July 11, 1924

REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

PENSIONS


Mr. DENIS (Joliette) presented the third report of the special committee on Pensions, Insurance and Re-establishment of Returned Soldiers.


OFFICIAL REPORT OF DEBATES

LIB

Georges Henri Boivin

Liberal

Mr. G. H. BOIVIN (Sheilord):

Mr. Speaker,

I beg to move, seconded by Mr. Pelletier, that the third report of the select standing committee to supervise the Official Report of Debates be concurred in.

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Motion agreed to.


BANKING AND COMMERCE

LIB

Thomas Vien

Liberal

Mr. VIEN:

(Translation) presented the

seventeenth report of the select standing committee on Banking and Commerce, as follows: Your committee have had under further consideration and study the report of Dr. H. M. Tory on Agricultural Credit, which was referred to them on May ttlh, 1924.

Your committee find that the credit of persons engaged solely in farming or the tillage of the soil is affected by certain provisions of the Bankruptcy Act.

Your committee, therefore, recommend that legislation be introduced at the present session of parliament amending the Bankruptcy Act as follows:

"An Act to Amend the Bankruptcy Act."

"1. This Act may be cited as The Bankruptcy Act Amendment Act 1924.

"2. The Bankruptcy Act is amended by inserting after section SB thereof the following section:-

" 8c (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in this act, if the Lieutenant-Governor in Council of any province has authorized any officer of the provincial government, charged under a .provincial statute with duties which in the opinion of the Lieutenant-Governor in Council are analogous in any respect to the duties of custodian and trustee, to act as custodian and trustee under this act, the official receiver shall in the case of an assignment by a person engaged solely in fanning or the tillage of the soil appoint such officer as custodian.

" (2) Any officer so appointed to the office of custodian by the Official Receiver shall thereupon in addition to such office be and be deemed to be the authorized trustee as if appointed under subsection (1)

Banking and Commerce

of section 15 of this Act, and shaJl continue to be the authorized trustee until properly removed under subsection (2) of the said section 15.

"(3) In case any such provincial officer is appointed custodian and trustee, he shall not be entitled to be paid any remuneration as custodian or trustee nor any of the costs enumerated as costs of custodian in Part III of the General Rules, but shall be entitled to his lawful disbursements.

"3. Section 59 of the Bankruptcy Act is hereby amended by adding thereto the following subsection: " (2) Paragraph b and c of the preceding subsection, shall not apply in the case of an application for discharge by any assignor who at the time of the authorized assignment was engaged solely in farming or the tillage of the soil."

He said: Mr. Speaker, I beg to move, seconded by Mr. Jacobs, that the seventeenth report of the select standing committee on Banking and Commerce be concurred in.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Right Hon. ARTHUR MEIGHEN (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, I can hardly think that the hon. member wants the House to concur in the report without a moment's consideration. It is rather an important report if I caught it rightly.

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LIB

Thomas Vien

Liberal

Mr. VIEN:

I moved concurrence with a

view to expediting the legislation, if any, to be brought down in accordance with the committee's recommendation, but in view of what my right hon. friend says I will leave my motion as a notice of motion for Monday next.

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LIB
LIB

Thomas Vien

Liberal

Mr. VIEN:

Mr. Speaker, I beg to move,

seconded by Mr. Jacobs, that the sixteenth report of the select standing committee on Banking and Commerce be concurred in.

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CON
LIB

Thomas Vien

Liberal

Mr. VIEN:

By way of explanation, I beg

to read to the House the report, concurrence in which is now sought. It is as follows:

Your committee have had under consideration the various matters referred to them by the order of reference, and have reported on same from time to time.

Your committee, in addition to numerous meetings of sub-committees, have held thirty-nine sittings on twenty-seven separate days,.,have heard the evidence of ten witnesses, and had twenty-three exhibits filed before them.

Your committee sumbit herewith for the information of the House a printed copy of their proceedings, the evidence given before the committee, and also certain documents submitted to the committee as exhibits, but not contained within the proceedings.

Your committee recommends that the order of reference, reports, proceedings and the evidence given before the committee, together with a suitable index to be prepared by the clerk of the committee, be printed as an appendix to the Journals of the House for the present session and for distribution, and that rule 74 be suspended with reference thereto.

The evidence and the documents referred to are of great importance, and I think hon. members will find them of sufficient interest and profit to warrant their being printed and distributed with the sessional papers.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Mr. Speaker, I have no

special objection to the motion in this case; any objection I might have would be of a general character. I notice, though, that the report which we are asked to adopt does not recommend any particular subject of legislation or any special legislation. In this connection may I interject a suggestion which I hope may be useful? I think we are somewhat overdoing the deciding of things by committees. If committees are to make recommendations, such as have been made almost without number this session-sometimes, I fear, too expeditiously-and then we are to be faced, on the order "Motions," with a motion, without notice, for the adoption of such recommendations, all the safeguards of parliament are swept away.The motion to adopt a particular line of action recommended by a committee fixes the conduct of the House. It is noteven like the first reading of a bill,a mere preliminary and introduction.

It is the determined and final action of parliament, and parliament must reverse itself or this becomes legislation in due course. Ordinarily we have, I think, fourteen different stages which must be gone through, in order that there may be nothing precipitant, in order that the utmost consideration may be given to every step we take; and even then if parliament errs at all it errs in cluttering our statute books with too much legislation. I deprecate the habit that I think we have got into this session of having committees recommend a certain legislative course, whereupon the whole thing is thrown in the face of parliament without a moment's notice and we are expected to debate it and decide it then and there. When such committees do report with recommendations of this character I suggest the wisdom of leaving the report on the files of the House, on the Table, for consideration in the meantime by members and for the study of those who may have the leisure to do so. But the initiation of legislation should be left where it has always been; the responsibility should be where it has always rested.

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LIB

Thomas Vien

Liberal

Mr. VIEN:

I agree with the right hon.

gentleman (Mr. Meighen) as to the advisability of laying on the Table reports of committees and allowing them to remain there a certain length of time before they are concurred in. That is why I did not press my

Criminal Code

motion on the other report in respect to the Bankruptcy Act. The report now presented is merely to order the printing of the evidence and proceedings of the committee and their distribution to hon. members. Moreover, this report was presented to the House yesterday; it is not one of those I presented today.

As to the advisability of entrusting committees with work of this kind I am afraid I must disagree with my right hon. friend. The work done by the committees of the House during this session has been extremely valuable. Committees can mere easily give full time and detailed attention to the matters that come before them than the House can, and the work of the House is thus expedited.

I suggest further that next year or at some time in the future an amendment should be made to our rules to provide that even the budget and the estimates should be studied in committee. That would save the time of the House considerably, and more attention could be given to the details than can be given under the present procedure in committee of the whole, owing to the desirability of expediting the business. I think it is one of the usages of the British House of Commons to entrust to a committee the study of these matters. I know it is in France, where what we call committees are called commissions; any important piece of legislation is thoroughly gone into by a commission of the House before being reported. I agree with my right hon. friend however, as to the advisability of having reports of important committees laid on the Table in time to permit their consideration by the House as a whole.

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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I do not wish to be

misunderstood in the matter-and I have no right to speak again except by permission. My objection was not so much to the hurry of moving the adoption of the report; my . objection was to the principle of moving the adoption at all when such report embodied and recommended a course of legislation. This forces the House to determine in one debate and usually without notice-in fact, it may be always without notice-a course of action

which by the rules of parliament requires at least twelve or thirteen different stages at which variation may be suggested or moved and during which the deliberate judgment of parliament is matured and finally determined. It is not, let me repeat, so much an objection to the moving of the adoption of the report after the report has been laid on the Table for some days; it is to moving the adoption at all and getting the judgment of parliament that way instead of by the more constitutional course.

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LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Hon. ERNEST LAPOINTE (Minister of Justice):

I am inclined to agree to a considerable extent with what my right hon. friend (Mr. Meighen) says; it would not be fair to the House to ask concurrence in the report of a committee recommending important changes in any policy of the country without giving hon. members full opportunity to consider and study the suggested changes. But I rise to ask my hon. friend (Mr. Vien) whether the Bankruptcy Act was referred to the Banking and Commerce committee for consideration and study. I see from their report that changes in the Bankruptcy Act are suggested.

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LIB

Thomas Vien

Liberal

Mr. VIEN:

The question came up incidentally in connection with rural credits. In the report of the committee the amendments proposed are only in connection with rural credits. The preamble of the report states clearly that the committee have considered the matter of rural credits and, that the credit of people exclusively engaged in farming is being affected by some provisions of the Bankruptcy Act. They recommend that the amendments embodied in the report be enacted into law.

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Motion agreed to.


July 11, 1924