It is only fair to say, that thh is not a manufacturers' question. The large merchants were represented also. For instance, Mr. Green-shields, of Montreal, representing one of the largest importing houses in Canada, I am informed, made one of the most effective speeches before the Senate committee in support of the view that they should be allowed to get outside insurance. Every large importer, every large manufacturer, every large merchant, or handler of produce is interested in this. Petitions came in in reams, not only from these people, but also from the agricultural interests, from the cheese and butter factories, complaining that if the fifteen per cent clause remained they would be severely pressed. I am not always supposed to be too favourable to the manufacturers, but it is only fair to say, as I have already said, that this is not a manufacturers' question, nor is it a merchants' question, but it covers practically all classes, including the agricultural.
It seems to me the chief danger is that the public is not protected against companies that may not be warranted by their financial standing. Another thing is that while the House has forbidden companies to solicit insurance by agents, it has so framed the conditions that there will be no need of a foreign company advertising or soliciting business, business will be forced upon it. They will be able to get business, or to offer business, at a so much lower rate that as soon as it is known that Mr. A has insured at such a low rate in a certain company in the states, his neighbour will at once apply to the same company for insurance, and before long the poor local agent will be completely out of business. I do not think this House should too hastily accept the amendment of the Senate. It should be the duty of the House Jo see that whatever Mr. SCHAFFNER.
tax may be imposed should be such that the burden will be not less than upon the Canadian company.
I may say that the insurance companies were not satisfied with the conditions imposed by the Senate, but they made up their minds to accept the conditions imposed by the Senate rather than discuss the Bill any longer, and if it did not work out reasonably satisfactory, they could come back again to the House, and get' it amended. That was their idea, I speak frankly, in accepting the conditions imposed by the Senate. There is no doubt that clause 139 is more or less of a farce, as it has been called, because it will be evaded, no matter what you do. I would like to say that it was not the so-called New England mutuals that were being kept out by the insurance companies so much as it was what we call the underground companies, the companies without any standing which are allowed to insure throughout the country, and of course the people that insure with them have to take their own risk. They do here now by this clause. There is a preventive to a certain extent. My own idea about the insurance business in this country is that there should be no exception or excuse, every company should be licensed, what is fair for one is fair for another, and if we are to have licenses at all, every company should be licensed without regard to where they come from. But the licensed companies tried to get that in the Bill for two years, and as I said, made up their minds they would accept the Bill as it is rather than continue the agitation, and see what could be done.
I think we should try, and make the legislation in the true interest of the country. The insurance people felt that they were suffering an injustice, and the fact that they gave in, and said they would go without their just rights for a couple of years, does not concern me. What concerns me is whether this legislation is fair to the whole country. I agree with the hon. gentleman that they, all ought to be licensed, but we should not say that a company must continue to submit to an injustice, because they are afraid of the powers that be, or afraid of the Senate. If the thing is wrong we should say it is wrong, and if it is right we should put it there. I say again that there should be some license, or some tax imposed upon these companies that come into this country, and interfere with our domestic companies. I believe in the principle of protecting Canadian industry in every way.
At the end of subsection 1, to meet the criticism about circulars and so forth, I propose to add:
Provided further that no such company, underwriters or persons shall, within Canada, advertise their business in any newspaper or other publication, or by circular made in Canada or elsewhere, or maintain an office or agency therein for the receipt of applications or the transaction of any matter or thing relating in any way to their said business
I would understand that advertising by circular would not mean a statement of business.
You could not prevent him sending it in, but you could punish the inspector who came here to inspect the risks of the company which violated that condition. By a special clause we allow these companies to send inspectors to examine the risks; but if we found that these companies were violating the intention of this Act then we could have recourse against the inspector.
Why all this sumptuary legislation? I am very much surprised. This House started out to make an insurance Bill for the people, to try and get them some rights which they were not getting from the insurance companies in the first place. We have landed up by giving the bulk of the rights entirely to the company; every particle of It is for the company except these two clauses. I think the least said about this the better. Because a man sends me a circular from New York, and if I get insured in a New York company, why should I be punished? I think that is very drastic legislation. _ I think people should have a few liberties left to them in business matters in this country. I think that is most absurd legislation. If you look over all the statute-books of every country, even Turkey, you would not find such foolish or sumptuary legislation, and I am surprised to find members asking for more of it.
It strikes me that you canno.t prohibit any one from sending a circular from ' elsewhere '. You cannot prevent a man sending a circular into Canada from any American city. How you are to prohibit that by putting in the words ' from elsewhere ' in this clause I am not able to comprehend.
And I do not see how we are going to prevent the hon. member for Kingston (Mr. Harty) from going to Boston or New York, making a contract there and getting all the insurance he wants. The contract is made in that country, and he has to enforce it there. I do not think this parliament has any jurisdiction.
Sometimes you prohibit the doing of certain things with a fairly good knowledge that somebody will do them, and all you can do is to provide a penalty. I think in this case it is a measure of protection to our own companies. You cannot prevent a man issuing a circular in New York, and sending it through the mails, but if a company is discovered to have done that it violates the provision of this clause and we can go after it by proceeding against the inspector.