Mr. Jean-Louis Freneiie (Porineuf):
Mr. Speaker, I will not take more than a few 20220-207i
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minutes to call to the minister's attention a problem which is very close to my heart. It concerns the little people who, because they get a few hundred dollars interest a year on capital they saved the hard way, are penalized by having to pay income tax on that amount.
We admit that, since the minister assumed his post, we have noticed his very definite intention to give Canadians the possibility to regain control of the country's economy or at least to take an active part therein. In that light, I would be inclined to believe that it would benefit Canadians to exempt from income tax the interest paid on the savings of small people up to-I take the liberty of giving a figure-$250 or $300, for instance.
There is, of course exemption of 20 per cent on Canadian corporations dividends but, in my opinion, it is not enough to stimulate savings as we should stimulate them.
Economists are always preaching thrift, putting it as a desirable virtue. I think they are right; looking back upon the past, I notice that countries like France may have avoided, at times, economic disasters precisely because of the small savers, especially the French farmers.
In my opinion, this is a most appropriate opportunity to ask the minister whether it would not be advisable to consider granting the small savers certain tax exemptions on the interest they receive.
We talk about investments. I can well understand that it is difficult, if not impossible, for Canadians to make investments if they are not encouraged to save their money.
I honestly believe that, there, the Minister of Finance (Mr. Gordon) would really have something to encourage workers and farmers to save, those people, as I said, to whom savings would come in handy.
I do not wish to stand up for capitalists who are paid such a tremendous amount of interest on their equally tremendous investments. I want to speak for people who have but a little sum of money put aside and who, in my opinion, deserve to be encouraged.
Before returning to my seat, I also wish to say that I am in complete agreement with the requests made by the hon. member for Roberval (Mr. Gauthier) in respect of the exemptions which should be granted to certain workers such as farmers and bush-workers, especially as regards the purchase of special tools and equipment.
I feel that those citizens are now suffering an injustice. It may well be that the problem now facing them has never been considered. That is why I think the time has come to
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deal with this particularly delicate and interesting problem which workers and farmers are up against.