McFee's Musings

July 1, 2012

Canada: Lost Village

Filed under: Politics — dwightmcfee @ 3:40 am

I’m a Canadian. Expanse envelopes my soul. The lands, skies so differentiated across time and space asks the human inhabitants to integrate and envision more than one. The awe of the possibility to contain and express this deep oneness of earth and space with the commonality of all.
That was my Canada. The Commons as one! The Rockies, the plains, the oceans, the people’s.

What a inspirational opportunity 1982 was, the re-partition of the Canadian Constitution. A founding Aboriginal Culture symbolically is acknowledged by two conquering culture’s, French and English.
We shall move forward in peace and comity, gifted with three fecund culture’s to learn and respect.
Three, that in the modern world has a continuing legacy, good or negative: Environmentalism, Capitalism, and Social Democracy. I leave it to the reader to decide which culture carries which ism in which provinces.

The Canadian Constitution is the second oldest constitution in the world.
It’s the only nation where major civil wars have not taken place. Canada is blessed with every conceivable advantage, minus a large population. Most modern historical/economic tomes use the term ‘competing’ cultures. But that, unconsciously is the coup’. Canadians have historically had to survive in a sometimes harsh but bountiful land by understanding common issues, such as surviving, and working with each other, community. But all consuming competition sends the discourse to a transactional, soulless utilitarianism, robbing, stealing away the ability to form renewed vision for the nation. Oh! For a vision again, for my nation.

There was a time when Canada was creating a fresh vision of multi-lingual-cultural bridges around the globe. Some think this was soft, squishy, yet placed Canada as trustworthy. We were not seeking domination and power. We were here to hold it in check so sober minds could speak truth to power. Then came Lying’ Brian and stealth FREE trade for money.

This was my Canada. I became an actor because I loved the story. The history. Undiscovered, This PLACE made me feel humble and proud that we were the oldest and youngest culture’s of the world. We had this patrimony: people with a vision of a whole, a system that balanced power roughly, and as a result of the pragmatism and imagination of the experience of the land, humility at the fragility of life in the north.

This was my Canada. Tommy Douglas and Health Care. Perhaps other than the lost vision above, this issue binds us together now. How sad we can’t move on. It will be the last national program to be whittled away and eventually drowned after the CBC which was created by Conservative’s in a deal with the US in 1947: we get the CBC radio (communist) and the US gets our domestic film exhibition rights. Forever. The CBC is close to death as we know it.


The acerbic and accurate Canadian author John Ralston Saul says in The Doubter’s Companion that a word that has outlived it’s usefulness and become not it’s original meaning should be retired until the word comes to it’s senses. The word in this instance is FREE ENTERPRISE.

After the Commons rejected naked capitalism post-depression and two world wars, the citizenry demanded government respond to the needs of the nation, it’s welfare.
Let us not forget that the original Canadian phrase was not peace, order and good government but Peace, Order and Welfare of the Canadian People’s.

So, in the seventies our moneyed elites, no slouches at copying economic trends that serve their purpose wholly, began as followers of the stockholder is god, business is business, I’m a global player, essential services are a monopoly that no government should control, everything is a commodity, this is the way it’s always been, competition is wonderful until I have the monopoly on an essential service, I would like to be a good citizen of whatever country but I am only responsible to my bottom line, investor rights, capital mobility, right to work, I’ll donate to the Cancer Wing cause my mom died of it, I’m job creating in China-lifting them to the middle class but I can’t make profit if I don’t get tax breaks and be released from regulation, self regulation is the way to go, and on and on, and of course Money in politics to buy the policies on the oligarchic airwaves provided FREE to the three integrated media corporations to rail against the people that provide the FREE air waves.

We live in an immense country with no industrial policy, no environment policy, no transportation policy, a foreign and military policy totally integrated with a plundering and powerful American Hegemony, a cultural policy that provides the least per capita support in the OECD other than the US, the acceptance that we can do nothing about anything unless a business person is in charge.
I am not against business, small business. That’s where the jobs are created, 80%, Large corporations do not create that many jobs, 20%, excluding public workers. For instance the XL Pipeline from Alberta to the Texas coast will create two thousand construction jobs for two years and require as few as a one hundred jobs to run. Yet this project is being pushed through with attendant tax write offs and amortizations. This is all wrapped in the glow of free enterprise. Socialize the cost’s and privatize the profits.
When a retiring executive like Patrick Lane from Enbridge ( the Canadian de-regulation natural gas behemoth ) speaks of the great contribution to ‘nation building’ Enbride does with it’s pipelines, I want to have a good talking to with this man. The lack of humility is stunning. This is a technocrat telling us that, as Robert MacNamara said when General Motors CEO, what’s good for GM is good for the country. What’s good for Enbridge may not necessarily be good for the country.
However this is the prevailing psychosis. Profit unattached to consequences. Profit unaccountable. Profit without responsibility. Profit without creating anything tangible, cloud profit in financial services and banking. Commodities speculation, Thin air profits. Too few with to much money. A Financial Services Tax, the Tobin Tax, a 0.003% levy on all stock, commodity and derivatives trading would be a good start to bring out of control speculation to hand. France, Britain and Germany advocate this levy. Fat chance in Harperland and Plantation America.

This is my Canada. We have our cheques processed in America, our foreign policy lead by America. We send our oil to America for processing, haven’t added a new refinery since the 70’s, same with wood and most natural resources. Human resources, other than financial (spend a day as a cleaner on Bay Street to feel the arrogance of the Masters of the universe), are denigrated and undeserving of basic dignity: in a utilitarian culture the artist is a freak who keeps getting asked why he’s still here.

This is my Canada: Profit is not a dirty word. It could use re-defining to re-discover it’s responsible meaning. If corporations are people in the States now, and we have FREE trade agreements with the United States of America, are corporations people here as well? Just asking. Steven Harper led the National Citizen’s Coalition in the early 90’s (really a forerunner of a corporate Astro Turf front) in the Alberta Courts and won a case that essentially bestows those rights of FREE speech to non- humans. Did you read about that in the Plantation Press. Incidentally, before Mr. Harper became Prime Minister, this was the only job he’s ever had other than going to University, MS Economics, taught there and his public service as an MP. Which leads me to J. S. Saul and his definition of Business Schools: acting schools that teach people abstract management methods so they can pretend their capitalists.
Exponents of Free Enterprize.

The slow decapitation of Canadian democracy: unions, guilds, mobility, health, hope, imagination, a certain security, dialogue, accommodation, community, wisdom of our history are abandoned for ‘sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity’ as Martin Luther King said. The ideological strategy, FREE Trade, where investor rights, capital mobility, Intellectual Property Rights can discipline a Sovereign Nation is anti-democratic. The Prime Minister has chosen to pimp for the US and Corporate Inc. After all, this may lead to him being the GM of an American hockey team.

I love this land. I’ve lived in almost every province, certainly toured every province at least once, went to University in Alberta, dad in the air force, ended up in Sault Ste Marie, born on the west coast, married a Cape Britoner. I love this land. But as Pierre Burton explains in the War of 1812, Canadians weren’t fighting necessarily the Americans, but the elites of the day. The history of Canada, once you get past the Victors bravado, is the history of giving birth to a democracy in spite of our elites who think they live somewhere between New York and Florida.

Democracy is a space that has to be re-inhabited everyday. The only thing that is historically the same is the constant struggle against elite sociopathy and hubris.

Happy Canada Day!

“I’m sculpting now
Mostly landscapes”
Yogi Berra

Dwight. McFee

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