April 23, 1952 (21st Parliament, 6th Session)


James Sinclair (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Finance)


Mr. Sinclair:

Yes, and the surplus-and no Tory deficit. But members of the House of Commons do admire the manly way in which the financial critic of the official opposition does go about his difficult task. This year's speech was no exception. He covered a wide field. He livened his speech with a little whimsy, a bit of poetry and anecdotes, and a few quotations. But one thing struck me- and because it struck me I have decided to change my form of speech today. The major part of the early portion of his speech, which he devoted to finance, was directed not so much to the budget as to the Minister of Finance (Mr. Abbott)-anecdotes about him, cartoons about him, and a prolonged discussion of the minister's last radio address.
I thought to myself that I am not guiltless in that connection, either, because in my speeches on budgets I often stray away from the subject and take a swipe at the leader of the opposition (Mr. Drew), the hon. member for Lake Centre (Mr. Diefenbaker) or perhaps the hon. member for Eglinton (Mr. Fleming). So I decided to set hon. members a good example today-unless, of course, I am interrupted by the hon. member for Eglinton-and to devote myself entirely to a discussion of the budget and the criticisms of it which have been made since the debate began.
I would begin by referring to the amendment moved yesterday by the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell), the leader of the C.C.F.; and so that there will be no illusions about it I should like to read 55704-97i
The Budget-Mr. Sinclair its opening words as they are set out at page 1489 of Hansard for yesterday. They are:
"This house further regrets that the government has ignored the wish of this house, as expressed by a unanimous vote on March 26, that the four per cent floor under medical expenses deductible for income tax purposes should be abolished."
Now I should like to refer to the resolution debated at that time, and put forward by the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles). Hansard for March 26 records the resolution in part, in these words:
That, in the opinion of this house, the government should give consideration to the advisability-
And so on-leaving out those parts I shall not discuss at this time. I do not think there is any need to repeat the thirty-minute speech I made that day in the debate, when I dealt with the history of medical deductions in our income tax laws, and the various extensions of those exemptions, as well as the four proposals currently made to extend these exemptions. That is all to be found in Hansard.
Perhaps I should repeat the instructions which were given to me by the Minister of Finance. He was in the house with me, and told me to accept the resolution asking that consideration be given. In his own words, he said to me; "We will accept consideration of any proposal or any resolution put forward by anyone in Canada on tax matters." That, of course, has been the policy of every minister of finance in this and other British countries.

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