Robert WEIR

WEIR, The Hon. Robert, B.A., P.C.

Personal Data

Party
Conservative (1867-1942)
Constituency
Melfort (Saskatchewan)
Birth Date
December 5, 1882
Deceased Date
March 7, 1939
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Weir_(politician)
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=667b40b9-ef5d-47c3-a20c-f7861f720a4f&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
farmer, teacher

Parliamentary Career

July 28, 1930 - August 14, 1935
CON
  Melfort (Saskatchewan)
  • Minister of Agriculture (August 8, 1930 - October 22, 1935)
August 25, 1930 - August 14, 1935
CON
  Melfort (Saskatchewan)
  • Minister of Agriculture (August 8, 1930 - October 22, 1935)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1 of 625)


February 21, 1944

Mr. AVEIR:

You didma go back.

Topic:   IS, 1944
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April 12, 1943

Mi. HEIR:

Just in case a wrong impression should get abroad following the remarks of the hon. member for Parry Sound as to the amounts of money that have been contributed to western agriculture, I might point out that the cheese bonus goes largely to Ontario; that the freight assistance on feed grain, the assistance in regard to fertilizer, the ceiling price on coarse grains as a means of assisting live stock producers, are all of particular importance to this part of the country and not of the same ad\ antage to us in the west. I mention these points as having some bearing on the remarks of the hon. member in regard to the contributions that have been made by the federal treasury to the farmers of western Canada.

I suppose under this section of the act we should be grateful for small mercies. I say to the minister without hesitation that the carrying forward of the income tax of the farmer over a period of two years is the

Income War Tax

recognition of a principle that is important. At the same time I submit that it does not go far enough, considering the industry as a whole and the hazards that are involved in it. I am not unmindful of the difficulties with respect to the principle of taxing agricultural incomes, from the point of view of the industry itself. The industry is hazardous; there are many things beyond the control of the farmer which influence his income in one year as against another, to a much greater degree than is the case in connection with ordinary business. Here under resolution 8 we are dealing particularly with the income of 1942 as a base, which represents a substantially higher income in the case of most farmers than they have enjoyed for some time. With the base so high this year there will be more farmers paying income tax than in any other period, certainly within the last ten or twelve years. Therefore I submit that this matter is of such importance as to deserve added consideration; I do not mean this item alone but the whole basis of taxing agricultural incomes. I will not urge the point, but I will go so far as to suggest that this is a matter which might be given to a committee of members of the House of Commons for particular study outside the house, where they might call in experts and review the whole question in minute detail.

I realize that there are different conditions in different parts of Canada. I submit that if the farmers are taxable they are willing to pay their tax, but there is so very much involved in the principle. I agree with the hon. member for Yorkton, and I believe there is plenty of argument in support of the suggestion, that it would be much fairer if the farmer's income could be spread over a base of about five years. I do not think that is unreasonable. I quite appreciate the argument put forward by the minister a few moments ago as to the difficulties involved, but I am told that in the old country they have a means of equalizing the income tax as between one year and another. If we could devise a scheme whereby the income tax could be spread over a period of, say five years, dropping off the fifth year and adding fhe new year and taking an average, it would provide a much more equitable basis.

I wish to go one step further, because in my opinion the business of the farmer is entirely different from any other business. I think we must recognize the principle that the farm is not only the business of the farmer; it is also his home, and when you consider the two together you have a situation very different from that of any other business.

There is, however, another feature with respect to this matter which I believe is of

some importance. During the period from 1930 onward the western farmer went heavily into debt, either through unsecured liabilities which he created or by placing heavy mortgages on his farm. Certainly at this time his income tax provision will not permit him to pay very much off his accumulated indebtedness. Perhaps he is not entitled to any more consideration in that regard than anyone else, but having regard to the difficulties the industry has experienced and the desire to see it on a reasonably satisfactory basis when this war is over, I submit that this point has particular significance at this time. Moreover, as an added thought-and with this I shall close -we have gone out and asked industry to expand their plants. We have assisted industry to do so, financially, by writing off taxation, and in other ways. Now we have come along and asked the farmer greatly to expand his production, which in turn means that he has been obliged to incur additional expense, perhaps by way of extra fencing or new buildings or a new well to provide for more live stock; but we are not giving him any consideration either financially or from the point of view of his income tax. Therefore I submit that he has a pretty good case in this matter and that we should not say he is merely comparable with other forms of industry.

I just advance these observations with the suggestion that the minister might be well * advised to make provision at some stage whereby this whole matter might be reviewed in minute detail, utilizing the expert advice of his departmental officials as well as of others who pay particular attention to matters of this kind.

Topic:   INCOME WAR TAX ACT
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July 3, 1935

Mr. WEIR (Melfort):

It boils down to this: Are we in favour of making an effort along the principles that have been adopted by both parties in the past of giving a subsidy, or assistance to prevent the price that the farmer gets for his butter and dairy products reaching such a level, because it would reach the level of the world market, that it would be impossible for him to carry on? If conditions should arise that have arisen, and there is every reason to believe that they may do so this year, it would mean that our dairy farmers in Ontario would be getting nine and ten cents a pound for their butter, and those in western Canada seven and eight cents a pound. That is the practical problem that is in front of us. Hon. gentlemen opposite have themselves voted on occasion for subsidies, protection, shelter behind which people could reap a benefit that every person in the country helped to pay for. The issue at stake is not simply a matter of bonusing cheese to help the cheese industry along but to assist the butter industry, the evaporated and condensed milk industry, the fluid milk industry, the whole dairy industry. In that this proposal differs from a straight bonus by which one product alone would benefit.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OP AGRICULTURE
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July 3, 1935

Mr. WEIR (Melfort):

Yes. The information w,e have is this. Grading by months, for 1934-35, gives us some estimate, and in June there were graded 155,628 boxes, whereas in July there were graded 196,524. I admit that some of the -boxes in this July grading would be -cheese manufactured in June; we have no accurate information as' to the precise production in each month. But -the next month will clarify it, so far as June is concerned. In August the gradings were 219,050 boxes. The grading is supposed to be absolutely completed (before the middle of the following month. In September the figure was 153,432 and in October 155,182. It will ibe seen therefore that- the largest proportion of cheese is produced from the first of July on. There is another matter I want to discuss and that is the question as to why this was not done before. I said that- in 1933 efforts were made to keep as far as possible from reaping the disastrous effects of going on the world market with the price of butter as it was then. In 1933, toy a voluntary agreement, we could have got off our domestic market some of the surplus that was threatening us, but our efforts in that respect failed because some of the people who had entered into the agreement the year before did not live up to it. This year we had hoped that there would not be the falling off in cheese that did take place, and it was because of the very rapid fall in -production up to the middle of June, over eighteen per cent, and the increase in fat going into the production of butter being practically the same. I was rather -disappointed, particularly in my own case, that any hon. member should suggest that I above all persons should think of any political significance in connection, with this matter when everyone knows that my whole aim is to help agriculture, as my hon. friend from Melville also wishes to do.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OP AGRICULTURE
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July 3, 1935

Mr. WEIR (Melfort):

I stated that we

believed that SI,000,000 would be sufficient to pay a bonus of one and a quarter cents per

pound on every pound of cheese manufactured between the present date and March 31 next year.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OP AGRICULTURE
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