Mr. Turner (Ottawa-Carleton):
In conclusion Mr. Speaker, the budget I have brought down tonight is a fiscally responsible budget. It is an equitable budget, aimed at raising revenue where it hurts least, distributing it where it helps most. It is an economically sound budget which attacks the scourge of inflation at its source-the shortage of supply. It recognizes that the fundamental cure to both inflation and unemployment is to overcome the physical limits on our capacity to produce by expanding the agricultural and industrial base of the country. And this budget further extends our policies of protecting those least able to protect themselves from the ravages of inflation and of moderating price increases of a number of goods that play an important part in daily living.
I have always tried to be frank with parliament and the people. In this budget I have rejected cosmetic policies- the easy, popular course at the sacrifice of realism and of the best long-term interests of the Canadian people. I am gambling that Canadians are too smart to be taken in by gimmicks, slogans or slick jargon-that they want to know the facts, whether they are pleasant or unpleasant, and they ask only for a man's best judgment in meeting them.
This budget reflects my determination to deal with inflation. It presents a responsible fiscal and monetary policy. It recognizes the need for all governments, including this one responsible to parliament, to restrain spending. It focuses upon the pivotal issue in the economy-the physical constraints on capacity. It proposes solutions within the context of Canada's place in the markets of the world, where we are not helpless, but neither are we immune to universal price trends.
May 6, 1974
When I first faced the House as Minister of Finance, I said that no economy is working as well as it should if there are men and women earnestly seeking work who cannot find it. The scene has improved but I am still not satisfied with the results. Now that our cost of living absorbs our attention, I say that I won't be satisfied if this country merely does better than our major competitors. I do not believe that is good enough. My goals are not relative but absolute ones: to moderate our rate of inflation, to relieve the pressure of prices on incomes, on savings and on the peace of mind of Canadians.
It can be done. It will take time to do. But it will happen-partly because international commodity prices will yield, partly because this government's policies will be proven right.
I am confident that most Canadians will accept what I have been saying tonight and will support the thrust and tone of this budget. The people of this country are gifted with good common sense and an open mind. If this House can bring itself to judge my budget with the same common sense and open mind, then I am sure that the measures I have proposed will commend themselves to enough members to ensure its passage.
Subtopic: GOVERNMENT OF CANADA EXPENDITURES PUBLIC ACCOUNTS AND NATIONAL ACCOUNTS RECONCILIATION