March 7, 1947

PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. DIEFENBAKER:

We of the Progressive Conservative party take a stand for minimum interference by the government in business. We believe that the government exists for the purpose of preventing abuse, but that it is not a function of government to engage in competitive business. For these among other reasons we cannot support the subamendment of my hon. friends to the left.

Sometimes people ask me what is the difference between those who believe in Socialism and those who believe in Conservatism. The answer was given in the course of a speech delivered by the Right Hon. Anthony Eden at Blackpool, England, in October, 1946. With-

The Address-Mr. Diefenbaker

out any argument about the sincerity of those who have one belief or the other he pointed out the difference between the philosophy of Socialism and that of Conservatism, in these words:

Socialism says to a man: "You are a unit in

the state. Work hard for the state as the state thinks best and the state will provide you with what it thinks you should have." The Conservative party says: "You are an individual.

Choose your own way of life and seek to develop to the full your own talents. If you do this and if you are prepared to accept the obligations that are essential to life in an ordered community then we regard it as the duty of the government to see that out of the fruits of your labour you can build a life of your own for yourself and your family and at the same time feel the satisfaction of sharing in the common purpose of a free society."

Then he went on to say:

I call for a way of life for the people under which industry may prosper and men be free. Man should be the master of his environment, and not its slave. That is what freedom means. It is precisely in the conception of ownership that man achieves mastery over his environment. Upon the institution of property depends the fulfilment of individual personality and the maintenance of individual liberty.

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CCF

Alexander Maxwell (Max) Campbell

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. CAMPBELL:

Where is Anthony Eden now?

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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. DIEFENBAKER:

He went down fighting the battles. When he stood in the house near the chair in which the Clerk now sits there was nobody even to my left who asked: Where does Anthony Eden stand?

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LIB

Walter Adam Tucker (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Veterans Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. TUCKER:

I thought the hon. member was a member of the Progressive Conservative party, not the Conservative party.

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PC

William Earl Rowe

Progressive Conservative

Mr. ROWE:

The hon. member for Rosthern is not even progressive.

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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. DIEFENBAKER:

I now pass to another subject which I hope will be just as favourably accepted by my hon. friends opposite as were the remarks I have just made. I shall deal with the question of dominion-provincial relations only for the purpose of giving an opportunity to the Minister of Finance (Mr. Abbott) to clarify certain statements he has recently made.

In August, 1945, negotiations began on what was called a "scientific" proposal worked out by the experts under which each province was to receive a capital grant of $12 per capita in lieu of certain taxation rights subject to increases in the event of an increase in population, and also on the basis of gross national production. Then came the conference of April, 1946. By this time the federal government had arrived at a new figure of $15. The discussions throughout the conference centred

around the minor taxes as the grant of $15 was all-inclusive. The Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) indicated that if the provinces wished to retain any of the minor taxes the amount thereof would have to be deducted from the grant.

On June 27, 1946, the Minister of Justice (Mr. Ilsley), then minister of finance, in his budget speech set out the situation whereby the grant was to remain at $15 per capita, to which was to be added a special 5 per cent corporation tax. The budget offer was duly accepted by certain provinces and agreements were signed. In November or December the premier of British Columbia, having held back, the matter was again up in the air. Finally in January a further offer was made under which a material increase and change was made in the offer of the federal government. The Winnipeg Free Press had this to say:

The dominion has been compelled by the resistance of various provinces greatly to increase the price offered for these taxes. The taxation agreements of 1941 cost the dominion treasury annually $86-2 million, to this should be added $14-4 million statutory subsidies and $23-9 million collected by the provinces. The total is $124,900,000.

Then it goes on to say that the last offer- that is the January offer-was $100 million in excess of the original proposal of 1945. Gradually the dominion raised the amount as resistance continued. Finally in December of 1946 or January of 1947 the offer was $12.75 plus half the revenue collected in the province in 1941 for income and corporation taxes, plus statutory subsidies, together with the release of the gasoline tax. In May, 1946 the federal government took the position that it could not hand back the gasoline tax and could not pay statutory subsidies. What change took place during that period which permitted in December, 1946 or January, 1947, what could not be done in May, 1946? What happens to social security now? I should like to hear from the Minister of Finance (Mr. Abbott) in reference to this matter.

Under the original scheme, without taking into consideration health insurance, some $600 million was to be provided for. Having increased the amounts paid by way of rental, how much do the federal government intend to provide for in the matter of social security? Apparently they have changed their point of view. Having increased the amount given to the provinces they will require the provinces to take over a larger measure of social security than ever before. I have read the dominion-provincial correspondence since the budget was brought down in 1946 and I find that throughout the year the attitude of the

The Address-Mr. Diejenbaker

dominion was that social security measures to be provided by the federal government would remain the same. There was to be no change; the position in that regard was final and definite. I wish that the Minister of Finance were in his place, because I intend to ask a specific question. If all the provinces accept the new offer, how much more social security are they to be required to provide than they would have provided under the offers of June, 1946, and of August, 1945? Do any of the provinces who have signed today know to what extent they will be required to contribute more for social security than they would have contributed under the original agreements? The question is a simple one.

That there has been a change in the attitude of the government is revealed in a speech which the Minister of Finance delivered in Toronto on January 27 last. These were his words at that time:

I wish to make it quite clear that I am not going to forecast tax policy for 1947 in advance of the budget. But I wish to make it equally clear that the over-all commitments of the dominion are not being increased. As a result of increased rental payments from the dominion, the provinces will be able to assume, and must expect to assume, a somewhat greater financial responsibility. The dominion government will be able correspondingly to reduce some of the burden it was prepared to assume for a public investment and social security programme.

What does this all add up to? The amount of the rental to the provinces was increased, but what are the provinces expected to provide in the way of additional social security measures because they have received that increase? As a matter of fact originally it was intended that the social security scheme would stand intact. In his several letters which are published in this document to which I have referred, the then minister of finance took the stand that social security proposals would not be changed; but the present Minister of Finance has said that there are changes; that the provinces will have to take over a larger measure of social security. Surely, sir, we in this house and the premiers of the various provinces have a right to know the extent to which, having accepted the additional rental in the December proposal, the provinces will be expected to add to the social security legislation which they have. Is the final offer a means by which the government gets out of its responsibility to bring in a larger, more comprehensive and more reasonable measure of old age pensions? There is some reason for the delay in the introduction of old age pensions legislation which is being continued under the order in council as an appendix to the omnibus bill.

A\ liy is this issue not faced ? Is it because the provinces are receiving an increased rental in return for the fields of taxation that they give up, and will be required therefore to take over a larger measure of old age pensions and other security measures? I should like to know what the Minister of Finance advised the premiers in this regard. It is difficult to know what passed between the provinces because, as one reads over these letters, one is struck by the fact that some of the provincial representatives were men of few words, and those few were sometimes capable of ambiguous interpretation. There I leave that matter, but I wish to find out what social security measures will have to be carried out by the provinces by reason of the increase.

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LIB

Walter Adam Tucker (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Veterans Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. TUCKER:

Will the hon. gentleman permit a question? I want information.

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PC

Gordon Graydon

Progressive Conservative

Mr. GRAYDON:

You need plenty.

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LIB

Walter Adam Tucker (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Veterans Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. TUCKER:

Yes, on this I need a lot. What is the position of the hon. gentleman and his party in regard to Premier Drew? Do they support his position or not?

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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. DIEFENBAKER:

That is a good question-

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LIB

Colin William George Gibson (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. GIBSON (Hamilton West):

Answer it.

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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. DIEFENBAKER:

-but charity begins at home, and-

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LIB

Walter Adam Tucker (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Veterans Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. TUCKER:

It is hard to answer it.

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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. DIEFENBAKER:

Oh, there is no difficulty about it. I am placing the government in a position to answer so that I in turn shall be in a position to know the degree to which-

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LIB

Walter Adam Tucker (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Veterans Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. TUCKER:

Don't you know yet?

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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. DIEFENBAKER:

Surely, sir, my hon. friend can contain himself in silence. He is talking all the time in Saskatchewan.

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PC

Gordon Graydon

Progressive Conservative

Mr. GRAYDON:

Who supports Tommy Douglas out there?

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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. DIEFENBAKER:

Having asked these questions, when I get an answer-because I am not going to be in the position of some of the premiers of the provinces who do hot yet know whether they got a pig in a poke-as to the extent to which the original proposals on public investment and security legislation will be upheld by the federal government in accordance with its original offer, I will answer the question. Some of the provinces entered into agreement, with approval and found out later that somebody else had got a better deal, and then they came back for a second chance. The federal government having secured signatures of some provinces to the last agreements and the Minister of Finance having thereafter

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made the declaration that the provinces will have to assume a larger share of social security, the provinces still do not know what they got, or what they have undertaken, or what their additional responsibilities for social security or public investment will be in the matter.

There is one other matter to which I wish to make reference. In the speech from the throne the following words appear:

My ministers are also following with interest the activities of the united nations with regard to the question of human rights and fundamental freedoms and the manner in which those obligations, accepted by all members of united nations, may best be implemented. It is the intention of the government to recommend the appointment of a select committee of members of both houses to consider and report upon these matters.

I do not wish on this occasion to discuss the arguments in favour of a national bill of rights for Canada. Last year when the matter was before the house the Minister of Veterans Affairs (Mr. Mackenzie) undertook to give consideration at this session to the introduction of a measure to ensure the preservation of the rights and constitutional freedoms of our people. The means adopted to that end is apparently the setting up of a committee from this house and the senate to discuss the terms of an international bill of rights. But what in common is there between an international bill of rights and a national bill of rights?

An international bill of rights must represent the consensus of some sixty nations with varying constitutional backgrounds and varying systems of government. What would be suitable in an international bill of rights would not meet the needs of the people of Canada, since we possess one of the highest forms of democracy in the world. An international bill of rights is being drafted at the present time; I believe the work has almost been completed under the chairmanship of Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt-

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LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. MARTIN:

Just started.

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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. DIEFENBAKER:

Well, Canada is not one of the representatives.

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March 7, 1947