James Madison Rocks All Of Canada

photo by Reuters/ Chris Wattie

photo by Reuters/ Chris Wattie

*edit, October 25 – A few small things. The astute reader may have guessed that I didn’t say exactly what I meant to say in one spot, without impacting my message however. I meant to say that Stephen Harper’s way of dealing with ‘poverty’ was to reduce democracy. Does the dictator discuss with all Canadians the busy free trade deal-making his government does? No. Also, again, We see educated people using the word ‘staunch’ in place of ‘stanch’. Sheesh!

Terrorism rocks Ottawa | Toronto Star.

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

The heart of Canada’s democracy came under attack Wednesday in a brazen shooting that left a soldier dead, a parliamentary security guard wounded, and Canadians reeling at images of violence in the national capital.

In an unprecedented morning assault, a single gunman fired on a ceremonial soldier standing guard at the National War Memorial before storming onto Parliament Hill, where he burst through the main doors of Centre Block, ran past rooms where NDP and Conservative MPs, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper, were meeting.

Behind him in chase was a cluster of security officials and police officers, their guns drawn.

A volley of shots rang out, with Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers, a long-time veteran of the RCMP, reportedly shooting the gunman, later identified by a Canadian security source as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau…

In a televised address to the nation Wednesday evening, Harper’s voice shook as he paid tribute to Cirillo, slain at a “sacred place that pays tribute to those who gave their lives so that we can live in a free, democratic and safe society.”

My online response to the above linked-to article follows:

I’m going to try hard to not read or listen to Harper’s words. He’s in the James Madison camp. Harper deals with democracy by reducing it so that the poor (including security ‘officers’ like myself) can’t use it to bring fairness into the picture. I cringe when I hear tools like him and Obama conflate the interests of their violent class with the interests of the 99%, especially those within it who are desperately poor. “Part of the doctrinal system,” here as in the US, “is the pretense that we’re all a happy family, there are no class divisions, and everybody is working together in harmony,” wrote Noam Chomsky in “Power Systems.” Tax evading corporations ferreted away a record $185 billion in 2013, while the Can fed gov, contrary to what Jim Flaherty may have indicated would happen, laid off hundreds of CRA auditors. My security co. has NEVER given me a raise in the 8 years I’ve worked for it. But I did get a thank you for my work from Norm Kelly here in TO. Can I cash that in somewhere?

The auto lovefest for all things military and police, if not objectivity and honesty, will now activate. For example, they are calling this event unprecedented. As Thomas Walkom (who is still tolerated at the Star) noted in his October 22 article, “Ottawa Attack Threatens To Panic Canadians,” this attack is not unprecedented.

Thoughts expressed in my online response reflect information I’m getting from Noam Chomsky’s “Power Systems,” which I’m reading right now. I picked it up a couple weeks ago because it fits nicely in a small case I carry around with me. Otherwise, I have plenty of books yet to read, including another by Chomsky. I just happened to run out of smallish books for carrying around in this case.

Here’s the passage in “Power Systems” I was thinking of when I spoke about the conflation of the 1%’s interests with the 99%’s interests that tools like Obama and Harper do regularly:

We’re taught to talk about the world as a world of states conceived as unified, coherent entities. If you study international relations (IR) theory, there’s what’s called “realist” IR theory, which says there is an anarchic world states and states pursue their “national interest.” It’s in large part mythology. There are a few common interests, like we don’t want to be destroyed. But, for the most part, people within a nation have very different interests. The interests of the CEO of General Electric and the janitor who cleans his floor are not the same. Part of the doctrinal system in the United States is the pretense that we’re all a happy family, there are no class divisions, and everybody is working together in harmony. But that’s radically false.” -pg 8

Here’s the passage in “Power Systems” I referred to when talking about James Madison:

In his book Politics, which is the foundation of the study of political systems, and very interesting, Aristotle talked mainly about Athens… He said democracy is probably the best system, but it has problems. One problem that he was concerned with is striking because it runs right up to the present. He pointed out that in a democracy, if the people – people didn’t mean people, it meant freeman, not slaves, not women – had the right to vote, the poor would be the majority, and they would use their voting power to take away property from the rich, which wouldn’t be fair, so we have to prevent this.

James Madison made the same point, but his model was England. He said if freemen had democracy, the the poor farmers would insist on taking property from the rich. They would carry out what we these days call land reform. And that’s unacceptable. Aristotle and Madison faced the same problem but made the opposite decisions. Aristotle concluded that we should reduce inequality so the poor wouldn’t take property from the rich… Madison’s decision was the opposite. We should reduce democracy so the poor won’t be able to get together to do this. – pgs 84,85

My figure for the Canadian money ferreted away in tax havens in 2013 came from the most recent newsletter from Canadians For Tax Fairness, which newsletters I get via email. Here’s a bit more. For your convenience, I activated one of the links (to a letter to the editor from Dennis Howlett) that were in the original:

Taking It to the Premiers:

At the end of August I took our message to Charlottetown where Premiers and territorial leaders held their annual Council of the Federation meeting.

Most provincial and territorial governments rely on the Canada Revenue Agency to raise their revenue. Under the CRA’s watch, Canadian money in tax havens has ballooned to an all-time high – an estimated $185 billion in 2013. Almost $63 billion of that is in the popular tax haven of Barbados – an island paradise that is one-tenth the size of PEI, where the premiers held their late summer gathering.

In this editorial published in The Charlottetown Guardian, I explain why premiers need to lean on the federal government and the Canada Revenue Agency to stem the flow of Canadian money offshore. Retrieving that money could prevent cuts to provincial services and avoid harmful austerity measures that have negative impacts on everything from transportation and environmental safety to education.

Are premiers ready to admit that tackling tax havens and loopholes might be a better path than slashing services? We’ve received letters from some provincial leaders acknowledging the issue – and we are hoping to continue that conversation from St. John’s to Victoria in the coming year.

Voters certainly see the connection. They packed the room at a Town Hall on Tax Havens and Loopholes where I was a featured speaker along with PEI Senator Percy Downe. He has been raising a ruckus about the government’s inaction on secret bank accounts that thousands of Canadians have set up in Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

Staunching the Flow

Canada has the lowest corporate tax rate in the G7. Has that created corporate loyalty here? Has it boosted job creation? In a word – no. It seems this is still not good enough for many Canadian corporations.

It isn’t just Google, Starbucks and Amazon playing tax games. Canadian corporations like Cameco and Gildan use complex, opaque practices to shift profits into low or no-tax jurisdictions. This results in many publicly traded Canadian companies paying an effective tax rate well below the already low corporate tax rate.

According to data from KPMG, big Canadian corporations lead the international pack when it comes to the difference in paying stated corporate tax rates and effective rates.

So how do you stop Canadian multi-nationals from setting up subsidiaries in offshore tax havens so that they can avoid paying Canadian taxes? NDP Revenue Critic Murray Rankin has proposed legislation (Bill C-621) that would make it easier for government and the courts to crack down on those who are playing the system. The changes focus on “economic substance”. Corporations must be able to prove a transaction has economic purpose aside from reducing the amount of tax owed. Setting up a storefront office in Cayman Islands or Switzerland and then sending large invoices back to the Canadian head office charging “management” or “licensing fees” would no longer be acceptable.

It is one step towards fixing a broken system. You can encourage your MP to support this bill here.

About James Madison, Wikipedia will give you some facts but not the truth (as is the case often for Wikipedia). Here’s the Third World Traveler’s website search page. Type in “James Madison” and get informed: http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/htdig/search.html

James Madison

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