Hon. W. A. GORDON (Minister of Labour):
It will be recalled that the maximum annuity was reduced from 85,000 to 81,200 a year or two ago. It is an arguable question whether it was sound ever to have raised it from the original amount to 85,000. However, that was done. The maximum is now 81,200; the rate is four per cent, and I am inclined to the view that the course of wisdom would be to keep the maximum at $1,200 with the present rate of four per cent. The success that has been attained by the government in the sale of annuities in the last year is very remarkable. I do not say this in any way commending the government or our department for their activities, but when you find that people of modest means have subscribed during the last fiscal year more than 813250,000 to annuities that will take care of them in their old age, the plan of government annuities as at present conceived and carried on cannot be too highly commended.
In my judgment there should be no change in the .plan of annuities, although I know government annuities are sold to applicants in a measure cheaper than are annuities sold by a private company. That has been the subject of debate ever since the Annuities Act was introduced in 1908; reasons and very sound ones were given at that time and have been reiterated since, but the idea of the Annuities Act was to present to those who wanted to take care of themselves in their old age something perhaps a little easier to maintain through governmental assistance by way of taking care of administrative charges than what was made available by private corporations for those who are perhaps inspired to buy annuities away and beyond that class of people to which annuities were presented in the first instance.