March 29, 1945

LIB

Brooke Claxton (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. CLAXTON:

Since the hon. member asked me about the educational campaign to be carried on among schools, I have received a note that programmes which are being designed and worked out for them will be discussed with the provincial authorities at a very early day.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL HEALTH AND WELFARE
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Item agreed to. DEPARTMENT OP NATIONAL REVENUE Income tax division



V,8. District offices-further amount required, $775,000.


NAT

Ernest Edward Perley

National Government

Mr. PERLEY:

Will the minister give us a little information with respect to this amount, which, is quite large? In the detail found on page 8 the larger amount is for temporary assistance. What is the nature of this temporary assistance? Does it include special inspectors in the income tax branch?

In this connection I may say that I was recently in the income tax office at Regina, trying more or less to help out some farmers who were having a little difficulty in making out. their forms; and the official in charge told me that quite a number of special inspectors had been appointed to go through different districts and municipalities and confer with farmers, not only from the point of view of getting complete statements from them, but in some measure to assist them, which I think is all right, I am proud of the fact that the department's statement shows that of the total income tax paid by farmers in the whole

Supply-Revenue-Income Tax

*dominion, nearly half was paid last year by the farmers of Saskatchewan. No doubt the minister has seen that statement; and I want to commend the farmers of Saskatchewan and express the pride we feel regarding what they have done. But I was just wondering if more of these inspectors had been put on in Saskatchewan than in other provinces; for in the statement issued by the department it may be seen that last year in one province the farmers' payments were as low as $5,000. although that province has as many farmers as we have in Saskatchewan. I hope that the increased number of inspectors who are operating in Saskatchewan is not accounted for by the fact that our farmers pay so much more income tax than those of other provinces. I trust that a special raid is mot being made upon them owing to that fact. Will the minister say whether the item for temporary assistance includes these inspectors?

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LIB

James Angus MacKinnon (Minister of National Revenue; Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Hon. J. A. MacKINNON (Acting Minister of National Revenue):

This supplementary

estimate for $775,000 is to take care of the tremendously increased staff in the department. When the estimates for 1944-45 were being prepared there were 3,964 employees actually working in the various district offices across Canada. Actually the staff in all the district offices on January 31 of this year numbered 5,606. This item is purely for the payment of salaries and cost of living bonus for these temporary employees, running into these large figures in all the districts in Canada, from the Atlantic to the Pacific. There is no concentration of new employees in any particular province or in any particular district. It is just the increase in staff throughout Canada to take care of the enormously enlarged volume of taxation work resulting from the great prosperity in the country.

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NAT

Ernest Edward Perley

National Government

Mr. PERLEY:

I got it direct from the

chief of the inspection office in Regina that there were ten or twelve going around Saskatchewan. Would this include those inspectors?

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LIB

James Angus MacKinnon (Minister of National Revenue; Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. MacKINNON (Edmonton West):

If

those men have been taken on in this past year they will be temporary and will be included in this figure, but I cannot tell without knowing who they are and looking up the records to see when they were taken on.

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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. DIEFENBAKER:

Are there any working on a commission basis?

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LIB

James Angus MacKinnon (Minister of National Revenue; Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. MacKINNON (Edmonton West):

I

have already answered' that question to-day. There are none working on a commission basis They are working on salary.

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NAT

James Arthur Ross

National Government

Mr. ROSS (Souris):

This seems a large

item for temporary assistance. As representative of the constituency I have been asked many pertinent questions with reference to this matter, because in the last two years in my province the inspectors have spent a great deal of time at every municipal office in my riding. I am not objecting, but I wish to make a comparison. They hold sittings at every municipal office in my constituency and have got in contact with every farmer and it has probably paid the government very well that they have done this. But in the constituency adjoining mine, in a different province for that matter, I have conferred with the municipal officials and I gather that they have never heard of a taxation inspector being in the municipality, and in some instances they do not know- whether the farmer is sent any income tax forms. Yet they are producing much the same as the people in my district. As a result of that experience I have been wondering whether the same policy is followed in every province or whether a certain latitude is given to different provincial administrations under the federal income tax set-up. I should like to know whether certain provincial administrations are given the latitude to work out their own policy and their own system of inspection under the provincial jurisdiction. If a little later the minister could give us the number of employees in each province it would be very useful, but what I am particularly keen to find out is whether a different policy is being followed in each of two different provinces side by side, because the amount of money collected in comparable districts is not the same. These questions are being asked me and I cannot answer them.

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. COLDWELL:

Those of us who come from Saskatchewan have all been asked these questions, because it is an extraordinary thing that nearly fifty per cent of the income tax paid by farmers has been paid by the farmers of Saskatchewan.

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LIB
CCF

Major James William Coldwell

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. COLDWELL:

Am I right?

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LIB

James Angus MacKinnon (Minister of National Revenue; Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. MacKINNON (Edmonton West):

The year before last, I believe.

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NAT
NAT
CCF

Major James William Coldwell

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. COLDWELL:

We have been wondering whether the methods vary or what exactly the difference is, because when we look across the country and realize that our farmers in Saskatchewan in the last couple of years have enjoyed good crops and, I will not say high

Supply-Revenue-Income Tax

prices, but better prices than before, nevertheless it does seem strange that the conditions should be as indicated. It emphasizes the need, in provinces like Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta, where the returns fluctuate so much from year to year, of some proper method to be applied over a long period of years. Apart altogether from that, I may say to the member for Fraser Valley (Mr. Gruickshank) that we are being asked why it is that the farmers of Saskatchewan are paying so much more in income tax than the farmers of other provinces, and we cannot give a satisfactory answer.

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NAT

Gordon Knapman Fraser

National Government

Mr. FRASER (Peterborough West):

Last

year I brought up a matter which I will again bring to the minister's attention. I hope that when the minister is spending this money next year-as a matter of fact I do not think he will be in that position next year-

Mr. MacIvINNON (Edmonton West): No, back to my Trade and Commerce department.

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NAT

Gordon Knapman Fraser

National Government

Mr. FRASER (Peterborough West):

I was going to say I hope Peterborough will be considered. At the present time the individual has to go to Kingston, seventy-five miles away to get any satisfaction at all; otherwise it has to be done by letter, and letters are not satisfactory. It costs the chartered accountants in Peterborough a great deal of money every year telephoning and writing to Kingston, and in view of the fact that the staff at Kingston is one of the smallest in the country it is hard for them to get the work out. I am not blaming them, because they have been short-staffed. In fact, last year they put on an extra man to look after succession duties. I trust the minister will consider sending a man to Peterborough when it comes to tax payment time to help in the filling out of returns, because the people should have somebody to guide them. We are the largest city in the whole district and we have not had any consideration at all when it comes to the payment of income tax.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL HEALTH AND WELFARE
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LIB

James Angus MacKinnon (Minister of National Revenue; Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. MacKINNON (Edmonton West):

Several members have mentionel the total amount of taxes paid by farmers in the various provinces, as recently announced in one of our financial papers. I can assure you, Mr. Chairman, that I also have asked questions, only I have asked them of the department. I was assured, and I am fully convinced, that exactly the same basis of collection is in vogue in all the provinces. There has been no particular concentration of collection agents or individuals connected with the various district offices in any province. The figures I quoted show, however, an increase across Canada of from 3,961, when these estimates for the present

(Mr. Coldwell.]

year were made up, to 5.606 on the last day of Januarjr of this year, and that increase has taken place in all the offices throughout Canada.

In reference to the question asked by the hon. member for Peterborough West, I did not quite catch what he said but I shall see it in Hansard, and if it is what I think it is I will take the matter up with the deputy minister in charge of income tax. I will see that it is brought to his attention.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL HEALTH AND WELFARE
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March 29, 1945