I would suggest that this is a debatable point, Mr. Speaker. But as I read it, this means that the person who signs the promissory note is made aware, by this caution, that the note can be transferred and he will still be liable for payment no matter how often the note is transferred. What I want to attach to the note is the liability of the person selling the goods. Let us use another example. Supposing I am a door-to-door salesman-and this is actually how it works-and I go to a house and say, "We have selected you from a list". This will be very familiar to people all across Canada. The
guy comes up and says, "We have chosen you out of a number of people on your block" or "on your concession, to provide you with aluminum siding. We hope you will explain to your friends that we have provided this. If you will help us to get your neighbours to buy this siding, and if you can get us ten customers who will buy it, you will get yours for nothing; we will put this siding on your house at no cost to you". Of course, he does not tell them they are going to put it on at the cost of hiring a carpenter to do it, namely $50 or $75 to install the siding. The man or woman involved does not look at the contract, or they do not understand it if they read it. In fact, most Philadelphia lawyers would not understand these contracts if they read them, because the fine print is so fine that you have to use a magnifying glass, and the wording, the legalistic jargon, or whatever you want to call it, does not really say what it means, and confuses the issue.
The person has the siding put on his house and finds that it is worth $3,000. He is told it will be done for nothing, but they only went out and hired a carpenter to instal it for $50. The buyer is told, "This siding is guaranteed for ten years. It never needs painting". Then he finds after two or three years that the promissory note has been transferred to an agency, and the paint is coming off the siding. He goes to the agent to whom he is making payments and finds that it is a finance company down the hall from where this other guy was operating; and because the company is out of business and does not exist any longer, he cannot do anything about it. He is stuck with a promissory note that gives a value of $3,000 for something that is not worth $300, because the goods are of an inferior quality. The whole thing is misrepresentation, and the buyer finds that he does not have any claim against anybody.
I honestly and sincerely believe that there is not a Member in this House who has not had a case of this nature brought to his attention and is not well aware of the problem. Because of this, Mr. Speaker, I say that the House must accept this kind of bill with amendments that will carry the liability with the promissory note. I don't give a damn if they can't sell these promissory notes. They should not be able to sell them. This is a dishonest transaction. No legitimate money lender or agency would buy one of these phony promissory notes without knowing something about the company that supplied
May 7, 1965
the product that resulted in the issuing of the promissory note.
Therefore anybody who gets stuck with this type of promissory note should have the Judge stand up and say, "You are a dishonest company. You are a fake company. You are only a dummy corporation collecting for the original fake company. I am therefore not interested in giving you judgment". I agree with the hon. Member for Spadina that there have been many honest Judges who have said this after listening to some poor family tell the story of the abject poverty to which they have been reduced because of buying something they did not want, could not use, and were high-pressured into buying. I think this House has an obligation to the public in this regard. Without a doubt in this respect we are the most backward country in the western world; we certainly go backward faster than we go ahead.
[DOT] (5:30 p.m.)
Surely we can consider what has been done by other countries in this regard. In my bill I simply applied the copyright principle. One of the few pieces of legislation passed by Canada which has been adopted by almost every other country in the world is the copyright legislation. By the principle of that legislation all the liabilities and assets in relation to the original patent, no matter how many people purchase it, remain with the original patentee. Surely this principle could be carried through in respect of the subject matter of this bill.
I hope this bill will not be referred to a committee. We discussed this subject matter in a committee last year. I am no longer a member of that committee, but I can say that the committee last year did not refer one piece of legislation back to this House. The House would be well advised to pass this legislation at this stage, without further study by a committee.
The hon. Member for Spadina (Mr. Ryan) referred to a four day cooling off period which is included in this proposed legislation.
Subtopic: PROVISION FOR CONTROL OF USE OF COLLATERAL BILLS AND NOTES