Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
April 16, 2001
Parliament ignoring the real action
"Good governance" is one of those key elements enshrined in the Canadian foreign policy. One may well wonder what that means.
As our own parliamentarians have busied themselves flinging insults at each other over the past few months, the real action is taking place out of sight, out of mind.
When we focus our attention past the Grandmere Affair, we discern a picture of a world headed toward environmental and social collapse. We are witnessing the promotion of a global capitalism which favours money over life.
At Quebec City this week, democracy is for sale to the highest bidder, and global corporations larger than most states centrally plan the so-called free market beyond closed doors.
The destruction of nature to make money for the already rich is hailed as progress. Projected slowdown in economic growth is viewed with alarm by international speculators.
Free trade advocates at the Summit of the Americas claim that liberalizing the movement of capital will create growth for everyone, including the poor.
"Creating prosperity" is another pillar of the Canadian foreign policy. This addiction to growth ignores the fact that our economic system exists within a finite world and that the consumptive appetites of the richest 20 per cent of the world's population has already come at the expense of the poor who must scramble for the scraps of our refuse.
The present trend towards bigger is better is unsustainable. It would take three planets to bring the Majority World up to the North American standard of living. It is clear then that the propaganda accompanying the FTAA is pure nonsense.
There is only one agenda here that has nothing to do with alleviating poverty or creating a tide that will raise all boats. In the system that emerged after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the number of billionaires has multiplied rapidly while the buying power of the poor has decreased by as much as 25 per cent since 1980.
The elimination of jobs has been rewarded as economic virtue. The salaries of CEOs have risen exponentially in conjunction with the number of people arbitrarily declared redundant.
In 1995 the Latin American bishops declared: "We wish to say aloud that we cannot remain indifferent before so many signs of death - extreme poverty, growing unemployment, unstoppable violence and myriad forms of corruption and impunity - which appear wherever one turns and which sink millions of families into anguish and pain.
"Economic policies should be placed at the service of human beings if our people are to rise out of poverty."
Since "good governance" appears to mean an abdication of responsibility to the electorate and a catering to corporate interests, it is now incumbent on civil society - local, national and international citizens' movements - to uphold life's core values and basic human rights that our fathers and mothers fought for.
In a parallel conference taking place during the Summit of the Americas, Church groups, solidarity movements and NGOs are meeting in a concerted effort to stop the tide that raises yachts but sinks the rafts.
As a people of hope, we cannot excuse ourselves with a pious "let go, let God." We must learn to engage ourselves, since justice is at the core of our Christian faith. Good governance? Good grief!
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