May 30, 1940 (19th Parliament, 1st Session)


Jean-François 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.

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.

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