Mr. Macdonnell (Greenwood):
It is in here as part of the $246 million, if my addition is correct, and I tried to do my best to add it up. I think the minister will find that it is part of the $246 million, although the minister now says that it is not a budgetary item. I do point out it is included in the $246 million, and as such has gone out to the public as part of the supplementary estimates which we are now asked to vote.
I want to mention one further thing in passing. We have heard of the $722 million surplus. I do not know what we are going to be told is the final state of that, whether the final stage will be found to be larger than the first. It has been suggested it might be cut down a good deal. When the minister does explain it, if in fact it is reduced, I hope he will also explain what he said in February in his broadcast. As I read it in my simple way, it seemed to me he had explained that the $722 million had been very fortunate for the taxpayers of Canada, because, he said, it had made it possible for the federal government to do its national duty without invading the already tight capital market. In other words, if I understand the minister correctly, he indicated to us then that the moneys had been spent.
I should like to make one comment on the surplus. There are few of us who can arrange our own income to the extent the minister can. Perhaps that is a very comfortable position for the Minister of Finance, but it has its dangers too. What I mean is this, Mr. Speaker. After some reasonable representations to the contrary, last April the
minister did in fact add substantially to our taxes. I refer particularly to the sales and excise taxes. He did thereby add substantially to prices. In fact, if you take the whole effect of the year we had an increase in gross national product of $3,200 million, of which about $2 billion was represented by a rise in prices. To most of us that is very painful, except to those who are speculating and who are buying and selling on a rising market. It is not painful to the minister who gets a very large increase in his revenue. The Minister of Finance has been frank to point out to us that his increased revenues were, in fact, substantially due to higher prices.
Subtopic: BRITISH NORTHWESTERN FIRE INSURANCE COMPANY