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Erik Andersen discusses the handicapping of the Canadian nation state since 1970
It is fair to say that the policies of governments can have a profound effect on the social well being of a nation state; otherwise why bother crafting policies in the first place. The outcome from embracing specific policies means that there is intention and there will be consequences. That means that some form of accountability should prevail. Unfortunately policies that are constructed using dogma most often only deliver failure, if the measures of general social well being of the whole population are the tests of success.
Prior to the 1970’s, Canada seemed to be a country that cared that the well being of all regions was worth championing. Nationalism prevailed on many fronts until international interests began to intervene.
One event was seen as a defining moment in the country’s history and that was the cancellation of the Avro Arrow air space program by the then Conservative Government of Mr. Diefenbaker. This remark was by the prominent economist, Kenneth Galbraith (now deceased), at a social occasion in Montreal and he was using it as a metaphor for the larger economy. He was featuring the fact that Canada was willingly and knowingly handicapping itself.
Canada was in fact re-embracing its colonial past by giving others veto rights over its newly developed technological excellence, featured in the designs of both the aircraft and engine. Like all Prime Ministers since, Mr. Diefenbaker was willing to be directed by others into accepting a “producer of primary commodities only” economic role for Canada.
Later in the 1990’s, the then newly appointed President of the Royal Bank of Canada, Mr. G. Nixon, gave a presentation in Toronto where he decried the inadequacy of Canadian research and development spending, the natural path for a colonial economy. Yes, the Federal government was championing R&D spending at the time; but by using appointed commissions that for the most part served as distributors of corporate welfare, not much of a Research & Development culture has materialized in Canada.
Since the 1970’s, Canada’s national interests, or matters of sovereignty, have been steadily eroded, put aside, particularly as is seen from the array of punitive terms embedded in the international agreements signed by our governments.
Just like all intellectually bankrupt entities, our Governments have been income challenged concurrently, with the consequences of self-indulgent borrowing in large amounts.
The obvious solutions have come to their minds:
Install consumption taxes which are regressive; reduce budget support for investment in human capital; pretend that large and risky investments will be so successful in the long-term that all will be made whole and lucrative; use the motivators of fear and greed with abandon (and usually to serve narrow interests); pledge national assets, with financing guarantees; and, lastly, sell or allow the sale of productive assets to international interests.
Canadians currently have the spectacle of both the Federal and BC governments doing most all of the above. Borne out of desperation, they are trying to turn the transportation and sale of petroleum assets into “hail Mary passes.” Just what you would expect from quarterbacks in a game they are almost certain of losing.
Catherine Austin Fitts, a former senior
executive with the Reagan administration has coined the descriptive phrase,
“tapeworm economics,” for what prevails in North America now. This is where the
parasites live long enough to consume their host – with both being dead at the end
of it all.
For those who enjoy historical references the following should give you a chuckle ~ if not, poor you!
In 1774 a Mr. Anthony Henley, an independent M.P and owner of the estates of Northington and Swarraton in Hampshire, took to writing to his constituents (who had written to him for the purpose of opposing the excise bill* in the house of commons):
I have received yours, and am surprised by your insolence in troubling me about the Excise. You know what I very well know, that I bought you; Þ and, by gad, I am determined to sell you. And I know, what perhaps you think I do not know, you are now selling yourselves to somebody else. And I know, what you do not know, that I am buying another borough. May G–d’s curse light on you all; may your houses be as open and as common to all Excise Officers as your houses were to me when I stood for your rascally corporation. Yours, &c.
The more things change the more they stay the same.
Erik Andersen; Economist, Gabriola BC(*The bill attempted to introduce a reduction in land tax for the gentry, and an increase in salt tax; it was defeated as much by public opposition as parliamentary debate.)
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