Mr. Villeneuve (Roberval):
Mr. Chairman, the phraseology and the general pattern of section 1 of this bill to amend the Income Tax Act are somewhat of a surprise to me. Indeed when I read the proposed subsection 2 of section 5 of the act, describing the class of workers who are to be allowed board, lodging and transportation expenses after an absence of more than 36 hours, I cannot help pointing out to the hon. Minister of Finance (Mr. Fleming) that this is too restrictive a clause.
You see, construction workers employed at a construction site make up a limited class of workers, especially in the riding I represent; in point of fact, it is a class which includes very few individuals.
Income Tax Act
In my opinion, the case of loggers and mine workers should have been particularly provided for.
About 50 per cent of workers in my riding have to go out and work in bush camps in the winter time. They often have to work 50, 75 and even 100 miles away from home, yet they are by no means provided for in section 1 of this bill.
Not far from my constituency there is at this time a very important project under way. The Aluminum Company of Canada is building a huge dam at des Passes falls employing for this purpose three to four thousand workers. About 90 per cent of these men have to live on the spot, travelling home only occasionally. I am sorry that they are not covered by this clause. I am certainly not surprised at the apparent generosity shown towards the end of that particular clause, which provides that the workers involved may be exempted for the year 1957. When I say I am not surprised, I mean that the number of workers thus exempt will be so small that the government can well afford to show itself very generous in this regard. It gives colour to the government's purpose, pretending to be granting a tax exemption whereas, in fact, all this is a mere show of words, a sham exemption wrapped up in involved phraseology.
I wish to go on record as protesting against that restrictive definition which discriminates against a large number of other categories of workers who would also have deserved to be tax exempt as regards food, board and transportation.