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


Charles A. Stewart (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)


Mr. STEWART (Argenteuil):

I must leave that to the Minister of Finance. I brought up the matter simply because it was mentioned in the discussion yesterday and because I agree most heartily in the principle, no matter how the tax may be imposed. I have heard the statement made that it would be impossible to collect the tax if you went beyond a certain point, and the ex-Minister of Finance (Sir Henry Drayton) pointed that out in connection with the cigarette tax the other day. It is possible, in connection with many of the taxes, that if we went too far we might fail of our object; and in this particular case, if we exceeded a certain limit it is not improbable that the distribution of the estate might be made before the tax could be collected. At best, taxes are bound to be heavy on the Canadian people, although I am hopeful for the future, judging by the experience of the past: and looking back over a period of twenty years, I think that Canada, irrespective of what particular government has been in office at any time, can congratulate herself on her progress. In all lines of endeavour huge strides have been made. It has been said that in Ontario particularly, agriculture is lagging and indeed is dying out. The statistics do not show that. They do show, it is true that there are fewer people on the land; but they reveal as well the fact that one individual on the land to-day, with modem and improved machinery and equipment, can produce very nSuch more than five or six persons could twenty-five years ago. And that is being demonstrated. Manufacturing industry and agriculture in Canada are running about equal. I do not think that is necessary. I believe that agriculture should lead in a very large way, and I am prepared as one member of this government, so long as I have responsibility as a minister, to assist in every way possible, and to encourage legislation that will in every respect assist, this industry and promote its interests. After all, agriculture is the basic industry upon which the wealth
The Budget-Mr. Harris

and the prosperity of Canada is built. While I say that, however, let me make it clear that I have no desire to interfere with business or industry, believing that it should be encouraged in every way and that industry should be enabled to establish itself, and believing that in every legitimate way it should be fostered. Our aim should be to have industry and agriculture progress in Canada in order that we may have a well balanced condition of affairs. Now, Mr. Speaker, I have tried to cover as briefly as I could a few of the criticisms that have been offered in this debate, and I commend to the good judgment of the House the budget which has been brought down this year by the Minister of Finance.

Full View