Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Hollowing Out of Canada by Guest Blogger


In capitalism, there are buyers and sellers. When one company's owners agree to sell out to another company's owners, a bigger fish is eating a smaller one.
 
One line of reasoning says that if it's assets were managed to their best effect, the target company's market value would be higher, and it would not be worth a buyer paying that high value to take it over. So, when a buyout occurs, it is because the assets are not being utilized as effectively as the new owners would utilize them. The line of reasoning says better management of the assets being purchased will create more profitability, and in the long run, the world will be better off as measured by current accounting standards. And seen from the point of view of the seller, why not sell to the highest bidder? Effectively, this is what goes on in the stock markets every day in the trading of shares.
 
But the consequences of takeovers of Canadian businesses by foreign corporations are: (1) that the head office moves to another country, and the Canadian operation no longer has control or as many management jobs, and (2) the stock listing moves to a stock exchange in another country and any dividends are paid from that country, are taxed by that country, and Canada's CRA sees the dividends as now coming from a foreign source, and taxes the dividends at a higher rate than "Canadian" dividends.
  
Examples are given in the Globe and Mail article, but there are many others such as the buyout of MacMillan Bloedel by Weyerhauser in which the Vancouver head office disappeared and went to Seattle. Another example is the buyout of BC Gas by Kinder Morgan in which the Vancouver head office went to Texas.
  
Government intervention in the past has not worked very well. Foreign Investment Review Agency (FIRA) executed moves that were seen as protectionist and erratic.
  
One might think that Prime Minister Harper will be ideologically reluctant to interfere with open capitalist markets. Yet, there he is trying to make friends with China.
  
Personally, I think we need smarter government that addresses the needs of Canada in these two respects. It is important to keep Canadian head offices in Canada, otherwise we lose control of the country and our managerial talent goes elsewhere. Secondly, Canadian investors deserve fair tax treatment for what is essentially business income generated in Canada. An agreement at the G20/OECD level may well be required. I'd be curious to know the stand of the other political parties in Canada on this issue.
  
I, for one, do not wish to become an eaten fish.
  
Submitted by guest blogger @imboggled on Twitter. Please feel free to comment below. 
 

Copyright © 2012. Permission is granted to copy 
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Monday, March 5, 2012

Deconstructing Religion


When I write I see my father in me, especially when I feel angry about an injustice. He used to write letters to people with whom he was angry. I was afraid of my father. So afraid I ran away from home when I was sixteen after he had predicted my death.
 
Well, I outlived my father. He died in 1993 and that is when I began therapy. My father could no longer hurt me, I reasoned.
 
Except that I had internalized his horrific teachings. Almost twenty years later I look back to see how being a terrorized child had produced a terrorized adult.
 
Religion was the key. Everything in the Bible was true and would have a literal application, according to him. And ever since I was little, Armageddon was on its way—any day. God was watching me and I could never be perfectly obedient, after all, I was an imperfect human. Surely I was one who would be destroyed at Armageddon by such a punishing god. He was at least as fearful as my father, but way more powerful, after all he was god.
  
I left the family religion in the year 2000 and have been slowly dismantling the belief system ever since. Religious beliefs are among the most dangerous beliefs because I felt powerless against such religiously-induced terrors.
  
I needed a plan. Move far away and get a job. Then get involved in something I loved. For me, it was dancing.
  
My first breakthrough occurred when I moved out of the province and away from the prying eyes of the religious community I left. Three provinces away were about right.
  
But how functional could I be, having been raised a terrorized child with a god who watched my every move, waiting for me to slip up.
 
I had been set up to fail, I realized. This is the point where many ex-Jehovah's Witnesses self-destruct. Some have nowhere to turn, so they commit suicide. I; however, was determined to succeed.
  
The task ahead was to deconstruct my belief system, one terror at a time, until I could function as a normal human being. No therapist could help me because most of them did not understand the concept of how religions operate—in the name of god—leaving their flock full of disempowered victims in the wake of their fear-based beliefs. Sadly, many therapists are in awe of religion. Even worse, many therapists are terrorized by religion, just like me.
  
I met a wise woman of First Nations descent. I have been spending time with her. Her courage in the face of religion has emboldened me to stand up. "Stand in your power," she told me many times. What does that mean, exactly? What works for me these days? She speaks what I call "simple truths" which are undisputable. I just know in my heart and soul the truth of her words.
  
"We are all human." Who can dispute that? We are all equal as humans, even the JW elders in suits who judged my faith as defective. Humans do not have a right to treat one another disrespectfully, by pretending they are superior.
  
I figure the world is divided along religious lines, with each religion thinking it is the only "true" religion. With a belief system like that, it keeps the world divided. Perhaps the powers that be prefer all of us to be in a divided state. It prevents ones from standing up for our self or for a cause. The "Occupy" movement is one such example, where the government could just move in with an army and shut the movement down. People are conditioned to "obey authority." People gave the government their power, after all.
  
So, here I am writing down my thoughts, gaining clarity, and healing my religious wounds inflicted in childhood.
  
"Create a 'sacred ceremony' that has personal meaning," the First Nations woman said. "It provides connection to your sense of the Divine." So, I selected a low wooden table that I could sit at and meditate. I light a candle, rub a stone, listen to some music, or bang on a drum—and all kinds of great ideas come to me—ideas that break down the religious childhood fears and help me to live as a grown-up, to face my daily challenges and let go of all the fears.
  
"Love yourself, be gentle with yourself—the lesson of the deer," is another beneficial teaching I have learned. I read Ted Andrews books and feel connected to the earth and my surroundings. This helps to heal the isolation I felt after being judged harshly, subsequently disfellowshipped, and rejected by a religious community—supposedly being "thrown out into the dark" discarded like so much garbage. Religious instruction is all about "doing more" and "giving till it hurts." That is not how I choose to live. I like the concept of being gentle. Staying in bed on Saturday morning feels positively luxurious after the years I spent as an unpaid marketing agent, door-knocking, looking for converts for the Jehovah's Witnesses.
  
Deconstructing my belief system, proving to myself there is a better way to live, has given me the courage to pursue healthy new avenues. Activities that provide pleasure, rather than produce pain are preferable every time!
  
I feel safe now to thank my father for the lessons he taught. I will take what serves my highest interest and I will leave the fear behind.

Visit "Phoenix of Faith" the memoir. Follow on Twitter: _Phoenixoffaith Copyright © 2012. Permission is granted to copy and re-distribute this transmission on the condition that it is distributed freely.