February 26, 1915 (12th Parliament, 5th Session)


William Thomas White (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. W. T. WHITE:

I place upon the table the form of application under the Finance Act, which is signed by the banks, and the pledge agreement executed by the banks in connection with advances made. Loans were made to some seven banks, to the total amount of $14,400,000, and of that $6,500,000 has been repaid. I am quite satisfied that any amount outstanding would be repaid tomorrow morning if we desired it. It is unnecessary to say to the House that in addition to the, pledge of particular securities approved by the Treasury Board, under the Bank Act, the Dominion Government has a lien next after the note circulation, upon all assets of banks for any claims it may have against them, so that no question as to security could possibly arise. I have already explained why I consider it undesirable that I should bring down information showing what individual banks had availed themselves of the privilege of the Act. With the object of inducing the banks more readily to make applications for loans, in order to put them in a better position to meet the requirements of their customers throughout the country, I stated in a letter to them that their applications would be regarded as confidential. It did not occur to me then that the information would be asked for in Parliament, because in the fall of 1907, when advances were made in Dominion notes to banks, through the Bank of Montreal, no particulars were obtained, so far as I am aware, even by the department; the Bank of Montreal making the loans as the agent of the Government. I do not know that the matter is of very great importance, but certainly I would be the
last to deny any information to Parliament that it might desire to have. Having promised the banks that I would not make public their applications, I feel reluctant to do so, and I trust this will be satisfactory to the House. I should be pleased to give to my right hon. friend, as leader of the Opposition, details as to the loans to the banks, but I hesitate for the reason I have given, to make the information public.

Topic:   FINANCE ACT, 1914.
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