January 26, 1917 (12th Parliament, 7th Session)


John Gillanders Turriff



With the evidence before us of what these munition manufacturers are making, why does the Government not tax them? They tax the honest business man twenty-five per cent on all he makes over seven per cent or ten per cent, as the case may be; but these munition men who are making money by the millions and tens of millions do not pay any more. Why does the Government not come forward and do as they do in Great Britain, as Lloyd George has done; as the Republic of France has done, and say to these manufacturers: we will allow you a certain percentage and after that we will take fifty or seventy-five per cent. If these munition manufacturers, who are making tens of millions of dollars, had to give up seventy-five per cent of what remained to them over ten per cent, it would amount to a very large sum of money and would help to relieve the ordinary business man who is heavily taxed.
Let us take another concern that is making money hand over fist. The other day the hon. the Minister of Finance (Sir Thomas White), who is not in his seat just now-I wish he were-made an interesting
statement with reference to one of the big steel companies of Canada. He said that this company, which has tens of millions of dollars' worth of common stock, on account of which not one single cent of money ever was in the treasury of the company, in addition to paying their fixed charges in the shape of interest on their bonds, dividends on their preferred stock, deferred dividends, and dividends on common stock, were to-day piling up at least a million dollars a month as a reserve fund. That is all made by turning out material for the manufacture of munitions of war. Why should not a company like that be taxed. They were given bonuses to the extent of tens of millions of dollars by this country, and now they take advantage of the fact that the people are at war to charge such prices that they can pay all these dividends that I have mentioned and put by on rest account a million dollars a month. That is what my hon. friends opposite are allowing to go on, not only in reference to the Companies that I have mentioned, but in reference to dozens and scores and hundreds of companies who are profiting in the same way. They will not lift a hand to make these men pay more than the ordinary business man is paying. Is it any wonder that the people of the country are tired of that kind of rule? It is to be expected, and in view of this fact I think it would be a mistake if this Government should be given any particular extension of time. What the country wants is a sharp and strict account of how the Government are conducting its affairs. My hon. friend (Mr. Copp), who has just taken his seat, has read some correspondence between the hon. ex-Minister of Militia and Defence (Sir Sam Hughes) and this Government, in which the exhninister has made some fifteen or twenty direct charges of malfeasance against his colleagues, and my hon friends on the treasury benches say nothing about it, do not answer the argument, have nothing to say. I think, and I am sure, Mr. Speaker, you will agree with me, being a pretty fair man, that this Parliament should appoint a committee of the House to investigate the charges that their own colleague has made against these hon. gentlemen
At six o'clock the House took recess.
After Recess.
The House resumed at eight o'clock.

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