The Cambridge Reporter, December 27, 2002, Guest column
Orchard proves green can go with Tory blue
by Matt Foster
I joined the federal PC party the other day. For those who have
read my past articles this will come as somewhat of a shock. So
why did I do this?
Well, I met David Orchard. As you may recall, he was the runner-up
to Joe Clark in the last PC leadership race, and is making an effort
to become leader when Joe steps down.
I used to support the PCs in the past but switched my allegiances
when I saw them dramatically turn right, and also saw the state
of the environment going down the drain. My research into the federal
PCs, and David Orchard, confirmed to me that the party indeed lost
its direction - and the electorate in the process. Orchard advocates
a policy shift to its more historically and traditional "conservative"
He believes the Alliance Party is an attempt to import right-wing
evangelical American politics into Canada. I asked myself, "Why
would a party that delivers the same rhetoric as the American Republicans
want to align with the Conservatives?"
Obviously, it is trying to take advantage of the swing to the right
that Mulroney instigated.
This brought up the free trade agreement that the Mulroney Conservatives
negotiated and signed. David advocates that we have created a real
mess of things. Under the infamous Chapter 11, we gave the American
corporations more rights in Canada than Canadian citizens have.
They can sue Canada for loss of potential income if we pass any
law or regulation that restricts their potential profit. It doesn't
matter that they can't do it in their own country. They can do it
here, as we have learned much to our chagrin.
Orchard revealed other important concerns as well, that made my
blood simmer - such as the export of raw logs to the US without
value added labour and to allowing energy export quotas to be non-revocable
even in a time of shortage or crisis? We cannot reduce energy export
once we have allowed the proportion to rise.
"We produce oil in the Athabasca Tar Sands with zero royalties,"
Orchard laments. "We signed an energy policy that the Mexicans
refused to sign."
Proportional representative (PR) government was another topic that
we agreed on. Mr. Orchard advocates changes to our antiquated and
unjust electoral system - a system that effectively filters out
the social conscience of our society and leaves only the agenda
of the greedy. (My words).
On the Michael Coren show, Orchard pointed out that net farm income,
adjusted for inflation, has fallen by more than 50 per cent of the
1989 figure. In Saskatchewan, where his family has organically farmed
for 30 years, the drop is worse, at a 90 per cent decline. Rural
life is devastated, and rapidly depopulating. In the recent past,
22,000 farmers gave up farming.
By dropping subsidies, the government has thrown an unbearable
burden on the back of the farmer. Meanwhile, our government cannot
stop the Americans and Europeans from providing subsidies to their
own farmers, which puts the Canadian at a severe economic disadvantage.
Genetically engineered food (GE) was another topic we agreed on.
Orchard elaborated on GE canola, and the loss of the European market.
The price of this innovation has further reduced profits for the
Farming practices are another concern, he continues.
"Organic farming-which means production of food without poisonous
chemicals, herbicides, pesticides, artificial fertilizers or genetic
modification has the advantage of being far less damaging to the
environment, the soil and the consumer's health. There should be
more government-sponsored research into organic practices, as well
as promotion of its benefits."
Orchard advocates caution with GE wheat, in particular. Many countries
say they will refuse to buy our wheat if we go the GE route, and
yet the government blindly follows the corporate agenda, and forges
Edmund Burke defined conservatism as a "disposition to preserve
and an ability to improve." It appears David Orchard wants
to preserve and improve our culture, traditions, and economy and
the ecosystems of the planet. In that sense, he is a true conservative.
I was once told the colour green does not normally go well with
blue. The Tories are traditionally blue but Mr. Orchard has more
than a hint of green in his closet and it suits me just fine.
I strongly recommend David Orchard's book, The Fight for Canada.
It is the best Canadian history lesson you will ever read. Mr. Orchard
said he would come to Cambridge to speak if we like.
Anyone interested can call me at 621-9908.
Matt Foster is
a retired director of poultry research. He investigates and reports
on threats to the environment and on Canadian sovereignty.
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2002, The Cambridge Reporter, www.cambridge-reporter.com