WHAT I WOULD SAY IF
I WERE RUNNING FOR PARLIAMENT
AN NDP CANDIDATE –
WHICH I’M NOT.
Copyright © Munroe Scott 2010
List of Creatures
Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for giving me this opportunity to voice my opinion.
Let’s cut to the chase.
There’s a lot of mythological claptrap out there concerning the NDP. I intend to begin by taking a look at some of it. Later on I may get around to the Liberals and Conservatives – but kindly, of course. Due respect for the handicapped.
I say “mythology” about the NDP – a lot of it started as Liberal/Conservative propaganda and then got repeated so often that it became entrenched mythology – a colourful kind of popular ignorance.
Myth No. 1 – The NDP is fiscally irresponsible. We’re Big Spenders, they say. Well, let’s take a look at that.
Back in September of 2005 a federal government report showed that NDP governments had balanced the books twice as often as Liberal governments. In fact, Liberal territorial, provincial, and federal governments reportedly posted year-after-year budget deficits 79 per cent of the time.
At the time of that report the Conservatives – in their various incarnations – had done a little better by posting deficits only 65 percent of the time. Now, of course, they’ve made up for lost time by posting the largest deficit in Canadian history.
Deficits, of course, add up to debt. Debt that you will eventually pay. Fifty years ago the Big Corporations’ taxes would have paid at least half – a fair share. Today, after years of Liberals and Conservatives trading places, the Corporate Establishment gets away with paying peanuts. Guess who takes up the slack.
With respect to the current deficit, the Conservatives say they have no choice – there’s a recession underway. They ignore the fact that the recession was created by their masters, Big Corporate Creatures. We’ll get around to them in a moment.
Myth No. 2 – The NDP is inexperienced – ill equipped to govern. In support of this myth
the Liberals and Conservatives hoot with laughter and cite the Ontario NDP government of the early ‘90s as the epitome of NDP failure.
Failure? My foot!
In 1990 a recession was just getting underway, too. But the critics ignore the fact that the forces of those Corporate Creatures arrayed themselves against the NDP government. Even to the point of displaying anti-government billboards.
Let’s take a brief look at the mythology of inexperience.
Well, hey, the NDP has formed governments in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Nova Scotia and the Yukon.
Even as I speak the NDP forms majority governments in Manitoba and Nova Scotia.
Oh, sure, that’s all provincial. Okay. But unlike the Liberals and Conservatives, the provincial and federal New Democratic Parties hew to the same principles – sing from the same songbook. You can actually get a pretty good idea of what they’re about.
From the NDP’s provincial roots in Saskatchewan came our most cherished national institution – universal health care. It became national largely because of NDP pressure applied in Parliament.
Most progressive parliamentary legislation seems miraculously to have materialized when the NDP had strength in Ottawa and also seems to be eroded when it doesn’t. Go figure.
We can do with more of the NDP’s so-called inexperience.
All this unsupported mythology reminds me of a little poem by AA Milne. It was read to me as a child and I’ve loved it ever since. It tells of a knight, Sir Thomas Tom, who was known as “The knight whose armour didn’t squeak”. Sir Thomas jealously attacked a fellow knight, Sir Hugh, because Sir Hugh’s armour didn’t squeak either.
In Milne’s book, Now We Are Six, there was a marvellous illustration showing Sir Hugh riding happily along, singing, with Sir Thomas Tom riding furiously up behind him, sword raised for a blow.
In the poem the unsuspecting Sir Hugh received “a terrific blip”. Today we’d call it being blind sided. Being a decent man Sir Hugh didn’t, at first, understand the full reason for this brutal assault.
“ ‘A thunderstorm’ he thought. ‘Of course!’ And toppled gently off his horse.”
Then Sir Thomas Tom threw Sir Hugh’s armour into a nearby duck pond and after that Sir Hugh’s rusty armour squeaked just as badly as the rest.
Whenever I hear Liberals and Conservatives quacking on about NDP inadequacies I see the corporate Thomas Toms riding up behind, smiting mightily, throwing the victim’s armour into the duck pond and then encouraging those vassals to constantly remind us that NDP armour squeaks.
It’s traditional in talks like this for candidates to attack each other’s platforms. I’m sorry, but I’m not going to do that.
Later on I’ll get around to ignoring my own Party’s platform.
First, let me explain why I’ll ignore those of the Liberals and Conservatives – whatever new synthetic materials they’ve used to construct their planks.
It’s really quite simple. I know, and you know, and history proves it – their platforms mean nothing.
Historically the Liberals were the party of Free Trade. But in 1988 they opposed Free Trade. Historically the Conservatives were nationalists and, as recently as 1984, opposed Free Trade. But by 1989 they had implemented Free Trade, stuffing the Senate in order to defeat the Liberal’s new found opposition.
Remember the Liberal leader who was opposed to Wage and Price Control and then suddenly introduced it?
Remember the Progressive Conservative who gained the Party leadership promising not to combine his party with the Alliance – and then did just that?
Remember the Liberal Minister of Industry who, while running for re-election, made vitriolic statements against Conservatives and then two weeks after being elected joined the Conservatives in order to become their Minister of International Trade?
The attempt to remember which of the two parties, or their members, have stepped into each other’s shoes over the years is a mind numbing exercise for the average citizen’s brain – certainly for mine.
I ask you. Which Party campaigned for open government and then, in power, began closing the door on access to information? Which Party promised to improve environmental protection and then continued to subsidize one of the dirtiest projects on earth?
You don’t remember?
No wonder. The answer is, both.
And which of those two socially concerned Parties was it that gradually reduced Unemployment Insurance coverage from 80 % of the unemployed to less than 40%?
Well, of course, it took both of them, taking turns, nibbling away for almost 40 years to achieve that little triumph.
All my rather extensive adult life I’ve watched Liberals and Conservatives pass back and forth through each other like great amorphous jelly fish, and they’ve been just as hard to pin down. It’s a fascinating political shell game. And you always lose.
The fact is, my friends, there is virtually no difference between the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party. They are both after power and, given it, they will wield that power on behalf of the Establishment no matter what their platforms say.
Let’s, for a moment, think about the Canadian Establishment. It’s the nature of today’s Establishment that makes the avowed platforms of both Liberals and Conservatives virtually irrelevant.
Once upon a time part of the Canadian Establish-ment was known as The Family Compact – that was in Upper Canada, Ontario – and the other part was known as The Chateau Clique – in Lower Canada, Quebec. A couple of armed rebellions sorted out those establishments and in fact gave us Responsible Government – where the Executive – the PM and the cabinet – became answerable to the Members of Parliament in the House of Commons.
After the Compact and the Clique were dethroned the Canadian Establishment still continued as a layer of society made up of people of influence, education, wealth – members of the professions, business, the church, academia – let’s face it, the elite – the privileged. Sometimes, when elected to Parliament, these men and yes, thank God, there were occasionally women, understood that they were supposed to represent the people. You. Sometimes they even understood the meaning of Responsible Government and its relation to democracy.
But today’s Establishment is quite a different thing.
Today’s Establishment has morphed – I love that word, “morphed” – it’s what happens in sci fi movies when a seemingly human character is reconstituted, usually with much slime and contortions, into an alien monster. The old Establishment has been morphed into a pack of monsters alright – alien ones to boot. I call them Corporate Creatures.
You know full well I’m not talking about our town’s business people who happen to be incorporated – they have their charters to do business – of course they do. No, no. I’m talking about monsters. In recent months they’ve been revealed as predatory creatures, feeding off your taxes, your savings, your labour. Ironically, it’s their own greed that has made their presence more evident.
Today’s Corporate Creatures – today’s New Establishment – I use the term “New” out of charity – the truth is it’s been hovering over us for decades but keeping a low profile with the use of much smoke and many mirrors – anyway, this New Establishment is composed of creatures created by our own imaginations – our legislative imaginations. They are not human. They are not flesh and blood.
They have been analysed by psychiatrists who say that if they were human they’d be sociopaths – some say psychopaths.
Have you ever seen a Corporate Creature? You have not. They are invisible. And yet our governments make treaties that permit us to be collectively sued for a Creature’s loss of potential profit! If some of an agricultural Creature’s patented seed blows into a farmer’s field the farmer is sued for infringement of copyright! These illusory entities demand to exercise our human right of free speech! These fictitious beings don’t even have a biological life span!
A number of years ago, as a playwright, I tried to describe them. One character, a governor, is talking to a merchant and says , “We men at least create our gods in our own image and ignore them at will, but Companies we hallucinate into a reality more real than ourselves. Oh yes, when we have all gone raving off the precipice our Companies will be left to assess our demise as profit or loss, counting the total on an abacus made from the ivory of our own bones.”
Today those Corporate Creatures dominate our lives.
If you’ve just lost your job because your work place has been shipped off to another country – if half your fellow workers have just been fired while the CEO got an enormous bonus for improving the bottom line – if you just reached retirement as your life savings were cut in half, don’t pretend it’s got nothing to do with the freewheeling New Establishment.
And why does this New Establishment function so freely and so ruthlessly?
Because our governments, both Liberal and Conservative, have permitted it.
Government, that used to serve you, now serves the New Establishment. This New Establishment has its own ideology.
In its ideology War is Profitable and Endless War is endlessly Profitable. Oh, you say, that’s our friends to the south. Their problem. I’m afraid not. Check out our military industrial complex, our arms sales. Our noble history of peace keeping is underscored by a trade in arms to nations who then break the peace. In fact, we’re almost out of the peace keeping business. We’re warriors now. Of the 30 OECD countries we’re number 5 in per capita military spending. Very Profitable — for the New Establishment. Swallow your Blue Helmet pride.
Your illnesses are Profitable – and will be more so as we are manoeuvred out of pooling our resources to help each other over the hurdles. The New Establishment is working hard on that problem.
Hospitals are already being run like corporations. They’re being forced to compete for “market-share”. It’s the same principle that drives meat packers.
Crime is Profitable – if only we can be persuaded to let Corporations build and run more of our prisons . Every prisoner who does time and then eventually returns to a corporate-run lockup is good for the bottom line. Full cells are good for business.
In the world of this New Establishment you pay the shot but the denizens of the New Establishment reap the profit.
Natural disasters are Profitable. They are seen as good for the Gross Domestic Product. Since the GDP is calculated on the basis of how much money is flowing it follows that an entire region may be laid waste by hurricane, flood or quake and as long as your money is flowing into some pockets somewhere under the guise of being useful then the GDP rises whether or not a single soul struggles to solid ground.
Growth is Profitable. Growth is not only Profitable, growth is essential to the denizens that compose the New Establishment. Unlimited Growth is their oxygen, their very life blood. So they are busily destroying the boreal forest, a source of our oxygen, and destroying our waters, the source of all life. They don’t care, don’t understand – they can’t – they’re not of substance – they’ve been hallucinated into sociopathic reality and given certificates of citizenship by our own governments.
Here, ladies and gentlemen, is where the rubber hits the road.
When it comes to serving the New Establishment there is little difference between the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party. They are both good pals of the New Establishment.
Don’t believe me? Let me illustrate.
Take a peek inside any of the so-called summit meetings – Federal-Provincial, Three Amigos, G8, Gee whiz. It will only be a peek because you can’t get close.
You’ll recognize your elected pooh bahs and their minions, but hey, who’s that big creature sitting just behind our federal team and whispering in its ears?
Why, it’s the Canadian Council of Chief Executives! The CCCE.
The CCCE is made up of the Chief Executive Officers, the CEOs, of 150 of Canada’s biggest corporations – many of which are subsidiaries of foreign corporations. By the way, for many years this club of CEOs had as its own CEO a guy called Thomas. I’ve always thought of him as Sir Thomas Tom.
The Canadian Council of Chief Executives’ own website describes itself as “a not-for-profit, non-partisan organization … (that) engage(s) in an active program of public policy research, consultation and advocacy.”
Let’s think about that. Not-for-profit? Well, the organization itself may not be for profit but many of its individual members have astronomical personal take-home-pay and bonuses.
Non-partisan. Well of course it’s non-partisan. It’s approved of by both the Liberals and the Conserva-tives or it wouldn’t be near the Summit tables.
When our governments meet, the CCCE, representing it’s 150 corporate CEOs, is always cozily at the trough – like, say, at Montebello – remember Montebello?
Other non-partisan organizations – like, say, the Council of Canadians, with a paying membership of 60,000 – was not – never is – near the table. It’s voices are always several kilometres away, beyond high wire, breathing tear gas with the other non-governmental organizations – the other grassroots, people-oriented, not-for-profit outfits.
But strangely, the Council of Canadians is also, like the CCCE, a not-for-profit, non-partisan organization that engages in an active program of public policy research, consultation and advocacy. Sound familiar? The identical mandate.
Even so, it’s the CCCE reps, the visible tip of the New Establishment, who are always inside the tent, who are at the table, inside the protection of tear gas, inside the wire, inside the ring of helmeted shield-bearing protectors – all, by the way, paid for by you, by us. The CCCE is always near the table with whomever happens to be in power – Liberal or Conservative – it makes no difference. There is no difference.
Here, to illustrate, is a bedtime story. I doubt it will put you to sleep. I hope it doesn’t give you nightmares. A very few years ago there was a staunch Liberal member of Parliament – I’m not naming names, because the humans – the flesh and blood folk – are mere servants, tools if you will, of the alien creatures who are the New Establishment. I’m not at all sure they can help themselves, poor folk. Anyway, there was this staunch Liberal member of Parliament who was the fair haired boy of two Liberal prime ministers and became, in succession, Minister of Industry, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance. In 2003 he ran for the leadership of the Liberal Party but was unsuccessful and supposedly left politics. Failed ambition. Ah well, a good try.
He became the Chair of a Royal Commission on energy, joined a law firm with offices in Toronto and Ottawa, was made a Director of Nortel Networks and of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. He soon chaired the Independent Task Force on the Future of North America, a project of the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations. Under him, that Task Force recommended an economic union between Canada, Mexico and the United States. This was something the Canadian Council of Chief Executives had long been striving for – the New Establishment’s dream – one vast North American level hunting ground for the Corporate Creatures.
(They like to call it a level “playing field”. Don’t let them kid you. It’s a hunting ground. The quarry? Your pocket book, your labour, your children’s minds.)
And then – in June of 2009 – this good, loyal, no-longer-in-politics Liberal was chosen to be the new President and CEO of – wait for it again – the Canadian Council of Chief Executives.
Several years ago renowned author Peter C. Newman said that the Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives is the real prime minister of Canada. So much for failed ambition.
So again, I say, Liberals, Conservatives – little difference.
If this were a rational society those Summit shield bearers with their tear gas and batons would be facing the other way – to protect us from the Creatures of the New Establishment. But this is not a rational society. If it were, our leaders would not be afraid of us. They’d be protecting us. That’s what government used to do. That’s what government is for. Our constitution calls for “Peace, order and good government”. That’s ass backwards, but never mind. First, Good Government brings Good Order and then Good Order brings Peace. Unless, that is, the order is dictated by and on behalf of the New Establishment and is enforced by tear gas, pepper spray, water cannon, and batons. That kind of order will eventually destroy all peace.
So what can we do about it?
Well, for starters, stop mindlessly sending a majority of Conservatives and Liberals to Parliament Hill under the illusion that there is any fundamental difference between them.
Be sane, be brave, be intelligent, be rebels. Send a strong contingent of the one major Party that has always believed in the necessity for the people to have rational control of the more predatory Corporate Creatures.
There are those who say the NDP is against wealth. Nonsense. If there were no wealth it couldn’t be shared. Lets create wealth, by all means – and share it.
But let’s remember that wealth is more than gold. There is the wealth of health, fellowship, shelter, food, security, opportunity, education, love, liberty.
As for the NDP platform – well, hey, in the political lumber yard there are always a few cracked or warped planks. Let’s not be naive.
It’s the foundation that counts.
The NDP aims to continue to represent you, the people – to do what it has always done, to fight for you, to encourage you, to lift you, to cherish you, and above all to the best of its ability to protect you from being dominated and exploited by the non-human denizens of the New Establishment.
We can only do that successfully if you send enough NDP members to Parliament.
A few years ago a leader of the federal NDP referred to the Liberal and Conservative leaders as the “Bobsey twins”. He was correct. But he called their establishment pals “corporate welfare bums”. He was wrong. When it comes to the Liberals and Conservatives those bums have become the brains.
In recent months we’ve been educated by having reality unveiled.
Use your new found wisdom.
Send a strong NDP team to Ottawa .
Even if you hear a few squeaks of rusty armour, remember how it got rusty.
Some readers may think I have gone over the top in my disparaging use of the term “Corporate Creatures”. There is some justification for the thought.
I am confident that among the ranks of the CEOs who make up the Canadian Council of Chief Executives there are many fine human beings. That does not mean, however, that the organizations they serve are worthy of the status of human that has been conferred upon them.
I am also confident that not all corporations are bent on our exploitation and domination but, alas, it is difficult for the many not to be somewhat contaminated by association with the ones that are so inclined – especially when they combine into a high powered lobby group. When our little world shakes to the mighty tread of the energy giants, the financial titans, the chemical colossi, the pharmaceutical behemoths and, as we have witnessed to the south of us, the health insurance leviathans, then it is time for us to ask our governments to control them and to protect us.
“Control” is not a dirty word even though it’s partner, “regulation”, has become one. Take the mahout off the elephant or the harness off the horse and there may be lots of action satisfactory to the elephant and the horse but very little accomplished on behalf of the people.
My contention that both the Conservatives and the Liberals have not only lost that control but over time have become active partners of the corporate creatures may appear to be an exaggeration, but a little hyperbole is part of the rhetorical arsenal and helps make a point.
I ask myself, however, why the Liberals recently backed out of a coalition that would have benefited the people but would have hampered themselves and neutered the Conservatives, and why the Conservatives seem determined to suppress the voice of the people in Parliament. Who can possibly be the beneficiaries?
Creatures whose CEOs are members of the CCCE*
Aecon Group Inc.
AGF Management Limited
Alberta Newsprint Company
Amaranth Resources Limited
Andrew Peller Limited
Aon Reed Stenhouse Inc.
ArcelorMittal Dofasco Inc.
Astral Media Inc.
The Bank of Nova Scotia
Barrick Gold Corporation
BCE Inc. and Bell Canada
BMO Financial Group
Brookfield Asset Management Inc.
Canadian Chamber of Commerce
Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters
Canadian Oil Sands Limited
Canadian Pacific Railway
CanWest Global Communications
CCI Thermal Technologies Inc.
CGI Group Inc.
Chevron Canada Limited
Chrysler Canada Inc.
Cisco Systems Canada Co.
Clearwater Fine Foods Inc.
Conseil du patronat du Québec
Coril Holdings Ltd.
Corus Entertainment Inc.
Deloitte & Touche LLP
Dow Chemical Canada ULC
Edco Financial Holdings Ltd.
E.I. du Pont Canada Company
E-L Financial Corporation Ltd.
Enerplus Resources Fund
Ericsson Canada Inc.
Ernst & Young LLP
Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd.
Federal Express Canada Ltd.
Finning International Inc.
FirstEnergy Capital Corp.
Ford Motor Company of Canada
Ganong Bros. Limited
General Electric Canada
General Motors of Canada Ltd.
Giant Tiger Stores Limited
GMP Capital Inc.
The Great-West Life Assurance Company
GreenField Ethanol Inc.
Harris Steel Group Limited
Harvard Developments Inc.
Hewlett-Packard (Canada) Co.
Holding O.C.B. Inc.,
Cordon Bleu International Ltd.
Piazza Tomasso International Inc
The Home Depot Canada and Asia
HSBC Bank Canada
Hudson’s Bay Company
H.Y. Louie Co. Limited
IBM Canada Ltd.
Imperial Oil Limited
Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services Inc.
Inwest Investments Ltd.
Irving Oil Limited
James Richardson & Sons, Ltd.
Kaiser Resources Limited
The Katz Group of Companies
Keg Restaurants Ltd.
King Sett Capital Inc.
Loblaw Companies Limited
3M Canada Company
Manulife Financial Corporation
Maple Leaf Foods Inc.
Marsh Canada Limited
Matco Investments Ltd.
McCain Foods Limited
Mercer (Canada) Limited
Microsoft Canada Co.
MTS Allstream Inc.
National Bank of Canada
The North West Company
Open Text Corporation
Palliser Furniture Ltd.
PCL Constructors Inc.
Polygon Homes Ltd.
Power Corporation of Canada
Power Financial Corporation
Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP
Reliance Comfort Limited Partnership
Research in Motion
Richardson Financial Group
Rio Tinto Alcan
Rogers Communications Inc.
Rothmans, Benson & Hedges
Royal Bank of Canada
Sears Canada Inc.
Shell Canada Limited
Siemens Canada Limited
SNC-Lavalin Group Inc.
The Standard Life Assurance Company of Canada
Stone Creek Resorts Inc.
Sun Life Financial Inc.
Suncor Energy Inc.
Talisman Energy Inc.
TD Bank Financial Group
The TDL Group Corp.
Teck Resources Limited
TMX Group Inc.
Tristone Capital Inc.
Wittington Investments, Limited
The Woodbridge Company Ltd.
Yanke Group of Companies
Yellow Pages Group Co.
*Data derived from the CCCE website January 20, 2010
Cover Photo credits
Front cover: Dana Terry <http://www.lethbridgefirefighters.com/archives.php?id=A2007051>
Back cover: Ivy Szobonya
Text: Copyright©Munroe Scott 2010