May 26, 1939 (18th Parliament, 4th Session)


Malcolm McLean


Mr. McLEAN (Melfort):

Oh, no. Just
look at the other measures that have been before the house. Surely my hon. friends are not going to say to me that the government should have railroaded or forced it through, or exercised rigid control over the house. I am sure my hon. friends will agree with me when I say that the democratic form of government is dependent on responsible representatives' who are members of chambers of this kind, and, unless we discipline ourselves, democracy cannot function and it cannot endure.
For a moment I am going to deal with some of the objections taken to the bill by the hon. member for Peace River (Mr. Pelletier). He said deliberately that this bill should not now be proceeded with. Why? Because we have not accurate information. Can anyone imagine a more foolish reason, given by a member representing a rural constituency in western Canada who came down here to solve the monetary problems of the nation? He has said that we have no accurate information about the problems involved in this bill, that the ability of the debtor to pay has not been considered, and that the measure should not be proceeded with. The bill contains a section providing for crop share payments, and the payments that will be asked from a debtor are to be reduced. But his ability to pay is not to be reduced.
Then the hon. member was afraid that this legislation would cancel provincial legislation. We have no responsibility in that

Central Mortgage Bank

regard as long as we keep within the realm of dominion authority. He said also it would be an invasion of provincial jurisdiction. It ill lies in the mouth of an hon. member supporting a provincial administration which has sought to invade federal jurisdiction so often, but fortunately so unsuccessfully, to say anything like that. The last complaint he had to this bill was that in the final analysis the companies would suffer no loss. Apparently this is a wrong principle to adopt in this house. It is harmful in the eyes of some members, fortunately few in number, if in the final analysis the companies are to suffer little or no loss.
I want to deal with two or three objections which were raised by the hon. member for St. Lawrence-St. George, including one or two apparent slips on his part. He is reported on page 4398 of Hansard as follows:
The policy in the past has been to allow individual creditors or companies to deal by compromise with individual debtors, and that policy has prevailed in this country thus far.
There was a time when that was correct, but on reflection I think my hon. friend will agree that during the past few years, under the legislation enacted by the dominion in connection with bankruptcy proceedings, this has not been so. Individual creditors and others have not been allowed to deal simply by compromise with their debtors. A compulsory method has been used rather than cooperation.

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