Not necessarily. I say it would be great folly for us to cut off our nose to spite our face. If the farmers of the Northwest wish to bring in labourers, why not let them do so ? You will not interfere with those labourers by bringing in others because the others are not taking their place. You require alien labour laws where you are going to interfere with men already in the country and when there is not enough labour to go around. But this is an exceptional ease. As the hon. member for West Assiniboia (Mr. Scott) has pointed out, we are reaching out. in all directions to get labourers for the Northwest, and I must congratulate the hon. gentleman on the fearless and manly way in which he presented his views. I would like to see more of that independence and less partyism. The stand which the hon. gentleman took seemed to come with a shock to members on both sides. My hon. friend from Bothwell (Mr. Clancy) was so shocked that he had to get up and read the hon. member a lesson. However, I congratulate that hon. gentleman and wish there was more of that independence which animates him and the hon. member for' King's, N.B. (Mr. Fowler).
Amendment negatived on division.
'Mr. SPROULE. It seems to me a more appropriate title would be ' to amend the Acts respecting Labour and Immigration.'
HEYD moved second reading of Bill (No. 161) respecting the Canadian Assessment-policy-holders in the Mutual Reserve Life Insurance Company. He said : I propose to be very brief and shall not make any reference to the record of this association in past years, but confine myself to the Bill before the House. I am aware that charges of a very serious character have been made against the company, whether Mr. ROSS (Victoria).
fairly or unfairly, but these were entirely apart fromjthis Bill. A very great deal of labour has been spent in its preparation. Some time ago Senator Kerr introduced in the Senate a Bill for the relief of the assessment-policy-holders in this company. That Bill was referred to the Committee on Banking and Commerce and by that committee referred to a sub committee of five. This sub-committee availed itself of the assistance of the Insurance Department of the government, also of Mr. Brosseau, representative of the Canada Life Insurance Company, and Mr. Eldridge an official connected with the Mutual Reserve. After considering the matter in all its various aspects, this Bill is the result of the labours of that committee. After a few minor amendments, it was adopted by the Senate as the best that can be done under the circumstances. It is probably not as good a Bill as those who are members of the society would like to have ; but when we realize that this committee had only $25 of a surplus on each $1,000 to work on, you can readily understand that very much of a concesion could not be made. Circulars were sent out to the 3,600 policy-holders asking their opinion. Letters in reply were received from 785 in favour of the Bill, from 46 against it, and from 98 asking for further information. The rest. I assume, did not take enough interest in the question to vote either one way or the other.
Now, we must realize that this is the only opportunity that the assessment-policy-holders of this company will have of being benefited. If this Bill does not pass now, hundreds of them will back into the lapse class before another session comes round. During the past few years, $20,000,000 of insurance of the company has lapsed, because those holding the policies were not able to pay the rapidly increasing yearly assessments. There are still some 3,600 remaining who have kept themselves in good standing and who are waiting for this parliament to pass some Bill that will give them relief from the conditions under which they now exist. If they are forced to release their policies in this company owing to their inability to meet their yearly calls, many of them-probably hundreds of them-have arrived at an age when they are not good subjects for a new company to take, or, have contracted disease which would preclude them from passing a medical examination. This Bill takes in every man in good standing without an examination. Therefore, all that class that have got consumption, cancer, or other fatal disease undoubtedly will be benefited by the passing of this measure. Every individual that avails himself of one of the options provided in the Bill will get cheaper insurance than he can get from any other company in Canada. He will save from about $1.50 to $2 on each $1,000 of insurance. He will get,
in addition, his share of the reserve of $228,000, which is to be apportioned amongst the policy-holders, and, if he does not desire to continue a policy in this company he receives a paid-up policy for his share of that reserve. And, if he does not wish to avail himself of either of these options but to continue as an assessment-policy-holder he can stand on the conditions on which he entered the institution. In every clause of this Bill the interests of the assessment-policy-holders are fully protected. We can rely upon the work of Mr. Fitzgerald and Mr. Bradshaw to look after the interests of the policy-holders in Canada. They tell us that this is the best thing that can be done. And, notwithstanding what the past history of the company may have been, notwithstanding the fact that they have been charged with every crime possible-assuming these things to be true-it does not affect this question. It is up to us now either to adopt or reject this measure. Rejection means that hundreds will be added to the class that have allowed their policies to lapse. If we accept this measure we endorse the action of the Senate in having passed it, and the work of our own Insurance Department in connection with it. If later on, as we proceed with the Bill, its clauses require further consideration, I have familarized myself with the various details and hope to be able to explain them to the satisfaction of the House. One of the strongest arguments made against the Bill by those who have not studied it carefully is that in some way the Mutual Reserve Association is trying to get possession of the $228,000 of reserve that is in the possession of the government. But it is practically impossible for them to do so, because, by adopting either of these alternative propositions each individual policy-holder at once gets his share of that reserve in the paid-up insurance, and if he accepts another alternative proposition he at once gets the annual reduction in his premium rate which will necessitate the government holding it as a reserve against his policy. And if he does not accept any proposition he gets a paid-up policy for his share. Consequently the whole of the reserve is absorbed. It is in the hands of the government and it will not be paid out except in conformity with this Act. I have no interest in the matter, not being insured in the company ; but I am satisfied that this is the best that can be. done for the policy-holders. I believe that they will be thankful if you permit this Bill to pass. And I hope that our friends here who have grievances against the company, who believe that the company has been mismanaged, extravagantly managed, dishonestly managed, will not present that grievance here to-day. For it has no bearing on this question. This company is in good standing in New York state whence it gets its charter ; it is in good standing
in the Dominion of Canada to-day. It is carrying on business, it has put up its reserve with the government, and the government is in a position to compel it to carry out its obligation to its policy-holders. So, in considering this Bill, we can afford to forget what has taken place in the past and to confine ourselves, as I think we ought to do, to the interest of the assessment-policy-holders of the company the majority of whom desire to have this Bill passed.
I suppose the government looked into this Bill before putting it on the government orders. I must say that I have not studied it, have not even - had an opportunity to read it, and know nothing about it. But, of course, the government know that the course proposed in this case is unusual. This is a Bill such as, In the ordinary course of events, would be referred to the Committee on Banking and Commerce where it could be thoroughly inquired into. I gather from the statement of the hon. member for South Brant (Mr. Heyd) that those insured in this mutual insurance company, find their numbers decreasing and the calls upon those remaining growing larger, and the object is to take insurance in some other form and also to get the benefit of some fund or deposit that is held for the company by the government.
The account given of the Bill by the hon. gentleman (Mr. Hag-gart) is hardly correct. The explanation given by the hon. member for South Brant (Mr. Heyd) covers the ground. This is not a government Bill. But the department of Insurance has examined it, as they do all insurance Bills, and the superintendent of insurance is satisfied that it is unobjectionable. It is making the best of a bad business. I think the policy-holders of the company are satisfied that it is for the best. So far as the superintendent has looked into the matter he is sure that it is right, and he has assisted the Senate committee in drafting the Bill. The House may accept the assurance that no public interest is against the Bill.
That is true in this sense, that it is a private Bill. We are not concerned in the matter except by way of supervision. The Bill was before the committee of the Senate and they asked the superintendent of insurance to assist them and he did so. The Bill still remained the Bill of the company. It is not a government Bill, but the government desired to
afford the promoters an opportunity to present it to the House.
I have several of the policy-holders in my district, and as 1 have Lad many communications from them. I looked into the Bill very carefully. The concern in which they insured was originally named the Provincial Provident Institution, which sold out its rights to this company. Of course their policies were" on the ordinary assessment plan. An idea of how these risks were taken can be gathered from a letter that I have in my possession. A gentleman in my part of the country took out a policy of $5,000 upon an agreement that he was to pay $9.95 every two months, the understanding being that not more than ten payments were to be called for in any one year.
After this company had become unable to keep up their contract and it was passed over to the present company, the rates went up from time to time until last year this man was paying instead of $9,95 every two months, $76.75 every two months, with $18.65 monthly for an annuity. Part of the agreement of this party was that at a certain age he was to draw an annuity of $500 per annum during the remainder of his life and to meet that he was obliged to pay lately $76.75 every two months, with $18.65 for his annuity, which would make $575 per year and this was going up all the time. According to the recent arrangement they have declared that they can only pay him an annuity of $334.17 even although he keeps this payment up. As there is $228,000 in the hands of the government, as a guarantee for the policy-holders who have their insurance in this company and as this Bill is to enable the policy-holders upon a new basis to convert their assessment policies into what would be regarded as straight line life policies for what they are worth and to keep them up in that way in the future-because otherwise, they would be obliged to relinquish them entirely -I think the Bill is a good one.