Max SALTSMAN

SALTSMAN, Max

Personal Data

Party
New Democratic Party
Constituency
Waterloo--Cambridge (Ontario)
Birth Date
May 29, 1921
Deceased Date
November 28, 1985
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Saltsman
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=6ab1d342-3030-459c-9751-639f09fada02&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
business manager, businessman, professor (assistant)

Parliamentary Career

November 9, 1964 - September 8, 1965
NDP
  Waterloo South (Ontario)
November 8, 1965 - April 23, 1968
NDP
  Waterloo South (Ontario)
June 25, 1968 - September 1, 1972
NDP
  Waterloo (Ontario)
October 30, 1972 - May 9, 1974
NDP
  Waterloo (Ontario)
July 8, 1974 - March 26, 1979
NDP
  Waterloo--Cambridge (Ontario)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 5 of 420)


May 23, 1978

Mr. Saltsman:

The hon. member for Winnipeg South Centre says that I am the one who is dishonest. I would like to sit down, if I may, and give him a chance to say in which way I

am dishonest and in which way the arguments I am putting forward are not correct. I ask him for some sense of balance so it does not look as though we are some kind of a pariah country where nothing is any good, and where the only thing in life that is important is taxes.

If I were an archaeologist, and I was in some dig and I wanted to know something about a civilization, the one thing I would hope to find would be the tax tables of that civilization. Those tax tables would tell me something about that civilization. They would tell me what that civilization valued. If one saw a progressive tax table, one would say that that civilization cared about the poor. On the other hand if one saw a regressive tax table, one could conclude that that civilization was run for the benefit of the rich. When history digs up the tax tables of our two countries, if they could ever be understood, it will be apparent, even with all the faults in this country and with some of the higher taxes in Canada, that we have built a more sensitive, intelligent civilization than our friends across the border. The poor in this country benefit more from this civilization than the poor and disadvantaged in the United States.

As a politician and member of this House I am proud that our civilization is that different. The founders of the Conservative party, Sir John A. Macdonald and the people who had the vision to want to create a different kind of society, would also have been proud to see the gamble and the chance that they took to try and create a different kind of civilization worked out, that we did create something worth-while by being independent and separate even though it cost us something in taxing the rich.

Let us talk about the flight of capital. One can argue, as the hon. member for Winnipeg South Centre argued, the reason that capital is flowing to the United States is that the tax system is better in the United States. It does not occur to the hon. member that perhaps the reason capital is flowing to the United States is our tax system is too good to the rich in Canada. There is evidence to suggest much of the capital flowing out of Canada is not because of lower taxes in the United States but because we have enabled people with income to save so much that they do not know where to invest it any more, that the level of savings in this country is too high in the business and the private sector.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
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May 23, 1978

Mr. Saitsman:

I would like to thank my colleagues in the House. I will be very brief and I will conclude the capital gains example.

One reason this country lost so much of its industry to foreign investors was not because our tax system was tough but because it was too easy for them. The absence of the capital gains tax meant that the businessman who could sell his industry to a foreign investor could take all his money without paying any tax at all, whereas if he operated his business he had to pay tax. Faced with that kind of solution, many Canadians simply sold out because our tax system was so soft, easy, and solicitous that it encouraged them to do so.

You can have tax systems that are too onerous. All members of parliament, in fact all politicians, have to be conscious of that. You can also have tax systems, as we have in this country and even more in other countries, being too generous to those to whom there is no need to be that generous. One of the problems in this country has been that we have been too generous to the well-to-do.

The message we get today from the Progressive Conservative party is that if they were in office, following the American example, they would be even more generous to the rich than this government.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
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May 23, 1978

Mr. Saltsman:

That is right. Brain drain! That is not a brain drain. It is always popular to argue that we should lower taxes. There are occasions when all of us have to argue that as politicians. It is a worth-while objective to lower taxes. But we should not use those kinds of arguments on the basis of arousing expectations or being dishonest in terms of how that can be done.

I want to take a more specific look at some of the things that the hon. member for Winnipeg South Centre was saying. He was talking about executive salaries. Executives get all kinds of benefits in the United States which they do not get in Canada. Is there one shred of evidence that Canada is short of executive talent? Is there one shred of evidence to suggest that the benefits they get in the United States have deprived this country of the ability to direct its affairs and its economy, and to create a fine society? There is not. I know many people in Canada of the highest calibre. I have matched them against their counterparts in other countries. They know they can get a few dollars more by going to the United States. But they do not care. These people think it is worth while to live in Canada. I do not see any evidence that there is any shortage of brains or talent in this country because of the differences in the tax system.

Those people for whom money is so important that they will switch loyalties and switch nationalities, and bounce around looking for the big take, I say those countries they go to are welcome to these people. There is enough of the others in this country to make sure that we do not have to worry about them.

Not once throughout the intervention of the hon. member for Winnipeg South Centre did I hear him say a good word about Canada-a good word about some of the things we have done in this country-so that the picture is not one-sided and it does not look as though everything the Americans do is good and everything we do in this country is bad. We do a lot of bad things in this country. I wish we had a much better government than the one we have. But judging from what I have heard today that government will not come from the Conservative party. That party would not make a better government. That is just an offset.

How about some of the things we have done in this country? Is there nothing that the Conservative party can find that is good in Canada? Is medicare not good? Is hospital insurance not good? Are old age pensions not good? Is family allowance not good? Is DREE not good? None of these things are good-

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
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May 23, 1978

Mr. Saltsman:

The only conclusion I can come to is that some people say, "Isn't it great to be an American rather than a Canadian" and poor-mouth this country for everything we have tried to do. It may be true that some of our taxes in this country are higher, but it is also true that we have things in this country of which we should be thoroughly proud. To a greater extent than the United States we have brought in programs which have benefited many of the small people of this country.

I sometimes wonder for whom the great Progressive Conservative party speaks. Is it only for the rich? Are there no poor people who vote Conservative? The argument they are making is really an argument against progressive income tax. Let me show by example the kind of virtues they hold up in the United States and encourage us to adopt.

In showing us how much better things are in the United States than in Canada, the hon. member for Winnipeg South Centre used a table-and I think it is fairly accurate-which illustrated that at the $8,000 income level in the United States they pay 17.3 per cent less taxes than Canadians; at the next level it is 19.1 per cent less taxes; at the next level, 22.9 per cent less; at $15,000 income in the United States compared to Canada it is 27.3 per cent less taxes, and at the $25,000 income level it is 36.3 per cent less taxes than in Canada. That is what he is holding up as an example.

May 23, 1978

How else do we read this except as an attack on progressive income tax? Using those figures it is obvious that in the United States the income tax system is better than it is in Canada because in Canada it is too progressive. Mr. Speaker, we are far from having the most progressive income tax system in the world, but it is better than in the United States. The hon. member for Don Valley (Mr. Gillies) says that is not so. He is a learned economist and a scholar, but I do not see what other conclusion can be drawn from this than the conclusion that it is a good thing for the rich to pay less taxes. 1 think it is a good thing for everybody to pay less taxes, but let us be honest in this debate. The extent to which the rich pay less taxes is the extent to which the poor have to pay more. There is no such thing as tax avoidance. If some people avoid or do not pay taxes, they have to be made up by somebody else, and that somebody else is at the lower end of the income scale. Otherwise, services must be cut out.

I know the hon. member for Winnipeg South Centre went to some pains-not great pains but some pains, because I think it occupied less than two minutes of his presentation-to say that if the Progressive Conservatives were in power they would have a way of reducing government expenditures, in other words, a way of reducing taxes without hurting anyone. They would do it by attrition and would not cut out essential services. Mr. Speaker, if you look at any budget, provincial or municipal, there is always some fat that can be cut out. An efficient government could do that. Let us be honest, however. Most of the expenditures are in transfer payments; the overwhelming bulk of expenditures at every level of government is the transfer of income from one group of people to another. No matter how efficient you make the administration, no matter how much attrition you have in the staff of that administration, the amount of savings is negligible in comparison to the profits. This does not mean you do not have to do everything you can, but doing everything you can at the administration level is not really going to result in a substantial decrease in taxes.

There is only one way in which taxes can be reduced and that is one thing the Progressive Conservative party does not want to admit, that is, to cut services. If you cut out services you are cutting out the poor.

The Conservative party is showing itself to be the champion of the rich without really caring what happens to those who are not rich. The examples they put forward in this House benefit the rich, not the ordinary citizens, and particularly not poor citizens.

Let us talk now about the brain drain. What brain drain, Mr. Speaker? The brain drain from Canada to the United States? Is there any evidence to support the argument that the brains of Canada are dissolving into the United States? I think there is some considerable evidence that a lot of Americans are coming to Canada because they find it a very attractive place in which to live. I have heard more Americans say they like the way we do things in this country than I have heard Canadians say they like the way things are done in the United States. So what is this brain drain? If the hon. member for

Taxation

Winnipeg South Centre wanted to call it a venality drain or a cupidity drain I would go along with him. We have that kind of drain.

Let us take one example, Mr. Speaker. Recently there has been a series of newspaper articles about doctors moving to the United States. Why is this? Are doctors in Canada so poor, so underpaid? Is life in Canada so miserable that they have to move to the United States? Are doctors at the lowest end of the economic ladder here? Surely no one would say that is the case. It may be true that doctors make more money in the United States, and probably is, but there are other advantages that they do not take into account. In the United States it costs a lot more money for a doctor to receive medical training. It costs him more to practice, because of their system.

Why should a doctor, who has been educated in this country at public expense, costing us close to $100,000, say, "I can make more money south of the border?" It is not as though he needs it for survival. Doctors may not be at the top of the income ladder, but they are close. They work hard and deserve it, and I am not critical of them. However, if we are going to match the incomes of the United States for our doctors, is the Conservative party then prepared to say that medical costs in Canada should rise? After all, the chief cost of medical care is doctors' salaries and the things that surround doctors' incomes.

Hospital services and medical services cost much less in Canada and are of equal quality to those of the United States. Part of the reason for this is that our doctors are not paid as much, part of the reason is that our hospital services are more efficient, and a great part of the reason is that we have a national health system.

What does a national health system mean? Is the Conservative party saying that we should abandon our national health system and that people should pay privately? If they are not saying that, then they are saying we should raise taxes in order to pay for those high incomes that doctors in the United States are earning, and if we want to keep doctors in Canada we will have to pay. They are not talking about cutting services because the bulk of services is paid through the national health scheme-hospital insurance programs and medicare services. Are they saying they are going to raise taxes? That is the implication they are leaving with us. They do not want to say that, but it is the obvious conclusion.

Those doctors who are so ungrateful to this country and who have forgotten how much it costs Canada to provide them with an education and an opportunity, and who want to go to the United States because they can make a few more bucks-the Americans are welcome to them. I do not want them. That is all they care about. It is not a brain drain, it is a venality drain. If their system of values is oriented only to how much money they can make-most doctors are not like that, at least the doctors I know are not-but those few who are, if that is all that life means to them, to shop around to see which country will give them a few bucks more, that country is welcome to them. I have no regrets at losing them beyond

May 23, 1978

Taxation

saying that we should make these doctors pay back what it cost us for their education-

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
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May 23, 1978

Mr. Saltsman:

This constitutes an area of mirth for my friends to my right. The evidence is startling. We have been too generous in this country to those people who have money. An example that was given illustrated that people in higher income brackets, where the husband and wife are working and making a great deal of money, saved a lot of tax in the United States. Should they? We have a number of examples of senior civil servants or senior business executives where husbands and wives are both working and making large salaries. How much solicitude should we have for them? They still have lots of money after they pay their taxes. There is evidence that we are saving more money in this country than we have ever saved

May 23, 1978

before in our lives. We are doing it because of an over-generous tax system.

We were the last country, as far as the western industrialized world was concerned, to introduce a capital gains tax-

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
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