Mr. Fleming (Eglinlon):
There has been lending done by the credit unions. When I made arrangements with the chartered banks to continue their lending operations under the act during the period between December 11, 1958 and the date the present proposed measure comes into effect a similar arrangement was made with the credit unions. However, I shall endeavour to obtain the information sought by the hon. member and give it to the house when the bill comes before the house on the motion for second reading.
I was also asked as to the number of applications rejected. I doubt whether that information is available because these are applications made to banks, credit unions or caisses populaires, not applications made to the department.
Various suggestions have been made as to ways in which the scope of the act might be extended. The hon. member for Queens-Lunenburg put forward a concrete proposal which was supported by the hon. member for St. John's East and also by the hon. member for Burin-Burgeo. I may say that the first two named members spoke to me about this matter also after the resolution appeared on the order paper. I may also say that I have been very much impressed by the suggestion and I tell the committee now, as I told my hon. friends, that I shall certainly be prepared to give very sympathetic consideration to the suggestion. I think there is merit in the proposal that has been made. It is a fact that the act, which has not been amended since it first came into effect in 1955, does not permit a guaranteed loan to be made to a person who at one time had an interest in a fishing vessel but no longer has such interest or to a person who desires to acquire an interest in a fishing vessel for the first time. As I have told my hon. friends, I shall certainly be glad to give very sympathetic consideration to the suggestion which has been made.