Hollowing Out: “Proudly” Wrecking Canada
By Robin Mathews
Jun 23, 2007, 16:10
The story is big and dangerous. It’s everywhere you look. It’s part of a history that grows worse with the decades. “One step forward, two steps back” as someone once said.
It’s all about selling Canada out economically, culturally, politically, socially. It’s about selling out the country by handing over our resources, our industries, our cultural anchors, the glues that bind us together as a community – all as part of re-colonization, part of Canada becoming a mixture of Guatemala, Saudi Arabia, and Colombia – a special, rich, fawning client-state of the USA, bled of the independence to make choices on behalf of the Canadian people and their future. Bled willingly and wholeheartedly by the new reactionaries in – it seems – all the Parties and all the major economic think tanks and private corporations. How long will Canadians put up with it?
The cultural part of the sell-out presses forward like a huge sunny-day garage sale. Losing millions a year, every year of its life, The National Post is kept afloat by its reactionary owners to preach the gospel of greed, the idiocy of traditional Canadian values, the “rightful” domination of Canada by the USA, and the necessity to support political parties that embody those ideas.
Canada is peculiar in the respect that it has a large class persistently determined to deny the Canadian right to Canadian wealth. That class denudes Canadians of their right to have initiative, imagination, and to undertake independent action. Simply consider that Alberta admires itself for building its Heritage Fund to something over 12 billion dollars. Norway which manages its wealth ownership differently has a Heritage Fund of over 200 billion dollars. Think about that across the spectrum of Canadian resources being pumped out by foreign owners and sent to foreign places, some for refinement and “value added” treatment.
Maclean’s Magazine, a cultural anchor, for decades a reasonably serious though not strong advocate of an independent Canadian society, has fallen into the hands of reactionary, sell-out muckrakers. Maclean’s now offers in its sleaze menu – it would appear from its emphasis – an on-going icon to represent and “embody” Canada: Lord [Conrad] Black of Doublecross Harbour. No more needs to be said.
Meanwhile back at CBC – being carefully hollowed out in preparation for “the big chop” – CBC Radio Two is more and more a home for mentally challenged pre-adolescents on a diet of US rock magazines. Real differences in cultural understanding between Canadians and tastemakers in the imperial centre obstruct imperial marketing policy – even resist it. So orders are out: flatten CBC.
Coincidentally, Tony Burman, top-ranking journalist with CBC, editor-in-chief of CBC News, Current Affairs, and Newsworld is leaving. Flatten CBC. Midwife at the separation – a name that recurs in CBC dumbing-down stories – is Richard Stursberg, CBC television executive vice president. He oversees much of the increase in pap, cold porridge, and pong. Do I remember correctly that – wearing another hat some years ago – Richard Stursberg suggested the CBC be terminated?
All are to assist in the flattening. Michael Enright assists. Love of yankees of any kind pervades the People’s Corporation – to the point that it hires yankees whenever possible. Take Sunday Morning, hosted by that most self-satisfied of voices on Canadian radio, Michael Enright. Refer to Sunday, June 17 07. Enright and his bright programmers decided to deal with a perennial topic: empire, imperialism, its characteristics, the US Empire and its nature compared to the Roman Empire.
What better topic for Canadians to consider, people who occupy an economic, political, cultural and social US colony perched on thousands of miles of shared border? Who better to talk about and think about the effect and reach and nature of imperialism than Canadians – a people who began as French colonials and then became British colonials and now are US colonials?
Aha! But in a colony the colonials can never have expertise – even in the matter of their own identity as colonials. Colonials can be experts in … nothing. And so Michael Enright interviewed two “experts”, one from a British university and one from a US university. No Canadian. Erase Canada. Flatten CBC. Michael Enright is on side.
Watch the “incorruptible” Brian Day erase Canada and Canadians. New president of the Canadian Medical Association, Day is back to the CMA of the Saskatchewan Doctors Strike in 1962, a period of wholesale misinformation from the CMA which fought a dirty fight to prevent publicly created medicare. Already Day has begun. Fear mongering. Bloated attacks. Dubious claims: “private clinics must run beside the public system to make it more cost effective”. Oh. Who says? And will there be US money for the new campaign against universal medicare? Ask Brian Day. US money was there aplenty to fight against medicare at the time of the Doctors Strike in 1962. Ask Shirley Douglas.
And the Canadian economy? Hollowing Out. What is Hollowing Out? It’s the handing over of ownership and control of Canadian life to (mostly US) foreign interests. It is the sell-out of industries and corporations essential to a balanced economy, and direction of their Canadian operation from foreign centres to suit foreigner’s policy. It’s the removal of independence and initiative from Canada and Canadians at all levels of society, especially in the economy. It’s the disguised re-colonization of Canada and the turning of Canadians into colonial serfs.
That process is ALWAYS at work in a colonial society. Colonial societies are societies that are, by definition, hollowed out to make the imperial society richer. That condition is growing dangerously worse now in Canada. We all know, for instance, that fawning governments have refused to let Canadian film-making become an international force. For more than sixty years Canadian governments have made deals with US governments to keep Canadian film-making a welfare activity. An industry that should be in full competition with US film making, that should be bringing kudos and billions of dollars in reward to Canada, is purposefully suppressed by Canadian government in order to please Washington. That is what we call colonialism. Shame. And double shame.
A wise investment analyst (Tom Bradley, Globe and Mail, Apr. 20 07 B16) records how in the 1990s he had to meet people in Dallas, New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey to discuss the servicing of Canadian pension plans. Why? “The parent companies had taken as many white-collar jobs out of Canada as they could and that included the pension department.”
Globe and Mail for June 20 07 trumpets the Stephen Harper belief that the “Hollowing Out” cry is mere “hype”. (A1, A4) Needless to say ”senior federal Finance Department officials “are doing the talking for Harper – traditional sell-out entities. Harper has been silent we are told not because he is a confirmed sell-out but because he doesn’t want to fan the flames of “misconception”.
On the same day the Globe and Mail reported that the brother to Hollowing Out – Globalization – (B 15) is hitting working people hard. What is Globalization? It is the takeover of governments by private corporate power; the peonization of working people everywhere; the stripping of all social securities from populations; and the employment of government power, the military, and press/media to further the wealth and the domination of private corporate interests. To put it into the words of Globe writer Marcus Walker: “many workers in developed countries are struggling to find well-paid work amid a combination of cheap imports, the relocation of factories and offices to low-wage countries, and changing technology”.
“Hollowing Out” holds hands with “Globalization”.
Even while the big trumpets are spreading the “keep happy” lie, smaller ones are telling the truth. In the Globe (May 19 07 N16) Heather Scoffield tells an old, old, old Canadian story. Stephen Harper’s propagandists say all is well, Canadians are shipping out money “to invest” in the USA. That’s a lie. US money is coming in to grab Canada. Canadian dollars are flowing out of Canada from US Branch Plants to US head offices. That is NOT Canadian investment in the USA. That is not “foreign trade”. That is imperial power wringing the wealth out of a colony. To avoid the sad, ugly term, “Branch Plants,” Statistics Canada has apparently discovered a nicer term: “sister companies”. The biggest Canada-to-US dollar flow, Scoffield reports, is Canadian subsidiaries [Branch Plants] handing money back to their US parent companies.” Economic colonialism.
Tom Bradley seemed a little surprised at the completeness of the takeovers he witnessed in the 1990s. He shouldn’t have been. From 1968 to 1972 Canada produced studies of the effects of foreign (mostly US) ownership. One after the other we had The Watkins Report, the Gray Report, and the Wahn Report.
They told us what Tom Bradley and Heather Scoffield report afresh as “news”. Very often (but of course not in every case):
(A) Foreign owners suck out Canadian jobs.
(B) They suck out capital that should be available for Canadian-initiated and directed enterprise.
(C) They work to destroy good working conditions and to destroy good quality social insurance.
(D) They block the development of Canadian invention and research, doing research and development elsewhere than Canada.
(E) Inventions made by Canadians in the employ of US Branch Plants are “owned” by the foreign companies in most cases.
(F) Foreign owners charge Canadian Branch Plants for the “use” of US technology, patented processes, and so-called US “management” expertise.
(G) They fiddle “production expenses” (and other matters) in order to cheat Canadian tax gathering authorities.
How can Canadian tax departments oversee all buying and selling activities between the Branch Plants and the parent companies? Tax departments can’t. So guess what happens?
Don’t foreign owners (mostly US owners) do ANYTHING good, you ask? Why should they? With the help of the US government they set up in Canada to grab Canadian resources, to corner markets, to kill Canadian competition, to brainwash Canadians that invasion is good for them, to make money, and to make money, and to make money – for themselves. Why would they want to do anything good?
They don’t. And only colonials, so brain-washed and indoctrinated they’re near-vegetables – only such people can believe that the wide-open, takeover-mad, unregulated market economy “Hollowing Out” Canada and “Globalizing” poverty, oppression, and despair is – to quote the Stephen Harper clones – “a net positive for the [Canadian] economy”.
To come to that conclusion, the Harper clones have to use lies, damned lies, statistics, and propaganda manipulation that would embarrass Joseph Goebbels, chief Nazi propagandist. Or perhaps not. Perhaps Goebbels would say: “Wow! They’ve perfected the Big Lie in a way I could only dream about. Wow!”