May 21, 1951 (21st Parliament, 4th Session)


Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. E. D. Fulton (Kamloops):

Before this
motion carries, Mr. Speaker, there is a matter which I wish to bring to the attention of the house. It concerns the proposal which has been made by the federal government to the various provincial governments to amend the British North America Act so as to enable the provinces to impose an indirect sales tax or turnover tax of 3 per cent. This proposal has been the subject of a great deal of criticism by private individuals, by the press and by some of the provincial governments across this country. It is to be hoped that the proposal is dead and that the government will not proceed with it. But because we have not had that assurance and because the time when these amendments to the British North America Act must be passed, if they are to be passed, is coming closer and closer, we in the official opposition think that it is timely to ask the house to express its opinion in opposition to any change in the constitution
Turnover Tax
whereby the provinces will be given the power to levy an indirect 3 per cent sales tax.
It may be helpful, Mr. Speaker, to review briefly the history of the proposed amendment to which I have referred. It was discussed at the recent dominion-provincial conference and it was at first suggested-and it certainly became generally accepted in the mind of the public-that the proposal for the 3 per cent sales tax was in part at any rate to enable the provinces to bear their share of the increased cost of the revised old age pension scheme. So for a time, as I will show, certainly in the minds of many of the provincial premiers and in the mind of the public, it was assumed that the two proposals-the revised old age pension scheme and the constitutional amendment on the 3 per cent sales tax-went hand in hand and that one was dependent on the other. In the course of a recent discussion in the house the Minister of National Health and Welfare (Mr. Martin) to some extent confirmed that that had been the impression, when he said that it was suggested that the two might conveniently be considered together.

Subtopic:   AMERICA ACT
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