Personal Data

Portage la Prairie (Manitoba)
Birth Date
March 10, 1880
Deceased Date
May 9, 1946
exporter, farmer, rancher

Parliamentary Career

December 6, 1921 - September 5, 1925
  Portage la Prairie (Manitoba)
October 14, 1935 - January 25, 1940
  Portage la Prairie (Manitoba)
March 26, 1940 - April 16, 1945
  Portage la Prairie (Manitoba)
June 11, 1945 - April 30, 1949
  Portage la Prairie (Manitoba)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1 of 156)

September 14, 1945

Mr. HARRY LEADER (Portage la Prairie):

I rise to take part in the debate which is lengthening out and perhaps getting better as it lengthens. If that is the case, I shall be sorry if I do not live up to the standard which has already been set by pre-

The Address-Mr. Leader

vious speakers. I have quite a lot to say this afternoon and I hope that I can get through in the allotted time.

I am not going to take up the time of the house by offering congratulations to the different hon. members who have been elevated to rather exalted positions, but I want them to take it for granted that they have my very best wishes in the work which they will be called upon to do. I should like to address a few remarks to the younger and new members of parliament, and perhaps it will apply to the older members as well-I know it certainly applies to me. First, I wish to say that it is a great honour for anyone to be the advocate and the representative of his district in this great dominion of ours. When you think that you were chosen out of perhaps forty thousand other citizens in your district you can understand that you have quite a weighty responsibility, and while it is an honour it carries with it huge and consistent responsibilities. My advice to the younger members is to take stock of themselves once in a while. That is what I do, and then let them ask themselves, what are we here for? As I said, it is a great honour and' a great privilege but it carries with it great responsibilities. I do not want to tender anv further advice than that, but I think it is good advice to give to the younger men, and the older ones, including myself, always remember the people back home.

My main reason for rising to-day, Mr. Speaker, is to deal with a question which has been up on previous occasions. I think I have addressed this house four times on the matter which I intend to reintroduce to-day. It is something that is left over from previous sessions, and therefore it might be called a matter of unfinished business. Perhaps some hon. members have already guessed that I intend to bring once more before the house the matter of Doctor Davidson's research work in endeavouring to find a preventive or a possible cure for cancer. What I wish to impress upon the house to-day is the necessity, if we are to clean up this matter once and for all, of the government of Canada taking upon their own shoulders or in cooperation with the provinces the responsibility for a clinical test of not only Doctor Davidson's work but of every other medical practitioner in Canada, there may be others who have worked as hard and as long as Doctor Davidson of Winnipeg, and who may have some clue that, if followed to its logical conclusion, would lead to something that would benefit mankind.

Hon. members may think this subject is monotonous. Well, at the risk of having them

bored, may I say that I believe it is a worthy cause. In my opinion, if I have done nothing in my thirty years and more of public life but press for more research work in regard to cancer and other ills that affect the Canadian people, then I would be content to leave this as my only reason for being in parliament.

Cancer, statistics tell us, is second on the list as a man-killer; but in actual suffering and untold sorrow and huge expenses it is away out in the lead, and it is increasing. Therefore it is a matter that is worthy of consideration.

Perhaps the house will bear with me if I outline briefly some of the activities which I attempted in previous sessions in this house on this very important matter. I believe in Doctor Davidson and in his work. While I do not claim I am cured of cancer, neither does Doctor Davidson. But I know he has helped me. Not only do I believe that; I know it. Therefore, if the remarks I am about to make to-day come from my heart, hon. members will understand the feeling I have for other cancer victims who might be in the position in which I am, and would have a chance for a hope of recovery.

I asked our government if they could help Doctor Davidson in his research work by making a grant so that he might carry on his work. He has no money, and very few friends in the medical profession. I knew what he did for me; I knew of dozens of others who *believed in Doctor Davidson. I said his work was worthy of a grant, and asked the government of Canada if they would assist Doctor Davidson financially if, after making an investigation, they thought his work merited assistance.

As hon. members know, that matter was referred to the medical committee of the research council in Ottawa who, after a farcical investigation, advised the government that no money should be granted to Doctor Davidson. He never wanted a dollar. What he pleaded for was some young medical men from across Canada who would come to his office, listen to his story, understand his investigations, and carry on where he will leave off in the very near future.

His one ambition was to hand over what he has found to the medical profession of Canada, in the hope that it would be of some benefit to humanity, The money was denied him. At times I might be accused of being somewhat too aggressive; perhaps stubborn would be a better word. However, I asked the government if they would institute a more comprehensive investigation into Doctor Davidson's work. I know that the government

The Address

Mr. Leader

was concerned in the matter and that the then minister was in deep sympathy with the project. The result was that they asked the province of Manitoba if it would cooperate with the federal authorities in making an investigation, on the understanding that the federal government would make a grant.

To make a long story short, officers of the crown decided that the making of a grant to any province for health purposes was not within the jurisdiction of the federal government, with the result that the investigation fell through. Following that, the government of Manitoba undertook to conduct an inquiry of its own, with the result that a cancer commission was appointed.

After about ten months of investigation they decided-the report has just been published -that Doctor Davidson's work did not warrant a -money grant. The verdict was against the doctor and his work. I should not say that it was against Doctor Davidson personally, because the commission did add that, although its report was negative, it did not in any way reflect upon the integrity and good faith of Doctor Davidson.

Yes, and it comes to my mind that there was another investigation, before that of the commission to which I have just referred. I believe it was the secretary of the railroad associations of British Columbia who undertook a private investigation in regard to this doctor's work. With that in mind this secretary journeyed to Winnipeg and, while there, met many of the doctor's patients.

In a letter written to me recently this gentleman expressed his disappointment regarding the report, and the fact that the commission saw fit to find against the doctor and his work. He pointed out that he remembered vividly those eight hopeful patients he had met while investigating in Winnipeg, that he could still see the light in their eyes, and their hope of renewed health. He cannot believe that these people are either dead or doomed. The idea behind it all was that he expected their cases had been reviewed by the Manitoba cancer commission.

Some hon. members have, from their places in the house, stated that Doctor Davidson's treatments have been investigated on previous occasions. Well, I have mentioned one of those investigations, namely that carried out by the medical committee of the research council, an investigation which was nothing but a farce from beginning to end.

May I be permitted to cite an authority higher than some of those who have set themselves up as critics of Doctor Davidson and his methods. I shall quote in a few moments from page 4S64 of Hansard for July 14, 1944.

These will be the words of Doctor Howden, who was then the member for St. Boniface. He believes in Doctor Davidson, and that this doctor has something which, if properly explored would benefit humanity. Hon. members who were in the house at that time will remember the story that the then hon. member told, the story about the lady in the hospital in Winnipeg. It had been stated that the doctors could do no more for her, because she had cancer, and. that following this pronouncement Doctor Davidson had taken her case, given her his treatments and brought her back to the hospital for examination. I do not know whether at that time Doctor Lehmann, to whom reference was made by Doctor Howden, was president of the hospital, or consulting physician. However, this is what the then hon. member for St. Boniface said in his speech on that occasion:

He called in Doctor Lehmann to look at the woman and he said, "I thought you were dead."

Remember, these are Doctor Howden's own words. Then the quotation from Hansard continues:

She said, "No, I am very much alive, thank you." Lehmann said to Davidson, "I think you have got something; you had better go ahead and work on it."

So I am telling the house to-day that Doctor Davidson was advised by the medical profession to carry out this work.

The work of this doctor was assisted earlier not only by the medical association, but by the late James Richardson, by -the Winnipeg Kiwanis club, and by other organizations the names of which do not come to my mind at the moment. The quotation- from Hansard continues:

That was the beginning of experimentation with rodents. Doctor Davidson has definitely established two principles. He has definitely established that he can retard the advance of cancer by a high nutrition diet. That is something definite; that is a principle. Let me explain the experimentation with rodents. They take a mouse and shave the hair from the back of its neck. Then they put a little spot of tar on the shaven place, and the mouse scratches away at that tar until he causes an ulcerating sore, which eventually becomes cancerous. As I told this house previously, Doctor Davidson experimented with two families of mice, one on ordinary nutrition and the other on high nutrition. He discovered that the mice fed on the high nutrition diet did not develop cancer after they had tar put on the back of their necks. Then he went a step further; he decided to experiment with the serum of the healthy families of mice in the unhealthy families of mice, and actually discovered that when the unhealthy families of mice were injected with the serum from the healthy families, their cancerous sores cleared up. So that another principle was established. Those two principles cannot be denied by the research council of Canada or anyone else, because they have been definitely proven and shown.

The Address-Mr. Leader

I want to get back to the cancer commission again and direct the attention of the house to the fact that I put on Hansard on June 27, 1944, letters which I had received from twelve patients. They all claimed that they had been benefited by Doctor Davidson's work. One would need to look at the evidence submitted to this cancer commission before one would know how they dealt with these several cases. The following item is clipped from the report:

^Note: Of the 376 names listed in exhibit

VIII, twenty-three are listed again in exhibit

IX. The twelve cases cited by Mr. Harry

Leader in House of Commons debates are also included in exhibit VIII. .

As I say, I do not know what conclusion the commission came to in regard to these people, but I want to tell the 'house that I have kept track of these patients. I wrote to them and, while they did not all answer, six or seven answered and I have the letters here. I know the house does not want me to take up time in reading them, but they all state that they were either helped or cured by Doctor Davidson. When I wrote to them last spring they replied that they were well on the road to recovery and yet, when we come to read the report of the commission, we find that they were classed as non-cancerous. I wish I had the time at my disposal to read these letters, but they are available should any hon. member want to see them. Surely the old biblical saying of a prophet having no honour in his own country is true in Doctor Davidson's case. The commission made the following finding:

Five other cases are unusual. Their numbers are 19, 32, 60, 88 and 113. All had been definitely cancerous and all took Doctor Davidson's treatment. Apparently they all were cured, so far as the time lapse permits of that statement. However, in none of these eases can credit clearly be given to the treatment under investigation because other treatments had been applied shortly beforehand. These included surgery,_ X-rays, radium and electro-cautery, either singly or in combination.

No credit allowed to Doctor Davidson at all.

I am sure hon. members have in their minds the same question I have in mine, the question that was in the mind of a lady to whom I was talking not long ago: if these people were cured through the regular channels of the medical association, why did they go to Doctor Davidson? According to the cancer commission they went to Doctor Davidson after they had been treated by other sources and apparently were cured. Is that fair? I ask that question of every hon. member. I will give the answer: it is not fair to Doctor Davidson, and I think hon. members will agree with me.

I come now to a case which I never wanted to bring before this house. The record will

show that I had arranged for two other hon. members to bring up the case of Doctor Davidson in this house after I had gone home to continue my treatment with him. That was two years ago. No real action was taken, so I deemed it my duty, even though a layman-I can speak from practical experience

as a public man to tell the story of my own condition to hon. members in the house and people throughout the country.

As I said, hon. members will have to look over the evidence before they get the full picture of even my case. However, I recognized it when I saw it in the report. It is the sixth case referred to as No. 70, and I quote:

. The sixth case (No. 70) has a very low grade tumour. To quote Mayo clinic-"it is a very low grade tumour and slow growing type of cancer and we know of instances where patients have lived from twelve to fifteen years after it had been found to be just as extensive as yours was.

There is some hope in a statement of that kind and I am glad to have that hope. If it is the will of God that I should live many more years I shall be truly thankful. But they could have said this, and this is what came direct from the Mayo clinic: Leader's case was impossible after' careful exploration of his abdomen. There was no guesswork about that. They said they could not attempt a colostomy operation, which might prove a matter of life or death for me if I were threatened with a bowel obstruction. They said my case was impossible and they could do nothing for me The commission did not quote that, although they had the full story. The Mayos wired me. asking me if they might send it to them. I told them to send it by all means and let me have a copy. So they got it and this would appear to be a hopeful sign. I ask hon. members to think of that because of what is coming next. The commission continues:

Also his own doctor writes'-"I have prescribed morphine for pain on several occasions this past summer (1944). There may be subjective improvement but objectively there is no evidence of retrogression of the tumour." Your commissioners do not consider this case as cured or even arrested, as the attending physician clearly points out that the tumour and some of its accompanying symptoms have . shown no improvement after two years' treatment and the continued need of morphine to allay the pain shows that the disturbing factor has not been arrested.

In the first place there is a promise that I may live for many years; next, my goose is cooked. It reminds me of the song that Gracie Fields sometimes sings. She is referring to a refractory or lazy husband and she says, "The old man is dead but he won't lie down." The worst factor in regard to my case is the fact that the secretary of the commission told many patients as she visited

The Address-Mr. Leader

them that Harry Leader was very ill and that he had to take the strongest drugs to deaden the pain. She made the picture as bad as she possibly could.

I am afraid I am going to exceed my time, but that will be in the hands of the house. Information was presented by my doctor in Portage la Prairie. I want to say here that he is a clever young man. I would place my life in his hands any day as a medical practitioner who is following a careful and capable father. But he did not know all the circumstances. He prescribed the medicine all right but he did not know whether I took it. I am going to give the house some information in regard to that. He prescribed what 'I later found out were morphine pills. The number is 55200 and the prescription was filled on July 26, 1944. I never took one of those pills. They were morphine pills. My wife told me that she had stronger pills for me, but I did not want to take them. I did not know they were morphine, but I thought I could get along without them. That was July 26, 1944, and the commission's report was printed I think on August 2, 1945. In other words, about fourteen months afterward, the report comes out that I have to take the strongest drugs to deaden the pain.

Now I want to give the complete story. The next prescription was No. 48521, filled March 16, 1945. Another prescription, No. 47526, was filled on the same date. That would be just about six months ago. I have not taken a pill since. Those were sleeping pills. There was another pill which I have learned had codeine in it. I took those pills more to put me to sleep, not to deaden pain although there were times when I suffered intensely. But I have not taken any of those pills for six months. And the real morphine pills which had been prescribed for me, I did not take one of them. Another doctor from Portage was sent out, substituting for my own doctor, and I really had pains at that time. That was perhaps fourteen months ago, and in the fall of last year. He gave me morphine, a hypo, and left some pills with my wife. She admits she gave me three, all in a very short time, because I was suffering intensely. This bears out the fact that some of the morphine pills prescribed for me I never took at all, and the others I have not taken for six months. Yet the lady doctor, the secretary of this cancer commission, Doctor Lautsch, has gone up and down this country, not building up their morale, not giving them hope, but telling suffering cancer patients, when they asked how Harry Leader was getting along, that he had to take these drugs

constantly to deaden the pain. When I showed this to my doctor he said, "Isn't it true?" I said, "Yes, Jack, it is true but I did not take the prescriptions." Then he said, "The conclusion of the commission is not fair. A better word for 'constant' would be occasional", and I agreed with him.

I have an affidavit here, and I am going to tell the house from whom I got it. I got it from Mr. Stubbs, a member of the provincial legislature of Manitoba, one of the members for the city of Winnipeg, a man who is deeply interested and entirely sympathetic to the work of Doctor Davidson. He made a speech in the Manitoba house not long ago and produced affidavits from some of these patients and presented them to the house. He has a keen legal mind, is a skilful debater, and I believe a man of integrity. Does the house wish me to read all of this affidavit or just that portion of it that deals with my own condition and the fact that the secretary of the cancer commission had made these statements to other patients throughout the province?

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September 14, 1945


I will read part of the affidavit of Victoria Wilson, of 367 Kensington street, St. James, Manitoba. She made a sworn affidavit before a notary public on July 3, 1945, and from it I quote:

That the said Doctor Edith Lautsch-

That is the lady doctor who is the secretary of the commission.

-interviewed me for about an hour and a half and made lengthy notes. She talked a great deal about Doctor Davidson, his patients, his methods and his treatments. She made the definite statement that there was nothing in Doctor Davidson's supposed cure for cancer; that his serum treatments did more harm than good by postponing operations which ought to be performed at the early stages of cancer.

7. That the said Doctor Lautsch asked me whether I thought that Doctor Davidson had helped me. I replied that I certainly thought he had; that I had been greatly benefited and my health much improved since coming under his care and taking his treatments and gave him the credit for it.

8. That the said Doctor Lautsch said, among other things at the said interview, that it had been proved that some of Doctor Davidson's patients whom he claimed to have cured of cancer had never had cancer at all; and that out of about 400 of his patients over 300 had died.

9. That the said Doctor Lautsch further said she considered Doctor Thorlakson one of the best cancer doctors in Winnipeg, that she would

The Address-Mr. Leader

recommend me to go to him, except that he was so strongly prejudiced against Doctor Davidson.

There are some good features in the commission's report. If I have not already done so, I want to say now that I believe that every man on that commission was a man of integrity. I only know one of them personally, and that is Doctor Savage, the chairman. I know he is a capable pathologist. He is a man of integrity for whom I have the utmost respect. The other members are medical men whom I do not know personally, but I ascribe nothing but honesty to their motives. But when we remember that these men are steeped in the old orthodox doctrines of medical men it will be understood that there might be a little prejudice there, and while I am willing and glad to admit their absolute honesty, it may be that their reasoning is not so good as it might have been. Here is another extract from the report which gives us an inkling that there is really something to Doctor Davidson's treatment, because it says:

Approximately seventy per cent of the patients living at the time of the investigation claimed subjective improvement and gained weight at least for a time. Many testified that they felt better than they had for years, in spite of evidence that the disease was extending.

Mr. Speaker, are we to continue to combat the greatest scourge of mankind, the disease of cancer, by following the old orthodox methods? Is it not time we looked around for something that might prevent cancer? This was Doctor Davidson's ambition since he started this work. Curing cancer was only a secondary consideration. He was advised, as I said, by at least one medical practitioner to carry on his work, and his idea was to find a preventive for cancer. If you can prevent disease you do not need a cure. Just think of what they have done with diphtheria, typhoid fever and smallpox, and imagine what they are going to do in the future, both our older doctors who remained home in Canada and those who are overseas. Great improvements will be instituted with regard to all diseases, and I am looking for some great improvement in regard to cancer.

But I am dealing with the commission, Mr. Speaker, and I want to give you one of the conclusions to which they came:

2. That no public money be voted to aid further experiments of the general kind carried on by Doctor Davidson with mice unless it be for an extensive and prolonged programme of experimental work conducted by an adequate personnel.

That is exactly what Doctor Davidson has been asking for; not a dollar of public money, not a donation, although he has received some, and was glad to receive the help. But he asks for a clinical test. There is the ray of hope; there, gleams out the fact that if the dominion government will play ball with the province of Manitoba a clinical test will be made. Why should there not be? They are making them in other lands. I read the other day that a pathological institution, I think it is the university of Cleveland, Ohio, is now carrying on a clinical test in regard to a serum discovered by some Russian. This investigation or test is going to be carried on over a three-year term, and they are getting $30,000 to help conduct the test. We want something like that in Canada, and this matter will never be cleared up until we get it. I received a letter from the minister of health of Manitoba, who stated in the concluding paragraph that if the matter is to be carried on further he will be glad to lend his cooperation in whatever action is taken. We expect action, and I think we are going to get it. If you will permit me sir, I will read a statement made in this house by the Prime Minister himself. Speaking on July 14, 1944, as reported in Hansard, at page 4885, he said:

One point should be made perfectly clear. From the discussion here to-day it may be assumed throughout the country that, because of decisions given as to jurisdiction, the dominion government is preventing Doctor Davidson from making certain investigations which might be made at the instance of government authority. What I cannot understand is this: Doctor Davidson having the reputation wdiich he has, hon. members from Manitoba believing him as they do, why the province of Manitoba itself does not undertake the work of research in relation to cancer and retain Doctor Davidson for the purpose. It should be made perfectly clear that the province of Manitoba, if it wishes to do so, can undertake all this work of research so far as Doctor Davidson is concerned. In Ontario the provincial government has undertaken similar kinds of research.

To show at least the sympathy which the federal government has had with research in a case where success has been proven, I recall very well that, when Doctor Banting had found a cure for diabetes with insulin, I myself had placed in the estimates and headed a discussion in this house to have Doctor Banting given a life endow'ment of $7,000 a year, and it was so voted by this house. That surely is an indication of the sympathy which the federal parliament has with the work of research where it has reason to believe that matters have proceeded sufficiently far to justify making a special


grant and special endowment. If the province of Manitoba were to have Doctor Davidson undertake to make a research into cancer at the instance of the province, and he were as successful in his subject as Doctor Banting was in his, I for one would be prepared to ask this house to adopt toward him by way of endowment the same course which it adopted toward Doctor Banting.

I want to advocate here to-day, as I have on previous occasions, that we spend more money for medical research. I think we spend less than $50,000 a year on medical research- which certainly is no compliment to the ability of the Canadian parliament. I think we should spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on research work, and in this connection may I quote the statement of the authoritative journal of the American medical association:

The only hope of solving fundamental problems of cancer lies in research.

I will support any amount of money the government sees fit to grant in cooperation with the provinces, which the Department of National Health and Welfare allows them to do at the present time, for the work of Doctor Davidson and other men who have given their lives to this research.

In conclusion I wish to say that this is not the end. We must have finality in this matter. Casualties of the war have ceased, but the death toll of cancer victims goes without an armistice. I do not believe the Canadian people are satisfied with conditions as they are. They will insist that something substantial, perhaps radical, be undertaken to combat this terrible disease. It seems to me that if we do not undertake this we shall break faith with those 14,000 people who died from cancer last year; we shall dash the hopes of the 50,000 people who are now suffering from cancer in Canada; the death toll will go on, and over 14,000 people will die from cancer next year, with j, constant increase in the years to come. I believe that the people will demand action, and that the government will fufil their duty. This is not a partisan matter, and I ask every hon. member on all sides of this house to support me in the appeal which I have made this afternoon.

On motion of Mr. Knight the debate was adjourned.

On motion of Mr. Mackenzie the house adjourned at 5.43 p.m.

Monday, September 17, 1945.

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March 29, 1945


The first recommendation is:

That the income of farmers for income tax purposes be averaged over a period of four years.

I know the farmers have asked that their income be averaged over a period of five years, and I was rather surprised that our local of the federation of agriculture in Portage la Prairie had cut that down one year. I did not say anything but this just Shows their anxiety to have something done to take care of the losses which they suffer during the bad times. The second recommendation reads:

Whereas the application of income tax to the proceeds of live stock dispersal sales is causing severe hardships; therefore be it resolved that seventy-five per cent of such proceeds of dispersal sales of live stock raised on farms be exempt from income tax as return of capital and twenty-five per cent be recognized as current income.

I believe that is exactly what was submitted by the federation of agriculture two or three years ago, that seventy-five per cent of the proceeds of live stock sales be classed as capital rather than income, but the department persists in classing it as income. I can cite one case, that of a man who over a period of thirty years built up an excellent herd of dairy cattle. When he got older and was unable to get help, he disposed of his herd together with his farm equipment. The cattle brought a return of $5,000, and he is still fighting with the income tax department because they are asking him to pay tax on the $5,000 worth of cattle which he sold. He gathered that herd together over a period of years, and if anything is capital I submit that should be classed as such. Oh, I know the assessors can spread it over a period of five years, but certainly that is not good enough. The farmers have to pay the tax in the long run; there

is a great deal of bookkeeping to it and not very much saving to them. The third recommendation is:

That the farmers be relieved of the requirement of deducting income tax from wages paid to hired help, as past experience shows that the farmer has to bear this tax by paying higher wages.

In the discussion on this point I was given to understand that if a farmer goes out to hire a man-and they are hard to get-offering him the going wages, the man will say, "What about deductions from my wages for income tax purposes?" The farmer replies, "Well, I have to do it," to which the man says, "Then you will have to 'pay me what you deduct." So the farmers claim they are paying higher wages as a result. The assessor comes right back and says that can be charged as wages against your income. So it can, but in many of these cases it will mean that the farm labourer will not pay any tax, and he should not pay any tax, and it all makes unnecessary work for the farmer. The next resolution is:

That discrimination exists between a farm couple who are only exempt $1,200 and a city couple who may claim exemption up to $1,860. Therefore the exemption should be at a parity with the city couple, provided such amount is earned on the farm.

I see the Minister of Finance in his seat, and he may wonder what they are driving at. On the printed form it states that a man's wife can get a job and claim the exemption of $660 which is given a single person, without the husband losing his status as a married man, with an exemption of $1,200. Therefore the total exemption they may claim is $1,860. That is being done right along. The farmer's wife cannot leave home and get a job. They have not a restaurant right around the corner, like people living in the city, and they are allowed only $1,200. But, as the hon. member for Qu'Appelle stated a short time ago, it is the farmer's wife and his small boys and girls who are milking the cows and feeding the hogs, trying to keep up production in this country when hired help cannot be found. They would be glad to pay hired help, but it is unprocurable. So the farmer's wife, his daughters and small boys undertake to do this work, yet that couple are exempt to the extent of only $1,200. If they were living in the city the wife could get a job somewhere else, and their total exemption would be $1,860. Is it not possible to give that to the farmer whose wife stays on the farm and helps maintain production in this country, instead of seeking a job somewhere else? I say it is possible. The farmers

Supply-Revenue-Income Tax

of Portage la Prairie are asking for this, and I endorse their request whole-heartedly. The next recommendation is:

That a fixed price of $1 per day be allowed for board of hired help on the farm.

I think at present an allowance of up to SI a day may be made, but many of these assessors interpret that provision in different ways. They may allow 75 cents a day, 85 cents a day or perhaps SI. They have the authority to allow up to that amount, and the farmers are asking that this be placed on the income tax form, so that the assessors will not be able to interpret it differently, as they are doing now' in many districts.

The sixth recommendation is:

That the income tax should be so clear and specific that all decisions of assessors should be uniform in their application.

These assessors are given discretionary powers, and they make different adjustments. Sometimes these people get together and wonder what is the reason for the difference.

I got this right from the head office in Winnipeg. One man may be allowed only $15 as pin money for his wife, while another assessor may think a farmer's wife should be granted $100 to $150 as pin money. When that situation exists you can see the confusion it causes in the minds of these people. They are asking that this be made statutory and placed right on the income tax form, so that the assessors will not have this discretionary power, though I think they use that power to the best of their ability. From the experience I have had with the assessors I believe they are trying to do their best.

The seventh recommendation is:

That dependent children under eighteen years of age paid up to $400 per year (board included) be exempt. This should be inserted in the income tax form.

That is something a great many of the people in Portage la Prairie did not know a thing about. I believe it was only through my own efforts that they found they could allow as much as S400 to a dependent child, including board, which could be charged against income as expense. Some of them were getting that; others did not know a thing about it.

I do not think the assessors are very much concerned with pointing out these things. They are concerned with how to get hold of the money which they believe the farmers are trying to gyp them out of, in a good many cases. So they are asking that this be stated plainly on the income tax form.

I want to apologize for having said this much, Mr. Chairman, though it really was not such a great deal after all. However, I have only done my duty as I see it, and I thank the committee for its indulgence.

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March 29, 1945


I think it applies to the present day, Mr. Chairman. I suggest to him that he answer the farmers of Saskatchewan and of any other province in this way, that if they would go into the more intensified system of farming they would have some expenditures to set against their income. That would help the people of our country, give them a more secure foundation and make for permanent agriculture than constantly growing wheat and doing all the work with the combines, and not even having hired help to pay as they would have on those diversified farms. That is the answer I would give to the Saskatchewan wheat farmer and also to the wheat farmer of Manitoba.

We are concerned about the question of farmers paying income tax in Portage la Prairie. We have an assessor and I think he gathers up quite a lot of money there. I think he is trying to carry out his duties to the very best of his ability. I believe the farmers are agreeable to paying income tax; if they are in that category I myself think they are very lucky.

I wish to tell you, Mr. Chairman, that when the assessor meets a farmer they meet on this basis. The assessor asks the farmer some questions and the farmer admits he did not keep an account, that it is more or less guesswork. This gives the idea to the assessor that the farmer is trying to beat the government. Then he questions the farmer further and asks him why he has not kept records. The farmer gets the idea into his head that this assessor is trying to make out that the farmers are all crooked. That is the basis on which they work when they start- to review their income tax returns. I think that we as farmers should keep proper records, and if the assessors were doing their duty-and I think they are-a lot of dissatisfaction which now exists would disappear.

We in Portage la Prairie are quite concerned about this, and we had two or three meetings. I have some resolutions that were passed at meetings dealing with farmers' income tax. With your permission, Mr. Chairman, and with

Supply-Revenue-Income Tax

the indulgence of the committee, I should like to read these resolutions and perhaps make one or two comments. There are four or five of them.

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March 29, 1945


I am aware of that, and it was because I wanted to be fair that I asked the indulgence of the committee. If I can get that indulgence and am in order I will take perhaps five or six minutes to deal with these points.

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