Debtors can keep cow, sheep, hog, firewood

Law and order 1822-1967

A cow, three sheep, a hog, a stove, and a cord of firewood were to be exempt from the goods that a creditor could seize from a debtor, under provisions of a bill before the Lower Canada House of Assembly. From debate in the Assembly, as reported in the Montreal Vindicator, February 2, 1831.

Mr. Lee looked upon this measure as one that would greatly tend to reduce the evils of mendacity, for which every means, direct and indirect, ought to be employed. He was mortified to find that the sordid spirit of mercantile avidity so strenuously opposed it… [All would benefit from the Bill], even the dealer who speculates upon the distress of his neighbours. He will learn more caution in giving credit.

This measure will greatly reduce the evils of poverty… But the greatest good would arise from it to wives and families of poor debtors, who often, by the profligacy and vices of their husbands, encouraged and promoted by the sordid expectations of gain of the shopkeepers they deal with, are reduced to the utmost distress and destitution, and see their last little property sold for next to nothing.

They will now at all events be able, with a cow and stove, to feed and warm their poor children; and their spirit of industry will be revived to retrieve the affairs of the little family. The women, the wives and mothers, were the most to be considered in the protection that was thus to be given; and he spoke not only in allusion to the families of Canadians, but the families of the Scotch and Irish settlers, who form so valuable a portion of our population.

Insolvent and bankrupt persons (the two are legally different) today still have some protection against creditor seizure of some assets or property, but the complex laws vary in each province.

Unfamiliar Canadian history stories 009

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