Friday, August 10, 2007

Globe & Mail's Neil Reynolds calls on birds to protect Canada by Louis Evan Palmer

"Birds, after all, have economies, too."

The United States will not have to look hard to find its slavish supporters in the journalistic corps as Neil Reynolds continues his misleading fusillades in favour of the Security & Prosperity Partnership (SPP). There is little doubt that a fully implemented SPP would cement into place a one-sided, disadvantageous relationship in favour of the US and would lead to the dissolution of any Canada recognizable to its current citizens. It's clear to anyone with a dollop of sense (or not blinded by ideology) that a 98 pound chimp will enjoy few, if any, rights in the house of the 800 pound gorilla.

Mr. Reynolds, although it most certainly caused him great discomfort, called on the restive spirit of John Kenneth Galbraith to support his grovelling on the part of his SPP masters. Mr. Galbraith, Reynolds asserts "never wavered in his conviction that economic globalization was an essential advance". Since Mr. Galbraith lived until he was 97 and wrote and was interviewed extensively, you could probably get almost any quote you want from him. Like the following in conversation with Asimina Caminis, Senior Editor of Finance & Development, Mr. Galbraith was quoted: "I'm an advisor to the American Heritage Dictionary on language use and I will not allow the word globalization. It is a very ugly term! That we will have closer international relationships in such areas as economics, culture, the arts, travel, and communications I strongly hope..." Hmmm? Maybe it was another John Kenneth Galbraith that Mr. Reynolds had in mind? But no, Mr. Reynolds go on by putting these further words into Mr. Galbraith's mouth "globalization simply expanded and extended co-operation among countries". Yes perhaps, except without the word "globalization"! I'd say that Mr. Galbraith was fairly clear on that.

Mr. Reynolds continues his parade of misquotes and faulty logic by claiming (one must assume with a straight face) that "economic integration in no way necessitates political integration". I guess all those other commentators and political leaders (and basically the whole world) got it wrong. The absurdness of this statement is breath-taking. Of course, economic integration leads to political integration. That's precisely what it leads to.

Professor Branislav L. Slantchev of the Department of Political Science, University of California, says in a lecture in his course "Introduction to International Relations" that: "The highest state of economic integration is the common market, which adds the free movement of labor and capital to the customs union freedom of goods and unified external tariffs. A common market is deepest and involves the largest loss of sovereignty, eventually requiring the relinquishment of important policy tools for controlling financial flows and stimulating the economy. Common markets are very rare." Don't be fooled by Mr. Reynolds rantings, SPP is no other than a different name for "common market".

Mr. Reynolds' trust in international institutions is as touching as it is naive and misplaced as John Perkins has made abundantly clear in his expose "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man". Institutions like the World Bank and the IMF (International Monetary Fund) have been co-opted, mainly by US interests, and are mainly used to indebt third world countries. David C. Korten elaborates on this in his widely-acclaimed book "When Corporations Rule the World": "The World Bank has served as an export-financing facility for large Northern-based corporations. The IMF has served as the debt collector for Northern-based financial institutions. GATT has served to create a corporate bill of rights protecting the rights of the world's largest corporations against the intrusions of people, communities, and democratically elected governments."

As befits a manifestly beneficial endeavour, the SPP has not been brought to Parliament, has not been debated or brought to committee. It has been snuck around in luxurious hide-aways attended by invitation-only members of the elite. Its shadowy Orwellian name "Security & Prosperity Partnership" calls to mind the raft of similarly falsely named laws & campaigns from Bush-Cheney's Amerika like Iraqi Enduring Freedom and Patriot Act.

When Gordon Laxer, a professor of political economy and director of the Parkland Institute at the University of Alberta, tried to address the energy aspects of the SPP "at a meeting of the House of Commons' international trade committee earlier this month, Leon Benoit, the Conservative chairman, ordered me to stop my presentation as an invited witness. My remarks, he ruled, were not relevant. When his decision was successfully challenged by other members of the committee, Mr. Benoit adjourned the meeting and left the room.

"For example, in researching how Canada's energy security would be affected by exporting more energy to the United States, I learned that Canada has no plans, or enough pipelines, to get oil to Eastern Canadians in the event of an international supply crisis. I asked if Canada, as a member of the International Energy Agency, will establish a Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The IEA was created to counter OPEC's boycotting power; its 24 members are supposed to maintain 90 days of emergency oil reserves.

"The NEB replied that Canada 'was specifically exempted from establishing a reserve, on the grounds that Canada is a net exporting country whereas the other members are net importers.' But that doesn't make sense. Canada may be a net exporter, but it still imports 40 per cent of its oil - 850,000 barrels per day - to meet 90 per cent of Atlantic Canada's and Quebec's needs, and 40 per cent of Ontario's.

"Of course, we don't even have the pipelines to fully meet Eastern needs and, rather than address that domestic deficiency, five more export pipelines are planned."

The above appeared in an article in the Globe & Mail in May of this year.

Yes, Mr. Reynolds, the SPP sounds just fine if you're content to see Canada disappear. In the meantime, please leave the birds out of it.

Globe & Mail's Neil Reynolds calls on birds to protect Canada, Louis Evan Palmer, The Way It Can Be,
Copyright 2007 Louis Evan Palmer lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have appeared in numerous publications.


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