Sir LOMER GOUIN (Minister of Justice) moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 139, to amend the Bankruptcy Act.
He said: This bill provides for amendments to the Bankruptcy Act as follows: (a) To abolish the system of authorized trustees and to accept the English system of administration of estates by trustees selected by the creditors, assignments to be made to the creditors at large and deposited with an official receiver who will be chosen from among local legal officers, such receiver to appoint a custodian with authority to conserve the assets of the estate under the direction of the receiver. The custodian shall call the creditors together, who at their first meeting will choose a trustee, and from that day the custodian's duty will be completed. In cases of petitions that is to say, compulsory assignments -the appointment of custodian is to be made by the court rather than by the receiver, the latter directing, as in the case of assignments, the conservation of the assets, (b) To provide for sales in the province of Quebec of property subject to hypothec in the same mode as to notices, etc., as in the case of sales made by the tariff, (c) To restore to the landlords the privileges which they were entitled to under the laws of the different provinces on the first of July, 1920. (d) To provide for the examination of the debtor by the official receiver on the causes of his insolvency and the distribution of his assets. This is a very important feature of the English act. It is hoped that the debtor will be deterred from assigning by the prospect of this compulsory examination. (e) To enable a composition between the debtor and creditors only after the assignment. This is to protect the creditors and prevent debtors from defrauding their creditors by disposing of their property. Many requests for such a change have come to our department, (f) To compel trustees in every case to apply to the court for a discharge within fifteen days after the payment of the final dividend and to prohibit appointment of such trustees in any other matter until he has obtained such discharge. It is further proposed to amend the law which refuses the claim of a wife as the creditor of an insolvent and to enable her to rank equally with the ordinary creditors;
to extend the section which authorizes the examination of persons connected with the affairs of the debtor so as to enable the examination of relatives or any other persons who may have received gifts or preferences; to provide for the distribution to the creditors of any property acquired by the debtor between the time of his assignment and his composition with his creditors. There is a difference in the present law as to assignment and receiving order, for reasons which we cannot discover. Other amendments are introduced to remove doubts with respect to the meaning or interpretation of the different clauses of the Bankruptcy Act. I shall give to the House a list of the local officers that we intend to choose as receivers. The following officials, or the persons for the time being exercising the functions of such officials, shall be official trustees:
(a) In the province of Quebec, the prothonotaries of the Superior Court;
(b) In the province of Nova Scotia, the prothonotaries of the Supreme Court;
(c) In the province of New Brunswick, the Circuit Court clerks;
(d) In the province of Prince Edward Island, the deputy prothonotaries of the Supreme Court;
(e) In the province of Ontario, the local registrars of the Supreme Court;
(f) In the province of Manitoba, the deputy registrars of the Court of King's Bench; ,
(g) In the province of Saskatchewan, the local registrars of the Court of King's Bench;
(h) In the province of Alberta, the clerks of the Supreme Court;
(i) In the province of British Columbia, the district registrars of the Supreme Court.
Motion agreed to and bill read the first time.