Letter to the Editor: Government and industry

The only concern of an elected government is the welfare, the wellbeing, of its "people."

As I see it, the situation is basically very straightforward:

The only concern of an elected government is the welfare, the wellbeing, of its “people.” All of its people. What else? Not an easy task, but that’s it!

The primary business of business, on the other hand, is to make money — for its owners. That’s it, pure and simple. Well, not always pure and seldom simple. Of course business is important to all of us and, to be successful, business must make a profit. Enterprise and hard work should be rewarded.

Obviously, the interests of business and government are not the same; in fact they are often in direct conflict. We should accept the fact that business does not possess a conscience; it does not exist for the common good and can be very anti-social. There have been several reports recently of industry’s ruthless behaviour, including huge destruction of habitat, brutal removal of native “obstacles” and even murder, in its pursuit of profit. These crimes may have been committed in foreign countries but, regrettably, Canadian corporations are heavily involved.

Of course, we often benefit from the activities of business but that is generally incidental, not intentional. We look to our elected government to act as a watchdog, to safeguard our common interest and ensure that the activities of business are not detrimental to the general population. And to take corrective action where required.

Unfortunately, our government seems to have forgotten its raison d’etre, its basic function. It has become the willing ally of big business; the giant companies and multi-national corporations have become so large and powerful that they are virtually in control.

In its obsession with the economy, the regime in Ottawa seems anxious to make things easier for industry and is prepared to relax and even remove safeguards and protective measures that have been built up over many decades.

Yes, the economy is very important but we cannot assume that a vibrant economy is automatically beneficial to the population as a whole. The 20th century provided several examples of booming economies and overflowing national coffers while the general population remained poverty stricken and dismally ignorant.

Over the past decade, despite the fiscal “meltdown,” Corporate Canada has reaped record profits, amassing huge wealth while the average Canadian is no better off than 20 years ago; in fact, many are worse off than they were 50 years ago.

The inequality, the disparity between the very rich and the great majority is enormous and our ruling regime seems bent on increasing it.

Bud Abbott

Cranbrook