May 26, 1939 (18th Parliament, 4th Session)


Jean-François Pouliot



Sir, I always bow to your ruling, but I have many cases I could mention. I refer, for instance, to Hansard of February 8, 1937, page 634, where I find this:
Bank of Canada-Leave of Absence to Employee Brooks.
Central Mortgage Bank

And in answer to my questions the Minister of Finance said:
Mr. Dunning: . . . that questions as to
matters of internal management were not usually answered in the house unless in the judgment of the management they could be answered without affecting the day to day management of the business. . . . The government is giving consideration to the advisability of referring the annual report of the Bank of Canada to, say, the committee on banking and commerce, in order that members of the house may have the same general opportunity with respect to the affairs of the Bank of Canada as they have to-day with respect to the affairs of the Canadian National Railways.
Which does not mean much. At the time Brooks was just a porter or doorman of the Bank of Canada who accompanied Mr. Bennett throughout the world. I asked questions about it and was told it was not proper to give me an answer. I thank the Minister of Finance for the information he has given me. Some of the information can be found in report No. 17 of the banking and commerce committee. It was just in order to defend sound theories of money that I asked about bank clearings, and I thank him for the information he has given me. I think we are entitled to information. I do not say that in any offensive way. I am not here to bolt at all. I stand by the party. When there is a measure I do not agree with, I may express myself accordingly, but I am loyal to my colleagues. No one can pre-vent me from expressing my views here because they are the expression of my very deep convictions, for which I have suffered at times, as the Minister of Finance knows better than anyone else. Here are some of the resolutions. The legislative council was-
9. . . . the most serious defect in the
Constitutional Act-its radical fault-the most active principle of evil and discontent in this province-the most powerful and most frequent cause of abuses of power-of the infractions of the laws-of the waste of the public revenue and property.
27. . . . the same malign influence which has been exerted to perpetuate in the country a system of irresponsibility in favour of public functionaries.
28. . . . that form of government would not be less essentially vicious which makes the happiness or misery of a country depend on an executive over which the people of that country have no influence.
45. . . . the conduct of bad servants of the crown, who called in the supreme authority of the parliament and the British constitution, to aid them to govern arbitrarily, listening rather to the governors and their advisers, than to the people and their representatives, and shielding with their protection those who consumed the taxes rather than those who paid them.
67. . . . divers subordinate public functionaries summoned to appear before committees of this house, to give information . . . have refused to do so. fMr. Pouliot.l
Just as the Bank of Canada has refused to answer.
68. . . . the result of the secret and unlawful distribution of a large portion of the public revenue of the province has been, that the executive government has always, except with regard to appropriations for objects of a local nature, considered itself bound to account for the public money, to the lords commissioners of the treasury in England, and not to this house.
69. . . . the pretensions and abuses aforesaid, have taken away from this house even the shadow of control over the public revenue of the province, and have rendered it impossible for it to ascertain at any time the amount of the revenue collected, the disposable amount of the same, and the sums required for the public services.
71. . . . this house will hold responsible for all moneys which have been or may hereafter be paid, otherwise than under the authority of an Act of the legislature, or upon an address of this house, out of the public revenue-of the province, all those who may have authorized such payments or participated therein, until the said sums shall have been reimbursed, or a bill or bills of indemnity freely passed by this house, shall have become law.
72. . . . The Commons of England . . . have happily obtained the entire control of the revenue of the nation. . . . The respect shewn to their opinions with regard to the redress of grievances and abuses, by the other constituted authorities, has regulated the working of the constitution in a manner equally adapted to give stability to His Majesty's government, and to protect the interests of the people.
79. . . . This house, as representing the people of this province, possesses of right, and has exercised within this province, when occasion has required it, all the powers, privileges and immunities claimed and possessed by the Commons House of Parliament, in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
80. . . .It is one of the undoubted privileges of this house, to send for all persons, papers and records, and to command the attendance of all persons, civil and military, resident within the province, as witnesses, in all investigations which this house may deem expedient to institute; and to require such witnesses to produce all papers and records in their keeping, whenever it shall deem it conducive to the public good to do so.
In paragraph 75 it is stated that at the time, the number of inhabitants of French origin was 525,000; of British or other origin, 75,000.
52. . . . the majority of the inhabitants of this country are in no wise disposed to repudiate any one of the advantages they derive from their origin, and from their descent from the French nation, which, with regard to the progress of which it has been the cause in civilization, in the sciences, in letters and in the arts, has never been behind the British nation, and is now the worthy rival of the latter in the advancement of the cause of liberty and of the science of government, from which this country derives the greatest portion of its civil and ecclestiastical law, and of its scholastic and charitable institutions, and of the religion, language, habits, manners and customs of the great majority of its inhabitants.

Central Mortgage Bank
This, sir, may be found in the journals of the Quebec legislative assembly, 4 William IV, February 21, 1834. For the motion there were 56 patriotic Canadian members; amongst them we find English names like those of Child, Kimber, Leslie, Scott, Toomy, Vanfleson. The nays were 23.
With regard to questions put to the government: I do not wish to say anything which is unfair to anyone, but, coming to what I said a moment ago about the reference to Hansard, I quote the following:
Mr. Pouliot: What powers does the Bank
of Canada presently exercise and which, (a) the Minister of Finance could exercise, and (h) which he could not exercise, prior to the establishment of such bank?
Mr. Dunning: With reference to this question, it seems to me to be a matter of examining two statutes, the Finance Act and the Bank of Canada Act. The hon. member who asks the question is a distinguished member of the legal profession, and the statutes speak for themselves.
That is from Hansard of April 6, 1936, page 1810. The very same question was asked of the governor of the Bank of Canada, in the banking committee this year, and he refused to answer it.
Before examining the bill, and in answer to what my hon. friend the Minister of Finance has said, I would point out that on March 3, 1937, with regard to the Bank of Canada not belonging to the dominion civil service but being part of the dominion organization, I wrote him as follows:
Answering your letter of March 1st, would you please give me the total of the personnel of the Bank of Canada (1) in Ottawa and (b) in each of the outside branches.
Here is the answer of the minister. I could not get even the number of the personnel of the Bank of Canada.
March 1, 1937.
Dear Mr. Pouliot:
Replying to yours of February 25th; the government some time ago gave consideration to the position of the Bank of Canada in connection with matters such as that mentioned in your letter, and it was decided that the same procedure would be adopted as in the case of the Canadian National Railways. I cannot, therefore, supply you with the information requested.
This is not an answer to my question. If I am not to know even the salaries of the personnel of the Bank of Canada, I should at least know what is the number of employees, but I cannot get that information.
Now, sir, there is something which I want to read to this house, to show what is done in England. My great grandfather, my grandfather, my father and myself were strong upholders of British parliamentary practice.
We were not born in England, but as good Canadians we have made a deep study of British parliamentary institutions and know more about them than some Englishmen who try to teach us these things. I take this opportunity to appeal to all those who have lived in free England, who have voted, if not for Gladstone, at least for Campbell-Bannerman, Asquith and other great Liberal leaders, to come back to responsible government, the real form of government. We should not generally go backwards, but in this case it seems that we are doomed to go backwards on account of the stupid finance legislation which was passed some time ago, when the Audit Act was changed and the comptroller of the treasury appointed.
At Westminster there is the committee on national economy which studies every question that affects the treasury. The members of that committee are members of parliament; they meet together from time to time and study deeply matters which interest the taxpayers of England'; and here is what has been decided.

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