William Watson: the way we were—a small government taxing consumption

The federal budget of 1917, Canada’s last without an income tax, was brought down on April 24 of that year, just 12 days after what many regard as the country’s coming of age at the battle of Vimy Ridge. In his budget speech, which, like many in that era and none in our own, took up only three and a half pages of Hansard, Conservative Finance Minister Sir Thomas White presented a breakdown of revenues for the fiscal year that had ended March 31 (see Table 1).     How things have changed in 100 years!A century ago a finance minister actually

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