Klein & Adbusters

Ken Hanly khanly at mb.sympatico.ca
Wed Apr 5 18:10:19 PDT 2000

The Council of Canadians was founded in 1985 by a group of people including the novelist Farley Mowat and Pierre Berton. It is headquartered in Ottawa and has about 50 chapters across the nation, with well over 100,000 members.

Among its main campaigns in the last two years:

1) Blocking passage of MAI (Multilateral Agreement on Trade) of course with other organisations. Successful. (April 1998)

2) Withdrawal of "Senior's Benefit" (summer 1998) A program that would have taken away millions of dollars in retirement income.

3) Stopped bank mergers. The mergers would have meant 40,000 Canadians losing their jobs, a huge increase in service fees etc. (December 1998) NOTE: I think this was a non-issue and a great opportunity to promote credit unions and caisse populaires. As with Sam I do not agree with their politics.

4) Helped block approval of BGH (bovine growth hormone) which may be linked to cancer. (January 1999)

Their present campaign involves lobbying for legislation to enact legislation which prohibits large scale water exports. Just a few relevant facts.

1) In 1998 Nova Group applied for permission to sell 10 million litres of Lake Superior water each day to Asia. Under public pressure it withdrew the application.

2) This was peanuts compared to the next attempt. McCurdy Group of Newfoundland asked permission to export 52 billion litres of water a year from Gisborne Lake.

3) The Federal goverment has been pressuring provinces to sign a deal that could see water exported to the US. The problem here is that once Canada exports water to the US then we are bound by NAFTA to share our water with the US and we cannot charge more. If there is a shortage we must also ration equally between Canada and the US. If we do not agree to export we can be sued.

4) In the early 90's the BC provincial govt. banned water exports. Canada is now being sued by SUn Belt Water Inc. for 10.5 billion dollars for lost business as a result of not being able to import water from BC. I know nothing of the International Forum on Globalisation so I don't know if the Council of Canadians is part of that forum.

Doug Henwood wrote:
> [Barlow & the Council of Canadians are part of the creepy
> International Forum on Globalization crowd, no?]
> Date: Wed, 5 Apr 2000 19:16:09 -0400 (EDT)
> From: jesse hirsh <jesse at tao.ca>
> just so we don't confuse the two, check out the anti-adbusters site that
> we've initially setup at http://adbusters.tao.ca
> to quote from it: "this page is meant to be a resource countering the
> perception that adbusters magazine is 'left', 'progressive', or worth
> supporting in any political, economic, or cultural manner. often the work
> of tao communications is associated with the perspective or position of
> 'adbusters', and with the anticipated release of kalle lasn's (publisher
> of adbusters) book, we felt it important to gather various critiques of
> and examinations of adbusters and its mystique. "
> and now back to klein:
> On Wed, 5 Apr 2000, Sam Pawlett wrote:
> > Jesse Hirsh wrote:
> >
> > > >as for maude barlow or mcquaig, what do they do besides get a lot of media
> > > >attention? have they been building grassroots radical organizations? i
> > > >don't think so. i mean you might make the argument that the council of
> > > >canadians is grassroots or radical (it is neither) but maude barlow
> > > >herself was and may still be a member of the Liberal (governing) party,
> > > >and did once serve in the Prime Ministers' Office...
> >
> > Big deal. Ramsey Clark was the attorney general under Johnson I think
> > and he has done some good work around anti-imperialist issues e.g.
> > exposing war crimes against the Iraqi people. It is possible to have a
> > change of heart.
> well, many of my american friends and colleagues have had a lot to say on
> the negative influences ramsey clark has had on movement building and
> other coalitions or broad issue-based campaign. there are a lot of people
> who distrust him, and feel he is often a disruptive presence to broader
> solidarity work (due to dogma), not so much because of his background, but
> because of his current activities. i'm sure others on this list can speak
> to the validity of that impression.
> > Barlow's Council of Canadians is much closer to being a grassroots org
> > than any other comparably sized party or movement in this country. It
> > has grown to something like 150,000 members now.
> i disagree. the Council of Canadians, much like the NDP (centre-left
> party) are really top-down organizations, that have very little rank and
> file democracy, and have pretty much no way of influencing the leadership
> or holding them accountable. i was at a demo held in ottawa around an OECD
> ecommerce ministerial meeting, where a broad coalition had been formed, by
> labour, students, radicals, and the council of canadians, which staged a
> nice (and entertaining) protest. however near the end of the demo, the
> chair of the OECD came out, acting all neoliberal concerned like, and
> asked if anyone wanted to come inside the ministerial to represent the
> concerns of ordinary people. everyone at the protest said: "no, you have
> to bring the minister's on the street to meet us, cause that's when and
> where we have the power" but instead maude barlow nominated herself to go
> in and be part of the ministerial as the token of "civil society". it was
> pretty crappy thing to do, and the coalition later fell apart since nobody
> wanted to support such hijacking of grassroots process and organizing...
> > Both Barlow and Mcquaig give speaking tours whenever they can and
> > charge nothing if you can't pay.
> to get back to the initial topic, this is what naomi does as well. in fact
> many people do this, and do so for free, i.e. they pay their own way. i
> think the really great thing about naomi is that she doesn't belong to any
> group, but instead help sout many many gruops. that to me is grassroots.
> not a single group with lots of people, but many groups that serve many
> more people. that's a movement. that's where i see the struggle taking
> shape. not one big vanguard party in the sky. ;)
> > They're politics certainly aren't mine --the nationalism
> > drives me
> > up the wall-- but they deserve credit for putting out some kind of
> > alternative to neo-liberal capitalism. Even if Barlow just wants to
> > restore the Canada of 1975, that's better than what we have now.
> there are many more articulate and coherent alternatives in canada other
> than the Council of Canadians. i mean, maybe i'm spoiled cause i live in
> toronto, but i do know all across the country there are radical and dare i
> say revolutionary community and grassroots groups..
> > Big media attention is exactly
> > what the left needs now. There's a potentially large constituency for
> > left ideas, the message just needs to get out there and that means using
> > any means possible.
> i agree whole heartedly. in fact, i think the left needs to start making
> more television. that's where the people are. we need to take our messages
> and movements to the people, and a great way to do so is by making our own
> tv. to do this however, is a struggle in its own right...
> > If Black thinks Maude Barlow should be shot that is
> > a pretty good endorsement of her.
> but that does not make her a good or a grassroots leader. in fact i think
> its black deliberately holding her up so she can easily be taken out.
> > I've heard Mcquaig speak a few times and she is sympathetic to
> > marxism and socialism. Her books are ok. though they are filled with
> > errors. If she can get her ideas out through the Post or the Glib and
> > Stale that's great.
> is it though? i mean when in the capitalist press we need to diversify our
> stories, but i also think the real issue is building our own (mass) media.
> jesse at tao.ca

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