Personal Data

Progressive Conservative
Wellington North (Ontario)
Birth Date
October 8, 1882
Deceased Date
April 24, 1956
farmer, merchant

Parliamentary Career

June 11, 1945 - April 30, 1949
  Wellington North (Ontario)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1 of 21)

March 8, 1949

Mr. Lewis Menary (Wellington North):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to say a few words in the debate on the address in reply to the speech from the throne as to the needs of my riding. We are largely an agricultural riding, and it contains some of the best dairy herds in Canada. Owing to the demand for dairy cattle in the United States during the past few years, thousands have gone from our riding to build up the herds of our neighbour to the south. This has been beneficial to both countries. We get the United States dollars badly needed in this country and they get cows so urgently required to provide milk and butter for their people.

This has been a great era of prosperity on the North American continent, and we hope that this trend of trade will continue, as it is a great help to the economy of our country. We not only sent many of our dairy cattle, but very many of our beef cattle have gone to the United States since the embargo was lifted. Farmers in my riding are not in a very happy mood at the present time. They are all willing to do their share in our national economy, which they did in wartime and have done since. I know many farmers who during the war period carried on with no help. The result was that the wife, husband and children were working on the average twelve hours a day. Since the average farmer has ten cows, forty hogs and perhaps 1,000 chicks, as well as laying hens, a great deal of work has to be accomplished to keep the farm operating. The hour of six or earlier in the morning saw the farmer out milking the cows and feeding the hogs. The mother or wife often had the task of looking after the fowl.

The exemptions for income taxes are too low, $750 for single persons and $1,500 for married persons. By the time the house is kept, the children clothed, the coal and food purchased, there is not much left over for a rainy day. The same thing applies to the married couples living in towns. I would

The Address-Mr. Menary like to tell the government it cannot be done. Would one of our ministers like to trade his job and salary with these people, even for a short time?

Since last summer they have been hounded by income tax inspectors for taxes on the great contribution they made to supply food in this period of our history. It might well be said that either we supply food or we lose the battle for freedom. If our farmers only knew how this government has spent their money, they might feel even worse.

A question was asked on the order paper as to why this government paid W. C. Thomson, a Toronto lawyer, a large sum of money. It is true Mr. Thomson contested the provincial leadership with Mr. Farquhar Oliver, and lost; but inside of two months after Mr. Thomson's defeat the dominion government paid him $173,300. True, it would look like a good deal for Mr. Thomson; but the people want to know what he did to get such a generous sum.

I have received letters from my riding protesting the various taxes. The sales tax especially has been the target of much criticism. The federal tax takes a big slice of many day-to-day commodities. This is a so-called luxury tax. These taxes-imposed as a purely wartime measure-run from 10 to 35 per cent, and are of course additional to the 8 per cent federal sales tax. Here are some of the goods on which the luxury tax is paid: toothpaste, shaving soap, antiseptics, perfumes and cosmetics, 25 per cent; chocolates, candy, chewing gum and all candy-like confectionery, 30 per cent; soft drinks, 40 per cent-almost half; trunks, suit cases, handbags, wallets, purses and all luggage, 35 per cent; fur coats, dressed furs, dyed furs, 10 per cent; automobiles, 10 per cent.

Under modern living standards in Canada most, if not all, of these items are not luxuries to be enjoyed by the wealthy, but necessities for the mass of the people. Who would call toothpaste, shaving soap, clocks, trucks or pens luxuries? Even such items as soft drinks, chocolate bars and candies are not necessarily luxuries. If these items are not luxuries, why should they continue to bear this heavy burden of taxes?

I would like to say a few words in this debate about the plight of our aged people. It is a tragic situation when they have to keep up a home, and especially when one is living alone. They must find it extremely hard to buy fuel, food and clothing on $30 a month. If the government has any idea of increasing this pension, why not do it now? In view of the large surplus, the government should be able to increase this pension.

The Address-Mr. Warren

These elder citizens should not want, as they have helped to make Canada what it is today. I have always contended that the old age pension should be on a contributory basis and I was the first one to bring this forward in the House of Commons. There is no one who cannot pay, let us say, one or two dollars per month, and get more when he or she reaches the age of sixty or sixty-five. By making these small payments these people will feel that it is an insurance, and that they are part of the plan.

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March 3, 1949

1. How many bushels of flax were grown in Canada during the calendar year 1948?

2. How much of such flax has been sold for consumption in Canada or to purchasers abroad?

3. How much of such flax now remains unsold in Canada?

4. Was the flax grown in 1948 subject to a floor price? If so, what was the floor price?

5. How much of the 1948 flax crop was purchased by the government or by a government agency at a floor price, and how much of the flax so purchased still remains in the government's or a government agency's hands?

Subtopic:   RESOURCES
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February 9, 1949

1. How many people are employed by the patent office department?

2. What are the wages of the top three?

3. What are the total wages?

4. How many patents have been registered In Canada to Canadians?

5. How many to others outside of Canada?

6. How many patents are being used in manufacturing in Canada?

7. How many patents are registered and not used in Canada?

8. How long can a patent remain inactive before it is cancelled?

9. How often are they supervised for the purpose of eliminating those that are not active?

Subtopic:   EMPLOYEES
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June 17, 1948

Mr. LEWIS MENARY (Wellington North):

I should like to say a few words on these annuities. I might say that if you are twenty-five years of age and far-sighted enough to plan ahead to when you will be sixty-five and want to retire on $100 a month, it will cost you $186.12 a year instead of $129.12. or 44 per cent more to do so now with the dominion government annuities than before a recent order in council cut the interest rate from four to three per cent, If you are twenty, the new plan will cost you $151.44 a year instead of $101.28, or an increase of 49-5 per cent; if thirty-five, $295.08 instead of $218.64, or an increase of 35 per cent, and if forty, $385.08 instead of $294.48, or an increase of 30-8 per cent. These figures were listed recently by W. D. Welsford, manager of William M. Mercer Limited, independent pension consultants, to show how cutting the interest rate by one per cent boosted the new rates.

In relation to company retirement plans for their employees, the difference is even more startling. Under the new rates it will cost a

Government Annuities Act

firm 130 per cent more to finance the pension of a forty year old worker than under the old. A firm with five hundred workers, considering a retirement plan based on the annuities, will pay an additional 8150,000 for past employees' service just to get the scheme in operation. In ten years the one per cent interest cut will mean 8200,000 from this one company's treasury.

Setting back mortality tables by three years, in addition to the interest cut, is another blow at the annuities. Such a revision is not justified on the basis of a group plan. Even the insurance companies are not using as stiff a table as this, and they are making money.

Another factor that will affect the popularity of these annuities is that it will no longer be possible to pay odd amounts at odd times at the post office toward the annuity. Hitherto you could pay as little as twenty-five cents a week, or prepay as much as $1,000 if you had the ready cash. Now the annuities are on a firm contract basis, and special arrangements have to be made for prepayment, while arrears must be paid within reasonable limits, according to the government announcement.

However, there is nothing to indicate that people who bought their annuities before April 19 will have to change their method of payment. Keeping the two classes of customers apart may turn out to be an administrative problem of headache proportions. What if the dominion government bonds which now pay 2-05 per cent could not be cashed in at any time? They certainly would not be as popular. Where else can the government borrow money at three per cent, as they will be able to with the new annuities?

Another point is that if the government annuities are made less attractive, it will not mean that pension plans and individual annuities will be purchased from insurance companies instead. It will mean that they just will not be purchased, and the possibility of old age security w'ithin the framework of private enterprise will disappear.

Still another point is that if annuities remain attractive, Canada's expanding population and level of business activity would result in more money being collected by the government in premiums than would be paid out and that this could be an anti-inflationary measure.

Unless cash surrender values are offered, a lowering of the interest rate will mean relatively few government annuities sold. A larger part of corporation funds will be directed to plant investment and the payment of dividends and the important deflationary force will disappear.

An upward movement in interest rates has started which should increase the insurance companies' earnings beyond four per cent. If insurance company contracts did not have to bear such a high loading for commissions and expenses, it should be possible to make them quite competitive with government annuity contracts, particularly since the insurance company contracts offer cash values, and the government annuity contracts do not.

It has been suggested that the 81,200 a year limit should be raised to $2,000, because a couple can no longer retire comfortably on $1,200 a year.

Many people bought annuities by the small payment plan. Parents saved this way to educate their children to fit them for different walks of life. I think our government with the huge surplus on hand have forgotten that perhaps never in the history of Canada have our people found it as hard to make a living and raise and educate their children. It is difficult for most Canadian citizens to understand why the government should lower the interest rate on annuities, while at the same time the policy of the Bank of Canada has been changed so that interest yields on government and other bonds arc increased.

Mr. JOHN R. MacNICOL (Davenport): Mr. Speaker, I am not so sure that the change in the interest rate from four to three per cent will not defeat the purpose the framers of the original act had in mind, namely, to have as many as possible of the lower-paid classes take part in a. government scheme of this kind, because that will increase the cost to the annuitant.

I am aware that at page 59 of the report issued by the Department of Labour it is stated that about $977,089 had to be transferred from one account to another, evidently because reserves had run down. But the report does not state that this transfer of money occurred as a result of the lower rates before 1936, or how much of it occurred after the rates were raised in 1936, when they were advanced 15 per cent. I think that should have been stated, because perhaps before 1936 the rate was too low'. However, the advancing of the rate by 15 per cent in 1936 should have made the program self-sustaining. Those w'ho were interested before that time should not be penalized if the rates were not high enough.

I have the idea that the bill should not be proceeded with at this session. It should be deferred until next session, so that a special committee could be set up to which actuaries from outside as well as the department's

Government Annuities Act

actuaries and other experts could be summoned to give the committee facts and figures as to whether the rates should have been again raised.

The rates have already been raised several times; and since 1936, they had to be changed again in 1938. Some rates were up and some were down, which goes to show that whoever prepared those rates was not sure of what he was doing. Perhaps the present state of affairs is not satisfactory. Maybe the rates should be raised again; maybe they should be lowered again.

That is why I feel action should be deferred until next session, so that a parliamentary committee set up by the house would have power to call witnesses to advise as to whether the rate of interest should be lowered from four to three per cent, and whether all the other insurance rates should remain; as they are at the present time or not.

I have always supported government annuities and looked upon them as something for the benefit of the ordinary worker. The facts show that the subscriptions are to a greater extent .taken up by that earner class, because of those who arranged for payments up to $1,200 a year, about 90 per cent arranged amounts less than that. This shows that the investors were people of ordinary means. I shall not repeat what I said on the first occasion this matter was discussed, when I opposed the reduction from four to three per cent. In my judgment action should be deferred until another session to allow a proper investigation by a parliamentary committee.

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June 16, 1948

Mr. LEWIS MENARY (Wellington North):

In view of the answer made by the Minister of Trade and Commerce to my question, may I say that last week these men were not paid for their flax. Apparently they cannot get any satisfaction in writing from the company. They were not paid last week end. I do not know whether they were paid this week.

Subtopic:   FLAXSEED
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