I would like to ask the Prime Minister, in view of the fact that an announcement of public policy is to be made in connection with this Bill, whether it would not be well to deal with it in the afternoon. Otherwise, it will come up probably on Wednesday or Friday after dinner.
This Bill has been assented to by the Committee on Banking and Commerce, and I suppose the House will agree to it; hut I do not wish to let it pass without offering a word of objection. I think the law we have limiting the time for the organization of insurance companies and banks is a reasonable one, and we
should only depart from it in special cases and when the cause for extension shall be shown to be exceptional. Personally I was not satisfied that the cause had been shown as respects this Bill. However, the committee took a generous view and allowed the Bill to pass. My view is that insurance companies and banks should be organized only when there is a group of men of sufficient financial strength to give an assurance that they will be able to start the concern, and that an extension of time should be granted only for some exceptional reason. I do not suppose that the House will alter the decision which the committee has come to; but I think that it would be well for hon. members interested in Bills of this character to realize that the object of the general law is a desirable one, and that we should all try to uphold it in the future better than we have done in the past.
I agree with my hon. friend the Minister of Finance; and, being in the dark as respects the exceptional reasons for extending the time in this case, I think the mover of the Bill ought to enlighten the House as to what they are.
I do not wish to attempt to force the Bill upon the House if it is against public policy. It was introduced in my name, and I was informed that the company had spent a large sum of money in organizing, that some $200,000 had been subscribed and 10 per cent thereof paid up.
I wish my hon. friend to understand that I am not opposing the Bill. I am rather asking the House to accept the judgment of the committee, but I am suggesting that we ought to have a clearer understanding of what public policy is, and keep nearer to that in the future. I am not opposing my hon. friend's Bill, although I voted against it in the committee; but I do not wish it to become a precedent.
I have no objection to the Bill; but I agree entirely with the policy which the hon. Finance Minister has laid down. On the other hand, if it can be shown that there are exceptional reasons in this case, they would no doubt have weight with the committee; and the statement that has been made to-day by the Finance Minister will probably render such a Bill as this impossible hereafter, because it will be public notice to promoters that they must get a little more hustle on, and get their Acts into operation more quickly. If $200,000 has been subscribed and a cer-
tain portion of that paid in, in good faith, I would be disposed for my part to withhold opposition. At the same time, I think we ought not to allow even a chance for franchises of this kind to lie around for so many years waiting for somebody to take them up.
In answer to the hon. gentleman I may say that the men who have organized this company have not attempted to carry a charter around or to act as charter-mongers. The matter was brought up in good faith. I am informed that the principal mover in the organizing of this compary was a gentleman named Gilmour, who has died, and that for that reason the business of the company was held up for awhile. The comjjany is not composed of men of straw by any means. They are all pretty responsible people, and the fact of their having some $250,000 subscribed is an indication of that. My reason for moving that the committee rise and report progress was that if there was anything wrong with the Bill, I might talk the matter over with the Minister of Finance. Still, I desire to have the Bill go through, and therefore I will withdraw the motion.
I think we ought to deal with each case of this kind on its merits. It may be that the company was almost ready to go on, but that for some exceptional reasons delay was caused. It would have been different if the company had got the legislation, and had done nothing to forward the objects for which it was formed. This case seems to be an exceptional one on account of the death of the main promoter of the company. The fact that $250,000 is subscribed is an evidence of good faith, and we might let the Bill go through.
The matter came up in this way. It was suggested in the committee that the name * Dominion Annuity Company ' might possibly lead to the impression that these annuities were issued by the Dominion government; and consequently if the Dominion government should at any time issue annuities, there would be confusion.
The Bill however was left as it is with the understanding that the promoter would suggest another name on the third reading. My hon. friend from Winnipeg (Mr. Bole), after consultation with the promoters, has decided to ask that the name be changed to the ' Annuity Company of Canada.' I have said that the Dominion government might at some time see lit to issue annuities, and it is quite likely that this session some legislation on that question will be brought up. What we contemplate is not a general system of annuities, but one limited to old age annuities-not precisely old age pensions, but a limited system of annuity to meet the conditions of people advanced in life.