Mr. Bernard Dumont (Frontenac):
I thank you, Mr. Speaker, for being so obliging as to recognize us in this far end of the House. I may say with all due respect that you are absolutely right in giving us the floor at this time.
I would first like to express my views on the budget speech in order to clarify certain points which, to my mind, are not clear enough and which too often cause useless discussions between the Ottawa government and some provincial administrations, particularly that of Quebec.
The main instance is the famous discussion on the $200 million that Quebec would like to recover while Ottawa intends to keep this income from the so-called social development tax of 2 per cent to use as it pleases, as the Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) has himself stated in the House.
Mr. Speaker, we must go back to 1939 to get a more comprehensive view of this matter. The then Premier, Hon. Adelard Godbout, had lent our taxation rights to Ottawa for the duration of the war, in view of the urgency of the situation. The war ended in 1945, and Maurice Duplessis, in his rather political statements, said that, for the sake of provincial autonomy, only certain taxation rights needed to be handed back to the provinces. Since the matter was profitable from a political standpoint, he did not demand that all the rights, transferred temporarily to Ottawa by Hon. Adelard Godbout, be returned too early to Quebec, so that he might thus cling to power.
Now, the Premier of Quebec, Mr. Jean-Jacques Bertrand, trained in the school of Hon. Maurice Duplessis who was defending that so-called autonomy, wishes to continue to beg for money that he claims is his own.
March 17, 1970
I feel there should be a round-table meeting in order to determine once and for all the tax jurisdictions of the federal and provincial governments. In the province of Quebec, the Creditistes have been improving the political awareness of Quebecers and in the last twelve years they have been successful in restoring the province's image through television programs. Soon, men of integrity will be elected to govern the province; their hands will not have been tied by electoral funds and they will have no financial curbs. They will proudly tell the whole population of Canada: Here is what we want to do. Let us stop our federal-provincial wranglings which, more often than not, are related to fiscal problems. What I have in mind, for instance, are the famous $200 million.
Here is, in my view, what should prevail in respect of this so-called social development tax. It seems to me that the central government should have frozen the $200 million until the Quebec government is in a position to accept hospital insurance. I suggest this course would have been more logical and the two governments would not have behaved like school children or immature adults. Canadians who are aware of this political verbiage say to themselves that we have not reached political maturity. French Canadians watch quietly this cock-fight that does not settle anything.
Mr. Speaker, in connection with existing problems in Canada, the Minister of Finance (Mr. Benson) has made a statement on a television program. Here is what has been said about it in a newspaper article entitled: "Mr. Benson agrees that an increase in unemployment is almost unavoidable", and I quote:
Perhaps it will be necessary to have an unemployment rate slightly higher than what it was in 1969 "if we want to check inflation", said Mr. Benson on television Sunday night.
o (5:40 p.m.)
Upon hearing statements like the one made by the minister, I become convinced that the problems will not be solved. In fact, to increase the unemployment rate is certainly not a step in the right direction. The time has come for all Canadians to work together in order to prevent such hardship amidst affluence.
In another article we read that 43 per cent of urban families are living in want.
Mr. Speaker, if the economic situation of 43 per cent of Canadian families is either one of want or one of hardship, I wonder why governments, federal and provincial, do not try to find a solution and do not stop 21774-47}
The Budget-Mr. Dumont dipping into the taxpayers' pockets. It should be decided whether it is the federal or the provincial government which should raise taxes. After all, the only problem with regard to the $200 million is to determine who has the right to collect them. Should taxes be levied by the federal or the provincial government? The first is too greedy; it imposes taxes and keeps all the money for itself. Hence all this ineffectual talk in Canada.
I maintain that the present government is not offering any positive solution. No problem is solved and instead of seeking complicated solutions it would have been better to put the Bank of Canada at the service of Canadians. Instead they have to pay taxes.
The saturation point has been reached long ago in Canada. Both in Ottawa and in Quebec no other solution was found than that of taxes and surtaxes.
In 1970, Canadians are not falling into steps. They are seeking another solution. Besides, we will be able to find that out on April 29. In Quebec we will see that the political education we have been spreading for 35 years now throughout the province will bear fruit. The surprise will be the miracle of the year. Overtaxed as we are, we do not accept any longer this financial system. Presently, without the permission of the capitalists who control the economy, even at the world level, and without leave from their servile officials in Ottawa, we cannot even breathe.
Therefore, we are against these taxes because, in my opinion, they are nothing but theft. They are theft, indeed, when they fall on taxpayers who have not enough money to buy the necessities of life, while goods are in abundance in this country. Taxes are theft when there are unsold products, when people are doomed to unemployment, when there is untapped productive power and especially when we note that it is impossible to sell products due to the lack of purchasing power.
In our day and age, taxes are a theft because they destroy the purchasing power, lead to an accumulation of products and deprive the population as much as inflation does. In my opinion, taxes should only exist to eliminate the excess of money in circulation when there are not enough products. When there is a lack of money, we do not need taxes but a redistribution of the purchasing power through the granting of a dividend or a compensated discount which would bring down prices to the real production cost.
I think there should be a different way of financing public investments, by the allocation
March 17. 1970
The Budget-Mr. Dumont of new credits according to the real needs and producing capacity of the country.
That is why the government's attitude is unacceptable. Indeed, even the Canadian Manufacturers Association maintain that Canadians will pay more for public services, since the government will draw an additional $500 million during the next five years out of the taxpayers' pockets.
The problem is thus to determine who will tax.
"It is patent theft", said the former president of the Canadian association of electrical appliances manufacturers, Mr. Ramsay.
"It is stupidity", said the president of the Montreal and Canadian Stock Exchanges, Mr. Charles Neapole. According to Mr. Neapole, the small Canadian companies will be the most affected by the proposed reforms as a result of the white paper and the new sources of taxation now proposed. As the matter stands, some companies like the Bombardier Co. of Quebec and other excellent Canadian companies will be affected, while others like General Motors which is controlled by American interests will benefit from the reforms suggested by the federal government.
For instance, in La Guadeloupe, in the Frontenac riding, where a snowmobile company was sold to an American corporation and overnight 300 workers were laid off. Attempts were made with the assistance of the union to find the owners of the industry and it was learned finally that they had fled abroad in a quiet hotel in Miami whose name was not known.
In the face of such shameless exploitation on the part of capitalists whom, in my opinion, take over our Canadian economy, it is time that the Bank of Canada be made to assist the Canadian people, so as to eliminate this economic system which interferes with our freedom and which binds us, although with golden chains.
Furthermore, we have been told that soon capital gains will be taxed. Let us not kid ourselves. We know fully well that it will be the consumers who will foot the bill. Prices will rise, which in turn will push upward the inflationary pressure. To operate and survive, a business must include in the price of the items it markets all its costs; otherwise, it faces bankruptcy. If one cost is not included in the price, the business loses money and eventually goes bankrupt.
It is impossible to tax effectively a capitalist producer, because his existence as a producer depends on his capacity or his ability to have
the consumer pay all the expenses generated by his business production.
Businesses will tend to inflate their prices according to additional taxes which the government will levy on them. It is impossible to believe that an unfair system will be improved with measures which will make it even more unfair.
With regard to capital gains on real estate, I submit that when we decide to appraise wealth in Canada, the home owner will be tempted to assess his property at the highest figure possible so as to protect himself or to minimize capital gains which could be obtained when selling his property later on.
However, if he puts a high price on his home, the chances are that the municipal appraisers will, in turn, step in and levy a higher land tax. There is thus no way of escaping from the recurring circle of problems.
On the other hand, if the home owner's appraisal is in keeping with the value set by the municipal appraisers, he will have to pay more taxes on capital gains than the profit he will make when he actually parts with his house.
In my opinion that is one of the ill effects of the white paper proposals. Mr. Fraser Robertson, in an editorial published in the November 12 issue of the Globe and Mail, notes the seeming disregard of the government for small businesses, because the white paper proposals result in discouraging small investors, in jeopardizing small businesses while favouring only the big monopolies.
According to this journalist, the Minister of Finance (Mr. Benson) when bringing forward his proposals under the name of tax reform, obviously agrees with the view of the Economic Council of Canada to the effect that what Canada needs is to develop a few powerful monopolies likely to become the responsibility of other cabinet members. He knows complete disregard for small businesses.
[DOT] (5:50 p.m.)
Mr. Robertson adds that the disregard shown by the Minister of Finance (Mr. Benson) for small business, more particularly the family-type businesses, reflects the arrogance peculiar to our times and our government.
Recalling that big businesses like General Motors and Massey-Ferguson had a modest start before becoming powerful monopolies, Mr. Robertson remarks that even in this era, big businesses are dependent on smaller businesses able to supply raw materials. He recalls
March 17, 1970
that General Electric, for instance, has to rely on more than 10,000 small suppliers.
Finally, without pondering on the Canadian situation for too long, I shall limit myself to a few examples showing that it is rather desperate. At the present time, there are in Canada two million children living in poverty;
350.000 women and 1 million children are on welfare. One urban family out of five earns less than $3,000 per year; the same goes for
160.000 rural families.
For these reasons, we Creditistes propose a minimum taxable income of $4,000 for married people, with a $1,000 deduction per child and a $2,000 deduction for single people. Moreover, the government should enact immediately a compensated discount so as to lower the cost of living and empower the Bank of Canada to make interest-free loans to municipalities, schools boards or for the establishment of any public service.
Moreover, so as to respect self-government and promote good understanding in Canada, each province should be granted, as was required by Alberta as soon as in 1935, the right to establish a branch of the Bank of Canada, so as to enable the provinces to finance, without interest, every public endeavour, thus promoting Canada's development while making financially feasible what is physically possible.
Topic: GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic: THE BUDGET