March 21, 1957

LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. Garson:

Mr. Speaker, when the hon.

member for Eglinton rose to make his point of order I was in the process of quoting this editorial concerning the budget. The quotation started out with the statement:

The budget is pretty good. It falls, admittedly, a long way short of the sternest standards of financial wisdom. But it towers miles above the irresponsible standards of political profligacy which,-

I will have to stop there. I will not identify whose profligacy is referred to.

By the rough test of practical politics, the budget is excellent and it is certainly courageous. Warm praise is due to Mr. Harris for it.

Then further down some further comments are made about the budget:

Mr. Harris has chosen a half-measure between that and the dissipation of the surplus, which would have earned more immediate political dividends. The half measure must be counted, just before the elections, as courageous.

Once he had decided on a middle course, Mr. Harris had about $150 millions to dispose of. The ways he has chosen for the disposal may not be ideal but they are not at all bad. The main tax cut, indeed, is highly commendable. It applies to everyone the principle of tax deduction for pensions which hitherto has been restricted to employee pension-plans.

Everyone will now be freed from taxation on all payments, up to 10 per cent of income, which he puts into genuine provision for his income on retirement. This will be a powerful stimulus to private saving, of which the country badly needs more. It is the very best sort of tax cut, and Mr. Harris is to be warmly commended for preferring it to any of the flashier kinds-

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

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

Why does he wait four years to do it?

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

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

Liberal

Mr. Garson:

My hon. friend should not interrupt. Just a short time ago my hon. friend expressed approbation of this particular measure, as did the hon. member for Greenwood the other night. I hope that they do not object to my quoting them in that connection. The editorial continues:

Naturally, we would all have liked more income tax reductions as well; but the good sense of the

Canadian public can be relied on to see that what Mr. Harris has done is the best and fairest thing that, on a small scale, he could do.

The reductions in sales and excise taxes, especially on tea and coffee, will afford a welcome offset to the rising cost of living; they are the most direct way of helping people with small incomes. The other measures in this field are more questionable.

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

An hon. Member:

Applesauce.

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

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

Liberal

Mr. Garson:

I know my hon. friends of the Conservative party, when they disagree with an editorial in the Free Press, call it "applesauce". On other occasions I have heard Free Press editorials quoted as if they were the words of the oracle of Delphi. It depends upon whose ox is gored.

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

William Earl Rowe

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Rowe:

They have been goring yours for many years.

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

Douglas Scott Harkness

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Harkness:

It seems to me they are damning the budget with faint praise.

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

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

Liberal

Mr. Garson:

I am sure that for the members of the Conservative party, to whom the budget brings cold comfort, that is about the best outlook my hon. friends can take. I would leave it to the people of Canada whether he is right or whether they, as they will think, will be right.

The final paragraph is, after indicating some of the minor shortcomings of the budget, as follows; They refer to these as departures from wisdom:

These are departures from wisdom. But it would be churlish to criticize them severely when the alternative is that sketched, to the pain and surprise of his admirers, by Mr. J. M. Macdonnell.

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

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

Now, Mr. Speaker-

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

Edward Turney Applewhaite (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Applewhaiie):

think I have endeavoured to explain my understanding of the rules. I think it was a fair and comprehensive one. It may be a rule which, perhaps, has been by tacit consent broken on several occasions, but the rule being there and the objection having been taken the Minister of Justice (Mr. Garson) should be able to make his remarks with that in mind.

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

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

Liberal

Mr. Garson:

I bow to your ruling, and the remarks which I am now about to make are my own. I would suggest something of which I think most hon. members of this house are aware. If the Conservative party, as the last pillar of financial orthodoxy-

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

Douglas Scott Harkness

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Harkness:

May I ask, if these remarks are the minister's own, why is he reading them from the Winnipeg Free Press'?

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

Thomas Miller Bell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Bell:

He reads everything.

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

André Gauthier

Liberal

Mr. Gauthier (Porineuf):

It hurts.

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

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

Liberal

Mr. Garson:

My hon. friend, on occasion, when he is in his best form, reads many

The Budget-Mr. Garson things to the house himself. I am taking the responsibility for the statement which I am now about to make.

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

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

Let us be quite clear on the point of order because I think we want to get this cleared up. The minister is entitled to say whatever he wishes as long as it is parliamentary and relevant, but he is not entitled to read from an editorial in a newspaper which comments on the proceedings in this house and refers to what has been said by an hon. member of this house during the course of a debate. I know the editorial, and I know it constitutes a very unfair, biased reflection. According to the rules of this house it cannot be read into the record by any member of this house.

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

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

Liberal

Mr. Garson:

My hon. friend is under quite an illusion if he thinks I had in mind reading this editorial to the house, but I am sure as a reasonable man he will agree that there is no law in this country and there is no rule of this house which prevents me, as a free citizen, from having an opinion which happens to coincide with that of the editor of the Free Press.

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

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

But under the rules of this house a member cannot refer to the editorial and the opinions of the editor. The minister can state his own opinions but he cannot put the opinions of an editor on the record in this matter.

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

Edward Turney Applewhaite (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Applewhaiie):

both the hon. gentlemen will resume their seats for a moment, I think this is really quite simple. The Minister of Justice when I have stopped him has said from now on, or words to this effect, the following remarks are my own. We have to accept those remarks as his own because the minister states they are his own. If they happen to coincide, word for word, with an editorial which might have been appearing somewhere there is, so far as I know, no rule of the house which stops him providing he puts them before the house as his views and does not put them before the house as the views of some editorial writers.

In other words, I think-and this is not a prepared judgment-I think the rule is there in order that members shall be responsible for the opinions and the statements that they make and shall not be allowed to make statements referring to or commenting upon previous occurrences in a debate, and then hiding behind those statements by saying they are the editorial opinions of a certain newspaper writer. The minister is doing what perhaps, if I may say so to the house, I have done on occasion. I have run across what I thought was a very well written paragraph, have learned it by heart and said it to the

The Budget-Mr. Garson house as my own. I do not think I was breaking a rule by doing so.

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

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

I do not question that for a moment, Mr. Speaker. What I do question is a statement by the minister that he agrees with the editorial opinion expressed in the Winnipeg Free Press and then goes on to set it forth.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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March 21, 1957