May 8, 1974

?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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NDP

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

New Democratic Party

Mr. Douglas:

We have been signalling to the Prime Minister for the last several months.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
?

An hon. Member:

Seagulls aren't so smart.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
NDP

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

New Democratic Party

Mr. Douglas:

I will tell the hon. member something else about seagulls. They are not stupid enough to stay with the ship when it starts to sink. What were the alternative proposals we placed before the government? We asked for selective price controls. The government said no, and did so repeatedly. We asked the government for a two-price system which would enable us to keep the prices of Canadian products and raw materials at levels lower than world levels, thus protecting Canadians against artificially high world prices. But the Minister of Finance (Mr. Turner) repeatedly declined to follow such a proposal, and in his budget speech the other night he said it would not work. And this in spite of the fact-as was ably pointed out by the leader of this party-that he has already done this very thing in the case of oil, copper and wheat.

We asked the government for legislation to curb excess profits. What did we get? We got a bill which was an absolute farce. As a matter of fact, it was so bad that when the minister produced it in the House he was like the boy on the burning deck-he stood all alone. It is significant that the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse-the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce (Mr. Gillespie) and the Secretary of State for External Affairs, who represent the corporate elite-were silent about this legislation.

The truth is, the government was not taken by surprise in the last few days. It has known for months there were things the NDP wanted done and must insist on having done. We wanted something done for the old age pensioners. We wanted tax adjustments in favour of people in lower and middle income groups. We wanted the government to do something about the criminal profiteering which is going on in this country.

What happened? The Minister of Finance said he was not going to indulge in any gimmickry. Mr. Speaker, one of the most extraordinary gimmicks any minister of finance has ever adopted was when on one hand he imposed a 10 per cent surcharge on certain corporations while with the other he gave them a 1 per cent reduction in taxation. The surcharge would cost $175 million, but they are to be relieved by cuts in taxation amounting to $262 million. This means they will profit from a net gain of $87 million.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Shame.

May 8, 1974

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
NDP

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

New Democratic Party

Mr. Douglas:

That is how we are bringing the corporations into line. Moreover, the surcharge will not apply to the manufacturing and processing industries which in addition will enjoy the benefits of the tax cuts they were allowed last year and the fast write-offs. It is significant we cannot get the minister to tell us how much reduction in revenue will follow from the concession made to the manufacturing and processing corporations by virtue of the tax benefits they were given last year. It is also significant that in return for the support of the official opposition of that legislation last year the minister introduced the provision that the legislation could be opened up for reconsideration after April 1, 1974. Yet we cannot even get the figures, although April 1 is long since past. What is the figure, Mr. Speaker? The minister does not say.

Professor Hyndman, in one of the publications put out by the Tax Foundation, said that for this fiscal year, 1974-75, those tax concessions will be worth over $1,000 million. Will the minister tell the House whether or not that is correct? Will he tell us what the figure was for the past fiscal year? Of course he will not, Mr. Speaker, because he knows he dare not tell the public about the kind of hand-outs that he gave to these corporations. Who are these processors, Mr. Speaker? They are the meat processors, food processors, fish processors. Look at the profits they have made. These are the people who have gouged the public and they are the people who are getting the major tax concessions.

Having signalled the government repeatedly for months on end about the disparity and inequity in our tax system and demanding some adjustments in it, we are presented with this budget. It is a budget that will perpetuate a situation in which the real income of the wage earner and salary earner is going down $5.50 a week, according to latest figures, in which the share of the national income going to corporations in profits is going up and the share of the national income going to the working people in the form of wages and salaries is going down. I ask, did the Prime Minister think that the New Democratic Party would swallow a budget like that?

There are two possible explanations for the Prime Minister's miscalculation. The first is that he may have thought the New Democratic Party were bluffing, that they really would not vote against the government, that having been close to the government for some months, supporting them in the social area, we had come to love and to cherish them. The Prime Minister himself put forth that idea in a speech he made in Sudbury, as reported in the press on April 29. According to the Globe and Mail for April 29, 1974-

-Mr. Trudeau said he thought NDP members of parliament were also reluctant to see an early election "because they are not particularly keen on losing their seats".

The Prime Minister heads a government in a minority situation. Here is a man who is trying to stay in office to do what he thinks is best for this country. A few weeks before the budget comes down, he says, "If the New Democrats vote for our budget, it is not because they think it is a good budget; it is because they are afraid to go to the

The Budget-Mr. Douglas

country and have an election". Now, that is statesmanship of a high order!

This budget represents nothing more nor less than the Minister of Finance throwing down the gauntlet to the New Democratic Party. Everything we have asked for and everything we have advocated and pressed for has been rejected in this budget; and the budget has been even more inequitable, so far as the great mass of the Canadian people is concerned, than any budget we have had for many years. The other possibility is, not that the Prime Minister thought that the New Democratic Party were bluffing but that he had decided that sooner or later they were going to have to go to the country, and therefore it might be better to bring in a conservative budget that would please the business community, that would put them in good standing on Bay Street and St. James Street. And that is the kind of budget we got.

The Prime Minister intimated yesterday that we had suddenly made up our minds on this a week or two ago because of the strain that he talked about. The position we took throughout the whole period was that we would measure each piece of legislation on its merit, and the budget on its merit. The fact that last week we announced that we would not support the so-called anti-profiteering bill did not pledge us in any way to vote against the budget. If this budget had been a good budget, we would have supported it. We would still have voted against the anti-profiteering bill because it is a hoax and a farce, and hon. members know it. If this budget had made any provision at all that was designed to rectify the social injustices being perpetrated upon the Canadian people and taxpayers by this government, then we would have supported it. But there is no such provision.

The man who made the decision to put forth this budget, in the final analysis, is the Prime Minister. He is the man who must accept the fact that we are likely to go into a general election, because it is he and he alone who gave his approval to the budget and to the so-called anti-profiteering legislation, legislation he ought to have known we in this party could not and will not support.

The Prime Minister, in a sort of desperate attempt to stave off what appears to be the inevitable, tried to frighten parliament by saying there is a lot of legislation lying around which is not going to be passed if the government is defeated in this vote. There is no time that a government can be defeated when there is not some legislation lying around or pending. If every parliament were to make up its mind it would not be dissolved until the government dissolved it because it might end before certain legislation were passed, then, of course, there would never be a defeat of a government.

The legislation that is on the order paper is mainly peripheral legislation, and we are not prepared to vote for an unacceptable budget in order to get some peripheral legislation passed. Both the Prime Minister and the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources (Mr. Macdonald) have been trying (a) to frighten the House, and (b) to scare the country by saying that if this budget is not passed, or if the government is defeated, then, of course, the government cannot collect the surcharge on exports of oil. Anyone who seriously makes that statement is either being dishonest or stupid.

May 8, 1974

The Budget-Mr. Douglas

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
NDP

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

New Democratic Party

Mr. Douglas:

Canadian political history is replete with precedents of taxes which have been collected, even after parliament has been dissolved, on the basis of a notice of ways and means, on the basis of an order in council or even on the basis of a mere announcement by the government. In 1947, Hon. Douglas Abbott, minister of finance in a Liberal government, announced over the radio a series of new taxes which went into effect that evening, and they were collected. There was no legislation, no order in council and no notice of ways and means motions.

In 1962-63, an order in council by the government of the right hon. member for Prince Albert (Mr. Diefenbaker) gave it the power to collect taxes. That was validated later by legislation passed by the Pearson government when it came into office. What this government is trying to do is draw a red herring across the trail. It is trying to confuse the public, because members of the government consistently have told us that the import compensation will cost $1,400 million and now it transpires that unless cost participation is levied by the oil producing countries it will cost $925 million, and this represents $475 million in extra revenue that they do not want to give to the producing provinces. That is the real reason.

I say, Mr. Speaker, that this government has had its chance. We gave it our support as long as it was following programs we thought would help this country. They have run out of steam, they have run out of ideas and they have run out of the courage which is necessary to restructure our society. I shall close with words which are well known in British parliamentary history-

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Order.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
NDP

Stanley Howard Knowles (N.D.P. House Leader)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

"Go. In the name of God, go".

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Order.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
NDP

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

New Democratic Party

Mr. Douglas:

Mr. Speaker-

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Order.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
PC

Robert Jardine McCleave (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Order, please. It being 5.45 o'clock p.m., it is my duty pursuant to section 6 of Standing Order 60 to interrupt these proceedings and forthwith put the question on the subamendment now before the House.

All those in favour of the subamendment will please say yea.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Yea.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
PC

Robert Jardine McCleave (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

All those opposed will please say nay.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Nay.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
PC

Robert Jardine McCleave (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Call in the members.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of constitutional order. I would ask a question of the Prime Minister. I had the same experience in 1963 as he has had, and I ask him to give the assurance to the country that-

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh!

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Permalink

May 8, 1974