February 11, 1927 (16th Parliament, 1st Session)


Charles Stephen Booth


For the benefit of
those of us who have had no legal training I hope the minister will explain bow this arrangement can be forced upon individual bondholders. It looks to me like the confiscation of their existing bonds and the substitution of something else whether the individual bondholder may be agreeable or not. I understood the minister to say yesterday that this was not a matter of charity or of a compassionate allowance; he stated that these individuals had a legal claim. Well, if they have a legal claim, how can that claim be superseded in the way here proposed? If one individual bondholder undertakes to stand out, how can he be forced to come into the scheme? And if he can be forced into the scheme, then it is worth considering whether or not we are right in proceeding with the arrangement. If there is nothing legally binding on us in this regard it seems to me that the other question which was discussed yesterday must come up again. These people gave bonds for a concern that proved bankrupt and the Dominion came to the resuce and stood behind the railway. Now it appears that we are to honour all the claims that exist in regard to this unsuccessful railway. Why should we do so if we are under no legal obligation? These are questions that should be clearly explained before we adopt this legislation. We were told yesterday of one instance in which one party signed the contract while the other declined to do so. It seems to me that in this case the Dominion is signing. How shall we force the other people to sign if they do not want to do so?

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