Conservatives: Agents of Capitalism

Published on Dissident Voice, by Yves Engler, October 24, 2013.

The Harper Conservatives have forcefully championed the interests of international investors and corporations, but it has not been enough for the “greed is good” business pundits who earn their living pimping the interests of the rich and powerful.

Last November a Canadian Business headline asked, “Is Canada closed to foreign investment?” while more recently there’s been a number of apoplectic commentaries about Ottawa blocking an Egyptian billionaire from acquiring Winnipeg based MTS Allstream on national security grounds.  

In a particularly hyperbolic column the National Post’s Andrew Coyne complained: “investors in this country should be on notice. Their assets are protected by neither law nor policy, but are vulnerable to whatever whim or grudge crosses the government’s mind. They may be confiscated, in whole or in part, at any time and for any reason. Or, indeed, for no reason.”

Coyne can’t be serious. Anyone who pays even cursory attention to the news knows that the Conservative government is an unabashed supporter of corporations and foreign investors … //

… The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) the Conservatives have negotiated with the European Union is an even bigger sop to international investors. The Council of Canadians’ trade campaigner Stuart Trew points out: “if ever cancelled by either party CETA’s investment protections would live on like a zombie for 20 years, five years longer than in the [China] FIPA.”

While the final text of the accord has yet to be made public, leaked negotiating documents suggest it was the Conservatives who pushed the EU for an investor state dispute settlement process in CETA. The Ontario NDP claims: “The inclusion of an investor-to-state dispute settlement process in CETA is, in fact, one of Canada’s only requests in the negotiations.”

The Conservatives pushed for an investor state dispute process even though there’s been a growing backlash to these highly undemocratic accords. Recently Australia, India, South Africa and many Latin American countries have all stopped signing investor state treaties or are revising existing ones.

The Conservatives also don’t seem to care that Canada has been sued more than any industrialized country under investor state accords. The federal government is currently facing over $2 billion in outstanding lawsuits under NAFTA’s investor dispute process … //

… Clearly, big business has gotten almost everything it has wanted from Harper’s Conservatives. What should we learn from the fact that it still pushes for more?

  • Perhaps a simple truth about capitalism: There is never enough profit.
  • Everyone who understands there are limits to growth needs to think about this. Capitalists are never satisfied. They always want more. That’s the way of system.
  • The current Canadian government is just a small part of the problem we face.

(full text).

(Yves Engler is co-author of the recently released New Commune-ist Manifesto — Workers of the World It Really is Time to Unite, a rewriting of the original designed to spark debate about a new direction for the Left and union movement. For more information go to New Commune-ist Manifesto. Read other articles by Yves, or visit Yves’s website).

Links on Harper’s Conservatives:

Even Senate purge can’t save Harper’s Conservatives from taint of scandal: Editorial, on The Star/Toronto, Editorial, Oct 24, 2013: While few Canadians recall every tangled aspect of Senate expenses scandal, the broad outline is clear enough. For the Tory grassroots, it is a discouraging picture …;

and on Google Web-search;

Canada: an investment bully, on Yves Engler, by the blog owner, Oct 15, 2013;

Finance in America: Subterranean capitalist blues, on The Economist, Oct 26, 2013 (in response to red tape and high taxes, corporate America is mutating);

Part-time jobs account for 97% of 2013 job growth, on It’s Our Economy (first on Hot Air), by Ed Morrissey, August 5, 2013.

(see also: Welcome to our new blog: politics for the 99%)..

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