Free Trade, The European Union and all that:
People are freaking out after the Brexit vote which saw the English people voting 52% to 48% in favour of leaving the European Union.
A bit of history:
The European Common Market (ECM, later the European Economic Community, the EEC) was formed in the 1950’s when 6 countries – France, West Germany, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg and Italy came together.
England tried to get in but France’s de Gaulle kept her out, questioning the UK’s commitment to Europe. In the end, with de Gaulle a dead duck and out of the picture, England gets admitted simultaneous to Denmark and Eire (Irish Republic). This occurred in 1973.
Trudeau has said that he “left other parties in the dust” with a popular vote of less than 40%. Many elections are won and lost with less than a 52% majority : Take the 1960 US presidential election when Kennedy squeezed out less than 50% majority win. 49.72 % vs. 49.55% where Nixon becomes the first man in history to lose a Presidential election despite the fact that he carried more states than his opponent, Kennedy, in this case.
JFK, the beloved philanderer and noted womanizer par excellence, glorified by the American people today simply because he was shot down by a deranged maniac in the prime of his life.
Tricky Dick Nixon, speaking of liars.
And speaking of tricky Dick – I remember a poster with a picture of Nixon on it, his five o’clock shadow prominent as usual, with the following cut line:
“Would you buy a used car from this man”?
Even in the defeat of McGovern in 1972, Nixon lost only one or two states and ended up with only about 60% of the popular vote.
All this to provide some historical context for my argument as follows: there is a petition going around stating that something like 2/3 (66.7%) of the British population should be required to say NO to Europe, rather than the 52% that actually did and, consequently, that the British government be petitioned to call a second referendum because they don’t like the result of the first.
Remember our feelings right here in Quebec when the PQ called the second referendum on separation in 1995 after what was called a “stunning” defeat in the 1980 referendum on Sovereignty Association (60% to 40% against, that time).
Setting the bar at 66.7% is way too high.
We have environmental laws which other countries like the USA supposedly have to respect when exploiting our natural resources for example. Free Trade hurts the working people whose wages must be kept low in order for any country to compete with others sans tariff protection.
Speaking of which, when is free trade not free trade? When tariffs and quotas continue to exist on foreign cars and parts entering Canada from the United States, regardless of their memberships in NAFTA. It’s a rhetorical question, by the way.
Same thing within Canada : even with free trade established long ago as a principle of inter-provincial trade, Ontario continues to protect its brewing industry by levying tariffs and/or quotas on beer imported from Quebec. Free trade among the provinces was supposed to be one of the cornerstones of the pro-Confederation movement which ended up creating this country in 1867.
Question: What do American beer and making love in a canoe have in common?
Answer: They’re both fucking close to water.
During the Free Trade Debate period in the latter 1980’s, one top executive of the then-government Crown Corporation, Canadair, speaks to around 1500 “line workers”, telling them that a vote for the Conservative Party in the upcoming 1988 (?) election would be a vote pro the adoption of the FTA with the United States, one of the planks in P.M. Brian Mulroney’s election platform.
Now there’s a liar that puts Hillary and Trump to shame – “Lyin’ Brian” we used to call him.
Anyway, back to the Canadair story: what the fuck do the workers know? Are they willing to take the chance that their jobs will be endangered and vote against Mulroney, in an effort to jettison the proposed Free Trade Agreement, or are they going to do what the executive suggests, supporting and casting their votes for Lyin’ Brian and free trade without knowing much about its implications other than what one of their big bosses has just told them? Rest assured of one thing though : that boss and others within the corporate greed structure knew damn well that Free Trade was a great deal for them and their already corpulent bank accounts.
That’s it for today.
Hello to my editor, John Fasciano
Peace and love.