On Nov. 3, I sent an email to our MP Dan Albas urging him to oppose the ratification of the China–Canada trade agreement (FIPA). The day after, I received a phone call from Mr. Albas and we had a long, cordial and honest conversation on the matter. I was surprised and impressed by Mr. Albas’ prompt response to my concerns. He supports, of course, our prime minister on the agreement with China, but I’m also convinced Mr. Albas listens as he represents us in Ottawa.
My opposition to FIPA, as I explained to our MP, stems, first of all, from my first-hand experience of life under communism. In June of 1940, my country of birth, tiny Latvia, was invaded by powerful, communist-controlled Russia. Earlier, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia had agreed, covertly, to allow several Russian naval bases on the Baltic Sea. Our governments had given in to communist interests. (i.e. extension of communism and offensive defence against Nazi Germany). The military invasion of the Baltic countries was justified in communist thinking and announced to the world that “the three countries joined the Soviet Union for economic reasons and political stability.” What at the time was held under cover was that it was for Russia’s economic reasons and their political stability that our government, at gunpoint, signed the agreement. A year of terror followed.
Under communist dictatorship, farms and business were nationalized and factories dismantled for transport to Russia. Opposition was suppressed by force, executions, torture or deportation to forced labour camps in Siberia. The population was systematically replaced by Russian nationals. Today nearly half of the population in Latvia is Russian. Has communism changed? Not according to the subsidiary of the Chinese Dehua Mines policies in our British Columbia. A communist decree states, “From him according to his abilities to him according to his needs.” Note the manifesto says nothing about the items of transfer being for sale. With the leadership changes in China, civil unrest, corruption, not the Chinese people but the Chinese military, will be in need of a secure fuel source. Is history about to repeat itself?
Finally, my opposition to FIPA, as well as the Nexen sale and the Enbridge Pipeline, stems from what seems like a total reversal of national policy regarding conservation of our un-renewable natural resources. From the energy crises in the ‘70s, when OPEC drastically reduced their production of oil, through the official predictions that the world will run out of oil by the year 2000 (Year 2000 Global Report) to our present day count of “carbon footprints” and tax, and don’t drive campaigns to conserve energy, oil especially. Now our prime minister is travelling Asia to sell as much as he can of our un-renewable natural resources, especially oil, unconcerned about risks to our environment, and as if products derived from our oil sands bitumen burn cleaner in China. I am not against international trade, but when agreements are made, in secret, between governments, I worry for the lives of my grandchildren like my elders worried about mine before and during the Second World War.
I want to continue to live in a Canada where we speak Canadian (eh!), live in democracy, own our natural resources, preserve our environment and plan our own future, “Oh, Canada…”
Harry G. Kapeikis