May 17, 1955 (22nd Parliament, 2nd Session)


Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. Low:

But the settlement would certainly be at the end of a year or cycle, and between the two countries the acceptance of sterling would simply involve the amount of the unbalance of trade. Certainly, as the hon. member for Greenwood (Mr. Macdonnell) has said, it was proposed to the house as a means to help to stimulate trade with Great Britain and to restore Canada's place as a great natural market of Great Britain. Therefore anybody who tries to interpret what we propose as the acceptance of sterling without limitation simply shows he has not thought the matter through and is trying to place some sort of interpretation on it which might make it possible, in a strained manner, for the C.C.F. to say that the reason we could not accept it was it was proposed without limitation.
Let me set the hon. member straight. If the matter has not been set straight thus far, let me make it clear that what we have proposed with relation to the acceptance of soft currencies in settlement of our balances is not without limitation. In the first place, it is limited to the amount which we would be prepared to accept in return for our surpluses. Second, it would be limited, without our doing anything about it, by the amount of the balance that would be due us from the other country after we had balanced off the exchange of goods and services. That is the story and it should be perfectly clear. So far as some explanation of the reason why they voted against the acceptance of sterling
is concerned, the leader of the C.C.F. has made it clear that they did not even accept the second suggestion because, on the occasion to which I have referred, he went on to say:
I quite agree with the Leader of the Opposition when he says he does not think that the Chancellor of the Exchequer of Great Britain would accept a proposition of this description.
If you read what the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Drew) said, he explained that Great Britain would not be prepared to accept a proposition of that kind because, he said, they had had some experiences in India and other countries that were unfavourable. Shortly after that time I had a chance to have a chat with the private secretary to then Prime Minister Churchill, his own son-in-law, here in the city of Ottawa. He said to me then that he saw no reason whatsoever why that policy could not be adopted if acceptance of sterling was to be limited within the amount of the unfavourable balance that Britain had with Canada. He said he saw no reason why we could not adopt that policy, and that they were interested in it. That was the position he took.
It seems to me we have missed a very valuable chance to stimulate the kind of trade we ought to be having with a number of countries, such as I suggested yesterday, for instance, with Israel, Sweden, Japan and the other countries with whom we have to do business or want to do business. It could be financed internally, without any tremendous expansion of currency, as the hon. member for Vancouver South (Mr. Philpott) suggested. We do not advocate an unlimited or uncontrolled expansion of currency at all. We want it strictly limited to what we can absorb internally. I thought I should make that clear, Mr. Speaker, and I hope I have succeeded.

Topic:   FINAL PAYMENT, 1953-54
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