July 25, 1944 (19th Parliament, 5th Session)


Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government


I knew that that reference would bring the Prime Minister to his feet. There is, I suppose, no touchier point I could have raised this afternoon.
Turning to subjects which may not be quite so controversial, I notice that when he made reference to the return of the armed forces he talked about this bill as one which would give them a great lift and a better deal. I hope he did not mean that what we intend to do for the armed forces for their rehabilitation in this country is to give them jobs which are below the income tax level in Canada. That is what this bill actually calls for.
More than that, when the Prime Minister talks about the little man and the small income earner in Canada, we must not forget that what he has provided in this bill is help for children who are under the age of sixteen, while in the higher income brackets of this country allowance is made for children under the age of eighteen, and in some instances, twenty-one. So when my hon. friend and colleague here interrupted the Prime Minister to ask him why he did not bring this bill into operation earlier than July 1, 1945, the Prime Minister at that stage set himself up as the political pugilist for the poor, as I understood from his language. Naturally my hon. friend, who has perhaps had a closer contact with the poor of Canada than almost any other man in the House of Commons, for he came up from that class himself, smiled at the Prime Minister, not because of the reference to the humble poor, but because of the man who is setting himself up as the monopolistic champion of that class of Canadian citizens.
I wish now to say one other word with respect to the position of the humble poor of whom the Prime Minister spoke. The right hon. gentleman said in his remarks that of course the poor people, those in the lower income groups, ought to know how to spend their money just as well as those in the upper groups. In fact he said, I believe, that they might be a little more capable of spending their money than those who were financially better off.

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