Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):
there are some men who have the habit of allowing their wives to go through their poeketbooks every day, but I have never allowed my wife to do that. I am serious about this because I believe it is a constructive suggestion. I ask the minister and his officials to give serious consideration to these suggestions. I do not think there is an insuperable difficulty in the way. Take a man who had possibly $800 accumulated over a period of time. It might be that that is his only estate, and probate would have to be taken with all the accompanying expenses in order to get the government to release the money. If the compulsory savings were assigned to his wife or his issue they would automatically be paid in a proper case. I suggest that to the department in great seriousness.
I do not suggest that it ought to be anticipated in any way or that it could be assigned for collateral purposes. However, the government are now allowing the twenty per cent refundable taxes paid under the excess profits tax to be assigned in a given case as collateral for loans in anticipation of capital expenditures by industrialists in the post-war period for the purposes of providing employment. But in this case the husband ought to be allowed to assign to his wife, especially a man in advanced years who may not live to see the payments come due. This should apply also in the case of the wife. Then it should be extended to take care of dependents.
I offer this suggestion in good faith to the minister. It has come to me from a man who thinks seriously about these taxation problems. He is far removed from political considerations in this country, but he wants to see the law ameliorated as far as possible in the interests of the taxpayer, who after all is more or less the forgotten man in this country.
While I am speaking about the forgotten man, I wonder if you will consider it relevant, sir, if I take this opportunity to say a word on behalf of a group of taxpayers in this country who are indeed forgotten men,
Income War Tax
namely, the private members of parliament. I hope I shall be allowed to say what I want to say on the theory that I have no particular axe to grind. It does not make much difference to me whether the indemnity is $4,000 or $5,000; I am in the red now so far as indemnity is concerned, and I have been living on capital ever since this war started. But that is not the case with a large number of members of this house. For some reason, whether it is modesty or humility or fear or what-not, private members of parliament seem loath to get up and tell the country their exact position.
I can best illustrate the position of the private member by referring to my own case. As a private member I receive $4,000 indemnity if I do not lose too many days. If I lose more than fifteen days I am penalized to the extent of $25 a day. During last session, as well as this session, I was not able to be here every day, and I may be penalized. However, we will leave that out of consideration. According to the records I have established, the government deducts at the source from my indemnity cheque a total of $1,480 per year because I am treated as a single man without dependents. I have lived in Ottawa a good many years, and I think it is the desire of my constituents that I should live in a proper state, a state becoming a member of parliament representing one of the finest constituencies in Canada. I can honestly tell this house and the country-I am not making any plea on behalf of myself-that it cost me $10 a day to live in Ottawa, including gratuities. With a session lasting 180 days that means $1,800. If you do a quick sum in mental arithmetic, that $1,800 plus the $1,480 makes $3,280 to be taken out of my sessional indemnity.
I like to go home once in a while and I have to travel overnight. I am getting so old now that I like to have a compartment, and I cannot go home and back under $25 for the round trip. If I do that twice a month it means $50, and six times $50 amounts to $300. How much is there left from my sessional indemnity?
Subtopic: INCOME WAR TAX ACT