Personally I think so. It was a suggestion which I and others made to the banking and commerce committee. Had this bill come before the committee earlier in the session, as it should have, we would have had time to explore these things and probably reconstruct the bill much more effectively than was possible in the limited time at our disposal. The other function, that of inspiring the extension of credit facilities for new lending is, I submit, an entirely different matter. The two are not compatible; on the contrary they are conflicting.
The next point to which I wish to refer is that the governor and the deputy governor of the Bank of Canada are made the governor and the deputy governor of the central mortgage bank. Not only that, but the governor of the Bank of Canada is made its chief executive. As I stated in the banking and commerce committee, I have nothing but admiration and respect for the governor of the Bank of Canada as a great banker. Indeed I go much further and say that I have met or listened to few men who had a deeper and more profound grasp of politic-economic problems than has the governor of the Bank of Canada. I have no hesitancy in paying the highest tribute to him in his capacity as governor and in a broader and more general capacity. But the function of a banker is distinct and separate from the function of the manager of a mortage corporation or the chief executive of an insurance corporation. There is a marked distinction between the functions of the two; there is indeed an absolute difference in the psychology which they involve.
I am indeed pleased, Mr. Speaker, to pause and to give vocal expression to the applause that has just greeted the hon. member for Prince (Mr. MacLean), who has just come in.
I am sure we are all glad that he has recovered from illness and is able to be in the house . again.
I was about to say that it does not follow that because a man may be an exceptionally capable banker he will necessarily be the best type of person to fill the chief executive position in a mortgage bank. In fact, I do not care to limit myself to that term; I would say an institution, a large part of the duty of which will be to liquidate existing mortgages and to put into operation a new and extended scheme. I submit, therefore, that the measure is weak in that respect as well.
There are two main desiderata which the bill is supposed to satisfy. In the first place there is the need for debt adjustment, and that again is divided into sections, as the hon. member for St. Lawrence-St. George (Mr. Central Mortgage Bank
Cahan) has already so ably pointed out. A large number of members of the committee on banking and commerce and other hon. members share this view. On the one hand there is the class who might be described, in my opening words, as deserving and distressed debtors. There is no question about the desirability of assisting these. On the other hand, among the beneficiaries under this bill, there will be a very large number of debtors who are quite competent to carry out the contracts entered into by them under various mortgages; and not only, perhaps, are the majority of those in the urban class capable of carrying out their contracts, but those contracts are not unreasonable at rates varying from five and a half to six and a half per cent, or, if we take the average given by a witness we had before us, from 5-9 to 6-2 per cent. There is no need, therefore, to make provision out of the funds of the taxpayers of Canada to benefit that large class. There again, in my opinion and in the opinion of many other members of the committee, there is a definite weakness in the bill.
The hon. member for Fort William (Mr. Mclvor) in his characteristic manner, before the noon recess, congratulated the minister. My hon. friend has a habit, during the passage of various measures, of rising in his place in the house and congratulating the minister. I also congratulate the minister upon having such a devoted and abject supporter as he has in the hon. member for Fort William.
Topic: CENTRAL MORTGAGE BANK
Subtopic: PROVISION FOR INCORPORATION, PURCHASE OF SHARES, GUARANTEE OF DEBENTURES, ETC.