The Kingston Chapter of COMER

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The Kingston Chapter of COMER evolved from The Kingston Study Group on Monetary Policy which was formed in the fall of 1998 and recognized as a Chapter of COMER a year later. Its immediate objective was to increase public awareness of how monetary policy affected the community, how changes to it in 1975 had led to higher taxes and reduced public services, and to discuss ways to change it again for the benefit of society as a whole.

Prior to forming the Study Group some participants in Council of Canadians meetings (Kingston branch) began talking about monetary policy. These included Don Findlay (who had been actively involved with COMER for several years), Bill and Nora Parish, Hugh Jenny, Kevin Connolly, Mort Barken, Peter Mautner and Richard Priestman. Some were members of the NDP and Green Party and others had no political affiliation.

Maude Barlow showed no interest in discussing monetary policy so it never got on the agenda; those who were interested eventually formed the Kingston Study Group on Monetary Policy.

On June 25/98 we sent a letter to William Krehm, COMER Publications, explaining who we were, that although we knew we could join COMER as individuals we would like to know what we could do as a group to promote “economic reform.” We received a reply from Bill on July 4/98, welcoming our group and being delighted to know that there are a group in the Kingston area “who have been active on the same issues as “COMER” has.” He also said we would be hearing from Herb Wiseman who would be coming onto the COMER board and would be happy to visit us and discuss what he and COMER can do to help us in setting up a Kingston Chapter providing, for example, speakers as we needed them, and reasonable quantities of literature, books and current issues of ER on consignment.

The December 21/98 meeting was held in the home of Dolores and Richard Priestman. Present were Don Findlay, Kevin Connolly, Bill Parish, Nora Parish, Hugh Jenney, Mort Barken, Peter Mautner, Dolores Priestman, Richard Priestman. Guest: Herb Wiseman. The purpose of the meeting was to develop strategy for public education on monetary reform that would enable to the public to make sound judgments based on fact. Herb outlined some of the history of COMER and Bill Krehm, recommended about ten books and over a dozen actions the group might consider. Regarding the formation of the Kingston Chapter it was decided to postpone that until we had gelled into a more cohesive group.

October 23/99 – Letter to Bill Krehm: We have been asked by the Kingston Chapter of Council of Canadians to organize a presentation on “money creation” for a public meeting to be held on November 15 at the public library. It will help the advertising if we are known as the “Kingston Chapter” of COMER, and if you have no objection to that we will adopt this name.

Reply from Bill: Of course, the board of COMER will be happy to welcome the Kingston Branch. I will make it formal at our next meeting. I hope you have noticed Ottawa’s semi-conspiratorial adoption of capital budgeting as covered in the leading articles of recent ER issues. We are still missing an acknowledgment of this important step from other socially-minded organizations. Would welcome any suggestions and of course your chapter’s cooperation in bringing this vital issue to the fore.

All the best Bill Krehm.

October 24/99 – Letter to Larry Farquharson:

A new member to our group, Darko Matovic, has sent his cheque for membership in COMER. The Kingston Chapter of COMER (KCC) now has 10 members including Darko and Walter Robbins. We have counted couples as two members of COMER although they may have only paid one fee because they are fully involved as a couple and could not afford a double fee. If this is not acceptable please let me know. Three questions were raised at our October 24 meeting: (1) When do COMER members get a financial statement of the organization? (2) What are the obligations of a chapter to COMER? (3) What are the names and addresses (particularly email addresses) of other COMER chapters?

October 24/99. Regular meeting to plan for public meeting to be held on November 15/99. Agenda was so full we did not have time to plan the November 15 meeting; planning postponed to November 1/99.

November 1/99. Planning for public meeting: Kevin, Martha, Don, Darko, Richard, Peter, Nora, Bill. Agenda outline for November 15 decided: Richard – Introduction of meeting and presenters; (1) Don Findlay – “what is money, who creates it and why is it important to know this”; (2) Kevin Connolly – the Bank of Canada, what it is, when it started, how it helped us get out of the depression, finance WWII and give us the best economic times we ever had until 1975 when it turned its back on us which eventually led to huge debts and unstable economic times; (3) Richard Priestman – how Kingston can save $20M a year in financing charges on the cost of rebuilding the city’s infrastructure. A question and answer period followed.

November 15/99. Public meeting took place at the public library. Well attended; 12 people added their names to our mailing list sheet.

The foregoing explains how the Kingston Chapter of COMER began and what it went through during its first year. This may give others some idea of how to start a chapter in their own community.

Richard Priestman

Our Comment

The Kingston Chapter has been lively and effective and, despite the loss of several aged members, continues alive and well.

Richard Priestman, a bout of serious illness along the way notwithstanding, works hard to spread the truth about money, and to spur politicians and others to support economic reform.

Now, like the Kingston group, groups elsewhere are seeking information about setting up a COMER Chapter. This is extremely encouraging for it is from the community level that the most effective pressure for change must come.

Thanks to the Kingston Chapter for their example, and to Richard Priestman for his ongoing initiatives.

For information about how you might get a similar group together, direct your request to


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