Mr. C. E. BOTHWELL (Swift Current):
Mr. Speaker, my first word is one of congratulation to the Minister of Finance (Mr. Rhodes) for the clearness and frankness with which he laid before the house and the country the situation in which our country is to-day. I should possibly qualify that in one or two particulars. In referring to increases in prices, the minister stated, as reported on page 2270 of Hansard:
As an indication of the extent to _ which the maladjustments between various price groups have been corrected in Canada, I may add that while the wholesale price index was rising 13.4 per cent, the index for farm prices rose by no less than 34.9 per cent.
I believe the minister based his figures upon the index of February of last year, which belief is to be gathered from the preceding paragraph, but I think a fairer comparison would have been to take the index figures at a normal time rather than at a time when agricultural prices were at their lowest ebb. If that were done, then the percentages would have been very close to or possibly the same as those given this afternoon by the hon. member for Shelburne-Yarmouth (Mr. Ralston).
I do not intend to follow the arguments of the preceding speaker, the hon. member for Compton (Mr. Gobeil) except as to one remark he made. He stated that the people of Canada would not stand for continued deficits in Canadian National railways account of about one million dollars a week. I have gone through the budget statement of the Minister of Finance pretty carefully, but I do not believe that there is anything in it to help remedy the railway situation. Before our railway situation can improve I believe we shall have to have some traffic for the railways, and so long as our trade is restricted to the extent that it is at the present time then the railways will have
nothing to do, or at any rate will have insufficient work to make them pay.
I have also carefully gone through this budget to see whether there is anything in it that may be of particular interest to the people whom I have the honour to represent. I do not think they will be particularly interested in some of the changes that have been made, for instance, the reduction in the tax on beer, ale and porter. There may be a little benefit from the reduction of the excise tax from 3 to li per cent on goods imported under the British preference, but I hardly think that any of the people I represent will benefit in any way by the reduction from $1.50 to 75 cents on champagne and other sparkling wines. They may derive some benefit from the reduction of two cents on postal notes not exceeding $1, but few of them will benefit by the reduction of four cents per hundred or fraction thereof on cigarette tubes. I gather from the newspapers that in connection with the reduction on cigarette tubes it is the opinion of the tobacconists that it will mean no reduction in the price. Whether the newspapers are correct or whether the opinions of those who have been consulted by newspaper reporters is correct, I am not prepared to say. The people however will welcome the reduction of one cent per pound on sugar; we only regret that the budget this year did not wipe out that tax altogether. We realize the difficulty the minister faces in raising revenue; we realize that when he reduced the excise tax on sugar from two cents to one cent per pound he had to find some other means of raising the same amount of taxation, and this apparently he did by putting a tax on gold. In passing, I believe that the tax on gold is a reasonable kind of tax, but I think it should be applied somewhat differently. In my opinion it should be a graded tax, as explained by the hon. member for Shelburne-Yarmouth (Mr. Ralston) this afternoon. I cannot understand how the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woodsworth) can object to a graded tax on gold and be in favour of a graded tax on income; the two seem to me to be very similar ways of raising revenue. However, the hon, gentleman objected to it this afternoon; he thought the tax was all right but not high enough.
Under this budget I find that the duties have been raised on three series of articles that may affect the ordinary individual: 278b,
crude peanut oil, for refining for edible purposes, used as materials in Canadian manufactures; 537a, rovings, yarns and warps, wholly or in part of vegetable fibres; and 375, ferro-alloys of various kinds. The duties have
The Budget-Mr. Bothwell
been lowered on twenty items when imported by manufacturers for use in their own factories, on twenty-seven items or classes of goods imported only for manufacturing or processing purposes, and on five completely manufactured items.
None of the people I represent are particularly interested in any of these changes in the tariff with the exception of completely manufactured goods, and I have looked into the matter to see how far these will benefit any of them. I take the first item, 409e. This item reads:
Fruit and vegetable grading, washing and wiping machines and combination bagging and weighing machines, and complete parts therefor.
Under the old tariff it was free under the preferential, 10 per cent under the intermediate and 10 per cent under the general tariff. Under this budget the rates are the same, but I find that in the old tariff there were items carrying rates of 15 per cent preferential, 27i per cent intermediate and 35 per cent general. So far as the farmer is concerned however, in the purchase of fruit and vegetable grading, washing and wiping machines, as I read the schedules there has been no change in the tariff affecting him; it has been changed more in the wording of the tariff sections, clarifying the tariff to indicate that farmers will get the goods they require under these rates.
The next item is 410d. This item reads:
Well drilling machinery and apparatus, and complete parts thereof, of a class or kind not made in Canada, and seamless iron or steel tubing over eight inches in diameter, for use exclusively in drilling for water, natural gas and oil, and in prospecting for minerals, but not to include motive power; packer rubbers for oil and gas wells.
This item is free under the three tariffs. In the old schedule it was also free, but packer rubbers for oil and gas wells are added, and under the old tariff that particular item bore rates of 15 per cent preferential, 25 per cent intermediate and 27? general, and apparently it came under item 618. Now it is included with well drilling machinery. That does not bring any benefit to the people I represent.
, Mr. STANLEY: It does to some of the
rest of us.
Subtopic: ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE