May 20, 1921 (13th Parliament, 5th Session)


Matthew Robert Blake



The point raised by the member for Shelburne and Queen's (Mr. Fielding), has not so far been dealt with, and that is that chemists and druggists should have some better rate than $9. I was speaking to a druggist in the city who makes up his own tincture of iodine, and I learned that he uses one gallon per month. He will be precluded from doing that and will have to buy tincture from the pharmaceutical houses. I do not know that that will make much difference. The pharmaceutical manufacturer can get alcohol for $2.40 a gallon, and the druggist has to pay $9, so that he is precluded from doing any manufacturing whatever. I do not see any way by which you can overcome this difficulty. If you legislate so that what the druggist uses for manufacturing purposes will be charged excise at $2.40,

and what is required for beverage and rubbing purposes will be charged at $9, it . will be impossible to collect the tax. It would simply resolve itself into either giving the druggists the same rate as is charged at present, or a lower rate, or else the flat rate of $9 for all they use. If you say that what is used for manufacturing purposes will be charged at $2.40, some druggists would say that all of the alcohol used was for manufacturing. As the member for Lanark (Mr. Stewart) says, they would put in some tincture of gentian or medication, and say that they used the alcohol for manufacturing purposes. As I say, it resolves itself into the question whether the druggists shall be given a rate of $2.40, or an intermediate rate, or whether the rate shall be left as it is. In the West-I speak particularly in regard to Manitoba-alcohol is not obtainable by the public, except on a doctor's prescription for drinking or application. Practically all the alcohol handled in Manitoba is therefore obtained through the prescriptions of doctors, who can prescribe only'12 ounces. Of course, it all comes through the Government vendor and the revenue could be charged on it through the vendor. In Manitoba, the alcohol used for beverage purposes is all bottled before it leaves the Government vendors, but in regard to the other alcohol handled by the druggists, I think it would be only reasonable to leave the rate at $4.40.

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