The house resumed, from Tuesday, June 16, consideration of the motion of Hon. Mr. Dunning for the third reading of Bill No. 82, to amend the Bank of Canada Act.
Mr. J. S. WOODSWORTH (Winnipeg North Centre); Yesterday the house spent the entire day in discussing what words should appear on the bank notes, or more properly speaking, what languages should appear on
the bank notes. It seems to me there are other aspects of this legislation that are of immensely greater importance to the people of Canada, and which we are in danger of overlooking almost entirely. For some years we in our group have urged a government owned and controlled central bank; indeed we have gone so far as to urge the nationalization of our entire banking system. I admit frankly that unless the monetary policy is changed, government control of the central bank would not bring the desired results. I admit further that under this or any other government dominated by capitalist ideals no fundamental changes are likely. But I would urge that government control is a step at least in the right direction, and again, that a central bank controlled by the government would be necessary in order to carry out the policies which we in the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation advocate.
It is not my purpose to-day to make any extended speech. Our position has been stated on the resolution and in the committee. May I summarize what we have tried to say? We believe that this central bank as constituted cannot perform the functions which a central bank should perform. We believe that this legislation is a surrendering of sovereignty in the monetary field. Whether the parliament of Canada ever had that sovereignty is, perhaps, a matter to be discussed; but in any case we have in the central bank a more powerful instrument than w-e have ever had before, and as we see it, this instrument is being-given over into private hands and Canada cannot be sovereign in that monetary field under the existing arrangement. Again, this legislation grants special1 privileges and powers to a group of shareholders who constituted a very small proportion of the citizens of Canada. Further, this legislation does not, as we see it, implement the promises made by the Liberals during the election. Yesterday some of the Liberal members claimed that they had a mandate with regard to what language should be placed on government bills. I cannot see that they had any mandate with regard to that matter, .because it was not generally discussed at the election, but I think they did have a mandate to carry out certain financial or monetary reforms. Undoubtedly all over the country many Liberals said that if their party were returned to power we shoulcj have a national central bank. I do not want to go over the field again. I want just to put that on record. In my judgment the general belief was that if the Liberals were returned
Bank nj Canada-Mr. Woodsworth
to power we would have a nationally owned and controlled central bank. I do not believe this legislation gives us that.
So far there has not been an opportunity formally to place our position on record or to ascertain what support it has in this house. I attempted during the resolution stage to move an amendment, but it was ruled out of order. Possibly I could have moved on the second reading a resolution similar to that which I propose to move to-day. As a matter of fact the Speaker passed so quickly over the second reading that, although I was in the house and paying attention to the proceedings, I had not the opportunity to move my resolution. So I take this occasion to place our position on record.
As it has become almost the practice since the Liberals have been in power with such a large majority to challenge, as being out of order practically any motion that is made-