January 27, 1914 (12th Parliament, 3rd Session)


William Findlay Maclean

Independent Conservative


take care of their own issue and he ready to pay depositors who call for their money The day has come when bank notes must be withdrawn in this country and national notes must take their place, and we can give these banks a better currency and give it to them on deposit at 2 per cent, and they will make more money out of that than from their own issues. If they can re-discount there will not be a bank that will be afraid to extend its credit to its customers; it will know that we have the system of one great national bank in this country doing the business of the *country in the way of re-discounts and issuing of national notes. They can get relief immediately there. The other thing is that the Government of the United States to-day is a partner in the banking business of that country, and the profits over a certain point are to be shared with the country; and the banks in the United States, and the President of the United States and the Government of the United States will hereafter have a say, as the Government of France has a say, and the Government of Germany and the Government of every country in Europe, with the exception of Great Britain, has a say in the rate of discount that prevails in the country. It would be a' good thing for the farmers
of the West if somebody here in actual authority had something to say about the rate of interest which the banks have been charging out there. There is another discrimination put on the people of the West; 10 per cent interest is the rule out there because we have permitted higher freight rates to be charged the farmer in the West than are charged in the East, and the farmer of the West, I am afraid, will have to put up with it until he rises and says it has got to stop. We must have in this country the improved system of banking which they have in the United States and in all Europe, and we cannot have it too soon. If there is a money stringency here now there will be another stringency subsequently and this will often occur. The way to head off a money stringency is to have a means of credit, a flexibility in the currency of the country by the system of rediscounts controlled by the state and the use of national notes, sufficiently secured by gold and other reserves of the nation; and when you have that there cannot be a money stringency such as we have had in this country, and such as they have had in the United States. The proof of it is this: A short time ago UMr. p, Maclean.]
when the banks of the United States were prepared to take advantage of the American people by reason of the stringency, the present Secretary of the Treasury, a very progressive man, Mr. McAdoo, said: ' I have $500,000,000 of the nation's money, and I will lend it to any bank.' The rate of interest that was threatened was never put into force, money got plentiful and money will be enormously plentiful in the United States by reason of that improved banking system. When we dealt with the organization of banks last session we did not deal with the question of currency. We absolutely neglected it and if we want to bring the country back to prosperity we have to revise our currency laws.' The nation must have a lot to say in regard to banking and must make provision for rediscount, for a plentiful supply of national notes properly secured by gold reserves. If we do that we will do something to help and benefit this country. The banks to-day, under the present system, cannot find the currency necessary for this country and that was the reason for the subterfuge that was adopted last year of creating a gold reserve in Montreal. Any one who wishes to see that it was only a subterfuge and has not increased the currency should read an editorial in the Montreal Telegraph of a few months ago written, I imagine, by the late Minister of Finance. I read that article with great interest. It confirms my views and I wish to say that the currency question is another question that has been absolutely neglected in this country for years and years. We have been working under an old system, so have the people in the United States; but they have instituted reforms in this respect, they have shown the way as they are showing the way to us now in a great many things. If you wish to see progressive legislation here you have to look for it in the United States and in England. The greatest progressive legislation is going on in the United States. The people there were awakened some years ago. They had been brought up to believe that they had the greatest government and the greatest constitution in all the world.
The fathers of their constitution were treated as fathers of the church are now treated by good churchmen. When you come to an actual investigation, their constitution amounts to very little and great monopolies and very unfair things were permitted under it. There was child labour in that new country and there were slums all over the United States. Nearly everything was found to be bad, the Government was bad, the constitution was archaic.

But the people started to read books on political economy, and the magazines started to discuss these questions in a way that the public press had neglected. The attitude ot' the public press towards a great many of these questions has been surprising. I have been identified with the press for quite a while and I still say this, that a newspaper has no right to assert that it is possessed of the gospel unless it is the true gospel that it preaches. Newspapers think they have a divine right and, but if you investigate the history of the United States for the past thirty years you will find that the newspapers have been gradually going against the people and that the magazines have come to the relief of the people. The people began to read these books on political economy and as a result to-day there is a wave of political reform in the United States. They are making a degree of progress in that direction that may well attract our attention. They are older than we are and they have had more experience than we have. They have reformed their laws in regard to banking and they are reforming their laws in regard to the capitalization of railways. The Railway Commission has come to the relief of shippers and farmers from one end of the United States to the other. I see the right lion, leader of the Opposition laughing; perhaps he thinks this is a new doctrine.

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