TILMA: The Neocon Agenda
Completing the Destruction of The Post-WW2 Socialized Capitalist State
All that it is really necessary to know and understand are the basics of the deal, and the essential political/ideological characters of the parties to the agreement, if one does not already.
“TILMA is the BC/Alberta Trade, Investment, and Labour Mobility Agreement. This agreement, which goes far beyond existing trade agreements, was signed by British Columbia and Alberta in April, 2006, after zero consultation with the general public. Although few people realize it even exists, it will come into effect in April, 2007. “
But according to Ellen Gould a consultant who has advised various local governments, consumer groups and other organizations on the potential impacts of trade agreements, TILMA’s purpose, in the spirit and intent of NAFTA and the NAU at the level of bi-lateral relations internationally, between Canada and the US, is really much more far reaching and sinister in its implications for the economy, the Canadian and provincial state apparatus, and the hereto relatively more benign dominant ideology which has underpinned Western World Capitalism since the end of WW 2: being the ideological notion of a Socialized Capitalism. This notion hereto even, having enjoyed generally wide support amongst the working class and other of its lower class strata, here and in Western Europe.
“TILMA limits government’s ability to govern at both the provincial and local levels. The agreement is essentially a long list of things governments will be prohibited from doing, regardless of whether they are acting completely within their jurisdiction. Even if a majority of citizens in a province are demanding a new government initiative, the government will be blocked from acting if the initiative would conflict with TILMA. TILMA enables private investors to challenge governments, allowing commercial interests to trump the public good.”
Ellen Gould argues that Canada’s most ideologically right-wing provincial governments have, in fact, joined forces in an agreement that erodes their own powers- ,and now they are trying to sell other provinces on the deal. Ellen Gould argues that the rest of Canada would be well-advised to reject the deal as an attack on their very right to govern.
So why would right wing governments erode their own powers and ability to govern, you might well ask?
Most succinctly put, leave it to private enterprise. Particularly global/continental corporate enterprise of course.
Despite the bullshit Western Canada boosterism being used to sell the agreement to an unsuspecting public. its real intent is to complete the destruction of the old Socialized Capitalism State that arose out of the working of even then class limited democracy, in Post-WW2 western capitalist societies-, and to replace it with a new kind of gangster/fascist state model, isolated and “protected” from the influence of the people and their organizations, and beholden only to corporatist interests and imperatives. (Which is really not a “new” model at all, of course, but a return in fact to a much older model of Dickensian Era capitalism such as existed during and before the Victorian period .)
On a recent CBC news programme I listened to within the last couple of days, for example, getting public reaction around the most recent Harper Conservative government’s budget, one especially neocon representative, whose name and organization I cannot recall at the moment, was really pissed at even the few crumbs it tossed to the public, in order as he rightly claimed, “…to buy the next election.”
What he and his conservative businessmen’s group were advocating for was, the making it illegal for any government, six months in advance of an election (during a period when, especially in the case of a minority government, “the people’s” influence is at its highest, with the best opportunity to wring concessions out of a majority seeking government) to bring in any new social legislation or spending programmes. The intent being to further staunch the people’s influence and benefit during a period of capitalist state vulnerability, within even the current limited democracy potential anyway, and prevent it making concession to the ordinary citizenry.
TILMA is fundamentally that kind of legislation. It is to tie the hands of the Capitalist State and its functioning, to limit its scope for serving “the peoples” interest, and to put much of the decision making and ability to function for the good of “all society”, such as had previously existed in the now passing Socialized State model, into the hands of the new corporate “private enterprise” sacred cow.
Again as consultant Ellen Gould said in a recent article:
“A study done for the BC government in the late 1990s pointed out that trade barriers among the provinces are actually very low, meaning that, contrary to the recent claims of Hansen and Mar, “efforts to liberalize inter-provincial trade will have almost no effect on inter-provincial trade flows.” Any projections of TILMA-related economic growth are, consequently, iffy at best. The agreement is certain, on the other hand, to result in deregulation, private sector challenges to government programs and policies, and the termination of economic development initiatives.
Far from being a recipe for prosperity or a stronger Canadian union, this agreement in fact represents a major step towards deep integration with the US—the process of harmonizing Canadian and US policies and regulations.”
The full reality is that TILMA is an extension of the NAFTA and North American Union process already well underway in this country. Indeed, TILMA is in fact more dangerous than NAFTA in its threat to, at least, even nominally democratically controlled capitalist governments.
“Already, NAFTA suits launched by private investors have meant that Canada has had to pay millions of dollars in compensation because it refused to export PCBs (which would have been a violation of its international environmental commitments). And the Canadian government is now in danger of losing a NAFTA challenge to Canada Post launched by UPS, the American parcel delivery firm. Less obvious is the damage done by the “chill effect” from the threat of investor lawsuits under NAFTA, such as when the federal government backed away from requiring plain-paper packaging of cigarettes or when Ontario and New Brunswick were dissuaded from introducing public auto insurance.
TILMA, however, goes even further than NAFTA in creating legal jeopardy for governments. The grounds that private investors can sue over are limited in NAFTA to clauses in Chapter 11 (investment) and Chapter 15 (state enterprises). In contrast, a private investor can take a government to a TILMA dispute panel over “any matter regarding the interpretation or application of this Agreement” (emphasis added). “
TILMA is but one more nail in the coffin of the notion of an independent and self-sufficient Canada , possessed of its own sovereign State, and possessed of the powers to serve its own people’s interest, and be subject to their will.
This is, simply put, a traitorous crime being committed against this country and our people, in the name of a goddamn continental, corporatist serving “free enterprise”.