Opposition Parties are talking about many things in the present Canadian election. But not about "sheer corruption". Henry Mintzberg (McGill University) introduced the phrase...only to run away from it.
The Canadian Election. A Global Context. And “Sheer Corruption”.
Start at home. Globe and Mail (Sept. 23, p. B4). Henry Mintzberg, McGill professor of Management Studies focuses upon global corruption wittily and at some length. His argument is that Volkswagon’s dirty, careful hiding of the real pollution of its vehicles belongs to a global “level of sheer corruption that transcends” [he means that extends beyond] “the automobile industry”.
“The Volkswagon affair”, he writes, “is just a blatant case of an accelerating trend”. His Globe opinion piece is bannered in red by the editors: “Corporate Responsibility”.
Mintzberg makes no reference to Canada in his article in “Canada’s National Newspaper”.
Only lightly does he go anywhere near the political behaviour that permits the “accelerating trend” of “sheer corruption”. He asks – “Why don’t we prosecute corporate criminals and not just corporate crimes? And why don’t we set the fines to indicate that corporate crime doesn’t pay?”
Like “jesting Pilate” who asked “What is Truth?” Henry Mintzberg “does not stay for an answer”. He moves on quickly … and one might think … so he can avoid the central question. Put simply, no corporation can act corruptly, successfully or for long, if the lawmakers write good, tough laws and back them up with surveillance, regulation, and action.
The reason they don’t is partly answered by both professor Mintzberg’s opinion piece and by its publisher. The Globe and Mail has endorsed the Conservative Party and its present corrupt leader in the last three elections, and will doubtless do so again in this one despite growing evidence of Conservative “sheer corruption” (to use professor Mintzberg’s phrase).
Despite its clearly partisan support for the corrupt Conservative machine, the paper had the brass to hold (what many consider rigged) an “objective” debate of some Party leaders in which Stephen Harper was allowed to appear normal, decent, and honest! That had to be a brilliant piece of “sleight of hand”.
Anthony Hall writes of “Election Fraud Through Debate Rigging” in the Sept. 2015 Common Ground [p. 28]. The so-called Munk Debate, following the Globe and Mail debate, was only one of the venues set up to legitimize Stephen Harper and give him huge coverage where his continuing violations of parliamentary practice, his attacks on Canadian democracy, his predatory lying, and his almost certain criminal wrong-doing were not even hinted at.
The exclusion of Green Party’s Elizabeth May was simply an affirmation of the corporate power of The Globe and Mail’s owners and the owners of the Barrick complex of highly dubious companies – fronted by Peter Munk. As Henry Mintzberg writes: “we are living in a world where predatory capitalism is triumphing”.
Corporate Corruption and Canada
Why didn’t the Globe editors ask Henry Mintzberg to connect corporate corruption and government corruption with Canadian practices? That would have put two and two together: the fraud by Volkswagon is, finally, government approved. As is the glutinous mess called the Canadian Tar Sands industry and its endlessly polluting gas/oil Fracking cousin. As is the on-going expensive F35 aircraft fiasco. The de-industrialization of Ontario. The almost tax-free Corporate Life in Canada and the gigantic failure to respond to Global Warming here, to say nothing of the (permitted) international banditry of Canadian “international” corporations like the Barrick complex of companies.
Quite simply, there is no major Corporate Free Lunch unless government serves it up.
Writing in The Globe and Mail, Henry Mintzberg somehow forgets to include the conventional press and media as part of the growing “sheer corruption”. To debate in the major conventional press and media in Canada, one must agree never to bring Canadian corruption into clear focus … but to carefully “mis-focus” as professor Mintzberg does in his article. If anyone doesn’t believe that statement, look what all the Opposition Party leaders say – openly, loudly, and repeatedly – about Stephen Harper’s on-going corruption and the proved corruption of the Conservative Party of Canada.
They say NOTHING.
… and having said nothing about the on-going dishonesty, deep corruption to the extent of proved criminality, and the sewer-level attack methods of the Conservative machine, they have found themselves almost speechless against the probably racist, dishonest, religiously inflammatory, and/or cruel attacks by Chris Alexander, Jason Kenney, Stephen Harper and their clones upon women who wear face-coverings for religious reasons.
An Overseas Example….
As Canadians consider their own coming election, they might raise their eyes to examine the extent to which corporate corruption and its political twin can bring whole populations to their knees.
The Greek collapse involves marauding banks and financial institutions (i.e. Goldman Sachs), an expansionist Germany at the head of a gangster European Union – joining with corrupt politicians and corrupt corporations in Greece. Ten pages in the latest Journal of the Committee on Monetary and Economic Reform [COMER] detail the story (pp. 7-16). See also Philippe Lamberts, “La therapie de choc exige l’opacite”, Le Monde diplomatique, Oct. 2015, p. 12
What is key in the story (to Canadians) is that the Greek government, again and again – like Stephen Harper – claimed to be taking the best economic steps at home and abroad to defend Greece by entering foreign treaties and agreements. The present Syriza party as government, in a last gasp, has agreed to sell all of Greece’s assets to foreign (mostly German) buyers, and to raise taxes, to slash social services, wages, and pensions (to satisfy foreign “agreements”).
And In Canada ….
In the huge, almost secret, “economic” treaty Stephen Harper signed with China that country is invited to usurp Canadian sovereignty and to sue Canadian government (every tax-paying Canadian, that is) if under almost any condition Canada obstructs, prevents, or seems to prevent China’s “claim” to profit in Canada.
Since the FTA and the North American Free Trade Agreements Canada has faced (and paid) huge penalties for “obstructing” foreign profit-making in Canada. And it has lived a process of deindustrialization and “hollowing out” on behalf of giant foreign corporations, banks, and governments. To protect Canadians is to “offend” foreign interests making profit in Canada. Both the European economic agreement (CETA) and the so-called Trans-Pacific Partnership (a U.S. political initiative to surround China) contain attacks on Canadian sovereignty and penalties against Canadian economic initiatives or actions to assure Canadian employment and the vitality of Canadian enterprise.
The corrupt action of the Stephen Harper government in matters of Canadian administration [the corrupted senate, the Mike Duffy (sham) trial, the attack on voting rights in Canada, the attempts through dirty Robocalling to steal elections, the financing of deindustrialization on behalf of foreign corporations, the masking of fascist legislation in Omnibus Bills, the funnelling of public monies to Conservative uses, etc. etc. …] is matched by international treaties and policies less visible but probably even more devious and destructive.
When the hammer of corrupt foreign treaty-making begins visibly to bludgeon Canadians and their economy, the present Opposition leaders will be seen as something much, much worse than political failures. They will be seen as instruments (to use Henry Mintzberg’s phrase) of “predatory capitalism” who actively refused in this most important election to connect predatory capitalism loudly with Harper/Conservative Party on-going corruption. They will be seen for what they are: corrupt sell-outs who joined the neo-liberal transfer of government from Canadian elected representatives to largely foreign corporations – financial, entrepreneurial, State-owned – that care less-than-nothing for Canada or Canadians.
The level of “sheer corruption” that professor Mintzberg sees as an “accelerating trend” in the global community where “predatory capitalism is triumphing” is working with stunning success in Canada, openly, in front of us all – with the cooperation of all the Opposition political forces claiming to be guarding our welfare.