Now that the Canada 150 celebrations have subsided somewhat, I believe we should take a careful look at what we are “Standing on Guard for”.
As a Nation we have much to be proud of and to be thankful for, as well as being ashamed of.
Thankful for the beautiful landscapes from sea to sea to sea, that we did NOT create, and are doing a terrible job of preserving.
Ashamed of our treatment of the indigenous people, who are still waiting to be recognized as full and equal partners in this, THEIR CANADA, before we joined them.
Proud of our history as Peacekeepers and HONEST brokers on the world stage.
Proud of our citizens who have contributed so much in the fields of medicine, communications, aerospace and many others.
Ashamed of bartering away our economic sovereignty to trans-national corporations in NAFTA. NAFTA was touted as a FREE TRADE AGREEMENT between sovereign nations. Little did Canadians realize that free trade was only the cover for an almost complete sell-out of our natural resources and an open invitation for exporting jobs to countries with no or little protection of their workers and environment. While NAFTA has been a roaring success for trans-national corporations, both in Canada and the USA, it has been nothing short of disastrous for the average Canadian in economic terms. Our industrial base, the backbone of small-town Canada, has moved offshore, leaving empty factories and municipalities without a tax base to keep up infrastructure.
Enter the election of President Trump in the USA. While I carry no brief for President Trump, we agree on one point: NAFTA has to undergo serious change or abrogation. Status quo is no option.
This re-negotiation/abrogation of NAFTA will happen in the near future because President Trump demands it.
It provides our government with a great opportunity take back our economic steering wheel.
Do our present rulers in Ottawa have the intestinal fortitude to draw a line in the sand and regain our economic sovereignty? From the noises emanating from government circles it does not appear so. Hopefully it is only a vicious rumour, but the rumour has it that our Prime Minister is asking the originator of the FTA disaster, former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, for advice in how to handle these negotiations.
I would like to remind our politicians at all levels that they are elected to represent the interests of Canadians. NOT the interest of trans-national corporations.
If NAFTA is to be re-negotiated, we must take a leaf out of President Trump’s play book: CANADA first.
We must regain CANADIAN control over our transportation systems, rail, air, and roads as well as all public utilities such as water and hydro electric power.
Our CANADIAN government must regain control over labour and environmental laws. It is ludicrous that under NAFTA foreign corporations can take Canadian governments to court IF CANADIAN labour/environmental laws impact their profitability. Talk about the tail wagging the dog.
As Canadians we MUST start buying Canadian first. We must elect politicians that will negotiate FAIR trade deals between like minded nations, NOT deals that ruin our environment and permit the profits from our natural resources to be moved offshore, leaving Canadians to clean up the mess.
Our foreign policy also must reflect Canada’s preparedness to regain our role as PEACEKEEPERS, not war-makers.
I would expect my government to provide our soldiers with the best equipment available to move into any troublespot in the world where peace is threatened. As Blue Helmets under the UN flag. We must remember that the United Nations were formed after the horrors of WWII under the motto: NEVER AGAIN! We must get back to that ideal even if other world powers do not agree.
Just a few birthday thoughts to go with the fireworks.
Karl Braeker, Meaford