Letters to the Editor
Monday, October 22, 2012
In response to the lengthy diatribe from Mischa Popof, long on accusation and short on fact, I first suggest that rather than standing up and supporting any Liberal Party potential leader, they first sit down and do a bit of research. I appreciate that Popof has a degree in history, but it apparently didn't include recent Canadian history.
Apart from her own impuissant (from the French, by the way) effete, and unnecessarily disrespectful adjectives, Popof should cease repeating lies. Yes, lies. What Popof presents is neither partial truth nor half-truth. It can not even be gently categorized disingenuous nor as misinformation. It is outright lies.
The Indian Act does not prevent First Nations people from owning property. Quite the opposite. The Indian Act is the legislation that codifies the treaties made with First Nations, and clearly puts control of land in the hands of the band council. Article 20 (1). Nothing in the Act precludes a member of any First Nation from owning off-reserve land.
There is little to no evidence that the Canada Health Act has, in and of itself, killed people. Yes, people die on transplant wait lists but unless Popof is suggesting the government should forcibly remove organs from Canadians who in her view are less worthy of life, public health care is not a cause. In most measurable health care outcomes, Canada leads the "free market" United States.
The Official Languages Act was not intended to change Canada's linguistic landscape so it is well that it did not. Is Popof advocating social engineering?
The National Energy Program, which admittedly did take several billions of dollars from the then-stronger economies of Ontario and Quebec and invest them in developing Alberta tar sands, was most certainly not the cause of the economic disruptions of the early 1980s. Oil prices, of obvious importance to most Albertans, were affected by the remaining price controls of the Nixon Administration. Why would any U.S. refinery choose $24+ Canadian oil over $16 domestic product. They would not. When U.S. demand dropped closer to domestic production, the first suppliers to be affected were, logically, the more expensive imports, including those from Canada.
There is absolutely no relevance in the discussion on Clinton, Microsoft and Apple. No Canadian companies were broken up by the Trudeau Government - or is this just fear mongering by an ill-informed right wing fanatic?
Americans may pay less for communications services because there are ten times as many of them in less space. Yet, amazingly, back when communications was in the hands of regulated monopolies, most Canadians enjoyed less expensive service than our American counterparts. This may not have been true in socialist Alberta where the Provincial Government owned the phone company and set the rules, but in my limited experience, service from AGT exceeded that of Telus. Likewise our transportation appears to be more expensive but that is because we go further. And NONE of this is "strictly controlled by Ottawa" unless Popof is referring to the Harper Government's control of wages in the transportation sector. (Apparently not prices, though.)
No Liberal Government has been anti-free enterprise. Not one. Not ever. Never! To suggest such is an outright lie. However, Liberals do believe in a degree of regulation in the public interest. For example Canada's banking system is "free enterprise" and Liberal regulations prevented the conditions that allowed systemic collapse in the United States from occurring here. Again, though, Popof ignores Albertans' dearth of love for Canada's free enterprise banking system that led to the creation of ATB.
Popof's mention of Standard Oil, "the most cruel, impudent, pitiless, and grasping monopoly that ever fastened upon a country" according to the New York World in the 1880s, and later broken up by the U.S. government, is amusing. The Sherman Antitrust Act was drafted by a Republican, passed unanimously by Congress and signed into law by Harrison, a Republican President specifically to oppose Rockefeller's Standard Oil Trust. To suggest for a moment that Standard Oil (Esso) lowered the cost of fuel to consumers is again false. Today, at our friendly neighbourhood Esso in Calgary we are paying $1.17 per litre, despite a from-the-ground cost of $15-18/bbl, and a heavy oil cost of $30/bbl which should give us gas at half the current pump price. But, alas, big oil is largely unregulated.
Now let's look at the biggest lie of all - government spending. We won't even pick on Canada`s largest spending government ever, the current one. Let`s just look at history. Total government spending, including health care and universities which are at least partially provincial, in the Trudeau era (`68 to `79) never rose above 37% of GDP, while in the Mulroney era, (`84 to `93) it never fell below 43%, peaking over 51% in 1993. Hurray for conservative Conservatives.
Sounds like Popoff should get a bit of a refund on her tuition to me.
Don Thompson, Calgary
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