May 7, 1965

NDP

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

New Democratic Party

Mr. T. C. Douglas (Burnaby-Coquiilam):

Mr. Speaker, may I direct a question to the Minister of Finance regarding the Bureau of Statistics report concerning the cost of living index, which for April of this year reached 137.7 as compared to 135.0 for April 1964. This represents an increase of 2.7 percentage points. I wanted to ask the Minister whether his Department has set up any machinery for a constant review of these increases in the cost of living, in view of the fact that they represent a greater increase than was considered reasonable by the Economic Council of Canada. Could I ask the Minister also whether there is any review of the relative profits of the various sectors of the economy, to ascertain whether these increases are warranted?

May 7, 1965

Inquiries of the Ministry

Kon. Walter L. Gordon (Minisler of Finance): In the first place, Mr. Speaker, like all hon. Members I deplore and deprecate any increase in the consumer price index. In this particular case, as I indicated in the budget speech and as I have indicated earlier, there has been an increase of 2 per cent over the past year. I would hope that when these figures are mentioned it will be made clear that, as my hon. friend said, the increase is 2.7 percentage points. The hon. Member was very careful to do that. But that works out at 2 per cent over the year. That is the rate of increase that I mentioned in the budget speech. It is also, incidentally, the rate of increase that was mentioned in the review of the Economic Council.

No one condones or is happy about an increase of that kind; but as I have said on other occasions, it happens to be the lowest rate of increase of any industrial country in the world in the last year, except the United States. I can assure my hon. friend that I get a detailed analysis prepared by my Department of the make-up of these increases or decreases month by month. I do not happen to have it this morning, but I had it yesterday when I expected the question would be asked. Naturally the Government watches this closely and continuously.

Topic:   THE CANADIAN ECONOMY
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR REVIEW OF COST OF LIVING INCREASES
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NDP

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

New Democratic Party

Mr. Douglas:

Mr. Speaker, may I ask the Minister whether it is not correct that the Economic Council suggested the objective was an increase of 1.4 per cent a year in the price of goods and 2 per cent a year on services, and that actually the breakdown for the 2 per cent to which the Minister refers in total in the commodity index is much higher than the 1.4 per cent for goods referred to by the Economic Council. I want to ask the Minister specifically whether any study is made by any branch of his Department regarding these increases to see whether they are warranted, in view of the profit relationship of the sectors of the economy that are concerned.

Topic:   THE CANADIAN ECONOMY
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR REVIEW OF COST OF LIVING INCREASES
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LIB

Walter Lockhart Gordon (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. Gordon:

Mr. Speaker, I do not accept the preamble to my hon. friend's question. The review of the Economic Council, in the model which they were presenting, indicated a 2 per cent increase per annum. It does not make a great deal of difference to the ordinary man's standard of living whether it is in one form or another; the fact is that in the last year on the average, according to the statistics, the consumer price index went up by 2 per cent.

As I have said on other occasions, and as I am sure my hon. friend knows, there are those who question whether the statistical measurements in this index are capable of taking everything into account; and there are people much more qualified than I who feel that the statistical measurements show an exaggerated result. With regard to the hon. Member's specific question, as I have said there are senior officers in my Department who watch movements in prices closely and keep me closely informed on them. As to whether any segments of the economy or any businesses in the country are making too much profit, this of course is not something that under our system of government we can control. This is not a socialist state. We have a system which most people think works pretty well.

Topic:   THE CANADIAN ECONOMY
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR REVIEW OF COST OF LIVING INCREASES
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MEASURES TO ASSIST THOSE RECEIVING LOW INCOMES


On the orders of the day:


SC

Marcel Lessard

Social Credit

Mr. Marcel Lessard (Lake St. John):

Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct a question to the Minister of Labour concerning the address he gave the night before last at Niagara Falls, when he dealt with the economic situation in Canada.

First of all I would like to congratulate the minister for having admitted that in spite of two years of Liberal administration there are still 385,000 families whose incomes are less than sufficient. Having admitted this more or less disastrous situation, does the minister not believe that he should ask his cabinet colleagues to grant priority to the measures listed in the budget speech, in order to remedy this situation which exists in Canada?

Topic:   MEASURES TO ASSIST THOSE RECEIVING LOW INCOMES
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LIB

Allan Joseph MacEachen (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Hon. A. J. MacEachen (Minister of Labour):

Mr. Speaker, at present priority consideration is being given to certain proposals in this direction.

Topic:   MEASURES TO ASSIST THOSE RECEIVING LOW INCOMES
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INDIAN AFFAIRS

OPPORTUNITY FOR STUDY OF PROPOSED CLAIMS LEGISLATION


On the orders of the day:


SC

Alexander Bell Patterson

Social Credit

Mr. A. B. Patterson (Fraser Valley):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to direct a question to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, a copy of which I forwarded to him yesterday. Would the Minister advise the House if it is his intention to give Indian

May 7, 1965

organizations and other interested persons the opportunity to study the proposed Indian Claims Commission legislation before proceeding with second reading?

Topic:   INDIAN AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   OPPORTUNITY FOR STUDY OF PROPOSED CLAIMS LEGISLATION
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LIB

John Robert (Jack) Nicholson (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Liberal

Hon. J. R. Nicholson (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration):

Mr. Speaker, it is the Government's intention to refer the Bill to a committee. Whether it will be a committee of this House or a joint committee of this House and the other place will be announced later.

Topic:   INDIAN AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   OPPORTUNITY FOR STUDY OF PROPOSED CLAIMS LEGISLATION
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SC

Alexander Bell Patterson

Social Credit

Mr. Patterson:

A supplementary question. Is it his intention to refer the subject matter of the Bill to the committee before second reading so these organizations can present their views with regard to the new measure?

Topic:   INDIAN AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   OPPORTUNITY FOR STUDY OF PROPOSED CLAIMS LEGISLATION
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LIB

John Robert (Jack) Nicholson (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Nicholson:

Mr. Speaker, in the first instance Bill C-130 was submitted to Indian bands and other interested persons in late December of 1963 and early in 1964. Many suggestions and views have come in, and as I intimated earlier some of these new ideas have been incorporated into a new-a revised-bill. However, the new Bill will not be made public until it has received first reading in this House, and then it will be sent to a committee.

Topic:   INDIAN AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   OPPORTUNITY FOR STUDY OF PROPOSED CLAIMS LEGISLATION
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PC

Gerald William Baldwin

Progressive Conservative

Mr. G. W. Baldwin (Peace River):

Mr. Speaker, I have a supplementary question for the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. Will the terms of the Indian Claims Commission legislation be wide enough to permit some remedy to be given if the interdepartmental committee considering matters concerned with Indian treaties and traditional hunting rights makes any recommendations? If not, in what way does the Government propose to proceed if this government committee should in fact decide that there should be certain remedies provided as a result of their findings?

Topic:   INDIAN AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   OPPORTUNITY FOR STUDY OF PROPOSED CLAIMS LEGISLATION
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LIB

John Robert (Jack) Nicholson (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Nicholson:

Mr. Speaker, the Indian claims legislation in my view relates largely to a different subject matter than that which has been referred to the interdepartmental committee. The Government's ideas were incorporated in the Indian claims bill which was distributed in 1963. If any action has to be taken as the result of a report from the interdepartmental committee on another subject, that will be the subject of separate study and consideration.

Inquiries of the Ministry LABOUR CONDITIONS

Topic:   INDIAN AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   OPPORTUNITY FOR STUDY OF PROPOSED CLAIMS LEGISLATION
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REQUEST FOR EXTENSION OF WINTER WORKS PROGRAM


On the orders of the day:


RA

Gilles Grégoire

Ralliement Créditiste

Mr. Gilles Gregoire (Lapointe):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to put a question to the Minister of Labour.

Could he inform the house whether It is the intention of his department to reconsider its position on the extension of winter works in May, so that more municipalities could profit by the extension of winter works during the month of May?

Topic:   REQUEST FOR EXTENSION OF WINTER WORKS PROGRAM
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LIB

Allan Joseph MacEachen (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Hon. A. J. MacEachen (Minister of Labour):

Mr. Speaker, no decision has been taken to change the system of extension that was announced some time ago.

Topic:   REQUEST FOR EXTENSION OF WINTER WORKS PROGRAM
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May 7, 1965