March 9, 1953 (21st Parliament, 7th Session)


Douglas Scott Harkness

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Harkness:

The great basic weakness of the budget is that the tax cuts proposed are based on hopes for an increased national product instead of on the sound ground of economy and reduced expenditures. The budget actually proposes increased expenditures in nearly every department, and the minister relies on an increase in the gross national product to cover those increases and at the same time enable him to cut taxes. .
Personally I do not believe this is sound financing, because the gross national product may be seriously reduced below the minister's expectations by events which are completely beyond his control. To mention just one, a poor grain crop in western Canada this coming year would knock the minister's calculations for a loop, and instead of getting

The Budget-Mr. Harkness the income he expects he would get considerably less. Of course a poor grain crop in western Canada this coming year could very easily develop, particularly in view of the extremely dry fall and the very small snowfall this winter, resulting in a much below normal moisture content in the soil.
It is on incalculable factors of that sort that the Minister of Finance has based his calculations and has decided that he can cut taxes and at the same time increase his collections. Apparently he refuses absolutely to face what I would call the realities of the situation and go after tax reductions by the means he should make them, by a drive for economy and the reduction of inefficiency and waste. As a matter of fact the budget demonstrates once more what has been the outstanding characteristic of the government since the war, its unwillingness or inability to curb extravagance and waste in public spending. I am not going to put on the record once again the numerous examples which have already been cited by speaker after speaker in this debate which show the enormous increases that have taken place in expenditures in the past ten to fifteen years, expenditures which in many cases cannot possibly be argued to be essential.
I refer particularly to such things as the terrifically increased expenditures for travelling, telephones, postage, printing, advertising and things of that kind. The extravagance, waste and inefficiency which have been displayed in our rearmament program are of course the outstanding examples of all. So much has that been the case that it has now become something in the nature of a national scandal. Nearly every day brings to light new instances of terrific extravagances and waste in our defence effort. We are getting many of them in the committee that is considering this matter-

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