Skip to content

Hamilton chapter holds public forum with Joyce Nelson on the role of the Bank of Canada

The Council of Canadians Hamilton chapter hosted a public forum with Joyce Nelson yesterday evening.

Hamilton chapter activist Mary Love tells us, “We had an excellent evening with Joyce Nelson from Toronto, who read from and discussed her provocative new book Beyond Banksters: Resisting the New Feudalism with a crowd of about 60 people in the Central Branch of the Hamilton Public Library, who co-sponsored the event. We had information tables for the chapter and for the Campaign for Adequate Welfare and Disability Benefits, with whom our chapter is beginning to work on projects to do with poverty and inequality in our community.”

Love adds, “One joyful aspect was welcoming to the event four members of the new Halton Chapter who are enthusiastic about their new venture. Joyce sold and signed over 30 books, so that was also great! Our chapter members and guests enjoyed locally produced baked goods and coffee donated by the library.”

Ed Finn, the longtime editor of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives magazine The CCPA Monitor, has noted, “Joyce is renowned for both the clarity of her prose and for her meticulous research, both of which are on display in this, her latest blockbuster. The challenge it poses to a prospective reviewer is that its succinct 164 pages are jam-packed with vital facts, figures, insights and revelations. So many that it’s impossible to adequately summarize it in a standard book review.”

In terms of the core issue covered in the book, the CBC has explained, “The Bank of Canada was set up in 1935 in the wake of the Great Depression to provide a means for settling international accounts and to provide interest-free loans to government to finance infrastructure investments. Projects like the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Trans-Canada highway were funded in this way, and the central bank also underwrote Canada’s Second World War effort as well as the building of hospitals and universities.”

But as the article notes, “In 1974, the central bank stopped providing interest-free loans to government so it could join the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), a kind of central bank of central banks.” The Toronto Star has reported, “Headquartered in Switzerland, the BIS is an organization that brings together the central banks from 60 countries to co-operate in the promotion of international monetary and financial stability.”

Author Murray Dobbins comments, “After nearly 40 years of this incredibly productive use of publicly created credit, unprecedented economic growth and increasing income equality, international finance got its chance to launch the free market counter-revolution against democratic governance. The effect of the change was to effectively take a powerful economic tool out of the hands of democratic governments.”

In June 2016, the Hamilton chapter co-sponsored a public forum with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers and the Congress of Union Retirees of Canada about a legal challenge now underway on the role of the Bank of Canada.

The Toronto Star has reported, “The Committee for Monetary and Economic Reform contends the Bank of Canada is mandated to provide debt-free support for public projects undertaken by federal, provincial and city governments [and that private banks lending to the government contravenes the act that established the central bank].”

Dobbin observes, “Of all the destructive elements of the so-called Washington Consensus this one can actually be challenged in court. Free trade deals, tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, privatization, the gutting of social programs, sweeping deregulation — all these either have been or would be deemed by the courts to be the purview of the legislative branch. But the very first initiative in this 40-year assault on democracy may actually have breached the law. And the courts seem willing, so far, to agree that this possible breach has to be explained and justified.”

The Council of Canadians calls on the federal government to immediately resume using the Bank of Canada, not just for infrastructure needs, but for all the needs of Canadians and the Indigenous Peoples of this land, and for the Minister of Finance to so direct the Governor of the Bank of Canada.