January 20, 1961

LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. Pearson:

If he would not be misleading in these comparisons, let the Prime Minister take comparable figures in the last 10 or 12 years and see whether the Canadian people will get any comfort out of those figures in comparison with the present emergency.

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

William Earl Rowe

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Rowe:

Will the Leader of the Opposition permit a question?

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

Lester Bowles Pearson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. Pearson:

Yes.

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

William Earl Rowe

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Rowe:

If his party inherited that situation in 1935, what does he think the Conservative party inherited in 1930?

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

Lester Bowles Pearson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. Pearson:

In 1930 the Conservative party inherited the beginning of a great depression; and when the Conservative party left office in 1935, after promising to cure that depression, it was worse than ever.

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

William Earl Rowe

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Rowe:

That is definitely not a fact.

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

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

Order.

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

Lester Bowles Pearson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. Pearson:

The question arises as to where the Minister of Finance gets the information on which he bases his economic forecasts. The main source of this information used to be the report known as the Canadian economic outlook, that report which we know as a confidential document which we were accused of hiding in 1957 and which, after removal of the word "confidential", was in that year made public in carefully selected passages out of context.

What has happened to that report now? It has been abolished, destroyed and buried. The reason is quite obvious. The kind of economic analysis and economic information based on the researches of experts, the kind of prediction of trends which would appear in a report of that kind now would be extremely embarrassing to the government as a reminder of their own false predictions and inadequate actions. Therefore the report has been cancelled.

If the Minister of Finance took a somewhat more realistic view of the situation in December than he did in earlier months of the year, he is still not prepared to admit that there is a recession in this country. Indeed, the very idea of a recession was denied very vigorously by his parliamentary secretary in his contribution to this debate.

"There is no recession", say the minister and his parliamentary secretary, echoing other members of the government, including the Prime Minister, who told us last spring and summer that all was well, that we were going through a pause out of which we would soon emerge, and that in 1960 everything was going up and up and on and on in the

economy. He also told us that the gross national product would be up 6 per cent in 1960. That was the prediction, and that we would have a surplus, after successive deficits, of $12 million. We all remember the banging of desks when that announcement was made in the House of Commons, a banging and excitement which was only equalled a little later in New York by Mr. Khrushchev when he banged his desk at the United Nations.

Those members who took part in the debate last spring and summer will remember that we on this side refused to accept this easy optimism of the government spokesmen. We warned the minister at that time-and he must be aware of the warning-that his rosy predictions were not likely to be realized. In return for these warnings, which have turned out to be correct, we were accused of being prophets of gloom and doom.

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

An hon. Member:

Correct.

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

Lester Bowles Pearson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. Pearson:

We were accused of being prophets of gloom and doom, and last March, April, May, June and July we were accused of selling Canada short.

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

An hon. Member:

Correct.

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

Lester Bowles Pearson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. Pearson:

We were accused of being subversive; it was said that we must not mention these difficulties and dangers. Well, who was right last spring and summer, and who was wrong? Who was blind? Who were the false prophets?

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

Donald Methuen Fleming (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming (Eglinlon):

You were.

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

Lester Bowles Pearson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. Pearson:

Who had their heads in the sand last spring and last summer, and who now worship the sand their heads are buried in? Let the facts speak. We said the gross national product would not likely be up 6 per cent. We warned the minister it would not; and what are the figures?

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

An hon. Member:

It went up just the same.

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

Lester Bowles Pearson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. Pearson:

It went up just the same; it went up by 2.9 per cent in value in the first nine months of last year and 1.6 per cent in volume, which is a far cry from the 6 per cent prediction on the basis of which the minister made his calculations for a surplus, which we told him at that time was unrealistic.

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

Donald Methuen Fleming (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming (Eglinlon):

It is not a far cry

at all. Have some sense of proportion here.

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

Lester Bowles Pearson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. Pearson:

There was an increase of 1.6 per cent in the volume of the gross national product, which itself is the explanation for the unemployment we are now suffering in this country. And the Prime Minister now tries to take our minds off this question of

unemployment by pointing out that we have the highest employment at the present time in the history of this country.

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

An hon. Member:

It is true.

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

Lester Bowles Pearson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. Pearson:

It is not true. It could not be less true. The dominion bureau of statistics figures for January 18, the day before the Prime Minister spoke on this matter, show that employment, not unemployment, decreased by 127,000 between November and December. Is it true, then, that we have the highest employment in our history, as the Prime Minister said?

Instead we have unemployment which is the highest in this country since the 1930's, and no manipulation of facts and figures by government spokesmen can alter that hard and cruel fact. The figures published on December 10 show that 528,000 men and women in this country are out of work. And these are figures with which we all agree; the dispute over calculations I hope is over. On the basis of agreed figures we have 528,000 people out of work, as compared with 406,000 a year ago. The figures show that 8.2 per cent of our labour force was out of work in December, as compared with 6.5 per cent a year ago, or indeed as compared with 7.6 per cent in 1958, when conditions were so bad.

In 1960 the per capita national production in this country was 5 per cent lower in volume than in 1956. If present trends continue, by March we might well have in this country 14 per cent of the labour force jobless and an unemployment insurance fund diminishing rapidly.

When we predicted this trend, as we did, we were jeered at. But unhappily our predictions have been shown to be correct-

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   SUPPLEMENTARY FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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January 20, 1961