Mr. F. B. WADE (Annapolis).
The question of interest is regulated by chap. 127 R.S.C. and amending Acts. The law is not uniform for all the provinces, certain provisions applying to certain provinces only, and do not have general application. Some of its provisions relate to the province of Nova Scotia only. I refer particularly to section 13, chap. 127 as amended, which provides that at the present time interest upon real estate securities cannot exceed 7 per cent per annum, and on all other contracts, if there is not a stipulation, the rate is 5 per cent and there cannot be an agreement for over 10 per cent. Now, the Bi 1 which we are considering deals with transactions under $500, and legalizes the exacting of interest up to 20 per cent, and so would alter the law as it is in Nova Scotia by increasing the maximum rate of interest upon sums under $500 to 20 per cent. For that reason I object to the Bill. It does seem that the difficulty which is contemplated by the preamble of the Bill exists only in the province of Quebec and therefore it would be well to exempt the province of Nova -Scotia from its provisions, or let the same apply only to the province of Ontario and Quebec. If it is desirable that the law should apply to the province of Quebec I am sure I have no objection. We are not troubled with very many moneylenders in the province of Nova Scotia. The great worry with us is to find somebody to lend money to us.
utmost freedom of trade in the matter of lending and borrowing money. Many years ago the Usury laws so called, which prohibited the charging of more than a fixed rate of interest, were abolished, and the general opinion will be that since then money has become cheaper and cheaper year after year. I can remember very well when 10 per cent, or even 1 per cent per month was not considered a very inconsiderable charge to make for money on note of hand. That has all passed by now. In the maritime provinces on good security money can be freely borrowed at 5 per cent, and 6 per cent, 7 per cent, and 8 per cent is considered a good interest to pay on note of hand. My hon. friend from Laval (Mr. Fortin) stated the case in a nutshell when he said that while the principle of free trade in regard to the rate of interest is a good one, that possibly there might be exceptional circumstances which would justify a deviation from that good rule. The hon. gentleman from Hochelaga (Mr. Madore) told us that this Bill is based largely upon the Act which passed the Imperial House of Commons last year. I have given some attention to that English legislation and I read the report of the committee upon it and the debate in the House. It must be remembered that the law as it ultimately passed the British House of Commons is not at all of the same nature as the Bill now before us. There are special circumstances existing in England, particularly in London, which do not exist in Canada. Every one knows of the great scandals which resulted from the publication of the transactions of tlie celebrated usurer Isaac Gordon who died last year.