Walter Adam TUCKER
TUCKER, Walter Adam, Q.C., B.A., LL.B.
- Rosthern (Saskatchewan)
- Birth Date
- March 11, 1899
- Deceased Date
- September 19, 1990
- barrister, lawyer
- October 14, 1935 - January 25, 1940
- LIBRosthern (Saskatchewan)
- March 26, 1940 - April 16, 1945
- LIBRosthern (Saskatchewan)
- June 11, 1945 - April 30, 1949
- LIBRosthern (Saskatchewan)
- Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Veterans Affairs (September 27, 1945 - April 21, 1948)
- August 10, 1953 - April 12, 1957
- LIBRosthern (Saskatchewan)
- June 10, 1957 - February 1, 1958
- LIBRosthern (Saskatchewan)
Most Recent Speeches (Page 517 of 519)
March 2, 1936
Mr. TUCKER :
If we are going to deprive the farmer of practically all his money, if it takes all his earnings to pay interest, he can ill afford to pay a higher price for his farm implements. I thought the Minister of Finance would like to be reminded of those days when he pioneered in Saskatchewan, but as he does not want the time of the house taken up with these references I shall come back to the resolution.
The people .of Canada elected those whom they thought were the men likely to represent them best in this House of Commons. They hope tihat their representatives will do the best they can to figure out and solve their problems. During the next year they expect that something definite will be done to lighten their burdens and enable them once more to live the life which we expect ordinary Canadian citizens to live. The hon. member for Moose Jaw (Mr. Ross) has referred to the fact that these farm implement companies are raising their prices in the face of a reduction in the tariff. The right answer to that kind of action is: If you are in a position to raise your prices despite a lowered tariff, then we will take the tariff off altogether. It has been suspected that an international combine or cartel exists in connection with the marketing of oil and gasoline and perhaps one exists in connection with the manufacturing of farm implements. If it is found that the large manufacturers of the world are getting together to control prices regardless of tariffs, then I submit that the Liberal party has a policy well designed to deal with such a problem. A part of this policy is contained in the Combines Investigation Act.
Present conditions constitute a challenge to the intelligence and wisdom of parliament.
Over half our people have lost two-thirds of their purchasing power while the price of the articles they require has been rising. This is not my problem alone; it is the problem of every member of parliament. I commend most highly the hon. member who introduced this resolution (Mr. Johnston, Lake Centre). This problem should be submitted to some group of men who will examine into it and try to do something for the basic producers on the western plains who are endeavouring to do ail they can to get along under present conditions. I feel sure that hon. members from eastern Canada will give us their cooperation. They know that unless the great primary industries, such as the farming industry of Canada, are prosperous, the manufacturers of Ontario and Quebec will be in a depression and faced with unemployment. No matter whether a member represents an agricultural constituency in western Canada or a manufacturing constituency in Ontario, it is equally his duty and his privilege to study this problem so that half the population of Canada may be brought back from practically a poverty stricken level to that upon which we want Canadians to be. Once the farmers of western Canada are able to buy the articles they need the manufacturing centres of the east will be prosperous and the spectre of unemployment will no longer stalk through our land.
Subtopic: PROPOSED INQUIRY INTO HIGH PRICES WITH PARTICULAR REFERENCE TO INCREASES FOR 1936
February 26, 1936
In other words, if the Bank of Montreal or any other bank can issue that credit against the bonds of this country, why could not the Bank of Canada issue credit against those bonds, and issue it on a noninterest bearing basis? I have considered the matter for many months, and I cannot see why an institution which happens to be owned and controlled by a government could not do the same as a private institution. If it is all right for private institutions to increase the debt of Canada by $1,000,000 every day, I ask hon. members if it would be inflation were the public bank actually to lend $1,000,000 worth of credit every day on a non-interest bearing basis to retire the debt to private interests, which bears interest. That is not increasing in any shape or form the dead weight debt of the country. I suggest it might be done at the rate of 81,000,000 every day, the same rate as we have been going into debt in the past; if it were done at that rate inside of a little more than twenty-four years the public institutions of Canada, dominion, provincial, municipal and public corporations, would actually owe the same principal debt, but it would be on a non-interest bearing basis. Figuring the interest on the debt at about four and one-half per cent, it would mean that at that time we would be saving over $370,000,000 per year in interest, an amount that we are paying to-day.
In my judgment that is the flaw in our present system. I still contend that the banks do create and lend credit against bonds and loans. If you have the public institution creating that credit, and you put it on a noninterest bearing basis, you relieve yourself
Of the payment of that interest. But to-day you have this situation that private institutions created by the government are creating credit. The banks lend it to governments, and then the governments endeavour to meet the interest which they have to pay on that credit by collecting taxes from the people. That is what is happening. The people are in effect paying money for nothing. It is taken from the masses of the people and concentrated in the hands of a few financial institutions. It simply means that you are draining from the masses of the people over a million dollars every day of the year for the payment of interest; you are piling it up in the hands of the big financial institutions, and the result is that just that much actual purchasing power is being drained from the country. It is not surprising, therefore, that we have the unemployment we see today. But if we could save that million dollars a day, once we got our debt on the basis I have suggested, and it is worthy of consideration, we would be able to look after our unemployed and our old people and many other things that are necessary to restore economic security to our people.
That, in short, Mr. Speaker, is the view I think of at least fifty per cent of the Liberal voters in this country. They believe that it should be given a trial. I mentioned the other day that the present leader of the opposition (Mr. Bennett), as Prime Minister, used the public credit of this country to the extent of $35,000,000, and that public credit is only costing us one per cent to-day. There were no dire results from his use of that public credit to the extent of $35,000,000, and I suggest that we should continue to develop that system of using our public credit, doing it through our own publicly owned and controlled central bank. If some hon. members think it would be better for the publicly owned and controlled central bank to charge a small rate of interest, the profits to go back to the people, there would be nothing wrong in that.
I would point out that governments to-day are taking practically all the credit that banks see fit to extend, and the result is that private individuals and corporations seeking credit cannot get it, because banks are able to make all the profit they want out of lending credit to public institutions. What chance has anybody who wishes to engage in business to borrow money at a reasonable rate of interest when the banks can lend to governments at five and six per cent? But if the governments did their own business of that nature through their own publicly owned and controlled central bank, private individuals and corporations would be able to get credit from the banks and financial institutions, which would be
ready to lend, as they claim they do to-day, the private savings of the people at interest, and interest would be on a lower basis because public institutions would not then be competing with private institutions for credit or loans.
I noticed a moment ago, when I suggested this idea which I am venturing to put before this house, a certain tendency to regard it as somewhat fantastic. But let me point out to hon. gentlemen that according to the last Canada Year Book fifty-four per cent of the entire taxation of this dominion to-day goes towards the payment of interest on the dominion debt and forty-four pur cent of the entire income of the federal government goes towards the payment of interest on the debt. The Minister of Finance (Mr. Dunning) can sit up night and day trying to effect economies in his estimates, but that is only nibbling around the edge of this great problem that confronts us when a large bulk of the taxation that is wrung out of the people has to go towards the payment of interest on our debt. When I hear people talk about economy, saving a few thousand dollars here and a few thousand there, and then see the government having to bring down supplementary estimates by which in the end they have to spend the amount saved by these economies, I say, Mr. Speaker, that such cutting down of the estimates by a few thousand dollars here or there is not dealing at all effectively with the thing that is gnawing at the very vitals of this nation to-day and preventing us from doing the things we should do for our unemployed, for our farmers, for our sick, and our aged. The place where we are spending our money to-day is in the payment of interest on our debts; for as I said before, fifty per cent of the entire taxation of the dominion goes towards the payment of interest on the public debt. I suggest that in these days, when people are studying how to save a little bit out of the taxes that are being raised, the place to which they should direct their attention is the place where fifty-four per cent of our entire taxation is going and if there is any scheme that will save fifty-four per cent of the taxation of this dominion being paid over into the hands of financial institutions, I submit that it should receive very careful study and consideration.
I submit further that great economists and able financiers all over the world have come to the conclusion that we must get away from the error that brought down the Roman empire. After all, the Roman empire was in somewhat the same position that we are in to-day. There was a tremendous amount of unemployment. The people had flocked to
the city of Rome the centre of the Roman empire and congregated in it and the large cities; the cry arose for more bread and more circuses, and the only way the government could see by which to meet the problem of these people who were crying for bread and entertainment was the imposition of more and more taxation upon the people. The result was that the time came when the people of the Roman empire figured that the benefits of belonging to Imperial Rome were not as great as its burdens, and then when the barbarians descended upon the Roman empire it fell. Our situation is somewhat the same, but there ia this difference: with the development of our present banking institutions we do not need to tie ourselves down to gold or metal money. We do not need to tie ourselves down to any metallic substance. We can assume control of our Central Bank and through it issue and control currency and credit in terms of the needs of the people and not have to base it upon gold, silver or anything else of that nature. Looking at the economic situation we see that to do the business of this country requires so much purchasing power. We can issue that purchasing power through having control of the central bank and through our banking system. I suggest to you that the banking system of this country should be changed in accordance with the development which has taken place within the last forty and certainly within the last fifty years. There are older hon. members who can remember that forty or fifty years ago nearly all the business in the province of Ontario was done with money; especially in the country districts the idea of doing business by cheques was practically unknown. It is more important that something substantial of this nature should be done to meet our present situation than to try to save a few thousand dollars here or try to cut down expenses by a few thousand dollars there, which economies may tend to aggravate the present unemployment situation.
I appeal to my fellow Liberals to give sympathetic consideration to the suggestion that we take over the ownership of our central bank and make the use of it I have indicated. I know some people say that the idea of government borrowing from it is not feasible, but all I can say is that we will not ruin the country by trying it out. If it works, we can extend it further; if it does not work, we can drop it. We have made much more expensive experiments in the past. I contend we should have control of our central bank. We could then cautiously and carefully make use of its powers to create credit against the bonds of the country. We could cautiously retire our present debt now in private hands. If the idea works, we can extend it. If that is done I submit that inside of a very few years there will be no one worrying about socialism. If this idea is put into effect every man will have economic security and the liberty and freedom to which he is entitled under our British parliamentary institutions. Once more a necessary step will have been taken by organized humanity to march forward to higher levels of human achievement.
The resolution now before the house suggests that we should take over the private banking institutions and endeavour to run them. I do not believe that at the present time we are prepared to take any such step. If the latter part of the motion were deleted and it referred only to the national ownership and control of the central bank of Canada, I would be prepared to vote for the resolution.
Mr. A. MacG. YOUNG (Saskatoon): Mr. Speaker, the resolution now before the house is of great importance, and while it is not my intention to wander through the mazes of the theories of money and credit I want to make my position clear should this resolution come to a vote. I shall not take up more than two or three minutes of the time of the house.
The Liberal party is quite clearly on record as being opposed to the present set up of the central bank of Canada, and I agree entirely with that attitude. I think I can say, with equal accuracy, that the position of the Liberal party is well known as being in favour of a nationally owned and controlled bank. I see before me my genial friend, the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Mackenzie), and I am quite sure he will not disagree with that statement. During the campaign my right hon. leader (Mr. Mackenzie King) spoke in the city which I have the honour to represent. When he made the pronouncement that we would establish a nationally owned and nationally controlled bank he received a tremendous outburst of applause, the greatest outburst of the continued applause he received during his whole speech. If this resolution stopped where the hon. member for Rosthern (Mr. Tucker) suggests it should stop, I would be prepared to support it wholeheartedly. The time may come when it may be deemed advisable to take over even the privately owned banks. That time, however, is not the present, but I am prepared to support that part of the resolution which concerns the national ownership and control of the central bank of Canada.
Banking-Mr. Taylor (Nanaimo)
Subtopic: PROPOSED NATIONAL OWNERSHIP AND CONTROL. OF BANK OF CANADA AND CHARTERED BANKS
February 26, 1936
Mr. W. A. TUCKER (Rosthern):
Mr. Speaker, when I came into the house this afternoon I did not expect to find this motion on the order paper; it has been so changed that, by the rules of the house, I thought it would be moved to the bottom of the order paper instead of being left in its present position. However, I feel it my duty to define my own position in regard to this matter.
If this resolution read, "That, in the opinion of this house, the government should consider the advisability of national ownership and control of the Bank of Canada," and stopped there, I would vote in favour of it. In view of the fact that some measure along these lines is foreshadowed in the speech from the throne I have no intention of moving any amendment to the resolution offered by the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Cold-well), because undoubtedly the government has that matter under consideration, and as a private Liberal member I do not wish to anticipate the action or intention of the government in that regard. So far as I am personally concerned, however, I am one hun-
dred per cent in favour of a one hundred per cent ownership and control of the Bank of Canada by the Canadian people, through our government.
To some extent the suggestion was made that the remarks I addressed to the house a few days ago indicated that I was favourable to some scheme of inflation. If we controlled our central bank we could issue currency and control credit in terms of the interests of the people, and not in terms of private bankers' profits. From time to time the bankers regulate their business by largely extending credit when there is a business boom at one time, and curtailing it when there is depression at another. In other words the Canadian Macmillan report found there were times when the bank should be extending credit but that at such times it would not be in its own financial interests to do so. The report indicated that private banks could not be expected to take steps which would not be in their own interests. On the other hand at times when there may be a tendency to deflate, a government bank might and should throw its influence and its power towards arresting a deflation movement, whereas a private bank could not be expected to do so, because such action would not be in its own interests. Therefore if a central bank is to discharge its proper duties, namely more or less to control the price level and to prevent extreme depressions and extreme booms, the only way it can be expected to do so is to have it under government ownership and control.
The other day I endeavoured to point out over ninety per cent of the purchasing power of the country operates through the medium of cheques on bank accounts. That is the principal medium of exchange. By virtue of their control over those deposits the banks actually have within their control what used to be regarded as something within the sole province of the government, namely the right to create or destroy currency, or purchasing power. That is, in the earlier days before we had a banking system such as we have to-day the government decided the amount of currency it should issue. To-day, owing to the development of our banking system, by making loans or by buying government bonds the bank creates deposits which, in turn, are chequed from bank to bank, back and forth, thus in effect creating purchasing power at will. We will suppose that a government bond worth $1,000,000 is bought by a bank. That money is either deposited in the bank which purchased the bond or it is chequed out for some purpose to other people who redeposit it in other
banks. Whether it actually goes into the bank which made the loan or into other banks, it increases their amount on deposit, and they in turn figure that they may make loans on the basis of those increased deposits. Therefore every time a loan is made or a bond is purchased there is an increase in the cash reserves of the bank or banks of the country, and at the same time an increase in the assets of the banks, viz the bond purchased or the loan owing.
Under our present system there is no limit to the extent to which the banks may increase their loans or may purchase bonds, with the exception of the limitation as to what the banks consider governments or individuals can repay. If governments or individuals borrow more than they can repay, the value of their credit goes down accordingly. I believe every hon. member understands that. If any hon. member thinks I could possibly repay $100- and perhaps he might be optimistic if he thought that-and I promised to repay $200, he would say, "Well, your note for $200 is really worth only $100." That is what I believe is meant by inflation. That is, the credit which a government or individual can put out at any time is limited by the amount the government or individual can hope to repay within a given time.
The point which it seems to me has not received sufficient consideration is this: Under our present system a government may go to a bank for money or credit. They actually issue credit against the bonds of the government. There is no limit to that, except the amount that they think the government can repay. In other words, if the banks believed that the dominion government could actually carry a debt of six billion, ten billion or fifteen billion dollars, there is nothing in the world to prevent them from lending the government any of those sums. They have the machinery to do it. It would not depend upon the savings in the bank; it does not depend upon gold, but depends entirely upon whether they believe the people of Canada can repay that money. If that is so; if the banks of Canada, with the machinery at their disposal, can create credit or can actually lend credit against the bonds of the government to any extent they believe to be safe, and to the extent they believe the government can repay, I put this to hon. members: If it is all right for private banks to create and lend credit to governments against government bonds, what is wrong with a central bank, owned and controlled by the government, actually extending the credit, instead of leaving that operation in the hands of a private
institution? Thereby we would save that tremendous drain of interest which to-day is ruining society. I pointed to figures a few days ago which indicated that the public institutions of Canada between the years 1919 and 1932 had actually gone into debt at the rate of $1,000,000 every day. I showed that the debt had been increasing at that rate. I believe most people would say that because it had been done through ordinary banking institutions it was not inflation. The point I put is this: If we were to take over the ownership and control of our central bank, and instead of increasing our debt by $1,000,000 every day we were actually to issue credit of $1,000,000 each day, through the central bank, and use it to retire the public debt, would we have a state of inflation? In other words,-
Subtopic: PROPOSED NATIONAL OWNERSHIP AND CONTROL. OF BANK OF CANADA AND CHARTERED BANKS
February 21, 1936
Do United States ships
going through the Panama canal pay the same tolls as do ships of other nations?
February 21, 1936
Why is it that while vessels using the Panama canal have to pay tolls we carry a great amount of American traffic through the Welland canal free of tolls?