by a thunder of applause from the benches of the subservient Liberal members from Quebec. As I was put out of countenance, though little surprised, by the unheroic attitude of the Liberal members from Quebec, I felt ashamed for them, and it is with a heavy heart that I felt myself forced to leave this chamber.

Mr. Speaker, we are faced here with a problem which might have very serious consequences, and we should not deal with it lightly, or in a partisan spirit. This question must not be considered as a political one and treated as such. It is well above that level, for the maintenance of good will between all Canadians and of sound national unity are at stake.

Let there be no mistake about this. Any attempt made to deprecate the true patriotism which marks the Hon. Maurice Duplessis

and to condemn him in the eyes of the other citizens of this country must necessarily mean condemnation of each and every citizen of the province of Quebec who will thus be subjected to this double taxation.

The premier of Quebec is by no means personally concerned in all this business. He is but the representative and the mirror of a whole group of people who remain true to the confederative compact and are jealously on guard to preserve their rights and prerogatives. He is merely protecting the interests of those who, in three successive general elections, have requested him to act as their spokesman and defender in the upholding and recovery of rights which are truly ours and which, as had been promised, would be returned to us in their entirety once the last world conflict had come to an end. In this field he is also continuing to uphold the autonomist policy so often attacked but so brilliantly defended by great Liberal chieftains, such as Messrs. Gouin and Taschereau, to name only those two.

What a striking contrast, Mr. Speaker, between the centralizing Liberal party of today and the one which was led by Sir Wilfrid Laurier, that earnest autonomist whose memory they are about to perpetuate in the very city of Quebec by the erection of a monument.

Sir Wilfrid Laurier as well as Sir John A. Macdonald knew themselves that the Canadian confederation is a sacred pact between the two major groups of Canadians who laid together the foundations of this young country and who both contributed to its expansion and development.

And to the centralizers who think they are indispensable to the management of Canadian affairs, I shall recall that word of a great Canadian, of one of those who largely contributed to the realization of the Canadian constitution, Sir John A. Macdonald, when he declared:

In this country there is no superior race, no vanquished race; there are only Canadians with equal rights.

I shall also quote to the government a statement made one day by Sir Wilfrid Laurier who proved thereby his great comprehension of the confederative pact and showed unequivocally his respect for provincial autonomy.

Sir Wilfrid said:

There are but two minorities in the Canadian confederation, a minority of race and a minority of religion. To give to the central power, where the majority of race and of religion is found, the authority to encroach arbitrarily upon the jurisdiction of the provinces, is to destroy the legislative independence of the provinces and to make it but an illusion and a mockery.

The Budget-Mr. Dufresne

As a matter of fact, the cause of all the unrest that has upset our young confederation at different times has always been one and the same; it has always been the attempt by the central authority to encroach on provincial prerogatives.

These words of Sir Wilfrid Laurier are strikingly true nowadays. And when looking at those who claim to be his political followers, one is inclined to think that they should be ashamed to do so.

If the right hon. Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent), the hon. Minister of Finance and all those who now form the government would take their inspiration from the United Nations charter, they would find therein a section providing that any aggression by the strongest government against the weakest must be punished.

When people in Quebec are asked to abandon their rights, to give up their principal sources of revenue, or else to be taxed to the tune of $125 million more than the taxpayers of the other provinces, I say that this is aggression, cold war, or more precisely shameless blackmail.

The federal government states that because of its need for funds, it collects money wherever it may be found. The government thus adopts the principle of "What we need, we take".

In years past, other governments have done so. But they were compelled to abandon, at a certain moment, what they had seized without justification.

History has shown disquieting examples of what happens when the maxim "Might is right" is followed. In 1871, the chancellor of a powerful empire applied that principle. In 1914, the chancellor of the same empire- a great jurist he was, and moreover a professor of Roman law-told the British representatives that the treaty which guaranteed the integrity of the Belgian soil was nothing but a scrap of paper.

Another chancellor of the same empire ordered the conquest of weaker states, such as Czechoslovakia and Poland. I shall not attempt to relate what all that led up to for, alas! we know it but too well.

There are various kinds of aggression against a less powerful state. Whether it be armed aggression for the purpose of invading and dominating that state or whether it be aggression intended to weaken it financially in order to do away with it, it is nonetheless an aggression condemned by the United Nations charter and which should be punished.

In the matter about which we are concerned, Mr. Speaker, impudence and cynicism are carried a little too far. They say to Quebec: "You can always come here for

4158 HOUSE OF

The Budget-Mr. Dufresne a meeting because the government will always be happy to meet you." On the other hand, they are determined to maintain the position outlined in the budget speech. What tragic jokes this government can invent!

The province of Quebec owes nothing to the central government and should certainly not humiliate herself by making the first steps. The federal government is undoubtedly the aggressor, having little by little and by devious means encroached upon the autonomy of the provinces. I have never seen an assaulted person compelled to make excuses to his attacker. That is however the ridiculous idea of the Minister of Finance and of the government to which he belongs.

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

Jean Lesage (Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources)

Liberal

Mr. Lesage:

Ridiculous.

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

J.-Wilfrid Dufresne

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Dufresne:

All means seem to be good in order to reach an objective which is centralization and to attain eventually at legislative union, the most important step towards a condemnable socialism, from where only one further step would lead us to despicable and inhuman dictatorship. The time has surely come for the federal government to recognize its serious mistake and mend its ways, because the people, who cannot be provoked with impunity, will know, one day, how to punish, as they should be, those who in words and in deeds betrayed their trust.

It is interesting, Mr. Speaker, to listen to some of the speeches of our friends opposite, who, bluntly contradicting themselves, preach centralization to the French-speaking Canadians in the name of national unity. What nonsense!

First of all, I do not believe that anybody, in this house or out of it, has any right to lecture my compatriots in this fashion.

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

Jean Lesage (Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources)

Liberal

Mr. Lesage:

You neither.

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

J.-Wilfrid Dufresne

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Dufresne:

Let the minister not get discouraged; I will get to him later.

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

Jean Lesage (Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources)

Liberal

Mr. Lesage:

That does not surprise me.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
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PC

J.-Wilfrid Dufresne

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Dufresne:

To preach national unity means to act in a patriotic fashion. I will allow no one in this country the right to give lessons in patriotism to Canadians of my tongue. No one has a right to give us lessons in this regard, especially not the defenders of centralization.

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Subtopic:   ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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LIB

Jean Lesage (Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources)

Liberal

Mr. Lesage:

And yet you need some.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
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PC

J.-Wilfrid Dufresne

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Dufresne:

Have not French Canadians more than once fought valiantly for the defence of those constitutional rights accorded them by the Constitutional Act of

1791? In 1812, for instance, many of our Quebec ancestors willingly shed their blood for the defence of our Canadian soil against the invasion of American soldiers. They then fought with the utmost energy to preserve for the British crown that important section of our important Canadian territory.

Later on we had two great world wars during which French-Canadian regiments won renown and added to the glorious chapters of our history. And if in the course of those bloody conflicts, the Canadians of my race had refused their co-operation, our army, our navy and our air force would have had been less numerous by one-third and our influence with the other nations would have been weakened to that extent.

If they accepted with enthusiasm to serve for the defence of their country on those various occasions, it was because they had to preserve for themselves and for the coming generations sacred rights that the fathers of confederation had guaranteed to them; those rights ensure their survival and their development in Canada, which belongs to them rightly since they are its pioneers.

The government, Mr. Speaker, is illogical on a vast scale and is becoming ridiculous in the eyes of all good Canadians worthy of the name.

For many years the economic future of a. young country like ours, which needs all its resources, is being jeopardized by considerable, not to say extravagant, spending, for war and our so-called national security. I am not, mark my words, criticizing in any way the expenditures made for our defence and for the re-establishment of a just peace in the world. Yet it is an imperious necessity to practise what is being preached, as much here, in Canada, as abroad.

Why did we consent to take part in wars that, apart from costing us billions of dollars, have bereaved us of the best of our young people, of whom our country had a dire need for the conquest of its own destiny? Why did all Canadians accept so many sacrifices in the dark hours when the free world was in danger?

Why do we keep on giving money and bleeding ourselves white to ensure the protection of our land and defend ourselves against our common enemy, communism?

Also, why do we grant such help-greater help than we can afford, sometimes-to various countries in need of our assistance, for the purpose of maintaining among those populations the peace and freedom so many human beings are seeking?

All those generous measures, we take in the name of individual freedom, in the name of civilization, and in the name of democracy, which is so dear to the hearts of all Canadians.

And so, for a decade at least, we have been working so that other countries might win back their freedom and their sovereignty and live once more according to the great principles of democracy.

At the same time, however, right here in Canada people are endeavouring to undermine and to suppress that democracy which is essential to progress and national unity and so dear to all the nations which are longing for justice, peace and freedom.

The word "democracy" means, in my humble opinion: By the people, for the people, not by the people for its subsequent destruction, by the gradual suppression of their sacred rights for the benefit of centralization, which, as I said before, constitutes the first step towards the surrendering of all liberty.

The federal government finds itself condemned in the attitude it has taken lately toward the province of Quebec, by the loss of prestige and influence it has suffered in the other provinces of Canada. Let us not forget that, by weakening the provinces financially, we are working toward their eventual destruction. And those who are aware of the centralizing ideas in the mind of the members of the Canadian cabinet are in a position to guess their evil objective: the suppression of the provinces in order to achieve legislative union, which is prejudicial to all Canadians, constituting an irreparable encroachment upon their liberty.

No matter what those who advocate centralization may have to say, the province of Quebec is not seeking preferential treatment. It is only trying not to sign her own death warrant, and to keep those indefeasible rights which were granted to it by the constitution to which it was a party.

Mr. Speaker, a contract-and the pact of confederation is a contract-cannot be cancelled or even amended in any way without the consent of the contracting parties. Quebec never agreed to the amendment of the constitution. Therefore, if the federal government has any honour, it should respect such a precious document.

The government of Canada, taking upon itself the right of the more powerful party, availing itself of wartime conditions, negotiated with the provinces to get them to abandon their guaranteed rights or to rent, for a very definite period, certain taxation fields belonging to the provinces. I do not suggest that 83276-2631

The Budget-Mr. Dufresne no one has the right to abandon his rights or to rent privileges that belong to him; however, I contend that those who want to keep unaltered what belongs to them should be free to do so.

Through means that I shall not qualify, but about which most of the signatory provinces are complaining, the government succeeded in violating the constitution. No infringement upon that constitution is permitted without the consent of all the provinces. It was in that spirit that the fathers of confederation drafted the pact. Therefore since the constitution has not been amended because the provinces have not agreed to do so, I contend that the federal government did not have the right of entering into those agreements or of renting certain taxation fields from the provinces.

Therefore, what the federal government has done in the matter has no legal standing and all the agreements signed and renewed up to this date are in themselves illegal.

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

Jean Lesage (Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources)

Liberal

Mr. Lesage:

What a great lawyer!

Topic:   THE BUDGET
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PC

J.-Wilfrid Dufresne

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Dufresne:

The matter is so simple, Mr. Speaker, mere common sense; one does not need to be a lawyer to understand it.

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Subtopic:   ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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LIB

J. G. Léopold Langlois (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Langlois (Gaspe):

The man who does not understand does not know any better.

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

J.-Wilfrid Dufresne

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Dufresne:

Well those who understand-

Topic:   THE BUDGET
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LIB

Pierre Gauthier

Liberal

Mr. Gauthier (Portneuf):

It is better not to say anything than to speak like that.

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

J.-Wilfrid Dufresne

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Dufresne:

When will the federal government impose a penalty upon itself for having acted, as it has done since 1942, in a manner that is completely illegal. Since it will undoubtedly refuse to apply penalties against itself, the people will look after it themselves at the first opportunity.

The constitutional conflict between the central power and the Quebec government cannot remain unsolved because it is grossly unfair to the citizens of that province.

The leader of the opposition (Mr. Drew), true champion of provincial rights, appealed on two different occasions to the right hon. Prime Minister, asking him to call, with the least possible delay, a federal-provincial conference with a view to bringing about a solution to this distressing problem.

The Prime Minister has turned a deaf ear to these two appeals, which demonstrates in the first place his lack of co-operation and certainly, too, the way in which he seeks to approve and patronize this fatal policy of centralization. And before putting forward my own modest suggestion, may I be allowed,

4160 HOUSE OF

The Budget-Mr. Dujresne as one Quebecker to another, to appeal to him to bring to this serious problem the particular attention it deserves.

Let us forget all this petty politicking. Let us rather act as real Canadians devoted to the preservation of well understood national unity.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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April 27, 1954