Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Collaboration: A New (but very old) Name For Selling-Out (Canadians). Robin Mathews

Collaboration: A New (but very old)  Name For Selling-Out (Canadians).

              (by Robin Mathews  June  2019)

Sheri Meyerhoffer, we all remember, has been appointed to be Canada's Watchdog on Human Rights abuses by overseas Corporations. Canadians don't normally see or learn that the behaviour of many Canadian Corporations operating overseas is sometimes astonishingly bad.

Out of sight Canadian Corporations, it is alleged, sometimes make undocumented agreements with corrupt regimes, exploit defenceless workers, pollute unregulated environments, bribe (as required) abuse populations, communities, the environment and Canadian law.  Some of the activity has been exposed and described in work by Yves Engler.

Sheri Meyerhoffer has expressed the desire to work as Canada's new Watchdog on international corporate responsibility collaboratively with the corporations involved.

We are all conscious that the Cabinet of Justin Trudeau wanted Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould to work collaboratively with SNC Lavalin, allowing it a Deferred Prosecution Agreement in what is called a Remediation Process, so that SNC Lavalin could slip away from the criminal charges it faces for corruption in Libya and (some believe) could buy its way out of criminal charges.

Remediation, the Oxford English Dictionary records, simply means remedying.  Deferred Prosecution Agreements are undertaken in a remediation process. What “readers may ask “is remedied by Deferred Prosecution Agreements?  The answer, of course, is the illness giant Canadian corporations fall into when a CEO or other top officers are named criminal and placed behind bars.

The legislation to create Remediation Processes in Canadian law came as a process involving 89 (yes, eighty-nine) meetings of SNC Lavalin and highly-placed Liberal government actors.  As a result the Liberal government of Justin Trudeau passed a law buried in a piece of Omnibus Legislation to permit Canadian Corporations “in effect“ to dodge criminal law as written and to enter Deferred Prosecution Agreements in which criminal charges are stayed, the Corporation pays a large sum of money (a bribe?), and promises to improve its behaviour.

We need to keep firmly in mind that Deferred Prosecution Agreements with criminally-acting Corporations permit them to escape criminal charges in a modality that is not open to Canadians generally.  The Liberal government, in short, has created Law For The Rich, separate from Law For All Others. [That “in the past“ has been considered grounds for Revolution!]

Sheri Meyerhoffer has had very wide experience in a number of foreign countries around the world.  She was Project Director for the Canadian Bar Association.  She should know better than to work collaboratively with Canadian Corporations accused of violating Human Rights among far-off, poverty-stricken, defenceless populations.  We remember that Chrystia Freeland (Canada's Foreign Minister) worked collaboratively among the 14 nations of the Lima Group backing the U.S. attempt, criminally, to overthrow the legitimate government of Venezuela.

[Those with memories that reach back to the closing year of Liberation from the Nazi Occupation of Europe remember vividly the ugliest word that could be used by the liberated to describe any of their own was the one word: Collaborator.]

Others are becoming alarmed at the apparent overthrow of the Rule of Law by the present Canadian government.  As a part of the process, the Canadian government has written into the terms of Sheri Meyerhoffer's appointment, apparently, that she may hear complaints from giant Canadian corporations that they have been unfairly alleged to have abused Human Rights.

With the stroke of that collaborative pen, the Watchdog has been turned into a potential advocate for giant corporations alleged to have engaged in wrong-doing.  That can only be described as the Deep State in action.  The Deep State, we remember, is made up of unseen forces of great wealth and great economic power which sit down with visible government (in this case, the government of Canada) to create laws for the forces of great wealth and economic power alone, as well as rules and procedures that benefit them and, which, in effect, remove them from the (common) Rule of Law.

The Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability alleges the government of Canada is setting up processes to turn the tables on vulnerable complainants in poor countries [Mike Blanchfield, Corporate watchdog rule under criticism, Vancouver Sun, June 11, 2019, B1]. The advocacy group Above Ground spokesperson Karyn Keenan adds (in the same article) that the unexpected provision goes against the spirit of an ombudsperson's office. 

What we have been seeing since the Jody Wilson-Raybould matter is evidence of the Liberal government led by Justin Trudeau working on behalf of huge (often Liberal contributing) Corporations to remove impediments to criminal behaviour by placing the Corporations outside the Rule of Law to which other Canadians are held accountable. In addition, the Liberal government appears, now, to be providing large Corporations with an advocate who, collaboratively, may be in a position to undertake Canadian government-approved harassment of powerless people who allege they are victims of Human Rights abuses!

The only thing Sheri Meyerhoffer can do in the face of what seem to be such insupportable conditions of employment is to resign her position publicly and to denounce, loudly, the terms of her appointment.

Contact: Robin Mathews

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Half Truth, No Truth, and Sleight-of-Hand at the Globe and Mail. Robin Mathews

(The Globe and Mail is representative) 

Part Two. (by Robin Mathews, June 2019)

Fair minded-people admit enormous tensions and disagreements have been caused (outside as well as inside the United Kingdom) by the Brexit vote of 2016 to take Britain out of the European Union. People wishing to maintain a fair perspective have to look very closely at what the European Union really is and the choices it makes. And they have to try, as well, to understand the arguments for and against membership in the Union that are made in Britain. What is the real situation in both places?

One might expect a two-page spread in The Globe and Mail (or a Special Supplement) giving both sides of the story so that readers in Canada might make, impartially, some kind of assessment even if they don't take sides finally.

But The Globe and Mail (The Globe and Mail is representative) doesn't do that. The Globe and Mail supports - with Eric Reguly, Doug Saunders,        the Eds., etc. etc.- (without explaining why) the present structure of the European Union and breathes contempt (without explaining why) for Brexit and all who sympathize with the Brexiteers and strongly criticize the power of the administrators of the European Union. As a result of their flagrant prejudice writers for the Globe and Mail will be considered by many to misreport the identity, the power, the purpose of the EU and the motives of those in the leave (the Brexit) camp. Half truth, no truth, and sleight-of-hand at the Globe and Mail.

Put very, very briefly there is a full-scale, on-going, battle-to-the-death struggle in the EU between the Reactionary/Big Capitalist/Globalizing forces and those working for a fully democratic, population-centered, humanitarian Community. The extremes are mirrored, now, in France. Ill-organized but persistent the (peoples) Yellow Vest Movement is calling for a re-shaping of power and a redistribution of wealth in France.  At the same time, the French president, Emmanuel Macron - (intending to move into a key power position in the EU if he can manipulate well) - wholly a servant of plutocratic France is advocating the privatization of everything that can be privatized in France.

In addition, the bureaucratic and appointed top officers of the European Union, now, are in favour of and advocate the privatization of everything.

Almost boringly we have learned that making public utilities and services private makes them (1) less efficient, (2) more expensive, and (3) technologically backward. We have learned, also, that giving private corporations greater freedom of movement without severe and close regulation results in full-scale (often gigantic) corruption.  In France, the privatization of some airports (pushed earlier by Macron) has made travel more costly and has robbed the French State of millions of euros annually. Privatization of SNCF (French Railroads) has turned them into basket-case, for profit, service-limited disasters. Out-of-the-way, hard-to-reach destinations in France that desperately need train connection are cut off as unprofitable to operate. (The same with Thatcherite-begun-privatization of once world-famous, efficient, British Railways falling off the tracks now as Britons look on.)

If we begin at the beginning, we see that the foundational movements to create some kind of a European Union were not primarily movements for a union of peoples living in peace and prosperity together as Europeans. No. The major 1950's actions were economic steps taken to make more efficient, more profitable, more stable private corporations. The glorious language of social harmony and the end of inter-European Wars was secondary and still is, many believe. The European Economic Community idea predated anything else.

For the sake of brevity we can leap forward to 2004 when a European Constitution was written, passed in Rome but required ratification in some countries by Referendum. There were no peoples gatherings to find out what populations thought a Constitution for Europe should contain. The Constitution was written by bureaucrats.  It ended being probably the longest Constitution ever written, coming in at three volumes! (without consultation with any of the peoples of Europe or gatherings of citizens ! !)

One would think that the EU bureaucracy would have placed copies of the proposed Constitution everywhere possible: banks, schools, universities, libraries, etc. in the countries requiring referendum. But NO. Copies were hard to find. Strange. It was almost as if the EU bureaucracy was trying to prevent citizens from knowing what was in the three volumes ! ! In France, many sought out copies. And though the Mainstream Press and Media in France [half truth, no truth, and sleight-of-hand] strongly backed the Constitution without explaining it Le Monde diplomatique and many French who cared set to work to tell the French what was really in the proposed Constitution.

It was defeated in France. The Truth was out. In Holland the same process followed: the people were told what was in the proposed Constitution. It was defeated in Holland. The next referendum was to be in Britain. Instead, the Constitution was withdrawn. (No one at the Globe and Mail tells that story: half truth, no truth, and sleight-of-hand at the Globe and Mail.)

Upon the failure of the passage of the European Constitution, one might think the bureaucrats in Brussels would have placed copies of it all around the world ... so that people could see what was nobly attempted for the people of Europe and foolishly rejected by them. That doesn't seem to have happened. Try to find a copy. (Good luck.) INSTEAD, the Eurocrats took from the failed Constitution things they wanted, put them into a Treaty, went to Portugal and passed 'The Treaty of Lisbon' and began declaring that the Constitution of the European Union is contained in - and is summed up by - the treaties entered into by the governments of the nations making up the Union.

Brexit is coming about because a majority of Britons voted for it. Anti-Brexiteers report the majority was fooled, was stupid, conned was led (Doug Saunders) by people of rootlessness and privilege (Sat. June 1/19/p.01) They are that majority - (like Italy's Matteo Salvini says Eric Reguly) populists a curse word from the likes of Reguly, meaning nationalists who are sharply critical of EU governance (not to be confused with government) and are usually named viciously anti-immigration, etc.].

The Italians, told by the EU bureaucrats to receive all refugees that arrive off the Mediterranean from ugly, U.S. and NATO and Israel faked wars finally said NO and became, of course, hard-Right anti-immigration populists. Britain, too, has been accused of being viciously anti-immigration. None of the Doug Saunders/Eric Reguly kinds of commentators will admit for a moment (1) that immigration can be (when in floods) seriously disruptive. Or that (2) the sources and causes of the floods of refugees should be identified AND the people who cause the problem should be named and taxed. They wont say that employers across Europe want cheap labour from anywhere. Italy didn't cause the huge, barbaric, monstrously destructive wars the U.S. (and Israel, with NATO) instigated in the Middle East.

The Regulys and Saunders of this world (half truth, no truth, and sleight-of-hand) will - not for a second - entertain the notion that across Europe the Corporations fighting for control of the Union want floods of cheap labour to drive down costs. Nor will they admit that in both France and Italy the economic calamity driving huge unemployment happened during Left governments working hand-in-glove with the European Union's unelected administrators! And the collaborators in Greece who agreed to the sell-off everything there but the stones of the Parthenon in order to lower debt and please the priesthood of the EU were in fact seen as a hard Left government!

France leapt out of the frying pan into the fire; France went from a pretend Left government [The Socialist Party of France] to the bare-knuckled, newly-formed Right movement of Emmanuel Macron called, for short, En Marche, and described as Centrist and liberal (?) by the Mainstream Press and Media.

Eric Reguly admits that the Centre Left government of Matteo Renzi (before the present populist coalition) was a failure (Sat., June1/18,B4). Salvini wants to level tax rates and, in effect, lower the age of retirement. Reguly's sleight-of-hand calls for deep reforms, like taking the scalpel to Italy's soul-crushing bureaucracy without a word about doing the same to Italy's Capitalist Class. Absolutely typical. Reguly doesn't call on Italy's Capitalist Class to do anything. Before Matteo Renzi's Centre Left government was thrown out, it agreed that Corporations in Italy could pay nothing to new workers for three months while they learned the job.

Brexiteers say that the British people must make the laws for Britain; that the EU Commissioners (with one title or another) are not directly accountable to democratic voters; that laws (or other kinds of stricture) made to suit one country may not suit another country; that the present European Union works hand in glove with Big Corporate Globalization to the detriment of national populations; that the taxed cost to Britons of membership in the EU is too high and would be better spent at home.

Yanis Varoufakis, Greek Finance Minister during the meltdown (who resigned in protest), ran recently for the European Parliament, in Germany, as part of a group seeking to bring Democracy to the European Union ! [A bold idea!!] The man who went toe-to-toe with the heavies of the European Union operation in an attempt to stop Greece from being (as it has been) shredded and left destitute seemed to learn something fundamental about the Union: that it is a big Globalization factory not run for the people of Europe. It is, in fact, not democratic .... The European Parliament, in fact, is occasionally praised for seizing an initiative and gaining a little democratic power (readers surely might ask from whom?).

Maybe the Brexiteers have a real cause.

 Contact: Robin Mathews

Monday, June 3, 2019

The Tree and Me were 'planted' in the 1940's. We are but a shadow now, of 'ourselves'

This morning's walk in Capilano River Regional Park ...
                I found a tree in the woods that looks just like me


January 19, 2019
Just a walk in the same park: Cleveland Dam