Lethbridge Herald (Newspaper) - March 12, 1971, Lethbridge, Alberta
26 - THE LETHBRIDOC HERALD - Friday, March 12. 1971 COMMUNTY EFFORT - Snow removal equipment had been hard-pressed in the past week and residents in Pointe-aux-Trembles, near Montreal, pitched in Wednesday removing up to six-foot drifts from driveways and secondary streets. Benson silent on dollar plan OTTAWA (CP) - Finance Minister Edgar Benson declined in the Commons Thursday to say what action he plans, if Canada cracks down OTTAWA (CP) - The Bank of Canada cracked down this week on a system of interna-tional currency transactions that effectively permitted United States dollars to pass through Canada to Europe in violation of a 1968 U.S-Canada agreement. Letters to the chartered banks from the central bank called for a halt to such dealings as contrary to the spirit, if not the letter, of the 1968 policy guide. Under the 1968 agreement, the Canadian government agreed to disallow a net outflow of U.S. currency from Canada to countries other than the United States. In return, Canadians continued to be exempt from U.S. rules that restricted borrowing by foreigners in the United States. Last month, some dealers in Canada began lending idle Canadian funds to European institutions for periods of anywhere from a few days to six months. Typically, the European banks would exchange the Canadian funds into U.S. dollars. That meant that U.S. dollars were being drawn out of Canadian reserves by an indirect route. When the borrowings were repaid, the U.S. funds would return to Canada, but the Bank of Canada became concerned that the practice was growing. The quantity of U.S. funds invested outside the country at any given time could have become immense unless the practice was halted. The Eruopean dealers found it more profitable to engage in such transactions than to raise US., funds in Europe. Interest charged on dollar loans tended to be lower in Canada than in the so-called Eurodollar market. any, about upward pressure on the Canadian dollar. The matter was raised by T. C. Douglas, the New Democrat leader, who said exports and employment will be adversely affected if the Canadian dollar exceeds the U.S. dollar in value. He asked what Mr. Benson plans to do to assure that the Canadian dollar will not exceed parity with its America counterpart. Would interest rates be lowered? Would the money supply by expanded? Mr. Benson replied that interest rates were reduced some 10 days ago and that Mr. Douglas had advocated a floating dollar. Mr. Douglas said one reason the Canadian dollar was unpegged was to avoid tying up money in foreign reserves, now at $4.85 billion. He asked what will be done to reduce the reserves. MUST OBEY LAW Mr. Benson said he is limited by law in the use of the foreign exchange reserve. Max Saltsman, NDP financial spokesman, asked whether Mr. Benson will ask Parliament to change the limit. Mr. Benson said that if he did he would announce it. Mr. Douglas asked whether it could be assumed that Mr. Benson planned no action at all. Mr. Benson said no. Douglas Harkness (PC-Calgary Centre) asked whether the dollar will be allowed to reach a five-cent premium in relation to the U.S. dollar. Mr. Benson said he could not discuss this. Earlier, Mr. Benson told Opposition Leader Robert Stainfield the government can accept or reject the advice of the prices and incomes commission. Mr. Stainfield had asked about a Toronto speech by Commission Chairman John Young warning that a program to create jobs could cause another round of inflation. / Mr. Benson said it is not the government's opinion that job-making will create inflation. He respected Mi'. Young but the latter's opinion was not necessarily the government.'s George Hees (PC-Prince Edward-Hastings) asked Mr. Benson to outline the government's policy on stimulating the economy without causing high inflation. Mr. Benson advised him to read his speeches. 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