In January, Hervé Provencher, director of the Institute, and I visited the capitals of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. We called on various ministers and economic advisers to whom we presented the petition made to the governments of the ten provinces, that:
"The provincial governments request the federal government, at the next meeting of the Federal-Provincial Conference, to have the Bank of Canada finance the various projects of the provincial, federal and municipal governments through credits advanced without interest charge."
Here are some notes on the interviews we had in Fredericton, New Brunswick. All the minister we visited were in agreement with the petition. This province shows much promise for Social Credit reform; probably because of the many Crediters who know how to make their influence felt on the government. And Premier John Flemming seems to understand trụe finance.
He was the first to whom we presented the petition.
— O'Brien: Where will the money come from?
— We: From a pen, like all money, except that, since it comes from the pen of the Bank of Canada and not a private banker, there'll be no interest. The sums needed in 1858 won't suffice for the needs of 1958. Today, progress entails debts. Debts spell poverty. You can't augment the country's wealth and go into debt at the same time.
—O'Brien: This pertains to federal legislation.
— We: Are you prepared to present these views at the Conference, Mr. O'Brien?.
— O'Brien: The premier will have to decide that.
He listened gravely and attentively and then said. in a firm voice, "I am going to speak about it to the government".
Mr. Brooks had already told Mr. Flemming that the municipalities would have to be financed by the Bank of Canada. His biggest problem, he said, was that 40% of New Brunswick's farms were not under cultivation. "The government has to buy their produce and then re-sell it. And the government cannot go too far in such a matter."
— We: No. When the state replaces the individual that's socialism.
— Brooks: Exactly.
— We: The solution is Social Credit with its universal dividend. Families go hungry and farm produce unsold, naked, and textile factories are closed. Whole families burn alive in cardboard houses while building materials are unsold and builders unemployed.
He received us politely and said that the premier was in New York.
— We: Credit restrictions place the provinces in an impossible position, cause unemployment and obstruct the sale of farm produce.
— Carson: True. Mr. Flemming's predictions about the effects of credit restrictions have come true, I shall speak to him of your visit.
From Madawaska He heard our arguments with great interest and remarked that what we said was incorporated in the ideas of Mr. Flemming. He promised to speak to the premier about these matters again.
He would go to the Bank of Canada only in cases of extreme emergency, because "when the money goes to the chartered banks it multiplies and causes inflation".
— We: Then change the rules. But don't hinder the realization of a good measure such as we propose. Social Credit asks for a balance between purchasing power and production.This would make inflation impossible.
— Smith: The Alberta dividend was ill-timed in view of the poverty here.
— We: We've been fighting ten years to double family allowances.
— Smith: A good measure. Would you be satisfied with 100% employment?
— We: We want the distribution of wealth not total employment. Science and machinery are making total employment impossible. The dividend is becoming more and more a necessity.
We had already spoken to him about the Bank of Canada in Ottawa last November 25th. He asked if we weren't afraid that this would cause inflation.
— We: True inflation or, "too much money and too few goods", does not exist. It is taxes and vested interests that inflate prices.
Mr. Young admitted the financial problem and that we were being taxed to the saturation point. As for our petition, he promised to go along with the other delegates.
Gabriel LACASSE (Translated from Vers Demain by EARL MASSECAR)