University of Toronto Law Journal
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Michael Trebilcock's scholarship has long recognized the importance of ideas, interests, and institutions in shaping policy. Taking the same analytical approach that Michael Trebilcock and Ninette Kelley use in their ground-breaking book on the history of Canadian immigration, which focuses on economic interests, contested ideas, and institutions, this article examines the Canadian historical experience to gain an understanding of the ideas, interests, and institutions that have been influential in shaping the evolution of Canadian bankruptcy law. Specifically, the article addresses the rise of Canadian bankruptcy legislation in the early post-Confederation period and its ultimate repeal in 1880. Bankruptcy law represented both a conflict of ideas over the morality of the bankruptcy discharge and a distinct divergence of interests between local and distant creditors over the advantages and disadvantages of a pro rata distribution. Institutional factors such as federalism, courts, and the emerging regulatory state also had an independent effect.