June 19, 1934 (17th Parliament, 5th Session)


Charles Gavan Power



Personally I must add to
what has been said by the hon. member for Vancouver Centre that I regret that the members of the committee did not consider it advisable to provide the committee with counsel in order to inquire further into matters which were the subject of the resolution which I proposed in the committee. It is not for me I suppose to apologize for the manner in which the inquiry was conducted, but may I say that from the very moment that it became clear that counsel was not to be permitted, this investigation no longer became an investigation but a polite discussion as between the bankers and some members of the committee. It was obviously impossible for one who is not familiar with all the phases of the banking situation and whose profession does not lend itself to a thorough study of financial conditions in this country to examine or cross-examine leaders of industry and finance in this country with any degree of knowledge. We did the best that we could under the circumstances, and if more information of value to the public and to the committee in its deliberations was not made available, it is due I think largely to the fact that we were not assisted by counsel, accountants and others who would have been able to make a more searching investigation. I should say that in my opinion which may not perhaps be shared by other members of the committee, we did at least bring to light certain facts which were in the
Banking and Commerce Report
public interest and show that though perhaps the professional bankers who appeared before us are men of high standing and character and have carried on their duties as bankers conspicuously well, there are still some defects, if I may use that term, in our banking system and those defects should be studied by those interested in the finances and the financial and economic welfare of this country in order that sooner or later- preferably sooner-they may be remedied.
As to some of the other questions which were brought to our attention and which were studied, mainly the question of interlocking directorates, I have only to point to the admission of the bankers themselves. Both Sir Charles Gordon and Sir Herbert Holt stated that if the power which they had in their hands were in the hands of someone else who in their opinion was less desirous of consulting only the public weal and not their own selfishness, that power would be a very dangerous one. This admission, or statement if you like, was made by Sir Charles Gordon and was confirmed by Sir Herbert Holt. I think this goes a long way towards justifying those who stated in this house that one of the dangers to the body politic was the great control, power and influence which certain prominent industrialists had over the financial and economic welfare of the country.

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