Mr. SMITH (Victoria-Carleton):
I have been very much interested in this bill to amend the Canadian Farm Loan Act, which is a companion to the bill we passed this afternoon. As such it must afford relief to a number of farmers throughout our country in order that they may get that for which they have been looking so long. There was a great deal of discussion this afternoon on the bill which now stands for third reading, and I must confess that I am fairly well seized
Farm Loan Act
as to the meaning of that piece of legislation. If I understand it correctly it means, first, that if a farmer finds himself in distressed circumstances he may go to the receiver, and the receiver may say to him, "Let me have the number of your creditors, and their names." Then with that information before him he states, "We will take your case into consideration and, if the situation warrants, we will call the creditors into conference so that we may have a clear understanding of the whole situation." Then, having done that, and there comes a time when all the creditors do not agree, they will say, "We will submit this case to the court of review," upon which occasion the court of review makes the final decision as to whether or not there is a clear case. It seems to me that is absolutely clear, and ought to be a fair arrangement for the farmers. After having gone that far the farmer may find himself unable to meet his obligations, aind he states that he has been unable to meet them; the court of review has then no jurisdiction over him, in which event he goes to the bankruptcy court. I believe that is a correct understanding of the situation. After all this has been done, this bill, which I have described as the companion bill to the one discussed this afternoon, takes effect, and through its operation it is intended if possible to relieve the farmer.
We will suppose that a farmer owes $4,000 and finds that he is unable to pay it. Where will he get that money? My deduction is that it is intended he shall get the money through the farm loan board mentioned in the bill before us. During the last few years I have had some experience with the Canadian Farm Loan Board. 1 do not know what the experience of other hon. member's has been, but in the province of New Brunswick, and in my own constituency particularly, I want to state frankly that we have submitted a large number of cases to the Canadian Farm Loan Board at Ottawa, cases approved by the provincial board and in that respect different from those to which reference was made this afternoon. These cases have gone before the board at Ottawa and time after time have been turned down. I submit that to-day the Canadian Farm Loan Board is simply a collecting agency; it is no longer a lending power. If through the bill before us, which gives additional powers to the Canadian Farm Loan Board to lend on stock and on other securities offered, we get no farther than we have got in the past few years, we will not go very far towards providing money to assist the farmers in their agricultural pursuits. I believe hon. members know that in the past few years the Canadian Farm Loan Board
have not done more than could have been done by a collecting agency.
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