There are some bankruptcy districts in the province of Quebec. May I first point out to the hon. member
for Stanstead that there are less bankruptcy districts than there are judicial districts in Quebec; secondly, may I mention to him that the bankruptcy districts to which he refers have never been utilized to my knowledge and that, in the general practice of the province of Quebec bar, petitions are filed in Quebec or Montreal, and the debtors are compelled to come to those cities and settle their bankruptcy affairs, with very few exceptions. What happens? Exactly what I was explaining a moment ago. The debtor- no more than the creditors of rural sections- is in no financial position to attend these creditors' meetings or to follow the litigation before the courts, so that bankruptcy affairs remain in the hands of people residing in large cities, and rural creditors can have no further redress and thereby lose all means of control.
I listened a few moments ago to the member for Quebec-Montmorency (Mr. Dorion) complaining of the delays which would result if the amendment was carried. Was there ever an objection so flimsy as that? We are all aware that owing to the congestion of business before the courts of Montreal and Quebec, but especially in Montreal, it is impossible to plead a case even though it be a summary one, without having to wait seven or eight months. When, in ordinary cases in Montreal, it is impossible to get a hearing within twelve to fifteen months. Such is the actual state in the large cities of the province of Quebec. In our own rural districts when a case is filed in the prothonotary's office of the superior court, it may be proceeded with within two or three months. With reference to delays, if a debtor contested a bankruptcy petition, in the Montreal district, I am sure that the creditor could not obtain judgment as quickly as he could in rural districts.
I entirely agree with the remarks made, a few moments ago, by the hon. member for Richelieu (Mr. Cardin). Complaint is made, to-day, in rural sections that too much centralizing is carried on in large cities. We hear complaints as regards judicial centralization which allows judges to reside in large cities, while in rural sections we can only obtain judges for five or ten days per month. The management of the National railways centralizes all in Montreal, notwithstanding that there exists a contract which obliges the Canadian National Railway to have a superintendent and his staff at Joliette, which is a divisional point of the Canadian National Railway.
We hear complaints of the centralization of commercial and industrial corporations which is detrimental to the rural district ratepayers. What purpose is to be gained in centralizing all in Montreal and Quebec if we allow all rural districts and towns like Joliette to go to ruin.
Mr. LaVERGN'E: Tell this to Mr. Lanetot.
Topic: BANKRUPTCY ACT AMENDMENT
Subtopic: PRESENTATION OF PETITION IN LOCALITY OF DEBTOR