Mr. Speaker, when the
House rose at six o'clock I had very nearly completed the remarks which I wish to make respecting the fruit industry. There are, however, two things to which I wish to refer. I spoke of the small protection under which the fruit industry had been organized and had carried on to the considerable success which it has attained in British Columbia. I said "small" advisedly, for if you will examine the return which the Minister of Customs and Excise (Mr. Bureau) recently brought down, you will find that the average percentage of duty on all exports, both dutiable and free, which came into Canada, in the
last five years amounted to 16.03 per cent. The similar figure for the last five years on apples, which constitute the largest bulk of the fruit produced in British Columbia, is but 12.4 per cent, 20 per cent less than the average duty protecting the industries of Canada when compared with the quantity which is brought in both dutiable and free. That, I consider, at the present time is adequate protection, and I do not think anybody could call it a high protection. I wish also to reiterate what I referred to before, and that is the satisfaction which I feel in recognizing a less harsh view adopted by hon. members on my left towards the fruit industry of British Columbia. They have been proceeding along co-operative lines. So have we. What we desire now is to see a greater measure of co-operation between British Columbia and the three neighbouring provinces. Why do I not hear hon. members on my left requesting the government to take action to clean up these filthy trade habits in the handling of fruit in our domestic market? The interests of the producer and the consumer in this matter are one. Why should I want to receive forty cents a box for my apples and the consumer in the prairie provinces pay three or four dollars a box? That is not to my interest, and I appeal to hon. members to my left to assist in this matter, to help us to clean up this disgraceful state of affairs in the three prairie provinces. I take it that they desire, as all true Canadians do, a movement towards the development of Canada for Canada's sake. That applies to the Canadian-born as it also applies to people like myself who are endeavouring, in however small a way, to do something for the country of their adoption. What we wish is that Canadian industries which are planted in this country should develop and continue and supply the needs of Canada.
I am glad to notice the removal of an anomaly under the sales tax. F'or several years past nursery stock has been on the exempted list under the sales tax; but by a curious decision by some official of the Department of Customs and Excise, tomato plants were considered to be something on which sales tax should be charged. A tomato plant has no value of itself, it has only a potential value. It is not until it is planted out in the same way that a rose-cutting is planted out that it has any value whatever. I see- by the proposals of the Acting Minister of Finance (Mr. Robb) that this anomaly has been removed. But there is another piece of discrimination under the sales tax to which my predecessor drew attention in this House in
The Budget-Mr. Stirling
his speech on the Address, and that is the discrimination which exists in the printing trade. A printing office which does a business amounting to $10,000 and over has to pay sales tax; those doing a business under $10,000 are exempted. Possibly following upon those remarks, the Acting Minister of Finance last year spoke thus in his speech upon the budget:
For the better protection of the revenue the sections referring to manufacturers doing business under $10,000 per year will be repealed. Removal of the $10,000 limit in connection with small manufacturing concerns will do away with difficulties in administering the act.
That sounded very good to the printer; but I was asked to look into the matter as there seemed to be some hitch, and on making inquiries in the Department of Customs and Excise, I found that although that regulation came into force on the first July, it appeared to apply to perhaps every industry except printing, for under the authority of section 19 BBB, subsection 6 of the Special War Revenue Act, publishers or job printers, who manufacture or produce job printed matter to the value of less than $10,009 per annum, and who sell the job printing exclusively to users, are exempt from the consumption or sales tax on their sales as from the 1st July, 1924. I do not know why the Acting Minister of Finance spoke as he did and then acted as he did. I do not know what difficulty arose which made it necessary to reinstate this discrimination. But I would suggest to him that he consider the possibility of exempting the larger printing offices up to an amount of business of $10,000. That would remove the discrimination, and in any town where there was a large business and a small business, it would not be possible for the small man to advertise: Come to So-and-So and save sales tax, for both would be on equal footing.
I suppose, if you were to ask pretty nearly every person in Canada what this country needs most to-day, the answer would be: A reduction in taxation.
Such reduction can only be brought about by public economy. What does the ordinary sane private man do when he strikes a bad patch? He jots down the necessary expenditures he must meet and then graduates up the scale towards the luxuries, cutting them harshly. Perhaps he allows himself a certain amount of recreation, perhaps he allows himself a car; but he carries out as drastic a cut as he is able to do and yet maintain himself and his family. Why should not a similar state of things exist in national life? I do not think that anybody can suggest that real economies have been effected by this
government. For instance, a year ago it was brought to their attention that the Department of Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment bad finished its day of usefulness; and how much more is that the case to-day? I want to draw the attention of the House- to a few figures I have taken from the Auditor General's report. The expenditures in the Soldiers' Civil Re-establishment department during the following years were:
To show my point I shall divide these amounts into -the payments to and on behalf of the soldiers in one category and all the other expenditures, including salaries and administrative charges, in the other. I shall leave out the decimals.
To the Cost o>f
returned soldiers administration
Year percent percent1920
I do not suggest for one moment that any single expenditure for the benefit of the returned soldiers or on their behalf should be stopped, but I do suggest that there is no warrant in -that for maintaining a department for the benefit of -a minister, however debonair he may be, and for the officials under his charge. Nor do I consider that it should be necessary for anyone outside the government to draw attention to so obvious a saving which could be effected by the closing-up of that department and the carrying-on of the work that is left by another department of government.
Before I resume my seat I want to place on record an incident which happened in the by-election campaign in Yale. The incident to which I refer took place in Penticton. We had welcomed in our midst the genial Minister of Public Works (Mr. King, Kootenay); he is always welcome. I presume he was enjoying a well-earned vacation, for I cannot imagine that the duties of his department could have kept him in one portion of one district of -one province for so long a time. The Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) and his retinue had passed down through the constituency of Yale, and one of the ministers with him had spoken on every occasion -of the beautiful eyes of the ladies, while the Prime Minister himself delighted several enthusiastic audiences
The Budget-Mr. Kyte
by this eloquence. He had appealed to the electors in the name of chivalry and decency and fair play to return a government supporter, explaining to them how much easier it would be for such an one to obtain the ear of his ministers. I may say in passing that with one exception I have had no difficulty whatever in obtaining the ear of the right hon. gentleman's ministers, and in that one case it was probably that the particular minister was so extremely busy that I was unable at the times I tried to get in- contact with him. My opponent's agent had made his headquarters in the hotel in Penticton and had displayed a very considerable amount of hospitality, which I think had been appreciated. Three or four days before polling, the Liberal organizer in the west-that I think is his title-Mr. Turgeon, called on the president of the Penticton Board of Trade and said something like this: "Mr. Boyle, I want to obtain the support of the Board of Trade of Penticton and I assure you that if Penticton will give a majority for the government candidate I will pledge myself, on behalf of the Liberal party, to the building of a post office in Penticton," Mr. Boyle, who is a Conservative, asked what he could do and Mr. Turgeon replied, "I am not appealing to you as an individual but as President of the Board of Trade. Call your executive together and put my proposition before them." Mr. Boyle called together his executive, who also were all Conservatives, and he solemnly placed this suggestion before them. Penticton was good enough to give me a majority; Penticton did not get a post office. I place this incident on record in duty to the electors of Yale, because messy dirtinesses of this description are repugnant to a very great majority of those electors. Their desire is that the decencies of private life should enter into and dominate the public life of this country.
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE ACTING MINISTER OF FINANCE.