May 30, 1940

LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

I understand, sir, and

I bow to your decision. I know what you said did not apply only to me, but it was said when I was speaking; and it is not the first time. On the other hand I came down to the committee to-night because I was notified by at least three of my colleagues, if not more, that the hon. member for Macleod was saying that I was hiding behind the curtain when actually I was reading my correspondence upstairs in my room. I had a friend with me, my colleague, the hon. member for Levis (Mr. Bourget), with whom I was discussing the letters I had received during the day.

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   LOAN OF $750,000,000 TO MEET LOANS OR OBLIGATIONS, TO PURCHASE UNMATURED SECURITIES, AND FOR PUBLIC WORKS AND GENERAL PURPOSES
Permalink
LIB

Thomas Vien (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The CHAIRMAN:

And for that reason what I have said applies to that remark as much as it does to some of the language of the hon. gentleman.

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   LOAN OF $750,000,000 TO MEET LOANS OR OBLIGATIONS, TO PURCHASE UNMATURED SECURITIES, AND FOR PUBLIC WORKS AND GENERAL PURPOSES
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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

Mr. Chairman, I did not use any profane language. I was speaking of theology and, with all due respect, of the old and new testaments. But, sir, I found it was insinuated that after I had spoken I was hiding myself. I have never had reason to do that; this is the first time any member of the house has made such a charge. I thought it was insulting, and that was why I came here, just to tell my hon. friend that he was all wrong in this as in all that he has said since he has been a member of parliament.

Now I come to the point. We are here to discuss a most important matter, a loan of 8750,000,000. The Minister of Finance does not go into churches to say that the doctrine of the Liberal party is a religious doctrine, but the protagonists of social credit dare use churches for propaganda. I blame them severely for that. I think it is a shame and a profanation. When I listen to the bible class of Mr. Aberhart, who speaks in a church

95826-25i

where truth is supposed to be spoken, and hear him from the pulpit telling people his political policies, I am ashamed for those who do such things. I consider it hypocrisy, and I can say that of Aberhart as I can say it of Her-ridge, who dared to say the same thing in his first speech at Ottawa, because they are all hypocrites. I do not say that of the hon. gentlemen in the far comer opposite, because they are members of this house; but I say that of their leaders, and if my hon. friends had a sense of propriety and of decency they would feel as I do. There is nothing I despise more; there is nothing more contemptuous, than a hypocrite. There is nothing I despise more; there is nothing more contemptuous, than a man who uses the church and the cloak of religion to deceive the people. One man, who was either the secretary or the president of the Social Credit party in the province of Quebec-

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   LOAN OF $750,000,000 TO MEET LOANS OR OBLIGATIONS, TO PURCHASE UNMATURED SECURITIES, AND FOR PUBLIC WORKS AND GENERAL PURPOSES
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LIB

Thomas Alexander Crerar (Minister of Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Mr. CRERAR:

I dislike to say it, but I

think the hon. member is taking unto himself very great latitude under the rules of the house in discussing these matters. After all, the question before us is the wisdom or propriety of giving the the government authority to raise a very considerable sum of money. I am sure the hon. member for Temiscouata, for whom I have a high personal regard, will realize that the remarks he is making at the present time are not appropriate to the resolution now before the committee.

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   LOAN OF $750,000,000 TO MEET LOANS OR OBLIGATIONS, TO PURCHASE UNMATURED SECURITIES, AND FOR PUBLIC WORKS AND GENERAL PURPOSES
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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

That is all right; I am

through with it. And I would add this, that we shall be very careful in respect of the theories respecting finance.

One thing I regretted to see was the moving of the gold reserve and the financial backing of the country from the east block to the Bank of Canada, and then the transfer to the foreign exchange control board. The fortune of this country is not in the east block which houses the office of the Prime Minister, that of the Minister of Finance and the council room. I know the former auditor general complained of the condition of the vaults in which the fortune of the country was kept in the east block. I point this out particularly to the Minister of Mines and Resources, for whom I have a high regard. But vaults could be repaired. Often I pass near the east block and I see government trucks carrying loads of gold to the Bank of Canada, where new vaults have been built. There might have been reason for making that transfer, but otherwise I cannot understand why that reserve has been placed under the foreign exchange control board. I know that if I ask questions about that board, I shall probably receive no answer.

38S

Government Loan-Mr. Pouliot

When last year I asked some questions respecting the mint, I was told by the previous Minister of Finance that no more reports respecting gold, coinage and the mint were published. For a time it was not a Canadian but rather an English institution. After that, control was transferred to Canada, and supervision was exercised by the Minister of Finance. However, I am wondering now if control is exercised by the Bank of Canada, the foreign exchange control board or the Minister of Finance himself. Those are serious matters.

Of course every man has his legitimate pride, and I have no doubt my very good friend the Minister of Finance knows that the hon. member for Temiscouata has studied these problems just as carefully as has the minister, and if at times that hon. member expresses personal views he does not do so with any desire to 'handicap the government. Rather it is done in order that the hon. member for Temiscouata may remain as proud of the government as he has been in the past.

I should like to have from the Minister of Finance all orders in council which have been passed regarding foreign exchange loans since July last. We have the official gazette; we -know that the information I seek appears in the Canada Gazette. I am quite ready to admit that fact. I began making a scrap book of those orders in council, so that I might understand the financial condition of the country, but I found it impossible to follow them. I am asking the minister if it is not possible to supply every hon. member with those orders in council which were passed during the recess concerning the foreign exchange control board. We must have them. At times we come in contact with regulations we cannot understand, because it is impossible for a layman who has not the up-to-date legislation by order in council respecting the foreign exchange control board to understand what is being done. This is a most important point.

Why, sir, is it impossible for me at times to go into technical details about these matters? It is because I have not been supplied with that recess statute. It is just as necessary for us to have it as to have statutes passed by parliament. And I have very good reason for saying that, because by virtue of the War Measures Act those orders in council have the same authority as any piece of legislation passed by parliament. Therefore, sir, I should like to have some help in this regard, and I hope I shall receive it in due course.

I warn the government again about the danger of experiences in the matter of finance. I have made a few observations before about the Social Credit party, but there is the modern university teaching which is dangerous in that regard. I warn the minister, as I warned his predecessor, against accepting dangerous views which come from people who try interesting experiments at the expense of the nation. I warn my hon. friend in all earnestness, and as a strong supporter of the government. If I express personal views, he will understand that I do not do so in order to create trouble or embarrassment, but rather in order that each hon. member may follow the policies of the government and at times make suggestions which might be useful.

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   LOAN OF $750,000,000 TO MEET LOANS OR OBLIGATIONS, TO PURCHASE UNMATURED SECURITIES, AND FOR PUBLIC WORKS AND GENERAL PURPOSES
Permalink
LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

I shall make inquiries at once with regard to the orders in council to which the hon. member has referred. I had an idea they were laid on the table of the house, but I shall look into the matter.

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   LOAN OF $750,000,000 TO MEET LOANS OR OBLIGATIONS, TO PURCHASE UNMATURED SECURITIES, AND FOR PUBLIC WORKS AND GENERAL PURPOSES
Permalink
LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

It is impossible to follow them, because they are all mixed up.

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   LOAN OF $750,000,000 TO MEET LOANS OR OBLIGATIONS, TO PURCHASE UNMATURED SECURITIES, AND FOR PUBLIC WORKS AND GENERAL PURPOSES
Permalink
LIB

James Layton Ralston (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. RALSTON:

I will ascertain what is published, and see if I can satisfy my hon. friend.

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   LOAN OF $750,000,000 TO MEET LOANS OR OBLIGATIONS, TO PURCHASE UNMATURED SECURITIES, AND FOR PUBLIC WORKS AND GENERAL PURPOSES
Permalink
SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

I did not mean to participate in this debate, because our group, as I think has been noticed, is endeavouring not to speak, except when we feel we can help matters along. We are not indulging in any carping criticism whatsoever respecting the government. We have come here with a frank, open, honest desire to help in this day of great peril. That is one reason why the hon. member for Macleod (Mr. Hansell) became somewhat offended.

I believe it would be good for the hon. member for Temiscouata (Mr. Pouliot) to learn two or three little things. I make these suggestions to him in the most straightforward way, and I suggest that he read them in Hansard to-morrow and give them careful contemplation. If I remember correctly, he said that social credit produced a different kind of money. May I tell the hon. member for Temiscouata that he is just one hundred per cent wrong in that. No wonder he has whipped himself up to such a fury when all his information is false! Social credit uses exactly the money used by the Dominion of Canada-just exactly. The only reason why Alberta tried to use a different kind was that she did not have power to issue currency. She was trying to escape the currency laws.

The first thing to bear in mind is that there are two kinds of money being used in Canada to-day. One is currency and the other is

Government Loan-Mr. Blackmore

credit. Credit is nothing more or less than figures in a book, as was made abundantly clear in the banking and commerce committee which sat last year. As the hon. member for Temiscouata (Mr. Pouliot) now realizes much to his chagrin, currency in Canada has nothing at all behind it in the way of gold. Since all gold has been transferred to the exchange fund, there is no gold whatsoever behind the Canadian dollar. The hon. member for Temiscouata is now at his wit's end to know what it is that gives value to the Canadian dollar, because all that he thought would give it value is now gone. All this indicates that the poor man has been entirely at sea in connection with all these matters pertaining to finance and currency. Is it any wonder that he cannot get sense out of what we social crediters tell him? We are going in a straight line, but he has never gone in a straight line since he started.

I am going to mention another matter to my hon. friend which I feel quite sure he will find instructive.

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   LOAN OF $750,000,000 TO MEET LOANS OR OBLIGATIONS, TO PURCHASE UNMATURED SECURITIES, AND FOR PUBLIC WORKS AND GENERAL PURPOSES
Permalink
NAT

John Ritchie MacNicol

National Government

Mr. MacNICOL:

The good book says,

"What is crooked cannot be made straight."

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   LOAN OF $750,000,000 TO MEET LOANS OR OBLIGATIONS, TO PURCHASE UNMATURED SECURITIES, AND FOR PUBLIC WORKS AND GENERAL PURPOSES
Permalink
SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

We still have hope for the hon. member for Temiscouata. The hon. member referred to assignats. It will probably come as a surprise to him when he learns the following facts regarding assignats. They were issued by a revolutionary government which had no power to tax. That is an exceedingly important matter. Money issued by any government so unstable that it cannot tax has the cards stacked against it right from the beginning. That is the first important fact to remember in connection with assignats. The second is that the government had no source of funds, and yet it was charged with the responsibility of governing France and beating back the countless foes who were endeavouring to overrun the country. And those foes would have succeeded but for the device of the assignat which the French government adopted in extremity. The fact that the French government came through that crisis is evidence beyond any question that the assignat succeeded.

The next important thing to remember about the assignat is that it was a treasury bill. I assume the hon. member for Temiscouata knows enough about treasury bills to know that they are not legal tender. A treasury bill is not legal tender and neither was the assignat. That was another point against it. The next important point to remember is that the word "assignat" means assignment, as should be evident to anyone who understands the French language. The assignat was a claim

to a piece of land. I ask hon. members: If you had a $20 bill in Canada which represented only a claim to a piece of land, say in Temiscouata, would you expect a merchant in Ottawa to accept that claim to a piece of land in Temiscouata when he was not in position to go and claim the land? Would he be likely to accept such an assignat at its face value? Certainly not. The assignat was simply a claim to a piece of land in no particular location. The result was that to merchants and business men it was almost a liability.

The next important thing to remember is that assignats were not issued in denominations under twenty francs. You would suffer considerable embarrassment if you set out to do business in Ottawa with, say a thousand $10 bills and there were no $5 or $1 bills or 50 cent pieces with which to make change. Your good Canadian money would soon tend to fall in value under such conditions. There was no way to change the assignats with assignats, and the people of those days were afraid to change them with other money.

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   LOAN OF $750,000,000 TO MEET LOANS OR OBLIGATIONS, TO PURCHASE UNMATURED SECURITIES, AND FOR PUBLIC WORKS AND GENERAL PURPOSES
Permalink
LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

How is it that at one time you could buy three million assignats for ten francs?

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   LOAN OF $750,000,000 TO MEET LOANS OR OBLIGATIONS, TO PURCHASE UNMATURED SECURITIES, AND FOR PUBLIC WORKS AND GENERAL PURPOSES
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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

Apparently the hon. member has not that keenness of perception which would enable him to see the significance of what I am saying. Does he know so little about currency that all this has no weight with him? If it does not, then I must say he is just a little above the kindergarten stage.

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   LOAN OF $750,000,000 TO MEET LOANS OR OBLIGATIONS, TO PURCHASE UNMATURED SECURITIES, AND FOR PUBLIC WORKS AND GENERAL PURPOSES
Permalink
?

An hon. MEMBER:

Just wasting time.

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   LOAN OF $750,000,000 TO MEET LOANS OR OBLIGATIONS, TO PURCHASE UNMATURED SECURITIES, AND FOR PUBLIC WORKS AND GENERAL PURPOSES
Permalink
SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

You do not mind my making this observation: It is most interesting that hon. members can rise in their places and devote thirty minutes or so to makings demands that the Prime Minister should resign without any intimation that they are wasting time, but the very minute that social crediters begin to discuss matters of such vital moment as monetary science, we are accused of wasting time.

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   LOAN OF $750,000,000 TO MEET LOANS OR OBLIGATIONS, TO PURCHASE UNMATURED SECURITIES, AND FOR PUBLIC WORKS AND GENERAL PURPOSES
Permalink
LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin

Liberal

Mr. MARTIN:

Wasting time on the hon. member for Temiscouata.

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   LOAN OF $750,000,000 TO MEET LOANS OR OBLIGATIONS, TO PURCHASE UNMATURED SECURITIES, AND FOR PUBLIC WORKS AND GENERAL PURPOSES
Permalink
SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

That is good; I did not catch the drift. I have boundless faith in men, and I have still faith in the hon. member for Temiscouata.

The next important thing to remember regarding assignats is that the first three issues, which went into the hundreds of millions, the total being more than a billion, were successful to the highest degree. Every bit of evidence that can be found bears out that statement. If any hon. member wishes to

Government Loan-Mr. Blackmore

discuss this matter with me in private, I will take him to the library and show him the textbooks which bear out this statement.

The next thing to remember is that the government of that time had no mechanism to control prices. Hon. members will recall that a few days after war was declared the price of lard and sugar in Canada shot up considerably. If a definite method of price control had not been brought into being and applied rigidly, where would our price structure be to-day? If the French government of that day had had the power to control prices, as we have to-day, it would have made a tremendous difference in the success of the assignat.

Then the assignat was used in France at a time of scarcity. The Minister of Finance and other hon. members know-I do hope the hon. member for Temiscouata knows also -that it is the goods and services that can be bought with money that give value to money. You could have the best money ever made by man on a desert island and it would have no value at all. It is the abundance of things which can be bought that gives value to money. That is what gives value to our money in Canada to-day now that our gold has been removed. In France at that time they were just emerging from a terrible civil war. Years of struggle had been engaged in by the French people during which industry had been disrupted and agriculture had been more or less compromised, shall I say? The result was a scarcity of goods and services to be bought with the assignat. We are living in an age when there is an abundance of every kind of commodity. Not only do we have that abundance, we have also the productive power by which we can greatly increase the goods and services which can be bought. There is no comparison between Canada as it is to-day and France at the time of the issue of assignats.

One more thing and I am going to conclude. The British government was blockading France while the assignat was being issued. Let the ports of our country be blockaded right now and what will happen to the value of our fine Canadian money? It certainly would not be worth as much after a few months of blockading as it is to-day.

I apologize for taking up the time of the committee, but I did want to show the hon. member for Temiscouata that he was completely wrong in his concept of what social credit would use for money. Having shown him too that he was so absolutely wrong with regard to the assignat, I believe I have shown that his judgment might not really be of much value.

Resolution reported, read the second time and concurred in. Mr. Ralston thereupon moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 22, to authorize the raising, by way of loan, of certain sums of money for the public service.

Motion agreed to and bill read the first time.

Topic:   MUNITIONS AND SUPPLY
Subtopic:   LOAN OF $750,000,000 TO MEET LOANS OR OBLIGATIONS, TO PURCHASE UNMATURED SECURITIES, AND FOR PUBLIC WORKS AND GENERAL PURPOSES
Permalink

CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS


Hon. C. D. HOWE (Minister of Transport) moved the second reading of Bill No. 8, respecting the appointment of auditors for Canadian National Railways. Motion agreed to, bill read the second time, considered in committee, reported, read the third time and passed.


JOINT USE OF CERTAIN TRACKS AND TERMINALS FOR PURPOSES OF NEW ENTRANCE INTO VANCOUVER

May 30, 1940