Saskatchewan organic farmer and dedicated environmentalist David Orchard addressed Glendon students at an open lecture on November 29th on the topic of “Canada in a Globalized World”.
A leadership candidate for the now defunct Progressive Conservative Party on two occasions, Orchard placed second to Joe Clark in 1998. He continues to operate his family’s 100-year-old farm in Saskatchewan, having successfully converted to organic farming since 1975. Orchard’s strong commitment to the environment also encompasses issues of the burial of nuclear waste on Canadian soil, clear cutting of our forests, clean air, food and water, and other related topics.
Addressing political science students as well as other members of the community in both English and French, Orchard set out to dispell the impression that he is against free trade. “I am not opposed to free trade; I am opposed to seeing our country dominated and governed by a foreign power. For Canada, globalization really means americanization. Since our entry into NAFTA [North American Free Trade Agreement], we trade less and less with other nations, and more and more with the U.S.”, said Orchard. “Furthermore, seventy-five percent of Canadian trade is accomplished by American corporations operating in Canada”, he added. Orchard pointed out that the problem with this situation is that these companies are not bound by Canada’s laws and commercial practices. The result is that Canada loses control over business practices, environmental issues and other important concerns.
In an eloquent plea to the new generation, he emphasized the importance of protecting our industries and commerce, and maintaining our control over defence and our environment. Orchard stated his conviction that Canada has sufficient critical mass and economic power to maintain its independence and that we must not cower in fear of retaliations from our powerful neighbour, if we disagree. He also affirmed his view that it is not too late to withdraw from agreements which put this country at a disadvantage economically or environmentally.
Orchard documented his presentation with numerous facts and quotes. He also distributed a number of his published articles on topics such as selling Petro-Canada, election reforms, how free trade has changed Canada, and the U.S.’ pull for Canada to join in the fight against Iraq. The proof of a genuine interest on the part of his audience was the variety and volume of questions following his presentation, agreeing with as well as disputing his statements.
Since the two hosting Glendon political science professors, Radha Persaud and Edelgard Mahant brought their classes to this lecture, it became a valuable enrichment for these students, a chance to hear and exchange views with an important voice on the current Canadian scene.
Article submitted by Glendon communications officer Marika Kemeny