James Earl LAWSON

LAWSON, The Hon. James Earl, P.C., K.C.

Personal Data

Party
Conservative (1867-1942)
Constituency
York South (Ontario)
Birth Date
October 21, 1891
Deceased Date
May 13, 1950
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earl_Lawson
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=4b5bfbee-1eba-427e-9bad-ddade84ad69e&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
barrister

Parliamentary Career

October 29, 1928 - May 30, 1930
CON
  York West (Ontario)
July 28, 1930 - August 14, 1935
CON
  York West (Ontario)
October 14, 1935 - January 25, 1940
CON
  York South (Ontario)
  • Minister of National Revenue (August 14, 1935 - October 22, 1935)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 2 of 253)


September 12, 1939

Mr. LAWSON:

But it will be administered by the commissioner of income tax, I assume.

Topic:   EXCESS PROFITS TAXATION ACT
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September 12, 1939

Mr. LAWSON:

Are they printed?

Topic:   INCOME WAR TAX ACT AMENDMENT
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September 12, 1939

Mr. LAWSON:

I have not before me the Income War Tax Act. May I ask which of these schedules relate to rates payable by non-resident owned investment corporations?

Topic:   INCOME WAR TAX ACT
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September 11, 1939

Mr. LAWSON:

I submit that the reasons given by the minister are not tenable in the circumstances of this case, and I will try

[Mr. Lawson.l

briefly to state why. In the first place, the government is asking for an extraordinary sum of money for an extraordinary purpose and under extraordinary conditions, when we are being given practically no details as to how this money is to be spent. By reason of these conditions we are quite willing to give this blanket power and authority to the government.

But the very section in itself belies any necessity that the fiscal year must end and the payments must be made, because if the minister will look at paragraph (b), he will see that the intention is to bring down, not only particulars of "the moneys expended under the authority of this act," but-

(b) all known financial commitments which have been entered into but which have not come for payment before the first day of May, 1940.

I suggest to the government that, in view of the wide powers granted by this legislation, and in view of the fact that this money is going to be expended in large part for the purchase of supplies and so forth, the government would be most anxious to bring down a report, even if it were only a temporary one, at as early a date as could reasonably be expected after the opening of the next session, at least a report in conformity with paragraph

(b) of section 7 of this bill. I therefore suggest that the section might have its whole intention changed so as to meet the views I have suggested, if the words after the word "or" in line 20, namely the words "if parliament is not then in session," were omitted.

I see where that also might leave the matter open to misconstruction. Would this meet the purpose?

Within fifteen days of the next session of parliament and in no event later than June 30, 1940, the Minister of Finance shall make a report to the House of Commons.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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September 11, 1939

Hon. J. EARL LAWSON (York South):

I have no desire at this time to enter into a discussion with my hon. friend from Medicine Hat (Mr. Mitchell) as to the nationalization of capital or industry. So far as I am concerned I can cover the whole ground by saying that in my opinion the nationalization which he proposes would not bring about the maximum national efficiency which is so much desired.

Despite the urgent desire to dispose with dispatch of matters before the house I should like to pause for a moment particularly on this, the first resolution to come before the house which in the ordinary course of events would have been introduced by the Minister of Finance, to express my extreme regret that illness necessitated the retirement of Hon. Mr. Dunning. It was a privilege and a pleasure to be associated with him in this House of Commons, even as an opponent.

I have no desire to express any criticism of the government to-day. I entirely agree with the sentiment expressed by my leader the other day, and by the hon. member for Kootenay East (Mr. Stevens) to-day. I realize that at this time the government has a grave and heavy responsibility, and that no matter what divergent views we may have held in the past with respect to domestic problems, it is most important that there should go forth to the people of this country, and for that matter to the peoples of the world, the knowledge that we stand as a united nation for the survival of democracy and the upholding of

War Appropriation Bill

the principles of justice and right within, and in association with, the British empire. At some future time, as matters develop, the necessity for criticism may arise, but at the moment I desire merely to offer the government one or two suggestions, first in connection with the borrowing of the 8100,000,000, and second in connection with the expenditure of it, which suggestions I trust may be helpful in attaining the maximum results from our united efforts.

The first thought that occurs to me was mentioned this afternoon by my colleague from Kootenay East, namely the cost of borrowing this 8100,000,000. The interest rate upon that amount, to the extent that it is not raised by special taxation during this year, will constitute a burden upon the taxpayers of Canada for many years to come. I think it is most fortunate for the government that at this time, by reason of the operation of the law of supply and demand together with other factors which enter into the matter, interest rates are, I imagine, at their lowest point in our history. These low interest rates are applicable both to short term and to long term money, but I am thoroughly convinced that this condition will not long continue. The advent of war, the increasing purchase of supplies and many other factors, in my opinion will cause that interest rate to rise continually until, if it is left uncontrolled, in the not too far distant future we shall be back to a demand for a rate of five and five and a half per cent on government bonds, as happened during the last war.

I believe public sentiment to-day will not approve of the payment of such rates of interest. I believe the sentiment of the people demands, and rightly so, that the rate paid for the use of domestic capital in time of war for the necessary services of the countiy shall never be greater than and only commensurate with the recompense received by those who serve in the combatant forces.

We heard some discussion to-day with respect to the nationalization of industry. I am sure it requires no statement of mine to make hon. members of this house realize that I should never advocate the nationalization of industry or of capital. But I do suggest very seriously to the government that, having regard to what I have said as to the likelihood of a rising interest rate, the government should contemplate right now such measures as may be necessary in the future to restrict borrowed domestic capital to a return on the basis I have outlined, a return commensurate with that received by those in the combatant forces, in order that there may be equality of service for all citizens of this country.

With that in view I suggest to the government now that they contemplate measures and act immediately to prohibit, except under licence through the central bank and the commercial banks, the exportation of domestic capital from Canada, and that regulations be prescribed by the government so that only that domestic capital may be exported which is for purposes beneficial to the national interest or at least not detrimental to the future requirements of the country.

There are two methods of borrowing; the one is by short term financing, treasury bills and so on; the other is by the issue of bonds, long term securities. If at this time the government finances this 8100,000,000 by means of treasury bills, unquestionably it will obtain a lower rate of interest than it would if it financed by means of long term bonds. But I doubt if, ever again in Canada-certainly not during the period of this war upon which we have embarked-the government will be able to borrow money on long term securities at rates lower than those existing to-day. Therefore I say to the government that in my opinion-and I am not going to suggest that my opinion must be taken alone-though you may place a lesser burden on the people in the first year if you borrow on short term treasury bills during that period, in the long run you will place upon the people of this country a greater burden if you adopt that procedure. Therefore I urge the government to consult with the personnel of the central bank, and others for whose opinions the government may have high regard, in order to ascertain, and having ascertained it to follow, their advice as to borrowing the amount required, either 8100,000,000 or a larger amount, on long term securities at this time; so that if ini the future there should be complaint that for purposes of its own- I shall not now enumerate them, because I want to keep away entirely from political discussion the government was borrowing on short term treasury bills, any action taken in that regard would have behind it the best informed opinion in the country as to the cheapest possible method of financing the borrowings we now have to make.

I wish to make only one suggestion with respect to the expenditure of the money. To my mind, to conclude that we are participating in a war of short duration would be the height of folly. I think we must prepare for long and extended participation. If it be short, then so much the better. Our experience in the last war taught us, among other things, that citizens of Canada served in either a combatant or a non-combatant capacity who would have been eminently qualified to

War Appropriation Bill

render a much better and greater service to Canada had they been serving in some other capacity. At the present time we have little accurate knowledge as to the individual capacities, abilities and attainments of our people. With a view to meeting that situation I suggest that the government spend some of this money, which under the wide terms of this resolution they have power to do, in proceeding at once with a national registration of all the people in Canada, with a view to ascertaining accurately the capacities of our citizens and their respective records of attainment.

I make these suggestions to the government in the most earnest desire to be helpful. And while I am on my feet may I comment on a point which has been brought to my mind by the recitation of the hon. member for Kootenay East respecting the generous and patriotic offers made by groups of men in Canada who are anxious to serve. For many years we have rewarded meritorious service in the combatant forces. I have no doubt that literally thousands of Canadians are willing to serve in any capacity which may be considered beneficial to the country. I know there are at least hundreds who have great ability, and who may be able to serve and are willing to do so, even if it be at great personal sacrifice to themselves. Although the point I have in mind does not relate immediately to the measure before us, I suggest that the government consider the advisability of establishing in Canada some award of merit or decoration of merit which could be conferred upon those rendering distinguished service to the country in war time, at great personal sacrifice, but who are not actively participating in the combatant forces.

Topic:   WAR APPROPRIATION BILL
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR GRANTING TO HIS MAJESTY AID FOR NATIONAL DEFENCE AND SECURITY
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