July 15, 1942 (19th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Gerald Grattan McGeer



My hon. friends may laugh, but we said other things. We knew that in a managed currency system, unless you took control of the movement of currency and
credit and investments internationally you could not stop the flight from your dollar and you could not stop an international manipulation on the international currency markets of the value of any individual currency. We said you could stop the flight from the Canadian dollar, and we advocated a control of international currency movement. We were told that that could not be done, but we pointed out that other nations were actually doing it. Japan was doing it back in the twenties, and so was Germany and so was nearly every other country in the world including Britain. Since we appeared before the banking and commerce committee in 1934, the foreign exchange control board has come to be one of the most valuable of the economic institutions in the Dominion of Canada. Make no mistake about it; that board will never disappear. It has proven its value, and it has vindicated what we advocated in 1934. It has proven that a democratic nation can to its own advantage control the movement of its international currency and avoid the disastrous exploitation of the value of its currency by international currency exploiters.
We advocated something else, if my hon. friend will recall, and we spent a day in placing it before the committee under his chairmanship. We advocated the need for the regulation and management of international trade. We said that one of the great difficulties facing the world was the rapidity of communication, the rapidity of transportation and the capacity to produce and preserve foodstuffs; that these made it important that we recognize that international trade must be maintained on a basis of selling no more than you are able to buy from your neighbours and buying no more than you are able to sell. That could not be done without a proper system of regulating international trade by direct control. We were told that that could not be done. Other nations were doing it, and we are doing it successfully to-day. That is another institution that no Tory reaction will ever drive out of the life of the Dominion of Canada.
Of course those were heresies. I thought the chairman of the committee of that day, now the leader of the opposition, would have apoplexy on one or two occasions. As a matter of fact, we tried to modify our remarks because I thought some of his associate chartered bank managers would suffer the same fate. They were all there.

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