May 16, 1923 (14th Parliament, 2nd Session)

PRO

Thomas William Bird

Progressive

Mr. BIRD:

Does the minister think it is a /;ood thing for the people of Canada that we should fail to balance our budget year by year?
Mr. STEWART (Argenteuil). I agree with the hon. member that it would be good busi-, ness to balance our budget year by year, but would it be good business to undertake to pay off in one or two or three years the railway debt of Canada? I think the hon. member will agree with me that it would not. I do not think we should transfer to posterity any more than is absolutely necessary, but I think my hon. friend should bear in mind the fact that we have a unique condition in Can-
[Mr. C. A. Stewart.
ada, and that we should make taxation as light as possible, having in mind, of course, the fact that we should not delay 4 p.m. too long the repayment of the public debt. I think it is advisable not to tax too heavily at the moment. If the proposition I submitted a moment ago had been followed in the earlier stages, there would have been no difficulty about being able to tax sufficiently to pay all the running expenses of Canada, but under the railway conditions that exist to-day-because we are collecting more than enough for ordinary expenses-I doubt the advisability of attempting to clear off by taxation the rising deficits that have occurred the past year or two. We hope conditions will improve and that it will be possible in a year or two to make revenue and expenditure balance each year, and that we shall not carry to posterity an increased public debt.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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