July 23, 1956

AGRICULTURE

ONTARIO


On the orders of the day:


PC

William Marvin Howe

Progressive Conservative

Mr. W. M. Howe (Wellington-Huron):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to direct a question to the Minister of Agriculture or, in his absence, to his parliamentary assistant. In view of the loss experienced by farmers of Ontario owing to late seeding and of the present difficulty experienced by them in haying and harvesting operations, all caused by wet, backward weather, is the government considering some type of crop insurance similar to that operating in the western provinces under the Prairie Farm Assistance Act?

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   ONTARIO
Sub-subtopic:   REQUEST FOR CROP INSURANCE
Permalink
LIB

Robert McCubbin (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Mr. Roberl McCubbin (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Agriculture):

Mr. Speaker, I can assure the hon. member for Wellington-Huron that all these matters are taken into consideration. If the provincial government will discuss the matter with us, we will see what we can do with respect to it.

Topic:   AGRICULTURE
Subtopic:   ONTARIO
Sub-subtopic:   REQUEST FOR CROP INSURANCE
Permalink

TAXATION

MEASURE TO PROVIDE FOR AGREEMENTS WITH PROVINCES

LIB

Walter Edward Harris (Minister of Finance and Receiver General; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Hon. W. E. Harris (Minister of Finance) moved

the second reading of Bill No. 442, to authorize the Minister of Finance to make payments to the governments of the provinces and to authorize the government of Canada to enter into fiscal agreements with the governments of the provinces.

Topic:   TAXATION
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE FOR AGREEMENTS WITH PROVINCES
Permalink
PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

Mr. Speaker, is it the intention of the minister to make a statement on the motion?

Topic:   TAXATION
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE FOR AGREEMENTS WITH PROVINCES
Permalink
LIB

Walter Edward Harris (Minister of Finance and Receiver General; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Harris:

Mr. Speaker, I spoke twice at the resolution stage, on one occasion at considerable length, I think, or at greater length

than I usually speak. Having in mind my earnest request to hon. members opposite that, if possible, they might find it desirable to state their party position with fewer speakers than has been the custom up to the present time, I feel that I should not speak now but I shall probably wind up the debate.

Topic:   TAXATION
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE FOR AGREEMENTS WITH PROVINCES
Permalink
PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Donald M. Fleming (Eglinlon):

Mr. Speaker, we are now dealing with the motion of the Minister of Finance (Mr. Harris) that Bill No. 442 be read the second time. In reference to the entire proposal of the dominion government as contained in the bill, our position was stated by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Drew) at the resolution stage on July 16. That resolution was passed on division. The house is now asked to carry into legislative form and effect the formula which was the essence of the federal government's proposals. We are asked to do so with full knowledge that no provincial government has yet given its approval to those proposals and indeed with full knowledge that there has been widespread disapproval of the government's proposals on the ground of their inadequacy. I therefore say, Mr. Speaker, that the effect of reading this bill the second time would be, as I understand it, to give effect to a principle that the formula contained in the bill is adequate and ought to be adopted.

The question that we ought to ask ourselves is similar to that which my leader put before the house when he spoke a week ago. To paraphrase it, I would say the question before us is whether or not at this time there is evidence that the proposals of the government, and in particular this formula, will satisfactorily meet the demands which are actually now imposed upon provincial governments, municipal councils and boards of education throughout Canada and particularly whether they will be adequate over the five-year period during which the new scheme is intended to be in effect.

I point out at the outset, sir, that this is enabling legislation. If it is adopted, it will vest very wide powers in the Minister of Finance, and the powers vested in him include the power to legislate in the form of regulations.

As to the details of the formula, suffice it to say at this point that it is an actuarial maze to most people. The formula itself would undoubtedly confuse most citizens. Talk of tax equalization payments, provincial revenue stabilization payments, tax rental agreements, gross national product, average personal income, and other expressions in which this formula abounds make it very difficult for the average citizen to appreciate

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23, 1956 6287

Federal-Provincial Financial Arrangements the niceties of the formula. Indeed, it would be interesting, particularly in the light of the fact that no Liberal member spoke on the resolution, except the Minister of Finance, to put some of them to a test on the grasp of the details of this formula which they are now asked to approve. Every citizen, however, is interested in the result.

I propose to look at this formula in terms of the results that will follow from its adoption in legislative form. Surely, that is a fair test. Let us then put the new proposed formula in its proper perspective. It is estimated by the government that it would make available to the provinces in return for certain forms of revenue now constitutionally open to the provinces to collect on their own behalf a total this year of $653 million, which represents an increase of $115 million or 20 per cent over the sums that would have been paid to all provinces under the type of agreement now in effect if all the provinces were parties to it this year. It is evident at once that, so far as the provinces themselves are concerned, the new formula, in relation to the scheme which has been in effect for the past nine years, does represent an improvement. It is better. But, sir, we must go farther and ask ourselves if it is good enough, good enough today and good enough to be carried into legislative effect for the full period of five years commencing in the spring of 1957.

The problem, as everyone knows, arises from the fact that there are certain fields of taxation which under our constitutional division of responsibilities are common to both the dominion and provincial fields. If we look at the constitution with regard for the history of the intervening 89 years we must recognize at once, as fairminded men and women, that the provinces in these common fields of taxation have at least equal rights with the dominion.

Indeed, there have been times when it was argued that, because the provincial authorities were confined to taxation in its direct form, there was a constitutional priority created in their favour in that field. But at any rate, sir, whatever may be the validity of that argument, it is undeniable that constitutionally the provinces have at least an equal right and an equal status with the dominion in the fields of direct taxation.

Historically the provinces have claimed a priority because they were the first to occupy those fields.

Topic:   TAXATION
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE FOR AGREEMENTS WITH PROVINCES
Permalink
LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

That is not correct.

Topic:   TAXATION
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE FOR AGREEMENTS WITH PROVINCES
Permalink
PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

Well, the statement of the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration can not change the facts.

Topic:   TAXATION
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE FOR AGREEMENTS WITH PROVINCES
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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

No, but the facts are-

6288 HOUSE OF COMMONS

Federal-Provincial Financial Arrangements

Topic:   TAXATION
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE FOR AGREEMENTS WITH PROVINCES
Permalink
PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

The facts are these, that the provinces were in those fields. When did the dominion go into the field of direct personal taxation? It came in in 1917.

Topic:   TAXATION
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE FOR AGREEMENTS WITH PROVINCES
Permalink
LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

When did Ontario-[DOT]

Topic:   TAXATION
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE FOR AGREEMENTS WITH PROVINCES
Permalink
PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

And when it did it came in with the assurances given by the then minister of finance that this entry into the field of direct taxation-of course, the personal and corporation income tax-was to be for the duration of the war only.

Topic:   TAXATION
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE FOR AGREEMENTS WITH PROVINCES
Permalink
LIB

Walter Edward Harris (Minister of Finance and Receiver General; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Harris:

That was his hope and expectation.

Topic:   TAXATION
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE FOR AGREEMENTS WITH PROVINCES
Permalink
PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

And the name given to that act was the Income War Tax Act.

Topic:   TAXATION
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE FOR AGREEMENTS WITH PROVINCES
Permalink
LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

Will the hon. gentleman say when Ontario-

Topic:   TAXATION
Subtopic:   MEASURE TO PROVIDE FOR AGREEMENTS WITH PROVINCES
Permalink

July 23, 1956