Mr. E. B. OSLER (West Toronto).
Speaking for Toronto, and from what I know of Ontario, I do not think there is any need for this Bill. I have heard very little complaint, certainly of late years, of any great hardship in connection with usury. When times are hard, it is quite natural that cases will happen of very high rates of interest being charged. But, I do not think many such cases prevail, at any rate, in the older communities. I dare say that in Manitoba things may be different, and that there, money being scarce, very high rates will be charged. I think it would be a mistake to enact such a law as this, for it is not required now, and it would have a very
bad effect as interfering with freedom of trade in this regard. If a man is desparate-ly hard up, he will borrow money from a money-lender if he can, no matter what laws you make to prevent him doing so; and, often the more difficult you make the borrowing of money under these circumstances, the higher the rate the borrower has to pay, because of the greater risk the lender runs; and yet the lending and borrowing will go on where men are bound to have money, and other men will lend it at a very high rate taking risks. I fail to see how any good can come of this Bill, even if it is passed by the House.