August 31, 1917

VALOUR OF THE CANADIAN SOLDIERS AT LENS.

CONGRATULATORY MESSAGE FROM SIR EDWARD KEMP AND REPLY OF GENERAL SIR ARTHUR CURRIE.


On the Orders of the Day:


CON

Albert Edward Kemp (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir EDWARD KEMP (Minister of Militia and Defence):

Mr. Speaker, it may be of interest to the House to read a message from Sir Arthur Currie, General Officer Commanding the Canadian Corps in France, in reply to a message which I had sent to him on August 23. My message was:

Ottawa, August 23, 1917. Lt.-Gen. Sir Arthur Currie,

Headquarters Canadian Corps,

France.

On behalf of all ranks -of our military forces in Canada, I desire 'to extend to you and to the officers and men under your command warmest congratulations upon the splendid manner in which Canadian troops have conducted themselves during the fighting around Lens, in defeating the pick of the German army against heavy odds, and steadfastly holding gains made in the face of desperate and repeated counter-attacks. Canada is prouder than ever of her gallant sons who have so bravely and determinedly maintained her honour. We mourn with you the loss of many brave comrades.

Sir Edward Kemp.

I received this morning the following answer from General Sir Arthur Currie:

Sir Edward Kemp,

Minister of Militia,

Ottawa, Canada. *

Your message of congratulation is sincerely appreciated by all ranks Canadian corps. Tell our comrades in the Canadian militia that in addition to winning and consolidating ground of great tactical value, we have inflicted casualties on the foe at least treble our own. -In repeated and determined counter-attacks the flower of the German army was thrown against us, hut our line remained unshaken as our own Rockies. Will not the pride which you say Canada has in her sons inspire her to send us men to take the place of those so nobly fallen. .

Lt.-Gen. Sir Arthur Currie, General Officer Commanding Canadian Corps in France.

Topic:   VALOUR OF THE CANADIAN SOLDIERS AT LENS.
Subtopic:   CONGRATULATORY MESSAGE FROM SIR EDWARD KEMP AND REPLY OF GENERAL SIR ARTHUR CURRIE.
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MILITARY VOTERS' ACT, 1917. THIRD READING OF THE BILL. '


The House resumed the adjourned debate on the proposed motion of the- Hon. Mr. Doherty (Minister of Justice) for the third reading of Bill No. 127, the Military Voters' Act, 1917.


LIB

Edward Walter Nesbitt

Liberal

Mr. E. W. NESBITT (North Oxford):

Mr. Speaker, I was not here when this Bill passed through the committee. Acting on suggestions from this side of the House, the hon. the Minister of Justice (Mr. Doherty) made some amendments which I think are an improvement. At the same time there are wide opportunities still for irregularities by those who are inclined to be irregular. My experience has been that while men may be absolutely honest in business transactions, they sometimes look on things as, what they call, smart in political transactions which are not quite honest. I hope that those charged with the administration of this Bill will not take advantage of their opportunities to commit irregularities. I had hoped that the minister would at least have seen his way clear to have allowed the non-residents who are to vote an opportunity to elect one member at large for themselves which would give the n representation in the House. But, apparently he has not seen his way clear to do so.

Topic:   MILITARY VOTERS' ACT, 1917. THIRD READING OF THE BILL. '
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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

That could not be done without amending the British North America Act.

Topic:   MILITARY VOTERS' ACT, 1917. THIRD READING OF THE BILL. '
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LIB

Edward Walter Nesbitt

Liberal

Mr. NESBITT:

That Act could be

amended, I have no doubt. It has been done before. We have the example of Saskatchewan and Alberta.

Topic:   MILITARY VOTERS' ACT, 1917. THIRD READING OF THE BILL. '
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CON

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DOHERTY:

They have power to amend their constitution; we have not.

Topic:   MILITARY VOTERS' ACT, 1917. THIRD READING OF THE BILL. '
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LIB

Edward Walter Nesbitt

Liberal

Mr. NESBITT:

That is exactly what I propose, and I do not see why we could not have that amendment made to the Act. But the minister will know whether that can be done or not. That presents one of the greatest opportunities for irregularity, and I had .hoped that the provision would be so amended that there would not be any opportunity for wrong-doing. However, I suppose the Bill was fully discussed in the committee, and now it is open for the third reading and the confirmation.

Topic:   MILITARY VOTERS' ACT, 1917. THIRD READING OF THE BILL. '
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LIB

Alexander Kenneth Maclean

Liberal

Mr. A. K. MACLEAN:

It was suggested to me to-day that the oath taken by those who enlist in the Canadian forces might be regarded by aliens as equivalent to naturalization. I am not sure as to the nature of the oath taken by those attesting. It may be an oath of service to the King and probably is. I can quite understand how aliens might regard that as tantamount to naturalization. I suppose there are a great number of aliens in the army. I call the minister's attention to it so that he may give it some consideration with a view to providing some amendment, probably in the

Senate. It might be well, in Form "B," to put a further question and to ask: "When and where were you naturalized if not born a British subject?"-or something like that. I have not given the matter much thought.

Topic:   MILITARY VOTERS' ACT, 1917. THIRD READING OF THE BILL. '
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CON

Charles Joseph Doherty (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DOHERTY:

I will be glad to think about it.

Topic:   MILITARY VOTERS' ACT, 1917. THIRD READING OF THE BILL. '
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Motion agreed to, and Bill read the third time and passed.


INSURANCE ACT AMENDMENT.

THIRD READING OP THE BILL.


House again in committee on Bill No. 53, respecting insurance-Sir Thomas White-resumed from August 4.-Mr. D. Stewart in the Chair. On section 142 (b)-Accident and sickness insurance: , Sir THOMAS WHITE: All the clauses of this Bill have been passed with the exception of 142 (b), which relates to conditions under which the business of accident and sickness insurance is to be carried on by companies obtaining a license under this Act. The section was held over until the hon. member for North Perth (Mr. Morphy) should be present, and I would ask him to state to the committee the point in which he is particularly interested in connection with it.


CON

Hugh Boulton Morphy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MORPHY:

The clause which I consider objectionable reads:

(h) if the policy provides that written notice of injury must be given to the company within a specified period after the date of the accident causing such injury, such period shall be not less than thirty days.

At first sight that would appear to be in the interest of the person insured as giving him a longer time to give notice to the company; but my contention is that it is absolutely against the interest of the insured-that is the honest insured-and in favour of the man who has fraudulent intentions. 1 object also to the same clause under subsection 3 on page 55 which relates to casualties through illness. While it appears arbitrary, it must be noticed that there is this further clause applying to both of these clauses, that failure to give such notice within the specified time shall not invalidate the claim if it be shown that it was not reasonably possible to give notice within the time required. I contend that the experience of casualty companies must necessarily be the only safe guide for the House in determining on the safest and best legislation about matters of

this kind. I contend that the natural result of legislation providing for a period of thirty days within which notice may be given in cases of accident, and forbidding the insertion of any other period in a policy, will be to open the door to fraud. Casualty companies are peculiarly susceptible to fraudulent practices by dishonest insuring persons, who at times profit by their dishonesty and also compel companies to charge higher rates to honest insurers, as they are compelled to pay these dishonest claims. In other words, every dishonest claim that goes through increases the cost to the honest person insured. The longer the period for notice of any accident the more opportunities are given for fraud. The honest insurer generally gi\es notice immediately; the dishonest insurer hides his illness and, under this clause in the Bill, the man who is injured so as to incapacitate him for ten days, sees on the face of his policy that he is not required to give notice until the end of thirty days. If he is dishonest, he nurses his illness after he is cured and gets thirty days indemnity where he is rightly entitled to one, two, three, or four days. That is an objectionable feature of this Bill.

I contend that my argument is in favour of both the company and the honest insuring person. We all know that in New York some few years ago there was a perfect plethora of dishonest transactions with insurance companies. It became a great abuse, and the trend of modern legislation, both on the other side of the line and here, is to shorten the period of notice rather than to lengthen it, in order to get at the fraudulent insurer. I contend that it is the duty of the Dominion of Canada, it is the duty of any state, to protect the honest insurer and to differentiate between him and the dishonest one. Under this Bill the period for giving notice of injury cannot be less than thirty days; it is imperative, and no company can insert anything else in its policy. In other words, notice may b given after the injury has long passed away, after the man is better, and it is quite apparent upon the face of it that this will give a great lever to the fraudulent man in putting in a claim to which he is not entitled. That must be computed by the insurance companies in dealing with such claims, and will therefore increase the cost to the honest insurer. The honest insurer has to pay the cost which the companies are put,to in meeting dishonest or fraudulent claims.

The same argument applies to the illness clause. One of the largest companies in Canada in the accident and illness casualty business finds that out of 3,726 claims for accident made upon it from January 16 up .to July 21 of this year, 2,583 claims, or 70 per cent of the total claims for disability, were for less than twenty days duration, and out of 5,074 claims for sickness, 3,476, or GO per cent, were for disabilities of less than fifteen days duration. See the absurdity of inserting an arbitrary clause allowing thirty days in all those cases, where the duration was from twenty to fifteen days. The avenue for fraud is clearly opened up for every one of those cases to nurse the sickness or injury, for fifteen days in one case and ten in the other. I do not say that every case would be fraudulent, but I do say that the practice is vicious; it is not in line with modem legislation, and this Bill is wrong in every place where it lengthens the term of notice. If the minister differs-I do not know that he does; in fact I fancy from what I have seen that he rather inclines to my point of view-but I do think the superintendent of insurance does. I do not like to speak about an official of the

Government but there are some men who are obsessed with theories and are oblivious of facts-and the minister might find a gentleman of that kind in his department. I point out that this particular company, whose name I do not put forward, paid, in 1916, to its policy holders in Canada. $103,948.

It paid 3,726 accident claims, involving $46,887, and 5,744 in sickness claims, involving $57,061. Considering for a moment the triviality of many of these claims, one can see the danger of fixing a minimum period of thirty days, and compelling the insurance companies to state in their own policies, if they give any notices at all, that they are compelled to fix that period of not less than thirty days within which notice of accident must be given. The main object in giving notice of an accident, as I understand, is to give the insurance company a chance to investigate a claim, to send a man upon the spot to see the insured person, and to ascertain the particulars of how, when and where the accident occurred, and I think it is proper that any insurance company should have that notice within a reasonable time. As a matter of fact, I think, generally, throughout Canada, the words used in the statutes are " a reasonable time." But in this Bill the Government is providing what I maintain to be

an unreasonable time, in reference to the class of insurance which these particular clauses are intended to deal with. The lengthening of the period is an incentive and an invitation to fraud. It is as much as to say to the man who is slightly injured: " Come along, you are hurt, it, is* true, but do not tell the company for thirty days, although you are able to get around in three days." That part of it strikes me as very serious. Fraud hurts the company and hurts the insured. Fraudulent persons Sometimes have been known, particularly in the large centres of the United States, to insure for the purpose of having an accident. Companies are up against it, and, as the companies are up against it, they put, in their schedule of rates, an allowance on account of fraud, and, naturally, the honest man taking out insurance has to pay the bill for the fraudulent one. In this case I say it hurts both the company and the man who is injured, if he is honest. The Government does not want to protect the fraudulent man who insures. To my mind the Government's duty is to consider the interests of the honest person who insures, and this provision is standing in the way here, and putting a penalty upon the honest person insuring, in favour of the fraudulent or dishonest man. The trend of modern legislation in matters of this kind is entirely opposite to the course pursued here. I have read the evidence taken before the Banking and Commerce Committee, through whose hands this Bill passed, and, whi'e they discussed other important features of the Bill, there is not a scintilla of evidence upon the record which touches these clauses. I am told the reason the Bill ip introduced in its present shape is that certain insurance companies wanted it that way; that it is a model Bill and.a standard form. Yet no discussion took place about it in the Banking and Commerce Committee, and 1 invite the members of that committee to consider the question now. As I understand it, the trend of modern legislation is diametrically opposed to long terms within which notice must be given, and is equally favourable to the shortening of that term, in the interests of the insuring public. I would suggest to the minister that twenty days for accidents, and fifteen days for illness, would be fair, and yet to my mind it is too long.

Topic:   INSURANCE ACT AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   THIRD READING OP THE BILL.
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CON

William Thomas White (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir THOMAS WHITE:

Is my hon. friend

satisfied with the provision as to the notice regarding sickness? The notice in -the Bill is fifteen days for sickness.

Topic:   INSURANCE ACT AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   THIRD READING OP THE BILL.
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CON

Hugh Boulton Morphy

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MOBPHY:

I .think ten days would oe sufficient. I think notice of twenty days for accidents and ten days for sickness would be about right.' I would be satisfied with the sickness provision, because I can see that sickness will sometimes prevent a man from considering his ordinary business affairs in the same way as a man would who is free from illness. Accidents are notoriously public as a rule, and generally some one is looking after the man who. has met with the accident. An accident brings with it the idea, have you any insurance, more than sickness does, and for that reason I would make a distinction between the two classes of cases, and would suggest twenty days' notice for accidents and ten days' notice for sickness. These are the periods which are fixed in the states of New York, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Iowa, Texas, Montana, Oregon and Washington. The hon. Minister of Finance (Sir Thomas White) will agree with me when I say that in metropolitan centres, such as New York and Chicago, and those large cities, they have had an experience which no city in this country ever had, and their dates have been fixed upon the basis of the experience of the companies in those cities. I have not the general rule in the States, beyond those states I have mentioned, but those states cover the main insuring states, and most populous cities. North Dakota is an exception, that state having a thirty-day provision in case of accident. I do not apprehend that the Minister of Finance would really rather follow North Dakota than New York or Illinois. It would be like following an amateur, instead of a professional, in the business. . But even if he follows North Dakota he would not be Iqng right, because three companies have withdrawn from North Dakota since that law was put in force, and three other companies operating there have threatened to withdraw, and the Commissioner of Insurance, W. C. Taylor, North Dakota, has recently acknowledged that the Bill is a mistake, and is asking for legislation reducing the time.

Topic:   INSURANCE ACT AMENDMENT.
Subtopic:   THIRD READING OP THE BILL.
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August 31, 1917