Open letter to MPs Re: Vote campaign reports - March 15, 1999

March 15, 1999

Open Letter to Members of Parliament
The global economy is careening out of control. Mexico, Thailand, South Korea, Indonesia, Russia, and Brazil have fallen and we are all asking "who's next?". Collapsing currencies leave total devastation in their wake.  Skyrocketing prices, massive business closures and soaring unemployment create widespread social, economic and political havoc and result in human suffering and environmental degradation around the world.

Canada has not been spared. Speculators went after our dollar in a crushing attack from which we are only now beginning to recover. Exports plummeted and people were thrown out of work as markets and prices collapsed globally.  Canadian exports to South East Asia plummeted $5.7 billion in the first nine months of 1998 compared with the same period the year before. Analysts predict the worst is yet to come, as crisis begets crisis, with no end in sight.

Currency speculators, people who gain wealth without productive work, are gambling with futures-our futures. Leading thinkers around the globe are calling for measures to control speculative capital which has become a global "wrecking ball", knocking over one economy after another. From prominent politicians and leading economists to the speculators themselves, the chorus for controls on international financial transactions is a growing and loud one.

We, the undersigned, join in that chorus, and call on all Members of Parliament to stand up in the House on March 23, 1999 and vote YES to controlling currency speculators. We urge you to vote YES to enacting a Tobin tax in concert with international partners. We urge you to vote YES to private members motion, M-239.

With a strong mandate from the House of Commons and the people of Canada, the federal government will confidently advance the Tobin tax as one of many measures essential to reshaping global financial markets along more equitable and sustainable lines. If we fail to challenge the assumption that unfettered markets perform efficiently, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, we surrender our economy, our political sovereignty and ultimately our democracy.

We recognize that many in the financial sector will strongly oppose any actions that would impede the unrestricted flow of capital. We further recognize that continued inaction on this issue is unacceptable to any Canadian concerned with protecting and increasing jobs and social security, ensuring the stability of currencies and maintaining economic productivity both domestically and internationally.

The Tobin tax will not stop all speculative activity, in fact, it was never designed to. The tax will be avoided to a certain extent, as all taxes are.  Technical and administrative challenges to implementation exist, but are clearly outweighed by the cost of the status quo and are not insurmountable.  The Tobin tax is but one critical element of what must be a coordinated international strategy to restructure financial markets to protect citizens, nations and their economies from market panic.

This motion and the actions resulting from its passage represent an opportunity for Canada to reclaim some of the democratic authority that many Members fear we may have lost as a result of economic globalization. It represents an opportunity for Canadians to participate in building a more democratic and equitable global economy, one that serves the needs and interests of all of its citizens.

We urge you to vote "Yes" to motion M-239.

Canada must take the first step to initiating an international debate on the Tobin tax by declaring its support for, and intention to act on this motion.  Unfettered markets have failed us, democracy must not.


Prominent Individuals and Faculty from 19 universities and colleges:  

Gregory Albo Professor of Political Science York University Margaret Atwood Writer

John Alexander Boan Professor Emeritus of Economics University of Regina

Andrew Brook Professor of Philosophy Carleton University

William K. Carroll Professor of Sociology University of Victoria

Ken Collier Professor of Economics Athabasca University

Raj Dhruvarajan Associate Professor of Economics University of Manitoba

Ricardo Grinspun Professor of Economics York University

Eric Helleiner Associate Professor of Political Studies Trent University

John Loxley Professor of Economics University of Manitoba

David Macdonald Former Secretary of State and Ambassador to Ethiopia

J. McDonald Chair, First Nations Studies and Anthropology University of Northern British Columbia

Alex N. McLeod Professor Emeritus of Economics York University

Linda McQuaig Journalist

W. Robert Needham Director of Canadian Studies University of Waterloo

Paul Phillips Professor of Economics University of Manitoba

Joseph K. Robert Emeritus Professor of Political Science University of Regina

Hon. Douglas Roche O.C. Senator

Edward H. Shaffer Professor Emeritus of Economics University of Alberta

Donald Swartz Associate Professor of Public Administration Carleton University

Frank James Tester Associate Professor of Social Work University of British Columbia

Robert X. Ware Professor of Philosophy University of Calgary

Todd Whitcombe Associate Professor of Chemistry University of Northern British Columbia

Ian Wood Editor Monetary Reform

Margot Young Associate Professor of Law University of Victoria

Manfred Bienefeld Professor of Public Administration Carleton University

Ronald G. Bodkin Professor of Economics University of Ottawa

Steven Burns Professor of Philosophy Dalhousie University

John Coates Associate Professor St. Thomas University

Ken Dennis Associate Professor of Economics University of Manitoba

Graeme Gibson Writer

Terry Heaps Associate Professor of Economics Simon Fraser University

Colin Leys Emeritus Professor of Political Studies Queen's University.

Vaughan Lyon Professor Emeritus of Political Studies Trent University

Rianne Mahon Associate Dean of Graduate Studies Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research Carleton University

Joan McFarland Professor of Economics St. Thomas University

Alex C. Michalos Professor and Chair of Political Science University of Northern British Columbia

Costas A. Nicolau Associate Professor of Economics University of Manitoba

James Prentice Professor Emeritus of Physics University of Toronto

Dave Robinson Professor of Environmental Studies University of Northern British Columbia

Gideon Rosenbluth Professor Emeritus of Economics University of British Columbia

David Suzuki Sustainable Development Research Institute University of British Columbia

Brian Tennyson CEO The Centre for International Studies at the University College of Cape Breton

Avril Torrence Professor of English Mount Royal College

Donald M. Wells Associate Professor of Labour Studies and Political Science McMaster University

James Winter Professor of Social Sciences University of Windsor

Charlotte Yates Associate Professor of Labour Studies and Political Science McMaster University            


Non-governmental organizations representing over 2,750,000 Canadians:    

Dr. Seymour Treiger Director All About Us Canada Foundation

Leslie Bruce Chairperson Bluegreen Society

Bruce Campbell Executive Director Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

Peggy Teagle Executive Director Canadian Consortium for International Social Development

Bob White President Canadian Labour Congress

Judy Darcy National President Canadian Union of Public Employees

Ronald Fournier President Clearinghouse Group

Lia A. Daborn Executive Director Conservation Council of New Brunswick

Melanie Macdonald Executive Director CUSO

Duff Conacher Coordinator Democracy Watch

Jim Marshal Co-chair Ecumenical Coalition for Economic Justice

Herb Barbolet Executive Director FarmFolk/CityFolk Society

Mike Nickerson Executive Director Guideposts for a Sustainable Future

Joe Gunn Chair, Inter-Church Committee on Human Rights in Latin America

William F. Ryan S.J. Coordinator Jesuit Centre for Social Faith and Justice

Laurie Rektor Executive Director National Anti-Poverty Organization

Christopher Schenk Research Director Ontario Federation of Labour

Patricia Hartnagel Chairperson Project Ploughshares Edmonton

Blaise Salmon President RESULTS Canada

Elizabeth May Executive Director Sierra Club of Canada

Françoise David Présidente Fédération des femmes du Québec

Mary Ellen King, S.S.A. Congregational Leader The Sisters of Saint Anne

William Saunders President Vancouver & District Labour Council

Linda Morgan President, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, BC Branch

Warren Allmand President, International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development

Robert David President Alternatives

Buzz Hargrove President CAW

Joe Gunn Co-Director, Social Affairs Office, Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops

Betty Plewes President-CEO Canadian Council for International Co-operation

Sam Gunsch Managing Director, Canadian Parks And Wilderness Society-Edmonton

Gérald Larose President Confédération des syndicats nationaux

Peter Bleyer Executive Director Council of Canadians

Jim Fulton Executive Director David Suzuki Foundation

Fabien Laboeuf Executive Director Development and Peace

Jean Arnold Executive Director Falls Brook Centre

Cliff Wallis President Friends of the Oldman River

Michael O'Sullivan Executive Director Humane Society of Canada

Rev.Rodger Talbot Chair of the Board Inter-Church Coalition on Africa

Marvin Frey Executive Director Mennonite Central Committee of Canada

Cory Ollikka President National Farmers Union

Rieky Stuart Executive Director Oxfam Canada

Jennifer Katz Douek Coordinator, Quebec Public Interest Research Group, Concordia University

Roger Peters President Saskatchewan Environmental Society

Derek MacCuish Programme Coordinator Social Justice Committee of Montréal

Dennis Howlett National Coordinator Ten Days for Global Justice

Elaine Nickerson President, Tusket River Environmental Protection Association

Steven Shrybman Executive Director, West Coast Environmental Law Association

Pari Johnston President World Interaction Mondiale