David LEWIS

LEWIS, David, C.C., Q.C., B.A.

Parliamentary Career

June 18, 1962 - February 6, 1963
NDP
  York South (Ontario)
November 8, 1965 - April 23, 1968
NDP
  York South (Ontario)
  • Parliamentary Leader of the N.D.P. (January 1, 1968 - January 1, 1971)
June 25, 1968 - September 1, 1972
NDP
  York South (Ontario)
  • Parliamentary Leader of the N.D.P. (January 1, 1968 - January 1, 1971)
October 30, 1972 - May 9, 1974
NDP
  York South (Ontario)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1 of 1100)


May 7, 1974

Mr. Lewis:

No one suggests that export controls would be intended to interfere with normal export trade. All that would be required would be to make sure that the portion of production to stay in Canada would remain in Canada. These gentlemen are always afraid of taking steps that require courage.

The proposal we made for a national price control board with power to roll back and hold back unjustifiable price increases in areas where that control could be made with effectiveness and in a practical way would be an immense good for the people of Canada in this difficult period.

I agree with the minister that a large part of the inflation is international. Let no one suggest, here or elsewhere, in the next number of weeks that they have a wand which they will wave and the inflation will disappear. I hope that neither the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Stanfield) nor any of his colleagues will descend to that kind of dishonesty because no one in Canada, or anywhere else for that matter, can wave a wand and get rid of all the inflationary pressures in the world.

We are a fortunate country in that we produce many of the things we consume. We have a wealth of resources and a well developed manufacturing industry, although it is not very rational because of the foreign control of manufacturing in many areas. However, it is a well developed manufacturing industry and we do have a well developed processing industry. The population of farmers across this country is second to none in productivity and in its ability and dedication to production.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
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May 7, 1974

Mr. Lewis:

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
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May 7, 1974

Mr. Lewis:

What utter, unmitigated rubbish. Of course, you would need to have some export controls if you hold

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May 7, 1974

The Budget-Mr. Lewis

the price down in Canada to a fair price and sell commodities outside at the international price outside. If you do not have some kind of control of the exports, the commodities would flow out of this country. Why should the minister worry about retaliation? Why is it that Washington can do anything it wishes to protect the interests of Americans and the Canadian government gets down on its knees every time it has to do something to protect the interest of Canadians?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
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May 7, 1974

Mr. Lewis:

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I express my gratitude to the members of this House. The minister rejected the excess profits tax mainly because he said they could not technically define what is desirable and what is excess profit. There was not sufficient ingenuity in his department to be able to solve the technical problem. I have seen the work of his department before. The people in his department have ingenuity enough when they want to do their own thing. The only time they lack ingenuity is when we want them to do the right thing. But the minister says to the people of Canada and to this House, not in these words but to this effect, that he will not bring in an excess profit tax but that he has a new one, a 10 per cent surtax on corporate taxes. That sounded pretty good until I read the entire paragraph and found that he had excluded a number of areas of the economy.

He excluded, let me say quickly so that he will not have to remind me, small businesses and I agree with him that they should be excluded. I have no argument with that. There is no end to my generosity. However, from the 10 per cent surtax the minister excludes processing, mining, petroleum, investment corporations, mortgage investment corporations, mutual fund corporations and non-resident owned investment corporations. Let us be fair-he leaves the banking and financial institutions and they ought to be kicked a great deal more than in the past, I agree. He leaves some other industries. The point I want to make is that the areas of the economy which made the largest profits in 1973-74, which had the largest increases in profits in 1973-74, are excluded from the 10 per cent surtax. The suggestion that that is an alternative to the excess profits tax is really an unacceptable thing. Then, there is the half tax on capital gains which remains.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I have come to my concluding paragraph or two.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
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May 7, 1974

Mr. Lewis:

Mr. Speaker, I know that of course, but I had a notion that the Minister of Finance knows these people so well that in their prayers they would simply say

The Budget-Mr. Lewis

"John". I have not said all that I would like to say, and if hon. members would give me a little extra time I would be glad to use it.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
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