It would not be a circular advertising for business; it would be the rendering of an account in a transaction already made. All that we can hope to prevent-and I know that there are difficulties in the way-would be the sending of circulars to solicit business. But the difficulty of carrying this into effect is rendered less by the fact that, as hon. members know, these companies, as a rule, do not come with offers of business; you have to go to them. Knowing that to be the general practice, I do not think we shall have any difficulty in working it out.
I have followed this clause as it was in the old Bill, and as we have it now from the Senate. It seems to
me that this clause which has been so much debated in the House and the Senate, has nothing in it. It is simply declaratory of what the law was before the Act was introduced. The Bill would be just as effective if the clause were struck out, except for the fact that the insured has to make a return to the department. 1 do not think the Act would be either better or worse if the clause were struck out. It is a fake, pure and simple.
In that case, it might just as well be allowed to stand. I am informed that, after very great discussion, the representative manufacturers and merchants who discussed the question on one side and the insurance companies on the other side, though neither party was fully pleased, agreed that this was about as wise a conclusion as could be reached.
There can be no question that the main purpose of insurance legislation is sacrificed by the arrangement, whoever may .havg agreed to it, that is, there is no protection for the public who may insure in these foreign and unlicensed companies. I would like to understand two things: first, do we as a committee proceed upon the assumption that, if the insured goes and seeks the company and is not made the subject of a canvas by agent or circular, he is entitled to no protection against a company that, possibly, is not in a financial position to meet losses? Second, in arriving at the 15 per , cent tax that was formerly proposed, was it estimated that this' would represent an equally onerous burden on the licensed companies to that which is imposed upon the licensed companies in the way of putting up a deposit and complying with the other obligations imposed upon them by the statute ?
mathematically adjusted. It was regarded as a certain measure of protection which might fairly be given to the home companies. I suppose that the companies would claim that it was not equal to. the burdens imposed upon them. But, as I say, it was not intended to be a mathematical adjustment of burdens.
I am surprised that we should allow that to go through here.
I did not know that the Senate had proposed that. I enter my protest on behalf of those I represent here. I think it is exceedingly unfair. The 15 per cent tax was a very slight tax under the circumstances. Our companies have to take out licenses, put up deposits, make reports and comply with all the conditions of the law, while the outside companies can do all the business they like quite free from these conditions. 1 say it is exceedingly unfair, and I protest against it.
There are two classes, the insured and the insurers. The insurance agents do not seem to think that it is in the interest of the companies that they represent, or in their own interest, for they protest against it earnestly. I do not' know what the hon. member for South Ontario (Mr. Fowke) means by saying that it is in the interest of the insurance companies, when the agents of those companies protest against it. I agree with' the hon. member for Souris (Mr. Schaff-ner), and I think the Senate went a long way when they struck out this clause. I believe they should have left it in.
I thought there was some force in the argument that this was unfair to the licensed companies. It is, however, a vexed and complicated question. If the parties chiefly concerned-of course, the whole public are concerned- the insurance companies on the one hand, and the representatives, so far as they can be assumed to be such, of the large inw suring public, the owners of large manufacturing establishments and the great merchants, have accepted this as, on the whole, a fair compromise, I do not think the House will make a mistake in assenting to it.
I cannot understand why we should go on in this country continuously giving^ everything to the manufacturers. That is about what we are coming to as fast as we can. I am exceedingly sorry to think this fifteen per cent tax has been removed and, I say again, I enter my
strong protest against the clause as it stanch. The manufacturers are getting nearly everything in this country now, and it is about time that something were done to curtail their privileges.