October 19, 2006 by Canadian Underwriter
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper positioned his government’s support for independent brokers in the recent Bank Act review issue as a simple matter of fulfilling a campaign promise.
He made his remarks during a speech to more than 1,500 people attending the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario (IBAO) annual general meeting in Niagara Falls.
“In the letter [IBAO] Chief Operating Officer Randy Carroll wrote to invite me to speak at this convention, he said your association is extremely thankful that our government has upheld the position we took during the election campaign against direct selling of insurance products by the banks,” Harper told delegates who crammed into standing-room-only seating areas to hear the Prime Minister’s remarks.
“To which I would say, there’s no need to be thankful. We made a commitment, and we stuck to it. It’s as simple as that.”
During the federal government’s recent, mandated review of the Bank Act, the Canadian Bankers Association asked the government to give banks the power to provide consumers information about insurance products within their local branches a power the Bank Act currently does not allow.
During the last election, the Harper’s Conservative Party made a campaign promise that it would not give the banks such power. Recently, the finance ministry recently released a White Paper including proposed changes to the Bank Act the subject of banks providing insurance information through their branches is not mentioned in the paper.
Harper’s remarks which boiled down to telling brokers “your welcome” elicited a standing ovation. Deviating from script, he quipped that he appreciated the applause, saying: “Well, thank you very much. I really appreciate that especially since I have to talk to some bankers later today.”