Sir THOMAS WHITE (Minister of Finance) moved the second leading of Bill No. 53, respecting insurance.
He said: This legislation is rendered
necessary by a decision of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in what is known as The Insurance Case, which was decided in March of last year. The Bill repeals the Insurance Act of 1910 and Te-enaots it with certain amendments. The amendments are of two classes: First,
those which are necessary to remove from the existing Act the features which have
been ruled by the decision of the Privy Council in The Insurance Case to be ultra vire6, and, second, those considered necessary to meet changed conditions which have arisen since the passing of the present Act and to remove serious defects which have come to light in the course of its administration. The decision of the Privy Council to which I have alluded is the culmination of considerable litigation which has from time to time during the last twenty years concerned itself with the question of the constitutionality of the Insurance Act. The point as to the constitutionality of the Insurance Act, however, never came up squarely in the course of the litigation to which I have referred. It arose incidentally from time to time, and as a result of the doulbt which was cast upon the constitutionality of the Act, a reference was made by the Solicitor General of Canada to the Supreme Court to determine the question. The Supreme Court gave its decision, and the case was afterwards appealed to the Privy Council. In 1909 it was held by Judge Lett, sitting as magistrate in ihe city of Montreal, that the Insurance Act was ultra vires and that it was not po&sible to enforce the penalties provided by the Act for infractions of the law. As a result, the administration of the Insurance Act was practically paralyzed.