Sept 21 2006
Letter to Lib Leadership candidate Martha Hall Findley:
Lies, banks, money, media - A bit more substance, please ....
HI Martha, firstname.lastname@example.org
- greetings from Thailand, where I came as a CUSO volunteer in 1994 and find myself still here - not with CUSO, but teaching English at the medical faculty of a university in the south here. I really don't like Canadian winters, at least the PEI version of them, and also have poor job prospects in Canada given my disinclination to be a corporate wage-slave, compared to here which is quite comfortable really. But I have been watching and writing about and even occassionally active in Canadian politics for over 20 years (my last job actually before coming here was spending a year working with Mel Hurtig's National Party and then running as a candidate in the 93 election in PEI, not that I have any political ambitions but we promised to run candidates in every riding and we were short, so I did it. A learning experience in many ways. But I know you must be very busy, so I won't get into any of my history, just a brief note that I have some creds for my comments.) I write because I heard your interview on the Current yesterday morning (Thursday Sept 21) and was quite impressed. We desperately need some of the things you were talking about in Canada, primarily a lot more bottom-up input into what gets done by the Canadian government, rather than top down, as we seem to increasingly have had, esp since Mulroney and the neocons took over the country. This did not improve much under the Libs of Chretien and Martin, unfortunately - they talked a better show as their part of the 'good gov-bad gov' game we've been playing since the Mulroney era, but the realities didn't change much, got worse actually as Martin bragged about taking social spending back to levels not seen since the early 1950s. Tweedledee-Tweedledum government, for all practical purposes, a big shell game show for Canadian voters, many of whom are starting to understand this, and who are also increasingly understanding that the trust they once had in their government has been used and badly abused and is, to a large extent, now lost. A trust which you talk about restoring, which is a good idea.
Unlike Charlie Brown, however, my trust, once broken, is not easily regained (and I suspect, given voter turnout in Canada and many polls, a lot of Canadians feel as I do). There are some things I wonder about in the aftermath of your interview, and after a look around your website. I know I am but one voice in the wilderness, but I also know I am not alone in the wilderness of Canadian politics, and you just might attract a lot of attention from a potentially large constituency if you could give some satisfactory answers to the following questions:
1. Probably the most important thing, although it doesn't actually deal with policy directly - the thing is, and I think I speak for a lot of Canadians (I know I dealt with this as even a reluctant politician over ten years ago, when I ran in 93, and I know it has not gotten any better since) - how can we believe what you say? It has, very unfortunately, very discouragingly, gotten to the point where lying seems endemic in Canadian politics, from Mulroney's strong avowals that he had no interest whatsoever in 'free trade' in the 84 election campaign, through Chretien's promise to not sign NAFTA and get rid of the GST in the 93 campaign, and things like the vow of the entire parliament in 89, I believe it was, to eradicate poverty in Canada within 10 years (it's worse, not even a small improvement, 17 years on), and on and on and on and on and on, through the various Mulroney scandals that have seen him indelibly labeled in the Canadian psyche as Lyin Brian through the 'adscam' stuff and now the latest revalations of the lies of so many top officials involved with the Arar situation - and if we had a decent media in this country, I have no doubt we'd be hearing about a lot more. And nobody really likes being lied to, or the people who do the lying. Why should I believe that, if you get elected, you will actually do as you promise, and not just totally junk all your promises (the fate of the famous Lib 'Red Book' of the 93 election for instance), or just start with the excuses as most of the elected pols do - well, gee, I really wanted to do that, but the situation has changed now and new priorities compel me to take a new course, etc and etc (but heck, we didn't mention this during any campaign, but we ARE going to immediately increase our salaries and pensions by 20% haha!! - and you know that National ID card NOBODY ever mentioned either during the last campaign?, well we suddenly discovered it's our top priority haha again thanks for electing us for 5 years to do as we please haha!!)? It's no wonder the average Canadian politician rates right down there with lawyers and used car salesmen at the bottom of the 'respect and trust' scale with Canadians, given their record the last lot of years. What do you plan to do about this - that we can believe? (historical note - when I ran in Charlottetown, I offered a signed, notarized, legally valid and enforcable contract concerning my commitments - no other candidate, nor the media, would even acknowledge it!!!!)
2. You said in the interview you completely supported the Canadian health care system, it helped define Canada for you, and I completely agree, but then you went on to talk about money as a limiting factor etc. Money is indeed a big issue in pretty much everything these days, but for some reason it is something that gets talked about directly in Canada very little, and most people seem to know very little about. If you want to really look after this country for Canadians, are you prepared to make a commitment to get the banks out of the money creation business in Canada? Do you know that private banks create about 95% of the money supply in Canada - for profit? What a racket - it's absolutely insane to have our money supply created as debt, a trap which it is impossible to ever get out of! Are you aware that the banks and government finance departments have scammed the Canadian taxpayers for over 1.5 Trillion bucks the last 25+ years, and the scam continues with the 50+ billion of 'interest' payments on the 'national debt' (+ similar 'provincial debts') each year? Imagine what would happen to our 'financial problems' if we didn't have to deal with those 'service' charges for this 'debt', and had that trillion bucks back in OUR national treasury pockets where it was stolen from! Are you prepared to undertake a criminal investigation of the National Debt Scam? (you can find the basics of this whole story here ). This would be a hugely radical move, certainly, but it's about the most important thing that really needs to be done if we are ever to be a free and prosperous democracy, as in gov of, by and for the people, rather than of, by and for some banker-led elite. It would make you lots of enemies with Tom d'Aquino's gang, of course - but lots of friends in grassroots Canada once they understood what had been happening (the media has NEVER talked about this). It would also pretty much prove whose side you are really on (I would predict that of the various reasons you will not answer this letter, this will be the killer - it appears nobody wants to challenge the banks, or even get close to acknowledging this huge crime).
3. Canadian sovereignty. Are you aware of the meeting that was held a few days ago in Banff, in which a number of parties high up in the governments of the US and Canada discussed essentially a Canadian-US union, in very serious terms You can find a bunch more info at a website called Vive le Canada - - and there's quite a few more stories etc on the site - this does NOT sound like some crazy 'conspiracy theory' - this stuff is happening, as an article by Maude Barlow in the Star a few days ago verifies - (apparently the only mention of this extremely important discussion at very high levels about the very future of Canada in the mainstream media). This is really quite outrageous in basically every way you want to look at it, from the almost complete lack of mainstream media coverage on up. Where do you stand on Canadian sovereignty? What is your opinion of the Canadian mainstream media, who seem to have decided, along with the participants, that Canadians do not and did not need to be involved in any discussion of this 'union' of Canada and the US (which would not be a 'union' in any way, as we all well understand that the Canadian component of this 'union' would be subjugated in every meaningful way to the US government)?
4. Electoral reform - that is to say, SERIOUS electoral reform, not this red herring Senate or 'more power to backbenchers' stuff, or huge substanceless clouds of nothing about the 'constitution'. You don't mention this in any of your 'core' sort of principles on your main webpage, but it is absolutely essential if you are serious about grassroots reform. How can you call a system which constantly empowers majority governments elected by a minority of the people 'democratic' (usually around 35% of the eligible voters elect these 'majorities' - Harper is currently in New York talking about what Canada is going to do with the electoral support of about 20% of Canadian eligible voters), and those governments consistently do things most Canadians do not want? (everything from 'free trade' to joining the Bush occupation-conquest force in Afghanistan, and lots in between). You say you care about the things Canadians care about (and it sounds as if you do) - so a system of electing MPs in which a majority of those MPs reflected the actual values of most Canadians (and who were committed to voting for the things their constituents wanted rather than what the party HQ demanded) such as some form of PR - well, how could you possibly argue with it? How, indeed, could this not be somewhere around the top of your list, if you really care about democracy in this country? FPTP is fine for a two-party state - for multi-party systems, it is a very anti-democratic farce at best.
5. What do you plan to do about the media in Canada? You will note that in all of the previous points I make, the media is an important component, whether mentioned directly or not - it is the media from which Canadians get the information they need to understand what is happening in our country and world, and if the media is controlled by people with a certain agenda who very deliberately gatekeep the information Canadians receive, we are being very poorly served by them. They are, indeed, a serious part of every problem I list above, mainly by refusing to talk about them, or by spinning any talk of them in a certain direction, as solutions to these problems which benefitted the average Canadian would hurt the corporate masters even more. I don't have any particular answers for this, as I do believe in freedom and a free press - but we need to somehow get 'responsible' into the definition as well, so that the media are not acting essentially en masse against the better interests of most Canadians. We need to be able to provide some kind of media for the majority of people who do not agree with most of the policies advocated by the elite owners of the mainstream media, which trumpet those policies daily (seeming more like indoctrination and/or propaganda than 'news' a great deal of the time, really, the 'coverage' is so one-sided), and refuse to provide anything like a fair amount of space for the majority who disagree with such things. The internet certainly helps a lot, as the essential gatekeeping of information function the media once enjoyed has been breached - but is that enough? Maybe, maybe not - the mainstream media and 'respected' commentators (and gov spokespeople, when they speak of it at all) are certainly doing their best to try to make people believe that internet news and commentary should not be taken seriously, as they jealously guard their gatekeeping function and their right to be the deliverers of what Canadians should think important or otherwise. What do you think?
Well, I'll leave it all for now, as I don't really expect a response - but I've been wandering the darkness looking for a spot of light for a lot of years now, and will continue to reach out to places and people that seem to offer some promise. Hanging a sign on the false lights is a useful work also.
Hat Yai, Thailand in body
Green Island in spirit, where the real light shines