March 15, 1909 (11th Parliament, 1st Session)


William Erskine Knowles



I would be quite willing to acquiesce in the suggestion of the hon member for North Simcoe (Mr. Currie) if I could see any reasonable ground for believing his anxiety well founded. It would be rather presumptuous on my part to give an opinion off-hand on a debatable point regarding constitutional law, but I can see no reason for hesitation in this matter. When we have the power to create an insurance company, surely we have the power to place whatever restrictions we may deem advisable, on its operation. True, the provincial legislatures have jurisdiction in matters of civil contracts, but that must be taken within limits, such as in the case before us where we are asked to create a company and define what powers we shall give it. My hon. friend the Minister of Finance has called attention to the fact that this is the first occasion when objection has been raised to legislation of this kind; and before being asked to hold the Bill over, we ought to have some stronger reasons given for contending that it is ultra vires. Surely the anxiety of one individual is not sufficient reason for holding over the Bill. With all due regard for the valuable opinion of my hon friend, with which he so kindly favours us on frequent occasions, there is no documentary evidence and no seriously considered opinion submitted which would be a justification for our delay in passing the Bill.

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