October 2, 1968

?

Some hon. Members:

Continue.

Topic:   FARM MACHINERY SYNDICATES CREDIT ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO BROADEN PURPOSES OF LOANS, ENABLE CO-OPERATIVE ASSOCIATIONS TO OBTAIN LOANS, ETC.
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LIB

James Hugh Faulkner (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The Chairman:

Is there unanimous consent that the hon. member continue?

Topic:   FARM MACHINERY SYNDICATES CREDIT ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO BROADEN PURPOSES OF LOANS, ENABLE CO-OPERATIVE ASSOCIATIONS TO OBTAIN LOANS, ETC.
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

Topic:   FARM MACHINERY SYNDICATES CREDIT ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO BROADEN PURPOSES OF LOANS, ENABLE CO-OPERATIVE ASSOCIATIONS TO OBTAIN LOANS, ETC.
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RA

David Réal Caouette

Ralliement Créditiste

Mr. Caouette:

Mr. Chairman, I thank my colleagues for allowing me to carry on. I think there are only two minutes left before you call It five o'clock so that the house may proceed to the consideration of private members' business.

I see that one of my good friends wanted to rise but, I think as there are only two minutes, he might easily wait until tomorrow.

Mr. Chairman, as I am in fine fettle, I shall proceed.

Topic:   FARM MACHINERY SYNDICATES CREDIT ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO BROADEN PURPOSES OF LOANS, ENABLE CO-OPERATIVE ASSOCIATIONS TO OBTAIN LOANS, ETC.
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   FARM MACHINERY SYNDICATES CREDIT ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO BROADEN PURPOSES OF LOANS, ENABLE CO-OPERATIVE ASSOCIATIONS TO OBTAIN LOANS, ETC.
Permalink
RA

David Réal Caouette

Ralliement Créditiste

Mr. Caouette:

I think that the Minister of Agriculture takes the biscuit. I am amazed. Since I have known him-and he is one of my good friends-he has been most eloquent in the house on the matter in hand. But

October 2, 1968

The Canadian Economy today, he introduces these bills. I am astounded, and my colleagues who have known him well are astounded too. In fact, this is the man who if I am not mistaken, was to become eventually the leader of the Creditiste movement in Western Canada and, perhaps, the successor to the present Premier of Alberta. I cannot understand how he can attempt to introduce such bills today.

At any rate, Mr. Chairman, I wish that all the honourable members, and first the hon. minister, would understand the importance of our agriculture but in its true sense. We must not help our agriculture to deteriorate further, to get bogged down deeper, but we must recognize that agriculture is the basis of our economy and that when we help our farmers, we help ourselves, we help the other classes of society, we help the country, because in a country where agriculture is prosperous, the other classes are also prosperous. In fact, a country where agriculture is dying out, where it tends to die out or to decline, is doomed. We have had examples of that in Czechoslovakia and in Russia. I have seen examples of it in France last week where the farmers are faced with a lot of hardship, from which social troubles are likely to stem.

Mr. Chairman, in closing I wish that the hon. Minister of Agriculture would finally introduce bills really intended to assist the farmer and not to get him deeper in debt and get him fast out of the picture.

Topic:   FARM MACHINERY SYNDICATES CREDIT ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO BROADEN PURPOSES OF LOANS, ENABLE CO-OPERATIVE ASSOCIATIONS TO OBTAIN LOANS, ETC.
Permalink
LIB

James Hugh Faulkner (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The Chairman:

Order, please. It being five o'clock, in order for the house to proceed to the consideration of private members' business it is my duty to rise, report progress and request leave to sit at the next sitting of the house.

Progress reported.

Topic:   FARM MACHINERY SYNDICATES CREDIT ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO BROADEN PURPOSES OF LOANS, ENABLE CO-OPERATIVE ASSOCIATIONS TO OBTAIN LOANS, ETC.
Permalink
LIB

James Hugh Faulkner (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

It being five o'clock the house will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business as listed on today's order paper, namely, notices of motions, public bills.

Topic:   FARM MACHINERY SYNDICATES CREDIT ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS TO BROADEN PURPOSES OF LOANS, ENABLE CO-OPERATIVE ASSOCIATIONS TO OBTAIN LOANS, ETC.
Permalink

THE CANADIAN ECONOMY

SUGGESTED GUARANTEED MINIMUM INCOME

RA

Roland Godin

Ralliement Créditiste

Mr. Roland Godin (Porineuf) moved:

That, in the opinion of this house, the government should consider the possibility of passing a law under which every Canadian citizen, who is without work or other source of income, would receive a guaranteed minimum income as a way of recognizing, in a practical fashion, the dignity, the value

and the economic rights of the human being, in the context of the economic life of the nation; that the amount required for the payment of the guaranteed minimum income be derived from the national product so as to increase neither the taxes on individuals and companies, nor the cost of living, nor the price of any product or service; that this measure could, with advantage, replace the contributions and payments of all the systems of unemployment insurance, social welfare, family and personal allowances, Canada pensions and Quebec pensions, that the economic recognition of the guaranteed minimum income would be to the greatest advantage of all the citizens of Canada, and, at the same time, would be of great benefit to all the principal sectors of the national economy.

[DOT] (5:00 p.m.)

Mr. Speaker, about this notice of motion which I put on the order paper and which appeared for the first time in the September 20 issue, I wish to give only the main points of that method which would provide a guaranteed annual income to every Canadian citizen without any source of income.

It must be clearly understood in particular that it must be done within the ordinary framework of our monetary, economic and political systems and under a free enterprise system. In our present economy, it is possible to do something to improve the lot of Canadians without purchasing power. If it is normal that the national production of $68 billion be divided between consumption and capitalization, let us keep our methods of production, consumption and capitalization, but let us make only a slight change in the distribution of the purchasing power precisely where it is lacking, namely among the Canadian citizens without any income.

It is not necessary to turn our economy topsy-turvey. Nothing is to be changed in the production process; but change is to be made in the allocation of the purchasing power for 7.6 million citizens contributing to production on top of that, there would be an individual guaranteed minimum income, according to the age for all independant citizens. This program must be implemented within the framework of our monetary, economic and political systems. This technical formula of a guaranteed purchasing power to citizens without a job and without any other income, can, in my opinion, replace all programs of family and personal allowances, the subsidizing of services and many other pension plans in Canada and in the province of Quebec.

Mr. Speaker, one administration only instead of a hundred, one universal program only, and financing consisting simply of the

October 2, 1968

recognition, by a definite credit, of the right to live for every unemployed citizen. The right to a set and predetermined salary for work as agreed upon between the employer and the employee is recognized; so is the right to a set and predetermined interest on all capital invested or loaned as agreed upon by the debtor and the creditor, by the borrower and the lender.

In any event, in our present free enterprise economy, production and financing would be allowed to operate as usual. The distribution of purchasing power would continue to operate as it does now, by distributing the salary according to the work done and the interest according to the capital invested, in the case of the 7,700,000 citizens who participate in the production. However, the guaranteed minimum income and the right to the basic needs of the other 13 million citizens could be regulated.

All this could be done now, by adopting a single and universal legislative measure on the transfer of payments, to solve once and for all the problem of the guaranteed minimum income, monthly and personal.

The Canadian citizen who is without work and without income has a right to live, he has a definite right to live, at the minimum level recognized and evaluated on the basis of the economic facts of our Canadian national life.

The application of this technical formula would replace almost all those expensive and clumsy transfer payments and would solve the income problem of the 13 million Canadian citizens who have no other income.

And so, in Canada, 20,700,000 citizens would be assured of having 20,700,000 personal purchasing powers. I realize, of course, that this summary opens the door to a mass of perfectly legitimate questions.

However, I take this opportunity, as a member, to insert this notice of motion in our public documents, so that any one might refer to it according to his interest and his wishes.

I know that it is very difficult to understand that, within this formula, the guaranteed minimum income could be paid without leading to an increase in taxes, or an increase in prices and the cost of living, for individuals as well as companies.

That is precisely the point on which I am willing to give all the required information.

Mr. Speaker, if we wish hardship, poverty and insecurity to disappear from the Canadian scene, certain steps must be taken to that effect. The means I propose are of course

The Canadian Economy quite different from all that is being done now and which has led the population to the state of imbalance of which we talk and which we want to correct and rectify.

But we cannot correct or rectify it by acting as we did in the past; we must necessarily change or add something and, to my mind, there is a technical method which can readily be added to the machinery of our present systems, monetary, economic, political, capitalistic, democratic, and of free enterprise.

I point out to the house that the distribution formula of the guaranteed minimum income for each dependent Canadian citizen is a formula that can and should apply within the regular framework of our economy, of our political system, of our parliament, provided that the 264 representatives of the people, elected by the people, legislate accordingly. And according to the old saying, where there is a will, there is a way. It is true that this is more and more justified if we refer to a circular letter of May 1967, which we received from the External Aid Office, concerning international development, and I quote:

The West Indies, long standing partners of Canada -Canadians have for a long time shown interest for the improvement of the West Indies'-towards the end of the fifties, the Canadian government had considered the possibility of granting financial aid to the West Indies Federation-In 1958, Canada announced it was making a $10 million grant.

The report added:

In 1964-65, the assistance program was still greatly extended. Canada then allocated estimates of $9 million, $31 million in grants and $51 million in loans-

Moreover, there was a conference of the heads of the governments of Canada and of the West Indies in Ottawa in July 1966. Canada announced that it would increase its aid still more. The estimates for the fiscal year 1966-67 showed an item of $13 million in aid to the Caribbean islands, consisting of a subsidy of $6,100,000 and of $7 million in loans. Canada also informed the West Indies that a minimum of $75 million would be given to them in the next five years.

Mr. Speaker, in answer to a comment directed by an hon. member to the minister responsible at the time-the Secretary of State for External Affairs-the minister declared that these expenditures would be beneficial to our industries and our trade This money, he said, would result in those countries buying more Canadian products.

If funds that are given to foreigners help the good functioning of our national economy, it is clear that funds given to Canadians

October 2, 1968

The Canadian Economy would bring the same results, and would, at the same time, give families a little comfort.

Comfort and security are exactly what is not sought by the present system. On the subject of victims of the Canadian income tax, allow me to quote from page 1534 of the Hansard of June 14, 1967:

For Instance, the unmarried person who earns a salary of $4,200 pays an income tax of approximately $475, after a deduction on $1,000, which leaves a net income of $3,725.

The head of the family earning $4,200 pays $128 in taxes each year after benefiting from a deduction of $2,000 for himself and for his spouse, and a deduction of $1,150 for the three children, if we suppose that he has one aged 19 who is a student, one of 14 and one of 8.

The 14-year-old child receives an allowance of $8 a month, or $96 a year. The 8-year-old child has an allowance of $6 a month, or $72 a year. That adds $168 to the income, which then amounts to a total of $4,368 a year-$4,368 less $128 tax, which brings it to $4,240.

The net income of a father of three children of 19, 14 and 8 years old is $4,240 after payment of $128 income tax. The single person having the same salary of $4,200 has a net income of $3,725, after payment of $475 income tax.

I ask you to note, Mr. Speaker, that the difference between taxes and allowances leaves this father with a surplus of $515 to take care of his wife and his three children.

Therefore, here is the result: $515 more for four more persons, which is about, per person, $125 a year, or $10.50 a month, or 30 cents a day. Mr. Speaker, 30 cents a day for a man who has a wife and three children. Just imagine the small amount the members of a larger family can expect.

Mr. Speaker, 30 cents a day is the maintenance cost of little dog of 30 pounds. If the present system leaves 30 cents a day for the dog, I hope that, in the framework of a just society, we will grant to the Canadian mother an amount equal to her rank and her worth.

In order to have our industries and our trade run smoothly, a second group of citizens should be granted subsidies and I want to refer to students. At this stage, I will quote from an article published in L'Action of Tuesday, August 20:

Loans to students are curtailed by strict regulations.

Last week, the federal government announced a change in the formula which will add at least 2 per cent to the cost of bank loans under the student loan program.

Two factors have made these changes necessary: banks have lost money when lending to students at the relatively low rates of 52 per cent provided by regulations since the inception of the program four years ago.

Furthermore, the summer was bad with regard to employment for students and many of them will go back to university penniless.

[DOT] (5:10 p.m.)

Mr. Speaker, it is obvious that, for most students, life is not easy, and the system of loans at high rates is ideal, in my opinion, to train these young people to become tax collectors. However, I submit also that tax collectors do not alone account for the smooth running of the Canadian society.

Many other professionals are urgently needed. We need doctors, engineers and economists. To train honest, worthy and fair-minded men, it is absolutely necessary to free those young people from the chains of finance.

Mr. Speaker, if the estimates contribute to the development of foreign countries, let us develop ours by the same methods.

The third group which, in my opinion, would need additional help for the satisfactory operation of our industries and trade is made up of the old people, those who have reached retirement age. They should get monthly pensions much higher than those they are getting at the present time in order to be able to afford the things they are entitled to, namely medicine, a maid, or when they have to go to an old people's home, they should not have to be satisfied with the few crumbs given them after their ordinary room and board has been deducted from the little they get.

Mr. Speaker, the fourth group that should get something for a higher efficiency of our industries and businesses, is that of Canadian children, those who will replace us tomorrow. They also should get an amount proportionate to the cost of living. In view of the fact that since 1944, the member's salary has increased more than fourfold, considering that governments pay $60 a month to foster homes, considering that they pay $120-up to $150 a month in the Montreal area-to orphanages for the care given children of the same age, it would be in order, I think, to give more than the ridiculous amount of $8 or $10 a month now received for children in regular families.

Mr. Speaker, the method aims at helping families to flourish, and the family being the foundation of society I think that parliament should consider the problem seriously.

In order to have a prosperous country, let us first ensure the prosperity of all persons and all families. If families are prosperous, all institutions will be prosperous too. They will

October 2, 1968

disappear if they are not useful to the population.

We are witnessing a program of retraining of the labour force and we see small armament contracts. We have witnessed the payment of grants for winter works. Some advantages are at present being granted to designated areas. However, the economic unrest is growing.

Some ministers and members of the house as well as some highly paid economists seem to ignore the Canadian population, which is aware of this and quite understandably concerned. In view of the insecurity, poverty and deprivation of many things in the midst of affluence, we should be concerned.

Mr. Speaker, bundles of leaflets have been thrown from the gallery before. Not so long ago, a bomb exploded inside this parliament. From time to time, large and noisy delegations assemble on parliament hill. I have chosen the most courteous manner and I would suggest that a notice of motion be introduced on this subject in order to at least call the attention of the house to this matter through a normal and parliamentary process which is recognized and agreed to by everyone. This procedure is, I belive, the most logical, practical, official, regular, democratic, parliamentarian and I would also add the most efficient.

Mr. Speaker, along this line of thought, the motion which I have the honour to introduce to my colleagues today is intended to assist the 13 million Canadians who are penniless and subject to all kinds of taxes levied by the government at all levels.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I hope that all the members who are in favour of the development and progress of the country will grant me their support.

Topic:   THE CANADIAN ECONOMY
Subtopic:   SUGGESTED GUARANTEED MINIMUM INCOME
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?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   THE CANADIAN ECONOMY
Subtopic:   SUGGESTED GUARANTEED MINIMUM INCOME
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PC

Robert Lorne Stanfield (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Robert L. Stanfield (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to congratulate the hon. member for his interest and concern in the great problem of poverty in Canada and the improvement of assistance and welfare administration. I myself approach the problem somewhat differently, but I do want to congratulate him most sincerely upon his interest in the problem and for placing the matter before the house.

We claim to be a country that is concerned about equality; yet countless Canadians live today as they have lived for generations, in a web of poverty without the means, and very

The Canadian Economy often without the will, to make use of their lives. It is now well documented that the hidden community of the poor in Canada is falling farther and farther behind, while the rest of us are moving forward. These people are the cruel victims of a modern technology and a modern economy which denies them jobs and a society which all too often would like to believe that they do not exist.

[DOT] (5:20 p.m.)

The most striking instance of inequality in Canada concerns, of course, our native people but there are many others, as is now well documented. It is simply not acceptable in this age of affluence for children in Canada to be raised in a virtual prison of poverty where they are exposed to bad health and bad habits and where they have neither the incentive nor the chance to learn, to leave or to break out. Yet these are now the well documented conditions of poverty and deprivation in Canada.

There are no easy or instant answers. Poverty is a complex and stubborn problem at any time, and I suggest in all sincerity that now we have the added difficulty of having to repair the damage done by a Liberal government which broke faith with the poor. They declared a war on poverty and established a special secretariat for that purpose. That has now disappeared into obscurity and has effectively lost its impact and its identity.

No government can make a man more than he is, but a government can help break down the obstacle of chronic poverty and unemployment or lack of skill and it can help to develop an environment which will encourage each individual to pursue his full potential. It is my view that this must be the liberating purpose of the social policies of the government. We have nearly reached the level of minimum security in Canada, security from want and fear. Now we must encourage individual Canadians to use their freedom to enable them to live full lives. That is what I mean when I speak about improving the quality of life in Canada, and that is one of the reasons that we must develop a truly national policy of human resource development.

The other reason is economic. There is full and persuasive evidence that it is good economic sense to follow a policy which makes productive citizens out of people who might otherwise live in poverty or unemployment or in dependence on the state. I think we must change the thrust of social policy in Canada and emphasize programs which will bring disadvantaged Canadians to a point where

October 2, 1968

The Canadian Economy they have an equal chance to help themselves. Rather than simply subsidize reliance upon the state, we should encourage self-reliance.

For example, we must improve our programs of technical training and manpower mobility with the purpose of making available to every Canadian the trade and the skill he requires to get a good job and to do it well. I notice with great regret that one of the economies practised by the government, as is apparent from the estimates recently tabled, has been to cut back on the estimates for manpower training and mobility. We must begin a thorough attack upon the causes of hard core poverty in Canada and we must make use of the experience of other governments and private groups here and in other countries.

On the subject of the development of our human resources, I tried during the election campaign to initiate a dialogue between the parties on the problem of poverty in Canada. I had hoped we might have an intelligent discussion on the subject of how we might end the tragic waste of lives and the stupid waste of money that are inflicted on this country by chronic idleness and chronic poverty.

Naturally there is concern for people who because of age, disability or some other cause are permanently removed from the labour force. There is an obligation, which I think is accepted by all of us, to see that they have an income that will sustain them at a decent and civilized standard of living. We cannot feel satisfied that we have obtained that standard yet.

But there is a much more serious problem, more costly to the economy in terms of money and in terms of wasteful, idle and unproductive human resources. It is now clear there are thousands of people in this country who have been born into poverty, were raised and are living on public welfare when they can receive it and are perpetuating a cycle with each new generation born and raised in the same circumstances. They lack education or training and frequently they lack motivation. They lack an environment or an upbringing which develops incentives to work. Many of them would not be able to recognize an opportunity if they had one.

It is now clear that these people are to be found everywhere in Canada, in the slums of our cities, on our farm lands, and among industrial workers whom technology has overtaken and deprived of their traditional employment. They represent a continuing and

a growing charge on the country in many ways. Worst of all, they represent a waste of human resources that our country and our economy cannot afford, and a blight on their own lives. Many of these people are on welfare, and we have a welfare system which frequently makes it difficult for people to get off welfare. We have a philosophy and a program in this country which keep people on welfare rolls rather than encourage them to free themselves. This system does not combine temporary assistance or assistance as long as is necessary with incentive, and so it kills incentive and perpetuates the need for assistance. The system is not related to need and circumstances and so it is inequitable, uneven and, most important, frequently ineffective. Nothing could be clearer from the experience of a generation or more in this country than that our welfare system at present is wasteful and inefficient, that it is not doing a constructive job either for the individuals affected or for the country as a whole and, worse than that, it is perpetuating poverty and dependence from generation to generation.

Here I might just refer briefly to a statement which appeared at page 138 of the last report of the Economic Council of Canada. It reads as follows:

In many such cases, the increased earnings have in effect been "taxed" at very high marginal rates, sometimes amounting to 100 per cent or more. This type of occurrence defeats the purpose of anti-poverty policies designed to encourage the development of income-earning potential. It is of course no easy matter to devise policy mixes that ensure adequate minimum income but also incorporate incentives to seek earnings, but this is all the more reason for devoting much thought and effort to good policy co-ordination.

These are some of the considerations that I have had in mind for some time and which I have tried to discuss for some time. In the case of those who are old and handicapped or are outside the work force, the responsibility of the government, of course, is to provide an adequate income. In the case of that large group who are physically and mentally able to work but do not for one reason or another, I emphasize the need for incentives, training and opportunity.

We have not had much of a discussion on this subject. We certainly were not able to have it during the campaign and we have not really had it since, although the Economic Council of Canada has made a very significant contribution to the discussion of the problem in recent months. The Prime Minister responded to my invitation to discuss the matter by making offhand remarks to the

October 2, 1968

effect that I have promised to pay an income to everyone in the country. This and other crude distortions of my position have been their substitute for informed discussion.

I suggest we must reform our welfare system which in so many instances discourages people from working and adopt a plan which encourages rehabilitation and initiative. I say to the people of this country that, for reasons of economics as well as compassion, we must get to work on this. We must rescue a new generation of youngsters trapped in poverty and dependent upon welfare. The cost of perpetuating the system we have had is far too high, both in terms of human resources and economic loss.

[DOT] (5:30 p.m.)

In the United States, for example, authorities have become worried about the waste and ineffectiveness of the present welfare system. There is a strong consensus growing there in favour of a program that would make dependence on welfare something less than permanent by combining assistance with incentive and providing skills to take advantage of opportunities to work. The studies done on this subject indicate that such a program is perhaps far less costly than any system of indiscriminate payments. I think it is fair to say that some of the candidates who have been seeking the presidency of the United States support this general concept. Included in this group would be Mr. Nixon, Mr. Rockefeller and even Senator McCarthy. The idea has been supported by the captains of industry, leaders of the labour movement and a vast number of economists of widely differing economic views. However, the idea does not seem to interest this government.

The Economic Council of Canada has suggested that we should study very carefully some of these proposals that are being put forward and some of the experiments being conducted in order to get our system on a different basis. In order to eliminate poverty and get the waste and inequalities out of our welfare system, we must move toward a new concept and a better program. We must begin seriously a thorough study to develop a program that will be effective in Canada and in Canadian circumstances. The goal of this program must be to stop the waste of lives, to stop the waste of money and, above all, to stop perpetuating poverty and perpetuating dependence.

The Economic Council of Canada has thrown a challenge to the government of

The Canadian Economy Canada and to all of us. I think we should accept it. We must recognize that an effective approach to this problem involves all levels of government and is not just a matter of this parliament passing legislation. An effective attack will involve discussions, consideration and co-operation, and we must get at it.

I think it is important that the government of Canada accept the challenge that has been given to them to meet with the provinces to begin these discussions and to get on with the job. It is time we made a start. I again congratulate the hon. member upon introducing the subject and bringing it before the House of Commons. While I certainly cannot support the resolution in this form, I am very pleased indeed that he has presented us with an opportunity to discuss this subject. I again urge the government of Canada to give its most urgent consideration to the problem of poverty and to the challenge that has been placed before it. The government should begin the difficult process of making far better use than we do now of our most valuable resource, the people of this country.

Topic:   THE CANADIAN ECONOMY
Subtopic:   SUGGESTED GUARANTEED MINIMUM INCOME
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LIB

Stanley Haidasz (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. Stanley Haidasz (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs):

Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity extended to us to take part in a debate on a guaranteed minimum income for Canadians. I should like to compliment both the hon. member for Portneuf (Mr. Godin) and the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Stanfield) on their contributions to this debate. In the past few decades parliament has enacted many measures of social and welfare legislation which were proposed by the successive governments of Canada. It is only fair to mention at this time that every measure of social welfare on the statute books of our country has been introduced by a Liberal government.

In the battle against poverty, the most recent efforts of the Canadian government have been the Canada and Quebec pension plans, the Canada Assistance Plan, and the guaranteed income supplement. In all fairness, it should be stated that the Canada Assistance Plan has taken care of many income needs and welfare requirements of Canadian residents. These measures go a long way in providing a certain basic guaranteed income to our residents.

Such a guaranteed annual income program has also recently been dramatically brought to our attention by the special Senate committee on aging under the chairmanship of Hon. David Croll. This committee submitted its final report on February 2, 1966. In its

October 2, 1968

The Canadian Economy report die Senate committee recommended the establishment of a guaranteed income program to provide allowances during the entire life of Canadians beginning at the age of 65 and following certain guide lines. The committee proposed that the federal government give immediate study to this proposal.

As a result of the Senate committee's recommendation, the federal government introduced a guaranteed income supplement which came into effect on January 1, 1967. In the first fiscal year of its operation the guaranteed income supplement was made available to 715,000 Canadian residents. An amount of $235 million was added to the income of old age security pension recipients by this plan. The present Minister of National Health and Welfare (Mr. Munro), when speaking to the House of Commons on May 19, 1967, also mentioned a guaranteed annual income for Canadian residents. He stated, among other things, that this type of social assistance would be under intensive discussion by politicians as well as many economists in our country. He stated also that the policy of a guaranteed annual income would sooner or later be implemented in Canada and that if it should be, and he hoped that it would be, he also foresaw the possibility of a dismantling of much of our social welfare legislation.

For several years Mr. Speaker, proposals for a guaranteed minimum income have been advanced by sociologists, economists and politicians. The concepts of a guaranteed minimum income and a negative income tax have also been the subject of much debate in the United States, as mentioned by the Leader of the Opposition. Only a few weeks ago, some members of the Ontario select committee of the Legislature studying taxation problems were quoted in the Toronto press as being favourable to the establishment of a guaranteed minimum income in Canada.

Reference is made in the wording of the motion put before us by the hon. member to the dignity, the value and the economic rights of the human being. I should like to bring to the attention of the house the fact that early in 1968 the Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau), who was minister of justice at that time, took part in the federal-provincial constitutional conference and issued a paper entitled "The Canadian Charter of Human Rights". In this paper, one of the rights which he defended was an economic right. He stated that the universal declaration of human rights included such rights as the right to work, the right to protection against unemployment, the right

[Mr Haidasz.l

to form and join trade unions, the right to social security, the right to rest at leisure, the right to an adequate standard of living, the right to education and the right to participate in the cultural life of a community. The guarantee of economic rights, he said, was desirable and should be an ultimate objective for Canada.

In the fifth annual review of the Economic Council of Canada, which was also mentioned during the course of this debate, we learned that the problem of poverty in Canada was extensively treated and studied. The economic council also outlined the extent of low incomes in Canada and made a few recommendations. Among these was a recommendation for income maintenance when necessary and possibly the adoption of a negative income tax or a similar program that would provide families with a guaranteed annual income.

[DOT] (5:40 p.m.)

We should note, Mr. Speaker, that the economic council also stated in that report that it did not wish to pass judgment one way or the other on such proposals at the present time and would like to confine itself to nothing that the adoption of income guarantees has been advocated by a number of distinguished political figures and economists. The council also stated that the possibility for the usefulness in Canada of income guarantees should be subjected to serious and thorough study.

Furthermore, Mr. Speaker, the economic council suggested that this study must embrace, among other things, an examination of the costs and anti-poverty effects of a considerable range of existing policies, and how income guarantees would to some extent replace the present plans. In its view, we learn that only by having such broad studies made would it be possible to form a proper judgment whether some type of broader income guarantees might usefully be added to Canada's efforts in its attack against poverty.

It should be noted that the economic council has asked for greater efforts without delay to exploit the considerable anti-poverty potential of the Canada Assistance Plan. It is understandable that to come up with an adequate guaranteed annual income it would be necessary to establish an acceptable minimum standard of living for families and single persons residing in Canada. In terms of income, such standards would differ appreciably between various regions of this vast country. The establishment of such standards

October 2, 1968

would also be a difficult and perhaps a controversial enterprise, but very essential.

The increasing problems of modern living and the right to a decent standard of existence call for continuing attention by all levels of government. I believe there will always be some families and individuals in various parts of this vast country who will be unable to participate fully in the economic life of Canada because of age, disability, sickness or other reasons. To ensure an adequate standard of living, social assistance to such people should be provided in a way that will enable them to have at least a fair share in our affluent society.

In discussing the hon. member's motion, Mr. Speaker, I would like to say that the concept of a guaranteed annual income is definitely a desirable one. However, he has introduced into his motion a few specific points which would raise many difficulties. One part of the hon. member's motion states that a guaranteed annual income should be given to every Canadian citizen who is without work or other source of income.

It should be pointed out that citizenship is not at the present time a requirement for any social security program in Canada. There is no social security program, either provincial or federal, which requires citizenship as a qualifying condition for either coverage or payment of benefits. It should be mentioned that ten years' residence is the usual requirement for social assistance. Residence, however, is not the only requirement. The aspect of eligible age is also one of the conditions to qualify for certain pensions now available in Canada.

Another aspect of this motion which raises some difficulty is the inclusion of the words "without work or other source of income". The motion, therefore, excludes those who are working for an insufficient income, those who work on a part time basis, or those who do not work at all and have insufficient income from other sources. In my opinion, a guaranteed annual income should not have any restriction except the one of need and residence. Furthermore, Mr. Speaker, the motion as it is now worded is not specific enough as regards coverage. The motion would seem to include housewives, dependants, students, other people not working and even those who have no intention of going to work.

It could be argued that the provision of a universal guaranteed annual income would undermine the incentive to work of persons who feel that they could get as much under

The Canadian Economy this program as if they were employed in marginal occupations. It is quite likely that a guaranteed annual income program would induce certain members of the population to withdraw from marginal employment. But it should be stressed that the actual cost to an individual or family of accepting a guaranteed annual income in lieu of working means the virtual acceptance of a rather low standard of living. The inducement to improve one's standard of living through increased income may still be sufficient incentive for persons who are capable of employment.

Many of the opinions expressed about the effect of high taxes, social security benefits and the incentive to work are based on attitudes rather than empirical evidence. There is not much information available today on the effect of high income tax rates and work incentives in all income groups. The effect of high marginal tax rates on low income classes may be quite different from their effect on upper income groups. The two groups may react quite differently because their attitudes toward work may not be the same or the levels of the average tax rates do not seem equally burdensome.

The hon. member also mentions in his motion that the guaranteed minimum income should be derived from the national product so as not to increase taxes on individuals or companies, the cost of living, or the cost of any product or service. The new program of a guaranteed minimum income for Canadian residents will, I believe, be considerably more expensive than the aggregate cost of the programs which it may replace.

Some economists have estimated that federal and provincial governments now spend about two and a half billion dollars per year on welfare schemes. It has been stated that a guaranteed annual income would cost the United States approximately $20 billion and in Canada would amount to about one and a half to two billion dollars per year. It is therefore evident, Mr. Speaker, that the new expenditure required to provide such a guaranteed annual income for Canadian residents would result in higher taxes, or increased borrowing by the government, or replacement of all social welfare programs by all levels of government, or the inflation of currency, or some combination of these choices. There is no other possible way, Mr. Speaker, in which a guaranteed annual income could be financed from the national product, as suggested by the hon. member in his motion. The financing of the increased cost consequent upon this

October 2, 1968

The Canadian Economy measure means that taxes would most likely have to be increased and that additional pressures would be put on the price level, therefore making it impossible at the present time to meet the objectives of this motion.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, the fact that poverty still exists in many sections of the Canadian population means that our present social welfare system on the federal, provincial and municipal levels, as well as the assistance provided by charitable organizations, seem to be inadequate to deal effectively with the problem. A politically feasible, socially desirable and financially possible scheme for Canada, however, should be set up in such a way as to minimize both budgetary and real costs while providing an adequate minimum for those people who are unable to work or have insufficient income from other sources.

[DOT] (5:50 p.m.)

To provide such an annual guaranteed income means, Mr. Speaker, that we need more research on many aspects of this problem. The present administration is committed to the removal of any existing inequities in our social welfare system and I am confident that the present government is tackling the problem of poverty vigorously. I wish to express the hope that soon the correct measures will be implemented by this parliament.

Topic:   THE CANADIAN ECONOMY
Subtopic:   SUGGESTED GUARANTEED MINIMUM INCOME
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NDP

Stanley Howard Knowles (N.D.P. House Leader; Whip of the N.D.P.)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Stanley Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

Mr. Speaker, it is quite correct that there are defects in the motion proposed by the hon. member for Portneuf (Mr. Godin). Some of us do not think that his way of carrying out his idea would work. But the gist of my hon. friend's motion is that this House of Commons should begin to consider a new idea, the idea of a guaranteed income for all our people. I regret that to the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Stanfield) this motion presented only an opportunity to berate the Liberal government for what it has not done and that for the hon. member for Parkdale (Mr. Haidasz) it presented only an opportunity for him to boast of what he claims the Liberals have done.

Topic:   THE CANADIAN ECONOMY
Subtopic:   SUGGESTED GUARANTEED MINIMUM INCOME
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?

An hon. Member:

And what's that?

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Subtopic:   SUGGESTED GUARANTEED MINIMUM INCOME
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NDP

Stanley Howard Knowles (N.D.P. House Leader; Whip of the N.D.P.)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Knowles (Winnipeg Norih Centre):

Sooner or later, and I hope it will be sooner rather than later, all of us who think we are in positions of leadership in this country will have to face this new idea of divorcing incomes, social welfare, pensions, and things like that, from work and the old concepts we still have. Sooner or later, we must recognize

that life itself carries with it certain economic rights. This motion places that question before us and I congratulate the hon. member for Portneuf for proposing it.

I regret that the rules of the house permit only one hour to discuss this question. Only five or six minutes of that hour are left to me to speak, so that some of my thoughts on the subject will have to be expressed on another occasion. Likewise, some of the interesting quotations on my desk must also be saved for another occasion. I must, however, draw the attention of the house to a few quotations I have because they come from a responsible person working in this field and they suggest to us, I believe, some new ideas that we must consider.

I hold in my hand a copy of an address that was given recently in Winnipeg by Dr. Reuben C. Baetz, executive director of the Canadian Welfare Council. Dr. Baetz was giving an address at the Social Service Audit workshop held in Winnipeg. His address was delivered on September 19.

As I say, if time had permitted I would have quoted a great deal from the remarks of Dr. Baetz. In the meantime I wish to quote to the house some remarks that are very much to the point. He said:

In any consideration of social rights and social welfare, the matter of a sufficient income, as a right, must sooner or later be faced squarely.

He is not talking about social welfare or the money you obtain because you work or do not work; he is not talking about a minimum income, a minimum wage which is just enough for a man to get along on; he is talking of a sufficient income as a right. He goes on to say:

This may be extremely unpalatable to some, but the logic of it is impossible to escape. Dostoevski said "income is coined freedom". In our society of free enterprise the man with sufficient income has substantial freedom. He has a wide range of choices as to where he lives, how he is housed and clothed, what he eats and drinks, and who his friends and neighbours should be. Conversely, the individual with an inadequate income loses substantial freedom of choice and action, and can become the most fettered and dependent of all men.

Dr. Baetz again asks the question, "Does a man have the right to an adequate income?". This is what we should be talking about when we discuss this subject, Mr. Speaker. We should discuss not just compassion in dealing with the poor, not just minimum incomes or the minimum wage, not just a handout for the people who live on the other side of the tracks to enable them to continue in their

October 2, 1968 COMMONS

meagre existence. We should be discussing adequate incomes tor everyone.

Replying to his own question, Dr. Baetz said:

This question has social, economic, moral, and political overtones. As a nation we have not resolved the question, either at the intellectual or practical level. The result is a prolonged and gigantic 'ad hocery" in social welfare programming. To the extent that we continue to "waffle" at the philosophical level, we will continue to "waffle" at the administrative level. If we are honest with ourselves we will recognize the present inconsistency in our position which states that no one should starve, but no one is guaranteed an adequate income either.

I suggest, Mr. Speaker, that that is as far as our contemporary society has gone in this field. We say that no one should starve and therefore we hand out relief, welfare and unemployment insurance. Yet when someone suggests that we guarantee an adequate income to all our people the hon. member for Parkdale stands up and says that this means allowances for women and children-Why not?-and it will cost an awful lot of money.

In an age as affluent as our present society, in an age where computer techniques enable man to go to the moon and return, surely we can declare our belief in the rights of human beings and devise a system that will provide a guaranteed annual income to all.

Topic:   THE CANADIAN ECONOMY
Subtopic:   SUGGESTED GUARANTEED MINIMUM INCOME
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?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear.

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Subtopic:   SUGGESTED GUARANTEED MINIMUM INCOME
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NDP

Stanley Howard Knowles (N.D.P. House Leader; Whip of the N.D.P.)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

see that time is passing. I must save the rest of my ideas until I speak on a motion under my name later, perhaps in two or three days. But, Mr. Speaker, I hope you will allow me

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Business of the House to read another sentence from the comments of Dr. Baetz. He said:

I suspect that one or two decades hence, when the crop of post World War II students now coming out of university will be making the decisions, we will have some scheme for a guaranteed annual income which will probably be integrated with our taxation system. They will no doubt look back with some amusement at the income maintenance efforts and underlying philosophies in the "swinging 60's"!

We must do a lot better, Mr. Speaker, and we had better start doing it soon.

Topic:   THE CANADIAN ECONOMY
Subtopic:   SUGGESTED GUARANTEED MINIMUM INCOME
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?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   THE CANADIAN ECONOMY
Subtopic:   SUGGESTED GUARANTEED MINIMUM INCOME
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October 2, 1968