Friday, March 11, 2011


When it comes to bills that might provide a better supply of life-saving drugs to Africa and other epidemic-stricken countries, the government is about as speedy as a dead turtle. When there is the possibility of seizing foreign money, on the 'request' of the foreign state, and the 'permission' of the public, however, we can see bills pushed through in under a month. 

Bill C-61, An Act to provide for the taking of restrictive measures in respect of the property of officials and former officials of foreign states and of their family members, was tabled March 3rd, and passed its third reading in the House of commons on March 10th, the same day it was tabled in the Senate, passed its first reading and was given its second reading. At this rate, it may come into force by the time I finish writing this post.

The press release that was given about this bill included the explanation that:
“Recent developments in the Middle East and North Africa have shown the world how important it is to have legislation in place to allow for a quick response to ensure that foreign dictators cannot hide their ill-gotten wealth in our country,”  The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs
but this justification is sickening when you consider that Canada is only authorized to do so on the request of the foreign state that the official originates from. That means 'foreign dictators' can still 'hide their ill-gotten wealth in our country', it just means when the world becomes aware of it, and it is no longer profitable to do so, we can pretend we were on the winning side all along, and gain some sheckles for it.

An even larger implication of this bill is when we examine the tools by which Canada may "freeze" foreign assets; including enforcing an economic sanction against the country. The government makes some nice mouth noises about how this would not be preferable because it could hinder a growing  nation, but I am completely convinced that if the choice was between allowing a country to grow and protecting Canada's own interests by enforcing random sanctions, the country would be locked up so tight we wouldn't be able to buy things off E-bay from it.

The final cherry on the cake is this line:
"It would permit such an order without requiring evidence of criminality or specific identification of assets"
Happen to share a name with a ruthless dictator? Whoops, was that your house we seized? Sorry!

Either Canada is a non-moral, non-judgemental entity that acts solely on its own financial best interest, or it is not, but pretending to disapprove of unscrupulous foreign politicians while conducting business with them up until the point that the mobs are beating down their door is just sleezy.
Anyway, I wish all bills could be pushed through this fast.

1 comment:

Andy said...

No, I do not wish all bills would be pushed through this fast. Too many terrible ones floating around, that I can't even imagine the terror such a wish coming true would produce!