The idea of asking these questions is to ascertain and to give to the public the exact facts with relation to taxation on spirits and beer. I think it would be useful information to give to the public.
There is, as I stated, a demand that the rate of taxation on liquor of one form or another be increased in war time. Now, is that based on a practical state of affairs? I am not speaking in any sense of prohibition, or liquor control, or anything of the sort; I am seeking to learn whether it is practicable that we in Canada should put further taxes on spirits. If the minister cannot answer that now, he will be good enough to do it later.
What will be the effect of the increased tax on malt, on beer, and on malt syrup, on the price (a) of a glass of beer, (b) of a bottle of beer, (c) of a case of beer? What increased contribution are the consumers of beer to make to the national treasury in time of war: I will put it that way. The brewing business is a legitimate business, but, I suggest, it is in the luxury class. Although in England beer is looked upon as a staple, in Canada it is not quite in the same class. I merely wish to ascertain the true position, without making any reflection on anybody or seeking to drive the government into any other position. Will there be an increase in the price of beer to the consuming public, and how much will it be, and should it not be more?