Mr. DOUGLAS (Strathcona):
I wish to support the contention raised by the hon. member for Vancouver Centre (Air. Stevens) as to the feasibility of collection of certain of these proposed excise taxes, ^e raised the question of hats. A hat is an absolute necessity to every one in this country, but there is no distinction in the schedule between felt, straw, or canvas hats. Aly information is that no hat manufactured in Canada can be retailed to-day at $5; so that all Canadian made hats will come under the operation of this tax. If a man buys an imported hat-which may be economical in the long run-he cannot buy one under present day prices at less than $10 or $12, so he pays a very high price. There is another item of interest to which I desire to call the minister's attention, and that is underwear. The tax does not affect summer underwear at all, because summer underwear is made of cotton and is reason-
ably cheap and would therefore come within the exemption, but- winter underwear will be taxed. This is a country that demands wool in the winter and the limit which the minister has placed on underwear will, in my judgment, compel everybody who wants to wear woollen underwear to pay this tax. Woollen underwear is not a luxury at all but an absolute necessity in this country in winter time. I notice that the minister has raised the exemption in the amended schedule to $3 a garment, but he has left the union suit at $5. Now, no one can buy a union suit that has any wool in it for $5. It might be called partially wool, but I doubt very much if there would, be any wool in it. The consequence will be that every one who wears a union suit will be forced to pay this tax. So as far as that item is concerned the idea of this being a luxury tax is absolutely wiped out; it is a tax on a necessity. Now the purpose of the tax, as T understand it, is to tax luxuries only, or to get as close to luxuries as possible. As to articles of necessity, such as woollen underwear, I think the minister would be well-advised to revise Kis exemption list so that the people can wear woollen underwear in this country in winter without being mulcted for a fine of ten per cent.
Topic: SPECIAL WAR REVENUE ACT, 1915, AMENDMENT.
Subtopic: EXCISE TAX RESOLUTIONS CONSIDERED IN COMMITTEE OF WAYS AND MEANS.