by Jerry Alatalo
On the topic of public banking, found an excellent talk posted by the Canadian group COMER (Committee on Monetary and Economic Reform) on their new YouTube channel. COMER members initiated the legal challenge to the Bank of Canada which has a chance to prevail and transform Canada’s monetary system.
Visit www.comer.org for a wealth of articles on monetary reform, and more information on what could become a world-changing event in international finance.
During a conference organized by COMER in January 2015, one of the speakers was a City of Toronto council member and public bank advocate Ms. Kristyn Wong-Tam. Her experience began when her and other members of the Toronto City Council participated in a survey answering the question “What can be done about Toronto’s financial crisis?” Ms. Wong-Tam describes how – after she suggested a public bank for Toronto – she became engaged in a discussion with one of a local newspaper’s reporters and eventually wrote a 1,200-word essay, which was then published.
The article raised a few eyebrows according to Ms. Wong-Tam, and illustrated both lack of citizens’ awareness of the benefits of public banking along with the need for education. She described first meetings with finance managers for the City of Toronto to talk about establishing a public bank, and their – coming from either non-awareness of the concept or stubborn unwillingness to change – telling her “we don’t need a public bank… we can already borrow at competitive rates… but is this even legal?”
She told the audience that people need to begin strongly advocating for public banking by spreading the word, commenting on national on-line websites, and explaining the good financial management aspects to friends and relatives in their areas. In her estimate, the ongoing COMER challenge in the courts to the Bank of Canada and establishing public banks across the country are part of a very important issue – possibly the most important issue – for Canadians.
Interestingly, Ms. Wong-Tam shared with the audience that after publication of her op-ed article she began making a good number of contacts with people requesting to talk with her – including investment bankers operating off-shore, professors of law and economics, among others who told her, “you’re on the right track… keep going”. In sharp contrast, she talks about private bank executives from some of the largest financial institutions trying to find out “where are you going with this?” and “how far are you going?” Giving evidence of how much resistance from the private banking sector will come forth for serious public bank advocates, she describes the answers she gave while acting “uninformed” about the finance concept: “Oh, I don’t know. I’m just asking a question. I really don’t know the answer, maybe you can help me out”.
She then gives encouragement to members of COMER for their legal case against the Bank of Canada and advocates for public banking in the room by reinforcing her experience, telling the audience: “you’re on the right track”.
Finally, Ms. Wong-Tam shares her experience related to Canada’s postal service and an 800-page study on ways to sustain the national organization by diversification of revenue, in particular establishing postal banking. She said she experienced astonishment to find 701 pages of the 800-page completed report had become redacted, leading her to ask “what are you hiding?” She suggested redaction of 88% of the government report was close to or actually an act of treason, similar to poisoning a public water supply.
She again stressed in closing remarks her belief that educating the public on public finance reform is an important task, and that citizens of Canada must become “involved in this crucial issue”.
(Thank you to Committee on Monetary and Economic Reform (COMER) at YouTube)