The minister of Finance, the Hon. Donald Fleming, brought down the federal budget on April 9. He bemoaned the fact that last year there was a deficit of 616 millions of dollars. He stated that he wanted to reduce the deficit. For that reason he was increasing taxes: income taxes, corporation taxes, sales taxes.
Well, in the first place, this deficit didn't in any way hurt the people. To the contrary, the deficit could very well have been continued without doing any damage to the taxpayer. In time of war, it is the custom to go along with large government deficits. That's war! The war must be won, they say! The banks then hand out money with the greatest of enthusiasm and abandon to the government. And the government, for its part, doesn't stop for a moment to worry about how it is going to repay these loans. We'll pay later! This is called wartime deficit budgeting. And this money which flows forth so easily and freely in time of war carries business along smoothly and sweetly. Everything goes fine because there is no money obstacle. The money is there! But then, there is never a financial obstacle when there is a war.
Then why, in the name of logic, should there not be the same policy of free and abundant money in time of peace? Why not continue on with deficit budgeting? After all, it works fine in time of war. Why not in time of peace? Why not, Mr. Fleming? Is it because the people prosper when the money flows easily, Mr. Fleming? Balanced budgets send money back into the banks. They make money disappear from circulation. Credit is restricted. And as a result, a first class crisis. So you see, Mr. Fleming, in trying for a balanced budget yoų achieve a crisis. The tears you shed over the financial situation are not tears shed for the people, but tears shed for the financiers. You bemoan the deficit because it does not work to the advantage of the financial dictators, Mr. Fleming. These are financiers' tears.
Then the minister goes after old-age pensions. In order to support the old-age payments at their level, he proposes to raise the levy on income taxes, corporation taxes and sales taxes from 2 percent to 3 percent. It's as if he were to say, "Well, the old-age pension payments cost us too much so we are going to have to increase taxes. So, in the future, ladies and gentlemen, don't ask for too many pensions for we shall have to send up your taxes again!" And in fact, most of the mediums of communications, press, radio, television, made the same claim that old-age pensions were the cause for tax increases. There would seem to be a concerted attack against the social security guaranteed by the government, an attack designed to make the people fear to ask for pensions because of increased taxes. But we Crediters are here to explain to all the world that such pensions are but dividends which are due to all, dividends which are the result of our share in the social capital; and these dividends should have been issued to each and every Canadian long ago. Those who bemoan taxes do not raise any fear in the hearts of Crediters who are well aware that old-age pensions, family allowances, and the universal dividend could not possibly absorb all that is for sale on the shelves, of our stores and in our warehouses. And if taxes go up it is not because of pensions but because of the very inept financial system which in no way accords with the realities of our economic system.
We would much rather have heard the minister of Finance say: "The pension to the financiers costs us too much? For, you see, the financiers cost us more each year than do our old people. The old folks cost 575 millions a year to the federal government. The financiers take each year in interest from the federal government, 650 million dollars. So the pensions paid to the financiers cost us more than do the pensions to the old people. The old people who have labored and toiled during a lifetime to build up the country, these we pay a pension of 576 million and complain about it. But as for the financiers, who have done absolutely nothing for the country, except to give others permission to work while they reaped the profits, these cost us 650 million dollars a year. Yet, you don't hear the minister of Finance complaining of them. If Mr. Fileming had cut down on this pension to the financiers, if he had brought down a budget which omitted payments to these parasites, which cut off the 650 millions, then there would have been no need to increase taxes in order to go on paying for security for old people.
The minister of Finance didn't shed any tears over our war budget. This year we are spending on the chattels of war, one billion 400 million dollars. And we are not yet fighting this war. This is a war which we might fight with the weapons which we are making and which are costing us one billion 400 million dollars this year. But we don't see Mr. Fleming weeping over this budget. But then this budget is to nourish the makers of armaments, who in the long run can usually be identified with the financiers of whom we spoke above.
650 million dollars worth of pensions a year to the financiers plus one billion 400 million dollars more to the munitions makers! That doesn't appear to Mr. Fleming to be excessive. We don't hear him complaining about it. But 576 million for old people! that will never do. We must raise the taxes! All Mr. Fleming would have to do to insure the old-age pensions without raising taxes would be to make a few cuts in the war budget and a few in the interest being paid to the financiers. But then Mr. Fleming is not presenting a budget which is in favor of the taxpayer; he is presenting one which favors the financiers. Mr. Fleming is the Finance minister of the financiers rather than of the Canadian people.
Mr. Fleming forgot family allowances in his budget. They remain at the same level at which they were when instituted in 1944. Everything else has gone up, even the salaries of the members of parliament, the taxes on families' houses, all have curved up; but not family allowances. The government is evidently unwilling to see them regain their initial value by doubling the rates.
The children, you see, count for nothing as far as Mr. Fleming and his colleagues are concerned. But when the children are 18, Mr. Fleming and his colleagues will be around to get them if there should be a war; the war for which they are preparing with their war budget of one billion 400 million dollars. When the time comes to send them off to war we won't forget them; but now, we won't think of them with their meager pittance of 6 or 8 dollars a month. And they have the nerve to tell us that the government practices a policy that is social, that is directed to the welfare of the family. Rather it is a policy for high finance.
Mr. Fleming, you are the Minister of Finance for Canada. Canada is a country that is very rich and very prosperous.
You are the minister of Finance of a very rich and very prosperous country. Then you should present yourself before the people as such a minister, with a budget that would bring joy to the hearts of the people. But no, you come before the people with a pitiful air, with the air of a man presenting the report of a poor company. Canada is found to be in deficit! No! This is not so. Canada is a rich land and it is growing richer every day. The minister of Finance when exposing the condition of Canada does not reveal it as a rich country. Rather he presents to the Canadian people a bill from the financiers. They, the financiers are stealing the social credit of Canada. They have snatched the riches of Canada to put in their pockets. The shares in the country they have taken and placed in their own strong boxes. They have placed a debt on our shoulders. And now they are claiming interest on our credit, on that which they have stolen from us.
Mr. Fleming is said to be the minister of Canadians. This is not true. He is the minister of financiers. He has presented a budget begging from the people of Canada who are rich but robbed.
Mr. Fleming, were he really a minister of the people, should have brought down a budget which would have ordered the Bank of Canada to furnish to the country the money necessary to the affairs of the country. If he were truly a man of state, the minister would have put in his budget a change in the policy of the Bank of Canada, so that the Bank would become the servant of Canadians, so that it would finance production and consumption by Canadians, as every good finance system should.
The minister of finance, in place of taxing and punishing the people of Canada who build the country, should charge the financial system to fulfill its functions in furnishing finance to the country according to the possibilities and needs of the country.
Thus we should have a true minister of finance, representing a country truly rich, as is Canada. We would have a true chief of state, in place an ordinary little servant of the financial dictators. "Civil authority has been shorn of its noble functions!', said Pie XI in 1931. This is true of Canada in 1959.