The people of Quebec are entirely sympathetic and regret the incident. We are proud and happy that Mr. Taschereau's life was saved for the good of the province. The Hon. Mr. Taschereau is the best premier that Quebec has ever had and he is so recognized, not only in Quebec but throughout the Dominion generally. We all hope that the Hon. Mr. Taschereau will be able to retain the premiership for many years to come for the good of the province.
I take much pleasure in again congratulating the Minister of Finance (Mr. Robb) upon the splendid budget he has brought down. I wish also to congratulate the acting leader of the opposition (Mr. Guthrie), the hon. member for Fort. William (Mr. Manion) and others upon the brilliant speeches they have delivered upon the budget. Of course they have a very hard case to deal with, and I do not believe their arguments will convince the people of Canada that the present budget is not a good one.
Since 192:1 the situation in Canada has improved greatly, principally since 1923, the public debt having decreased to the extent of $226,000,000. The net debt of Canada to-
day is $2,227,068,000. That is admitted by both sides of the house. The Minister of Finance, to the great joy of our people, has announced a surplus of $69,782,000, with a reduction in taxation of $26,000,000. I heard the hon. member for Fort William say to the house to-day that the reduction in the sales tax would not help very much; that it would mean only one dollar on a purchase of $100. That is so, but if you take the case of a farmer who buys $700 or $800 worth of agricultural implements and who spends for the upkeep of his family a like amount, or, say, $1,500 altogether, this reduction in the sales tax means a saving to him annually of $15. The reduction in the sales tax which the Finance minister has proposed in this budget will mean a great deal to every labourer, every farmer, and every citizen in this country. There has also been a substantial decrease in general taxation, by which all of our citizens will benefit. It has been stated that this has been, made possible by the increased trade and the greater prosperity of the country. We all rejoice at this prosperity, but if we have prosperity in our country it is due to, the good administration of this government. There is more confidence to-day in the public mind and in our commercial and industrial life. The people know that this government is giving them honest administration, and that the enormous debt of the country is being diminished year by year. As long as we have this government, and a man at the head of our finances like the Hon. Mr. Robb, the people of this country may rest assured that their affairs are in good hands. Another important fact which the minister mentioned was that we had a favourable balance of trade amounting to $154,000,000.
A great deal has been said about immigration. My hon. friend from Nanaimo (Mr. Dickie) who has just taken his seat, had something to say on this question. I cannot endorse absolutely all that he said, but undoubtedly there is a good deal in what he said about immigration. We must bring people to Canada who will help us to build up this country and pay off our enormous burden of debt. On the other hand, we should do everything possible to keep our own young people in this country. With that end in view, this government last year provided for grants to the provinces for repatriating our Canadians who are now resident in the United States, the grant being $50,000 to every province that would contribute a like amount. The government started with that amount as an experiment, and I am glad to say that in the province of Quebec, which contributed $50,000
The Budget-Mr. Lavigueur
for this purpose, this movement has proved a success, like everything else which is done by the government of the province of Quebec.
I saw by the reports of the Minister of Colonization of the province of Quebec, the Hon. Mr. Perrault, .that 651 Canadian families had been brought back to the province of Quebec on the sum of $100,000 jointly contributed by the federal government and the province. If 651 families oan be brought back with an expenditure of $100,000, if the federal government would vote $100,000 instead of $50,000, and the other provinces would follow the example of Quebec, I think we would succeed in bringing back to this country from the United States many, many more of our citizens, and it would be a splendid achievement. I hope that the government and the Minister of Immigration (Mr. Forke), who is,
I believe, doing his utmost for the benefit of this country, will take my suggestion into consideration and that a larger grant will be made for this purpose this year.
I notice that according to the estimates a large amount of money is to be expended this year on public works which are urgently required in the different provinces, yet in spite of that we shall have a large surplus. The acting leader of the opposition (Mr. Guthrie) took exception to the large amount of money that was to be expended in the county of North Bruce, represented in this house by the hon. Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Malcolm), so it is obvious that if we have a large surplus it is not due to the fact that the government is not spending money on works that are urgently required. All necessary works are going forward; we have a large surplus, the debt of this country is being dim-inshed year by year, and the Finance minister has announced that he will have enough money on hand to pay off the $60,000,000 loan coming due in August next, as well as other liabilities. So I think every citizen in Canada can have confidence and rejoice in the splendid showing which the Finance minister has made.
Now, Mr. Speaker, I purpose to deal with the subject of old age pensions. Some of the provinces, including Quebec, did not take advantage of the old age pension legislation passed last session. In my province we have several institutions that look after the aged poor, and under the laws of the province the provincial government contributes to the upkeep of these institutions. Moreover, the people of the province are accustomed to taking care of their old folks. This probably prompted Premier Taschereau, who is a statesman of large vision, not to take advantage of
the federal statute. I am in favour of old age pensions, and I would suggest that where a province does not pass the necessary legislation to implement the federal statute a special grant should be made to such province to assist it in looking after its aged poor, such grant to be distributed by the province in whatever manner they may see fit. I trust this suggestion will also be taken into consideration by the government.
In view of the prosperous condition of Canada as set forth by the Minister of Finance in his budget statement, I think it may be well for hon. members to bring to the attention of the government the urgent needs of their constituencies. On previous occasions I have called the attention of the government to the very unsatisfactory railway situation in the city of Quebec. Over thirty million dollars is being expended in the city of Toronto to provide terminal facilities, and I understand that if the report of Mr. Palmer dealing with the terminal situation in the city of Montreal is adopted it will involve an expenditure of a hundred million dollars. In the city of Quebec we are urgently in need of terminal facilities. The Canadian National Railways is forced to use the Canadian Pacific Railway station, with the result that passengers brought to the city by the Canadian National system go to the Chateau Frontenac and the Canadian Pacific get the advantage of the outgoing traffic. We have made sacrifices to secure a railway station, and I believe ours is the only city that has contributed an enormous sum of money in the hope of securing terminal facilities. But notwithstanding this heavy expenditure we are still without those long-promised facilities. Once more I appeal to the government to come to our assistance, I appeal also to the railway commission, and I invite Sir Henry Thornton to come to Quebec and investigate the situation. He has made such a notable success by his capable administration of the Canadian National Railway system that I am sure a personal investigation of the situation would convince him of the necessity of providing these long-promised terminal facilities.
On several occasions, Mr. Speaker, I have brought to the notice of this house the question of the minority stockholders of the Quebec and Lake St. John railway. Some years ago a group of business men in the city of Quebec with the help of some friends in London, England, built this railway. It now forms part of the Canadian National Railway system. The railway is seven hundred miles long and runs through the lake St. John, Chi-
The Budget-Mr. Lnvigueur
Topic: THE BUDGET
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE