That must be one of the major objectives of every budget presented by the government at this time in our history, and when a budget fails to do that it fails to serve the needs of Canada and Canada's people both now and in the future. The opposite is what will result from this budget.
The tax cuts in respect of manufacturing and processing corporations, which the Conservatives helped the government put into effect, are to continue. Most of the tax concessions to the resource industries are to continue in the tax system. As for the fast writeoffs the Minister of Finance persuaded the Leader of the Official Opposition (Mr. Stanfield) to accept last July, they apparently are to continue. The minister, in his speech, was very careful not to say that they were going to end on December 31, 1974, even though it was intended that they would end, but that he was going to review them or reassess them after the final review which is now taking place in his department is completed. He has given a very strong suggestion to me that he is going to continue the fast writeoffs beyond December 31, 1974, because I cannot imagine any review by his department giving him any other advice than they gave last July.
We asked during the briefing that members of parliament had with officials of the minister yesterday, and even though this was in private I am sure I am not being improper when I mention this, what they estimated the cost of these concessions to the manufacturing and processing corporations was going to be in 1974. They said they did not have the figures but they were going to work on them and, if my memory serves me right and anyone who was there can correct me, they hoped to have them this morning and would provide them to the leader of the opposition and to me. We did not get them this morning. I do not know whether the leader of the opposition got them, but I certainly did not. The leader of the opposition indicates he did not get them. Then, during the question period, although I was not here at the time, I understand the Minister of Finance was asked for those figures. He did not give them either. He just said he could not give them, or would not give them.
May 7, 1974
In the absence of any accurate figures from the Department of Finance I am going to give you a figure, Mr. Speaker. I will give you a figure based on estimates made by the Minister of Finance last July for 1973 when he said that for the two concessions together it would cost about $500 million. Based on the increase in profits which is taking place in Canada now, and based on the fact that fast writeoffs are for two years instead of only one year, meaning that a piece of equipment bought in 1973 was written off to the extent of 50 per cent in 1973 and 50 per cent in 1974, and a piece of equipment bought in 1974 will be subject to the same thing; taking all those elements into account, I am confident that the loss to the federal treasury as a result of these concessions in 1974-75 will be well over $1 billion.
Topic: GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic: THE BUDGET