RM Issue #040416
From: "Murray Dobbin"
Subject: [MAI-NOT] Word Warriors #8 - Corporate Canada Quislings' new plan for dissolving nation Date: Tue, 13 Apr 2004 22:31:17 -0700
Word Warriors #8 - Corporate Canada Quislings hatch new plan for dissolving nation
Note: I would like to get an idea of how many people are actually writing letters. I don’t have the time to read them but if you just send me a reply with “letter sent” in the subject line that would allow me to get a sense of how it is going. Thanks.
One of the biggest threats facing Canada is the initiative by the country’s largest corporations to promote what they call “Deep Integration” (DI) and what most Canadians would simply call the Americanization of Canada or the sell-out of the country. DI is the logical outcome of the signing of the FTA in 1989 and NAFTA in 1994. [For more detail on this odious plan visit both the CCPA web site - www.policyalternatives.ca for several studies, and the Council of Canadians web site - www.canadians.org for Maude Barlow’s new booklet “The Canada We Want.] I have also included at the end of this email text, an op ed piece I did on DI for the Globe.
The DI initiative is being promoted primarily by the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (the old BCNI) - the most powerful and influential corporate lobby group in Canada representing the 150 largest corporations in the country. In its broadest implications, and if all its stated elements were implemented, would see the effective disappearance of Canada as a viable nation-state. For more detail on what the CCCE calls “New Frontiers: Building A 21st Century Canada-United States Partnership In North America” go to the CCCE site - http://184.108.40.206/en/ - and look for the New Frontiers documents and news releases.
Media reports have already announced that on April 18 and 19th the CCCE’s president, Tom d’Aquino, will lead a delegation of CEOs to Washington to meet with Bush administration officials to push this agenda - something I have called “pre-emptive surrender” because it is “our” quisling CEOs who are pushing this, not American CEOs or politicians. [Write before the visit to pre-empt positive spin or after to counter it.]
Paul Martin was at the January, 2003 AGM of the CCCE where this plan was first formally announced and while he rarely talks about it explicitly there is no question that he is on side. He has already agreed to negotiate Star Wars II, and promised to increase defence spending - two key early objectives of the DI agenda.. Other in his government have not been so reluctant.
Facts and arguments for a letter follow below. It seems to me that 3 elements should go in the letter: 1) It is outrageous for these large and unaccountable corporations are arranging Canada’s future for us; 2) despite common perceptions, trade is a relatively small part of Canada’s economy and we should not be sacrificing our sovereignty and democracy for a small number of huge corporations, and 3) Canadians in their vast majority disagree with the values implied by the DI initiative, yet the Martin government seems poised to deliver to Bay Street once again.
* Five of the most dangerous DI proposals:
1 Canadian participation in the ballistic missile defence plan proposed by Washington.
2 The expansion of NORAD (North American Aerospace Defence Command) to include land and sea forces.
3 The creation of a biometric identification card that could be used in either country (some promoters call this a North American identity card, implying a total loss of Canadian identity.).
4 The rapid development of the Alberta oil stands, the Mackenzie Delta petroleum and gas deposits and the Arctic coast natural gas reserves to "reinforce Canada's role as a secure supplier of energy to North America."
5 The harmonization of environmental standards in the two countries.
* Other incarnations of what some on the right call their Big Idea, have included a guaranteed access to Canada’s fresh water.
* According to a newspaper report quoted by Mel Hurtig, Foreign Affairs minister Bill Graham is already ahead of the CCCE in his vision of the future: "Mr. Graham said he is personally interested in expanding North American integration beyond trade and tariffs into social policy... NAFTA could be expanded to cover social, environmental, justice and other issues, Mr. Graham said." [Sorry, don’t have a source for this but Mel is always reliable.]
* Big business is taking an initiative to radically alter the whole of the Canadian nation-state and has the gall to speak to the Bush government [Only 15% of Canadians would vote for Bush if they had the chance.] as if they represent the whole country. No debate, no discussion, no other sectors of Canadian society, no provincial or municipal governments involved: just the biggest corporations in the country, many of them US-based.
* Will Paul Martin go along with this plan? He has given the CCCE everything they asked for in the past as finance minister so we can be sure he will respond again.
- his tax cuts to large corporations means corps in Canada pay a 21% income tax rate while those in the US pay 35%. - he went along with the CCCE’s demand for radical cuts to social spending, cutting Ottawa’s contribution by 40% - he has refused to close a tax loophole that allows Canadian corps to avoid taxes by setting up shop in Barbados
* The main premise of the DI plan is that Canada and its economy is so completely dependent on trade with the US that we have to completely restructure the country, its social programs, everything to ensure access to the US market. This is just dead wrong. Many of you will have heard the claim that 40% of our GDP is taken up by exports. But this can only be claimed if you add exports and imports together. For example - if we import a widget that is three quarters complete and contribute the final quarter of value-added, and then export it some economists count 100% of the value in our exports - instead of just 25%.
The actual percentage the GDP accounted for by exports? About 20%. And if you take gas and oil out of the picture (because we are not competing with anyone for these exports, especially gas) it is closer to 15%. 85% of our businesses and workers depend on the domestic economy.
According to StatsCan, in 2001 just 4% of all Canadian businesses accounted for 82% of exports. The 50 largest enterprises in Canada (virtually all of them members of the CCCE) accounted for nearly half (47%) of all exports. In other words this whole DI agenda is designed to benefit a handful of powerful corporations.
This is a very important piece of analysis and information for Canadians - because it debunks the core argument for Deep Integration.
* Another specific argument you can use coming out the export myth is that we are going to commit ourselves to exporting ever more energy to the US with no concern at all for domestic security of supply. As many of you know NAFTA has a proportionality clause that means we can never decrease the percentage of oil and gas that we export to the US - regardless of our needs or desire to conserve for the future. Right now the number is 60% and rising every year. DI calls for producing even faster and exporting even more - one of the biggest betrayals of the country imaginable.
* Lastly, and extremely important, the DI initiative completely contradicts Canadian values - indeed, those values are moving decisively in the opposite direction with respect to relations with the US, our values versus theirs, the growing support for “activist” government, suspicion of US unilateralism, etc. (According to pollsters Ekso, IpsosReid, Michael Adams, and others.) On especially important poll (virtually unreported) by Ipsos Reid revealed “a vast majority of Canadians (91%) agree with the statement “Canada should maintain the ability to set its own independent environmental health and safety standards and regulations, even if this might reduce cross-border trade opportunities with the United States.” [from their web site, http://www.ipsos-na.com/news/pressrelease.cfm?id=2104 dated Mar 31, 2004]
The poll also reported: “Three-quarters (77%) of Canadians agree that ‘Canada’s limited military spending should be used to enhance our abilities in peacekeeping and conflict resolution rather than trying to maintain multi-purpose forces intended for heavy combat alongside US military forces. ’ Moreover, seven in ten (69%) of Canadians disagree with the statement .Canada should actively support the Bush administration’s missile defence system even if it may require dedicating military spending to the program or allowing US missile launchers in Canada.’”
Prescription for Decline
The Globe and Mail
Oct 25, 2002
While Canadians wait anxiously to see if the US will invade Iraq, our country’s colonial-minded economic elite is aggressively pursuing an initiative – called “deep integration” -- that would see Canada effectively absorbed by our increasingly aggressive, imperial-minded neighbour. It’s not so much an invasion as a pre-emptive surrender.
The deep integration plan was launched last spring with an article for the C.D. Howe Institute by economist Wendy Dobson, who presented her blueprint as a “Big Idea.” It’s not the sort of Big Idea that implies something new, imaginative or visionary. This Big Idea is designed to get the attention of the Americans who would otherwise continue to ignore us.
“Canada should anticipate change and initiate a Big Idea that serves the major interests of its partner, while channelling action in ways that best serve its own interests” writes Dobson. A key component of the Big Idea should be to hand over our energy resources as a sort of sacrifice. In a classic expression of the fawning attitude of our corporate elite towards the US, Dobson says, “Instead of waiting to be told what's expected of us, Canadian governments and industry should prepare for this possibility in a proactive way.”
Other sacrifices include “... joint continental defense (sic), closely aligned immigration policies toward third-country migrants, border security...” And, almost as an afterthought, our water. The plan to ensure American energy security “...could also provide a model for dealing with demand pressures on other... natural resources such as water.” We would also have to “modify” our cultural policies, and give up the Wheat Board, and orderly marketing.
And just what do we get for these sacrifices of our sovereignty? Well, nothing actually. What the deep integrationists want is a customs union and eventually a common market so Canada can improve its “..weak made-in-Canada economic performance and stagnating living standards of the past decade.” But wasn’t free trade supposed to solve those problems? Isn’t fifteen years enough?
Here is what integration has got us so far. In order to meet the needs of the free trade imperative we have savaged our domestic economy -- driving down wages and working conditions, abandoning industrial policies, radically reducing public spending, and handing the rich tens of billions in tax breaks. We lost 276,000 industrial jobs and Canada has lost every NAFTA trade dispute case it has taken while the US has won every one of its cases.
We now have a degree of social and economic inequality unmatched since the 1930s. Nearly 95% of US direct investment has been used to buy-up Canadian assets, consolidating corporate operations in the US. According to NAFTA’s Commission for Environmental Cooperation increased trade is accelerating environmental degradation in the NAFTA countries. But what do our free trade zealots want? Even more energy sales. By this logic, the US is to be encouraged to use as much energy as possible so we can sell it to them -- Kyoto, energy conservation and our own energy security be damned.
If you are assuming through all this that NAFTA at least increased our trade with the US, think again. According to a 2001 Industry Canada study 91% of the increase in trade with the US in the 1990s was the result of the low dollar and the US economic boom. And now that increase has disappeared, wiped out, according to a recent report, by increasing competition with Mexico and China.
But never let it be said that mere facts can discourage the true believer. If the medicine doesn’t work, double the dose. The deep integrationists are now sponsoring a sort of private sector Royal Commission, called Borderlines -- a series of high profile conferences promoting integration. The business think tanks - the Institute for Research in Public Policy, C.D. Howe, the Fraser Institute, and the Public Policy Forum are doing the studies and seminars; the free enterprise foundations -- Donner, the Dominion Institute and others -- are funding the conferences.
Not satisfied with economic integration the Big Idea extends integration into the political realm. One suggestion calls for “four consultative political institutions” to develop a “North American” identity. But Frank Graves of Ekos Associates, which does the most extensive values polling in the country, says there is no sign of, and no support for, such an identity. “The analogy to the European model of not just a common marketplace but co-mingled political institutions and cultural institutions have nothing to do with what is going on in North America.”
According to Ekos, Canadians now demonstrate “a stronger sense of identity and greater national confidence than at any time in the past decade.” But Canada’s quisling economic elite is so enamoured by everything American, so impoverished of imagination and so lacking in entrepreneurial ability that the biggest idea it can come up with is to give the US everything and pray they will be grateful.
A genuinely Canadian reading of the facts suggest that Ottawa should establish an independent public inquiry into the current state and future options regarding Canada-US relations, as I recommend in my study, “Ziplocking North America: Can Canada Survive Continental Integration?” The question: What policy mix would strengthen Canadian society, the domestic economy and our nation-state?
Second, it is so glaringly obvious that free trade has severely damaged the country we should immediately declare a moratorium on signing any new agreements. Third, We should also begin immediately - in the next federal budget – to restore the social programs we have voluntarily slashed in order to please the US. The grand experiment has failed. Let’s look for a truly visionary Big Idea and save the country.