Now let’s talk about the real aristocracy in Canada. These are the nobles. They direct the troops that dig our mines, produce products, market the goods, merchandise wares, account for our monies and provide services that all add up to our gross domestic product. It is the chief executives that are the elites of business and they know who they are. They measure their successes in our productivity, their company’s bottom line and their remuneration.
Their strength is in the approbation of the stock market and the wealthy for their quarterly earnings, for the acceptance of their brand, the jobs they provide and for their support of their community.
While there are those who worry about the ownership of these businesses, it really only matters that they act as a good citizen where they do business. Three of the top paid Canadian chief executives are George Cope of Bell, Nadir Mohammed of Rogers and J.R. Shaw of Shaw, the largest communications and media companies in English Canada—that are restricted to Canadian ownership. Each of the three has earned the anger of Canadians for their companies perceived rapacious pricing, immunity to customer concerns and resistance to the regulatory surveillance of the Canadian Radio-Television Telecommunication Commission (CRTC).
But it hardly matters what we peons think of them. They also have the power of the Business Council of Canada behind them. Run today by former Liberal cabinet minister John Manley, the Business Council is a self-appointed cabal of business leaders who exert ongoing influence on the federal government and provincial governments as well.
The Business Council goes far beyond supporting the goals of the individual companies. It proposes policy directions and international trade objectives for the government on behalf of its members. It lobbies for more free trade deals and open borders for business. Its proposals are mainly political and on the right of centre. The council served as a cheerleader when the federal cabinet recently approved the expansion of the American Kinder Morgan pipeline to Burnaby, B.C. Pressure works.
We should always remember that it is regulation that ensures the quality of the food we eat. It is standards that keep costs of needed goods within reach of our pay cheque. It is the breadth and access to education that builds our future. And it is strong and effective government that enables us to drive on safe highways that are properly policed and have emergency services when needed. Good government provides a good life.
Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry
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