March 22, 1943 (19th Parliament, 4th Session)

LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

I am afraid the hon. member can not justify his interruption, though, according to the rules of the house.
But the point I am making is that the wartime prices and trade board, including the chairman of that board, have been given a job to do. It is not their policy; it is the policy of the government of this country. Therefore it seems to me that criticism, if it is to be of the highest type, should be for the way they have fallen down in the discharge of their duties-which, I may say, has been very seldom.
In the instances in which they have made minor adjustments in prices there have been abundant reasons for those adjustments. The case of the restaurants, for instance, was studied at least for six months before it was found necessary to make some adjustment. The only alternative would have been subsidies, to prevent many restaurants from going out of business at a time when restaurants must stay in business if the needs of this war population are to be served.

The Budget-Mr. MacNicol
The second condition is that the wage stabilization policy succeed, and the national war labour board be strengthened, not weakened by utterances of members of parliament and 'by labour leaders; for certainly if any group has everything to lose and nothing to gain by a break-down of our anti-inflation policy, it is labour.
The third condition is that our fiscal policies and our policy of taxation and the encouraging of saving shall receive the support that they deserve.
We believe that our financial policies are sound. We believe that the policy of heavy taxation and the encouragement of saving and borrowing from the people as large a proportion of their earnings as we can possibly persuade them to save is sound. It is not a particularly original policy. It has been followed by Great Britain and the United States and by the other British dominions, but we believe in the policy. There are some members of this house who do not believe in it, but I do not think we should ever forget that we are in the throes of a mighty conflict. If we are right, we certainly should be supported. If by chance we and the other governments of the United Nations are wrong about this, is this the time to try to upset the policy? It is working reasonably well and will continue to work reasonably well. I think I am justified in making an appeal to members of this house not to say anything- some things have been said in speeches here- which will prejudice the success of our great loan campaigns, especially the fourth victory loan campaign. I invite the cooperation of members of the house. I must say that I have received cooperation consistently from the beginning from the great majority of the members of this house, I think from all members of the Progressive Conservative party and from most of the members of the house generally.
Those are the three conditions for the success of our fight against inflation. I hope that those conditions will be complied with. We have a tremendous task to raise such huge sums of money, to bring in these billions and to pay out these billions, but while the task is hard it is not as hard as keeping the money good, keeping the money so that it will buy as much in the future as it has in the past. If that once begins to slip, our task of financing will be immeasurably more difficult, our war effort will be greatly impeded, and the misery among the people will be very great.
I have said nothing about the terms of the amendment or the subamendment. Nothing turns upon the details of these amendments
and there will be abundant opportunity later to deal with them on the resolutions or when the proper items are being discussed. They constitute the usual want of confidence motion in the government brought forward when the vote on any budget takes place. Personally while I am not hurrying, and will not undertake to hurry the house, I should like to see the house get to the stage of effective action as soon as possible, the kind of action that this nation expects from parliament in time of war.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
Full View