May 31, 1940 (19th Parliament, 1st Session)


James Layton Ralston (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)



The object of the bill
which is to be founded on this resolution is to provide that the Farmers' Creditors Arrangement Act shall be in force in Manitoba as it is in Alberta and Saskatchewan. It will be remembered that this matter has been the subject of legislation at two previous sessions. In 1938 I think it was, by amendment of the senate if I remember correctly, provision was made whereby the act was terminated, as far as its effect in Manitoba was concerned, as of June 30, 1939. Then in 1939 legislation was introduced similar to that which I am proposing now, to provide for reopening the act in Manitoba. That legislation was not carried by parliament although it passed this house. Since that time further representations have been received. The situation up to June 30, 1939, was as follows: From the time the act came into force until June 30, 1939, when it expired, as to future applications, 11,369 farmers in Manitoba had interviewed official receivers regarding their debts, and 4,714 had submitted proposals, of which 867 were awaiting final settlement on June 30, 1939. Since that time the board in Manitoba has been sitting, dealing with those cases which were outstanding as of June 30, 1939.
Representations are made that of those who failed to submit proposals a large number were from districts where adverse crop conditions had prevailed for a period of years, and therefore farmers had become so hopelessly involved that a -proposal was not practicable at the time. Another suggested reason why proposals were not made before the expiration of the act is that farmers who had not availed themselves of the benefit of it, a number of them at least, were those whose creditors, realizing that there was not any hope of collection, did not exert pressure and therefore there was no incentive to ask for the benefit of the act's provisions. The point is -made now that one fairly good crop has changed this situation. It is said that the farmers are faced with legal proceedings by foreclosure, seizure and dispossession, and that

every effort ought to be made to retain the farmers on the land as efficient producers. Hon. members will recall that according to its preamble the act was enacted originally not as a bankruptcy act for farmers but rather as a measure for the purpose of inducing farmers to remain on the land.
In April of this year the legislature of Manitoba adopted a resolution which is in the following terms:
That the legislature of Manitoba unanimously requests the passage by the parliament of Canada of adequate enabling legislation to make the King's Bench Amendment Act, 1939, effective in the province of Manitoba; or if the dominion parliament be not prepared to pass such enabling legislation, that in order to remove the present condition of injustice from which the Manitoba citizens suffer as compared with those of Alber-ta and Saskatchewan in the matter of debt adjustment legislation. the dominion parliament should reenact the Farmers' Creditors Arrangement Act as applicable to the province of Manitoba at the earliest possible time; and that copies of this resolution should be sent to the right honourable the Prime Minister of Canada and the members of the House of Commons and of the Senate.
Resolutions have been received also from the Manitoba Federation of Agriculture, Winnipeg, and numerous local farm organizations requesting the reenactment of these provisions.
It is with these conditions and representations in mind that we propose, if this resolution passes, to present to -the house a bill founded on this resolution for the purpose of extending the provisions of the act to apply in Manitoba.
As I recall, there is another section with regard to the matter of official receivers. This section may be dropped; it is only a formal section anyway. Its effect is to provide that in provinces in which there are no further proposals to be made, the official receivers appointed under the act shall cease to hold office, because there is no necessity for having provision for receivers if there is n-o work for them to do.

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