On September 15, 1939 -- shortly after Canada's declaration of war against Germany -- the Foreign Exchange Control Board was established to oversee the rationing of foreign currency, which it did with varying severity until 1951. In December 1940, as Canada's trade deficit with the US grew, and British gold shipments were curtailed, government intervention in the economy broadened with the introduction of the War Exchange Conservation Act. Aimed at countries outside the sterling bloc (sterling bloc countries traded heavily with England and kept their currency at parity with the English pound), it was primarily designed to conserve American dollars by restricting the importation of non-essential goods. Among the items banned were fiction periodicals, a category that encompassed pulps and other newsstand magazines, including comic books. The government had inadvertently laid the groundwork for a Canadian comics industry.

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