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[url=http://www.rabble.ca/politics.shtml?sh_itm=c03165c01329c37c706e1ebb29f8d... by Duncan Cameron[/url]
I don't substantively disagree with Cameron's views here.
But it reminded me of something about we on the left where the reaction to a problem is to say we need to pass a law against something.
Not that this isn't required from time to time. But it struck me a long time ago that Canada has no real shortage of laws. As individuals or corporations, it's strikingly easy to be a criminal these days.
It's in enforcement where the fiddling lies. Depending on who you are, your law breaking may or may not be overlooked by the authorities.
Through labour activism, I've learned that sometimes the legal tool you need has been in your tool box all along, it's just burried a little deep and you have to rummage around some to find it.
I often wonder if the NDP shouldn't emphasize enforcement rather than creation of laws to address our problems.
We can create all the laws we want, but if there is no enforcement or consequence for transgressing those laws, then they might as well not even be on the books.
I think what Duncan is meaning is that the laws for private property and benefitting corporations are being equated with our own prosperity. I agree with Duncan, because it's not true. He mentions that ALCAN was given certain rights to create hydro-electric power. And now they're making money by gouging BC Hydro for electrical power. ALCAN's Canadian operations have been the most profitable in the last ten or fifteen years. And they've laid off more workers here than in any other country.
Certain private lumber and veneer companies were given power damn rights here in Ontario, and now they are closing down saw mills and P&P operations and profiting from the sale of electrical power to the market. Private property rights, if I'm not mistaken, are being expanded and entrenched by our 24 percent Tory government in helping their rich corporate friends take more control of our economy and expanding the rights of the few over the majority. We don't need to enforce these laws, we need to repeal them and take back the commons.
If private enterprisers are such good stewards of the environment and vast tracts of land, natural resources etc, then why is it so warm outside right now ?. I think we are supposed to believe that democratically-elected governments can't be trusted to control natural resources and crown corporations for our benefit. We're supposed to connect the dots ourselves and go along with the handing over of our most valuable assets and natural wealth to non-elected private enterprising capitalists. And we should pay taxes to enforce their exclusive rights over the rights of the many. We might as well not even have elections if that's the case.
[ 05 January 2007: Message edited by: Fidel ]
I think what Duncan is meaning is that the laws for private property and benefitting corporations are being equated with our own prosperity.
And it's an old idea. People my age used to sarcastically say "What's good for GM is good for the country" whenever we were in debates about this kind of stuff. Later, we called it "trickle down". I bet someone used to say "What's good for the John Company is good for Englishman" when they passed Shanghai opium dens, in a previous age.
I'm not sure how you pass laws against faulty economic philosophies. I think the public forum is where you defeat that stuff.
What I was getting at was, using the Alcan example Duncan cited, I wouldn't take it for granted that no laws were broken in it's formulation, or that lawyers for both the government and Alcan crossed every t and dotted every i.
Dave Barrett went to Washington to try and fight the Columbia River power give away under Bennett's Soc-Creds(politically conservative). It ended up costing Canadian taxpayers hundreds of millions in cost overruns. The NDP tried to stop the bastards from giving away the common good to multinationals, but the federal Liberals at the time didn't see fit to sending anyone to backup Barrett. So you're right, our own democratically elected governments have been giving away water rights, cutting rights to vast timber reserves, and accepting bargain basement royalties for oil production.
ALCAN is realizing over 1000 percent profit on hydro-electric power created with publicly owned resources. It's a shade more than the 18 percent or so profit on aluminum products. We're allowing a multinational to gouge BC hyrdro rate payers for electricity. And, ALCAN will use mafia-style profits on electricity to upgrade their foreign operations in making those facilities more competitive with Canadian aluminum. We're a favoured colony of corporate America. Democracy was never an issue for the multinationals. Our two old line parties have been mere colonial administrators in Ottawa and Queen's Parks for over a hundred years and counting.