April 21, 1947 (20th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Clarence Gillis

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)


As far as I am concerned, and as far as the membership of this group is concerned, we do not expect to get something for nothing out of this or any other economy. The answer to the minister's argument is this. Utilize the resources of this country and increase production. That is the complete answer. There has not been enough emphasis placed on increasing production. We are fully [Mr. Gillis.J
aware of the fact that you can only take out of that pool in proportion to what you put into it. But the mam emphasis has not been on production, improving our machinery or developing our resources. The main emphasis has been on getting back as quickly as possible to what existed in 1939. In my opinion the government are retreating and retreating too fast. I am not afraid to pay taxes and I do not think the average workingman in this country is afraid to pay taxes. It is much better to have a man employed, with some kind of decent income, even if you are taxing him heavily, than to have him in the street, to be paying him relief, having him deteriorating at the same time and losing confidence in everything. I do not think people will quibble about taxes, provided that the taxes are put to the proper use. But I do know that in industry in Nova Scotia, the fact that the government took this adamant stand against subsidies is responsible for the fact that the whole economy of Nova Scotia and, to some extent, that of New Brunswick, is tied up at this time. A subsidy of $5,000,000 would have offset the wage increase, would have given all concerned in Nova Scotia an opportunity to go to work for a year. With a proper supervision of the spending of that subsidy by the federal government, if at the end of the year production could not be increased and there were valid reasons for this, then it would be up to us to do something with regard to the rehabilitation of the industry. But on this question of subsidy, I still say that if we can come to an understanding on it and apply that subsidy properly to the basic industries of this country, give our people some encouragement and go out for increased production, there is not any danger of inflation or of wrecking the economy because of the subsidies.
I have never met anyone on the outside who quibbled about maintaining a noneconomic industrial industry which was necessary to the country in order to give the people employment and to put on the market a commodity which was necessary to the people. I have never found anyone who quarreled with that, and I have never found anyone who quarreled with paying taxes either. It is not the taxes that I am afraid of. As long as people are in income tax brackets, they have an income. What I am afraid of is getting back to the place where we have not sufficient income to pay taxes on it. It is much better for us to have people working, producing and building themselves up as citizens of the country than to get back to this system of relief. I am seriously suggesting-and this is my main reason for

Emergency Powers
rising tonight-that the federal government should immediately reconsider the question of subsidy as far as Nova Scotia industry is concerned and getting it back into operation.
I suggest that the government supervise the spending of any subsidies that may be put into force there; have a test there for a year at least and if, at the end of the year, there is not efficiency there, if the resources cannot be made at least fairly economic, then we should do something about getting the people into some other industry in which they can make some contribution to the national life of Canada.

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