February 9, 1937

LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, I did not like to interrupt the hon. member (Mrs. Black) when she was speaking, but I am not quite sure whether she was speaking to the notice of motion which stands in her name on the order paper and which, in the ordinary course of events, would have been the first order of business to-morrow. When the hon. member began to speak I assumed she had in mind saying something on the orders of the day. However I imagine the house will grant permission to the Minister of Finance (Mr. Dunning) to answer the hon. member's questions, if he is in a position to do so. Perhaps the minister's answer will cover what the hon. member has in mind.

Topic:   STATEMENT OF MRS. BLACK ON MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE-SUGGESTED ISSUE OF SILVER DOLLARS
Permalink
IND

Martha Louise Black

Independent Conservative

Mrs. BLACK:

Thank you.

Hon. CHARLES A. DUNNING (Minister of Finance): Mr. Speaker, I cannot deal with the portion of the hon. member's question which relates to souvenirs. I believe my colleague, the Minister of National Revenue (Mr. Ilsley) could give information as to what is to be done in that regard.

Topic:   STATEMENT OF MRS. BLACK ON MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE-SUGGESTED ISSUE OF SILVER DOLLARS
Permalink
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

The hon. member indicated that the matter of souvenirs is only incidental.

Topic:   STATEMENT OF MRS. BLACK ON MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE-SUGGESTED ISSUE OF SILVER DOLLARS
Permalink
LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

But with regard to the main question, namely that regarding coinage, may I say that the government found itself in some difficulty. At the time of the abdication of the former king certain steps had been taken and certain approval given with respect to the image of the king which was to appear on our new coins. None of the new coins had been issued because in fact dies had not been received from London, where their final

Suggested Issue of Silver Dollars

preparation was undertaken. It was necessary therefore to begin all over again, and only recently has the necessary approval been received with respect to the image of the head of King George VI which is to appear on all Canadian coins minted in the future. There is some doubt as to whether we will receive the dies in time to have the issue of any new coins in circulation by coronation time. Every effort is being made to bring that about, but under the circumstances no arrangement has been made for the coinage of any special coins.

I believe I am in a position to give some information regarding silver dollars. Up to the present time we have issued 743,720 silver dollars. Of course, as required, the minting of the King George V coins is proceeding until such time as King George VI coins can be minted. A reserve supply of these silver dollars is kept available at all offices of the Bank of Canada throughout the dominion, and the chartered banks therefore can secure conveniently from the provincial headquarters of the Bank of Canada a supply of these dollars in order to meet the public demand for them. There is a substantial demand in the parts of Canada which are interested in the production of silver, but generally speaking, in the other parts, the demand appears to be moderate and mainly for souvenir purposes. I believe that is all I can usefully say in the matter.

I do not believe that at this stage it would be practicable to attempt to evolve a special jubilee dollar, nor would it have been possible in the time at our disposal before the coronation of King George VI to secure the dies necessary for a special dollar. Of course it would differ in some respects from the ordinary one. May I explain to the bon. member that the side on which the king's heart aoes not appear is not changed as the result of a change in the person of the monarch. The only change would be on the side on which the monarch's head appears.

In order to issue a souvenir dollar in time for the coronation we would require a die with a completely different obverse side. I believe the hon. member will readily understand that in the manufacture of dies for coins we cannot complete the finishing process in Canada. As other parts of the empire have their work done in London, the bouse will realize that at this time there is a heavy strain upon the facilities there available.

Topic:   STATEMENT OF MRS. BLACK ON MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE-SUGGESTED ISSUE OF SILVER DOLLARS
Permalink
LIB

Thomas Reid

Liberal

Mr. THOMAS REID (New Westminster):

Mr. Speaker, it had been my intention to speak to this subject when the notice of motion should come before the house to-morrow. I speak now, however, because, although I am not as conversant with the rules of the

house as many hon. members may be, I am afraid in view of the observations to-day of the hon. member for Yukon (Mrs. Black) there will be no opportunity to-morrow to speak to this matter. Personally I should have liked to see a full dress debate on this important matter and in support of silver.

As an advocate for the past six or seven years of the use of silver, I feel it incumbent upon me to support the hon. member for Yukon in the suggestion she has made. May I point out to her, however, that if it is her object only to popularize the silver dollar it might be as well to place on one side the image of the Duke of Windsor and on the other that of Mrs. Simpson. If that is the hon. member's only object, may I observe that the mere issuing of one million silver dollars will do very little to popularize the greater use of silver, as such, in Canada.

I should like to see the Minister of Finance (Mr. Dunning) seriously consider taking over all silver in Canada, and issuing silver certificates. Such action would do much for Canada. Not only would it provide employment for many thousands of our citizens, but it would also put currency in circulation at no cost to the government. It is not my intention to delay the house on this occasion, upon going into supply, because possibly I may have more to say at another time. I feel it my duty, however, to join in urging that serious consideration be given to the issuing of silver coinage, including silver dollars, to a greater extent than has been done.

It is true, as the Minister of Finance has pointed out, that over 743,000 silver dollars have already been issued, but as they can be produced at the rate of 20,000 per day with the present equipment at the Mint, only about fifty days would be required to issue a million.

It is true that perhaps silver dollars are not as popular as they were in days gone by, but in view of the fact that the government is making seventy per cent profit there is no reason why another machine should not be purchased to run at full blast. This would not in any way injure the credit of Canada. Hon. members who bewailed the fact that such procedure might injure our credit need only look at what has happened across the boundary line. Would any person say that to-day the American dollar is worth less than the Canadian, or that the credit of the United States is not as good as that of Canada? Yet during the past two or three years that country has purchased over one billion ounces of silver, and paid for it by issuing silver certificates. That could be

Supply-External Affairs

done in Canada, if we had only the intestinal fortitude as against the bankers, if I may use the term, to go ahead and do it. That could be done, despite what they tell us.

I am not unmindful of the cry against any inflation in Canada. Germany is usually pointed out as the horrible example. I am not advocating that we should repudiate everything, but I will say that the credit of Germanj' is just as good to-day as that of any other country, because it would appear that Great Britain is only too willing to lend money to that country. There is nothing very serious in that argument.

However, I shall leave any further observations in this connection until later. As I say, I join with the hon. member for Yukon in the suggestion she has made, but I am sorry the discussion has taken place on such short notice. I should have liked to see the resolution discussed in the regular manner when called on Wednesday, but, speaking as a comparatively new member, may I say that one never can tell what will take place in this chamber.

Topic:   STATEMENT OF MRS. BLACK ON MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE-SUGGESTED ISSUE OF SILVER DOLLARS
Permalink
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Right Hon. R. B. BENNETT (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, on frequent

occasions I have endeavoured to ascertain why fifty cent and one dollar silver coins circulate so little in Canada. In England the half crown is greatly in circulation, and our silver dollar, at least the last one minted, is not so large a coin. I may say that I have never recived one of these dollars over the counter as change since they were first issued. The difficulty is not, as suggested by the hon. member for New Westminster (Mr. Reid), the unwillingness of the country to coin them; it is the unwillingness of the people to use them. I rise only to ask the minister if there is not some method by which we could popularize the use of these coins. The fact is that people will not and do not circulate them. Could the minister say how many of the 743,000 silver dollars which were issued are now in circulation, as against those in the custody of the receiver general?

Topic:   STATEMENT OF MRS. BLACK ON MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE-SUGGESTED ISSUE OF SILVER DOLLARS
Permalink
LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

I cannot give an exact figure. We endeavour to adjust the supply to the demand., holding merely a reserve sufficient to enable us to supply what experience indicates the demand to be. I think most of them will be found to be in circulation.

Topic:   STATEMENT OF MRS. BLACK ON MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE-SUGGESTED ISSUE OF SILVER DOLLARS
Permalink
LIB

Daniel (Dan) McIvor

Liberal

Mr. DANIEL McIVOR (Fort William):

Mr. Speaker, the suggestion was made by the hon. member for New Westminster (Mr. Reid) that the heads of the present and former

kings should be placed on these dollars. I do not think anyone could take the place of Queen Elizabeth. King George and Queen Elizabeth are equal and no one could take the queen's place. It would be less popular to have the present king and the former king on these coins.

Topic:   STATEMENT OF MRS. BLACK ON MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE-SUGGESTED ISSUE OF SILVER DOLLARS
Permalink
LIB

Thomas Reid

Liberal

Mr. REID:

Mr. Speaker, I rise to a point of order. My remarks have been misrepresented by the hon. gentleman who has just sat down (Mr. Mclvor). What I said was that if it was merely a matter of endeavouring to popularize the silver dollars, that would be the best way to do it. I did not suggest that the two names should appear on the coins.

Topic:   STATEMENT OF MRS. BLACK ON MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE-SUGGESTED ISSUE OF SILVER DOLLARS
Permalink
SC

Eric Joseph Poole

Social Credit

Mr. E. J. POOLE (Red Deer):

Mr. Speaker, I did not intend to discuss this matter, but I should like to make just one observation in passing. It must be a source of encouragement to hon. members of this group to see members in the government ranks agreeing with the social crediters as to the issuing of new money.

Motion agreed to and the house went into committee of supply, Mr. Sanderson in the chair.

Topic:   STATEMENT OF MRS. BLACK ON MOTION OF MINISTER OF FINANCE-SUGGESTED ISSUE OF SILVER DOLLARS
Permalink

OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY TO THE GOVERNOR GENERAL


Salaries, $31,240.50; contingencies, including allowance of $2,500 per annum to the secretary to the Governor General, $69,500.


LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

This amount for

the Governor General's office is the same as in previous years. The increase shown is brought about by the statutory increases.

Topic:   OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY TO THE GOVERNOR GENERAL
Permalink

Item agreed to.


EXTERNAL AFFAIRS


Civil Government- Salaries, $104,051. Contingencies, $69,500.


LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

There is an increase of S2.000 in the salary of the Under Secretary of State for External Affairs. The rest of the increase is accounted for by the statutory increases.

Topic:   OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY TO THE GOVERNOR GENERAL
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Permalink
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

As one who has occupied the office I think it is only fair to say that I believe that everyone who knows the character and the extent of the duties discharged by Mr. Skelton will join with me in congratulating the first minister upon providing for an increase of $2,000 in his salary.

Topic:   OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY TO THE GOVERNOR GENERAL
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Permalink

Item agreed to.


February 9, 1937