July 19, 1917

CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

There is a provision in the Bill which permits of that. It may be conditional as to time-indeed it has to be conditional as to time in all cases such as my hon. friend mentions, and a man may complete whatever business arrangements he may' be engaged in.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Permalink
LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

I drew the attention of the right hon. leader of the House to the question of insurance premiums. Several young men who are liable to be called under the Act have written stating that the insurance companies find it necessary to raise the premiums. For instance, a

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young man who has agreed to pay a premium of, say, $200 a year, is subject to the war risk if he is called, and he may have to discontinue paying the premium, and lose whatever payments he has made. This is a very serious condition, and I would like to know if it is not possible to devise a means by which the extra cost of the premium might be paid by the Government, or if legislation should not be enacted fixing a maximum rate or obliging the insurance companies to maintain the present rates. I have seen this question discussed in the public press, and I am sure many hon. members have received such representations from their constituents who are liable to be called. It seems to me the Government should take the matter in hand, and either assume the excess Tate of premium or amend the Insurance Act in such way as to fix a maximum premium. The right hon. gentleman (Sir Robert Borden), in the absence of the Minister of Finance who administers the Insurance Act, was kind enough to inform me that the question had engaged the attention of the Government. What statement has the Government to make on the subject?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Permalink
LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

Before the Prime Minister speaks, may I point out the difficulty in the way of the proposition made by my hon. friend (Mr. Lemieux). Insurance companies are for the protection of a vast number of widows and orphans, and they must keep faith with those who are insured and must maintain themselves in a position to carry out their contracts. Most of the companies in Canada have for those who insured before the war, a war clause in their contracts, and if they have gone to the front they have gone under the same conditions as existed before and do not pay any extra premiums. Since the war broke out every risk taken has a clause which says that if the insured goes to war the rates shall be war rates, and the amount is stated in the contract.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Permalink
LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Liberal

Mr. LEMIEUX:

As an expert in insurance, would my hon. friend (Mr. Graham) kindly inform me what is the extra premium for war risks on, say, $1,000 of insurance?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Permalink
LIB

George Perry Graham

Liberal

Mr. GRAHAM:

The rates differ with different companies. Some companies, particularly the smaller ones, have practically placed themselves in the position that they do not care to take war risks, because they feel they cannot do it without impairing

their financial stability. The increase is considerable. If the Government wishes to take the responsibility of assuming the extra liability, I have no objection-; but if the Government were to pass an Act saying that all companies must carry these war risks at a certain rate, notwithstanding the contract with the insured, they might as well ask many of the companies to give up their charters and go out of business. That would be altogether unfair to the insured, because life insurance is not like an ordinary business. A life insurance company is a protector, and it charges so much for the protection it offers. Its first duty is to protect the widows -and orphans of the insured. I would protest against the passing of an Act to compel insurance companies to carry these risks at a dower rate than they now carry them, because it would mean that many of the smaller companies might as well hand over their whole business to the Government.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Permalink
LIB

William Pugsley

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY:

I ask the Minister of

Militia if -it is true, as I have seen stated in some of the United States papers, that the United States Government has decided to effect insurance to the extent of $4,000 upon all those who- enlist, the Government paying the premium? It has occurred to me that that is a very proper thing to do, and if it has been done the example might very well 'be emulated here.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Permalink
CON

George Henry Bradbury

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BRADBURY:

Would that -apply to

the 400,000 men already at the front?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Permalink
LIB
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

With respect to the inquiry of the hon. member from Rou-ville (Mr. Lemieux), I may say the Minister of Finance has been absent, and only returned at one o'clock to-day, so that there has been no opportunity of conferring with him. I shall bring it to his attention at the earliest opportunity. It is not a subject that can be dealt with in this Bill, but there is a great deal of force in what my hon. friend from South Renfrew (Mr. Graham) has urged.

I think he has outlined the situation fairly well. If anything of that kind were done, it could hardly be accomplished by imposing on the insurance companies a liability which they were not willing to undertake and which might result in ultimate disaster to persons interested in the companies as shareholders or -as insured. There is matter for consideration in what the hon.

member for Rouville has mentioned and I shall be glad to take it up with the Minister of * Finance. In reply to my. hon. friend from St. John (Mr. Pugsley), I am informed by the Minister of Militia and Defence that he has no such information about the course pursued by the United States, but we will make inquiry on the subject.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Permalink
LIB

Charles Marcil

Liberal

Mr. MARCIL:

With regard to the insurance matter, a concrete case came to my attention last year. A young hoy from my constituency, having enlisted, was killed at the front. After his death his father and mother received a letter which had been written hurriedly by him in lead -pencil -and in which he said: My life has been insured for $1,000. He did not- mention the name of the company and they have not been able to claim the -amount. I would like to know if it is possible for the Government to require insurance companies taking o-utt risks-on soldiers to report that fact to the department.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Permalink
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

I dare say it

would be possible but it would be hardly necessary because one would imagine that any one effecting insurance would leave the policy in care of some relative or friend and -consequently there would be knowledge on the part of those whose duty it would be,to see that the amount* was collected.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Permalink
LIB

Charles Marcil

Liberal

Mr. MARCIL:

This hoy did hot have the opportunity. Coming from the shanties he enlisted here and his parents, who lived in Gaspe, never -saw him. They did not know in which company he had been insured.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Permalink
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Sir ROBERT BORDEN:

If the hon. gentleman would write a letter setting out the information he has, possibly an inquiry could be made which would elicit the desired information.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Permalink
LIB

Wilfrid Laurier (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Sir WILFRID LAURIER:

Shall we take the Bill clause by clause?

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Permalink
CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

I would think it not

necessary itlo go -through the Bill clause by clause. What the Government has to suggest in regard to the Bill is brief. In the first pil-ace, I wish to refer to clause 13. This is the clause which makes the Militia Act, the Army Act and the Kings Regulations and Orders applicable. It has been represented to me with considerable force, chiefly from the legal standpoint, that it would be better to leave out the words " applicable and." The clause reads now .that these acts and regulations:

Shall so far as applicable and not inconsistent therewith apply to and form part of this Act.

The subject was called to the attention of the committee by my hon. friend from North Perth (Mr. Morphy). There have been decisions on the subject and when we

are making an Act

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Permalink
L-C
CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

On the question as to

the effect pf the words " so^ far as applicable". When the legislation itself makes the Act applicable, it is better leave out the words " so far as applicable

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Permalink
LIB
CON

Arthur Meighen (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Yes. I therefore move t,o reconsider clause 13.

Topic:   QUESTIONS.
Subtopic:   MILITARY SERVICE ACT, 1917.
Permalink

Motion agreed to.


July 19, 1917