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LETTER: The Council’s executive director responds to the Globe editorial

This weekend, the Globe and Mail editorial board wrote, “On credit cards, greenhouse-gas emissions and automobile-industry insolvencies, not to mention infrastructural stimulus, Canadian policy-makers are increasingly echoing the policies of the United States. But since the Obama administration took power, such conformities have not aroused much nationalistic indignation.” They then conclude that, “While the Council of Canadians, for example, continues to oppose what it calls ‘deep integration’ with the United States, it has not launched a campaign to criticize this latest wave of harmonization. Apparently, it makes a difference to many Canadian nationalists when the trend in the allegedly hegemonic power is toward social-democratic dirigisme.”

Today, Council of Canadians executive director John Urquhart’s response was published in the Globe and Mail. He writes, “The Globe editorial board pays the Council of Canadians a fine (if unintended) compliment by acknowledging that, in matters of Canada-U.S. policy, we subscribe not to ‘my country right or wrong’ but to the right policy for both countries. But why limit the compliment to us? Are there no Liberals and New Democrats, Greens and Bloc Québécois, Conservatives and, yes, Americans who share our demand for more democratic accountability in trade policy, greener energy alternatives, public health care? Of course there are – endless polls attest to it, as does the fact that no one has yet won a federal election on an undisguised promise to ditch public health care in favour of private U.S.-style care or grant the oil and gas industry licence to pollute the environment to the point of it becoming a toxic desert. Not everyone needs subscribe to ‘social-democratic dirigisme’ or bear the label of ‘anti-American’ to make the right choice in the public interest.”

Thank you to chapter activist Gwyn Frayne who also wrote, “How ironic that the Globe and Mail is now criticizing the Council of Canadians (CoC) for being too silent since President Obama was elected! Specifically, the criticism seems to be that the CoC should have had more to say on the harmonization of Canadian and American policies around green-house gas emissions, climate change, energy, labour concessions, etc. One solution would be for the editorial staff of the paper to offer a regular column to the CoC. It would be of great benefit to the country to have an on-going analysis of how we can keep our sovereignty, our water protected and our rights as Canadians maintained and not overlooked in these extraordinary times of economic crises. We do not want the current global crisis, as Naomi Klein warns, to hasten the ‘deep integration.’ The CoC has great thinkers involved who are able to filter the effects of harmonization and offer a better alternative.”

John’s letter to the editor can be read at http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/letters-to-the-editor/the-nationalists-are-writing/article1151344/.

The original editorial is at http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/editorials/the-nationalists-are-silent/article1150504/.