Related rabble.ca story:
For Immediate Release
December 16, 2010
Ottawa, ON -- Canada's already challenged public water systems are under threat from a broad free trade agreement being negotiated by Canada and the European Union (EU). A new report released today, Public Water for Sale: How Canada will privatize our public water systems, warns that public water in Canada will be lost unless the provinces and territories take immediate steps to remove water from the scope of the proposed Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).
I'm talking political philosophy here, not Viennese waltzes. People keep asking why Stephen Harper acts as he does, it looks so buttheaded. He seems to muck up his own prospects: firing decent people, lashing out, raising the partisan rhetoric, proroguing Parliament haughtily, binging on military toys, mauling the census -- he's a bright boy, it's hard to figure.
I used to favour a theory of political Tourette's, the kind portrayed by Robert Redford in 1972's The Candidate. You suppress your political ideals for the sake of electability as long as you can; then the buildup leads to random outbursts. But there's another explanation: Straussianism.
The Canada-Colombia free trade agreement currently before the House of Commons Trade Committee has all of the elements of a fast-paced action novel.
In the last week alone, breaking news of a forged letter of support from Canadian activist Maude Barlow was distributed to all Liberal MP's and there were emerging allegations of Colombian President Alvaro Uribe Velez's brother, Santiago, being directly involved in brutal murders by the government`s paramilitary forces. It should be enough to put the scandals around the agreement on pages of the nation`s newspapers.
So why are Canada's big corporate media refusing to pay attention and cover the issue?
Sunday's revelation that the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) will be bringing in "temporary guest workers" to replace some of its Canadian employees captured headlines, sparking outrage and surprise, and leading many to threaten a bank boycott and move their accounts elsewhere.
The outrage is certainly understandable -- as one would think that RBC, with its more than $2 billion in first quarter profits, could afford to retain these workers -- but the surprise isn't.
It is never pleasant to hear about somebody's death, but it can be redemptive. Contemplating their legacy forces you to contemplate what will some day be your own. It begs the question: for what do you want to be remembered?
I hope to leave the people I've known with the conviction that they have both the power and the responsibility to make the world a better place for everybody in it. The exact opposite, in other words, of the legacy left by Margaret Thatcher who swept to power with the seductive but corrosive notion that greed is a virtue and not a vice.
British Columbia's New Democrats will form government this spring if recent polling sticks. The May election is arriving amidst a crisis of the philosophy and policy-paradigm that has guided governance worldwide for the past 40 years: neoliberalism.
Understanding neoliberalism's legacy, appeal, and current transformation -- both globally and in British Columbia -- can facilitate successful social democratic governance starting in May. Renewed social democracy in B.C. can yield ecological and social benefit in this region, but also serve as a model for other jurisdictions seeking alternatives to neoliberal orthodoxy. Political openings for progressives are afoot.