“The Promises of Yesterday Are The Taxes Of Today”

18 Jan
Portrait of Sir Wilfrid Laurier (seated) with ...

Portrait of Sir Wilfrid Laurier (seated) with W.L. Mackenzie King. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“The Promises of Yesterday Are The Taxes Of Today”  – W.L. Mackenzie King, 1931

This is close to the time of year when people start thinking about filing their taxes, and those who are expecting refunds, waste little time submitting their returns.

Income taxes was introduced in 1917 as a “temporary wartime measure“!

It was only one of a number of important bills passed by the seventh session of Twelfth Parliament that opened on January 18, 1917. Other legislation included:

  • measure giving the vote to women who had close relatives in the armed forces;
  • the right to vote to every British subject in war service;
  • the Soldiers Settlements Act, designed to help soldiers settle on the land when they returned from the war;
  • the Military Service Act, making every British subject between the ages of twenty-five and forty-five liable for active military service, with certain exceptions;
  • a Public Service Loan of $100 million.
  • The government also bought 600,000 shares in the Canadian Northern Railway.

Income tax and votes for women seemed of little importance at the time because the big issue on Canadians’ minds was conscription for military service. It was the most difficult problem Canada had ever faced. Prime Minister Borden realized that he would have to form a union government with the Liberals to get it through, and invited Opposition Leader Sir Wilfrid Laurier to join him. Sir Wilfrid refused, but enough Liberals joined Sir Robert Borden to enable him to form a union government in October.


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