In 1880 the federal Parliament of Canada repealed the Insolvent Act of 1875, leaving debtor-creditor matters to be regulated by the provinces. Almost forty years later, Parliament finally passed new bankruptcy legislation, recognizing that what was once considered a moral evil had become a commercial necessity. In Ruin and Redemption, Thomas G.W. Telfer analyses the ideas, interests, and institutions that shaped the evolution of Canadian bankruptcy law in this era. Examining the vigorous public debates over the idea of bankruptcy, Telfer argues that the law was shaped by conflict over the morality of release from debts and by the divergence of interests between local and distant creditors. Ruin and Redemption is the first full-length study of the origins of Canadian bankruptcy law, thus making it an important contribution to the study of Canada’s commercial law.
‘Ruin and Redemption is a valuable addition to the excellent catalogue of the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History. It helps historians to better understand the legal structures involved in the regulation of debt and obligation.’
‘This is an excellent piece of scholarship.’
‘Law students, professors, and those interested in Canadian history generally can all take away something of value from this book. Telfer’s analysis is easy to follow…. No legal background is required to derive insight from reading this book.’
‘Tom Telfer deserves our congratulations for shining a light on what until now was an obscure and little-known episode in our legal history.’
‘Once established in the aftermath of the First World War, federal bankruptcy legislation in Canada has almost certainly become a permanent part of the economic landscape. Telfer’s monumental study is the definitive explanation for how that important sea change came to pass.’