Friday, March 22, 2013

It's About Selfishness

"The modern conservative," John Kenneth Galbraith wrote, "is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness." He might have added that modern conservatives take extreme measures to hide that exercise.

That is why, in yesterday's budget speech, Jim Flaherty didn't mention that CIDA was being folded into the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Nor did he mention the change in the agency's mission. CIDA will now tie foreign aid to Canadian business development abroad. Aid will not be given on the basis of need. It will be given on a simple criterion: leveraging Canadian corporate profits.

Tonda MacCharles writes in the Toronto Star that:

The budget plan says the Conservative government will continue “to make international development and humanitarian assistance central to our foreign policy” and that “core development assistance will remain intact.”

But non-governmental organizations like Oxfam raised concerns that Ottawa’s allocation of aid “will be driven by Canada’s self-interest in foreign policy, and the government’s economic and trade agenda rather than poverty alleviation.”

“Foreign Affairs is not in the business of reducing poverty,” said Anthony Scoggins, Oxfam’s director of international programs. “We risk losing the expertise, focus, effectiveness — and results — that CIDA staff brought to this goal.”

The Harperites worship at the corporate altar. Salvation lies in profit. Is it any wonder that our international reputation has fallen so far -- like our ranking in the Human Development Index?

It's all about selfishness.


Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

I too am saddened that Canada's foreign policy is now so obviously self serving so all the World can see. Our international standing will take another hit. But wnat truly shocked me about the budget is that there is virtually no support for the environment and limiting climate change. That the government offers nothing here was to be expected but the critics made little or no mention of this. They should have been screaming bloody murder. There is no long time for patience on this issue. For some short term profits it seems politicians are willing to throw their grandchildren and future generations into the fire. I cannot comprehend why they do not see these issues as being a moral necessity. Why do they not see that meeting this challenge can also be very profitable not only in the short run but also in the long run.

Owen Gray said...

These folks see the world through what our son calls a "transactional lense," Philip.

The first question they always ask is, "What's in it for me?" -- never "What's in it for the next generation?"

Their sense of self importance comes from gazing at their own navels.

Anonymous said...

Harper thieves and lies for Harper and, to hell with the people. Harper cheats, deceives and, uses every dirty tactic in the book, to stay in office. It is highly dubious for Harper, to even be in office.

CSIS even warned? Communist China was making huge inroads into Canada. BC was specifically mentioned. Gordon Campbell works for Harper. Campbell had sold BC out to Communist China long ago. BC citizens also warned, Harper is a snake in the grass. However, no-one listened to us. Canadians are well known, to sleep through absolutely everything. Harper knows, he can count on that.

Owen Gray said...

And he is counting on Canadians to sleep through his reign, Anon.

Throughout history, however, Canadians have eventually got tired of being treated with contempt.

The question is: When will we tire of Harper?