I do not believe people want state-controlled industry. The "funny money" ideas of the Social Credit party have been washed out, and while they still try to fool the people, the facts are that in the provinces where they are in control the present economy is the result of a tremendous expansion and development of Canada's natural resources due largely to the policies of this government.
The Budget-Mr. Purdy It would be just as sensible to credit the Social Credit movement for the development taking place in northern Quebec, or the tremendous expansion in the gypsum production in Nova Scotia, as to give them credit for similar developments in Alberta and British Columbia.
It is all very well for the provinces with immense natural resources to speak of the maritime provinces as "have not" provinces, but I would again remind the house that at one time the maritimes had a very definite stake in a large portion of the areas which are now bringing great wealth to the provinces to which such areas have been allotted, and it is only fair, therefore, that they should share in the distribution of this wealth.
This brings my thought to the Atlantic seaboard, and gives me the opportunity of expressing my appreciation of the special recognition given in the budget to the problems of our provinces down by the sea. These problems are not new, and have been presented from many angles. The preliminary report of the Gordon commission focussing public opinion on our situation is a milestone in our history, and the appointment of this commission will stand as a memorial to the wisdom of the present administration.
It will be appreciated that with the continuation of the present administration we can look forward to many more similar projects and proposals aimed at the development of the Atlantic provinces. It was most surprising to me that some of our people failed to realize that the final report is still to be made public. Others, for political purposes, are attempting to draw attention to a single paragraph in the preliminary report, and are trying to make the public believe that a forecast made, as to what might be necessary 30 years from now, should it not be possible to keep our development in line with our increase in population, is present government policy.
I can understand why such a statement could be made immediately following the release of the preliminary report, by people who had not had an opportunity to study it or to assess the general opinions as expressed by the press. However, I feel that at this date I should take exception to the remarks being made insisting that the report means that it is government policy to move our people out of the provinces.
In this connection I note from a recent issue of the Truro News that the Hon. Mr. Ferguson, minister without portfolio in the Stanfield cabinet, had this to say, and I quote from the newspaper report:
He said the suggestion that 4,000 maritimers be "displaced" is something to cause concern.
"I can't see why anyone would misinterpret the statement" he said. It seems quite plain that
The Budget-Mr. Purdy another 4,000 are to be displaced. If they are not, then I hope the commission will explain just what it did mean.
My reply is, that in my opinion, the hon. gentleman should pay more attention to his reading and less attention to trying to play politics. My feeling is that should he do this, he will have less to he sorry for when he has occasion at a future date to review the beneficial effects to the Atlantic provinces arising from this report, and I may say that I feel that the hon. member for Digby-Annapolis-Kings (Mr. Nowlan) is equally at fault in this respect.
The news letter published by the Canadian chamber of commerce in its March 1 issue reviews the report, and amongst other complimentary remarks has this to say, and I quote:
The preliminary report should be required reading for every thinking Canadian. It has brought together a mass of extremely valuable and, in many cases, startling statistics. It gives to those who read it a fine sense of accomplishment and a tremendous feeling of optimism. Much has been accomplished, but much more remains to be done in this great and growing country of ours. The picture which has been drawn has been done in broad strokes, but we can't help feeling, as individuals, a thrill at being provided with the opportunity of helping to fill in the details over the next few years.
I prefer to take this view which is similar to that expressed by the Halifax Chronicle Herald in several editorials since the publication of the preliminary report. In fact, our premier, loath as he apparently is to agree that any good can come out of Liberal action, concluded a prepared statement at the time the report was issued as follows:
. . . the commission is to be commended for
"seeking answers to our problems and not sops to pass to us."
I wish now, Mr. Speaker, to refer specifically to my own constituency, that of Col-chester-Hants, stretching as it does from the placid waters of Northumberland straits with their sandy beaches and perfect summer bathing conditions to the waters of Cobequid bay and Minas basin to which I will refer later. At this point I could exhaust the balance of my allotted time in describing the attractions of the north shore of my constituency on the Northumberland straits. These are centred around the village of Tatamagouche which is the headquarters of a large dairy industry and an educational centre. I could also take you to the adjoining community of New Annan, home of the famous Annie Swan, the Canadian giantess, 8 feet, 1 inch tall and with other measurements in proportion. It is interesting to note from the local press that recently twin relatives of this famous lady who are still living in my constituency celebrated their 94th
birthday and are probably Canada's oldest twins. French river running into Tatamagouche bay was one of the terminals of the Chignois trail or portage used by the Acadians in supplying the needs of the fortress of Louisburg.
There are many other historical features centred around the area. For example, there was the naval battle of Tatamagouche bay which was probably the forerunner of the downfall of the fortress of Louisburg. But I must hurry on and can but again urge our fellow Canadians to make a visit to the Atlantic provinces a must in arranging their future holidays. All in all, we present a reasonable cross-section of the economy of the province. In fact, geographically we are the centre of the mainland. To confirm this I would point out that our boundaries meet those of six of the other seven constituencies on the mainland.
According to the last census our population is roughly 60,000, an increase of almost 5,000 during the past five years. This has occurred in spite of the fact that in common with almost every constituency in the province we have lost a considerable number of our good citizens to Ontario and Quebec. We do not benefit very much from the influx of immigrants. However, I am happy to say thal during the past few years, thanks largely to the efforts of the government, we have been able to attract a considerable number of Dutch farmers to our area. They have as a whole proven to be good citizens and I was very pleased indeed to learn from the press the other day that our Truro Rotary Club had selected as its representative for the adventure in citizenship trip to Ottawa this year a young Dutch student who has only recently arrived in this country.
I believe that one reason why the Dutch settlers are attracted to our community is due to the fact that the North Nova Scotia Highlanders played a very important part in the campaign in that country, and I should like to stress again my strong objection to the name of this famous fighting unit having been lost sight of in the reorganization of our militia. To me it seems most unfortunate that the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Campney) did not make use of some other body to advise him in this matter than the one he did.
Census figures will show that about two-thirds of our population is rural and one-third urban. As a matter of fact, however, as a considerable portion of our so-called rural population is more urban than rural in its way of life, I believe that a fifty-fifty split is more accurate. Our rural people depend for a livelihood on agriculture and lumbering. Basically, however, agriculture in its various
phases from livestock to apples is the means of livelihood of a large percentage of our population because the economy of our urban centres as well as our rural areas depends to a great extent on the situation in our agricultural areas.
Therefore I make no apology, while thanking the government for its recognition of the problems of our farmers and for the assistance given them in many ways, the most recent ones being the reduction in freight rates on western feed grain and our outgoing products, for pointing out that the present government and the Liberal party which will form the next government have some way to go yet in order to place the economy of our farm population on an equal basis with those in industry. To this goal I pledge my wholehearted support.
The maritime marshlands rehabilitation program has been of great assistance to our farmers. It is with some pride that I recall that I was a member of the special committee which in its report of more than 20 years ago proposed this program to the government. It is my hope that when the Senate committee on land use presents its report it will concur in the views I have expressed for years with regard to the extension of the provisions of the Maritime Marshland Rehabilitation Act to cover fresh water erosion and that we will see this assistance made part of government policy. The efficient staff built up by this organization would be available with the know-how to continue the job with the minimum of expense.
For a moment may I turn to the urban centres of my constituency. Truro, Windsor, Stewiacke and Hantsport are manufacturing centres, with Truro a transportation centre, both railway and highway, for the province. It is truly the hub of Nova Scotia. Windsor occupies the same place as regards the Annapolis valley. The whole area is steeped in historic lore. For instance, at Windsor we find the site of the first agricultural fair held in North America and at Fort Edward overlooking the harbour we have one of the remaining blockhouses of pioneer days. This area along with the Truro area and many other parts of the constituency played a very important part in the historic days both prior to and after the expulsion of the Acadians.
In Windsor the provincial government maintains Haliburton house to commemorate the memory of Thomas Chandler Haliburton, Sam Slick, the author of "The Clockmaker" and many other publications. Between Windsor and Halifax, still in my constituency, the provincial government has Uniacke house reminding visitors of the early days of this family who played a very important part in the building of Nova Scotia.
The Budget-Mr. Purdy
Our manufactures cover a large list of items. Textiles are, however, the most important, Truro, Windsor and Stewiacke having plants devoted to this type of work. Our chief claim for special recognition in this line is in Truro, the home of a nationally known brand of underwear, which name now heads the government of our province. I question, however, if the portion of a recent article in Maclean's magazine which could be taken to indicate that the trade-mark of this famous industry is now the emblem of Nova Scotia is correct. While I do not approve of many of the policies of the present provincial government, I have no such misgivings with regard to the manufactured product produced under the trade-mark previously referred to and I would commend the use of this famous brand to you, Mr. Speaker, as well as to other members of the house, both ladies and gentlemen.
Earlier in this session the junior member for Halifax (Mr. Balcom) took me to task for what he claimed was an attempt on my part to move the capital of Nova Scotia from Halifax to Truro. So far I have not been successful, but I would point out that our new government had to come to Truro for approximately 50 per cent of its cabinet members. In spite of the objections of my hon. friend I still propose to keep on trying to impress on the Minister of Finance (Mr. Harris) and his parliamentary assistant that the proper location for the headquarters of the Canadian farm loan board is in the centre of the agricultural area and adjacent to the agricultural activities of both the federal and provincial governments. May I here be permitted to look into the future and say that while possibly Truro will never be the capital of Nova Scotia yet should it ever happen that the four Atlantic provinces join in one government Truro, which is the geographical centre of the four maritime or Atlantic provinces, would no doubt be the place selected as the capital.
I have previously referred to the preliminary report of the Gordon commission. I have also in past sessions endeavoured to impress on the Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources (Mr. Lesage) the advisability of assistance to our province in developing our tourist industry. I was rather surprised that the commission report above referred to did not refer specifically to our tourist potential. However, this may appear in the final report. It is true that the minister did not respond too favourably to some of my suggestions. However, I will now quote certain excerpts from the preliminary Gordon report. The first one is as follows:
What is required is a positive and comprehensive approach to the problems of the Atlantic region. With this as the objective, it is suggested that the
The Budget-Mr. Purdy people of Canada as a whole might be willing to assist the people of the Atlantic provinces in discovering, developing and making the best use of resources in that area.
A second excerpt as follows:
Any serious attempt to raise income levels in tb* Atlantic provinces will soon break down into consideration of a series of problems which must be dealt with separately and individually. These include problems of transportation and communications.
The final one reads as follows:
On the other hand, the desirability of granting some measure of capital assistance towards the construction of public projects, including improved transportation facilities, in the Atlantic provinces is apparent.
Mr. Speaker, armed with this report I make bold to ask the Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources to take a new look at the proposals I made with respect to the construction of a replica of an Acadian village as a tourist attraction, and also a survey of the Shubenacadie estuary in order to ascertain whether a causeway is feasible at that point with the four-fold object of providing a highway crossing, railway crossing, power development and reclamation of lands now out to tide. This would also enable us to develop the tourist attractions of the Cobequid bay and Minas basin shore rich in history and possessing many historic features and favourable for summer recreation.
I appreciate the fact that the minister suggested that, if as a result of a preliminary survey, the provincial government were able to show that the proposal is a feasible and economic one, he would be prepared to give further consideration to joining with the provincial government in defraying the cost of an extensive survey. I understand that the preliminary survey is now being carried out by the provincial government. I would point out to the minister that even if this survey suggests that the only answer to our problem at this point is a bridge, he should not, having regard to the quotations from the Gordon report which I have previously given and to his responsibility in connection with developing the tourist industry, fail to give favourable consideration to a request for financial assistance should it be made.
May I point out that from the time of confederation up to a few years ago the federal government accepted the responsibility of assisting in maintaining a direct road connection between Truro and Windsor by way of a ferry subsidy and the maintenance of the ferry docks at Black Rock and Maitland. This to my mind is an added reason why the federal government should give further consideration to assisting in a crossing at this point as part of the Truro-Windsor road.
Under the heading "Did you Know?" the Eddy Match Company recently published on the back of one of its boxes the following:
"Burnteoat Head, Nova Scotia, is famous for the world's highest tides, rising 46 to 54 feet above low water."
Burnteoat is but a few miles from the mouth of Shubenacadie river. My impression is that the differential between the high and low tide is at times as much as 62 feet. However, we will not quarrel with our friends over a mere eight feet of tide which is the maximum in many places.
I am afraid that my good friend the Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources has failed to realize that the mouth of the Shubenacadie is a far different problem from that involved where preliminary surveys on the possibility of using tidal power have been made. I think he will find that our tides are about twice as high as they are further down the bay.
I am not discounting for a moment the fact that under present conditions and the present know-how it is possible to produce energy from coal and oil more cheaply than from tidal water. However, a few years ago, Mr. Speaker, anyone who suggested that atomic power could be made commercial use of would have been considered very visionary. We are now realizing too late that our forest resources are not inexhaustible. Might I suggest that the future generation may have to face the same problem as regards coal and oil. The tides of the bay of Fundy go in and out twice a day with the force of many millions of horsepower behind them. Three hours each day before high tide without mechanical aid the bore appears.
I could continue, Mr. Speaker, for hours discussing the features of the Maitlands, the Selmas, the Noels, the Waltons, the Kempts, the Burlingtons, Cogmagun and many other settlements along this shore all waiting for tourists. I am afraid that if I did this I would be out of step with the bore which I have just mentioned and I fear that it would bore my listeners.
Hantsport, Windsor and Walton are important deep water ports. From their wharves each year hundreds of ocean-going steamers carry the produce of our quarries, lumber and pulp mills to the markets of the world. While I appreciate the assistance of the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Winters) in maintaining reasonably good shipping facilities at these points, yet encouraged by the reference in the Gordon report to improved transportation facilities I would urge his full co-operation in meeting my requests for further improvements at such points.
In closing, Mr. Speaker, as this will no doubt be my swan song in this parliament, I commend my remarks to the government and particularly to the minister of northern affairs, the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Gardiner) and the Minister of Public Works for their consideration when they return to take up their duties following the next election in which our beloved Prime Minister will again lead the Liberal party to victory. I consign my political fate to the hands of my electors with the assurance that while the hour-glass may have started to run a little low there is plenty of sand left and that I will, God willing, continue to serve them to the best of my ability as I have in the past.
Topic: THE BUDGET
Subtopic: ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Mr. Speaker, before I attempt to discuss some of the contents of the budget speech made by the Minister of Finance (Mr. Harris) there are two or three matters with which I should like to deal briefly that are not mentioned in that speech, at least in the way in which I should have liked to see them mentioned.
I think it is perhaps hardly necessary for me at this stage of the debate to go into much detail with regard to the position the C.C.F. group takes on the increase proposed in relation to the old age pension. I think that position is made abundantly clear by the amendment which was moved by my colleague the hon. member for Nanaimo (Mr. Cameron) when he suggested that the old age pension should be increased at this time to an amount commensurate with the increase in the gross national product since 1949, which would call for a pension of approximately $75 a month. Arguments in favour of that proposal were advanced this afternoon by the hon. member for Dauphin (Mr. Zaplitny) and therefore I think that I need not expand upon them at this time. However, there are two points which are not mentioned in the proposals for changes for social security legislation which perhaps may not loom large on the national scene in respect of the number of voters that are involved but nevertheless are ones which I think rightly should have been brought forward at this time.
One of these matters which has been raised many times by some of my colleagues who speak on occasions when we are discussing veterans affairs is the idea of including as eligible for war veterans allowance first world war veterans who were not in what has been termed a theatre of war. I have had one or two cases brought to my attention quite recently of what seemed to me to be needless hardship imposed upon people who did render honourable service in that war, yet are unable to qualify for war veterans allowance benefits.
The other matter which I regret has not been taken care of in the proposals advanced by the minister is a matter which has been put forward as a single point program, jointly by the Canadian National Institute for the Blind and the Canadian Council of the Blind, over the last two years, for a specific allowance free from the means test for the blind persons of Canada. I have spoken on this matter on two or three previous occasions in earlier sessions of this parliament, and I must say I was very much disappointed that the consistently reasonable request which those who speak on behalf of the blind have made to the government has not been acted upon. I am sure that the blind people who are in the position of having passed the means test will welcome the small increase which is going to be allowed to them. I must say I cannot understand why the government did not see fit to accede to that request which has been, as the Minister of Finance (Mr. Harris) and other members of the government well know, put forward consistently, not only to the government but to the members of this house.
There is a third point which I wish to raise at this time. It is also a matter which I have raised on a number of previous occasions. As a matter of fact, the Minister of Finance may recall that shortly before the end of the last session I said that I intended to raise this every year as long as I was a member of this house until something was done about it. I am referring to the continued discrimination against the wage and salary earners of this country under section 5 of the Income Tax Act. I have, on occasion, gone into some considerable detail with respect to the manner in which the application of this section of the act discriminates against many of the workers in my constituency, the loggers in particular. I have outlined the anomalous position in which skilled tradesmen find themselves when they are working for wages in contrast to the man who may be, for the time being, selfemployed. I have attempted to put forward the position that has been advanced from time to time by the various workers' organizations in this respect.
As members of the house will recall, Mr. Speaker, last year an amendment was made to the Income Tax Act which had to do with those things which must be included in respect of taxable income. We passed an amendment which, as I recall it, was phrased something like this: that any
benefit of any kind whatever must be included. Then when we found that an information bulletin, which has become quite well known in trade union circles as information bulletin No. 10, was issued under date
The Budget-Mr. Barnett of July 10, 1956, we began to wonder if this was not a further implementation of the idea that was put forward in that amendment. This bulletin attempted to clarify the situation to employers in respect to including allowances, particularly for those who were construction workers and who were away from their homes in the course of earning a living.
The bulletin says, on page 2:
This bulletin is being issued at this time because it is believed that there may be employers who have been unaware or uncertain of their responsibilities in the matter of tax deductions at the source. Any employers who have, for the present time, neglected to take these elements of income into account for the purpose of tax deductions should make immediate arrangements to do so.
So far as I can understand, that was simply serving notice that the practice, which was fairly well known and had been carried on over a long period of time, was suddenly going to be brought to a stop. In other words, instead of moving in the direction of removing this discrimination the government seems to be tightening up on the wage earners. The Canadian Labour Congress, in their brief to the government this year, brought this matter to the attention of the government. It has been brought to the attention of individual members. I know I have had letters from a great many trade union organizations in my area such as the building trades council, Vancouver and District Labour Council, the brotherhood of carpenters and joiners and a large number of other groups.
Now, sessional paper No. 105A, moved by the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles), made some inquiries on this subject and the answer was given by the Department of Finance. He asked whether or not representations had been made to the government on this subject, and the reply says that such representations had been made and had been received from a number of labour organizations. Then, it goes on to say that careful study is being given to these representations and the matter was still receiving consideration. I can only assume that the consideration has come to a conclusion and, because of the absence of any reference to this matter in the budget speech, that the government is no longer giving consideration to it.
Topic: THE BUDGET
Subtopic: ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
There does come a time when we have concrete evidence as to whether consideration has or has not been given by the government by the results that consideration produces. However, I can still hope perhaps, from the interjection the minister made, that this is a matter which will be
rectified, because I think the discrimination becomes all the more clear in the light of the situation set forth by the hon. member for Nanaimo (Mr. Cameron) in respect of those deducting income from corporation dividends from the taxes payable by people whose income is from that source.
Now, Mr. Speaker, I realize that in the budget speech the minister made some reference to the topic of inflation; certain other references have been made from time to time to this subject by other speakers. I thought perhaps the minister might be interested in the impression which was given by his colleague the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Campney) on this matter during a recent visit he paid to the coast of British Columbia. According to the report I have here from the Comox Free Press the minister met the Liberal executive in the Comox-Alberni federal riding.
I assume that this was not a meeting attended by the press. Therefore, I imagine this is someone else's impression of what the minister said. It is not put in quotation marks. The report in the Comox Free Press reads as follows:
Mr. Campney said that the federal government is at present endeavouring to develop trade, secure full employment and also create prosperity in Canada.
Apparently, we are still a long way from these objectives, according to the Minister of National Defence. Then, he goes on:
One million homes have been built and the gross national product is nearly $30 billion this year, but inflation threatens. Inflation could easily destroy prosperity and result in depression as has happened in the past. The federal government has two ways of controlling inflation; either to reintroduce the direct and unpopular controls of credit and instalment buying of the wartime, or the indirect way of control by discouraging borrowing by means of increasing the interest rate, which is the only measure used at present. Whether the policy is at all effective or ineffective it is well-intentioned.
Well, Mr. Speaker, I leave the minister to draw his own conclusions as to where he is paving the road and taking his colleague with him as he goes.
Topic: THE BUDGET
Subtopic: ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
In his budget speech to the house on March 14 the minister did have some rather interesting things to say. I think that when my colleague, the member for Nanaimo (Mr. Cameron), referred to the budget as essentially a stupid budget, the minister understood that my colleague did not imply that the minister himself could be described by the use of that word.
Topic: THE BUDGET
Subtopic: ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
The minister apparently does recognize, as he pointed out in his speech, and reminded us, that he had spoken on it in his previous budget speech, and I quote briefly from page 2314 of Hansard of March 14:
I was careful, however, to point out that we were becoming subject to inflationary pressures and that both fiscal and monetary measures would be needed to restrain the upward thrust upon prices.
I think the only quarrel that some of us have with the minister is that, having recognized that there is a problem, he does not seem to have done very much about it. On page 2216 of Hansard he had this to say:
I am sure that most thoughtful people know that a condition of "tight money" and higher interest rates is not the wilful creation of the government or of the banks or of the Bank of Canada. It is true that the Bank of Canada could have further increased the supply of money and credit. Such action would have given greater leeway for inflationary pressures to push up prices and costs to the great disadvantage of export and domestic industries alike, and indeed of all sections of the community.
I do not quarrel too much with this statement of the minister because I think he is attempting to give us, as far as he is able, an honest picture of the situation. But on the same page of Hansard he says:
The monetary policy of the Bank of Canada has been one of restraint, and the fiscal policy of the government has worked in the same direction.
Well, we have been hearing quite a bit about the monetary policy of the Bank of Canada; but when we start thinking about what the fiscal policy of the government has been which would assist in controlling this situation, then I think I might say, at the risk of being accused of coining a phrase, that we had much too little too late, because on page 2221 of Hansard the minister is recorded as having said:
I have already explained my reasons for believing that the severe inflationary pressures, which we have resisted so far with a high degree of success, are still with us to a considerable extent.
Much as I might like to do so, I cannot recommend to this house any major reductions in the general level of taxation.
Now, I may be wrong, but that is the only place in the minister's speech where I can find a direct reference to what he calls the fiscal policy of the government. In other words, apparently the fact that he has not cut taxes is the main method that the government is using to approach dealing with the inflationary pressures as far as policy is concerned. The only other thing I can think of is, as I understand it, in the estimates
The Budget-Mr. Barnett which he has tabled this year there are a few places where there has been some chopping and cutting of the construction program of the government which, if I may say so, in many cases is resulting in a real hardship through the lack of services to the Canadian people. These are the only two points I can think of to explain the minister's statement that the government is working with the Bank of Canada through fiscal policies. However, as I said at the outset, at least the Minister of Finance does recognize that there is an inflationary problem.
When I left the Pacific coast in January I came here from the province of British Columbia, but apparently while I have been away some things have been happening out there. Apparently, from reports I have heard, when I go back I am going to be returning to the province of Wenner-Gren land, as it is being called out there now. In Wenner-Gren land, which is being hailed as a paradise for Swedish multi-millionaires, we have a premier by the name of the Hon. W. A. C. Bennett. I do not know what Mr. Bennett is talking about these days, but when I left the province, when it was still British Columbia, Mr. Bennett was going around shouting at the top of his lungs that there was no such thing as inflation; that it was all the figment of somebody's imagination.
Topic: THE BUDGET
Subtopic: ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE