Thanks to the Globe and Mail for the comprehensive package of articles in the October 29 issue on international aid, "Save the World Inc". But the most impotant idea in the ten-page section was a statement which, unfortunately, was not pursued in any of the articles: "What brought people out of poverty was export-led economic growth and political stability." Such was the case with the Asian "tigers".
Yet half a century after colonialism, even the politically stable African countries are still living as economic colonies of northern countries, supplying raw materials cheaply and buying finished products at inflated prices. The old colonial trade routes are still largely in place, whereby African countries continue to trade on inequitable terms with developed countries, including the emergent Asian economies, more than with one another.
African countries do not at this time need more trade with developed countries. They need more trade with their neighbours on the same continent and even between regions within their own countries. The road links between and within African countries were never sufficiently developed by the colonizers and remain in a deplorable condition today. Yet these roads are vital to the development of an intra-African trade that would enable Africans to begin developing mature economies and emerging from poverty. How can the world best help Africa? Help improve the intra-continental transportation infrastructure.
By destroying the records of the long-gun registry at the first possible opportunity, the Harper government is implementing a “scorched earth” policy three years in advance of its possible defeat in the next election. The boastful proclamation of this action by government ministers and MPs is politically barbaric: “Burn the records before the enemy [another democratically elected government] takes over.”
Will this government now proceed to shred and burn information previously gathered by
Statistics Canada on the abolished long-form census? Will the government then go on to trash historical weather data gathered by Environment Canada as a means of destroying scientific evidence of climate change in Canada?
Satirical comments aside, there is a fundamental legal question here: Who owns the data collected by government – the government of the day or the Canadian people? Could the government of Quebec, which would like to maintain the long-gun registry in its own jurisdiction, seek a court injunction to prevent the destruction of these records? Could the matter be referred to the Supreme Court of Canada?
Burris Devanney is a Canadian educator, development worker