Mr. J. L. Gibson (Comox-Alberni):
This afternoon I intend to refer to the budget only in general terms because it seems to me that in this long debate the details of the budget have been pretty well tossed back and forth from both sides of the house. I think the Canadian people have a pretty good idea of what is in it and how everybody feels about it.
It seems to me that the Minister of Finance (Mr. Abbott) has displayed great ingenuity and resourcefulness in spreading the tax concessions he has made throughout such a large segment of the Canadian economy. I, personally, am very pleased to see that he was able to eliminate the nuisance taxes and also I am pleased to see the fine job that he did in encouraging investment of Canadian people's savings in Canadian industry.
I think it is a matter of great gratification to us all that our per capita debt continues to be reduced and that our net debt is a smaller proportion of our national productive capacity than it has ever been. Despite the last great war and our great contributions to it, and the gifts which this country has made since, we have the second highest standard of living of any people on earth. I think that is a great thing to realize. When we actually consider the per capita debt that we owe, and the future of this country, we can probably say that Canadians are the richest people in the world.
I would say that we should in all fairness give a certain measure of credit to this government for the prestige this country holds throughout the western world. I am sure that when Canadians go overseas to attend the coronation this year they will be able, and I quote the words of the Minister of National Health and Welfare (Mr. Martin), "to say with meaning and to say with pride that they are Canadians".
This has, of course, been called an election budget. Perhaps it is more fair to say that this is the last budget we shall have before *an election.
Topic: ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE