There are no strangers here, of course, but if there were I would express to all those in the galleries not my apologies but my regrets that this situation is such that I cannot deal today with agricultural problems.
Nor do I intend to deal in detail with the matters contained in the budget speech. As always, of course, the important changes are to a substantial extent dealt with by resolution, and these resolutions will have to be debated on their own merits, if any, when the times comes. I do not intend to go into the subject matter of these resolutions to any great extent this afternoon. Rather I should like to discuss in a general way the speech made by the Minister on Monday night.
April 28, 1985 COMMONS
The Minister said-and I think this is the key to the situation-that this is an expansionary budget. He based this assertion on the statement or the inference-I am not trying to quote him-that there were substantial tax reductions which would result in an increased flow of money into the pockets of the taxpayers and subsequently to those of the merchants, thereby causing an increase in consumption and an increase in demand across the nation.
[DOT] (3:20 p.m.)
That is a plausible argument, Mr. Speaker, that perhaps we could accept except for the fact that the Minister himself apparently did not accept it a few months ago. Somebody once said, "O that mine enemy would write a book", and if he does not write a book perhaps it is just as well that he makes a speech, because I happen to have a copy of the speech the Minister made in Hamilton, Ontario, a few months ago in which he took an entirely different viewpoint. I am going to quote very briefly from the statement made by the Minister of Finance speaking to the Canadian Club in Hamilton on September 13, 1964, roughly seven months ago. He was referring to the tax cuts in the United States and the pressure which was being brought to bear upon him-and I can quite understand the pressure that was brought to bear upon him- to carry out the same system of tax cuts in Canada. This, in part, is what the Minister said:
Those who favour this course-
That is, the course of tax reductions:
-argue that the increased personal, disposable income resulting from such a policy would give the economy the kind of fillip which it needed at the time Unquestionably this would have been one way to stimulate expansion, but we estimated-
That, I presume, is the Government, the Department of Finance, or a combination:
-that a significant proportion of the additional expenditures resulting from a tax cut would have resulted in increased imports of consumer goods, thus adding to the current account deficit in our balance of payments, rather than adding to the employment opportunities in Canada.
That is a statement of a very learned, a very able and a very experienced gentleman made seven months ago. We had a statement made on Monday night virtually to the contrary. Both these gentlemen happen to be named Walter Gordon, and I am wondering which Walter Gordon we are going to believe. It is rather an interesting problem. In September this was a bad thing to do because it was going to increase the balance of pay-
The Budget-Mr. Nowlan ments deficit and would not increase production in Canada except to an insignificant extent. Today this is one of the great measures which is going to substantially increase employment in Canada.
Topic: THE BUDGET
Subtopic: ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE