Sir WILFRID LAURIER.
On behalf of Mr. Fielding I beg to introduce Bill (No.
50) respecting banks and banking which appears in his name on the Order Paper. The charters of our banks will expire on the first of July next and it becomes necessary to have a new Banking Act passed this session. In the absence of the Minister of Finance I beg to introduce the Bill now, so that it may be printed and gotten ready for distribution, so that the House and the country may take communication of it, and that we may be ready to consider it when we meet again after the Christmas holidays. The Bill which I am presenting is practically the same as the law now in existence. The changes are not many and with the exception of one or two are not of very great consequence. The most important feature which is introduced into this Bill is that it contains a section which provides that at a general meeting of the shareholders they can appoint auditors of their own to have the affairs of the bank specially audited, and, if the shareholders choose to do so at any time thereafter a proportion of the shareholders representing five per cent of the capital of the bank can ask for the appointment of such auditors. These auditors will have power to inspect the company's books, to have access to them, to ask for information necessary and to compel it to be furnished, and their report is to be included in the annual statement presented to the shareholders.