May 12, 1930

LIB

Charles A. Stewart (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs; Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior)

Liberal

Hon. CHARLES STEWART (Minister of the Interior):

Mr. Speaker, this, I think, is

the ninth budget in succession that has been brought down in parliament by ministers of finance acting on behalf of the Liberal party. On nearly every occasion of the introduction of the budget, particularly in the earlier days of the advent of the Liberal party in power in parliament, very severe criticism was directed at the budget proposals of the Minister of Finance. Those introduced by the late Hon. Mr. Fielding covered a period in Canadian history that from an economic standpoint was, to say the least, very difficult, but the budgeting on those occasions brought about the results that were anticipated, and while in the beginning some slight increases in taxation were necessary, despite all the criticism that was offered and the amendments that were moved, the budgeting brought to this country a period of prosperity such as it has seldom witnessed. Mr. Fielding was followed by Mr. Robb and again the same criticism was levelled at Mr. Robb, but I am bound to say, having been a colleague of both, the situation was not as difficult as in the earlier days when this government took office. We all well remember the success of the work of the Hon. Mr. Robb in budgeting for the Canadian people. Despite the strenuous criticism that was offered and the resolutions moved from the opposite side of the house in condemnation of

his proposals, no one will deny that Mr. Robb has a record that ministers of finance in any country might well be proud of. He has undoubtedly left a record that it will be difficult for his successors to emulate. Perhaps it may be said with some truth that Mr. Robb was particularly fortunate. I know that our hon. friends opposite will say that he budgeted in days of prosperity and did not have to meet so serious a situation as his predecessors. However that may be, we who were supporters of Mr. Robb and we who supported Mr. Fielding, claim that their budgets were the result of careful thought applied to the tariffs of the country for the very purpose of bringing about that prosperity which resulted. May I say that in no period of Canadian history perhaps did we pass through such difficult times as in 1922? I am not going to deny for a moment that the conditions of those times were largely the result of the great war which had cost us so much in men and in treasure. Nevertheless, that was the situation, and a remedy had to be found. What remedy was applied? As I said before, both Mr. Fielding and Mr. Robb, as many hon. gentlemen who were present when Mr. Robb delivered his budget speech upon that occasion will remember, stated that this country could not go on piling up additions to the capital debt of the country, and so they proposed slight increases in some taxation then existent, and the addition of some new taxation to meet the situation. Year after year, reductions of taxation were made to assist the basic industries of the country, agriculture, mining, lumbering and fishing, until 1926. I do not need to say very much about 1926 because in the forty minutes allowed to me I can only touch the high spots and cannot devote much time to details. In 1926 we found that our policies had brought about, or to say the least had assisted in bringing about, a period of prosperity. The policies that we had adopted in connection with the Canadian National Railways, for instance, were designed to bring about that result, and from that moment on Mr. Robb was able during the next two or three years not to add to the capital debt of the country, but to reduce it by no less a sum than $82,000,000.

I come now to the present budget. With respect to the present Minister of Finance (Mr. Dunning), I think we will all agree that he is a worthy successor of the two finance ministers who preceded him, and I think we may well expect that his record will be quite as brilliant as that of his predecessors, and that his administration will bring about the same happy results as were obtained under

The Budget-Mr. Stewart (Edmonton)

their administrations. The people of Canada believed that the government, through its Minister of Finance, would make provision in this budget for meeting many of the difficulties that it was recognized the country was encountering, because we are passing through a period of world-wide economic deflation.

There is another feature in connection with this budget that I wish to mention. There has been up until lately continued violent opposition to our Prime Minister. It has been stated that the Liberal party lacked the initiative or were too friendly, and some even, went to the length of saying too cowardly, to bring down legislation to meet the ever-increasing customs duties imposed by the United States against Canada. But we do not hear that statement made to-day.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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LIB

Charles A. Stewart (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs; Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior)

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

I have not any doubt, Mr. Speaker, that they will continue to talk that way if they feel that there is some party advantage to be gained thereby, but they will not be in a position to prove it, as they thought, so emphatically. Why?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
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?

An hon. MEMBER:

The death knell of

protection.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
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LIB

Charles A. Stewart (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs; Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior)

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

No longer

can the cry be raised that our Prime Minister gives more to the United States than he is willing to give to the mother country. That has been one of the statements of the opposition to which I have continually taken exception and to which I take exception to-day, and I am going to have a word or two to say to my hon. friends opposite in connection with their attitude towards the British preference. Let me say in the first place that this budget is a complete answer to every statement which they have made in that connection. It is more than that. It is no mere lip loyalty on our part. It is not the mere expression of a sentiment. This budget is action, bold and forward action on our part in connection with the British preference. So I say, Mr. Speaker, that our hon. friends opposite can never expect the country to believe their statement that this government headed by the Prime Minister has been more friendly in its attitude in any particular towards the United States than we have always been ready and willing to be towards the mother country.

This budget places on the free list a large and important list of goods that we import from Great Britain. Here again we are following the well-established practice of this government of extending from time to time

the British preference. By so doing we hope to increase our trade with the mother country. That, briefly, is what the budget means, Mr. Speaker. It means that we hope to transfer a large volume of trade in goods that we must use in Canada from countries that are unwilling to trade with us to those that are willing and anxious to trade with us. That is the position in a nutshell. It is for the benefit of those countries that have shown their willingness to trade with us by buying the goods that we have to export from this country.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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CON

George Black

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLACK (Yukon):

You took the duty off hay.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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CON

James Dew Chaplin

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CHAPLIN:

What about wheat?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
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LIB

Charles A. Stewart (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs; Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior)

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

My hon.

friends are very clever. The finance minister made it abundantly clear that he had wiped the duties off a great number of articles, almost one hundred in number-

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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CON

Harry Bernard Short

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SHORT:

Hay and cider.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
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LIB

Charles A. Stewart (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs; Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior)

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

Yes, hay.

Why should he not wipe off the duty?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Who put those duties

there?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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LIB

Charles A. Stewart (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs; Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior)

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

I am not

able to answer that question nor am I concerned about it. The thing was a perfect absurdity and it was fully explained to hon. gentlemen opposite.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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LIB

Charles A. Stewart (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs; Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior)

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

He laughs

best who laughs last. The duties on these articles, as on a large number of other items, are wiped out for the simple reason that there is no excuse in having them cumber up the tariff schedules. They never were intended to have any relation to imports, and it was so stated, but hon. gentlemen opposite will persist in making that statement, and I know that no statement of mine will ever stop them. It shows exactly the absurdity of their contention. But there are, and always will be, critics who will say, "There is a joker in this tariff. Of course there is." They will perhaps imagine that they can see the outline of the Ethiopian in the woodpile. My hon. friend from Lincoln (Mr. Chaplin) always sees one in the woodpile. They will say that the predicted imports from Great Britain will not come in, and that the real effect of the change in the tariff on iron and steel products will be a substantial increase in the cost of machinery used in primary production. Of course they will. We are emphatic in saying-and again I

1974 COMMONS

The Budget-Mr. Stewart (Edmonton)

point to the record of Mr. Fielding and Mr. Robb, and perhaps we will point a year or two later to the record of Mr. Dunning-I repeat, we are emphatic in saying that an increased exchange of goods will take place, and the net result will be a lessening of the cost to the consumer. The budget meets the very general desire of the Canadian people that the volume of our business with Great Britain should be enlarged. Hitherto this feeling has been largely sentimental. Quite true. That is the complaint I have had against my friends across the way; they are always strong in sentiment but lacking in action. But now plainly the value to us of the opening of the British market is being appreciated-these are some of the points I want to get across to my hon. friends opposite-the value to us of the opening of the British market, I say, is being appreciated by the Canadian people as never before. But there having been a partial loss of market, there is apprehension that further losses may be suffered. The desirability of strengthening our position in the British market by offsetting our sales with purchase is now pretty evident to Canadians, and Mr. Dunning's effort to facilitate this exchange of commodities will be strongly supported by public opinion.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
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?

An hon. MEMBER:

What are you reading from?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
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LIB

Charles A. Stewart (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs; Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior)

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

I am reading from a few notes I set down that I thought would be intensely interesting to our good friends across the way. Ours is not a lip loyalty, nor is it a mere expression of sentiment; it is a straightforward and direct offer to Great Britain without any strings upon it; it is a direct offer to Great Britain to transfer a large volume of our imports from other countries to our kith and kin.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
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CON

Felix Patrick Quinn

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. QUINN:

Do you call that flag-flapping?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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LIB

Charles A. Stewart (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs; Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior)

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

I am afraid the hon. gentleman will not be able to wave the Union Jack this time and talk about loyalty. That had always been the recourse of a few hon. gentlemen across the floor of the house, and I think it is time it was stopped. There has never been any attempt on our part to preach sentiment, to talk about loyalty; this government on every occasion have given evidence by their works of what they believe. It makes me tired to hear gentlemen across the way talking of wrapping the flag about themselves. I have been in politics for forty years, and that is one of the things in my experience that has frequently been resorted to by hon. gentlemen across the floor. Not only that, but they have decried the loyalty of the

leader of this government and are still seeking to arouse prejudice against him. I say it is time that that sort of thing came to an end. This budget, so far as this government are concerned, is a complete answer as to where we stand in this connection with respect to the British preference.

The basic principle running throughout the changes in the budget is the transference of a large volume of imports now coming in from the United States to Great Britain, thereby short circuiting our exchange adjustments, which in the past have had to be transferred from Great Britain and the continent to the United States to pay for our excess imports from that country. Our next thought was the consumer. We sought to avoid increasing costs to him by an extension of the British preference.

I now propose to deal with some of the statements made by the hon. leader of the opposition. His first statement was that we had increased taxation and thereby added to the burdens of the Canadian people. That, to say the least, is very misleading.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

It is true.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
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LIB

Charles A. Stewart (Minister of Immigration and Colonization; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs; Minister of Mines; Minister of the Interior)

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

He set out the amounts of taxation from 1923 to 1930 and stated we had increased t'he burden of taxation which we derived from the business tax, amounting in 1923 to $335,000,000 and in 1929 to $378,000,000. May I simply say, in passing, that I do not intend to go into details to prove my contention to hon. gentlemen opposite. But if we have a larger volume of business on which we raise our general taxation, surely no one is going to be hurt because the amount collected has increased. Individually it does not mean any greater burden. But may I say to the hon. gentleman that he does not take into consideration that not only did we collect more money, but we collected it in the face of reduced taxation, and the general business of the country was so buoyant that even after the reduction of the income tax and general taxation we derived more revenue.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Sub-subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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May 12, 1930