June 9, 1922 (14th Parliament, 1st Session)


George Arthur Brethen


Mr. G. A. BRETHEN (East Peterborough) :

Mr. Speaker, I believe it is customary in the debates of this House to devote some time to the remarks of previous speakers. No matter how distant those remarks may be, that is no obstacle to having them brought before the House and placed side by side with their utterances of to-day in order to prove the inconsistency of opposing parties or of members of those parties. It is not my intention to engage at any length in that practice. I shall rather devote my time to questions of the immediate present and the very near future.
Yesterday the hon. member for Vancouver Centre (Mr. Stevens), in the course of a very excellent address, made reference to the annual statement of -the United Grain Growers of Canada and to a report which was made to that company advising against their going into the agricultural implement business in view of the Dresent situation of manufacturing concerns in the United States and Canada. The hon. member drew the conclusion that the members of the Farmers' group were inconsistent in their attacks on protection for manufacturing concerns in this country. I have no objection to the hon. member drawing those conclusions. That is his privilege. But I think every hon. member of the House will agree with me that in view of the present financial stress in the West and conditions generally throughout the country, the company was well advised in taking the course it did in that matter. It is in keeping with the action of the Minister of Public Works, (Mr. King) who has set his face sternly against any new construction in these times. I think the company showed wisdom in their decision.
The hon. member also made reference to the income tax and laid special emphasis on the question as to who pays the income taxes of Canada. The statement Jias frequently been made in this House and to the public that the residents of urban centres have paid 99S per cent of the income tax collected in this country, while the rural district has only accounted for the remaining two-thirds of one per cent. I should like to deal with that for a moment because the statement has been made and emphasized so often. I do not think
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any hon. member will say that the vast army of unemployed in the cities are contributing any of that 99 i per cent of income tax. Nor is it contributed by the vast number of average citizens. I presume that it is only a very small percentage of the people in the cities who account for that 99J per cent. I do not suppose that the citizens in the rural districts have any monopoly of brains, or courage, or skill in evading the income tax collector. Therefore, we can assume that the people in the cities who have paid the 99J per cent have done so because they had the incomes.

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