July 13, 1903

LIB

John Charlton

Liberal

Mr. CHARLTON.

There is a tax of two per cent on any other currency than that of the United States which the banks may handle; and you cannot dispose of such currency in any bank of the United States. It may go into the hands of the merchants on the frontier who have facilities for sending it over to Canada for redemption; but the use of Canadian currency in the United States is rendered impossible by the discrimination against its use by the laws of the land. This is a matter of no importance, however, and had it not been that the hon. gentleman called me down rather summarily for my ignorance on the subject, I would have had nothing to say in regard to it. I hare one suggestion, not of any great importance, which I would like to submit to the Finance Minister, that is, as to the name of these notes. Instead of calling them notes of the Dominion of Canada, which is simply the corporate name of the union of our various provinces, it would be simpler and probably just as well to drop the word ' Dominion,' and designate them as the notes of Canada. I make this suggestion for what it is worth.

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IND

William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative

Mr. MACLEAN.

In answer to the hon. member for North Norfolk, I must give my owii experience in the United States, not with banks, but with business people there, which is that they do commonly reject Canadian bank-notes. On the other hand, there is an immense circulation of United States notes in Canada, where there is no tax upon them. I believe there are millions and millions of the currency of the United States government in circulation in Canada, to the great benefit of the United States and to the detriment of our own banks and Canadian currency. It is time that we had some legislation in Canada to prevent the circulation of American notes in this country. We are glad to have the Americans come here and spend their money ; but this American currency is not sent back to the United States, but is continued here year after year. While American silver is largely circulated in Canada, they will not accept Canadian silver with the King's head on it in the United States; it is turned down there every day. They put a blight on it. so to speak. The hon. member for North Norfolk would be talking to the point if he said that what they do in the United States we should do in Canada. He is always? justifying something that is done in the United States, but he does not advise us what we should do in this country in the way of retaliation.

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LIB

Duncan Cameron Fraser

Liberal

Mr. FRASER.

I do not think there are as many American notes in this country as

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LIB

John Charlton

Liberal

Mr. CHARLTON.

the hon. member says. A short time ago, when I had occasion to go to Chicago, I found it necessary to go to three banks in Ottawa before I could get $50 in American notes. A certain amount of American notes are brought to Canada by persons who for the last few years have been living in the United States, and came to spend their holidays here or send money to their friends. In that way a fair amount of Yankee currency comes to Canada, but the amount is not very large. Only a certain number of our banks will take the American currency at its face value. That is largely the way any Yankee bills that are in Canada come in. Our people are not paying their bills in American currency. [DOT]

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CON

David Tisdale

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. Mr. TISDALE.

I do not think that the hon. Minister of Finance needs any suggestion about the form of Dominion notes ; but for the information of the hon. member for North Norfolk, let me tell him that you cannot make Canada promise to pay money, you can only make the Dominion of Canada, because the Dominion of Canada is the corporate name of Canada. I am more proud of the name of Dominion of Canada than Canada alone, because the Dominion means all of Canada. As a legal and financial proposition, the change could not be made. The Americans are not acquainted with our system of bank currency and will not look at our bank bills unless the promise to pay be made by the Dominion of Canada. It would be a great convenience to have $5 Dominion bills, because $4 bills are inconvenient to make change. I agree with my hon. friend from Guysborougb that we should not put any tax on American money. It is good money, and it is given to us in payment of what we sell. For people with such a large country, the Americans are very narrow in their currency regulations ; and they suffer for it. They tax their banks very high for the circulation which these banks are allowed to make. They compel them to have a dollar government security for every dollar of currency they issue, and that is one of the reasons of their burdensome regulations ; but many of the financiers are considering the question of establishing a banking system there similar to that in force here.

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LIB

John Charlton

Liberal

Mr. CHARLTON.

I can quite appreciate the conservative feeling of my hon. friend for South Norfolk (Hon. Mr. Tisdale) with reference to the detention of the full name ' The Dominion of Canada,' but I cannot agree with him as to its being essential or necessary to do so. I shall take the liberty of reading to my bon. friend an extract from the British North America Act, which will be quite as good an authority as his own dictum :

3. It. shall be lawful for the Queen, bv and with the advice of Her Majesty's most honourable Privy Council, to declare by proclamation that, on and after a day therein appointed, not

being more than six months after the passing of this Act, the provinces of Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick shall form and he ODe Dominion under the name of Canada ; and on and after that day those three provinces shall form and he one Dominion under that, name accordingly

4. The subsequent provisions of this Act shall, unless it is otherwise expressed or implied, commence and have effect on and after the union, that is to say, on and after the day appointed for the union taking effect in the Queen's proclamation ; and in the same provisions. unless it is otherwise expressed or implied, the name Canada shall be taken to mean Canada as constituted under this Act.

5. Canada shall be divided into four provinces. named Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

So that this land we live in and are so proud of is not ' the Dominion of Canada,' but ' Canada.' We had better stick to the name ' Canada ' and discard Dominion. Canada is a grand name, designating a mighty country and noble people, and will answer our purpose quite well.

With regard to the statement of the member for East York (Mr. Maclean), that I am always engaged in belittling things Canadian and using my efforts in this House for purposes adverse to Canadian interests, I would say to that hon. gentleman that I might quite properly raise a point of order upon the use in this House of old and musty chestnuts. The thing has not the merit of novelty, it would not have had it twenty-five years ago, when it was wont to be used from time to time by hon. gentlemen opposite who were at a disadvantage in argument, but it ought to be out of date at present. However, the hon. gentleman is quite welcome to all the comfort he can get from it.

With regard to allowing American currency to circulate in- this country it would be a misfortune to Canada to adopt the restrictive policy of the United States. It would be greatly to the advantage of business interests in that country if Canadian money were allowed to circulate there. It is no evidence of breadth of mind or good business views that Canadian money is not allowed circulation there. We have shown aptitude for acquiring money and have sense enough to want all we can get ; and if American currency -can be used for the purposes of money, the more we can get of it from travellers and others who buy Canadian products, the better for us. It is a narrow policy which will not take good money wherever it may come from. We should take all we can get and lay our plans, so far as we legitimately and honestly can, to get more.

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CON

David Tisdale

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. Mr. TISDALE.

My hon. friend is mixing up finance with geography. The name is ' Canada ' geographically, but politically and commercially ' Dominion of Canada ' is the corporate name.

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IND

Jabel Robinson

Independent

Mr. EOBINSON (West Elgin).

I take exception with the hon. member for North

Norfolk. I think Dominion a splendid name. And I should be very sorry indeed to see the word ' Dominion ' left out of Canada's title. We have the Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, we have other kingdoms in different parts of the world ; hut I do not think any country can show a name as good as ' The Dominion of Canada.' People like money, and no doubt our people are glad to see Americans come in here with money to spend. But, unfortunately for us, when our money goes into the United States it does not pass at its face value. Why should we be so generous as to take their money at par when they Insist upon a discount for ours ? I was travelling a few years ago in the United States, and wanted to pay for my berth in the sleeping car for the night. I had not sufficient currency to pay the conductor for the berth, so handed him a Canadian ten-doilar bill. Every gentleman has not a ten-dollar bill in his pocket when he wants it, unfortunately. This bill happened to be one of the Bank of Montreal issue. The conductor did not know anything about the Bank of Montreal. When I told him that the stock was worth two dollars for one, he looked at me as though I came from the Cannibal islands, and said : ' There is a discount of 25 per cent on this bill.' I said : ' Surely you are not going to demand that discount on the promise to pay of one of the best banks in Canada ? ' But when he persisted, I said : ' Have you a first class car on this train ? ' And when he told me that there was a first class car, I said :

' Give me back my ten-dollar bill.' He did not do it, but he took it away -and brought me back my change, $7.50, in silver, and I had to go all the distance with the annoyance of carrying about tnose big silver dollars. This illustrates the advantage of our own country issuing ten and twenty-dollar bills. For probably that conductor would have heard something about Canada, and, seeing a bill issued by this Dominion, he might be willing to take it at its face value. We ought to have Dominion bills of larger denominations than those now issued. The public would get the benefit of it if we issued our own money ; and I would like to see the government issue all the money, and issue it in the name of ' The Dominion of Canada.'

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LIB

Aaron Abel Wright

Liberal

Mr. WRIGHT.

I wish to say just a word about the circulation of American money. It is a good thing for us to get all the American money we can. With so much of it coming in, how is it that it' does not flood this country ? Let me tell you how the merchants get rid of the American money they take in. The Canadian Pacific Railway and the Grand Trunk Railway run into the United States. So all the merchants have to do when they get a quantity of American money on their hands is to use it to pay freight bills to either of these, roads. These companies take American money at par and send it out to the United States to pay their

own bills. So tbe American money we get in goes out of the country without the least trouble to our merchants.

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LIB
LIB

Joseph Israël Tarte

Liberal

Hon. Mr. TARTE.

The two languages, Drench and English, are official in this country. All our documents in this House must be printed in both languages. So I think it would 'be fair to have the new issue printed partly in French and partly in English. I think it would not interfere with the happiness of this country if the French language were recognized in this way as it is on other occasions so far as our parliamentary documents are concerned.

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LIB

Charles Marcil

Liberal

Mr. MARCIL (Bonaventure).

I think the idea expressed by the hon. member for St. Mary's, Montreal (Hon. Mr. Tarte), is certainly deserving of consideration. But it is more a sentimental than a practical question. But the suggestion made by the hon. member from North Norfolk (Mr. Charlton) is especially deserving of attention on the part of the Minister of Finance. The words ' Dominion of Canada ' have been translated in French by ' Puissance du Canada.' Great difficulty was found in choosing a French word having just the meaning of the word ' Dominion ' in connection with the name of Canada. It is now admitted that the word ' Puissance ' does not convey just the meaning of the word ' Dominion.' Therefore, I think the word 1 Dominion ' might well be left out. Let the. word ' Canada ' stand alone, and it would be accepted by the French and English alike, and would simplify matters very much.

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LIB

Joseph Israël Tarte

Liberal

Hon. Mr. TARTE.

Has not my hon. friend the Minister of Finance (Hon. Mr. Fielding) a word to say in answer to my question ? I would like to have a * yes ' or ' no.'

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

It is not my habit to give a ' yes ' or * no ' to a new Mr, WRIGHT.

question. I can only say that any suggestions from the hon. gentleman (Hon. Mr. Tarte) on this subject or any other shall receive careful consideration. But if he demands a ' yes ' or ' no,' surely he has forgotten the ministerial reserve which was at one time so important. Unfortunately, we are not so free to -say ' yes ' or ' no ' as the hon. gentleman is.

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LIB

Joseph Israël Tarte

Liberal

Hon. Mr. TARTE.

The answer is not very clear. I perfectly admit that the hon. gentleman (Hon. Mr. Fielding) has not said 1 yes ' and has not said ' no.' Diplomacy is all right, but a clear statement, either now or later, would be welcome indeed. The question is worthy of some consideration, unless I am very much mistaken.

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The MINISTER OF FINANCE.

I have assured the hon. gentleman that this and all other suggestions offered I shall feel it my duty to fully consider. But if I do not answer ' yes ' or ' no,' it is for reasons that the hon. gentleman, as an ex-minister, can fully appreciate.

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LIB
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).

Notwithstanding what my hon. friend the Minister of Finance has observed, it does seem to me that the course he proposes may at -some time in the future weaken our position in regard to the currency. Taking the amount the Minister of Finance has mentioned, $39,000,000, our reserve at the present time amounts to 65 per cent of the total issue of currency. Under the arrangement he proposes, our reserve will amount to 45 per cent of the total issue of the currency. Of course, if the amount of currency should be reduced to $30,000,000, it will stand, so far as proportion is concerned, at what it is now, 25 per cent in each case. But in that case there is $7,500,000 for which we provide no reserve whatever, in addition to the amount now standing without any reserve. I have no doubt that my hon. friend the Minister of Finance and his officials have considered this very carefully, but I think it cannot be disputed that our position is weakened to the extent I have mentioned, and we must surely call a reduction of the gold reserve from 65 per cent to 45 per cent a weakening of our position. We hre forced to take that view of it when we consider the possibilities of the future without looking solely at the business conditions that prevail today.

Resolutions reported, .read the first and second time and agreed to.

The MINISTER OF FINANCE moved for leave to introduce Bill (No. 222) respecting Dominion notes.

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Motion agreed to, and Bill read the first time.


THE OTTAWA IMPROVEMENT COMMISSION.

July 13, 1903