Mr. Chairman, I just want to say a few words about the farm income tax inspectors, or as they are better known, the income tax snoopers.
In 1949, just before the last election, the house was informed that the Department of National Revenue had no inspectors or enforcement officers, but that they did have an intelligence branch which had officers stationed in most of the provinces, with an extra 17 stationed in Ottawa for service anywhere. At that time there was a total of 54 officers. Twenty-three were in Ontario, three in Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec, two in New Brunswick and Saskatchewan, one in Manitoba and none in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
I do not know whether or not the questions asked in 1949 gave the government ideas, but in answer to a question which I asked I found out that we now have income tax inspectors in every province of Canada, and in greatly increased numbers. There are now four times the number of snoopers there were in 1949, despite the fact that farm income has dropped and there are fewer farms. I am quite sure that many of these farms became vacant and many of the farmers
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Supply-National Revenue reduced production due to the prying of these snoopers. The loss of our markets may be indirectly due to the farmers becoming discouraged because of the treatment they received from this department.
We now have a total of 234 income tax inspectors assigned to check the farmers. They cost the taxpayers of Canada $926,433.30, and I am not sure that their activities bring in enough extra money to pay their salaries. Certainly the strain they put on the farmer is doing nothing to bring about the increased production which this government begs from the farmer. The farmer needs encouragement, not hounding.
It is also interesting to note the way in which these snoopers are placed. In Ontario there are 56 full-time inspectors and 9 parttime. Saskatchewan has 51 and Alberta 46 of these costly employees. There are 27 in Manitoba, but only 13 in Quebec. Where there were none in Nova Scotia in 1949, there are now 11. Prince Edward Island, without any in 1949, now has 2. New Brunswick and British Columbia each have 7. Even Newfoundland now has one part-time.
I would like the minister to say if he considers this money well spent. Does he consider the hounding which these snoopers give to the farmers is in the best interest of Canada?
Topic: DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE