Monday, March 07, 2005

Trudeaupian dystopia

What G8 nation is run roughly along the lines of, say, a third world country with a ruling elite that can't be blasted out with dynamite?

Mark Steyn clues us in:

I always love the bit on the big international news story where they try to find the Canadian angle. A couple of months back, every time I switched on The National, there seemed to be no news at all and Peter Mansbridge was in the middle of some 133-part series of reports on “Canadians making a difference in the world,” which at least three nights a week seemed to be an “encore presentation” of the same worthy soft-focus featurette about some guy helping with an irrigation project in Sudan.

...Imagine if Jenna Bush married the chairman of Halliburton’s son, and then George W. Bush was succeeded by a president who’d been an employee of Halliburton: Michael Moore’s next documentary would be buried under wall-to-wall Oscars and Palmes d’Or. But M. Desmarais has managed to turn Ottawa into a company town without anyone being aware of the company.

During the Iraq war, for example, I mentioned en passant that Power Corp. is the biggest shareholder in TotalFinaElf, the western corporation closest to Saddam Hussein (it has since changed its name to the Total Group). Total had secured development rights to 25 per cent of Iraq’s oil reserves, a transformative deal that would catapult the company from a second-rank player into the big leagues with Exxon and British Petroleum. For a year, the antiwar crowd had told us it was “all about oil”--that the only reason Iraq was being “liberated” was so Bush, Cheney, Halliburton and the rest of the gang could annex in perpetuity the second biggest oil reserves in the world. But, if it was all about oil, then the fact--fact--is that the only Western leader with a direct stake in the issue was not the Texas oilpatch stooge in Washington, but Jean Chrétien: his daughter, his son-in-law and his grandchildren stood to be massively enriched by the Total-Saddam agreement. It depended on two factors: Saddam remaining in power, and the feeble UN sanctions being either weakened into meaninglessness or quietly dropped. M. Chrétien may have refused to join the Iraq war on “principle,” but fortunately his principles happened to coincide with the business interests of both TotalFinaElf and the Baath party.

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