2017-07-11

On the Omar Khadr Debacle

Okay, let me get this straight:
• A nine-year-old juvenile Canadian-born citizen, far below any age of legal consent and below the age of criminal responsibility, gets taken away from Canadian schooling and Canadian socialization by his own father and placed within a criminal terrorist organization in a foreign country, a conflict zone where all this juvenile Canadian-born citizen can know and experience is the indoctrination and socialization within that criminal terrorist organization, compelling him to become a child soldier, while Canadian authorities give no attention whatsoever to this blatant child abuse, child endangerment, and gross contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile;
• in time, following a combat firefight between American soldiers and a unit of this criminal terrorist organization in which an American soldier, in training to become a military medic but, at the time, serving in a combat role, was fatally wounded by a grenade thrown, according to field reports written immediately following the incident, by a middle-aged terrorist who was immediately shot and killed during the conflict, this still juvenile Canadian-born citizen, not yet sixteen years of age, was found, severely injured but alive and buried under rubble as the sole survivor from the terrorist unit, and treated for his injuries then taken prisoner;
• As a prisoner, this still juvenile Canadian-born citizen got placed among adult detainees in a notorious prison within the country of conflict, then transferred with adult detainees to another notorious prison at an American military base in another country, without formal designation either as a prisoner of war or as a convicted juvenile criminal, where he was held through his remaining teenage years and well into his adulthood all the while without appropriate contact with Canadian authorities;
• While this Canadian-born citizen remained in these prisons, other prisoners who were citizens of other nations got called home by their own governments and returned in accordance with the laws and treaty obligations their own home governments, yet the government of Canada refused to call for the return of this Canadian-born citizen;
• Also, while held in these prisons and in contravention of international law and the treaty prohibiting torture, this Canadian-born citizen was subjected to substantial torture over many years, yet Canada's government under three different Prime Ministers extended no objection to this ongoing torture as would be appropriate in order to meet the obligations to which Canada committed as a signatory to the International treaty prohibiting the torture;
• Over a great many years, and through the administrations of three different Prime Ministers, this Canadian-born citizen’s incarceration without appropriate designation, persisted with neither contact nor support from Canadian authorities as required under Canadian law and our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, instead Canadian authorities neglected and may have abetted his intolerable incarceration and torture;
• Eventually and after extraction under torture of a confession of murder, this ill-educated and highly indoctrinated from youth Canadian-born citizen, as the sole survivor of the terrorist unit involved in the combat firefight, received the offer of a trial by military tribunal on a charge of murder of the American soldier killed by the grenade – the offer extended with the condition that he plead guilty as charged or the offer of a trial would be withdrawn and he would remain unclassified in incarceration without charge indefinitely;
• Upon conviction for this trumped-up murder charge the way was finally cleared for this Canadian-born citizen to return to Canada where he served some time within the Canadian prison system;
• In due course, during the term of the government of our immediately previous Prime Minister, Canadian law courts became aware of the situation and brought down a ruling that the rights of this Canadian-born citizen had been flagrantly violated and that the government of the day and the governments under the two immediately previous Prime Ministers had broken Canadian law, paving the way for a suit for damages against the Government of Canada;
And many other Canadians are outraged that the current Government of Canada negotiated an apology to this Canadian-born citizen and an out-of-court settlement at roughly half the anticipated penalty that our courts may have imposed while also saving on the substantial legal costs of attempting to defend this case.

2017-06-15

Re the Renegotiation of NAFTA

Our thoughts on the renegotiation of NAFTA are welcome at Public consultations on the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with the United States and Mexico


I have offered my thoughts as follows in my first submission:



In the "In your view" field, I said:

"The very highest priority for the Government of Canada in the renegotiation of NAFTA should be the removal of all provision for Investor/State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) through the International Centre for Settlement of Investor Disputes (ICSID) since:

•ISDS permits international corporations to sue Canada by tribunal outside of any national judiciary to overturn new law enacted out of our sovereign right to govern ourselves;

•ISDS suits get decided in secret trials without recourse to appeal, utter anathema to a free and democratic society, never open and public;

•The evil of ISDS lies in its capacity to defeat the sovereign right of nations, Canada included, to govern themselves by granting international corporations with investments in Canadian business the right to sue Canadian federal, provincial, and local governments in these SECRET TRIALS outside of the Canadian judicial system if new environmental, labour, health and safety, business practice, etc. law impinges on their investment;

•These secret ISDS trials exist in one direction only – international corporations may sue nations, Canada included, but nations may not sue international corporations – ISDS raises international corporations from their proper status as subjects of nations and welcome guests within Canada to superiors of nations;

•Decisions by ISDS tribunals are based solely on the impact new Canadian law may have upon a complainant corporation’s investment, with all other factors (environmental, labour, health and safety, business practice regulation, etc.) government must consider when drafting law, regarded as irrelevant to each case;

•Decisions by ISDS tribunals are based upon neither existing statutes of any kind nor active precedents, implying that Canadian governments cannot know, when preparing new law, if our actions may be subject to attack under ISDS and, thus, may feel need to clear any new law with international corporate boards of directors if Canada wishes to preclude attack by ISDS suits;

•The above four conditions transform international corporations from subjects of nations or welcome guests within Canada to, in effect, non-territorial kingdoms and reinforce the current dangerous trend corrupting Capitalism toward Capital Feudalism by which:

  ·Capital replaces land as the feu;

  ·International banking replaces the Church as the external power;

  ·Non-territorial international corporations replace kingdoms as the fundamental holders of the feu;

  ·Corporate CEOs replace kings as the authorities by which the feu gets distributed and to whom loyal attachment must return;

  ·Major corporate internal divisions and subsidiaries replace baronies, earldoms, dukedoms, counties, etc. as subordinate holders of the feu;

  ·Corporate vice presidents, very senior managers, and subsidiary CEOs replace the various Lords of the Realm;

  ·Corporate managers and highly skilled technical professionals replace knights;

  ·Contractors replace the freeman peasantry; and

  ·Ordinary common working people are reduced to the new serfs;

 All while the role of sovereign nations and democratic decision making diminishes into insignificance, reducing Canada and participating nations to resource and labour colonies of international corporations;

•As a consequence of our participation in NAFTA as it currently exists, Canada is already the developed nation most frequently attacked with ISDS suits; and

•NAFTA is widely considered to be a template and precedent for many other so-called free trade (but in reality, international corporate protection) agreements in which Canada currently participates or are under negotiation with Canada’s participation."



In the "new issues" field, I said:

"When NAFTA was originally drafted, the Internet was barely a twinkle in the eye of citizens around the world. Now it is the central way we communicate and conduct commerce, innovate, create culture, and engage in political discussion and dissent.  I have the impression that the American team is hoping to make big changes and they'll want use the failed TPP Intellectual Property Chapter, with its secretive processes driven by hordes of corporate lobbyists, as a blueprint for NAFTA to make our Internet more censored, expensive, and policed. It is essential that we get NAFTA wording that impacts the future of our Internet right to ensure that our pro-Internet policies are not undermined in this agreement."



In the "Other comments" field, I said:

"I urge that Canada requires:

•The sovereignty-deleting Investor/State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) through the International Centre for Settlement of Investor Disputes (ICSID) provision be wholly removed from a renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA);

•In place of ISDS, a renegotiated NAFTA provide that Canadian operations of international corporations which find themselves at issue with our governments at any 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 wholly domestic Canadian corporations and Canadian citizens must do; and

•Alternatively, in place of ISDS, a renegotiated NAFTA provide that, if an issue exceeds the competence of Canadian courts, an international corporation should openly and publicly request its home nation government (by home nation, I do not mean that nation within which an international corporation is chartered or locates its corporate head office; I mean that nation in which the plurality of the corporation's equity capital ownership resides) 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 as equals with, nor as masters of, sovereign nations."



In a second submission, I offered additional thoughts as follows:



In the "In your view" field, I said:

"A priority for the Government of Canada in the renegotiation of NAFTA must be for open and public negotiations. This government, in the last election, promised to be fully open with Canadians. NAFTA and for other so-called free trade agreement negotiations have been and continue to be conducted in secret by government trade negotiators with the exception that representatives of international corporations with interest in the effects of international trade are permitted access to these negotiators and to contribute to treaty development while:

•Wholly domestic Canadian businesses with an interest in how international trade may affect their own local business operations,

•Organizations concerned about environmental issues and how international trade may impact the Canadian and worldwide environment,

•Labour organizations with concerns about how international trade may affect working Canadians,

•Canadian agricultural organizations with concerns about Canadians’ capacity to feed ourselves while also trading internationally,

•Organizations attentive to health and safety issues and concerned with the effect of international trade on those issues, and

•Others with interest in the effect of international trade on Canadian society

are all prohibited the same access to Canada’s government trade negotiators."





In the "new issues" field, I said:

"In addition to the impact a renegotiated NAFTA may have on international corporations, the new treaty must also take into account its impact on:

•Wholly domestic Canadian businesses with an interest in how international trade may affect their own local business operations,

•Organizations concerned about environmental issues and how international trade may impact the Canadian and worldwide environment,

•Labour organizations with concerns about how international trade may affect working Canadians,

•Canadian agricultural organizations with concerns about Canadians’ capacity to feed ourselves while also trading internationally,

•Organizations attentive to health and safety issues and concerned with the effect of international trade on those issues, and

•Others with interest in the effect of international trade on Canadian society."





In the "Other comments" field, I said:

"If NAFTA renegotiation must be kept secret, then I urge that either:

•Representatives of international corporations with interest in the effects of international trade must be refused access to the negotiators or to contribute to treaty development, or

•Representatives of:

  ·Wholly domestic Canadian businesses with an interest in how international trade may affect their own local business operations,

  ·Organizations concerned about environmental issues and how international trade may impact the Canadian and worldwide environment,

  ·Labour organizations with concerns about how international trade may affect working Canadians,

  ·Canadian agricultural organizations with concerns about Canadians’ capacity to feed ourselves while also trading internationally,

  ·Organizations attentive to health and safety issues and concerned with the effect of international trade on those issues, and

  ·Others with interest in the effect of international trade on Canadian society

must be granted the same access to these negotiators and to contribute to treaty development as may be granted to representatives of international corporations."

2017-05-07

On Voting in British Columbia's Provincial General Election, 2017, May 9, Tuesday

When you go to the polls on Tuesday, please remember that we live in a representative Parliamentary democracy and that you are voting for a PERSON to represent you and your local constituency in the British Columbia Legislature. Your Member of the Legislative Assembly is responsible to you the voter, not to a party nor a party leader and it is the Legislative Assembly that creates the government and that government is responsible to the Legislative Assembly.
VOTE THE PERSON and, as you consider each candidate for election to the British Columbia legislature in your riding, please ask yourself how your views on each specific public issue match with the views expressed or implied by each candidate, recognizing that a 100% match cannot be possible, then ask, if elected, will this candidate:
  • Represent the views of your own local constituency when it comes to issues that affect the province as a whole (in contrast to representing some party line back to your local constituency)?
  • Represent the views of your local constituency when it comes to issues that affect the constituency itself (in contrast to representing some party line back to your local constituency)?
  • Be free to vote in the legislature by conscience and the will of your own local constituency (in contrast to being subject to getting whipped by a party Whip in the legislature)?
  • Have integrity and be energetic and capable of following through with commitments made during the election campaign?
  • Be an articulate and intelligent spokesperson for your riding within the legislature?
If we all vote the person rather than vote the party and our MLAs know that we are voting the person and holding them responsible to us, the voters in their own constituencies, and not responsible to some party or party leader, then we can break the representative democracy-distorting power of political parties and return policy origination back to our Legislative Assembly and its committees, away from party conventions and back rooms.

2017-01-25

Petition Re NAFTA and ISDS

I have prepared a petition in response to the opportunity to seek removal of ISDS from NAFTA given by the intention of the new President of the United States to open NAFTA for renegotiation.  The text of the petition follows.  Unlike the actual petition which cannot contain hyperlinks, this copy contains links to various related articles about ISDS.  The petition itself is on Change.org; do not attempt to sign it here.

Petition Re NAFTA and ISDS
To:  Prime Minister, The Right Honourable Justin P. J. Trudeau,
Minister of International Trade, the Honourable Fran├žois-Philippe Champagne,
The Parliament of Canada, and
the rest of the Government of Canada
Whereas The new President of the United States of America has stated his intention to open the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) for complete renegotiation; and
Whereas Negotiations for NAFTA and for other so-called free trade agreements have been and continue to be conducted in secret by government trade negotiators with the exception that representatives of international corporations with interest in the effects of international trade are permitted access to these negotiators and to contribute to treaty development while:
  • wholly domestic Canadian businesses with an interest in how international trade may affect their own local business operations,
  • organizations concerned about environmental issues and how international trade may impact the Canadian and worldwide environment,
  • labour organizations with concerns about how international trade may affect working Canadians,
  • Canadian agricultural organizations with concerns about Canadians’ capacity to feed ourselves while also trading internationally,
  • organizations attentive to health and safety issues and concerned with the effect of international trade on those issues, and
  • others with interest in the effect of international trade on Canadian society
          are all prohibited the same access to Canada’s government trade negotiators; and
Whereas NAFTA contains provision for Investor/State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) through the International Centre for Settlement of Investor Disputes (ICSID); and
Whereas ISDS permits international corporations to sue Canada by tribunal outside of any national judiciary to overturn new law enacted out of our sovereign right to govern ourselves; and
Whereas ISDS suits get decided in secret trials without recourse to appeal, utter anathema to a free and democratic society, never open and public; and
Whereas The evil of ISDS lies in its capacity to defeat the sovereign right of nations, Canada included, to govern themselves by granting international corporations with investments in Canadian business the right to sue Canadian federal, provincial, and local governments in these SECRET TRIALS outside of the Canadian judicial system if new environmental, labour, health and safety, business practice, etc. law impinges on their investment; and
Whereas These secret ISDS trials exist in one direction only – international corporations may sue nations, Canada included, but nations may not sue international corporations – ISDS raises international corporations from their proper status as subjects of nations and welcome guests within Canada to superiors of nations; and
Whereas Decisions by ISDS tribunals are based solely on the impact new Canadian law may have upon a complainant corporation’s investment, with all other factors (environmental, labour, health and safety, business practice regulation, etc.) government must consider when drafting law, regarded as irrelevant to each case; and
Whereas Decisions by ISDS tribunals are based upon neither existing statutes of any kind nor active precedents, implying that Canadian governments cannot know, when preparing new law, if our actions may be subject to attack under ISDS and, thus, may feel need to clear any new law with international corporate boards of directors if Canada wishes to preclude attack by ISDS suits; and
Whereas The above four conditions transform international corporations from subjects of nations or welcome guests within Canada to, in effect, non-territorial kingdoms and reinforces the current dangerous trend corrupting Capitalism toward Capital Feudalism by which:
  • Capital replaces land as the feu;
  • International banking replaces the Church as the external power;
  • Non-territorial international corporations replace kingdoms as the fundamental holders of the feu;
  • Corporate CEOs replace kings as the authorities by which the feu gets distributed and to whom loyal attachment must return;
  • Major corporate internal divisions and subsidiaries replace baronies, earldoms, dukedoms, counties, etc. as subordinate holders of the feu;
  • Corporate vice presidents, very senior managers, and subsidiary CEOs replace the various Lords of the Realm;
  • Corporate managers and highly skilled technical professionals replace knights;
  • Contractors replace the freeman peasantry; and
  • Ordinary common working people are reduced to the new serfs;
All while the role of sovereign nations and democratic decision making diminishes into insignificance, reducing Canada and participating nations to resource and labour colonies of international corporations; and
Whereas As a consequence of our participation in NAFTA, Canada is already the developed nation most frequently attacked with ISDS suits, with one immediately a recent case in point, an ISDS judgment against the province of Ontario; and
Whereas NAFTA is widely considered to be a template and precedent for many other so-called free trade agreements in which Canada currently participates or are under negotiation with Canada’s participation;

Therefore We the undersigned Canadians, prepared, “O Canada, We stand on guard for thee,” do petition you to:
Require that The sovereignty-deleting Investor/State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) through the International Centre for Settlement of Investor Disputes (ICSID) provision be wholly removed from a renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA);
Require that In place of ISDS, a renegotiated NAFTA provide that Canadian operations of international corporations which find themselves at issue with our governments at any 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 wholly domestic Canadian corporations and Canadian citizens must do;
Require that Alternatively, in place of ISDS, a renegotiated NAFTA provide that, if an issue exceeds the competence of Canadian courts, an international corporation should openly and publicly request its home nation government (by home nation, we do not mean that nation within which an international corporation is chartered or locates its corporate head office; we mean that nation in which the plurality of the corporation's equity capital ownership resides) 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 as equals with, nor as masters of, sovereign nations;
Require that In line with this government’s commitment to be fully open to Canadians, the renegotiation occur openly for public scrutiny; and
Require that Representatives of:
  • wholly domestic Canadian businesses with an interest in how international trade may affect their own local business operations,
  • organizations concerned about environmental issues and how international trade may impact the Canadian and worldwide environment,
  • labour organizations with concerns about how international trade may affect working Canadians,
  • Canadian agricultural organizations with concerns about Canadians’ capacity to feed ourselves while also trading internationally,
  • organizations attentive to health and safety issues and concerned with the effect of international trade on those issues, and
  • others with interest in the effect of international trade on Canadian society
have the same access and opportunity to contribute to a renegotiated NAFTA as do representatives of international corporations.

Therefore also We Canadians who love our sovereign, “True north, strong and free,” do petition you to:
Commit to Seek to remove ISDS from all other so-called free trade agreements to which Canada is party, as those agreements come up for renewal,
Refuse to Sign or ratify so-called free trade agreements currently under negotiation as long as they contain ISDS,
Refuse to Participate in any new so-called free trade negotiations if parties to those negotiations intend to include ISDS.


Thank you for your attention.