June 12, 1931

LIB

Charles Edward Bothwell

Liberal

Mr. C. E. BOTHWELL (Swift Current):

Mr. Speaker, in one respect only I wish to answer the remarks of the hon. member (Mr. Nicholson) who immediately preceded me. He referred to a three-day flight over Hudson bay as a result of which one port was discarded and another chosen. I think hon. members, of the house should know that when Mr. Palmer, possibly one of the best harbour engineers in the world, went up into that country in company with the former Minister of Railways and Canals (Mr. Dunning) and surveyed the situation, he went into the matter in considerable detail. No exception has been taken to the judgment formed at that time as to which was the proper port. The decision at which they arrived has been endorsed by the present Minister of Railways and Canals (Mr. Manion). Either during this session or during the special session he made a statement to the effect that he thought the change made was a good one.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF THE DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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LIB

William Richard Motherwell

Liberal

Mr. MOTHERWELL:

Everybody thinks

so.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF THE DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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LIB

Charles Edward Bothwell

Liberal

Mr. BOTHWELL:

Since the budget was

brought down on June 1, hon. members from the western constituencies have been searching to find if there is anything in it which will be of benefit to them. I think there is only one clause in the budget speech which will prove to be of any benefit to the people in the west; I refer to that section which deals with the bounty or rebate of railway rates on wheat. On page 2171 of Hansard the Prime Minister stated that the west is in dire circumstances. I quote from Hansard as follows:

Two things must happen: First, provision

should be made to assist those who have a crop, because they have considerable obligations, taxes, etc., which must be- discharged. Other methods will be taken to deal with the situation of the provinces which are not in a position to assist those who with their reserves exhausted and their crops a failure for the third time are practically ruined. We therefore propose to provide that the freight rates shall be adjusted by this country absorbing five cents per bushel on all wheat that is exported of the crop of this year.

Since that statement has been made no hon. member has attempted to explain it.

Nobody seems to know whether the farmer, the shipper, or the elevator man will receive the benefit of the rebate of freight rates. Nobody seems to know how the distribution of the five cents per bushel is to be worked out. For the moment however I will leave that matter and revert to the first statement in the quotation to which I have just referred. We find the words:

First, provision should be made to assist those who have a crop, because they have considerable obligations, taxes, etc., which must be discharged.

I think every hon. member by this time realizes that the situation in the. west is serious and that something must be done to assist the farmers of the west who have reached the end of their resources, particularly in those districts where it looks as if there would be a total crop failure this year. The farmer of the west has in the past not been looking to governments for assistance. What he has been endeavouring to do is to be put on a par in some way with the manufacturing interests in the country. He wanted to hold down the subsidies that were being paid to the manufacturers so that he might be able to get his goods at as nearly cost plus a reasonable profit as possible. If he was able to do that, he was then willing to take his chances in the markets of the world with his products.

When the present government was elected on the 28th of July last, I believed they were entitled to have an opportunity to put their policies into force. There is no doubt that the people of Canada gave them a mandate to increase tariffs if they saw fit to do so. The people of Canada had the intimation that tariffs were going to be increased, and at the special session on the 16th of September, 1930, the Prime Minister, in introducing his tariff changes and the resolutions with regard to them, drew attention to the fact that he had warned the people as to what he was going to do. At that time, for two reasons possibly, very little exception was taken to them. One was, as I have intimated, that the people had given him a mandate to do what he wished in connection with tariffs. The other was that the time was limited and the Prime Minister had to have an opportunity to attend the Imperial conference. We were told, however, that at the present session of parliament we would be able to discuss the changes that were made then. That undertaking has been renewed during this session.

It is my purpose, in discussing the budget, to deal with only one item, and that is the question of gasoline. During the special ses-

The Budget-Mr. Bothwell

sion the duty on gasoline was increased to 2J cents a gallon. There is certain gasoline that enters this country free of duty. The quantity is comparatively small, and it is used entirely by the oil companies in the manufacture of gasoline. When one looks into the situation, it is most peculiar that the high test gasoline that is brought in by the oil producing companies of this country and which comes in free is about the only gasoline that enters into competition with the high test gasoline of the Turner valley fields. But a duty of 2| cents is imposed on almost all gasoline imported, and in fact on all gasoline imported for the use of the general public. We were told by the Prime Minister that there would be no increase in price by reason of tariff changes. In that connection I want to refer to the words he used as reported on page 240 of Hansard of the special session of last year. This is what the Prime Minister then said:

There then remains to be considered the consumer. I was much taken with the observations made yesterday as to the desirability of caring for the consumer; it 'was a part of every address I made during the last election to the electors of the country. I believed it was the duty of this parliament to protect alike agriculture and labour, industry and the consumer. And I say to you, sir, and to this house, that with respect to the items that are dealt with in these schedules we have definite and positive assurances from the manufacturers that their enactment will result in no increase in prices.

In resolution 18 as quoted at page 242 we find this:

18. In the event of the producers of goods in Canada increasing prices in consequence of the imposition of any duty under the provisions of this act, the governor in council may reduce or remove such duty.

The Prime Minister continues:

That is the embodiment in statutory form of what I said in the opening of my observations; it confers upon the governor in council power to reduce or remove duties where there has been any effort on the part of the producer to exploit the consumer.

That was the undertaking that was given at the special session of last year. I propose to show that the consumer in Canada has been exploited by reason of the increase in the gasoline tariff. That speech of the Prime Minister was made on the 16th day of September, 1930. I have in my hand photostat copies of letters that were written by the Imperial Oil Limited. This is a letter under date of July 4, 1930, from the Imperial Oil Limited, Regina, addressed to the manager, Puritan Oil Company, Regina. It reads:

Dear Sir:-

We have pleasure in making the followingquotations, tank cars '.o.b. the followingstations: U.S.42/44 W.W. 64 motorkerosene gasoline gasolinecents cents centsgallon gallon gallonAssiniboia. . . 18.9 19.7 19.7Bechard. . . . 18.2 19.0 19.0Gibbs. . . . . 19.4 20.2 20.2Gray. . . . . 18.4 19.2 19.2Griffin. . . . 17.6 18.4 18.4LaFleche. . . 19.1 19.9 19.9Meyronne. . . 19.3 20.1 20.1Ponteix. . . . 19.6 20.4 20.4Kadville. . . . 18.1 18.9 18.9Regina. . . . . 18.6 19.4 19.4Riceton. . . . 18.2 19.0 19.0Wilcox. . . . 18.2 19.0 19.0At the bottom of that letter is the follow-

ing:

These quotations are subject to market changes, and the above prices are for immediate acceptance only.

Yours truly,

A. R. Smyth.

This is a letter dated September 17, 1930, the day following the Prime Minister's speech in the house, from the Imperial Oil Limited to the manager of the Puritan Oil Company, Regina, written by the same man:

Dear Sir:-

We have pleasure in making the following quotations, tank cars f.o.b. your station:-

U.S.

42/44 W.W. 64 motor

kerosene gasoline gasolinecents cents centsgallon gallon gallonAssiniboia. . . 18.9 21.7 20.7Bechard. . . . 18.2 21.0 20.0Gibbs. . . . . 19.4 22.2 21.2Gray. . . . 18.4 21.2 20.2Griffin. . . 17.0 20.4 19.4LaFleche. . 19.1 21.9 20.9Meyronne. . 19.3 22.1 21.1Ponteix. . . . 19.6 22.4 21.4Kadville. . . . 18.1 20.9 19.9Riceton. . . . 18.2 21.0 20.0Wilcox. . . 18.2 21.0 20.0At the bottom of the letter is the following:

These quotations are subject to market changes, and the above prices are for immediate acceptance only.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF THE DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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UFA

Donald MacBeth Kennedy

United Farmers of Alberta

Mr. KENNEDY (Winnipeg):

As regards the second list of prices which the hon. member has just quoted, was a readjustment not made as a result of action taken by the government? Also, are the present prices as quoted greater than they were before the new tariff changes were made?

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF THE DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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LIB

Charles Edward Bothwell

Liberal

Mr. BOTHWELL:

I will deal with the question of the hon. member as I proceed and give him some account of what has happened. There has been a reduction in

The Budget-Mr. Bothwell

price, but there has been no reduction in price comparable with the reduction of price in the United States. In order to clear up the matter now, since the question has been asked, I shall give my hon. friend the information. These figures are taken from the Canadian bureau of statistics, and from the United States labour bureau. They illustrate the decline in the price of petroleum products in Canada and in the United States. The basic index number is 100 as the United States price in 1926. In April, 1930, the United States figure was 65.6 and the Canadian figure 85, while for September, 1930, the United States figure was 62 and the Canadian figure 83.8. Then we had the special session, with the changes in the tariff. For April, 1931, the United States figure was 37.4 and the Canadian figure 74. In other words, the index figure in Canada was almost twice that in the United States.

I have already referred to the letter sent out by the Imperial Oil Company at Regina on September 17 last. It might be argued that under the "Canada first" policy it was necessary to have a tariff on gasoline coming into Canada, in order to protect Canadian industry. That protection has been given, but I find according to the reports of the Department of Trade and Commerce that gasoline production in Canada steadily increased from 1920 to 1929. Our gasoline production was 344,129,861 gallons in 1928 and 436,620,614 gallons in 1929. We import and export a certain amount of gasoline, and according to this same report our apparent consumption in 1928 was 483,798,833 gallons, and 606,934,608 gallons in 1929.

The next question which might be fairly asked is whether or not the companies have made a profit'. Last September the right hon. Prime Minister was good enough to read to the house the undertakings he had received from the different wholesalers or manufacturers throughout Canada. The letter with regard to gasoline appears at page 592 of Hansard for the special session, and is as follows:

The adoption of these recommended revisions will not result in any increase of prices to the retail consumer because of them.

The British American Oil Company, Limited,

Per A. L. Ellsworth,

President,

The Canadian Oil Companies, Limited, Per F. H. Littlefield,

Vice-Pres.

Imperial Oil, Limited,

Per C. O. Stillman,

President.

MeColl Frontenac Oil Company, Limited,

Per J. Irwin,

President.

I thought it might be well to look into the financial structure of those four companies to see whether or not they required the protection which was afforded by the tariff changes, and also to see whether it was fair for the government to fix a price at which gasoline might be imported into Canada in order to apply the dumping duty. As a matter of fact, I believe the result of the tariff changes by this government is that the price of gasoline in Canada has been increased by 4.44 per cent. Figures will be given during this session, possibly in the course of the discussion on the resolutions, showing what is the additional cost from one end of Canada to the other. I think it will surprise hon. members of this house to find that we are being mulcted of from 4 to 7 cents per gallon of gasoline. .

Canadian Oil Companies Limited was one of those which signed the letter. I looked up Poor's Manual for 1930 in order to find out where this company was incorporated and all the facts in connection with it. I find that it was incorporated on December 4, 1908, that it has refineries at Petrolia, Ontario, and 145 oil distributing stations in Canada. They are marketing the brands of the National Refining Company. That is the important thing in connection with this company; they are marketing the brands of the National Refining Company. I do not intend to go into the financial structure of this company; since 1926 the Canadian Oil Companies, Limited, has paid a very nominal dividend, but I looked up the National Refining Company and found that F. B. Fretter, of Cleveland, Ohio, president of the Canadian Oil Companies, Limited, is also president of the National Refining Company. He has two other gentlemen from Cleveland, \V. H. Lamprecht and C. S. Smith, on the boards of both companies. There are some Canadian directors and officers, but those three men are on the boards of both companies.

Then I looked up the financial history of the National Refining Company and found that from June, 1910, to November, 1911, it paid a dividend of four per cent per annum. From then on the dividends were as follows:

1912- 6 per cent.

1913- 8 per cent.

1914- 6J per cent and a stock dividend of

100 per cent.

1915- 2f per cent.

1916- 10J per cent.

1917- 16 per cent.

1918- 16 per cent stock dividend.

The Budget-Mr. Bothwell

25S5

1919- 16 per cent stock dividend.

1920- 10 per cent and a stock dividend of

83 per cent.

1921- 6 per cent and a stock dividend of

4 per cent.

1922- 6 per cent.

1923- 7 per cent.

1924- 6 per cent.

1925- 6 per cent and a stock dividend of

10 per cent.

1926- 6 per cent.

1927- 8 per cent.

1928- 6 per cent.

1929- 6 per cent, plus 2 per cent extra.

1930- February 15-1J per cent.

May 15-11 per cent.

Do you know what that means, Mr. Speaker? If my arithmetic is good it means that from 1911 this company has been able to pay dividends up to 44-8 per cent, or an average over that twenty-year period of 22-3 per cent. It does not look as though that company needed any tariff protection.

Now I come to another of the companies who signed the letter; I refer to the McColl Frontenac Oil Company, Limited. This company was incorporated on December 21, 1927, acquiring the stock of McColl Brothers, Limited, and the Frontenac Oil Refineries, Limited. They were authorized to issue 750,000 common no par value shares and $10,000,000 of 6 per cent cumulative preferred shares at $100 per share. Their first offering was $7,500,000 of preferred shares with a bonus of four shares of common stock with each ten shares of preferred stock. Apparently the common stock issued by this company was not sold; it was given as a bonus with the preferred stock. A dividend on the preferred stock of $1.50 was paid on April 16. 1926, and that dividend has been paid quarterly to date. On the common stock dividends were paid of 25 cents on January 15; 29 cents on December 16, 1929; and 15 cents on March 15 and June 16, 1930.

This is stock that, cost no money. In addition to that, the assets of this company have increased from $20,946,131 in 1920 to $29,380,788 in 1930. Their reserves have increased from $923,608 to $1,009,321. Their surplus has increased from $608,189 to Sl,-373,246.

In the annual report of this company it is shown that the earnings per share were: preferred earned, 14.89; paid, 6. Common earned was 1.43 and paid .60. That is the situation in connection with McColl-Frontenac. Apparently, therefore, this company does not need any nursing bottle to keep it going.

Then we come to the British American Oil Company, another of the companies referred to. In the case of this company there have been several divisions of stock. The report

is given in Poor's Manual, which shows that the shareholders on December 15, 1926,

sanctioned the exchange of capital stock to the extent of 400,000 shares of $25.00 par value for shares of no par value on the basis of four for one. On February 24, 1930, the shareholders got a split of the no par value shares of the company on the basis of two to one. That is to say, a man who owned one share in 1926 now owns eight shares in this company. As regards dividends, from 1909 to January 2, 1926, they paid 8 per cent. From April 1, 1926, to January 3, 1027, they paid 62J cents per share per quarter, which figures out on the original stock at 12 per cent. On April 1, 1927, they paid an initial dividend of 20 cents per share on new no par stock; on July 1, 1927, and October 1, 1927, 20 cents per share; and in 1927 they also paid a bonus of 50 cents per share, all of which yielded them 14.8 per cent. On January 3, 1928, they paid 20 cents regular and 20 cents extra; on April 2 and July 3, and October 1, 1928, they paid 25 cents per share, which worked out at 18.4 per cent. On January 2, 1929, they paid 25 cents regular and 26 cents extra, and on April 1, July 1 and October 1, 1920, they paid 25 cents regular, which worked out at 20 per cent. On January 2, 1930, they paid 25 cents regular and 50 cents extra, and on April 1, 1930, they paid 40 cents a share before the split up, or at the rate of 36.8 per cent. This meant that for a part of 1030 they paid on the basis of 36.8 per cent, while as respects the rest of the year 1930 it may increase beyond that. I do not know what the official figures will be. That statement takes into account only dividends at 80 cents per share per annum. Their annual report shows that they earned $1.01, or 32 per cent on the original stock.

The most remarkable statement I have seen -the most remarkable statement which I think any hon. member has seen-in the report of the chairman of the board of directors of the company, is the statement, in showing the returns for the year, in connection with the sum of $874,499 set aside for depreciation. At the annual meeting of the shareholders held on February 25, 1930, the chairman of the board, Mr. S. R. Parsons, said that up to the end of June, 1929, profits in both eastern and western divisions were 39i per cent ahead of 1928, but that western crop conditions and bad weather in November and December in eastern Canada had brought about disappointing results in the latter part of the year. Had conditions continued throughout the year as they commenced, the company would have been able

The Budget-Mr. Bolhwell

to show at least $1,000,000 more of profits than the statement contained. Dealing with an item of $874,000 set aside for depreciation, he said that $174,000, or $700,000 less than the amount set aside, would have been sufficient. The larger amount was written off because 9 per cent of the net revenue was payable to the dominion government for taxes. With respect to this, a nominal writeoff, he said, would have substantially increased earnings per share as indicated in the figures presented.

That is the situation so far as this particular company is concerned, with this addition: their balance sheet shows that at December 31, 1929, their surplus over all outstanding debentures, and over capital stock of $10,618,' 117, was $7,504,967. And by December, 1930, that had increased to $8,054,887.

.Let us now come to the most important of these companies, the Imperial Oil Company. There are a number of subsidiary companies associated with this parent concern, and when I mention their names hon. members will no doubt recognize them. Here they are:

Royalite Oil Company, Limited, controlling May! and Oil Company, Limited and Dalhousie Oil Company, Limited, the latter controlling the Mid-West Oil Company, Limited.

Foothills Oil & Gas Company Limited, controlling the Southwest Petroleum Company Limited.

Imperial Pipe Line, Limited, wholly-owned subsidiary, operating a pipe line between Sarnia, Ontario, and Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Imperial Oil Refineries, Limited, wholly-owned subsidiary, operating the parent company's refineries at various points in Canada.

Northwest Company, Limited, wholly-owned subsidiary, operating as a drilling and exploration company in western Canada.

The Galena Signal Oil Company of Canada, Limited, wholly-owned subsidiary, manufacturing railway lubricants and petroleum specialties for railways.

International Petroleum Company, Limited, controlling Tropical Oil Company.

In addition to the foregoing, Poor's Manual states:

Imperial Oil Limited owns Northwest Company Limited, a subsidiary which carries on development in western Canada and controls Royalite Oil Company Limited.

Imperial Oil Limited by agreement is developing the properties of Home Oil Company, The Baltac Oil Company, The Associated Oil Company, The Sterling Pacific Oil Company, The Lowery Oil Company, Southern Lowery Oils Limited, The Advance Oil Company, The Calgary Development & Producers Limited and Bargal Oils Limited, operating in the Turner valley.

I took the trouble to go into the record of this company to find out what they had done. In March, 1913, their capital was increased to $10,000,000. It had been originally $1,000,000.

[Mr. Bothwell.l

There were further increases in November, 1915, December, 1917, March, 1920, and December, 1921. In 1915, a stock dividend of 100 per cent was paid. In July, 1919. the shares were subdivided. In January, 1920, 200,000 shares of $25 each were offered the shareholders at $75 each. On December 19, 1921, 142,628 shares of $25 each were offered at $90 each; and in January, 1925, the shares changed from 2,000,000 at $25 to 8,000,000 of no par, and the shareholders received them on the basis of four for one. On April 16, 1929, the capital increased from 8,000,000 shares to 32,000,000 shares, the shareholders getting them on the same basis, four for one.

As regards the dividends, the figures are:

1914- 10 per cent.

1915- 12 per cent and 100 per cent in fully

paid shares.

1916- 8 per cent.

1917- 8 per cent.

1918- 16 per cent.

1919- 12 per cent.

1920- 18 per cent.

1921- 12 per cent.

1922- 12 per cent.

1923- 12 per cent and 4 per cent extra.

1924- 12 per cent.

1925- $1 per share.1926- $1 per share and 25 cents extra.1927- $1 per share and 50 cents extra.1928- $1 per share and 50 cents extra.1929- 25 cents per share and 25 cents extra,

and from September 3, quarterly dividend of 12J cents.

In other words, starting with 1914, they paid dividends as indicated, but considering the stock bonuses and divisions of stock made by the company they actually paid dividends as follows:

Year

1915

1917

1919

1921

1923

1925

1927

1929

Rate per cent 10 12 16 16 32 24 36 24 24 32 24 32 40 48 48 80 128

We can see quite easily just how this company is able to pay such dividends and why it will continue to be able to pay such dividends; it is because of the protection given by the people of Canada. I could go on and deal with other subsidiary companies such as the Royalite, but my time will not permit. On June 8 I asked a question on the

Criminal Code

orders of the day of the Prime Minister (Mr. Bennett), which question read as follows:

I have under my hand a statutory declaration from the president and general manager of Mercury Service Limited of Oshiawa, Ontario, stating, among other things, that on the 16th May, 1931, the Imperial Oil, Limited, refused to sell or supply gasoline to the said company, and gave as a reason for such refusal that Mercury Service Limited were selling gas at cut prices. In view of the fact that the Imperial Oil, Limited, is apparently taking advantage of the protection given by the legislation of last session, will the government now remove the tariff then placed on gasoline?

The Prime Minister might have done me the courtesy of making a reply without its being more or less insulting, but this is what he said:

Assertions do not constitute facts. The hon. member should know, and I think he does, that this is a matter which lies entirely within the jurisdiction of the provinces. Whether or not any company or any individual owning anything shall or shall not sell to any person who desires to buy, is not a matter over which we have jurisdiction except with respect to interprovincial matters covered by the Combines Act and other legislation of that character. If the hon. gentleman is as desirous of ascertaining what the jurisdiction is as he apparently is of making political capital, I think there will be no difficulty.

Are we to take that as being a renouncement of the promise which was given to us during the last session that if these companies who had given undertakings to the government did not live up to their promises the government would remove the protection it had granted? It does not matter in what words those undertakings were given, that is how we understood them, that the companies were not going to take advantage of the tariffs. I have before me a declaration made by the general manager of Mercury Service Limited of Oshawa. I would like to read the whole declaration, but shall have to content myself with reading but one paragraph, as follows:

I thereupon personally called Colonel Oliver, the general manager for the Ontario district of the Imperial Oil Company Limited, at his Toronto office, and the said Colonel Oliver advised me on that occasion that the Imperial Oil Company Limited would no longer sell or supply to Mercury Service Limited, United States motor fuel, by reason of the said Mercury Service Limited having sold gas at cut prices.

Apparently this company intends to control the market, and they are being permitted to do so with the aid of this government. The people of Canada are being gouged to a great extent by the oil companies and it is time the tariff on oil was removed. The Prime Minister states that it is his intention to bring

in legislation during this session to assist the people of the west. The Financial Post survey for 1030 estimates that the farmers of Canada used in 1930 one hundred and forty million gallons of gasoline. If these companies are making the exorbitant excess profit of four cents per gallon, that would mean that the farmers of Canada are paying $5,600,000 to help the Imperial Oil Company, a subsidiary of the Standard Oil Company. That amount is being paid for the benefit of the shareholders, largely resident in the United States. If the farmers receive all of the five cents per bushel rebate on the freight rates on wheat, they will get a little over $8,000,000, as the return prepared by the Department of Trade and Commerce shows that we exported in the fiscal year of 1930 a total of 177,000,000 bushels in round figures.

We consume in Canada 600,000,000 gallons of gasoline annually, and figuring a four-cent excess profit to the companies, this means that the people of Canada are paying 824,000,000 each and every year, and will continue to do so as long as these companies are permitted to make this profit. The farmers are receiving $8,000,000 as a rebate on the freight rates, while these oil companies are being permitted to benefit to the extent of $24,000,000.

At six o'clock the house took recess.

After Recess

The 'house resumed at eight o'clock.

Topic:   THE BUDGET
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF THE DEBATE ON THE ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
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CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT

ISSUANCE OF CHEQUES WITH NO FUNDS OR INSUFFICIENT FUNDS IN BANK


The house resumed from Friday, May 22, consideration of the motion of Mr. Neill for the second reading of Bill No. 43, to amend the Criminal Code.


IND

Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. A. W. NEILL (Comox-Alberni):

I had not finished my remarks when this bill was before the house on the last occasion, Mr. Speaker. I cannot find at the moment a copy of the previous debate showing just what stage I had reached in my remarks. But since I moved the second reading I have received an extraordinary large number of communications from all over Canada, from individuals and different bodies, boards of trade, credit men's associations, and so on, all urging the great need for some such amendment as this. It was represented in the press after my remarks on the previous occasion that I

25SS

Criminal Code

had said that some credit association had spoken of receiving 7,000 bad cheques in one year. The correct number was 70,000, with a money value of over $5,500,000. Picture the expense and annoyance of handling 70,000 bad cheques!

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   ISSUANCE OF CHEQUES WITH NO FUNDS OR INSUFFICIENT FUNDS IN BANK
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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

Was that in Canada?

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   ISSUANCE OF CHEQUES WITH NO FUNDS OR INSUFFICIENT FUNDS IN BANK
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IND

Alan Webster Neill

Independent

Mr. NEILL:

Oh, yes. The particular body that wrote me was in Winnipeg, the Credit Men's Association of Canada, or something like that. The practice of issuing cheques without sufficient funds is very general. I was going to suggest that either the second reading should be given and the bill be sent to a committee, or that the Minister of Justice should take into consideration whether he could not, as was done the other day with another bill, adopt it as a government measure. Certainly there is great need for this legislation and very strong support for it throughout the country. There may be a difference of opinion as to the best methods. The American states which have adopted something of this kind have adhered to the principle of including the words "with intent to defraud", and they set up certain conditions which constitute a prima facie case of intent to defraud. This bill, as it is drawn, leaves out the words "with intent to defraud", which have always been a stumbling block, but sets up in another way what I would call a prima facie case. It seems to me as an amateur that this is the better way to govern the matter, and the innocent person, I believe, is fully and entirely protected under this bill, which is not the case with some of the bills that have been adopted in the states. I would suggest that we might hear from the Minister of Justice.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   ISSUANCE OF CHEQUES WITH NO FUNDS OR INSUFFICIENT FUNDS IN BANK
Permalink
CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. H. H. STEVENS (Minister of Trade and Commerce):

I had no intention of discussing this bill. I had not the faintest idea, in view of its place on the order paper, that we should reach it to-night. I know that the Minister of Justice has given some thought to this bill and desires to bring certain matters to the attention of the house which the house should very carefully consider before the bill is given its second reading. I think there are no two opinions in this country as to the desirability of minimizing the abuse-shall I say?-of the issuing of cheques by persons without sufficient funds to meet them, but it is perhaps going a little too far to say that anyone who does so is guilty of a criminal offence. In the transaction of business in these modern times, when resort to payment by cheque is so frequently and constantly made, persons perhaps a little careless might

quite innocently be guilty of this offence. I am not able at the moment to say from memory just what provisions exist already in the criminal code and in other statutes for the protection of recipients of cheques issued without sufficient funds to meet them, but I know that there is very considerable protection now, and it is a question in the minds of a good many whether this bill does not go much too far.

There is perhaps one phase of the matter which might be considered not from a legal but from a strictly business viewpoint. My hon. friend, I recall, speaking on this matter before, described with a good deal of pathos the manner in which business men are victimized by persons presenting cheques and taking in exchange part cash and part goods. But surely one is not compelled to take a cheque. The proper and the common sense practice for business concerns, if I may say so, is to accept cheques only from persons who they know are reliable and able to meet the paper so given. Those who are careless in their acceptance of such paper ought not to look to parliament to enact a measure that would make a criminal of a person who would pass cheques of that character. Of course if a person passes a cheque with intent to defraud he immediately comes under the provisions of the criminal code, and when apprehended, under the law as it stands to-day, is suitably punished. I think it would be very unwise for the house to give second reading of this bill to-night owing to the fact that unavoidably the Minister of Justice is absent. Only yesterday I was speaking to him concerning this bill and he told me it was his intention to point out certain phases of the bill which ought to be considered before parliament commits itself to the principle contained therein. In view of that, Mr. Speaker, I beg to move the adjournment of the debate.

Motion agreed to and debate adjourned.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE AMENDMENT
Subtopic:   ISSUANCE OF CHEQUES WITH NO FUNDS OR INSUFFICIENT FUNDS IN BANK
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PROSPOSED CHANGE IN METHOD OF DEALING WITH APPLICATIONS FOR BAIL


Mr. R. K. SMITH (Cumberland) (for Mr. MacDonald, Cape Breton South) moved the second reading of Bill No. 46, to amend the Criminal Cod'e. Motion agreed to and bill read the second time.


CON

Pierre Édouard Blondin (Speaker of the Senate)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. SPEAKER:

The orders under the

headings of private and public bills having been disposed of the house will resume the dehate on the motion that the Speaker do now leave the chair for the house to resolve itself into committee of ways and means.

The Budget-Mr. C.owan (Long Lake)

Topic:   PROSPOSED CHANGE IN METHOD OF DEALING WITH APPLICATIONS FOR BAIL
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OFFICIAL REPORT OF DEBATES

TRANSLATION OF FRENCH SPEECHES-REFERENCE TO DEBATES COMMITTEE

CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; Minister of Finance and Receiver General; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Right Hon. R. B. BENNETT (Prime Minister) :

Mr. Speaker, with the consent of the

house and before the debate on the budget is resumed I should like to move, seconded by Sir George Perley:

That the resolution adopted by the house on the 9th day of March. 1921, which appears at page 78 of the Journals, relating to the translation into English of all the speeches which have been delivered in French the preceding week, and the publication thereof on every Monday, during the session, be referred to the select standing committee on debates for examination and report as to the propriety of amending the order under which said translation and publication are now being made.

In practice it is rather difficult to carry into effect the exact terms of the resolution to which I have referred, and it is desirable that it should go to the select standing committee on debates to see if some change cannot be made that will be agreeable to all parties concerned. In order that the matter may be considered at once the clerk has suggested that the motion be. made to-night, so that the change may be effected at an early date.

Topic:   OFFICIAL REPORT OF DEBATES
Subtopic:   TRANSLATION OF FRENCH SPEECHES-REFERENCE TO DEBATES COMMITTEE
Permalink
LIB

Ernest Lapointe

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE:

May I ask in what respect difficulties have arisen?

Topic:   OFFICIAL REPORT OF DEBATES
Subtopic:   TRANSLATION OF FRENCH SPEECHES-REFERENCE TO DEBATES COMMITTEE
Permalink
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; Minister of Finance and Receiver General; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

The difficulty is that

under the present system publication of the English translation of speeches delivered in French during the week has to be made the following Monday. It was suggested that they might be published on Wednesday, rather than on Monday.

Topic:   OFFICIAL REPORT OF DEBATES
Subtopic:   TRANSLATION OF FRENCH SPEECHES-REFERENCE TO DEBATES COMMITTEE
Permalink

June 12, 1931