Mr. Si. Laurent:
I have here the latest figures available, those of December 31, 1948, which show that the unmatured funded debt on that date was $15,926 million, a drop of something over $950 million since December 31, 1945; and that the United States currency and gold reserves have increased from a low of $461 million to a figure of $998 million on December 31, 1948. I believe most of us in the Cai.adian nation are happy that there has been this improvement in the nation's financial position of something of the order of a billion and a half dollars in that three-year period.
There is no doubt that the whole Canadian economy is very buoyant at the present time and I think there are many who feel that it is prudent during this period of buoyancy to make provision as Joseph did for the time when there may not be the same buoyancy. Some of us do not forget the fable of de La Fontaine in these words:
La cigale, ayant chante tout l'4te,
Se trouva fort depourvue Quand la blse fut venue.
I have a translation of that here as follows: A grasshopper gay Sang the summer away,
And found herself poor With the winter's first roar.
I think the conduct of the ant might be preferable in some ways. There should not be too great a disregard of what prudence has shown to be wise throughout the centuries of experience. Most of the newspapers favourable to my hon. friend have interpreted a paragraph in the speech from the throne as forecasting some reduction in taxation. They are entitled to whatever enjoyment they can get out of that interpretation, but of course they are going to have to keep on guessing
until the budget is brought down, when they will see just what the situation will be. I can assure them that the budget is not going to be delayed. Just as soon as we can get through with the matters which at this session have to be dealt with by a given date, the budget will be ready for submission.
Topic: SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY