Richard Smeaton WHITE

WHITE, The Hon. Richard Smeaton, D.C.L.

Parliamentary Career

Most Recent Speeches (Page 84 of 85)


August 3, 1917

Sir THOMAS WHITE:

I agree with my right hon. friend. They are fortunate to be able to do it, and that is what I told them when they complained. The point I make is that this was a three-year measure, retroactive for one year, and that is the feature which is lost sight of. They paid in 1917, and they will pay in 1918, the heaviest business tax in the world. That holds the situation until 1918, so far as concerns those who are making abnormal profits out of the war. This income tax provides that if by chance there should be any firms-and I

believe there will be very few indeed- whose taxation under the business profits war tax payable next year, in respect of their earnings this year, will be equal to or less than the taxation which they would pay under this measure, they ihay deduct it. That is all it means. The idea is simply they are not to pay the heavy business profits war tax and this income tax as well. I do not believe any one will say there is anything unfair about that.

Topic:   WAR TAX UPON INCOMES.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE.
Full View Permalink

August 3, 1917

Sir THOMAS WHITE:

I will take those representations under consideration. At the present moment I see certain difficulties in the way of carrying it out. You could add so much to the cost of administration of the Act in the way of the expense of making inquiry as to the number of dependents that it would take a very large toll from the proceeds. If you make a distinction of $1,000 in exemptions between the case of a man who has dependents and a man who has not, it will be found that ninety-nine per cent of the people of Canada will have dependents- in the returns. They will allege that they have dependents, and will prove it to their own satisfaction, and it will be impossible to disprove it. The only effect will be that you will increase your exemption by $1,000. The suggestions made are very important, and have been put forward fairly.

Topic:   WAR TAX UPON INCOMES.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE.
Full View Permalink

August 3, 1917

Sir THOMAS WHITE:

I .agree with my hon. friend (Mr. Graham) that in clause (a) of .subsection 1, for the word " men " there should be substituted the word " persons," .and I therefore beg to move:

That the word "men" in line 27 of clause (a) of subsection 1 of section 4 be struck out and that the word "persons" be substituted therefor; and that after the word "and" in line 27 there be inserted the words "widows or".

The subsection will then read as follows:

(a) Four per centum upon all income exceeding $2,000 in the case of unmarried persons and widows or widowers without dependent children, and exceeding $3,000 in the case of all other persons.

Topic:   WAR TAX UPON INCOMES.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE.
Full View Permalink

August 3, 1917

Sir THOMAS WHITE:

There is no distinction made having regard to the number of family. So far as I know, there is no legislation in Canada based upon such a distinction. I think in France and in England there is a distinction, but there is this difference between our legislation and theirs, that the amount of exemption with ns is $3,000. In framing the Bill, as I stated when it was introduced, we had regard to the cost of living and to the reasonable requirements of an ordinary family, and we fixed upon $3,000 as a fair exemption. It does not seem to me possible, although it appeals to one's sympathies, to make a distinction based upon the number of members of a family or of dependents. _ .

It would be unfair to base the distinction *solely on the number of the members of a family, because there are many citizens who have not only children to take care of, but other dependents as well. One man, for example, may have a wife and six children to take care of, and another man may have a wife and two children, and four or five others depending upon him. It seems to me it would be impracticable to hold an inquiry, because a question of fact would be involved -as to whether or not a citizen had dependents to take care *of. One can easily see how the tax could be evaded, and how embarrassing questions would arise. The essential feature of this measure, so far as regards my hon. friend s question, is that there is an exemption of $3,000, which is higher than the exemption granted in the United States legislation now before Congress, and very much higher than the exemption at present in England.

Topic:   WAR TAX UPON INCOMES.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE.
Full View Permalink

August 3, 1917

Sir THOMAS WHITE:

I would very

much rather reduce 'the (exemption and keep the rate. The hon. gentleman from Kingston has referred to two or three other important matters. One is as to whether or not the rate is high enough, especially upon the larger incomes. In such experience as I have had with taxation-and it has been considerable-there is only one tax that I know of that is popular, and that is the tax that is on the other fellow. I have received hundreds of letters suggesting various forms of taxation since I have been . minister, and in very few cases indeed has a suggestion been made of a mode of taxation which would immediately affect the writer. We are considering a serious measure of taxation at a serious time. I indicated when the measure was introduced that I had been guided by certain considerations which were regarded of importance in framing these provisions. In the first

place-and I desire to emphasize this now- I have regard to the fact that people of this country have contributed, and are contributing very materially indeed from their incomes, to support the Patriotic and Red Cross and other war funds. That had very considerable weight with me in fixing the rates which we have adoped in this measure. I think this country has raised $40,000,000, by voluntary contributions from the citizens.

Topic:   WAR TAX UPON INCOMES.
Subtopic:   CONSIDERATION OF THE BILL IN COMMITTEE.
Full View Permalink