Almaguin News (Ontario), 1998
And another thing...
by Richard Thomas
David Orchard wants to lead the Progressive Conservative Party
of Canada. Suits me. So I've joined up. Yep, I'm a Tory. I hope
this doesn't cause old time true blue Tories to flee the neighbourhood.
Nobody is better suited to rally a real United Alternative to
the Chretien/Martin pack than Orchard. He would create a political
home for millions of people who are now unrepresented.
He has an excellent pedigree as a Tory. Point #1: He opposed Mulroney.
Point #2: He connects directly to old John A., to Robert Borden
and John Diefenbaker. Orchard is best known for carrying on their
battle against foreign economic domination.
He has already demonstrated political effectiveness. He is prominent
among the able few who learned about the MAI (Multilateral Agreement
on Investment) and spread the information so that enough people
new enough to shout loud enough to at least delay its signing.
That fight goes on. Orchard will be the only political leader
able and willing and able to argue intelligently against the MAI.
He'll be the only representative for millions of people who now
understand and oppose it.
David Orchard is a Saskatchewan farmer, a successful organic farmer.
This tells us he is attentive to detail and a canny businessman.
As a dedicated environmentalist/conservationist he will become the
rallying point for millions more voters who are now unrepresented.
Orchard's fight is ours. It transcends interprovincial bickering
and simplistic fretting about deficits. It is a struggle to find
a way to hold on to Canada, for Canadians. It is a battle for our
resources and our culture; for what we have and who we are.
Globalization of national economies is almost universally seen
as irresistible and inevitable. It is hard to find a time in history
when so many people believed so tenaciously in an idea so obviously
The gospel of the globalizers is efficiency. But true efficiency
cannot be measured when the measuring unit, money, is fixed to no
rational standard but bobs up or down to the whim and greed of money
Efficiency? More than half of all global trade is the exchange
of almost identical goods. Fact: Americans import Danish sugar cookies.
Danes import American sugar cookies. Why don't they just exchange
Accurate understanding of cost is essential to understanding efficiency.
Global trade ignores a long list of real costs and dumps others
onto us. If corporate traders paid the full cost of fuel used to
transport their goods, much profit would vanish. So governments
subsidize oil and we make up the difference, in taxes. The environmental
cost of shipping sugar cookies is ignored. Who benefits?
Capital flits around the world at the tap of a few computer keys.
Capital is money that represents resources and labour. It belongs
to the people of the nations that produced it. The people stay home.
Their wealth goes. Manufacturing jobs go to nations with bare subsistence
level wages, or worse to nations that use child labour, prison labour.
Global corporatists want us to believe that unfettered trade raises
living standards everywhere. It does, for rich folk almost everywhere.
The poor of most countries get poorer and more numerous. Nationless
corporations produce wherever labour and environmental standards
are most permissive. They sell wherever they can, without penalty.
To compete, all nations must lower their standards.
That is what is happening, to Canada and around the world.
Protectionism today is not the protectionism Macdonald and Borden
fought for. Our battle is broader and deeper. The tariff needed
now would not be to protect sloppy industry against foreign competition.
It would be designed to defend our society and our resources, for
us and our grandchildren.
A modern tariff system could be modelled on the anti-dumping laws
which exist now. They discourage the sale of trade goods at prices
below their production costs. A new tariff would compensate for
indecent social, wage standards and lax environmental considerations.
Only corporatists who call no country home could object.
The wonder is not that David Orchard opposes globalization. The
wonder is that not everybody does . . . yet.
Richard Thomas is a farmer and part-time writer
from Burks Falls, Ontario, whose weekly column, "And another thing..."
appears in the Almaguin News.