Hon. Donald M. Fleming (Minister of Finance):
Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Prime Minister I should like to table copies of telegrams dispatched by the Prime Minister yesterday to the premiers of the 10 provinces on the matter of dominion-provincial fiscal relations. Perhaps in view of the interest of the house in this subject, Mr. Speaker, I might read the text of the telegram:
Government had hoped to reconvene dominion-provincial conference this month but protracted session of parliament has made this impossible. Government realizes that all provincial treasurers are preparing budgets for fiscal year commencing April first and require to know immediately what if any additional fiscal payments they may expect to receive from dominion government during the fiscal year. Therefore as an interim measure only and to assist provinces in meeting immediate problem of preparing budgets and to aid in providing employment through provinces and municipalities the government will ask parliament immediately to approve increase from 10 to 13 per cent in the standard individual income tax in compensation payable to provinces under federal provincial tax arrangements act. The estimated cost to federal treasury is over sixty-two million dollars. This is interim measure pending reconvening of dominion-provincial conference to seek fiscal settlements.
I also report in keeping with decision at November conference that agreement has been reached among four Atlantic provinces on formula for division of Atlantic adjustment grant. Bill to be introduced will provide that in each of next four fiscal years commencing April first dominion government will pay Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland seven and one half million dollars each and Prince Edward Island two and one half million dollars.
Government of Canada hopes this additional assistance aggregating eighty-seven million dollars in fiscal year commencing April first will be useful in helping provinces and municipalities to meet unemployment and other problems.
John G. Diefenbaker
Hon. members will have observed, Mr. Speaker, that there appears in Votes and Proceedings of yesterday a resolution preceding the introduction of the measure that is referred to in the Prime Minister's telegram. I think hon. members would probably wish me to indicate how the sum of money that is mentioned in the telegram will be divided among the 10 provinces in the fiscal year commencing April 1 next. The figures are as follows, sir.