Some Economic and Financial Consequences of Defence
Publication:
The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 14 Dec 1950, p. 133-143


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Some Economic and Financial Consequences of Defence


Some aspects of national policy of particular concern to the Minister of Finance and no doubt very much in the minds of every citizen and taxpayer. Reference to the speaker's previous address in March of 1948 when he asked the audience to take "a new look at Canada." Accomplishments again outstripping expectations in Canada over the last two years. Looking at the immediate future. The uncertain prospect before us. An expression of confidence in the economic potential of Canada. A suggestion that accomplishment may again outstrip expectations. A time to think in terms of bringing the demonstrated energies and resources of Canada to bear where they are most needed for the common good. Some of the economic and financial consequences of defence preparations. The effect of these preparations upon federal-provincial relations. The federal-provincial conference held last week in Ottawa. Inevitable changes in the approach to federal-provincial relations. The need for more adequate defences, the high cost of providing them, and the consequences for the taxpayer and the general economy. Two urgent matters: the renewal of the tax-rental agreements with the Provinces and old age security. The speaker's particular responsibility with regard to the tax agreements. Details of the agreements and changes to them. Decisions to accept the renewed offer of tax agreements left entirely with the individual Provincial Governments. The general aim of the Federal Government, in its relations with the Provinces, to promote economic stability and progress in all parts of the nation. The need for the content of federal-provincial programmes and arrangements to shift from time to time, according to the economic climate. The challenge of how to achieve economic stability in the face of demands that are bound to place a strain upon our capacity to produce. The more general problem of economic stability as it is affected by the impact of the world crisis and our own defence preparations. The elements of the problem. The need for an effective anti-inflationary policy. Two obvious ways to go about balancing the budget, not mutually exclusive. The concern of Canadians to minimize the burden of taxation. Some details of results achieved in the search for economies. Current figures that indicate a healthy surplus in the budget. The policy of "pay-as-you-go" to be followed to the limit of political and administrative feasibility. The possibility that the total level of demand may increase due to the activities of individuals, business organizations, and other governments. Measures that have been designed to restrain the level of demand in the civilian sector. The example of consumer credit regulations. Promising results. The issue of price controls. The Government's position on price controls. The fact that Canadian prices "cannot be effectively insulated for any long period of time from prices across the line." Watching with great concern the developing international situation, especially the course of events in the U.S. A summation.