Don't be so anxious. Hon. gentlemen opposite are quite free to express their opinions, and I claim the right to express mine. I am opposed to the amendment for the very reason advanced for its adoption by the ex-Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe), namely the provisions in the preamble of the bill under which the Bank of Canada can control the credit and currency, meaning the commercial credit and currency, necessary for carrying on the ordinary business of the country. As between a privately owned and controlled institution, with all the safeguards thrown around it by this bill, and a politically controlled institution which would govern the credit provided the business interests of this country, I must favour the privately controlled, or privately owned, publicly controlled and, if you like, privately managed institution for which there is provision in this bill. As a matter of fact, I would go farther than the bill has gone, and in addition to setting up a stock issue of $5,000,000 in shares of $50 each, or whatever they may be when the bill has passed, I would in addition make an issue of common shares representing a small proportion of the total capital of the bank, with the provision that the persons who purchased those shares, whether or not they be the same persons who purchased the preferred shares, would have an added interest in the success of the institution by the further possibility of sharing with the state the profits accruing to the State. Under the provisions of this bill the profits, such as they are, or whatever they may be, accrue one hundred per cent to the state, and when hon. members talk about the institution being managed, and talk about confiscation being effected to the advantage of private individuals they overlook entirely the fact that as now provided all of the profits arising out of the operation of this bank accrue to the state. When we
look at the experience which this country has had and is now having with publicly owned and directly parliamentary controlled institutions, we cannot hope to have an independent institution so long as it remains within the hands of any government, no matter what side of politics it may be on. A politically controlled bank could destroy the industry of this country in six months through unwise actions. That possibility rests within the provisions of the bill.
What has been our experience with our national railways? The hon. member for North Waterloo (Mr. Euler) has left the chamber but he knows what that experience has been. The first board of directors of the Canadian National Railways were still holding office when the government was changed in 1922. When the new government came into office the president and the entire board were dismissed and a new political board appointed. As was testified to by the then president, Sir Henry Thornton, that board continued to operate in a political manner. The commission which investigated the whole situation used the term, "the thin red line of political activity." We have a similar situation to-day in the province of Ontario. The management of one of the greatest publicly owned institutions are to be dismissed and political appointees put in their places. What guarantee have we that the same thing would not happen in the case of this bank? Should there be a change of government, the governor, the deputy governor and the board of directors who controlled, this great central bank would be automatically dismissed.
Topic: BANK OF CANADA ACT