A CULTURE OF DEFIANCE: History of the Reform-Conservative Party of Canada
Sir Oswald Ernald Mosley, 6th Baronet, was a member of the British Parliament, elected first as a Conservative.
But driven by the threat of Communism, that had already caused the deaths and exodus of most members of the Russian royal family, Mosley saw fascism as the best solution. Only a strong leader and centralized power could stand up to a Bolshevik revolution, and he started the British Fascist Party, often referred to as the Black Shirts.
Mosley's party also embraced social credit and the anti-Semitism that often went along with it.
Some contemporary authors have suggested that he was not anti-Semitic, but news articles of the day, dispute that claim.
No. 1 British Fascist Sir Oswald Mosley ... announced weeks ahead that 5,000 of his Blackshirts would march through the tortuous streets of London's Jewish quarter east of the Tower. This was interpreted by Jews and workers alike as a challenge to battle ... The Home Secretary, Sir John Simon, strove to uphold British rights of freedom to demonstrate, but he thought it necessary to cancel all police leaves and send 10,000 Bobbies to keep order in East London.
Too late to avert the riot, Commissioner of Metropolitan Police Sir Philip Game informed Sir Oswald that mobsters were getting out of hand and the 5,000 Fascists could not be allowed to march. In a closed car, the windshield of which was quickly smashed by a paving stone, the Fascist leader rushed to his lined-up Blackshirts, yelled "Sir Philip has banned the march!" ... Sir Oswald Mosley's ungrateful cohorts dispersed jeering: "Jewboy Simon's got the wind up!" (1)
Jews considered that Sir Oswald in the windup of his speech touched a new high in British antiSemitism. He twitted the Conservative Party for "following the ideals of Disraeli, an Italian Jew,''— lambasted British Socialists (i. e. Laborites) for their "loyalty to Karl Marx, a German Jew" and polished off the Liberal Party by referring sarcastically to one of its Jewish leaders as "that staunch John Bull, Sir Herbert Samuel!" (2)
Oswald Mosley would help Aberhart with his Alberta Social Credit Chronicles, by contributing columns (3), and was the inspiration for other Canadian movements at the time, including the Canadian Union of Fascists.
A CULTURE OF DEFIANCE: History of the Reform-Conservative Party of Canada
Another group that would become part of the new fascist/populist movement, were the Blue Shirts, founded by Oliver Locker-Lampson, in 1931, to fight what he feared was the spread of communism.
They were also referred to as the Sentinels of the Empire, and their membership is said to have been as high as 100,000.
Besides 'England Awake', they also used the slogan Fear God! Fear Not!
A big blue flag drooped from a staff at the Commander's right. Most of the audience wore at least a bit of blue. Women in azure dresses and hats wore brooches with the motto: Fear God! Fear Naught! Men wore blue enameled cufflinks with the same motto in their blue cuffs. Outside Albert Hall waited several swank blue motor cars with the radiator emblem Fear God! Fear Naught! The blue blood of the British ruling class was up—this was the charter mass-meeting of Commander Locker-Lampson's blue-shirted "Sentinels of Empire," founded "to peacefully fight Bolshevism and clear out the Reds!" (1)
And their battle hymn was written by Locker-Lampson himself:
The night of slothful ease is past, The days of fear are gone at last, And England's voice is raised in a song That we shout aloud as we march along!
Chorus: March on! March strong! Honor and Liberty call. Sons of the free, our duty be To fight for freedom for all! Tyrants and foes beware! Our swords are in the air. So shoulders together! Forward for ever! To triumph we march four square.
Second verse: Let others scream their Hymns of Hate, And work to undermine the State. Our heritage is builded high On faith and love—they will not die! Chorus: March on! March strong! etc.
Sir Oliver saw the fascist movement as the best way to fight against the "Red Menace", and initially supported both Mussolini and Hitler.
"Britians Blueshirts have sent to Premier Mussolini, as head of Italy's Blackshirts, a set of silver and blue enamelled cufflinks and a badge, the insignia of the party ... A phonograph record of the Blueshirts anthem "March On" (2)
Locker-Lampson also wrote a column in the Daily Mirror, where he discusses meeting Hitler several years before, while with a group of British officers who had been prisoners of war in southern Germany during the First World War. It so happened that Hitler, then a lance corporal in the German Army, was recovering from his wounds in a nearby hospital, and asked the Brits if they would show him how to play cricket.
He later decided the game was too soft, and said he would prefer it be played without shin pads, and with a harder ball. I guess that explains a lot. (3)
However, Lockyer-Lampson did not condone the anti-Semitism that was adopted by the other fascist parties, and would speak out against it on many occasions.
In 1933, he played host to Albert Einstein and was so concerned with the German scientist's safety, that he posted guards at his home. (4)
This of course would make him an enemy of the followers of Protocols of Zion, who became convinced that he was part of the global Jewish Conspiracy. The notorious anti-Semite, Arthur Leese, blamed him for his imprisonment.
ON 15th July, 1936, Mr. Oliver Locker-Lampson, M.P., a childhood friend of the Rothschild family, asked in the House of Commons whether the Attorney-General proposed to institute legal proceedings against the authors or publishers of The Fascist, the issue of that paper for July containing allegations against the Jews of the practice of ritual murder. The Attorney-General replied that the matter was under a consideration. (5)
The Blue Shirts would disband, but Oliver Locker-Lampson, would be a constant rival of Oswald Mosley, and his Fascist Black Shirts.
William Aberhart would not have been a supporter of Adolf Hitler, and he would never have condoned the Holocaust.
But his Socreds were part of a broader populist movement, that spread across the Western Hemisphere; in the period between the Great War and the Depression.
A fierce sense of nationalism, had justified the horrendous actions of war, so it is easy to understand why some of these groups would want to adopt a uniform; to renew that nationalistic fervour.
In Great Britain, there were "Blue Shirts", "Black Shirts" and "Green Shirts". There were also "Black Shirts" under Mussolini in Italy and of course the infamous "Brown Shirts" of Adolf Hitler.
And while Aberhart never worked with Hitler himself, he did have the support of John Hargrave; founder of the "Green Shirts", and Oswald Mosley; founder of Britain's fascist "Black Shirts".
Mosley was indeed a Hitler supporter, right to the end; and he also provided columns for Aberhart's Social Credit Chronicle. Another contributor to the paper, was Father Coughlin, who was also a huge Hitler fan, and was known to regularly give the Nazi salute.
Another thing shared by these populist movements (with the exception of the blueshirts), was the notion of a Jewish conspiracy, as laid out in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. It's unfortunate that there wasn't an actual Jewish conspiracy, because they may have been able to better mobilize against this hatred.
Adolf Hitler's Brown Shirts:
Though the term Nazi has become the definitive name of the party of Adolf Hitler, it was not a name taken by them.
They were more commonly referred to as the Brown Shirt Fascist Party or formally known as the Nationalsozialist (National Socialist) Party.
'Nazi' was a derogate term, given them by journalist Konrad Heiden, who led university students in protest against them. It is actually a Bavarian slang word, meaning "country bumpkin."
Early news stories used Fascist Brown Shirt or National Socialist, and when they did refer to them as 'Nazi', the name was always in quotations. So I guess the term 'Neo-Nazis', actually translates to 'new country bumpkins'.
I would never call them that though. Not to their face anyway.
A CULTURE OF DEFIANCE: History of the Reform-Conservative Party of Canada
In London, on hearing of the victory, John Hargrave's Green Shirts assembled in Threadneedle Street. To symbolize the coming collapse of the existing monetary system throughout the world, they marched seven times around the Bank of England, while chanting praises of Aberhart's name. (1)
The victory of course, was the election of the Alberta Social Credit Party, in August of 1935; which would later emerge as the Reform Party, the Alliance Party and finally The Conservative Party of Canada, with Stephen Harper as it's leader.
The Green Shirts were part of a broader Social Credit movement, that included the Black Shirts under Oswald Mosley (2) and were contemporary to Adolph Hitler's Brown Shirts and Oliver Stillingfleet Locker-Lampson's Blue Shirts, whose motto was Fear God! Fear Naught! (3)
Oswald Mosley had contributed articles to Aberhart's Alberta Social Credit Chronicle.
But John Hargrave would become more involved, when in the December of 1936, he visited Alberta when Clifford Douglas had turned his back on the Alberta premier. Hargrave had created a Social Credit Party in Britain though they had been unable to secure seats.
He agreed to act as as an advisor to the government, but it soon became clear that Aberhart just didn't grasp the concept. But something more important took place. Seventeen of Aberhart's MLAs requested a private meeting with Hargrave to explain the steps that he had drawn up. The media got wind of it and it created quite a stir.
Aberhart finally agreed to allow John Hargrave to address the caucus but it was clear that there was a division in the Party, resulting in a 'Backbenchers Revolt'. (4)
The insurgents would reach 30 and it appeared as if Aberhart might be defeated by his own government. It wasn't until a social credit policy was promised that he was able to keep his job.
However, the feud continued and the press ate it up. They had already begun comparing him to Mussolini and Hitler, but now lampooned him mercilessly. One in particular, the Rebel was especially blunt.
Aberhart has been treated as though he were an honest, honourable man trying to introduce Social Credit; whereas the truth is that Aberhart is a dishonest, dishonourable, lying, blaspheming charlatan, who insinuated himself into power by deception and misrepresentation, and is morally unfit to hold the office of premier... You gained power by using the highest and noblest thing in life – religion – to appeal to the lowest – to greed, selfishness, cupidity. By using this fiendish combination, you set loose an uncontrollable flood of passion. You set neighbour against neighbour, friend against friend, brother against brother, man against wife. And then you crucified a suffering people upon the cross of your vanity and ambition. (6)
Eventually the excitement died down as Douglas sent two men, L. Dennis Byrne and George Powell, to the aid of the beleaguered Aberhart. MLAs were made to sign pledges, which they were more than happy to do since it appeared that they had won the battle. But the war wasn't over yet.
A CULTURE OF DEFIANCE: History of the Reform-Conservative Party of Canada
After Social Credit's victory, Douglas had cabled Aberhart: "Congratulations. There will be others, but only one first." He responded by asking when he could come. But since Douglas was still under retainer with the Alberta government and had already met the terms of his contract for that year, he told Aberhart that he would need his expenses if he was to make a special trip.
The new premier ignored his request. There was already trouble brewing between the two, mainly because Aberhart had not really grasped the principles of Social Credit, but also over the religious element that he had added on his own.
As a political theory, Social Credit was presented as a "Way of Life", that could be compatible with both Christianity and democracy. But in Alberta under Aberhart, "... the philosophy was presented within a context of Christian fundamentalism and Bible prophecy that remained quite foreign, and indeed incomprehensible, to the mind of Douglas." (1)
By May of 1936, Major Douglas had had enough:
Last week Major Douglas had had enough of the farce which has been going on in the Canadian province of Alberta in the name of his Social Credit. Taking pen in hand, the Major resigned his $10,000 per annum job as Alberta's adviser, canceled his proposed voyage to oversee the setting up in Alberta of Social Credit. This tended to leave stranded the rotund, frog-eyed school principal and radiorating lay preacher William ("Bible Bill") Aberhart who won Alberta's last election and its Premiership by promising $25 per month in Social Credit to every bona fide citizen of the province. Premier Aberhart, whose detractors now derisively call him "Abie," spent the week getting off to Major Douglas pious cablegrams urging him to reconsider. (2)
Douglas would not be the first or last to become disillusioned with William Aberhart. The man who had toured him around the United States and who had introduced him to Father Coughlin, Herbert Brougham, also lost faith with the man.
Brougham, who has been called the first Douglasite of the United States, was a friend of President Woodrow Wilson, with connections that could have helped immensely. He was also part of a group behind a bill in support of Social Credit, and would have been invaluable:
Congressman T. Alan Goldsborough (D., Md.) in August 1935, sponsored the first bill embodying Social Credit principles to be introduced in any legislative body in the United States. This was largely in the form drafted by a committee of the New Economics Group of New York consisting of Allan R. Brown, Edward F. Harvey, W. A. Nyland, Carle C. Conway, Jr., and H. B. Brougham. Its short title was the "National Income and Credit Issue Bill" introduced on August 22 and, as Brougham wrote in New Democracy, embodying "the tenets of Douglas without any frills. The bill presents straight out Social Credit measures." It would establish the National Credit Account, defined in Title I as "the money valuation of the annual unused capacity of the industries and people of the United States to produce wanted goods and services." The Treasury would produce non-interest bearing credit certificates, not to exceed the National Credit Account, "to circulate as money throughout the banking system only." These certificates would finance a discount on prices to consumers at retail.
They would also provide a national per capita consumers dividend of $5.00 a month. This consumers' dividend and other features of the bill would be administered by an independent regulatory agency called the Federal Credit Commission. Should the Commission records show an unduly expanded monetary condition then a Credit Retirement Fund would set aside a portion of national revenues to retire Treasury credit certificates. The bill was discussed and analyzed at length in New Democracy, advocated by the League for National Dividends and, with Goldsborough as the ranking member of the House Committee on Banking and Currency, there were brief hearings on H.R. 9216 in the 74th Congress. On this occasion, Paul Hampden testified for the Social Credit bill at the invitation of Goldsborough. The bill lapsed at the end of the 1936 session. (3)
While in the U.S. Aberhart gave Brougham the opinion that he wanted his help, but when he arrived in Edmonton, he was given the cold shoulder. Aberhart denied having made any promises but documentation proved otherwise.
A CULTURE OF DEFIANCE: History of the Reform-Conservative Party of Canada
After selecting his cabinet, William Aberhart went on a bit of a victory tour, securing loans in Ottawa and meeting people who either supported the cause or were interested in finding out more.
One of those he met while on the U.S. leg of the tour was Father Charles Coughlin. Like Aberhart, Coughlin was a radio preacher with a keen interest in politics. They met in private for about an hour and Aberhart would say of him "He has a keen intellect and is absolutely fearless. He has a correct appraisal of world conditions." (1)
So Who was Father Coughlin?
Charles Edward Coughlin, was born in Hamilton, Ontario in 1891, and became an ordained priest in 1916. Eventually assigned to the Shrine of the Little Flower Church in Royal Oak, Michigan, he would almost immediately begin a weekly broadcast over the local radio station.
Like William Aberhart, Coughlin's broadcasts were political as much as religious, and with more than forty million listeners, he was able to keep his fans spellbound with a gospel of monetary reform.
But his broadcasts also became increasingly anti-Semitic, as he blamed the Jews for everything from communism to the depression. He would later publish his own paper, Social Justice, where he printed the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, along with other anti-Semitic material.
When William Aberhart created his paper, the Social Credit Chronicle, Father Coughlin contributed three articles, lending his name to what he deemed a worthwhile cause: control of the message. (2)
Coughlin was also a strong supporter of Adolph Hitler and often applauded him on his show. He would even use the Nazi salute against people who angered him, and in the above video, he seems to have also adopted some of his mannerisms.
In 1934, the Protocols of Zion were put on trial, and proven to be fraudulent, but the good priest refused to believe it.
... in the past two months Rev. Charles Edward Coughlin, rabble-rousing radio priest, has published the Protocols in his weekly Social Justice. Brushing aside the matter of their authenticity, Father Coughlin repeatedly stressed their "factuality," quoted Henry Ford ... "They fit in with what is going on." Father Coughlin's point, buttered with many a some-of-my-best- friends-are-Jews disclaimer of antiSemitism, has been that Jews are to blame for Communism, that the aims of the Protocols closely resemble those of Communism—and of the New Deal [Roosevelt's] ...(3)
Things really do come full circle, as many of the free marketeers that Stephen Harper follows, also speak out against Roosevelt's New deal. Some things never change.
A CULTURE OF DEFIANCE: History of the Reform-Conservative Party of Canada
"The only statement I care to make about the Protocols is that they fit in with what is going on. They are sixteen years old and they have fitted the world situation up to this time. They fit it now." Henry Ford (1)
Another person that William Aberhart had looked forward to meeting on his tour was Henry Ford, but he was away.
According to author David Elliot, William "Bible Bill" Aberhart was heavily influenced by prominent right-wing extremists of the day, Father Coughlin and the American industrialist Henry Ford. (2)
Coughlin and Ford worked together on many projects, and became two of the most influential promoters of the Protocols of Zion, even though they were determined to be fake.
And sadly, they were also the force behind the evil unleashed by Adolph Hitler two decades after Ford began paraphrasing and publishing them under the title: The International Jew.
Aberhart would not only adopt the notion of a worldwide Jewish conspiracy, but he also emulated Adolph Hitlers' propaganda machine and then unprecedented control of the press. (3)
Henry Ford and the Jewish Conspiracy
In 1920, Henry Ford took over a small weekly newspaper, the Dearborn Independent, which had been acquired by his controversial private secretary, Ernest G. Liebold. Liebold, an arch anti-Semitic, remained on as editor and in a short time the paper went from a modest circulation to a readership of more than 700,000.
Part of this was due to generous commissions paid to sales people for subscriptions, but it was more because of the content. And though the paper was never a money maker, Ford was determined to keep it going:
Undoubtedly Mr. Ford's fondness for his paper is due to his ability to say in it just what he thinks about Jews, moneylenders, international bankers, currency, who started the War and why, and other favorite topics. As a subtitle, the weekly bears the slogan, "Chronicler of the Neglected Truth." (4)
These were later bound into four volumes, and distributed worldwide.
Vincent Curcio wrote of these publications that "they were widely distributed and had great influence, particularly in Nazi Germany, where no less a personage than Adolf Hitler read and admired them." Hitler, fascinated with automobiles, hung Ford's picture on his wall; Ford is the only American mentioned in Mein Kampf. Steven Watts wrote that Hitler "revered" Ford, proclaiming that "I shall do my best to put his theories into practice in Germany, and modeling the Volkswagen, the people's car, on the model T." (5)
Eventually a lawsuit and boycott of Ford products, forced him to shut down The Independent. As part of the settlement, he also had to write a letter of apology and publicly denounce the Protocols as fake.
"I deem it to be my duty as an honorable man to make amends for the wrong done to the Jews as fellowmen and brothers, by asking their forgiveness for the harm I have unintentionally committed, by retracting so far as lies within my power the offensive charges laid at their door by these publications, and by giving them the unqualified assurance that henceforth they may look to me for friendship and good will." (6)
Although, according to Gerald K. Smith, Ford never signed the letter of apology.
It was on the occasion of one of these personal visits with Mr. Ford that he gave me a sensational and shocking report. He said: "Mr. Smith, my apology for publishing 'The International Jew' was given great publicity, but I did not sign that apology. It was signed by [Ford employee] Harry Bennett." (7)
How credible that is, considering Smith's own prejudices, remains disputed, but I don't believe Henry Ford's views changed much over the years.
And it was in that atmosphere that William Aberhart began to formulate his own political opinions.
During a lecture at the Calgary Prophetic Bible Conference, he told his audience that:
The JEWISH RACE must yet acknowledge that the CHRIST who was crucified to the CROSS of Calvary was the SON of GOD, their MESSIAH. Until they will acknowledge that they must expect the curses of the world and can not expect the Blessings of GOD." (7)
The Fraser Institute was founded in 1974 in British Columbia, to provide alternative policy to what some feared was an attempt to turn Canada into a socialist country.
In it's early days it supported the British Columbia Social Credit Party of William Bennet, and it's founder Michael Walker, even spoke to the Premier's cabinet.
Early influences were Milton Friedman, Ronald Reagan's economic advisor, and famed free marketeer, Friedrich Hayek.
Hayek, who became a Fraser Institute adviser, originated the idea of setting up fake scholarly organizations to supply authoritative studies demonstrating the superiority of markets over governments in solving all our problems. Why fake? Because a genuine academic organization would not start with a conclusion and then look for arguments and evidence to support it. (1)
When Walker was first establishing the Fraser, he also got direction from the British; Institute for Economic Affairs, where Margaret Thatcher would later snatch two of her advisers; Alan Waters and Ralph Harris. (2)
The IEA was founded by Antony Fisher, a man who made a fortune after introducing factory chicken farming to Britain. He had read a summary Hayek's The Road to Serfdom and became hooked on free market economy.
Thatcher was also greatly inspired by Hayek, and governed primarily from his theories. The think tank that Hayek suggested Fisher create, became a great propaganda vehicle for her policies.
The concept of these think tanks is brilliant. They register as a charity, entitling them to endowments, and tax free fundraising; yet they serve as a propaganda arm for party politics.
The late author, Pierre Berton, had denounced the institute as reflective of right-wing bias and Mel Hurtig said the Fraser Institute only published reports that espouse its right-wing view of the world. "I never have in the past, nor do I expect to in the future, ever pay serious attention to anything published by the Fraser Institute." (3)
And an article in The Province magazine, seems to support past ties to Social Credit:
The organizations which support the Fraser Institute ... appear to be dominating B.C. politics through their use of the institute as a propaganda and government lobby instrument, says a report released by the Solidarity Coalition.... "Virtually the entire range of big forestry based capital in B.C. has membership linkages of a direct or indirect type with the Fraser Institute.... For the large corporations, sponsorship of the Fraser Institute produces a variety of benefits, both immediate and longer-term. In many instances, there is a direct connection between the policies of the institute and the interests of corporations." The report concludes that the provincial government "has leaned heavily on the Fraser Institute to provide an ideological rationalization" for its recent program-chopping legislation. (4)
When the Reform Party was being created, Stephen Harper paid a visit to the Fraser, and his relationship with them has been mutually beneficial.
Just a year after the Fraser's anniversary, Harper was prime minister and it was payback time. Buried in his first budget was a provision to exempt from capital gains tax donations of stock to charity. Adding this new exemption to the existing tax credit for donations to charities means that the donor pays only 40 percent of the dollars he donates. Taxpayers pick up the rest.
The Fraser Institute is a registered charity. Of course, not only the Fraser will benefit from this new exemption. There are many thousands of registered charities in Canada, but only a few are likely to see their funding increase. Expect large endowments to come the Fraser's way. The institute's annual budget is $6 million and climbing. Hundreds of newly minted Calgary paper multimillionaires own shares in oil companies that have skyrocketed in value over the past few years.
Their shares will continue to rise as long as the government doesn't apply the provisions of the Kyoto Accord. Now they can help the conservative cause at little cost to themselves. Critics of the Fraser Institute will have to grit their teeth, pay their taxes, and bemoan the fact that they are supporting its work. (1)
1. Harperstein, Straight.com, By Donald Gutstein, July 6, 2006
2. Marketing the market, Vancouver Review, By: Jon Steeves, Summer 1992
3. Berton, Hurtig slam Fraser Institute.., Vancouver Sun, September 22, 1987:
4. Fraser Dominates Politics, The Province, October 27, 1983
Roger Douglas has been a regular speaker at the Fraser, beginning with his first appearance in 1989.
Fresh off his dismantling of the New Zealand government, he was ready to instruct others on the art of radical reform.
However, in the case of New Zealand in 1984, when Douglas took his post as finance minister; a bit of radical reform was necessary.
They were virtually bankrupt, after several years of Keynesian policies and over zealous regulation.
The country was within days of defaulting on international loans; New Zealand's overseas diplomats were asked how much foreign cash they could raise on their credit cards. An urgent devaluation was needed to stem the outflows. (1)
But Douglas was like Margaret Thatcher on crack, and many of his actions had horrible results. He was the Yang without the Yin, and that lack of balance would cause the whole thing to come crashing down.
Roger Douglas's Revisionist History
Though the popular theory is that former New Zealand finance minister Roger Douglas (1984-1989), turned the fortunes of his country around, the fact is, that while there was a temporary change in their economic position, much of it was an illusion.
He did bring in much needed cash, but his actions were too simplistic, with little or no forethought.
Roger Douglas, a diminutive, dogged accountant ... unleashed free-market policies with such pace that they blindsided most New Zealanders — including [Prime Minister David] Lange. Douglas floated the New Zealand dollar, wooed foreign banks, wiped away controls on credit, foreign-exchange transactions and import tariffs. The once sacrosanct farmers lost their state subsidies ... (1)
He also privatized 60% of state-owned companies, fired 55% of the government workforce and placed the central bank chairman on a performance contract. But it was too much too soon, and it would end badly.
His far-right policies were already alienating some supporters, but the prime minister continued to give Douglas free reign.
" ...he continued to support the Douglas experiment until the fearful stock-market crash that October . The New Zealand market dropped the furthest in the world; its recovery took the longest.
The shock caused Lange to argue that it was "time for a cup of tea" and to rein Douglas in — but not before tens of thousands of people lost their jobs. Eventually, Douglas, fuming, walked out of Cabinet. Lange, worn out, depressed and drinking heavily, resigned in 1989. It was a sad end to Labour's great economic experiment.
According to conventional economic wisdom, New Zealand had headed down the path of righteousness. But while the old, closed economy held no hope for the future, the gains had been oversold; economic growth remained, for the most part, slower than that of the rest of the developed world; productivity and living standards barely moved for years. (1)
However, Canada's neoconservatives have lauded Roger Douglas as the guru of finance. Why?
I think the answer is pretty simple. Their goals are not to direct Canada toward a bright economic future, but simply to "starve the beast". Douglas did that in spades.
So the Fraser invite him to speak on a regular basis, not for his smarts but his moxie; and his simple message: "don't blink".
1. 1979-1989 David Lange, Time Magaazine, By Bernard Lagan, October 29, 2009
Think tanks are not a new concept, and have been around for some time. Often associated with institutes of higher learning, they were a vital tool for any government.
Initially, however, their political purpose was to aid legislators with policy proposals, by providing data relevant to their decision-making, prior to putting it into action.
For instance, if they were drafting policy dealing with unemployment, they might commission reports on labour demands, and the potential for providing training programs to meet those demands. That kind of thing.
However, most of the think tanks now, that provide the infrastructure for the neoconservative/reform agenda, work in the reverse.
They are not expected to give advice on policy. Instead, the politicians present their policy, and ask the 'think tank' to sell it, with reports that get fed to the media, or in pamphlets published by the institute. Therefore, any facts and figures must match the finished product, not help to create it.
The number of these so-called think tanks that help to sell the neoconservative agenda, have grown dramatically during the last two decades. And yet many of them are funded by the same industries and foundations.
And their reports are very similar, giving the appearance of a broader consensus, when in fact; they were all just presented with the same foregone conclusion.
One group that has provided a great deal of support to the reform movement, is the Donner Foundation. Right-wing journalist and author, Adam Daifallah spoke of Donner as:
... the lifeblood of conservative research in this country. A decade ago, with a mission to “encourage individual responsibility and private initiative to help Canadians solve their social and economic problems,” and an annual giving budget of over $5 million, the Donner made a huge difference. From 1993 to 1999, under the leadership of executive directors Patrick Luciani and Devon Cross, it provided seed money to start a host of topnotch free-market think-tanks across Canada: the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, the Montreal Economic Institute, the Frontier Institute, the Society for Advancing Educational Research (dedicated to promoting charter schools), the conservative The Next City magazine (now defunct), and Energy Probe (a free market–oriented environmental organization). (1)
Perhaps the most influential for the Harper government though has been the Fraser Institute. Before helping to create the Reform Party, Stephen Harper spent a great deal of time at the Institute, and the relationship has grown considerably since then.
1. Rescuing Canada's Right, By: Adam Daifallah and Tasha Kheiriddin, Western Standard, November 8, 2004
I want to pay particular tribute to Peter Holle. I’ve known Peter for a long time. I appreciate his leadership, not just in organizing this event today, but also in providing me his advice over many years, and in giving the strong direction behind the growth of this institute. Stephen Harper (1)
In the Acknowledgements to the book, Unfinished Business, Roger Douglas writes; "I am also grateful to Peter Holle from Canada for his observations." (2)
Peter Holle is the founder and president of the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, a western "think tank", that claims to be non-partisan, but would appear to be just part of the infrastructure of the far right movement.
This is a list of their Advisory Board members and you will see that one of those members is Roger Douglas, the man who turned New Zealand inside out with his horrendous slash and burn polices. From FPP:
Sir Roger Douglas was Finance Minister in New Zealand's Labour Government from 1984 to 1988. Sir Roger was responsible for one of the most comprehensive restructuring program ever attempted by a government anywhere. The program included cutting income tax rates in half, deregulating wide sectors of the New Zealand economy, ending farm and business subsidies, and restructuring and privatizing most state owned enterprises. Most significantly, Sir Roger overhauled the operating philosophy of government agencies and departments to make them run as competition-oriented, bottom line business enterprises that are fully accountable for resources they receive from taxpayers. Sir Roger retired from politics in 1990 and now operates an international consulting firm based from Auckland, New Zealand where he lives. In 2008 he was re-elected to the New Zealand parliament with the party he founded, the Association of Consumers and Taxpayers.
Douglas was also the driving force behind Ralph Klein, Mike Harris, Stephen Harper and Preston Manning, and it would appear that he is still helping to shape neoconservative policy.
Frontier Centre For Public Policy
The FPP was founded by Peter Holle, the man who according to Harper himself, provided him with advice over the years. He also assisted Roger Douglas with his book Unfinished Business.
The Centre claims to nonpartisan, so that they can operate as not for profit, allowing them to accept donations without paying taxes, while they prop up the Reform-Conservative government.
According to Source Watch, with information provided on the FPP site:
"Independent think tanks receive their funding exclusively from non-governmental sources. This insulates them from the political pressures that frequently discourage publicly funded research groups from exploring sensitive issues," the think tank's website states. "The Centre does not accept any funding from governments to maintain its independent and fresh perspective on public policy," it states. In 2008, 10% of the think tank's funding was from corporations with a further 67% from unspecified foundations.
It is believed that much of the corporate funding they mention, is from the oil and gas sector. And according to Tasha Kheiriddin and, Ontario Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, and Adam Daifallah, a member of the National Post editorial board; one of the foundations that provided seed money and future capital, was the Donner Foundation.
Because private money is so scarce in Canada, even a small reduction in funds can have an important impact on the well-being of the conservative cause. Such is the case with the Donner Canadian Foundation, the lifeblood of conservative research in this country. A decade ago, with a mission to “encourage individual responsibility and private initiative to help Canadians solve their social and economic problems,” and an annual giving budget of over $5 million, the Donner made a huge difference. From 1993 to 1999, under the leadership of executive directors Patrick Luciani and Devon Cross, it provided seed money to start a host of topnotch free-market think-tanks across Canada: the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, the Montreal Economic Institute, the Frontier Institute, the Society for Advancing Educational Research (dedicated to promoting charter schools), the conservative The Next City magazine (now defunct), and Energy Probe (a free market–oriented environmental organization). (3)
The chairman of the Donner Canadian Foundation is Allan Gotlieb. Both Gotlieb and Harper were guest speakers at FPP's 10th Anniversary, $ 150.00 a plate, gala. The Winnipeg Labour Defense League, protested at the Frontier Centre during this event, because of FPP's promotion of damaging policies, including:
... privatized child-care; a frozen minimum wage; privatized utilities for Hydro and Water; a "flat tax" where those with lower incomes pay the most; even more tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations; no pay equity for women or other discriminated groups; no marketing boards such as the Wheat Board to protect farmers and consumers from the big Agri-monopolies. (4)
So if the Donner Canadian Foundation is the "lifeblood of conservative research in this country" and Donner provides funding to the FPP; remind me how they are not partisan.
Should they really be allowed to operate as not for profit, or have to declare themselves a third-party advertiser for the Conservative Party of Canada? I think you already know my answer.
1. Address to the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, by Stephen Harper, MP Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, Leader of the Opposition, May 17, 2004
2. Unfinished Business, By: Roger Douglas, Random House, 1993, ISBN: 1869411994
3. Rescuing Canada's Right, By: Adam Daifallah and Tasha Kheiriddin, Western Standard, November 8, 2004
4. What is the Frontier Centre for Public Policy? People's Voice, June 2009
... an independent think tank that received charitable status in April 1999. Its mission is “to develop and popularize policy choices that will help Canada’s prairie region live up to its vast but unrealized economic potential.” The Centre is non-partisan and receives its funding from non-governmental sources. The Centre communicates its research and ideas through policy notes, backgrounders, commentaries, lectures and presentations, the media, and research reports.
Of course they claim to be non-partisan, when it fact they are just part of the infrastructure of Canada's only extreme-right party, now calling themselves the Conservative Party of Canada; but formerly known as Social Credit, the Reform Party and the Canadian Alliance.
Another member of the advisory board, is Dr. Timothy Ball, one of Canada's more notorious climate change deniers, and a "scientific advisor" to the Friends of Science.
Roger Douglas is also an outspoken critic of money going to what he refers to as "so-called" global warming.
So let's break down this non-partisan group.
On Sherwin Arnott's blog, he discusses meeting Dr. Ball and discussing global warming with him. But when Arnott questioned his theories, Ball called him a Socialist. This immediately peaked his interest so he asked the good Dr. if he worked for the Fraser Institute. He denied that he did and immediately walked away.
But a quick search proved that he was lying:
Turns out that Tim Ball is paid by the Friends of Science that is funded through the University of Calgary Science Education Fund, set up by Barry Cooper who is friends with Stephen Harper, which is funded by the Oil patch. He’s also connected to the National Resources Stewardship Program, Tom Harris with APCO Public Relations, High Park Advocacy Group, Canadian Gas Association and the Canadian Electricity Association. He’s effectively a paid mouthpiece with fewer credentials than he and the Fraser Institute claims he has. But I met him and he’s quasi famous and so I guess I met an almost famous guy! And I made him. That was my moment of glory.
The Frontier Centre has regular speakers closely connected to the neoconservative movement, including Nigel Hannaford, Harper's new speech writer, and Tasha Kheiriddin, the Ontario director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, Jason Kenney's old haunt; and co-author of a book Rescuing Canada’s Right: Blueprint for a Conservative Revolution.
Last spring, the Winnipeg Labour Defense League, protested at the Frontier Centre, where a guest speaker would be making a presentation at a $150.00 a plate dinner. The speaker's name was Stephen Harper.
On May 19, dozens of people responded to a call from the newly formed Winnipeg Labour Defence League to protest the latest visit to the city by Stephen Harper. The Prime Minister was the star speaker at a gala fundraising dinner for the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.
... The FCPP wants: privatized child-care; a frozen minimum wage; privatized utilities for Hydro and Water; a "flat tax" where those with lower incomes pay the most; even more tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations; no pay equity for women or other discriminated groups; no marketing boards such as the Wheat Board to protect farmers and consumers from the big Agri-monopolies.
The FCPP has a special place for Aboriginal peoples. In a racist way, it constantly attacks "poor governance" in Aboriginal nations, forgetting the truly massive scale of corporate sleaze and corruption. Failing to recognize the colonial theft of Aboriginal land, it promotes the illusion that Aboriginal peoples are on a level playing field with the non-Aboriginal corporations that own and dominate Canada's land and resources. It attacks the very concept of `national rights,' rights which are fully enjoyed by the Canadian state, but whose denial relegates Aboriginal nations to a position of inequality, humiliation and subjection ... (2)
Friends of Science
The Globe and Mail would eventually uncover the fact that this group is actually funded by the oil companies, including Imperial Oil, where Harper's father worked. And their list of members reads like Stephen Harper's Christmas card list.
But if that wasn't bad enough, Harper also named two prominent climate change deniers to his science board:
Already alarmed over funding cuts to basic research, scientists say two appointments in particular are worrisome. Mark Mullins, the executive director of the conservative-leaning Fraser Institute — and a former adviser to the Canadian Alliance Party — was recently appointed to the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), which funds university research projects that have included studies on climate change.
Dr. Mullins is an economist and critic of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations-sanctioned scientific body that has authored warnings of floods, famine and extinctions that triggered political efforts around the world to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.
... On the same day Dr. Mullins was appointed to NSERC, April 23, another skeptic of global warming was appointed to the board of the Canada Foundation for Innovation, which funds large research projects. John Weissenberger is a close friend of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, a former chief of staff in the Harper government and a geologist who works for Husky Energy in Alberta.
Dr. Weissenberger has written opinion pieces in the media and on his Internet blog expressing his "skepticism about global warming." That and other comments by the two appointees on the public record were compiled by NDP researchers and verified by The Globe and Mail. (1)
I've mentioned John Weissenberger before. He and Harper go back to their days at the University of Calgary, when they both worked on the re-election of Jim Hawkes, for Calgary West.
Roger Douglas must be so proud.
1. Global warming critics appointed to science board, by: Bill Curry, Globe and Mail, May 11, 2009
2. What is the Frontier Centre for Public Policy? People's Voice, June 2009
A CULTURE OF DEFIANCE: History of the Reform-Conservative Party of Canada
We need an unconstrained, unrestricted, full-fledged, unspoiled market economy, and we need it now ... We want to achieve the transition from a state-dominated economy to an economy based on the private sector, private initiative and private entrepreneurship . .. We are increasingly convinced that our country, or any other, is less unique than is often claimed ... The basic economic laws are valid across continents, economic systems, as well as ideological beliefs . . . The 'third way' [between central planning and the market economy] is the fastest way to the Third World. Vaclav Klaus, Czechoslovakian Minister of Finance, 1991
Roger Douglas would resign from politics temporarily in 1990, and begin touring in places like Mexico, China, Australia, Brazil and Canada, selling his free market theories, that almost destroyed New Zealand society.
Most of his ideas were borrowed from Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, but since neither of the those people were touring at the time, Douglas was the best that the Reform Party could muster. They didn't really need to be sold on these principles, but Douglas had wrapped everything up in a neat little bow, with a simple message: "Don't blink!"
Preston Manning outlines the ten basic components of what was then dubbed 'Rogernomics', after Roger Douglas spoke at the Reform Party's 1991 Assembly.
'The Politics of Structural Reform' "Roger Douglas who led a major effort by Labour government to reduce public spending, personifies the fact that changing times and conditions the world over are breaking down the old categories of left and right in politics. His short list of ten guidelines for implementing structural reforms, particularly in the area of financial and economic policy, could help with the transition from Old Canada to New Canada.
1. Quality decisions start with quality people placed in strategic positions. 2. Implement reforms by quantum leaps. Moving step by step lets invested interests mobilize. 3. Speed is essential. It is impossible to move too fast.
4. Once your momentum starts, never let it stop. Set your own goals and deadlines. 5. Credibility is crucial. It is hard to win and you can lose it overnight. 6. Make your goals clear. Adjustment is impossible if people don't know where you are going. 7. Stop selling the public short. Voters need and want politicians with a vision and guts to create a better future. 8. Don't blink or wobble. Get the decisions right the first time. 9. Opportunity, incentive, and choice mobilize the energy of the people to achieve successful change. 10. When in doubt, ask yourself, 'Why am I a Politician?' (1)
Manning was definitely star struck. Murray Dobbin was there and discusses the event, and the truth about the New Zealanders policies:
"Douglas was introduced by Preston Manning, the only assembly speaker to be so honoured. And Manning told the delegates: There are three basic reasons why we have invited Sir Roger Douglas to be with us ... and three reasons why Reformers should pay close attention to what he has to say ... Sir Roger is an authority in fiscal reform and has advocated and promoted many of the fiscal reforms necessary to deal with the fiscal crisis that is facing our country .. "Secondly ... he has been in a position to actively implement those reforms. He is not only a reformer in word, he is a reformer in deed. Sir Roger deregulated the financial sector, phased down agricultural and other subsidies .. phased out import controls and drastically reduced tariffs levels. He instituted a 10% flat rate consumption tax (GST), with virtually no exemptions. Thirdly, Sir Roger accomplished all these things as a minister of a labour party in government. "What Preston Manning and Roger Douglas did not tell their audience was the story of the impact of Douglas's policies on the people of New Zealand. Saskatchewan political economist, Dr. John Warnock, travelled to New Zealand to study the effects of what New Zealanders dubbed 'Rogernomics.' The figures tell a story of devastation - a word used by New Zealand's own agricultural minister to describe the state of agriculture in four years after the 'reforms': A 40 per cent drop in farm income; a 50 per cent drop in the value of farm land; a policy of paying 3,000 farmers incentives of $ 45,000 to leave and the suggestion that another 15,000 (out of 79,000) should follow them. Unemployment, which had been at 4 per cent before Douglas's reforms, jumped to over 12 per cent in just over a year and is still increasing.
"Douglas completely eliminated regional development grants and subsidies to rural services. Says Warnock, 'They had things like subsidized petroleum - regardless of where you were the price was the same - subsidized train service, bus service, airport service. They privatized all these things and the prices immediately skyrocketed.' A massive de-population of the countryside resulted, and approximately 40,000 New Zealanders per year have since left the country for Australia to find work since 'restructuring' took effect.(2)
This was not some brilliant strategy or economic theory. It was just mean and self serving. It's like going home to your children and saying from now on we are not going to feed you, or care for you when you're sick, clothe you or educate you. You must now fend for yourselves, because your dad and I want to buy a new boat. Oh, and we're keeping your paper route money.
The quote at the top of the page can be found in the introduction to Roger Douglas's book: Unfinished Business, and came from Vaclav Klaus, the President of Czechoslovakia, when he was finance minister.
He was nicknamed the Margaret Thatcher of Czechoslovakia and his economic policies were referred to as "gangster capitalism". He is autocratic and mean.
Extremely right-wing, he has refused to pass laws to protect homosexuals, and like Stephen Harper, and in fact Roger Douglas; believes that global warming is a myth.
And he has also created a situation where Roma residents of his country have been forced to flee, after facing unchecked discrimination, and having to live under the constant threat of violence.
Jason Kenney has closed the doors to the Roma people, calling their claims bogus, and refuses to allow them in without a visa. Unfortunately, since many live as gypsies, they have no way of obtaining one.
PARDUBICE, Czech Republic - A ghastly arson attack that has left a two-year-old girl fighting for her life contradicts Canadian and Czech government assertions that an exodus of Roma refugee claimants to Canada is driven by economics, rather than fear of persecution, say members of the Roma community here. The Roma, once known as Gypsies, describe living conditions that might fit the image of the Southern U.S. during racial segregation.
They say they face a constant threat of neo-Nazi attacks and hateful demonstrations, where marchers head into Roma communities and call them "parasites," organized by increasingly sophisticated organizations such as the far-right Workers' Party.
But it's all for a good cause, right? Free markets and making a handful of people filthy rich. Welcome to Preston Manning's 'New Canada', where we no longer give a damn.
1. Preston Manning: The New Canada, By: Preston Manning, MacMillan Canada,ISBN: 0-7715-9150-0, pg. 276
2. Preston Manning and the Reform Party. Author: Murray Dobbin Goodread Biographies/Formac Publishing 1992 ISBN: 0-88780-161-7, pg. 113-114
In the introduction to her book, Hard Right Turn; Brooke Jeffrey describes being in Toronto in the 1990's; stuck in traffic, because thousands of protesters were blocking the streets. She asked the cab driver what the problem was and he said "Mike Harris (Ontario Premier for 1995-2002). Who wouldn't be upset with this guy?"
A few months later Jeffrey was in Edmonton, where she witnessed similar protests, which like those in Toronto, were orchestrated by teachers, nurses, municipal workers and other concerned citizens. "All of them were furious with the Klein (Ralph Klein. Premier of Alberta 1992-2006) government's cutbacks.
The premier and his controversial treasurer, Stockwell Day, were adamant the cuts would go forward as planned. The striking thing about Klein's comments was his choice of language. It was almost identical in tone and content to arguments Mike Harris had used to defend his actions in Ontario a few months earlier ... I, like most people thought Klein's reputation as a folksy populist was established. Mike Harris admitted his 'Common Sense Revolution' took it's inspiration from the Klein government's neo-conservative agenda, but he failed to mention an authoritarian attitude was also part of the package." (1)
What Jeffrey didn't realize at the time, was that both Klein and Harris had the same mentor. A former New Zealand finance minister, named Roger Douglas, who was then on the road promoting his book, Unfinished Business.
Both Klein and Harris continue to emulate the B Movie slogan of Sir Roger Douglas, the architect of of New Zealand's harsh experiment in program-slashing: 'I ain't gonna blink.' In 1994 Ralph Klein accepted the Fraser Institute's annual prize for 'the best fiscal performance' of any North American government. 'Alberta stands alone as the only government that refuses to take the easy way out, the brainless way out, and that is to raise taxes ..."
Douglas was one of the new breed of corporate friendly politicians who promoted fiscal reform on the backs of ordinary citizens. Like others who ascribed to this theory, including Ronald Reagan; his program made a lot of money for a handful of people, but also created almost unprecedented poverty. The gap between rich and poor was never so high.
Apart from the neo-conservative writings on Thatcherism and Reagonomics provided by his friends in the 'Klein Gang', and the advice offered by the business community through the Red Deer round table, the premier also called on the services ... of former New Zealand finance minister, Sir Roger Douglas, who was peddling the wares of restraint and cutbacks. Having turned New Zealand's economy around and its society inside out ... Sir Roger was now touring the world, urging others to heed the call and take the same drastic action. This new messenger of change was actually invited to speak to the Conservative caucus, where he put forward the view that change must be significant and it must be instituted quickly if the liberal consensus were to be broken and the state removed from the marketplace. The government that blinked would fail.
"Unfinished Business by Sir Roger Douglas of New Zealand, is credited with having provided the vocabulary of the 'Red Deer' budget round table. Terms such as 'hit the wall' and 'don't blink,' for example, made their debut at this event, and have now passed into the common parlance of all Canadian neo-conservatives." (3)
One area where the Klein government made immediate cuts, was to health care. But his policies were bizarre, under a scheme of Total Quality Management. Stockwell Day, was then Labour Minister, and with little more than a high school education; his policies were definitely ideologically driven.
Some employers quickly applied the Total Quality Management technique of substituting lesser-skilled workers for highly-skilled personnel. An example of this occurred in one UNA [United nurses of Alberta] worksite where RN's were told not to have RN on their name tags because they were now to refer to themselves as Patient Hostesses. And in another UNA worksite, LPN's were scheduled to do the work of laid off RN's and the maintenance workers were trained to give the bed baths—work previously done by the LPN's. The profession of nursing was undermined and compromised. Not only did UNA fight for improved wages and benefits in 1993—it also fought for the very profession itself.
Stockwell Day learned his lessons well from Roger Douglas, something which we will see more clearly now that he is heading up Canada's treasury. His only other known prior experience with someone from New Zealand, came from his father, an old Social Creditor, and friend of Doug Christie.
Stock Sr. once got into trouble for hiring an illegal immigrant as a domestic. He wrote to Christie: "She is a New Zealander with no criminal record; she looks like us; she speaks like us; she prays like us. Yet when we came through the waiting room, it gave me the impression that we were at a family reunion for the Harlem Globe Trotters [sic]. What the hell is going on?"
That certainly explains a lot.
1. Hard Right Turn: The New Face of Neo-Conservatism in Canada, Brooke Jeffrey, Harper-Collins, 1999, ISBN: 0-00 255762-2, Pg. 2
2. Slumming it at the Rodeo: The Cultural Roots of Canada's Right-Wing Revolution, Gordon Laird, 1998, Douglas & McIntyre, ISBN: 1-55054 627-9, pg. 66
3. Hard Right Turn: The New Face of Neo-Conservatism in Canada, Brooke Jeffrey, Harper-Collins, 1999, ISBN: 0-00 255762-2, Pg. 93
Brian Mulroney would come to power in Canada, the same year that David Lange became prime minister of New Zealand.
Lange's appointment of Roger Douglas as Minister of Finance, would have an impact on Canadian politics for years, and he would play heavily into the policies of our neoconservative government under Stephen Harper.
Brain Mulroney came from corporate Canada, so naturally the business elite looked to him to make the same "tough choices" as Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher; who were already well known gurus of the neoconservative movement.
Here, surely, is the most authentic Canadian equivalent to the New Zealand experiment. It was elected to office only two months after David Lange's Labour victory of 1984, winning the largest parliamentary majority in Canadian history. Mulroney himself was the first Prime Minister since the depression to emerge from the corporate class, and his government's first Economic and Fiscal Statement outlined a comprehensive neo-liberal [Libertarian] agenda. (1)
But Mulroney got off to a slow start, in the eyes of the corporate elite and "free marketeers", though the left didn't agree, dubbing him "Reagan on the Rideau".
He would, however, put an end to the National Energy Program, a demand of Western Canada, and a campaign promise. But they would soon wish he hadn't, though you'd be hard pressed to find any Westerner today agreeing with you.
"Oscar Wilde wrote that there are only two tragedies: one is not getting what one wants; the other is getting it. In the fall of 1985, the latter tragedy befell Alberta's oil industry. The OPEC cartel failed to agree upon a world oil price. The result was a global free-for-all among producing nations. Canada's oil and gas producers were caught in the middle. Having recently gained freedom from the NEP, Canada's oil and gas industry was not protected as the price of oil dropped from US $27 per barrel ... to $8 per barrel by August 1986. ... Forty-five thousand oil workers lost their jobs." (2)
Mulroney would try to push through a free trade agreement with the United States, but then Liberal leader John Turner was adamantly opposed. The New York Times reported:
CANADA'S opposition Liberal Party announced last month that its majority in the upper house [senate] of Parliament would block the legislation necessary to implement a free-trade agreement that Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, a Progressive Conservative, had negotiated with the United States.
In a counter move to try to salvage his treaty, Mr. Mulroney is considered virtually certain to call an early election, possibly for October, and the treaty is likely to be the dominant issue in the campaign.
The trade bill would eliminate all tariffs over a 10-year period and lower barriers to investment and other curbs on trade in agriculture, energy and services. Legislation is moving through the United States Congress, which is expected to pass it before it adjourns for the November elections. (3)
He did in fact call an election, where he would run on the issue of free trade. Spearheaded by the National Citizens Coalition; a group of corporations, spent an estimated $19-million during his campaign, in support of the free trade deal. John Turner didn't have a chance. (4)
The first legislative action of the new government was to abolish the foreign investment screening agency. This was followed by a series of privatizations and de-regulatory initiatives culminating in the two free trade agreements (FTA 1988 and NAFTA 1992). Much more than tariff reduction deals, the latter constituted a virtual economic constitution for the country, limiting or prohibiting sovereignty in areas as diverse as energy pricing, government procurement, delivery of regional and industrial incentive grants, dumping and countervail actions, national treatment for cross border investment, and free trade in service industries. (1)
The free trade deal, that Turner referred to as the "sale of Canada" was devastating for the country. Thousands of manufacturing jobs were lost and more than 11,000 companies became not only foreign owned, but foreign controlled.
The Libertarian experience in Canada was not a new concept, when Roger Douglas began to influence leaders like Preston Manning, Ralph Klein and Mike Harris.
In 1977, when Sterling Lyon came to power in Manitoba, he adopted Margaret Thatcher's system of slashing social programs and pursuing a right-wing agenda, inspired by the business elite.
Manitoba wasn't ready for this and he only lasted one term.
It's interesting that a new study is taking place by Evelyn Forget, a researcher and professor and the University of Manitoba.
She is attempting to determine whether or not the guaranteed income program initiated by the NDP prior to Lyon coming to power, had a direct result on the health and well being of the province's residents.
From 1974 through 1978, about 30 per cent of the population of Dauphin was provided with a "mincome," as the guaranteed level of income came to be called. "We found that, overall, hospitalizations in Dauphin declined relative to the control group," said Evelyn Forget, professor of community health science at the University of Manitoba. "We also looked at accidents and injuries, and they also declined. You can argue that accident and injury hospitalizations are strongly related to poverty."
The goal of the program, which cost $17 million, was to find out whether a guaranteed income would improve health and community life. If a household's income dropped below a certain amount, the program would top it up to an income equivalent to the welfare rates at the time.
The trouble with neoconservatism is that it doesn't take in the broader picture. Keeping people fed can reduce health care costs. But then they don't believe in public health care either, so I suppose this would have little effect on the decision making.
Another attempt at neoconservatism in Canada, took place in 1981 in British Columbia, when Social Credit Premier Bill Bennet, initiated the the "Restraint" program, which slashed social services and gutted labour laws.
In this, the government was backed by a cohesive resident business sector centred in resources and trade, and the most assertive Chicago-school think tank in the country [The Fraser Institute]. (1)
And a third pre-Douglas neoconservative experiment was at the hands of the 1982 Saskatchewan Conservatives under Grant Devine, who began an aggressive privatization scheme.
His government was eventually involved in one of the worst scandals in Canadian history, that saw 14 members of the legislature convicted of fraud and breach of trust for illegally diverting hundreds of thousands of dollars from government allowances in a phony expense-claim scam.
One of Stephen Harper's MPs, Tom Lukiwski was the general manager of the party and Peter MacKay remains a strong supporter of Devine.
But beginning in the mid-1980's Roger Douglas received a lot of press in Canada, and his handling of New Zealand's finances was being referred to as an economic miracle:
Repeated airings in the Canadian media have disseminated a diffuse and contradictory set of impressions of the recent New Zealand experience. Among them might number of the following. Sometime in the mid-1980's this small English speaking island state in the south Pacific apparently experienced an economic crisis. This led a left-wing government to implement a Reagan-style program of market reforms which, though controversial at the time, has transformed the New Zealand state and business sectors in positive directions.
Today this yields a budgetary surplus, a stable currency, favorable credit ratings, moderate inflation and a buoyant export sector. Since the first three of these remain unattainable today in Canada, it might reasonably be concluded that the New Zealand experience may have something valuable to offer Canada.
However this result has not been achieved without costs. The new regime has ignored and thereby deepened the predicament of the poor, the weak, and the unlucky. All of these groups are excluded from the economic miracle, and the long run costs this imposes on New Zealand society have yet to be acknowledged. (1)
Several Canadians tuned out after "... the New Zealand experience may have something valuable to offer Canada", including Preston Manning, Stephen Harper, Mike Harris and Ralph Klein.
1. "The New Zealand Experiment: A Canadian Perspective", By Peter Clancy, Electronic Journal of Radical Organizational Theory, June 1996.
The above video shows the fall of Robert Muldoon in 1984, as the Prime Minister of New Zealand. After a long meeting with a backbencher, who threatened to vote with the opposition over nuclear-free legislation, Muldoon called a snap election. But with the early use of videotape, he was caught in an obviously inebriated condition, and that image would contribute to his fall.
David Lange would rise to power, and he in turn would choose Roger Douglas as his minister of Finance, a man who would turn the country inside out and upside down; with a series of cuts and massive deregulation.
Roger Douglas was not really a follower of Leo Strauss, though his policies were in line with the Chicago School of Economics. It would probably be more accurate to call him a Libertarian, fashioned after the political philosophy of Frederic Bastiat. He believed in the freedom and responsibility of the individual, and not the cradle to grave responsibility of government to look after it's citizens.
If he borrowed anything from Leo Strauss, it was the necessity of deception.
Not only did Strauss have few qualms about using deception in politics, he saw it as a necessity. While professing deep respect for American democracy, Strauss believed that societies should be hierarchical – divided between an elite who should lead, and the masses who should follow. (1)
Though the Labour Party of Roger Douglas was definitely left-wing, once elected it took a sharp right turn. Douglas would later advise:
"... beware the risks of candid disclosure before a fickle electorate, strike quickly once in power, define a total agenda, establish the essential control agencies, move simultaneously on a variety of policy fronts, embed the reforms as deeply as possible in legal and market channels so as to prevent early reversal, keep your nerve when faced with popular or electoral resistance and allow the programme to do its work." (2)
Stephen Harper learned how to avoid the risks of candid disclosure before a fickle electorate by 2006. It wasn't enough to just erroneously have people believe that he was Tory, to cash in on a 150 year old tradition. He had to keep his future plans from the public.
His electoral platform was more consistent with conservative principles, and he no longer spoke of things that spooked Canadians, that got him in trouble during the 2004 election campaign.
Things like the Belgian model he wanted to adopt, that divided Canadians along cultural lines, instead of by provinces. Two-tier health care was also left off, though he has been steadily moving in that direction.
And he, like Lange and Douglas, had the added bonus of capitalizing on a scandal. In fact a poll taken soon after his 2006 victory, revealed that the majority of people who voted for the Reform-Conservative Party, did so not because of their policies, but to punish the Liberals.
Who knew they could very well end up punishing themselves.
Roger Douglas would be a big influence on our neoconservative government, but the results of his slash and burn policies were devastating for the average New Zealander :
The man who would destroy that protectionist shield was Lange's Finance Minister Roger Douglas, a diminutive, dogged accountant who unleashed free-market policies with such pace that they blindsided most New Zealanders — including Lange. Douglas floated the New Zealand dollar, wooed foreign banks, wiped away controls on credit, foreign-exchange transactions and import tariffs.
The once sacrosanct farmers lost their state subsidies. The effect was akin to a department-store-sale-day stampede. Masses seized the early — and oftentimes false — fruits of Douglas' promarket policies. More than 40% of all adults ended up owning shares on the back of newly available credit; many in fresh and often questionable enterprises. (3)
A lot of people got very rich, but more became horribly poor.
Saskatchewan political economist, Dr. John Warnock, travelled to New Zealand to study the effects of what New Zealanders dubbed 'Rogernomics.' The figures tell a story of devastation - a word used by New Zealand's own agricultural minister to describe the state of agriculture in four years after the 'reforms': A 40 per cent drop in farm income; a 50 per cent drop in the value of farm land; a policy of paying 3,000 farmers incentives of $ 45,000 to leave and the suggestion that another 15,000 (out of 79,000) should follow them.
Unemployment, which had been at 4 per cent before Douglas's reforms, jumped to over 12 per cent in just over a year and is still increasing.
"Douglas completely eliminated regional development grants and subsidies to rural services. Says Warnock, 'They had things like subsidized petroleum - regardless of where you were the price was the same - subsidized train service, bus service, airport service. They privatized all these things and the prices immediately skyrocketed.' A massive de-population of the countryside resulted, and approximately 40,000 New Zealanders per year have since left the country for Australia to find work since 'restructuring' took effect.
This should give you a glimpse into how Canada will look, once Harper's agenda is fully realized. So many things have already been done behind our backs. Many irrevocable.