March 17, 1926 (15th Parliament, 1st Session)


John Wesley Edwards

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. EDWARDS (Frontenac):

That is very true. They were largely capitalized, but if you compare the expenses for the four years previous to 1921 with those of the four years after 1921, I say that in the former period there were expenses of a special nature which had to be met by the government of 19171921 which did not have to be met by their successors in office, and that therefore their successors in office should have been in a position to implement the promises they made previous to the election of 1921 and reduce taxation all along the line, especially along those lines -which they so roundly condemned at that time. But as a matter of fact there has not been amelioration in the slightest degree since they came into office.
I think the income tax as such is a legitimate source of revenue, and one to be generally approved. The only question I believe in the minds of members of this House is as to the best method of applying it. I for one am strongly in favour of the income tax if it can be justly arranged. I believe there has been a fair attempt made by all parties in this House to fairly adjust that tax. It is a comparatively new source of revenue so far as this country is concerned, and it is quite possible that it is open to a good deal of improvement. I think, however,' there is a general disposition among the people of this country, irrespective of the party to which they belong, to continue the income tax and see that it is properly and fairly adjusted and applied. It is a source of revenue which I think we shall have to continue, and it is only a question of the best way of continuing it.
I presume we must take into consideration one thing in connection with the income tax; we must take into consideration the fact that there is a similar tax in effect across the line. We must, it seems to me, be somewhat influenced by that tax whether we want to be or not. We cannot afford to have in Canada an income tax very much higher than a similar tax in the country to the south. We may have one somewhat higher, but we cannot afford to have it very much higher. We must endeavour to follow their line of taxation to some extent although not to the extent, perhaps, of following it figure for figure.
I think this tax is a source of income which has quite properly been brought into effect and should be continued. I do not think any censure is due the government that introduced this tax in the first place. When it was introduced benefits were given to certain people which were not extended in later applications of the tax. But it was a new principle in this country and perhaps mistakes were made in that respect which would not be committed if in the light of our present knowledge we were now adopting an income tax for the first time. At any rate, the principle of the tax is right, in my estimation, and the tax should be continued as a legitimate and proper source of revenue to the country.

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