Mr. Howe (Wellington-Huron):
-from the government benches. Before the house rose at six o'clock I had referred to the request made by the federation of agriculture that amendments be made to the farm products marketing act so that farmers might carry on their own self-help programs through producer marketing boards. Although this legislation has been promised, it has not yet appeared on the order paper. This indifference, this procrastination, this unrealistic approach to agricultural problems cannot continue or the time may come when we in Canada, despite our millions of acres of rich, arable land bequeathed to us, will become dependent on other countries of the world for food.
As I indicated previously, the small businessman and the small industrialist were also looking forward to some assistance from the budget and hoping that the tight money policy might be relaxed so that they could obtain the necessary credit to expand and improve their businesses in competition with the great chain organizations and shopping centres which, by means of give-aways, special discounts and trading stamps, are squeezing the small operator out of business, the man who has always been the backbone of the community, who has given not only service to his customers but has paid a major share of municipal taxes, has taken his place on municipal councils and associated boards and has donated to every worthy cause. The budget offers very little, if any, assistance for him.
Then there is another group I should like to bring to the attention of the house, the average wage earners, the white collar man and the factory employee whose incomes are low and who should have had consideration. I should like to join with all other hon. members who have suggested that the statutory exemptions should have been raised from $1,000 to $1,500 for a single man and from $2,000 to $3,000 for a married man in order to help these people to meet the increased cost of living.
The 20-year old age security residence rule is going to affect many new Canadians who
have become good citizens and are contributing to our increased production and to government revenues. In my opinion it should be changed to ten years. In fact, I know of a case involving a former constituent of mine who died recently and who came to Canada in 1923. In 1939 he returned to the Isle of Man for a visit. Because of the war and transportation difficulties he was not able to return to Canada until 1949 and therefore was not able to get the old age pension. He died last year at the age of 73. However, his widow is still alive and is living in straitened circumstances simply because of the 20-year residence rule applying to old age pensioners.
All these people whom I have mentioned are ordinary folk, but apparently they have been forgotten by the members of the government who appear to hide in their ivory tower. Do not forget that these are the people who decide elections and will be deciding on who shall form the government of Canada after June of this year.
Subtopic: ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE