December 18, 1962

PRIVATE BILLS


The house in committee on Bill No. S-14 respecting Merit Insurance Company-Mr. Macnaughton-Mr. Paul in the chair. On clause 1-Name in French.


NDP

Thomas Rodney Berger

New Democratic Party

Mr. Berger:

I think all members of the committee have some knowledge of the purpose of the bill which is, as I understand it, to give to the Merit Life Insurance Company the right to use a French version of its name. In my view, before the House of Commons passes this bill-though I understand that in the past bills of this nature have gone through as a matter of course-we should know something about the company which is seeking to have the right to use a French version of its name. I think the committee is entitled to know who owns the company and who controls the company. We in Canada have seen more and more of our industries, our resources and, in fact, even our savings drifting away from Canadian control. At some time during the debate on clause 1 of the bill I should like to see the hon. member who sponsored the bill rise and tell the committee who controls this company. My information is that the Merit Life Insurance Company is connected with the Industrial Acceptance Corporation and that in fact it is controlled by the Industrial Acceptance Corporation. May I say that it is a large investment corporation which is under the control of the Murchison brothers of Texas-

Topic:   INTERIM SUPPLY
Subtopic:   PRIVATE BILLS
Sub-subtopic:   MERIT INSURANCE COMPANY
Permalink
NDP

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

New Democratic Party

Mr. Douglas:

Of pipe line fame.

Topic:   INTERIM SUPPLY
Subtopic:   PRIVATE BILLS
Sub-subtopic:   MERIT INSURANCE COMPANY
Permalink
NDP

Thomas Rodney Berger

New Democratic Party

Mr. Berger:

Private Bills

When I say that it is a company which is controlled by the Murchison brothers of Dallas, Texas, I hope that no hon. member will think I am seeking to deprecate or to criticize the fact that the Murchison brothers of Dallas, with the benefit of a few million dollars which their father just happened to have around, were able to obtain control of a good deal of industrial and financial wealth. I am not deprecating or criticizing the fact that they used this money in order to build this financial empire. What I am deprecating, however, is the tendency of the parliament of Canada simply to pass a bill of this kind as a matter of course.

Topic:   INTERIM SUPPLY
Subtopic:   PRIVATE BILLS
Sub-subtopic:   MERIT INSURANCE COMPANY
Permalink
PC

Rémi Paul (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Deputy Chairman:

Order. The hon. member is now discussing the board of directors of the Merit Insurance Company. I am obliged to tell him that we are discussing the opportunity to give a French name to the Merit Insurance Company. If the hon. member reads rule 59(2), I am sure he will agree that at this time he cannot discuss all the business of the company. I am also sure he will try to stay in order and discuss only clause 1 of this bill.

Topic:   INTERIM SUPPLY
Subtopic:   PRIVATE BILLS
Sub-subtopic:   MERIT INSURANCE COMPANY
Permalink
NDP

Thomas Rodney Berger

New Democratic Party

Mr. Berger:

I appreciate very deeply, Mr. Chairman, your advice as to the propriety of the remarks I have been making. I can assure you that it was my intention throughout to discuss only clause 1 and to deal only with matters which were relevant to clause 1.

Let me make it clear that, if this company is seeking to use a French version of its name, this is a matter of some moment not only to members of the House of Commons who represent constituencies in those parts of Canada which have a predominantly French speaking population but also to all other members of the House of Commons since, in my opinion, it is something which affects the whole question which I sought to raise and which I will try to justify to you, Mr. Chairman; I refer to the question of foreign control over Canadian industry.

Topic:   INTERIM SUPPLY
Subtopic:   PRIVATE BILLS
Sub-subtopic:   MERIT INSURANCE COMPANY
Permalink
PC

Rémi Paul (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Deputy Chairman:

Order. I cannot accept the remarks of the hon. member, as he is again trying to discuss the activities of the company. The principle we are discussing is the opportunity or otherwise for this company to use a French name and an English name in its business. That is the only question we have before us for study at the present time. In my opinion, the hon. member may not discuss any other subject than this one, which is included in clause 1 of the bill respecting Merit Insurance Company.

Topic:   INTERIM SUPPLY
Subtopic:   PRIVATE BILLS
Sub-subtopic:   MERIT INSURANCE COMPANY
Permalink
NDP

Thomas Rodney Berger

New Democratic Party

Mr. Berger:

Let me say at once, Mr. Chairman, that if the only thing we had under consideration was whether or not it is a good thing for corporations carrying on business in

Canada to use French versions of their corporate names in French speaking parts of Canada, I suppose all of us would agree with the clause in question which gives effect to this intent and would agree to pass it without any objection whatever.

Topic:   INTERIM SUPPLY
Subtopic:   PRIVATE BILLS
Sub-subtopic:   MERIT INSURANCE COMPANY
Permalink
LIB

Leon David Crestohl

Liberal

Mr. Crestohl:

That is the only question before the committee.

Topic:   INTERIM SUPPLY
Subtopic:   PRIVATE BILLS
Sub-subtopic:   MERIT INSURANCE COMPANY
Permalink
NDP

Thomas Rodney Berger

New Democratic Party

Mr. Berger:

However, Mr. Chairman, we are concerned about the propriety of this corporation being given the right to use a French version of its name. We are not dealing only with the question whether it is advisable generally to allow corporations to use French versions of their names. We are concerned about this corporation. I suggest to you, Mr. Chairman, and to members of the committee that, in the exercise of its supervisory jurisdiction over the insurance companies which carry on business in this country, the House of Commons must know who is seeking to use this name.

The Depuiy Chairman: Order. The committee is not to discuss or try to ascertain the purposes of the directors of the company in seeking to use a French and an English name. We are not to discuss all the activities of the company. We are only to study the merit of this bill and the opportunity for this company to do business under either a French or an English name. That is the only matter we can discuss. If the hon. member will look at the bill he will see that the explanatory note says:

The sole purpose of this bill is to add a French version to the name of Merit Insurance Company.

I am sure the hon. member will try to be in order and to make his remarks relevant to the principle of the bill.

Topic:   INTERIM SUPPLY
Subtopic:   PRIVATE BILLS
Sub-subtopic:   MERIT INSURANCE COMPANY
Permalink
NDP

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

New Democratic Party

Mr. Douglas:

On the point of order, Mr. Chairman, I recognize that there are limitations to what one can deal with on the first clause, but I submit that if this committee is being asked to allow the company to adopt a French name surely the committee also has some responsibility to ascertain who it is that is asking for this privilege. Are they responsible people? What is their background? What is their rating in the community? Surely these are relevant questions. Surely the committee is not going to be faced with a simple yes or no with regard to whether the company should be granted or denied this right. How can the committee decide unless it ascertains who it is that is making the request, what their status is and whether or not they are worthy of receiving this privilege?

The Depuiy Chairman: With regard to the remarks made by the hon. member for Burnaby-Coquitlam, if he will read standing

order 59 (2) I am sure that with his experience he will realize I am obliged to ask the hon. member who had the floor to be in order and to speak only on the purpose of the bill. It is not my privilege to extend the limits of the debate. I am obliged to ask the hon. member to respect the ruling of the Chair.

Topic:   INTERIM SUPPLY
Subtopic:   PRIVATE BILLS
Sub-subtopic:   MERIT INSURANCE COMPANY
Permalink
SC

Gilles Grégoire

Social Credit

Mr. Gregoire:

On the point of order, Mr. Chairman, in the same clause 1 provision is made for the company to sue or be sued in either or both names. If such permission is given to a company it is normal to investigate that company to decide whether permission should be given to do business in this way. Therefore, why should we not investigate the whole company? I suggest that the hon. member was completely in order.

Topic:   INTERIM SUPPLY
Subtopic:   PRIVATE BILLS
Sub-subtopic:   MERIT INSURANCE COMPANY
Permalink
LIB

Alan Aylesworth Macnaughton

Liberal

Mr. Macnaughlon:

Mr. Chairman, if I may be given the opportunity to answer some of the allegations I would be delighted to do so. As my first point I should like to say that private bills, of course, need a sponsor and accidentally, or co-operatively if you wish, I happen to be the private member sponsoring this bill. I have no personal, financial interest in the company or its shares and no personal interest in the directors or anything else.

Topic:   INTERIM SUPPLY
Subtopic:   PRIVATE BILLS
Sub-subtopic:   MERIT INSURANCE COMPANY
Permalink
LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

Mr. Chairman-

Topic:   INTERIM SUPPLY
Subtopic:   PRIVATE BILLS
Sub-subtopic:   MERIT INSURANCE COMPANY
Permalink
PC

Rémi Paul (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Deputy Chairman:

Order. I think the hon. member is not discussing the point of order but is answering the remarks that have been made.

Topic:   INTERIM SUPPLY
Subtopic:   PRIVATE BILLS
Sub-subtopic:   MERIT INSURANCE COMPANY
Permalink
LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

Mr. Chairman, I should like to say a word on the point of order.

Topic:   INTERIM SUPPLY
Subtopic:   PRIVATE BILLS
Sub-subtopic:   MERIT INSURANCE COMPANY
Permalink
NDP

Thomas Rodney Berger

New Democratic Party

Mr. Berger:

Mr. Chairman, I would be pleased to-

Topic:   INTERIM SUPPLY
Subtopic:   PRIVATE BILLS
Sub-subtopic:   MERIT INSURANCE COMPANY
Permalink
PC

Rémi Paul (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Deputy Chairman:

Order. I would ask the hon. member for Mount Royal to discuss the point of order only at this time.

Topic:   INTERIM SUPPLY
Subtopic:   PRIVATE BILLS
Sub-subtopic:   MERIT INSURANCE COMPANY
Permalink
LIB

Alan Aylesworth Macnaughton

Liberal

Mr. Macnaughton:

Are we discussing the point of order? I should like to answer the points raised if I may have the opportunity.

Topic:   INTERIM SUPPLY
Subtopic:   PRIVATE BILLS
Sub-subtopic:   MERIT INSURANCE COMPANY
Permalink

December 18, 1962