May 16, 1918

L LIB

John Howard Sinclair

Laurier Liberal

Mr. J. H. SINCLAIR:

This subsection

is indefinite. It refers, as far as I can understand it, to tea that was in warehouses on April 30, and does not cover tea that was purchased after that date.

Topic:   WAR REVENUE ACT, 1915, AMENDMENT.
Permalink
UNION

Alexander Kenneth Maclean (Minister Without Portfolio)

Unionist

Mr. A. K. MACLEAN:

This is the excise tax. The other is in the Customs Act.

Topic:   WAR REVENUE ACT, 1915, AMENDMENT.
Permalink
L LIB

John Howard Sinclair

Laurier Liberal

Mr. J. H. SINCLAIR:

Could not the

minister get along without this tax on tea?

It is very unpopular. Tea is a beverage of the poor man and the poor woman, in fact of everybody. The fact of whisky being prohibited makes it all the harder-

Topic:   WAR REVENUE ACT, 1915, AMENDMENT.
Permalink
UNION

Alexander Kenneth Maclean (Minister Without Portfolio)

Unionist

Mr. A. K. MACLEAN:

I should think that would make it easier to pay the tea tax.

Topic:   WAR REVENUE ACT, 1915, AMENDMENT.
Permalink
L LIB

John Howard Sinclair

Laurier Liberal

Mr. J. H. SINCLAIR:

-harder that this heavy tax should be imposed on the only beverage that is left for the people. I think the minister ought to be able to carry cn without this tax on tea. It is one of the taxes that we have not levied in the past, and it appears to me that he ought to give the matter some further consideration. My view would be that this tax should be struck out.

Mr. PEDtLOW: I quite agree with the hon. gentleman (Mr. J. H. Sinclair) in regard to the tax on tea. I think if the minister were to transfer the tax from tea to gasolene he would obtain as much revenue, or more, and would please a lot of people. To change this tax from tea to gasolene might displease some persons, but I am sure the pleasure that the tea-drinkers would derive would more than overcome any displeasure that such a change might cause.

Topic:   WAR REVENUE ACT, 1915, AMENDMENT.
Permalink
UNION

Alexander Kenneth Maclean (Minister Without Portfolio)

Unionist

Mr. A. K. MACLEAN:

A tax upon anything is unpopular. But, unfortunately, we must have a revenue, and it must be imposed upon things that enter into consumption. The consumption of tea per capita in Canada is about four and a quarter pounds per year, so that after all the tax will not be a very onerous one. I would be very pleased indeed if we did not have to impose it, but I think the people of Canada will accept it in good spirit.

Topic:   WAR REVENUE ACT, 1915, AMENDMENT.
Permalink
L LIB

Andrew Ross McMaster

Laurier Liberal

Mr. McMASTER:

I can quite understand that it is as impossible to tax and be popular as to love and be wise, but when when we are taxing tea let us proceed in accordance with proper principles. I am urging once more-and it is only proper that I should do so-that this excise tax on tea should be ad valorem and not a specific tax. You are taxing at ten cents a pound the thirty-cent tea used by the poor, which means an imposition of 334 per cent, while the tea costing fifty or sixty cents a pound, used by the richer people, is only taxed to the extent of fifteen or twenty per cent. This is not a fair

or a right way to impose taxation. In the second place, I see no reason for departing from the principle introduced in 1897 of a British preference. A British preference should he granted to the tea growers of Ceylon and other parts of the world where the British flag flies. I see no reason for departing from that policy, and I would urge upon the minister even at this eleventh hour to change his tax to an ad valorem one, and to preserve the British preference in regard to tea.

Topic:   WAR REVENUE ACT, 1915, AMENDMENT.
Permalink
UNION

Alexander Kenneth Maclean (Minister Without Portfolio)

Unionist

Mr. A. K. MACLEAN:

I think it is absolutely impossible to have an ad valorem tax on tea. In the first place, it would be very difficult to administer such a tax, and in the second place it would yield very little revenue. If you have an ad valorem tax upon tea importations it must be upon the price in the country of production. In India, China, and Ceylon, tea sells at four, five and six cents a pound. It would not be fair to the British exporters of tea to this country. Then I am informed by the officers of the department that almost all the countries of the world regard an ad valorem tax upon tea as being practically impossible. The only countries which have an ad valorem tax are Turkey, China and Egypt. At the present moment the British tax upon tea is a shilling a pound; in France, I think, it is twenty-four cents a pound, and in Italy it is even higher. I think I may safely say that an ad valorem tax on tea would yield very little revenue, and it would practically be impossible of administration. Now, as to a preference to importations from British countries, I repeat what I said a few days ago, that the suggestion is worthy of consideration. At the present moment we are in need of the revenue and we thought it advisable to put this tax in the same category as the tax upon tobaccos and liquors; in regard to which a preference is not given to any of the British countries. However, the matter may receive the consideration of the Government later. I want to point out also that for the present year a preferential rate for the British dominions would not carry any advantage owing to the impossibility of getting shipping to forward tea. The suggestion of my ihon. friend, however, is a very fair one, and I quite agree with him that it is worthy of consideration.

Topic:   WAR REVENUE ACT, 1915, AMENDMENT.
Permalink
L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

Does not the minister

think that the tax should be 20 per cent ad valorem? The man who buys tea for 25

cents or 50 cents a pound would then pay 5 and 10 cents. And if he bought tea for $1 a pound, he would pay 20 cents. The minister has referred- to the consumption of tea in France. Tea is not drunk in France, not because it not used, but because coffee is drunk to a greater extent, and the drink of the poor man is not tea, but coffee. So the poor man ie not hit as hard by that tax in France as we are here. [DOT]

Topic:   WAR REVENUE ACT, 1915, AMENDMENT.
Permalink
UNION

Alexander Kenneth Maclean (Minister Without Portfolio)

Unionist

Mr. A. K. MACLEAN:

Tea is the great article in Great Britain, not coffee, and I think Canada is- a tea-consuming country.

Topic:   WAR REVENUE ACT, 1915, AMENDMENT.
Permalink
L LIB

Jacques Bureau

Laurier Liberal

Mr. BUREAU:

Absolutely. Tea ie the

poor man s drink in Canada. Xf we made the tax 20 per cent ad valorem, the tax on fifty-cent tea would be 10 cents and on dollar-tea 20 cents.

Topic:   WAR REVENUE ACT, 1915, AMENDMENT.
Permalink
UNION
L LIB
?

Mr. A. K. MAJCLEAN@

There is no such thing as importations of tea costing 50 cents. The export prices now from British India are 7.27 cents per pound; Ceylon, 6.56 cents; China, 5-1 cents; Japan 7.10 cents. 'The export prices are just as I have given, and the 50 cent tea sold in Canada is blended by Canadian tea houses.. Of course, blended tea also comes from Great Britain!

Topic:   WAR REVENUE ACT, 1915, AMENDMENT.
Permalink
L LIB

Joseph Bruno Aimé Miville Déchêne

Laurier Liberal

Mr. DECHENE:

Does the section provide that this tax shall only apply to dealers holding 1,000 pounds of tea- at a time? In a great many cases, especially in the big towns, there are many small dealers holding only a few hundred pounds of tea.

Topic:   WAR REVENUE ACT, 1915, AMENDMENT.
Permalink
UNION

Alexander Kenneth Maclean (Minister Without Portfolio)

Unionist

Mr. A. K. MACLEAN:

They do not pay.

Topic:   WAR REVENUE ACT, 1915, AMENDMENT.
Permalink
L LIB

Joseph Bruno Aimé Miville Déchêne

Laurier Liberal

Mr. DECHENE:

But they are charging ten cents to the consumer just th^ same. The consumer is paying at this time of the year in Ottawa 10 cents excise tax which the corner-store dealer pockets. When the departmental inspector goes to the dealer, he will prove that he has not a stock of

1,000 pounds of tea, nevertheless he is charging 10 cents to the consumer just the same. Why is the provision limited to a minimum stock of 1,000 pounds? There is no way of the consumer getting back his money, and' the dealer will usually be sharp enough to get the ten cents. If the consumer is paying the tax, the Government should take means to get it, and not allow the dealer to pocket it. -

Topic:   WAR REVENUE ACT, 1915, AMENDMENT.
Permalink
UNION

Alexander Kenneth Maclean (Minister Without Portfolio)

Unionist

Mr. A. K. MACLEAN:

I do not think it is correct that in all places the dealer has

added already the tax to the price of stocks now on hand. If stooke of tea on hand regardless of quantity had to pay the tax, it would cost more to collect the same than we should receive. It might be possible to have collected the tax upon aH stocks on hand in the large cities. But if the Department of 'Customs and Excise were obliged to send their officers all over Canada, through the country districts collecting ten cents a pound on every pound of tea held by merchants, my hon. friend will readily see that that would be a very expensive operation, the net result of which would be that the treasury would be out of pocket. We had to fix a limit and we thought

1,000 pounds about right.

Topic:   WAR REVENUE ACT, 1915, AMENDMENT.
Permalink
L LIB

Joseph Bruno Aimé Miville Déchêne

Laurier Liberal

Mr. DECHENE:

I understand that. But in order to collect the tax at all, your collectors will have to visit every store, to find out what amount of tea is on hand.

Topic:   WAR REVENUE ACT, 1915, AMENDMENT.
Permalink
UNION

Alexander Kenneth Maclean (Minister Without Portfolio)

Unionist

Mr. A. K. MACLEAN:

Now they do, but hereafter the tax will be paid through the customs.

Topic:   WAR REVENUE ACT, 1915, AMENDMENT.
Permalink

May 16, 1918