Ken Bell (Chatham-Kent - Essex, Green Party of Canada)

There is a way out

For some time now, there has been an expansion of corporate control into the common good. We know that, corporations maximize profits for their investors, externalize costs and eliminate competition. Competition may be defined as the portion of a recognized market share that is presently not under a particular corporations control. What this means is that when any corporation is allowed to own, even the tiniest portion of a good or service, the remaining portion is seen to be either untapped resource or owned by the competition, whether that competition exists or not.

The privatization of the common good is being achieved through the deregulation of, social services, government institutions and basic natural resources. Governments have been complicit by downloading the costs of services, while implementing increasing standards of high cost inputs. What were once simple acts of kindness or the resources to fulfill basic human needs are now commodities to be bought and sold on an open market. Investors then have a choice of taking from, or adding to, the common good or purchasing portions of it for their own private use. Regulation via taxes or legislation, or through subsidies and venture capital are some of the very few tools that governments have to keep corporate control in check. N.G.O.'s and citizen groups have practiced ethical investment, social marketing, political and economic lobbying and media campaigns to react to crimes against the common good. Sadly with little total effect.

It has been suggested by members of one of our National parties that large multinational corporations should have a say in any of our national legislation which affects their ability to gather profits. This comes as no surprise considering the steadily increasing grip on all aspects of our society by large multinationals under existing governments. This would open the floodgates of deregulation and privatization of all aspects of civil society and natural resources. At this point, governments would become nothing more than the scapegoats for social ills and a point of last resort for the underprivileged, while corporations provide all of the goods of society, at a price adjusted by profit margins to those who could afford them.

We are at a point in Canada, where Governments must take positive, decisive action to define and secure the common good for future generations.

We can enact intelligent taxation that shifts taxes from those goods and services, which benefit the common good to those things, which do not.

We can reduce the need for high inputs in all economic sectors, by providing consumer access to more levels of the market chain, at prices which reflect the true costs. For example, complementary health care would be made available on the basis of the preventative costs to society that it provides. Pre-production agricultural goods, would be made available on a per-cost basis and mandatory labeling of G.M.O.'s would be implemented. Pre-production industrial products would be made available on an open market, creating diversity at all levels of the production chain .

We can, through the Minister of National Revenue, calculate the externalized costs that corporations impose upon the common good, and tax accordingly.

We can create Crown Corporations that compete head to head with multinationals on a zero profit/zero loss basis so as to regulate local markets via competition, similar to the original intent of PetroCanada.

We can enact legislation that makes it illegal to commodify defined portions of the common good, as exists in many countries throughout the world.

We can build powerful N.G.O's that act in partnership with the Governments of Canada, in a similar way to the Nature Conservancy.

We can provide legislative funding for citizen groups whose interests qualify as defending or building the common good.

We can, through a Federal Minister of Education, completely fund post secondary education for those fields that are required by the business sector. Under the condition that the graduates sign a 5-year contract to work exclusively in Canada or for Canadian Crown corporations, in a similar way to what Ireland has already done.

We can enact legislation that makes it illegal for all corporate entities to participate in legislative processes in Canada.

Canada belongs to us, the citizens. We are the government. For too long, Canadians have been complacent in distraction while our national treasures have been plundered by corporate greed. We have sacrificed sustainability and civil society for profit margins and return on investments, and we have been sold a bill of goods with the high input model of production.

We can begin to act now

Explore the Issues, Read the Platforms, Take Charge and .....VOTE!

Ken Bell

Chatham-Kent Essex Green Party