[The following article was written shortly after I followed David Orchard on his Vancouver Island Tour in 1998, and while I was producing a promotional video for Orchard's 1998 Progressive Conservative Party leadership campaign.]
The media believes in horse-race reporting, i.e. here comes Clark, Clark's coming down, coming up behind it's Segal, Segal moving up, Clark's looking over his shoulder, here comes Segal as they move into the first turn... Say that out loud as fast as you can, and you'll have a good idea what to expect out of the press in the months leading up to the PC leadership race.
That's why you may get very little chance to hear what anyone, let alone David Orchard, actually has to say about anything. But if you do, listen very carefully. Orchard combines the analytical relentlessness of Noam Chomsky with the charisma and flair for realpolitik of Pierre Trudeau. Stompin' Tom Connors, on hearing of Orchard for the first time, immediately ordered all his writings and speeches (there's a hefty whack of them) and pledged undying support. It is this power of conversion Orchard is now focusing full-force on the Conservative Party of Canada.
Born to farming in Saskatchewan, Orchard has carefully nurtured his non-partisan stance since he finally leapt into federal politics in 1985 to fight Free Trade. Forming alliances with whoever happened to share his rock-solid objectives (which have remained consistent to the present), it really shouldn't be that surprising that he's been sucked into the gaping vacuum of leadership in this country today.
John Crosbie, quick to dis-endorse Orchard, is perhaps still smarting from the thrashing Orchard gave him in the Free Trade debates back in the 89 election. He says Orchard is entering the Tory race for publicity. Meanwhile, the first Maude Barlow quote in Toronto's Eye Weekly on the subject seemed rather confused -- she wondered who in the party would support him. Barlow, whose pro-Canada agenda could replace Orchard's without voiding your vehicle's warranty, should be pounding the pavement with him to drum up support.
But both these reactions are beside the point. Orchard has a loyal base following among all the parties, and among many who hold no affiliation. It is these masses who hold the power here. The media has yet to recognize this in their Orchard coverage, and it is as usual up to Orchard to let the public know, whenever he can get a word in, that he plans to sign up new members for the party until he can build a majority from his converts, wherever he finds them.
This is how Orchard managed to force the federal election in 1989. He simply appealed directly to voters to call a Senate 1-800 number and demand that the Senators block the Free Trade Agreement. The left thought this was foolish; the NDP and the Council of Canadians wanted to abolish the Senate because it's undemocratic. John Turner was afraid to use the Senate this way for the first time ever, and for no less purpose than to block North America's largest legislation in history. But Orchard and his organization, Citizens Concerned About Free Trade, succeeded in forcing Canada to the polls. Because of the first-past-the-post system, however, the Tories got a majority of seats despite a majority anti-FTA popular vote. Orchard has always been a believer in proportional representation, too, but that's another story.
And it is, of course, the American domination of our country that Orchard gets really fired up about. Orchard reels off horror stories, which have yet to be challenged, of CN being sold off at fire-sale prices to American corporations in exchange for Liberal Party campaign contributions. He also laments the oil being piped out of Canada at a net loss -- our government supplies free water out of tax money to pump the oil out. Further, he says, our great export boom with America consists chiefly of US corporations trading with their subsidiaries in Canada, which is hardly something to brag about. Brian Mulroney's first press conference as our Prime Minister was held in Washington, DC, beside Ronald Reagan. They announced that they would be going ahead with economic union -- the FTA. Mulroney's 1983 leadership funding, according to Dalton Camp, was American. 'Obviously the money is not coming from inside the country,' Camp said at the time. No doubt many rat-like US funders have fled the sinking Tory ship since then, but others surely remain.
Then the Liberals, in their 1993 landslide, chose to ignore the monolithic mandate they had received to reject all the Conservative policies. Instead, they carried on Mulroney's agenda almost without missing a beat -- social program cuts, for example, continued apace, as did the GST -- despite the fact that Canadians had yanked away all but two Conservative seats. The most major reversal was on NAFTA, which the Liberals had explicitly campaigned against and which undoubtedly put votes on their side; Chretien ratified the deal without, as Orchard loves to say, "changing so much as a single comma in it."
If you don't believe that economic union is the goal of these trade agreements, you are beyond semantics. Just check out this website if it hasn't been deleted by CIA hypno-robot assassins. It contains the official declaration of the Parliamentary Conference of the Americas in October of 1997, which names 2005 as the target date for full hemispheric integration. 800 delegates representing just about every house of every state, provincial, and federal legislature in North and South America gathered in Quebec City, hosted by Lucien Bouchard and Daniel Johnson -- which most will agree is a pact made in hell. Globalization weakens federal governments, and thus in the eyes of some short-sighted separatists provides a side-step to independence.
Little do they realise how harshly the global corporations will dispatch their little provincial defenses when that federal power level isn't standing in between. Today's foolish separatists also forget the Marxist rhetoric that fuelled the FLQ. White Niggers of America, written by the FLQ's Pierre Valieres, calls on Quebecois to join forces with the Black Panthers and other radicals to smash the imperialist capitalists, not open the borders to them. English Canada was only a side-show to this battle, and it's too bad for Canada that circumstances pitted America-resisters Trudeau and Levesque against one another.
But Quebecois take note, the integrationist PCA discussion paper asks an interesting question: 'The possibility of promoting ones own culture often depends on having large financial resources and the latest technological tools. In this regard, do the indigenous communities or the most marginalized social groups have the resources that would enable them to benefit from the opportunities provided by the new technologies?'
Can they take advantage of 'new technologies' to 'promote' their culture?! New technologies are overpowering and killing distinct culture, including Anglo-Canadian and Quebecois. So are globist attitudes which despise the protection of culture industries. Furthermore, as for indigenous cultures which have been around for thousands of years... promotion!? They don't need websites or DVD, they need economic protection from agribusiness, for example, who expropriate traditional lands and force people into jammed cities. It proves the integrationists' lack of respect for culture that they think it needs to be promoted, and not merely enjoyed by its creators in peace!
While our Prime Minister was laughing at peppersprayed demonstrators at the globist APEC summit in Vancouver in the fall of 1997, Orchard was working with many other organizations to stop the globist MAI (do I still have to explain that it's the Multilateral Agreement on Investment?). At packed meetings across Canada, Orchard debated and explained the issue, flushing out the Reform Party who embarrassingly contradicted themselves and pretended to have no position on the deal. At one event in Mission, BC, which I attended, Orchard's Reform opponent claimed not even to know he was meant to debate. He kept insisting that he'd boarded a plane in Ottawa that morning in order to explain the Reform Party's position that they had no position. He then proceeded to attack everything Orchard said against the MAI, and there was a chuckle in the room when Orchard said, "Well, for someone who came here not in favour of the MAI he's certainly warmed up to it pretty quick."
Chretien and his government were so unwilling to take on the issue that Orchard was forced to debate a senior officer of IBM Canada on the merits of the MAI. Doug Gregory, the IBM man who is also on the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, clearly illustrated the business stance on globalization when he couldn't remember the word "responsibilities" until someone prompted him. Orchard believes the MAI would be a death-blow for Canada, locking us in for 20 years to a deal which would make all our social programs and pro-Canadian business incentives eventually illegal. Asked whether privatization of schools was something he supported, Gregory merely said, "As long as foreign corporations are treated the same as Canadian ones."
There's some urgency, to understate slightly, that someone actually wield power in opposition to this type of major yet quiet undertaking. MAI was flushed out by groups like David Orchard's and Ralph Naders', forcing the semi-coherent cabal of bankers, investors and politicians to scramble for a defense or try to keep everything quiet. The MAI is still being negotiated, by the way. It hasn't gone anywhere except underground until November. That's after the PC convention, I might add, so the outcome of the leadership race could be a major factor in the MAI's fate. There will certainly be a desperate urgency among the MAI's backers to keep Orchard absolutely silenced, if their previous behaviour with regards to that deal is anything to go by. Did you know we've already implemented a free trade agreement with Chile? It's on the web too. Go find it.
Oh, I forgot, you still think this is all in my head. The national media lends more credibility to establishment propaganda, like the Canada 2005 report (there's that date again) published by the Privy Council, the Prime Minister's chief source of policy advice. Canada 2005 calls for closer economic integration with the U.S. It claims that taxes are sending our best and brightest down to America. Could this perhaps be caused by the destruction of our industries and the elimination of jobs through free trade? The report throws out the inflammatory statement that Canada's 'better quality of life will lose its potency over time if... social programs have been reduced in impact,' with a straight face, no pause for sad thought, and no hint that a reversal of this trend would be possible. It sounds like some perverse devil's advocate has been let lose with taxpayer's money to sow dissent and erode our confidence in ourselves as a nation.
The globist Liberal government which produced Canada 2005 has been violently repressing free-trade/economic-integration opponents across the country, most notably at the APEC conference here in Vancouver, during which snarling dogs and highly-visible CSIS snipers intimidated protesters. I should mention, in the context of barricades and armed guards, that one of Adam Smith's essential elements of free markets is the free movement of labour. Why is it okay for capital to move to where it can make a profit, but Mexicans must fight tooth and nail for permission to work in America? If you're talking about economic integration, let's talk about letting Mexicans into the States.
Of course, Orchard's leap into the leadership race was not considered worthy of its own story in the Globe and Mail. It was an addendum to an article about Segal's proposals for election reform, which are a sort of second-class and costly proportional representation system. They weren't particularly interesting, and it seemed like Segal, or maybe the Globe itself, had to come up with something that day in order to overshadow Orchard; my own J-school training forces me to ask why they didn't note Orchard's own views on electoral reform, which he mentioned in his campaign-launch as one of his four basic platforms. They didn't consider it worthwhile to ask Orchard his more substantial and long-standing ideas on electoral reform.
Orchard's vision of Canada, however, is readily available in his book, The Fight for Canada. The book is simply a 400-year history of what many Canadians secretly suspect, though they're getting more and more embarrassed to say it these days: America wants our stuff. They've taken lots of our stuff. And they want more, and we keep giving it to them. With ten times our population density and a consumption rate slightly higher than our own, is it any wonder they look at our vast resources with envy and greed?
CCAFT has promoted most of their events without major media coverage, though not for lack of trying: they've picketed the Pacific Press and CBC in Vancouver for failing to cover their meetings. CCAFT has also fought court battles up to the Appeals Court of BC and of Ontario in order to protect their constitutional right to poster, even facing arrest and police harassment in Winnipeg, St John, Toronto and Vancouver. They've won their cases, though they had to fight with Vancouver City Council this year to uphold the court's ruling over a city bylaw. Without any major media coverage, and despite City workers scraping the time and place of his meeting off posters, Orchard packed the Maritime Labour Centre with 800 people in April for his speaking date there.
I find it interesting that at Orchard's meetings, there are often CIA-dodgers or alien abductees who start yelling at the camera crew not to film them. These eccentrics are something of an amusement, and some critics extrapolate from these poor tortured souls that the whole anti-globist movement is made up of paranoiacs. But on the corporate side of the policy line, psychosis manifests itself in a much more sinister way -- how else could you explain the CEO's who cheerfully employ child and slave labour, connive with governments to slaughter union organizers and deprive fellow human beings of their earned and honest happiness?
Orchard condemned the US invasions of Panama and Iraq, decrying the suffering and death of millions of innocent Iraqi men, women and children due to sanctions and the horrible maladies caused by the radiation of American depleted-uranium ammunition left over from the war. What other Canadian politician has taken so heretical a view? He also notes that Canada's participation in the Gulf War in 1990 was announced in Washington two hours before our government released the information. Such kow-towing to and participation in American slaughter is something Orchard would like to put a quick stop to.
The major media doggedly insist on giving coverage to candidates, and parties for that matter, based solely on their odds of winning, and they consider Orchard a long shot in the leadership race. But if politics is about personality, ideas, and communication, then to deny any honest candidate equal coverage is to actively work against them. The media, by ignoring a candidate, is essentially telling the public not to bother voting for them. Newspapers have recently struck down the laws preventing them from publishing opinion polls on election day, and aren't interested in trying to eliminate the subtle messages such horse-race tactics send.
The most intellectually-stimulating arguments over Orchard's run for the leadership come not from within the money-media-political establishment (do they ever?) but from his allies. Do environmentalists, for example, want to build a Canadian economy based on more production and consumption of Canadian goods? Orchard, an organic farmer, says we can do it and do it sustainably, and moreover that without regaining control of our own economy Canadians are powerless anyway to save the environment.
The nation-state is no longer our enemy, but our last wall of protection from the corporate agenda -- though it is firmly in the hands of the enemy who serve the corporate agenda. A political party in Canada is a comparatively small, democratic apparatus. All it would require for Orchard to lead the Conservative Party is a majority of votes at the time of the October 25 convention. These votes can be earned by signing up a few thousand new members (before September 25) to outnumber all those distasteful elements of the Conservative party who cling to Mulroney's globist-integrationist ideas. Preston Manning is trying every day to snatch more away, and an attempt to absorb the Conservative party into Reform is already underway -- which would be a disaster for Canadian democracy.
I held my nose as I wrote a check to the
Conservative Party and signed up. After I blush and explain, my friends
understand -- Orchard's leadership bid is an ingenious use of political
reality. I've never been in a political party, but I did cough up
a bit of white stuff after a bare whiff of pepperspray at APEC. Instead
of always fighting these desperate holding actions against every globist
initiative, Orchard is making an aggressive advance on the stronghold of
the corporate agenda; I wasn't holding my nose when I put my name to his
nomination papers. We certainly can't make ourselves heard or beat
the corporations by choking at them through their security fences.