February 6, 1984

PC

Ronald Alexander Stewart

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Ron Stewart (Simcoe South):

Mr. Speaker, my question is also addressed to the Minister of Finance. The Minister is aware that distillery taxes amount to $533 million, while the total revenue of the industry is $496 million. This has led to a decline in distillery sales and the lay off of 2,500 workers, costing the Government almost $40 million in unemployment insurance payments and lost income taxes. Would the Minister tell us what he plans to do about this situation?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   FINANCE
Sub-subtopic:   IMPACT OF TAXES ON DISTILLERIES
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LIB

Marc Lalonde (Minister of Finance)

Liberal

Hon. Marc Lalonde (Minister of Finance):

Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind my hon. friend that, First of all, the share of taxes going to the federal Government from the distilling industry has gone down quite considerably over the last 15 years. If he looks at the figures, he will find that the share which has increased the most-

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   FINANCE
Sub-subtopic:   IMPACT OF TAXES ON DISTILLERIES
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PC

John Carnell Crosbie

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Crosbie:

Watch out, Pinocchio.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   FINANCE
Sub-subtopic:   IMPACT OF TAXES ON DISTILLERIES
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LIB

Marc Lalonde (Minister of Finance)

Liberal

Mr. Lalonde:

-has been the share taken by the provincial Governments. I invite the Hon. Member, if he has good representations to make about taxes, to address himself to his own Conservative provincial Government. The provinces are the ones which have increased the taxes most over the years. We have an indexed tax system at the federal level at the present time which, post factum, merely represents the increases which have taken place in the price of the product and in the provincial taxes. This is the policy which has been followed by the federal Government.

Finally, I would like to stress the fact that there has been a considerable change in behaviour of the citizens not only of Canada but of the United States vis-h-vis the consumption of hard liquor over the last several years. I must say it is not a change in behaviour of which I would disapprove. On the contrary, as a former Minister of Health, I would like to see a

reduction in the disease sclerosis of the liver, and a reduction in the number of people injured or killed in car accidents by drunken drivers.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   FINANCE
Sub-subtopic:   IMPACT OF TAXES ON DISTILLERIES
Permalink
PC

Ronald Alexander Stewart

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Stewart:

Mr. Speaker, I am not standing here for a lesson on morals. I am standing here to ask about lost jobs and lost revenue.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   FINANCE
Sub-subtopic:   IMPACT OF TAXES ON DISTILLERIES
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REQUEST THAT MINISTER TAKE BUDGETARY ACTION

PC

Ronald Alexander Stewart

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Ron Stewart (Simcoe South):

The imposition of the regressive ad valorem taxation which has been imposed on the distillers is hurting our tourism industry, forcing the sale of spirits down to the point that if it keeps at the level it is today-and I have the figures here, Mr. Minister-the net loss will be to the federal Government because the taxation will not be as great as it was last year.

In effect, what the Minister is doing is forcing sales down, increasing revenue, but the net result is that the goose which has been laying these golden eggs is going to be killed. Will the Minister address this issue in his Budget and stop fudging with the provinces?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   REQUEST THAT MINISTER TAKE BUDGETARY ACTION
Permalink
LIB

Marc Lalonde (Minister of Finance)

Liberal

Hon. Marc Lalonde (Minister of Finance):

Mr. Speaker, again I would like to invite my hon. friend to address his representations to his provincial Government if he wants to see taxes reduced in that regard. If the provincial taxes are reduced, the federal taxes will automatically be reduced because they are indexed on the price of the product and the provincial taxes. I would also like to point out to my friend that if there is a reduction in alcoholism in Canada this will also mean a reduction in the cost of health services. Therefore, even if tax revenue were to go down, there would be a significant decline in terms the cost of health services with respect to people who are injured or sick because of the abuse of alcohol. It is not a one-way street in that regard. Again, I must suggest that my friend look at the considerable change of lifestyle and behaviour which has taken place in North America. I believe we should applaud this evolution whereby Canadians are showing a lot more moderation vis-h-vis the consumption of alcohol than they did in the past.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   REQUEST THAT MINISTER TAKE BUDGETARY ACTION
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AGRICULTURE

PC

Stanley James Korchinski

Progressive Conservative

Mr. S. J. Korchinski (Mackenzie):

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister of Agriculture. The Minister knows that throughout a lot of northern Saskatchewan the year before last there was frozen grain which resulted in cheap grain. There was also no final payment for this grain. Last year a lot of that area was flooded, and I am sure the Minister is aware of the effect of the midge in that particular part of the country. It resulted in little or no crop. Is the Minister planning any special assistance for that particular area, alone or jointly? Does he intend to make any representation to the

February 6, 1984

Minister of Finance, who tells us today that any reasonable request will be examined? Does the Minister of Agriculture intend to make any request to the Minister of Finance to provide some assistance to that particular area, either alone or jointly with the Province of Saskatchewan?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   AGRICULTURE
Sub-subtopic:   NORTHERN SASKATCHEWAN-REQUEST FOR ASSISTANCE FOR GRAIN FARMERS
Permalink
LIB

Eugene Whelan (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Hon. E. F. Whelan (Minister of Agriculture):

Mr. Speaker, the Hon. Member knows the procedure, I am sure, which is generally followed, that those people within the Province of Saskatchewan who feel they have suffered a hardship because of weather-and in this instance it was mainly because of the weather-must appeal first of all to the Province of Saskatchewan. If that province feels that is too large for them to look after-or any province, for that matter-under the system we follow, then the Province of Saskatchewan must appeal to the federal Government to co-share the responsibility. So far I have not received that kind of representation from the Province of Saskatchewan. I do know that the Senator in charge of the Wheat Board is supposed to be in that area, I believe this week, making a personal inspection and listening to complaints, which I am sure the Hon. Member has already done.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   AGRICULTURE
Sub-subtopic:   NORTHERN SASKATCHEWAN-REQUEST FOR ASSISTANCE FOR GRAIN FARMERS
Permalink
PC

Stanley James Korchinski

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Korchinski:

The Minister knows full well that the Special Recovery Program is in federal hands. He does not need any assistance from any province on that one.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   AGRICULTURE
Sub-subtopic:   NORTHERN SASKATCHEWAN-REQUEST FOR ASSISTANCE FOR GRAIN FARMERS
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WESTERN GRAIN STABILIZATION ACT-AMENDMENTS SUGGESTED

PC

Stanley James Korchinski

Progressive Conservative

Mr. S. J. Korchinski (Mackenzie):

Would the Minister tell the House whether any consideration is being given to introducing any amendments under the Western Grain Stabilization Act, something which the Senator in charge of the Wheat Board is touting as a possibility? Is there any consideration being given to introducing amendments immediately, in view of the fact that the situation exists there now, without waiting for any province? The Minister can do that now if he wants.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   WESTERN GRAIN STABILIZATION ACT-AMENDMENTS SUGGESTED
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LIB

Eugene Whelan (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Hon. E. F. Whelan (Minister of Agriculture):

Mr. Speaker, first of all I want to answer the insinuation made by the Hon. Member that we changed the policy we are offering to people. It has been in front of them for years in Canada. If there is crop insurance available for crop losses, neither the province nor the federal Government becomes involved in those programs. The Hon. Member is asking us to supersede that with some other kind of new policy. If crop insurance is not taken out, there is no way that the province will ask us to assist it with those kinds of losses suffered because of weather.

Concerning the Western Grain Stabilization Act, yes, we are reviewing it. The review is not finished with respect to suggestion made by many people, including people from both sides of this House, as to how that Act should be changed to make it more realistic. I do not have that final report as yet from my Department. I am sure that, if there are amendments, the Hon. Member will have concurrence of his colleagues to give the measure speedy passage when it does come before the House.

Oral Questions FISHERIES

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   WESTERN GRAIN STABILIZATION ACT-AMENDMENTS SUGGESTED
Permalink

BANKS' TREATMENT OF WEST COAST FISHERMEN

NDP

Raymond John Skelly

New Democratic Party

Mr. Ray Skelly (Comox-Powell River):

Mr. Speaker, my question is also directed to the Minister of Finance and it pertains to the West Coast fisheries. The chartered banks on the West Coast, as the Minister will know, have been operating a virtual reign of terror against West Coast fishermen, seizing vessels, stacking up homes as guarantees against vessels, then seizing the vessels. Today I sent a letter to the Minister which would indicate that the banks are threatening those fishermen whose vessels, homes, and guarantors are being squeezed, that confidential financial information will be released about those fishermen in order to intimidate them. Will the Minister commit to this House that he will ask the banking officials to inquire into this situation immediately and find some relief for fishermen who are being squeezed by what are probably the most powerful agencies in this country?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   BANKS' TREATMENT OF WEST COAST FISHERMEN
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LIB

Marc Lalonde (Minister of Finance)

Liberal

Hon. Marc Lalonde (Minister of Finance):

Mr. Speaker, I just received a copy of the letter the Hon. Member sent me across the floor. I have not had time to take cognizance of this particular letter, but I will certainly read it with care. As he knows, in the past we have made representations to the financial authorities when it was felt they were exercising excessive zeal in some instances. I will certainly examine these particular instances, and I would be very happy to inform my friend of what steps we could take.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   BANKS' TREATMENT OF WEST COAST FISHERMEN
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INCREASE IN FISHERMEN'S COSTS

NDP

Raymond John Skelly

New Democratic Party

Mr. Ray Skelly (Comox-Powell River):

Mr. Speaker, I am sure that for the recipients excessive zeal could only mean a reign of terror over the last three years. One of the serious problems in the West Coast fisheries is the continued rapid increase in costs resulting from the federal Government increasing fuel taxes, interest rates, moorage charges-a whole range of financial impediments to fishing on the West Coast created by the federal Government.

The excise tax on fuel is about to increase from 9 per cent to 10 per cent. Will the Minister commit to this House that it will not increase, that in fact he will roll it back? Will he meet with a delegation of fishermen to hear their representations on those matters and the mechanisms which could be put in the next Budget in order to relieve some of their financial burden? Would he make those commitments today in the House to those fishermen?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   INCREASE IN FISHERMEN'S COSTS
Permalink

February 6, 1984