Canada could learn a lesson from Norway

What good are our terms when the democracy and sovereignty of Canada are subservient to corporate rule?

To the editor:

In her recent letter, (PM Applauded for Oil Company Deal Decision, Dec. 11, Capital News), Jennifer Tassone fails to tell the full story on foreign investment.

Tassone stated foreign investment in the Alberta tar sands is on our terms. What good are our terms when the democracy and sovereignty of Canada are subservient to corporate rule?

Agreements like The North American Free Trade Agreement  and now the Canada-China Foreign Investment Protection Agreement aren’t really about trade.

The real purpose behind both trade agreements is to weaken democracy and sovereignty to elevate investor/corporate rights over the democratic will of the people.

Foreign corporations can sue our federal governments but they can’t sue the corporations. Disputes are settled by secret tribunals bypassing Canadian courts and laws.

Corporations—not governments—become the decision-makers, our actual rulers.

The treasonous concept that corporate rights and greed trump democratic rights was crafted into the 1992 NAFTA negotiated by prime minister Brian Mulroney’s government.

Now the Stephen Harper government is following the lead of undermining Canadian democracy and sovereignty.

The Harper government railroaded the Canada-China FIPA through, without public and parliamentary debate. Also, this 31-year agreement is signed but there is no mention of a termination clause if Canadians get ripped off.

To avoid scrutiny by Canadians, the arrogant, deceitful Harper government hides behind silence and stealth.

Unlike Canada, Norway didn’t surrender its oil patch to foreign corporations.

Norway is a world model in properly managing its oil industry through direct government ownership.

As a result, the Norwegian government has no debt, but rather a massive surplus. Norway has a higher standard of living, way ahead of debt-ridden Canada or the U.S.

Tassone stated that due to our relatively small population, foreign capital is necessary to ensure Canada remains a leading exporter in the oil and energy sector. This is a myth.

There is lots of capital in Canada. Furthermore, there are ways the federal government could raise capital such as restoring the Bank of Canada to its original purpose as in 1935.

From it, the federal government has the power to borrow huge amounts of money essentially interest free. Also, such funds can be available to provincial and municipal governments.

Freedom from the bondage of compound interest would reduce all government debt. As the debt of governments goes down, taxes would go down resulting in a huge surplus of capital.

Despite having a smaller population, Norway is self-sufficient in its own capital. Because the Norwegian government wisely manages all aspects of its oil resources, Norwegians get benefits which are almost free—university education, medicare, pharmacare, denticare, child daycare,   affordable housing, etc.

Also, from oil sales the Norwegian government has $656 billion (US) in its reserve fund for future public benefits.

Norwegians are one of the most happy, content, stable, equal, advanced and financially secure societies in the world.

So fellow Canadians, why not move Canada forward by adopting Norway’s model for success?

Robert Cichocki,

Kelowna