Date: Sun, 21 Feb 1999 16:43:10 -0600 (CST)
Canada Embracing Globalization
By Warren Peterson, to the MAI-not list, 19 February 1999
Canada has taken two dramatic steps in social policy this month which will further globalisation.
The first was the signing on February 4 of the Social Union framework agreement (without Quebec's consent). http://socialunion.gc.ca/menu_e.html . The second was the bringing down of the 1999 federal budget on February 16, promoted as the 'health care budget'. http://www.fin.gc.ca/budget99/binbe/binbe.html .
The social union agreement (the development of which has a long and labourious history of interest mostly, I would think, to Canadians) effectively establishes principles of increased devolution of authority to the provinces for social services, including health and education and implicitly embraces privatisation of these services. (For those of you intrigued by the language of deception, this document is a mother lode.) Underplayed in the document is the agreement to "ensure, by July 1, 2001, full compliance with the mobility provisions of the Agreement on Internal Trade..." (p. 2). Relevant documents of the Internal Trade agreement can be found at http://strategis.ic.gc.ca/sc_mrkti/iptrade/engdoc/iptrd_hpg.html .
So far, the so-called MASH sector (municipalities, municipal organisation, school boards and publicly funded academic, health and social services entities) has been exempted from the internal trade agreement. However, in the past there have been attempts in federal/provincial/territorial negotiations of the internal trade agreement to amend the MASH exception so that it is included. The February 4 signing of the social union agreement seems to present the groundwork for that to happen.
The 1999 federal budget does return a portion of funding to health care which previous budgets had struck. The 'but' is that it failed to introduce any measures to insure that the additional money will be used by the provinces to assure a national health agenda. There was no statement regarding a universal national pharmacare program or a universal national homecare program, both of which Canadians have clearly indicated they want.
Despite the clear and overwhelming desire of the Canadian public for universal, publicly funded social services, the governments of Canada are not listening. Devolution, privatisation and erosion of universality are all too apparent on the agenda.
Often the happenings in one country have a profound effect globally. I should much like to see some discussion on this list about this turn of events in Canada. The events are not really unexpected, but the rapidity of their confluence is cause for alarm.
Nothing about this has so far appeared.
Can we talk about it?
You have hit the nail right on the head. I thank you for the cites and the general comments.
These were my concerns when I went to Ottawa last February 98 to see and find out what I could when the provinces were meeting with Marchi on the Internal Trade agreement (AIT). That is not actually a contract . It is more a loose working but powerful political document that is used incrementally to erode powers. It is used politically to pressure each other into submission.
To my chagrin at the time of the AIT meeting in February 1998, I was shocked to discover the the CLC were having a national conference in a big hotel two minutes walk away from the AIT meetings, but not one CLC member from there walked over to demonstrate against the developments occuring at the provincial federal meeting. ( There was one short session at the CLC meeting with one rep from the BC contingent explaining to the CLC members what was happening at the AIT meeting. From what I could see, that session was not well attended by the CLC members. More importantly, they took no leadership role in fighting this process at the time, nor in physicaly supporting the political leadership from BC who stood alone in those AIT meetings defending against further erosion to our programs and entitlements.)
I was there at the AIT meeting in the foyer with a few others holding signs protesting the AIT and the MAI. The security tried to throw us out. Marchi entered and exited heavily bodyguarded. He appeared nervous by our presence.
Given that there is an apparent very large opposition in Canada to globalization (corporatization), it frustrates and depresses me that we take no political action steps en masse to demonstrate at these kinds of occasions. I made an effort on very short notice to try to get people there when I heard about it about two weeks before the meeting occurred.
Of course the Prov/fed AIT meeting was private, closed to the public, and under security. As citizens we are not privy to the actual details of what these elected people and their officials plot behind our backs in destruction of our entitlements. Only the BC provincial government took a tough stand on the health issues, and they stood alone ( as I understood it from information I received. We are lucky in BC to have at least two officials here that still believe in and practice the concept of a public good) , but they made only a temporary difference.
The problem in these processes inherent in globalization (corporatization) is that what is not divested today will go tomorrow -Slow but certain erosion and destruction. The social union is a concrete public expression of that process.The Internal Trade agreement and now the social union are the silent internal behind the door mechanisms of national treachery against the citizens' constitutional rights.They are the yellow road to the principles of the MAI. (Who says the MAI is dead! )
The AIT and the Social Union are the stealth viruses attacking our sovereignty. They are the coffin for our nation.
Connie Fogal, an applicant in Federal Court case No T-790- 98 a court action in Canada to prevent Canada's government from committing Canadians to this process. See http://www.canadianliberty.bc.ca
" The constitution of Canada does not belong either to Parliament, or to the Legislatures; it belongs to the country and it is there that the citizens of the country will find the protection of the rights to which they are entitled" Supreme Court of Canada A.G. of Nova Scotia and A.G. of Canada, S.C.R.1951 pp. 32-33