Thanks to the Canadian Independent for covering this.
I believe we need to avoid digital currency in general. Digital currencies, upon examination, I believe, by design–unless a totally different model is developed, will be found to have the same privacy and control dangers regardless of whether or not they are run by central banks. Currencies can be gradually centralized if necessary. Laws and rules and taxes can be imposed, old and new.
The system we live under is both public and private–public-private-partnership–as exemplified by the United Nations institutions and by the World Economic Forum’s values. What we idealize as “limited government” is never limited. The concept of government goes beyond its limits to become “governance.”
Through funding and privatization (in the past, nationalization), “government” just gets bigger, making decisions with its “partners” in the corporate world (“lobbying” being the formal side of this), making more and more agreements with foreign governments, instead of being focused on the needs of their own people and accountable to them democratically.
According to Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bank_of_Canada
The Bank of Canada (BoC; French: Banque du Canada) is a Crown corporation and Canada’s central bank. Chartered in 1934 under the Bank of Canada Act, it is responsible for formulating Canada’s monetary policy, and for the promotion of a safe and sound financial system within Canada. The Bank of Canada is the sole issuing authority of Canadian banknotes, provides banking services and money management for the government, and loans money to Canadian financial institutions. …
..The bank was chartered by and under the Bank of Canada Act on 3 July 1934, as a privately owned corporation, a move taken in order to ensure the bank would be free from partisan political influence. …
Type of government institution
The Bank of Canada is structured as a Crown corporation rather than as a government department, with shares held in the name of the minister of finance on behalf of the government. While the Bank of Canada Act provides the minister of finance with the final authority on matters of monetary policy through the power to issue a directive no such directive has ever been issued. The bank’s earnings go into the federal treasury. The governor and senior deputy governor are appointed by the bank’s board of directors. The deputy minister of finance sits on the board of directors but does not have a vote. The bank submits its spending to the board of directors, while departmental spending is overseen by the Treasury Board with their spending estimates submitted to Parliament. …
In the case of the Bank of Canada, it is part of our government structure or governance. But it is also a private corporation. There is potential control over it by the government in Parliament. It is supposed to serve the interests of Canadians. It appears that politicians could redirect it if they wanted to, but it seems to be left alone to follow a certain path and I suspect possibly this path is determined through international agreements and international institutions. Hopefully we can find out more about these questions.
Are even our elected Parliaments (federally and provincially) accountable to Canadians through elections or more so to a higher corporate power with an agenda–namely the King as per the Constitution of Canada–and to major political parties which are private organizations? Neither the monarch nor a political party represents the democratic will of the general public.
The Bank of Canada’s Digital Dollar project
We’re exploring the possibility of issuing a digital form of the Canadian dollar, also known as a central bank digital currency (CBDC). …
Simply put, a Digital Canadian Dollar would be a digital form of the cash in your wallet …
… But the advantage is that you could also use it for online purchases and to transfer money between family and friends. …
I don’t see how there is an advantage over cash in these cases, because there could be restrictions imposed. Also “family and friends” would require a digital wallet, and needy people on the street or elsewhere may not have one. Having to use a digital wallet does not seem so private to me compared to cash as it ties you a chain of transactions.
“… provide benefits similar to cash: it would be safe, accessible to everyone and private.”
I don’t see how it could be private if a record is kept one way or another–and I don’t have any reason to think it would be “accessible to everyone” without conditions.
I think these are real concerns. And that the push to introduce digital currency is motivated by the desire to undermine privacy and collect data and control transactions and punish/reward behaviour.
We know that when we do an e-transfer that there is a record of that transaction. There is potential for the bank to decline a transaction arbitrarily as things stand. The government even puts limits on large transfers of cash through its Fintrac program imposed after 9/11. These limits have gradually become more and more restrictive (I think very recently also).
However, a digital dollar would not replace cash. Our responsibility is to provide Canadians with bank notes they can trust. We’ve done this for almost 90 years, and we’re committed to issuing bank notes for as long as Canadians want them.
It’s good they say that. This is their responsibility, that’s why they say that. But this could change if Parliament changed the legislation governing the Bank of Canada.
Things could change if Canadians were pushed by institutions using different crises into accepting digital currency–gradually implemented perhaps using different justifications and vulnerable populations. Possibly universal basic income would be imposed using digital currency as an essential element. Merely that people continue to use electronic transfers –debit and credit–instead of cash could be deliberately interpreted by governments as a “request” for digital currency. COVID was used a justification by businesses to push the use of e-transactions and demonize cash. The imposition of stay-at-home dictates pushed the use of online digital education (home-schoolers should be wary of this!) and online transactions was pushed using COVID as an excuse. All of this was part of the World Economic Forum’s Great Reset.
The video “Exploring a Digital Canadian Dollar” claims that the Bank of Canada is exploring central bank digital currency because of the habits of Canadians. I don’t really believe this is why they are doing so. I believe it is an agenda coming from international institutions. (Further research: Agenda 2030 and World Economic Forum).
It again claims that it “would be accessible to anyone and everyone” but I think, again, it would have potentially very changeable and invasive conditions for use, allowing it to be turned on and off.
One of the advantages is that it “possibly could still be used if the Internet is not available.”
Businesses would have to be set up for this. Should people invest in this technology and use it and expect businesses to use it? I don’t think they should, because of the dangers.
It would be similar to cash because “it wouldn’t earn interest” but then they claim that “it would be secure and private.” I think the last two points are a real stretch.
(The main page links to the following pages for additional research:
The main page claims:
“Ultimately, Canadians will decide—through their representatives in Parliament—if a digital dollar should be issued.”
So, it would be very important for Canadians who don’t want this to continue to use cash when possible and to make sure they make their wishes are clear to current and future Members of Parliament. It is very unlikely, in my opinion, that top members of parliament are not being pushed by special private interests to introduce digital currency.
I think it is also very likely that the shell game will be played of demonizing “Central Bank Digital Currency” while selling plain old Digital Currency as what “Canadians really need” because it will be blessed by “free market” people who call their systems “free.” Imposing systems is imposing systems. Governments won’t care because they will turn any collection of digital currencies into a technocratic dictatorship if that’s the agenda of international oligarchs.
The selling point of “private” is used in the Bank of Canada’s presentation. And “accessible.” It’s just that. Selling. Others will sell their non-central bank digital currencies as private and “free.” Meanwhile, from everything I have heard, the entire Internet and all electronic communications are subject to constant surveillance and data collection and analysis. Isn’t this what we knew about the “Five Eyes” network decades ago? Isn’t this what Edward Snowden confirmed? It’s a shell game. What’s under A? What’s under B? The same thing, different presentations. That’s how these things are promoted.
Don’t let go of cash. Don’t encourage digitization and dependence on technology. Change spending habits to use more cash. Be selective with businesses. Talk about this with others. Be skeptical of claims of “privacy” with things that don’t have to stay private even if they start out claiming to be “private.” And don’t let them browbeat you about “what do you have to hide?” and “are you stealing taxes from the government?” or any of this emotional manipulation that will be used.
The main page continues:
How we’re approaching our work on a digital dollar
As with bank notes, Canadians shouldn’t need identification, a bank account or to disclose private information to perform basic financial transactions.
That is their stated goal. It’s not adequate for our concerns even if it’s achieved, because a digital wallet is still required, which is a buy-in to a digital currency by each person involved–so the homeless people on the street would have to all have this, but would they? And would there be even more conditions attached to accessing a digital wallet and mandated by social welfare services in order to add money to the digital wallet? The “private information” is not “disclosed” perhaps but it is recorded and potentially available everywhere. Further research on this point of the technology is necessary.
For those who want the ability to retrieve lost or stolen funds, a digital dollar should allow users to voluntarily provide some form of identification, just as we do now when opening a bank account.
So your identity is going to be attached to your digital wallet obviously one way or another and that is NOT the case with cash! The cash doesn’t have your name on it.
Canadians have a right to privacy, and any digital dollar must not compromise this right. A digital dollar should maximize privacy and give Canadians full control over their data.
This is an impossible promise to keep because of the nature of the technology. “Full control” of their data? Further research on the technology is necessary to understand the issues with this statement. I think it’s just marketing for the new technology.
A digital dollar should help every Canadian, everywhere, participate in the economy. A digital dollar shouldn’t add barriers or reinforce existing ones.
It’s a nice statement, but that’s not what it’s being introduced for. In my opinion, it is being introduced in order to create and negotiate new barriers of all kinds. Further research into the Bank for International Settlements policies on this and on the World Economic Forum’s “Great Reset” discussions on this topic are necessary. Also we should look into the recent G20 declaration on this topic.
A digital dollar would complement bank notes, not replace them. We will continue to provide bank notes so people who prefer cash can continue to use it.
We would hope this would be true, but I really don’t think the legislation will stay the same if Parliament is moved to change this using some excuse about a new war for example. You should talk to the major parties and fellow citizens about this issue and insist on cash remaining in place.
The Bank of Canada collected perspectives on the “concept of a Digital Canadian Dollar.”
There are four parts to the report:
- discussions with members of the financial sector (PDF: “What we heard: Engaging with financial institutions on a digital Canadian dollar”)
- focus groups (PDF: “PUBLIC PERCEPTIONS OF CENTRAL BANK DIGITAL CURRENCY”)
- discussions with civil society groups (PDF: “What we heard: Engaging with civilsociety on a digital Canadian dollar”)
- an online public questionnaire open to all Canadians (PDF: “Digital Canadian Dollar Public Consultation Report” November 2023)
Respondents to the public questionnaire were largely opposed to a digital dollar and to the Bank of Canada researching it. They were concerned about the impacts that a digital dollar could have on their rights.
Canadians and stakeholders provided feedback on the following general themes:
- accessibility and financial inclusion
- continued access to bank notes
- security and technology
- digital dollar ecosystem
- financial stability
Canadians who are underserved by the financial system, civil society groups and financial institutions that serve primarily rural, remote and Indigenous communities all shared ideas for how a digital dollar could better include the underbanked. They all identified gaps in existing digital payment offerings. Overall, civil society organizations cited universal access as the priority for a potential digital dollar.
However, contradicting that more naive view:
Respondents to the public questionnaire were skeptical that a digital dollar could be inclusive and largely did not see a need to prioritize inclusion.
Advocates for financial inclusion raised concerns that the identification requirements for banking services present a barrier for many Canadians who do not have reliable access to government-issued identification.
Promises and wishes about a product that doesn’t exist yet. I think it will be equivalent to getting government identification possibly. Maybe it will replace government ID. Who is to say it will be any easier to obtain?
The most important point:
We heard from focus group participants, civil society groups and respondents to the public questionnaire that a potential digital dollar should perform the functions of bank notes without the need to share personal information. Providing the personal information necessary to enable features that are not possible with bank notes, like automated payments and recovering lost funds, should be voluntary.
Respondents to the public questionnaire overwhelmingly valued the privacy and anonymity that bank notes provide and believed the Bank should not collect or have access to Canadians’ personal and spending information. Many of these respondents did not trust the Bank and other institutions to protect or respect their privacy and were concerned that privacy laws—such as the federal Privacy Act and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act—do not offer sufficient protections.
Respondents preferred bank notes because they are not easily tracked. Respondents also said they felt that bank notes would continue to offer privacy and anonymity during transactions over the long term, no matter the government of the day. They were generally concerned about financial crimes being used to justify limiting privacy or anonymity and the effects that could have on other rights and freedoms, such as the freedom for people to make individual economic decisions for themselves.
Another important section. If I was pushing this agenda but respected peoples’ wishes, I would just stop right here. Why bother introducing digital currency, since obviously people don’t want to get rid of bank notes anyway and are concerned about privacy!
Continued access to bank notes
Most Canadians we heard from placed high importance on having access to bank notes as currency backed by the central bank. This was because of their wide acceptance, universal availability and transactional privacy.
To ensure greater access to bank notes in the future, most respondents indicated that they would support imposing requirements on merchants to accept bank notes as a form of payment. Civil society groups noted that improving consumer access to and merchant acceptance of cash would help prevent marginalized Canadians from being further excluded from the economy.
Financial institutions and others had other concerns about introducing a digital dollar.
In an era of rapid digitalization, the Bank is undertaking the necessary work to be ready if Canadians’ payment preferences or needs change. Ultimately, the decision about whether or when to issue a digital dollar will be up to Canadians and their elected representatives in Parliament.
. . .There will be further opportunities for Canadians to provide input on a potential digital dollar.
Canadians have a right to privacy, and any digital dollar must not compromise this right. The Bank will examine options for a digital dollar that:
- would not require Canadians to have identification, a bank account or to disclose private information to anyone to perform basic financial transactions—similar to bank notes and some pre-paid cards
- would allow Canadians to voluntarily provide some form of identification to help retrieve lost or stolen funds—like when opening a bank account
The potential design of a digital dollar would require an evaluation of the desired balance between maintaining privacy and preventing financial crimes. Deciding how to balance these objectives will be up to Parliament. The Bank will explore what is technologically feasible by gathering perspectives from a variety of groups, including government departments and agencies, civil liberties groups, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada and financial institutions, as well as privacy and inclusion experts.
Note how it provides an exception to “must not compromise this right” to privacy.
I think what’s missing on this page is any sense of the real motivation for trying to create a digital currency. Why introduce all these problems in the first place? Ultimately I believe it’s for social control, surveillance and behaviour modification.
A few points from the public survey:
Page 32, section 4.1:
“Potential features of a Canadian digital dollar.” “Ability to make private transactions” came in first at 43% of respondents.
Page 35, section 4.2:
“Potential use of a Canadian digital dollar” 85% said “I would not use a digital Canadian dollar”! (Number of completed surveys: 89,423)
Q. Are there any circumstances where you think you would prefer using a digital Canadian dollar instead of your current payment methods?
Number of completed surveys: 89,423
Asked to: All respondents
Nearly all respondents (92%) would prefer to use their current payment methods over using a digital Canadian dollar (Figure 28).
Page 37 is very interesting:
Section 5: Your advice
- A vast majority of respondents agree that regulation should be introduced to require merchants to accept cash as a form of payment. This trend holds consistent across all demographic groups. [79% strongly agree]
- Most respondents believe that the Bank of Canada should not be researching and building the capability to issue a digital Canadian dollar [82% strongly disagree with doing this].
- Furthermore, most respondents do not believe that the Bank of Canada will consider the public’s feedback about a potential digital Canadian dollar.
Page 39 of the report:
Figure 29. Distribution of respondents’ general comments on the idea of a digital Canadian dollar.
NET: Negative responses 86%
It is a bad idea // I don’t like it // I will not use it 52%
Government will have too much control 19%
Government cannot be trusted // I do not trust them 16%
Privacy will be jeopardized // Invaded 15%
Loss of individual choice 15%
Access to money and accounts can be restricted 10%
It will hurt our democracy 9%
It is communist // Socialist 9%
Having this power can lead to abuse // Overreach 8%
Money will not be secure // Cannot be secure 8%
Banks cannot be trusted // I do not trust them 6%
Banks will have too much control // Too much power 5%
Identity will not be secure // Cannot be secure 5%
Can be weaponized 5%
… [etc.] …
NET: Neutral responses 22%
NET: Positive responses 5%
Page 40-42 comments:
Below are some of the comments participants shared with us as the end of the consultation questionnaire:
“Leave cash alone!”
“A digital dollar sounded great until we saw the Federal government freeze private bank accounts of its own citizens for supporting a political movement it disagreed with. I have no faith at all in the system anymore.”
“I believe that interoperability and the idea that I could send it to my relatives abroad and that they could exchange it easily to their own currency is very important.”
“We don’t need it! So don’t waste any more resources on it.”
“La peur de beaucoup de Canadiens est de l’utiliser comme instrument de contrôle comme le crédit social modèle chinois. Nous n’en voulons pas.”
“As I have already stated, I do not see the reason or benefit of a digital dollar. Cash is accessible to everyone. Cash is private, cash is senior friendly, cash is disability friendly, cash is as secure as the individual makes it, cash is there and readily available, and cash is already legal tender.”
“I don’t trust that this will be anonymous.”
“Why change [the] existing system? Tighten existing controls.”
“I am deeply concerned about privacy and freedom. Already, most of our transactions are linked to our personal information and are traced by many entities, which I find disconcerting. Additionally, a digital Canadian dollar would mean that the government would, in theory (and very likely in practice) control access to money for its citizens. This will surely lead to tyranny and I do not wish to live in such a state. Control over money is a potent instrument for oppression and forced obedience. I cannot imagine a CBDC being compatible with our values of liberty and privacy.”
“I think it is a horrible idea and just one more way the government can control and track us. Cash is easy and it is anonymous and it has been the way for thousands and thousands of years. Nobody can hack into cash. Cash is foolproof. Kids can use cash. What happens to the homeless? They can’t afford a phone or computer to access this digital money. They rely on cash. The world [relies] on cash. When I go to another country I take out [cash] as every country has their own currency. What happens when the bank gets hacked or the bank goes bankrupt? All of our money is gone. With cash we can take it out and it’s physically with us. It’s a safety net. I am very against this digital dollar.”
“If it exists I will probably use it, but it’s no loss to me if it doesn’t exist. Also I
don’t want to see the utility of cash further eroded.”
“Please leave the dollar alone. I do not want to be digitizing this aspect of my life and having to share my personal information every time I make a transaction.”
“Digital dollars will be tracked by all banks, all federal agencies and the [government]. They will be programmed to control what people buy, how much accessed at a single time, carbon footprint, political party affiliations, religion, and every other possible aspect of your personal life.”
“J’ai de la difficulté à comprendre comment un tel système fonctionnerait sans connectivité réseau ou Internet, et comment l’anonymité pourrait être garantie sans augmenter le risque de [blanchiment] d’argent comparé à l’argent comptant physique actuel. Aussi, j’aurais peur que ceci encourage encore plus le vol de cartes numériques ou de téléphones, puisque ceux-ci pourraient contenir de la monnaie numérique.”
“Think of how quickly this has the potential to go wrong with the wrong people in power.”
“It’s the beginning of the end of freedom.”
“I would be interested in better understanding the difference between using digital currency and using my regular bank account and why I would want both.”
“As long as I am acting lawful, there should be no limit to the amount of money I receive or possess [anonymously].”
“Initially when something is launched we are promised no fees are attached to this. But as time passes there are always fees attached. Regardless of this survey, the BOC is going to do this no matter what. Make it for the people and not the banks and their greed.”
“Canadians do not need a digital dollar, there is already one in place. It is your debit card.”