March 12, 1956

DOMINION-PROVINCIAL CONFERENCE STATEMENT RESPECTING CONFERENCE HELD ON MARCH 9

LIB

Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Right Hon. L. S. St. Laurent (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to refer very briefly to the federal-provincial conference. At the October meeting it was agreed that this conference would resume in committee at a time to be fixed by the Prime Minister after consultation with the premiers of the provinces. In reply to my letter of January last outlining the fiscal proposals put forward by the federal government, some of the provincial premiers did suggest another meeting.

In my letter of February 18, 1956, I said:

Since our federal responsibilities and commitments are now so heavy that we would not be warranted in making any increase in the basic offer we made in January, it may be that the provincial governments generally would not feel that there would be any advantage to be derived from another meeting to discuss fiscal relations.

The replies to my letter indicated, however, that a further meeting in committee was desired.

The conference resumed Friday morning, March 9, and adjourned at five o'clock that day. Although the meeting was, as had been agreed, in camera, it was agreed at the beginning that each delegation could make public any statement it wished to make during the meeting. Some of these statements have been made public and several provincial representatives have made additional comments to the press. I will not endeavour to add to what has appeared in the press, or comment on the substance of the matter before the budget debate. I should like, however, to table the statement made by the federal Minister of Finance at the conference and also a statistical table distributed to the provincial premiers which shows an estimate of how the federal proposals would operate in the fiscal year 1957-58. It should be noted that these figures are illustrative only and that they are based on an assumed increase of 5 per cent per annum over the 1955 levels in the yields of standard taxes and the insurance premium tax.

Perhaps hon. members would wish to have the statement of the Minister of Finance and

the statistical table printed as an appendix to Hansard, as was done with the other documents relating to this matter.

Topic:   DOMINION-PROVINCIAL CONFERENCE STATEMENT RESPECTING CONFERENCE HELD ON MARCH 9
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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Do hon. members agree to this proposal?

Topic:   DOMINION-PROVINCIAL CONFERENCE STATEMENT RESPECTING CONFERENCE HELD ON MARCH 9
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?

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

(For text of documents see appendix, pages 2065-68.)

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REQUEST FOR NEW APPROACH FOLLOWING REPORTED BREAKDOWN OF CONFERENCE


On the orders of the day:


PC

William Earl Rowe

Progressive Conservative

Hon. W. Earl Rowe (Dufferin-Simcoe):

In

view of the fact that the dominion-provincial conference has, according to newspaper reports, broken down, will the Prime Minister advise the house whether or not he is prepared to consider a new approach to the problem which would be more satisfactory to the premiers of the provinces?

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LIB

Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Right Hon. L. S. St. Laurent (Prime Minister):

I had not seen any reports that the conference had broken down.

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PC

William Earl Rowe

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Rowe:

Broken up, probably.

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LIB

Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. St. Laurent (Quebec East):

It came to an end. The statement I have laid on the table this afternoon and the statistical table illustrates the manner in which the proposals would operate, and represent the government's proposals. Now, there have been very large additional demands which the government felt, under present circumstances, could not be met.

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PC

William Earl Rowe

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Rowe:

May I ask a supplementary

question? Is it the intention of the Prime Minister to have another conference in the near future?

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LIB

Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. St. Laurent (Quebec East):

Not unless we see some way of having more funds available for distribution because there was approval of the principle as being a step in the right direction. The contention was that it was not a long enough step, but it was as long a step as we thought we could make under present circumstances.

On the orders of the day:

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CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. H. R. Argue (Assiniboia):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to direct a question to the Prime Minister. Can he say whether any further concessions were made to the provinces at

Dominion-Provincial Conference the recent conference, and whether those concessions were made at the general conference discussion or at some other place?

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LIB

Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. St. Laurent (Quebec East):

Mr. Speaker, the provinces would not admit that anything that is proposed is a concession. There were explanations made as to how the retirement from the field of taxation on insurance premiums might operate. I know of nothing further that could be regarded as a concession or as an increase in the burden the proposals would mean for the federal treasury.

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PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. J. M. Macdonnell (Greenwood):

I have a supplementary question, Mr. Speaker. Does the Prime Minister consider that the provincial premiers who travelled hundreds, and, in some cases, thousands of miles, to be here on Friday, had been adequately warned that they were coming here only to be told that there was nothing new to tell them?

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LIB

Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. St. Laurent (Quebec East):

Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman can interpret himself the terms of the letter I wrote when I suggested to them that that being the situation it might very well be that they would not generally feel it was useful to have another discussion on fiscal policies at this time.

lLater:l

On the orders of the day:

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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Stanley Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

Mr. Speaker, may I direct a question to the Prime Minister with reference to the documents he has tabled today? What has happened to the principle of federal control over taxation levels so as to deal with inflation and deflation when necessary in the public interest?

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LIB

Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. St. Laurent (Quebec East):

The passing of the British North America Act in 1867.

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TRANS-CANADA AIR LINES REFERENCE OF ANNUAL REPORT, AUDITORS' REPORT AND CAPITAL BUDGET TO RAILWAYS AND SHIPPING COMMITTEE

LIB

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

Liberal

Right Hon. C. D. Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce):

Mr. Speaker, I have today laid on the table, in accordance with standing orders, the annual report of Trans-Canada Air Lines for the year 1955 and the auditors' annual report to parliament of Trans-Canada Air Lines for the year ending December 31, 1955. Copies of both these reports have been made available for distribution to all hon. members. I now wish to move:

That the annual report of Trans-Canada Air Lines for 1955, the auditors' annual report to parliament of Trans-Canada Air Lines for the year ending December 31, 1955, tabled this day, and

the capital budget of Trans-Canada Air Lines for the year ending December 31, 1955, tabled on Wednesday, March 7, 1956, be referred to the sessional committee on railways and shipping owned, operated and controlled by the government.

Topic:   TRANS-CANADA AIR LINES REFERENCE OF ANNUAL REPORT, AUDITORS' REPORT AND CAPITAL BUDGET TO RAILWAYS AND SHIPPING COMMITTEE
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March 12, 1956