Can we help develop democracy?

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Nothing ever remains the same, not styles, not tastes, not friends and not enemies. History has shown time and again that the balance of world power shifts and those that were once rich are now at best in the economic middle to lower cluster. If the 20th century belonged to Canada, then this century will belong to China and the sooner we get used to it the better. With a population of 215 million that have moved out of poverty and 100 million now classified as middle class, China’s success story is based on vision, determination and countless human sacrifices. If you’re wondering if China is going to be the big economic top dog, the Bank of Montreal thinks so as it will soon be doing business in China and according to Mr. Bob Martin, BMO’s managing director of Asia, there is much potential in China. So as China moves into a power broker within the G20 economic club, mostly based on their ability to provide North Americans with cheaper laptops, cars, steel, etc…. don’t we as a nation have the responsibility, if not morally and the ethically, to ensure that the Chinese Government advances on its pledge to democratic reform? On such human rights issues as freedom of religion, speech, elections to name put a few? Since the 1989 Tiananmen Square onslaught to dismantle their people’s move towards democratic reform and disposing of government corruption, the Communist Government led by Mr. Hu Jintao, have promised to focus on democratic rights and the promise of grass-root level elections. As reported in the Toronto Star, “the party’s 74 million self-selected members, enjoy steady jobs, housing, pensions and other perks…” but not much more has changed. As a Canadian I understand that a vigorous democracy is a democracy in which there are freedom from want, freedom from fear, freedom of religion, and freedom of speech to be the true and just democracy. The present Chinese government is only prepared to take from us while offering little freedom to its own people in return. Case in point, China is attempting to purchase, or has already purchased, numerous strategic Canadian companies. We permit the sale of our natural resource companies and their assets, not even asking for some form of basic human rights conditions for the Chinese people. We are constantly battered by our government to cut our green house gas emissions, while China, India and our old friends in the USA have never attempted to meet the 1997 Kyoto accord and economically grow as we lost jobs to them. We are now asked to believe President Obama and President Jintao, who have yet accepted any cuts on emissions but give great speeches and make promises, will comply to the next accord and cut 40% of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. You know, facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the situation that the facts points, that thus far these emerging economic powers will do whatever it takes to get to be top dog, and remain there. These countries are not prepared to go backward and all little Canada can seem to do is give them more while demanding less. There are thousands of Chinese who have audaciously signed what is known as Charter 08 manifesto, urging for full freedom of speech, elections and credible courts and have kept alive the spirit of the 1989 demonstrations of Tiananmen square. As I get older and older I have observed and learned the hard way, that success is not measured as much by the position that one has attained in life, but rather by the countless obstacles and hardships which they have had to overcome while trying to succeed. To that end the Chinese people have achieved nothing short of miracles economically and have paid a high price in getting there. It is time that our government reminds and employs measures to ensure that these words by the late Martin Luther King ring true in China “Man is man because he is free to operate within the framework of his destiny. He is free to deliberate, to make decisions and to choose between alternatives. He is distinguished from animals by his freedom to do evil, or to do good and to walk the high road of beauty or tread the low road of ugly degeneracy”. Let us Canadians help the average Chinese people and not permit only the elite in having a say in their own future, let’s help move democracy ahead, for no other reason than it’s the right things to do.

Organizations: Bank of Montreal

Geographic location: China, Canada, Asia Tiananmen Square India USA Kyoto

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