I grew up on a southern Okanagan orchard in the rural neighbourhood of Testalinda, south of Oliver. From the 1950s and 60s, I vividly recall the Department of Highways sign on Highway 97 where it crossed Testalinda Creek giving that name. My boyhood ramblings took me all around the hills rising from that part of the Okanagan Valley, including the beautiful Testalinda Canyon. The second orchard my father owned for a few years encircled the site of the former Testalinda Creek School, dear to the memories of some older residents still living in Oliver and the Testalinda rural neighbourhood. Other southern Okanagan old-timers recall the school consolidation that built the Oliver-Testalinda-Osoyoos School in Oliver (OTO School, that had evolved by by childhood into the primary building of Oliver Elementary School). To this day, southern Okanagan residents know Testalinda by its well established name and no other, feeling dismay when news media give the incorrect name.
Yet, our news media insist on reporting with the name "Testalinden." Apparently this results from an error in the Canadian federal government registry of geographical place names. A petition seeks to correct that error and restore Testalinda.
Many issues of great importance require close examination before we vote this October 19th:
•Issues around the environment and sustainability hold great importance but, if an international corporation can sue Canada in secret trial by tribunal outside of our justice system, and without recourse to appeal, to overthrow Canadian government actions in response to these environmental issues, efforts by any level of Canadian government will be futile;
•Issues around the economy and employment hold great importance but, if an international corporation can sue Canada in secret trial by tribunal outside of our justice system, and without recourse to appeal, to overthrow Canadian government actions in response to labour, health and safety, business practice, etc. issues, efforts by any level of Canadian government will be futile.
Thus, the fundamental issue to address during this election has to be that of Canada’s sovereign right to govern ourselves as a free and independent nation, “The true north strong and free.”
The first question every voter should ask of every candidate for election to Parliament from each riding across our much loved nation should be, “Are you Committed to Canada’s sovereignty as a free and independent nation?”
•If an incumbent candidate who supports the current government answers, “Yes,” then the only possible follow-up question must be, “If you are committed to our sovereignty, why do you support a government that suborned Canada’s national sovereignty and continues to suborn?”
-This so-called loyal Conservative government negotiated in secret, then signed and eventually ratified the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPPA) which goes far beyond simply providing for freer trade but, in effect, diminishes Canada to a resource colony of the Communist dictatorship in Beijing for the next thirty-one years. With the inclusion of the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provision, Chinese firms (which are merely arms of the Chinese Communist dictatorship) with investments in Canadian business now have the right to sue Canadian federal, provincial, and municipal governments in secret trials by tribunals outside of our justice system if new environmental, labour, health and safety, business practice, etc. law impinges on their investment. That is to say, Canada now has to clear such new laws, regulations, and court judgements with Beijing in order to bring them into effect.
-Similarly, this government participates in Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) secret negotiations and has signed other so-called free trade agreements, all of which include provisions for ISDS by which international corporations can turn to the International Centre for Settlement of Investor Disputes (ICSID) to sue sovereign nations in secret trials by tribunals outside of any national judiciary to overturn new law enacted out of a nation’s sovereign right to govern itself (fortunately pre-existing law as at signing an ISDS containing agreement cannot get attacked, but participating nations will have to clear such new laws, regulations, and court judgements with corporate head offices if they hope to remain safe from attack). This provision raises international corporations from the subjects of nations to, in effect, non-territorial kingdoms equal with or superior to no-longer sovereign nations while reducing nations to resource and labour colonies of those multinational corporations.
-For these actions Prime Minister Harper and those of his ministers involved in these negotiations should be called to answer to the charge of treason.
•If a non-incumbent candidate who supports the current government answers, “Yes,” then the only possible follow-up question must be, “If you are committed to our sovereignty, are you aware that the current government suborned Canada’s national sovereignty and continues to suborn?”
•If a candidate who does not support the current government answers, “Yes,” then a possible follow-up question would be, “If you are committed to our sovereignty, what are your thoughts on so-called free trade treaties Canada has already signed which include the sovereignty destroying ISDS provision and where do you stand with regard to Canada’s participation in TPP and the secret negotiations toward CETA, TTIP, and TiSA?”
-Instead of ISDS, Canadian operations of international corporations that find themselves at issue with our governments at whatever level should bring the matter to an open and public Canadian court within the Canadian judicial system for decision under Canadian law in the same way as Canadian corporations and Canadian citizens must do.-If an issue exceeds the competence of Canadian courts, an international corporation should be required to publicly request its home nation government to pursue the matter in an open and public international court on a sovereign nation versus sovereign nation basis that clearly holds international corporations as subjects of sovereign nations and not equals with sovereign nations.