by Thomas Telfer, Faculty of Law, University of Western Ontario, published by the University of Toronto Press, 2014. $45, student price $20.
Professor Telfer’s deeply researched book shows that between Confederation and 1919, when the federal parliament passed the Bankruptcy Act that remains the basis of the current law, Canadians debated insolvency law with a perhaps surprising amount of passion. The discharge raised deep issues of commercial morality, while arguments about priorities pitted local against regional and national interests. Federalism complicated the story, as it often does in Canadian legal history, as the federal parliament abandoned its jurisdiction over bankruptcy for decades.