Richard Smeaton WHITE

WHITE, The Hon. Richard Smeaton, D.C.L.

Parliamentary Career

Most Recent Speeches (Page 2 of 85)


June 2, 1936

Mr. WHITE:

That is all they are concerned with, nothing but the numerals. They want to know whether it is a one or a ten, and they are praying heaven it may be a ten. But beyond the numerals they do not

give a hoot what appears on the bill, as long as they are satisfied that it is a bona fide bank note.

In connection with the setting up of the Bank of Canada, our central bank, it is of the highest consequence that that institution should continue to be a banker's bank and not a public bank. The credit of Canada is high, but it has recently had one or two shocks. Daniel Webster, speaking in the American senate eighty odd years ago in eulogy of that eminent American financier, Alexander Hamilton, one time secretary of the United States treasury, and father, I think, of the banking system as originally founded in the United States, said of Inm, "He laid his hand upon the dead corpse of public credit and it sprang upon its feet." There are dangers in this country through repudiation of contracts, through violation of solemn compacts. Instances have occurred in two provinces. If we are not careful we may find that not provinces only, but even the parliament of Canada, by misguided financial legislation, have laid their hand upon the public credit and the public credit has crumpled under its touch.

Topic:   BANK OF CANADA
Subtopic:   MAJORITY CONTROL BY GOVERNMENT OF CAPITAL STOCK AND BOARD OF DIRECTORS
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June 2, 1936

Mr. WHITE:

All right; call it twenty per cent. Is anyone idiot enough to deposit the proceeds of a note, upon which twenty per cent interest has been paid, in a bank that will give him three per cent interest? On its very face the thing is utterly ridiculous. Starting yesterday, as hon. gentlemen know, the rate of interest on deposits in chartered banks was reduced to li per cent, a rate so low as to be unprecedented in this country.

There is no lack of bank funds. Revival of trade is not being halted through lack of credit or money in this country. The difficulty the banks encounter, and have encountered for the last three, four or five years, is a plethora of money for which they can find no profitable use, and that is why the rate of interest on deposits has been reduced to li per cent. If hon. members will look at bank statements of recent months, they will find that the banks have invested in government bonds about a billion and a quarter dollars, obtaining on their investment a low rate of interest. But that is the only use to which they can put their surplus money. As of April 30 of this year, or about a month ago, the chartered banks had $2,157,927,000 of public deposits, and at the same time their commercial loans amounted to only $725,484,000. In other words they had nearly $1,400,000,000 of deposits in excess of their commercial loans. The difficulty, as I have said, is that the banks cannot find borrowers. It is true that there are thousands upon thousands of people in this dominion who are ready to walk into banks, give their notes of hand and take as much money as they can possibly get, but they have no

Bank oj Canada

security to back their notes. It is a trite saying, but it must be remembered that these deposits are not the property of the shareholders of the banks; not a dollar of the deposits is represented by the capital investment of shareholders. The banks are trustees for their depositors, and as trustees the banks must exercise the greatest care and the closest scrutiny in making loans. There is a new cult abroad in the land; I am not sure that I have not heard its echo within these walls. It holds that the borrower, rather than the lender, should determine the security. If credit is required to put this country on its feet in respect of its business-and we are moving forward; let no mistake be made about that-it is in the banks, available. All that is necessary is for the would-be borrower to go there with security that will warrant the trustees of the depositors in advancing the money to him.

I am afraid, Mr. Chairman, that I am to some extent wandering from the subject matter of the resolution. In indicating some of the provisions of the bill to be based upon this resolution the Minister of Finance stated that one of the sections would provide for bilingual currency. Again, personally I approve that. At the present time we have bilingual postage stamps in Canada, though I dioubt whether more than one penson in fifty thousand in this country is aware of that fact. More than eighty years ago we had in the then province of Upper Canada notes issued in both English and French by the commonwealth at Kingston, and no one suffered. If there be a sound objection to the recognition of dual languages in connection with any documents of any kind issued by the government, that objection seems to me to weigh as strongly against bills printed some in French and some in English. We have them circulating to-day pretty much throughout the country. You may get one bill wholly in French; the next time you ask for money from a bank you may be handed a bill wholly in English. The dual bills involve added cost. What practical difference can it make to the individual if the two languages are on the one bill, and a saving made? More than that, how many people are there in this house or in this country who read either the lettering or the wording of the bank note.

Topic:   BANK OF CANADA
Subtopic:   MAJORITY CONTROL BY GOVERNMENT OF CAPITAL STOCK AND BOARD OF DIRECTORS
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May 27, 1936

Mr. WHITE:

Or acquired by them.

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   CUSTOMS TARIFF AMENDMENT
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May 27, 1936

Mr. WHITE:

Then why do we insert those words in this item?

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   CUSTOMS TARIFF AMENDMENT
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May 27, 1936

Mr. WHITE:

Do the words "alcoholic liquors" appear in the United States tariff item relating to the free entry of goods brought back to that country by American tourists?

Topic:   WAYS AND MEANS
Subtopic:   CUSTOMS TARIFF AMENDMENT
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