Thursday, April 27, 2006

Deep Integration, Jesus Style

Now that Prime Sinister Stephen Harper has begun walking down the road to deep integration or at the very least, prostrate homage to w.Caesar, as Canadians who value not thinking in lockstep with “Pax” Americana, we need to stand up and call our government to account. Remember, they are a minority government, after all.

Throughout this week, we’ve seen an Ipsos poll indicate that two-thirds of Canadians support Harper’s use of “God Bless Canada” to wind down his speeches, while only one quarter of us are opposed to it. If it’s something godly he wishes to assert, I’m sure he could have come up with a phrase that wasn’t so American. Perhaps David Frum has found a new job.

This week we also learn that the media are not allowed at Canadian military bases when our soldiers’ bodies are returning home from Afghanistan or wherever. In the House, the defence minister said it’s a private affair for the families even though he and Chief of Defence Staff Rick Hillier will attend whenever they can.

This robs the nation of a chance to mourn our children who die for a national cause. Even if this national cause has dubious merit, imperial overtones, a surrogate support for American forces to keep us from directly helping out imperial overtures in Iraq, or if it is doing more harm than good as less of a humanitarian intervention and more of a humanitarian violence exercise, our children are dying for our government’s commitment. The nation deserves an opportunity to publicly acknowledge their sacrifice.

On a more political side, barring media access to the return of flag-draped caskets keeps public opinion from rising too wildly against the commitment of troops overseas to a questionable mission. Further, any ruling political party takes a hit whenever our children’s bodies come home. This is unavoidable. Barring the media from disseminating these facts helps Harper’s spin and message control.

Even the UK government allows the media to broadcast the return of their children’s bodies from Iraq, a place of more blatant imperial dalliances than Afghanistan’s supposed nation-building exercise.

In addition, debate in the House this week revolved around lowering the flag on the Peace Tower when one of our children dies serving our country’s edicts. Again, our defence minister rose to state that not doing so merely follows almost a century of military policy.

It’s time to change that policy.

Traditions are important. They define who we are. Before World War Two, tradition dictated no need for the flag to be lowered. These days, after the media eroded the uninformed and ignorant US public's support for the Vietnam War, after embedded and compliant journalism in both Gulf Wars, and after the US pilots bombed Canadians in Kandahar, we live in a different social, political and information climate. Not lowering the flag when there is such public support to do so is a weak, meaningless observance of tradition for no grand cause other than tradition. It is easier to do nothing than something new and meaningful.

We cannot let our prostrate prime minister continue to pander to his American Idol in the White House. In a week in which we also rolled over on softwood lumber despite justification of our position from such unfriendly bodies as the WTO and NAFTA, we need to let George W. Harper know that we have had enough.

To continue to slide towards a northern version of American policy idiocy will be all of our faults. To remain apathetic and compliant has a price we will pay in the future.

We must take a lesson from the energy of those in the campaign to de-elect the scoundrel David Emerson in my federal riding of Vancouver-Kingsway. Despite his “election” hundreds of people continue to protest his place in our governance. He is a mockery of electoral and parliamentary democracy. His sinister boss’s pandering to American role models is an insult to us all. It will be an insult we are all complicit in unless we act to stop it.

We must allow the media to broadcast the return of our children’s bodies. We must force our leaders to lead us out of an anachronistic tradition and lower the Peace Tower flag. And Stephen Harper needs another way to honour his god without the pretense of American pomp and circumstance.

If we let him rule this way, it is our fault.

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Gas Taxes vs. Record Oil Company Profits? Easy Answer.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation this week has called for governments in Canada to reduce the taxes they collect on gasoline.

Yeah, gas prices are getting high. We should help out every Joe in his single-occupant rush hour commuting vehicle because oil passed $75/barrel.

It seems like an easy intervention that in the short term at least will allow some relief in the gas lines.

It's the wrong thing to do, though.

We can look at gas taxes as a sin tax. Gas pollutes. We should economically discourage its waste. To reduce the gas tax undermines that effort.

But worse, foregoing that tax revenue shifts a chunk of the nation's wealth to the already bloated oil companies which have reached record profits in recent quarters compared to all of human history.

Reducing taxes now perverts the effects of any kind of utopian perfect market operation. Increasing prices should lead to a reduction of demand. Reducing taxes as oil prices increase softens the effect of the market on oil companies, whose pricing structure is based substantially on speculation and fear.

Sure, the presence of a gas tax in the first place perverts market operation. But seeing the gas tax as a sin tax means we aren't looking at it as merely an arbitrary tax grab by governments.

The last thing I want to see is our governments foregoing revenue to keep the blissfully profitable oil companies from suffering to the point where their record profits are at risk.

So take transit more, and if it's inadequate in your area lobby to have it improved. Sell the second car...or the first. Join the Cooperative Auto network. But let's not partake in corporate welfare for some of the richest companies in the world.

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

West Coast Caledonia

Today's afternoon rally and march starting at the Vancouver Art Gallery was a moving, enriching time. It was in support of the First Nations in Caledonia, Ontario defending their lands, rights and identity.

Rallies I attend at the Art Gallery are often intense, highly motivated, sometimes angry and righteous as we loudly proclaim that various global or local injustices must stop.

Today's rally, however, was much different. There was a silence to it, a reflective mood. A time when people from First Nations and non-First Nations communities agreed about a history of abuse and exploitation, and acknowledged a need for a future of healing and common cause. It was simply uplifting.

The march after the rally down Robson Street was typical of other marches--befuddled looks on shoppers' faces as people did a strange thing: stroll down the street, displacing traffic, trying to speak a message to the most conspicuously consumptive place in BC. This march was different, though, from rallies, for instance. Every block or so, we all stopped and speakers addressed the crowds with an explanation of things that really matter.

My family and friends were not able to continue with the march to Stanley Park to close some traffic lanes. I wish we could have. Solidarity is important.

Also important is what a number of speakers mentioned at the rally. Non-First Nations Canadians are woefully ignorant of our nation’s history of exploitation, abuse, rape, murder, and cultural genocide of the First Nations of this land. This perpetuation of ignorance is our fault.

What grows from this ignorance is a speedy and hearty embrace of native stereotypes and a desire to dismiss them as disturbing us and our right to self-actualize—they have their reservations, after all. Despite the fact that virtually none of BC has been legally acquired by the crown according King George III’s 1763 Royal Proclamation, we [non-First Nations] think they [the original settlers of Turtle Island] are in our way.

This is a heinous injustice.

Evidence of the injustice reeked forth from the evening’s news coverage. Among all the local TV channels, none fully described the breadth of reasons that motivated today’s solidarity rally. One in particular, CTV, best illuminated our cultural ignorance of the issues that led Six Nations member Lindsay Bomberry to movingly describe at the rally how her whole life has changed because of how the Caledonia event has played out. Her words were weighty, resonating and compelling. I could see that dozens were visibly moved by the words she shared.

CTV’s reporting of the day’s actions, however, took place with David Kincaid, the station’s reporter in the traffic helicopter!, acting as point man describing the event as a traffic impediment, with shots of the group blocking the Lion’s Gate causeway lanes.

The First Nations rally was primarily a traffic disruption issue. CTV, likely in trying to gauge its target market’s interests, did not consider the event to be primarily a political, social, legal, justice or human rights event at all.

Further, their meek attempt at exploring the background that purported to justify the day’s events was a poorly chosen sound bite of less than 10 seconds that only peripherally addressed the situation in Caledonia and the support that First Nations and others in the country are providing.

The parting comment of the “news” report mentioned that the natives threatened more protests on more lower mainland bridges if there is violence in Caledonia.

This news presentation demonstrates the racist and ignorant attitude our culture carries about First Nations. We demonize them: they are primarily a traffic problem. They are threatening us if there's violence in Caledonia. They are a threat to our economic and real estate development in Caledonia. They are a threat to our rush hour zombie behaviour. They are a threat to who we are.

The reality is that for five centuries, as newer settlers to Canada [itself a native word], we have been threatening, exploiting, marginalizing and destroying First Nations culture consistently. We refuse to acknowledge them as independent, sovereign nations. To do so, politically, would be to set a precedent that undermines Canada’s ultimate sovereignty of this land.

As long as non-First Nations cultures in Canada continue to keep their heads in the sand and avoid recognizing our role in abuse, we can continue with the charade of being the only sovereign nation around here. To maintain this fiction means we get to grumpily sneer when “they” block “our” bridges, all along thinking, hey, why don’t “they” just leave “us” alone, anyway.

In the end, along side the rich, beautiful images and moments my family, friends and I shared in at the rally and march, is a memory of a disturbingly not so surprising event. While strolling down Robson Street blocking intersecting roads, at one particular intersection, one driver several cars back from the front of the waiting line honked incessantly.

The television cameras, not surprisingly, rushed to interview that person. It’s so simple. At that moment, the story became the angry driver inconvenienced by an uppity political rally.

How easy it is for us to forget what is really going on around us.

How easy it is to make the world revolve around us again. Caledonias all over the country—and the world, be damned.

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Monday, April 24, 2006

COPE: A Tonic for NPA Dispossession

The Solidarity Notes choir performed three songs before the Annual General Meeting of Vancouver’s progressive political party, the Coalition of Progressive Electors on Sunday, April 23, 2006. The second was about Coca-Cola and accusations of how the company uses Colombian para-military death squads to murder union organizers. Two lines were spectacular: “Some folks say it’s the nectar of the gods / But Coke is the drink of the death squads.”

This song set a tone that I hoped would be reflected in the first AGM after COPE's substantial defeat in the fall 2005 civic elections and after the centrist Vision Vancouver councilors, COPE-Lite, split from COPE-Classic.

Throughout the AGM, through elections and reports from elected COPE members, the party charted a firm, resolute course into the future.

Two informal slates of candidates vied for positions on the executive. All but two table officer positions were acclaimed. However, the smaller informal slate that consisted of four COPE members contested some positions. This smaller slate promoted a strategic view that COPE should “lay the foundation for a broad centre-left coalition to defeat the NPA.”

While also interested in rebuilding COPE’s internal policy, this smaller slate, however, was more interested than the other slate in strategically connecting COPE with other progressives in the city , like Vision Vancouver, the Civic Greens, and the Work Less Party. But Kevin Millsip, former COPE school board member, board member of the progressive Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and Check Your Head activist, added, unity is important, but not at any cost.

A year ago, six months before the fall civic election, unity between COPE-Lite and COPE-Classic was important, but not at any cost, as COPE members ended up leaving to form Vision Vancouver.

As I see it, a leftist, progressive party like COPE could more actively embrace centrist groups for strategic gains. But to do so would mean diluting the more left-wing policies and ideologies and embracing a more centrist vision, thereby moving the city’s political pendulum to the right. This would have meant last year doing whatever the Vision Vancouver members demanded to keep the coalition together, thereby leaving Vancouver governance not with a left, centre and right presence, but with a right and centre/centre-left presence.

This is the attrition battle of the right. Co-opt the left or move further to the right to force the left to move to the centre. This is bad. COPE members felt it was bad last year when they didn’t go all the way to keep the Vision Vancouver members in the party.

Last July I wrote about the lie of non-partisanship that the NPA perpetrates. To not embrace the authentic partisan ideals of COPE would be to dilute its existence and insult the city’s electorate.

On city council, as it turns out, COPE councilor David Cadman votes with the centrist Vision Vancouver councilors almost all the time as it is. So a de facto voting coalition exists on council.

The COPE elections resulted in Millsip being elected as a Member-at-Large and Donalda Greenwell-Baker being re-elected as Internal Co-Chairperson. The other two candidates on the smaller strategic connection slate lost in competition for table officer and Member-at-Large positions.

This seems to indicate a mood amongst the members that seeking unity so steadfastly can be too internally divisive for maintaining the party’s core beliefs. Anne Roberts described the alternate view eloquently: COPE can be strong in principle and make alliances on issues, perhaps as Councilor Cadman is doing when he happens to vote with Vision Vancouver members.

Roberts’ view requires strengthening COPE core policy and expanding membership to capture those who oppose and are hurt by the NPA, which is an expanding group of disenfranchised citizens in the city.

This list now includes more renters and homeowners, the homeless, those receiving parks services, those who benefited from the child/youth advocate, and many who don’t speak English. The NPA has decreased business taxes while increasing homeowner taxes, thereby regressively shifting the tax burden more to homeowners and indirectly to those who rent.

The drastic increase in market housing in the city, particular southeast False Creek, at the expense of affordable housing hurts the homeless. The NPA doesn’t lose much here because with the extent of marginalization of the homeless our society has accomplished, those thousands of people typically haven’t voted or have been sufficiently impeded from voting in the past.

In its principled attempt to cut services because cutting services is good, the NPA is cutting parks services, the child and youth advocate position disappeared and stunningly, city telephone services for Vietnamese, Spanish and Punjabi speakers is cut. So much for community engagement and accountability.

In exploring and developing its principles, acclaimed External Co-Chairperson Pat Davitt spoke about the importance of going into our community to spread the COPE ideals to the citizens because COPE can’t match the money the NPA raises. This is better, more vibrant politics anyway. While it’s harder to do because it is more time consuming, requires more person-to-person contacts and cannot use the mass media to a large degree, it is more meaningful because it engages the community with those who wish to govern them and the issues that affect them.

New acclaimed Corresponding Secretary and former councilor Tim Louis added to this sentiment. He said that rebuilding COPE means getting COPE back into the community, in part by cosponsoring events with other community groups. In contrast with the other slate’s view of building a broad centre-left coalition, this method allows COPE to engage in promoting its own beliefs while working with other groups on an issue-by-issue basis, similar to Anne Roberts’ words.

So what is the future of COPE? It lies in soundly responding to the already idiotic rule of the NPA and a restoration and re-commitment to COPE’s ideology.

Elected COPE members provided the AGM with a window into the foolishness that is this NPA governance structure today.

In shades of the un-intellectual lockstep that comes from the American Republican conservatives and now Prime Sinister Harper’s message control PMO, Councilor Cadman noted for the AGM that NPA councilors are now often reading from scripts to keep on message. When talking points take the place of real human beings discussing and debating with one another, we have reached a new low. But in a world where message control defeats transparent and accountable governance, individual thought—even from your own party’s elected officials—is too risky.

He also mentioned the mental dismay that councilors can thrust upon NPA councilors by merely suggesting amendments to motions. Varying from the plan shouldn’t be this debilitating.

In their assault on the civic fibre of the city, the NPA tried to end all the citizen advisory groups in the city. Also, three of the school board’s five standing committees that are supposed to meet monthly have met a total of three times since the NPA was elected.

The NPA-dominated Parks Board works by floating plans and watching out for citizen backlash instead of pro-active consultation. COPE Parks Board Councilor Spencer Herbert described a time when an NPA councilor threatened to marginalize anything he said if he continued talking to the media about issues, as if that were somehow illegal, disloyal or just plain wrong.

Ultimately, we can credit rookie mistakes with many NPA foibles in their first half year of governance. But mistakes from ignorance do not explain the kind of restricted dialogue that comes from constrained message control. Lack of NPA transparency and accountability combined with broader disrespect for the citizenry will be a broad target to help COPE develop political capital.

The COPE group that met to debrief the 2005 election came up with a number of visionary statements that can guide COPE to developing tremendous support in time for the next election in the fall of 2008. It recommended building links with like-minded groups in the city. This should be increasingly easy as the NPA wrecking ball carves a developer-friendly swath through the city, dispossessing the majority of citizens who cannot own upscale, high-density condos or Point Grey homes on large lots.

The group also argued that COPE must be flexible and work with others. Flexibility matters, but COPE was right last spring when it would not appease all the demands of Vision Vancouver. COPE must re-commit to its core principles to keep from wavering on them. Beyond those, flexibility is useful. Being flexible with all principles would create a COPE chameleon that would mean nothing to citizens.

Re-committing to its core beliefs leads to two more recommendations: building a strong platform for 2008 and providing venues to explore key political issues. Policy soul searching must be on the agenda so the post-Vision Vancouver COPE can communicate clearly who they are and what they want for our city.

Finally, the campaign analysis group addressed the internal climate of the party by recommending that COPE develops a culture of respect in its internal workings by recognizing that while members have differences, differences can be a strength in building an inclusive, broad and welcoming coalition. While moods of betrayal surfaced at meetings before the Vision Vancouver split, members need to rise above the personal disrespect that resulted if the party is to be a united core.

As the NPA struggles to pretend to be non-partisan and as it alienates those uppity citizens who merely seek responsiveness and accountability from government, COPE can increase its membership, its vitality and its relevance in a city gearing up for the Olympics orgy of hyper-consumption and marginalization. Reinforcing its core values will allow COPE to most effectively present a sound alternative to the NPA disaster we are only now beginning to witness.

If Coca-Cola is the drink of the death squads, COPE can be the tonic for those under the NPA’s steamroller.

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Sunday, April 09, 2006

His Royal Highness, World Bank King Paul Wolfowitz

Paul Wolfowitz, as president of the World Bank, is no democratically elected leader or monarch. But as the OECD [Organization for Economic Concentration and Domination] world continues to rule the planet, other key international economic organizations like the World Bank/International Monetary Fund junta enact policy to entrench vast global economic disparity and insulate the OECD world from the rabble of the growing billions of poor.

Like a monarch reviewing the troops and granting an audience with his subjects, the brain behind the American Iraq invasion and occupation perpetuates a number of myths. While poor governance and corruption certainly exist in the majority world, the rhetoric from the OECD world continues to blame the backwards, uncivilized poor for their own poverty. The global economic system--crippling odious debt, the Washington Consensus and discriminating terms of trade--are largely responsible for the 20% rich controlling 80% of the planet's wealth and resources.

Wolfowitz meets with leaders and, as the wording of this document so preciously describes, ordinary Timorese to discuss their real lives.

I have a difficult time accepting the president of an institution that foists structural adjustment programs [SAPs] on developing nations looking out for the common person. As much as the World Bank tries to pursue incremental development in the majority world, it will not jeopardize the structural elements of the global economic system that structurally maintain such poverty.

This World Bank press release/propaganda piece tries hard to get us on Uncle Paul's side. A glowing excerpt:

During his visit, Wolfowitz will encourage Indonesia's drive to improve governance and fight corruption--as he has already made it clear that tackling corruption is a key priority of his presidency.

The Bank President has described corruption as presenting one of the most serious threats to development.

Mr. Wolfowitz will also visit Timor-Leste, a relatively new state that is recognized as a stellar performer among post-conflict countries. The Bank president will meet the country's senior officials as well as with ordinary Timorese to learn from the country's achievements in maintaining peace and stability and creating the main institutions of a functioning state and economy.

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Saturday, April 08, 2006

Which BC Political Party Do Individuals REALLY Contribute More to?

Dueling press releases [reprinted below] filled our province last week with different spin on the role that individuals play in funding the two main political parties in BC.

The neoLiberals claim, "Individuals are the life-blood of our party. They're the ones who are making a difference by not only donating their money but their time as well." Individuals provided 82% of the distinct contributions to the party. The value of their contributions at $2.6m, however, was dwarfed by corporate donations of $9.1m. Less than one-fifth of all distinct donations, then, outweighed by over 3 times the amount contributed by over four-fifths of all distinct donations.

The neoLiberal spin is intended to show themselves as the part of Everyman. A pale attempt when 69% of the value of contributions from the NDP came from actual breathing human beings, as opposed to the fictional legal personhood of corporations.

It's time to enact campaign finance reform to insist that only actual living human beings are allowed to contribute funds to political parties, not immortal pseudo-human corporate bodies or unions. Union members and corporate directors and shareholders--as humans--are more legitimate contributors than their non-human collective bodies.

BC NDP Press Release:

April 02, 2006
Political donations show wide support for NDP

BURNABY -- On Monday, Elections BC will release the 2005 financial reports for the BC Liberals and the New Democrats, and once again the numbers show the NDP enjoys wide support by ordinary people while the Liberals remain dependent on corporate donations.

In 2005, the BC NDP raised a total of $7.5 million. Of this amount, 69 per cent -- $5.2 million -- came in the form of donations from individual British Columbians.

By contrast, only 20 per cent of the $13 million raised by the BC Liberals came from individual donations. Instead, the vast majority -- 77 per cent -- of their backing came from business.

"Average families in BC know that Gordon Campbell and the BC Liberals just don't care about the things that matter to them," said BC NDP President Jeff Fox. "They're out of touch with ordinary people, and these numbers make it pretty clear they remain too dependent on the support of a single group despite the diversity of our province."


Numbers at a Glance:


Total contributions:
Total contributions from individuals:
$5,224,926 (69% of total)
Total contributions from corporations:
$227,409 (3% of total)
Total contributions from unions:
$2,061,461 (27% of total)


Total contributions:
Total contributions from individuals:
$2,628,053 (20% of total)
Total contributions from corporations:
$9,157,790 (70% of total)
Total contributions from unincorporated business:
$958,547 (7% of total)

BC neoLiberal Party Press Release:

Individuals Dominate BC Liberal Contributors in 2005

March 31, 2006

VANCOUVER - Individuals made up a full eighty-two percent of the contributors to the BC Liberal Party in 2005, BC Liberal Executive Director Kelly Reichert said today.

"Our numbers speak for themselves," said Reichert. "We are receiving contributions from individuals almost six to one versus all other donor categories combined, a five percent increase from 2004."

Today is the deadline for all registered political parties to file their annual financing reports with Elections BC. In the spirit of openness and accountability, the BC Liberal Party is today releasing summaries of political contributors.

"Individuals are the life-blood of our party," said Reichert. "They're the ones who are making a difference by not only donating their money but their time as well."

Small businesses were also big supporters of the BC Liberal Party in 2005, with almost two-thirds of all corporate classification donations being $1000 or less.

"Small business has a long-standing record of supporting the BC Liberal Party," said Reichert. "The strong economic foundation created by the BC Liberal government resonates well with small business owners and they certainly want to see that progress continue."

The BC Liberals raised $7.8 million at the party level in 2005, with a further $5.3 million raised by the 79 local constituency associations.

Full versions of the election financing reports will be available for public inspection at the office of the Chief Electoral Officer and on Election BC's web site on Tuesday, April 4, 2006 at 9 a.m.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Misleading Headline: Canadian Poverty Down 25%!!!

Today's Vancouver version [at least] of the Metro free weekday newspaper had a blindingly annoying headline [see below] about the decline in the number of poor Canadians.

Between 2003 and 2004 fewer poor Canadians got so much poorer that they fell under the "low-income cutoff" mark, compared to 1996.

This does not mean that there are fewer poor Canadians...despite what the headline says.

This only means that compared to about a decade ago, the rate of increase of almost "poor" Canadians actually becoming "poor" declined somewhat.

Depending on how diligently you read the sub-headline, it can indicate that there are 25% fewer poor Canadians today compared to a decade ago. 25% actually refers to the amount of decrease in the rate of almost "poor" Canadians slipping below this poverty line.

"Real" newspapers with real depth in their stories sometimes have misleading headlines that imply something that isn't substantiated in the story.

When you have a growing number of pseudo-newspapers providing truncated stories that do not go into depth, you have a greater tendency to mislead the public due to space constraints. I don't think I could come up with an accurate and meaningful headline and sub-headline to fit the space that this piece filled in today's Metro.

The problem isn't the complexity of the issue or the difficulty of stating the topic succinctly. The problem is insubstantial media that trains society out of needing depth or explanation or analysis.

Fewer low-income Canadians: study
Number down 25 per cent since 1996

Statistics Canada says fewer Canadians slipped into low income in 2004 while more had managed to climb out.

A new study analyzing the economic well-being of Canadians with low income and low wages indicates 3.3 per cent of Canadians above Statistics Canada's low-income cutoff in 2003 had fallen below the low-income mark in 2004.

This was much lower than a decade earlier, when the rate of slipping below the mark was about 5.5 per cent.

The study backed previous research showing low income is not a permanent state for most Canadians facing it.

The study shows a third of Canadians (34 per cent) below the low-income cutoff in 2003 had climbed above the mark by 2004, and that people below the cutoff were about 21 per cent more likely to recover in 2004 than in 1994.

The cutoff level varies by family size and where they live. By that measure, about 3.5 million people were living in low income in 2004, down by about 1.1 million from the peak in 1996.

How low is low? A family that spends abouttwo-thirdss of its income on food shelter and clothing is at the cutoff point for being low-income.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Marketizing Foreign Aid

This just in from International Trade Canada, an email [below] inadvertently detailing how neoliberal expansion of markets has crept into foreign aid.

Sometimes it is just too hard to keep from getting cynical about Canada's attitude towards foreign aid. Arguing that it is not tied aid or "aid" as domestic corporate welfare is very difficult sometimes.

And the sad news, once arriving at the website is seeing SNC-Lavalin's banner grotesquely dirtying the visage. Their contributions to global human insecurity are a part of what foreign aid tries to address. They have us coming and going. And if SNC-Lavalin is fortunate it can wash its hands of its ammunition production division by selling it to the US warhog General Dynamics. The blood money would pass $300 million.

And who says Canada is not as militaristic as our American cousins?

Aid opportunities at International Development Days

Winnipeg, May 3-5, 2006 > Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters' International Development Days: Investment in Developing Countries will bring together representatives from international organizations, development agencies, and the Canadian and international private sectors to discuss opportunities for Canadian firms in the international aid market.

Representatives from the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, United Nations, Canadian International Development Agency, and other organizations will participate in sessions on topics such as tapping project financing in developing countries, opportunities in the renewable energy, agri-food and water management sectors, and procurement for international development projects. Participating firms can meet with international decision makers individually and through a variety of networking events.