Thursday, March 11, 2010

Pay Attention. We Are Being Sold Off by the Ideology of Dead People

I mentioned before, that I had been doing a lot of research into the neoconservative movement, since our media are still under the mistaken belief that the Harper government is Conservative, or even more ridiculously, Tory. Neoconservatism is the anti-Tory.

I'm going to start laying it out, as simply as possible, and applying it to current events. I think you'll get a better picture of what is really happening, and what is driving Stephen Harper and his Reformers.

I just posted on Maxime Bernier and an economic/philosophical theorist, Frederic Bastiat. He was kind of an early free marketeer, who influenced some of the later schools of thought.

And though he's been dead since 1850, his ideas live on in the Montreal Economic Institute. In fact they published a book Frederic Bastiat Defender of Sound Economics, and present a Frederic Bastiat Prize for journalism.

In 2005 Maxime Bernier wrote a speech The growth of government in the 20th century and the importance of debating ideas which he recently posted to his blog.

While putting my papers in order recently, I found the text of a speech I gave in December 2005, just a few days after resigning as vice-president of the Montreal Economic Institute to run as a candidate in the federal election that took place in the weeks thereafter. The event was a debating contest among students organized by the Canadian University Society for intercollegiate Debate at Bishop’s University in Sherbrooke, Quebec.

I spoke about the importance of defending the right ideas and discussed one idea in particular: the threat to individual freedom arising from the growth of government.

Most of it is the usual Libertarian jargon, though we do get some idea of just how much he believes in individual freedom, when he rebukes the necessity of alcohol control. That would sure put the Socons in his party in a flap.

But he also again reiterates his opposition to Canada as a sovereign nation.

The fact that the growth of government has slowed in the 1990s supports my hope. One reason why I am optimistic is that I believe in the individual. Individuals will start again demanding the respect of their sovereignty. Individual sovereignty is what is important – not sovereignty of the state. Indeed, the sovereign state is, by its very nature, a steam-roller of the individual.

This radical political thought does not believe in borders, and they have been tearing them down, especially with the United States; by allowing a shared military and police force.

They have also been working to encourage other sovereign states to do the same, believing that all economies should be 100% foreign (multinationals) controlled. In fact they are (on Canada's behalf) becoming bullies to smaller nations, who don't necessarily agree with their theories.

At the WTO, Canada heads a group of delegations pressing developing countries to open their economies to the supposedly superior services of foreign financial institutions. The world's major financial conglomerates are claimed to have sophisticated risk management capabilities that can stabilize economies.

You might think these days such a claim would not pass the laugh test, but that did not stop financial liberalization from being pushed at the WTO ministerial meeting held in July 2008. The enormity of what's at stake in the WTO financial sector negotiations is revealed in a February 2006 bargaining request sent from Canada's Department of Finance to developing countries.

Canada asked that foreign financial institutions be guaranteed rights to "establish new and acquire existing companies" in all financial sectors. This would mean among other things that countries would have to allow 100 per cent foreign ownership of their banks and insurance companies. Canada has also asked that companies be given WTO enforceable rights to trade in derivatives, which has been described as a high-octane form of financial speculation similar to gambling. Warren Buffett famously called derivatives "financial weapons of mass destruction," destruction that is being witnessed on a daily basis on the world's stock exchanges.

No borders, no customs, no tariffs. So nice to know that a man who's been dead for a century and half is alive and well in our federal government.

But this brings me to a recent column in the Star about how quickly this country and our ideas are being bartered away, and not for the good of the nation but for the benefit of multinationals.

The Harper government has sent a strong signal that a part of the Canadian economy – our phone companies – not already under high levels of foreign control could be headed for the auction block in the not-too-distant future. This could mean that Bell Canada, Rogers Communications and Telus end up with foreign owners. Will the airline industry be next?

The government is already committed to eliminating reviews of foreign takeovers of companies with a stock market value of less than $1 billion, thereby putting many of Canada's larger companies potentially on the auction block ...

... But this is only the tip of the iceberg. Many of Canada's small or mid-size but promising high-tech companies have also been sold off to foreign investors, making them R&D branch plants of foreign corporations rather than a potential RIM .... Last year alone, according to Investment Canada, there were 437 foreign investments in Canada – 338 of them were foreign takeovers and 99 were new businesses. Of the 338 foreign takeovers, just 22 were reviewed and all were given the green light.

...There are, of course, big differences between foreign companies making new investments in Canada, which adds jobs and output, and foreign takeovers of existing companies, which can lead to a loss of jobs.



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Maxime Bernier and the Unimportance of Nationalism

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