Mr. Paul Martineau (Ponliac-Timiskaming):
Mr. Speaker, my first remarks will be directed to congratulating the Minister of Finance (Mr. Fleming) who has managed to present in clear, precise and concise form the fiscal policy of the government and who has also managed to frame appropriate measures to solve the serious problems of the day.
I have noticed that when it came time for them to criticize the budget certain members of the opposition were so short of ideas, that the better part of their speeches was given over to accusing government members of having nothing to say about the budget except to congratulate the Minister of Finance.
Well, Mr. Speaker, I feel that the budget speech of the minister is certainly worthy of the tradition of the great ministers of finance who have occupied that post in this house. As far as we are concerned, we have no hesitation whatever not only in congratulating him at this time, but in renewing those congratulations at every possible opportunity.
1634 HOUSE OF
The Budget-Mr. Martineau
One innovation which was certainly most welcomed by many hon. members and more particularly by all members from the province of Quebec was the presentation of some parts of the budget speech in French by the Minister of Finance. The minister made his remarks in flawless French, and I commend him not only on my behalf but on behalf of all my colleagues of the province of Quebec.
Mr. Speaker, it is also said that that budget is a blue budget. Personally, I have no prejudice against this colour because as the hon. member for York-Humber (Miss Aitken) so aptly put it, it is a colour which reminds us of heaven. Indeed, it is appreciated not only on this side of the house but throughout our country, as shown by the results of the last election.
I should like to outline how the achievements of this government and the budget proposals are particularly adapted to the constituency I have the honour to represent in this house.
In fact, the riding of Pontiac-Timiskaming is not only a constituency, it is almost an empire. Its area is as great as that of the province of Nova Scotia and about two-thirds of the area of old Scotland. It is a very diversified district from the point of view not only of its landscapes but also of its population. Its limits are within a few short miles of the national capital; in fact, parts of the riding are within the federal district. I am particularly glad to see that the government has decided to introduce a new Federal District Commission Act during this session and I hope that the limits of the national capital will thus be enlarged to open to the population of the capital and to its numerous visitors an area endowed with a great panoramic beauty, the constituency of Pontiac.
Extending along the shores of the Ottawa river, the limits of my constituency go up to the very head of the Ottawa river, in the area of the great lake Victoria. Leaving Pontiac and going west, we come to the riding of Timiskaming which is not as old as Pontiac but whose beginning goes back more than a century.
The settlers who ventured hundreds of miles in virgin forest to settle on the shores of Timiskaming lake, which in Indian language means "deep waters", had a remarkable spirit of adventure and of individualism. It was not because of the stimulus of need that they ventured in areas which were then very wild, but rather because of the appeal of the great adventure, and especially the appeal of new land. Those people settled in the constituency of Timiskaming on the
shores of that lake, close to Fathers' bay, and from there they spread deeper into the surrounding area and opened up a whole constituency made up of several now flourishing parishes. Incidentally, the Fathers' bay district, and particularly the location of the old fort, deserves to be pointed out as an historic site, and the historic sites commission should turn its attention to that area and preserve it for future generations.
This year, the chamber of commerce of Ville-Marie is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its founding. This body initiated the development, not only of Ville-Marie itself, but of all the riding of Timiskaming, and, August 3rd and 4th of this year will be dedicated to the celebration of this truly memorable anniversary in the annals of the riding of Timiskaming.
This riding, which originated in 1885, is the cradle of northwestern Quebec, and I invite all hon. members who would like to take advantage of a holiday, to go and, together with me, I hope, take part in the feasts and celebrations which will take place on this occasion.
Mr. Speaker, as you no doubt realize, by what I have just said, the people of Timiskaming do not expect that the government should support them; they merely ask the authorities to assure them the proper economic climate to develop according to their own standards, and also to share in the prosperity and grandeur of our country. It is precisely what the government has tried to do up to now, and I also believe that the budgetary measures will enhance the progress we now enjoy.
A good part of the people of Timiskaming are farmers, living off the land. I had the opportunity recently of visiting several of those communities, and everywhere I went, the farmers were glad to tell me that things were now turning for the better for them. Things are going better, first because of the enactment of the Agricultural Stabilization Act which gave the farmer a sense of security he had never enjoyed before. Thus, through the legislation announced by the government, he can now expect more generous credit facilities.
I submit that one of the measures most likely to increase the revenue of the farmers -I do not mean that it is perfect, it is only a beginning-is the Agricultural Stabilization Act; it should however include, among other things, pulpwood, which is essentially a normal agricultural product at least in my constituency. So I suggest that the
government should give generous subsidies to farmers who, for instance, have to start undertakings such as cold storage and slaughter houses and also that a system should be adopted to help farmers who, for instance, would need subsidies to purchase seeds and other things of this kind.
The Minister of Finance (Mr. Fleming) said that one of the ways to restore prosperity in our country was to extend the period of social benefits.
The people were very gratified by the increase of old age pensions.
I suggest that it would be advisable to consider raising family allowances. Surely that is also one way of increasing the social capital in circulation and the consumer's purchasing power. That is why I am happy to join with the numerous hon. members who have requested early implementation of legislation designed to increase family allowances instituted in 1944 and which have not been increased at that time, save by the token sum of $1, last year.
The Budget-Mr. Martineau
Mr. Speaker, in the constituency of Timis-kaming, we have huge resources which have hardly been tapped. One of the most attractive planks in the Conservative platform is its development program for our natural resources. The constituency of Timiskaming, and the constituency of Pontiac also, are rich in mineral resources of all kinds.
Topic: THE BUDGET
Subtopic: ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE