33. Mr. N. MACLIEAN
asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware that a large number of public companies have given during the past five years bonus shares to their shareholders; and whether it is the intention of the Government to introduce legislation this Session to compel companies to declare their actual subscribed capital and to pay dividends only upon the capital so subscribed?
§ Mr. BALDWIN
I have been asked to reply. The answer to the first part of this question is in the affirmative. An agreement has to be filed with the Registrar of Companies with respect to the allotment of all bonus shares, and such shares are included, in the next annual return of the company filed with the Registrar, among the shares which are allotted for a consideration other than cash. The shares issued for cash are shown separately in the annual return. I do not think there are any grounds for compelling a company to limit the payment of dividends to shares which have been subscribed for cash.
Would it not be in the public interest for general knowledge to be obtained of the actual subscribed capital of a company and of the actual dividends paid upon that subscribed capital? By the issue of bonus shares, does not the amount of dividend appear so reduced as to mislead the general public?