Born: April 29, 1929
Place of Birth: Oak Lake, Manitoba
Maurice Strong has been called by the New York Times as being the "Custodian of the Planet".
He is one of the most powerful Canadian leaders in the modern world but most Canadians have never heard of him.
Strong came from a very poor family and as a child lived through the depression years.
Very intelligent, he finished his early education at 14 by skipping a few grades and then left school.
At 18, he went to work for the security section of the United Nations and met David Rockefeller.
In the 50's, he became an oil trader and by the 60's had taken over several smaller ailing oil firms and turned their profits around.
His rise up in the business world was phenomenal and by age 31 he was the President of Power Corporation.
Strong also acquired political friends through the Liberal party and made friends with Paul Martin Jr.
His thoughts of making money however turned to how to best use his knowledge for the betterment of man through solving environmental issues.
In 1972, Strong organized the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment or what became known as the UN's first Earth Summit.
He was invited by Pierre Trudeau to come back to Canada and take over Petro-Canada, a new oil company under government control.
After two years, he left Petro-Canada to pursue other various business dealings.
By 1985, he returned to working with the UN and was place in charge of the 3.5 billion dollars relief program for Somalia and Ethiopia.
Strong was appointed by the UN to the position of Secretary General of the Earth Summit for 1992.
He is largely credited for bringing about what is now known as the Kyoto Agreement.
In 1997 he was given the role of senior advisor to United Nations' Secretary General Kofi Annan.
Maurice Strong continues to be a consultant for various UN activities such as the study of reforming the United Nations itself.
He has received over 50 honorary degrees from universities around the world.
If Martin truly respected the West...: ...the last person he should make senior adviser would be Maurice Strong
It's all well and good for prime-minister-in-waiting Paul Martin to say he will respect the West once he becomes Liberal leader.
Indeed, it's refreshing, if not encouraging, that he told the Vancouver Sun in May that "No matter what else I do as prime minister, if (western) alienation is the same ... at the end of my term as it is now, I will not believe I have succeeded."
That almost makes it sound as if acting on the West's desire for more respect, less meddling and an all-round better deal from Ottawa will be one of his government's highest priorities.
It's heartening, too, that, also in May, Martin pledged at a Liberal fundraising dinner here in Edmonton that "never again (will) the Liberal party come out of Western Canada without a substantial number, if not a majority, of seats."
This is heartening, not because I actually hope the Liberals win more Western seats in the next federal vote -- I don't. Rather, it's just nice for a change to hear a prominent Liberal do something other than dump on the West, and Alberta in particular, in order to win votes somewhere else in the country.
Jean Chretien has seldom shown more than indifference to the West, and frequently has displayed open contempt.
During the 2000 federal election, the Chretien-led Liberals blatantly misrepresented Alberta's timid health-care reforms in their national campaign ads. Whipping up resentment to Alberta would buy them votes in central and Atlantic Canada and stunt the Canadian Alliance's chances there since the party is so closely associated with this province and region. So what if the accusations weren't true?
Of course, Chretien also confessed to preferring to do business with people from Eastern and central Canada. Albertans, he sneered, were a "different" (read: morally inferior) breed of Canadian.
Even just this past spring, Chretien shrugged off Western concerns by saying "regional discontent is inevitable," meaning he had no intention of wasting his time even trying to solve western alienation.
Martin's soothing words are a giant step forward. But to say all that he has is one thing. To actually do something about it is quite another -- particularly something that might be unpopular in central Canada. It will take more than being in Calgary "a lot" and wearing denim shirts to the Stampede that sport "I (heart) Alberta beef" stickers.
Martin's first concrete steps are far from encouraging.
Last month he began speculating about holding the next election in June 2004, or earlier. If he does that, Alberta and B.C. will not receive the four new House of Commons seats they are owed -- two each -- as a result of their dramatic population growth in the 1990s.
When Alliance leader Stephen Harper charged that this looked a lot like the old Liberal strategy of "Screw the West, we'll take the rest," Martin promised to try to get the Commons to move the creation of these seats ahead, to a date before the writs are issued. But such an I'll-try promise is as meaningful as my pledges to start dieting ... tomorrow.
The announcement last week that Martin was courting Maurice Strong -- the first president of Petro-Canada and the godfather of the Kyoto accord -- to be senior environment adviser in the Prime Minister's Office is more than concrete enough to eradicate any and all goodwill Martin's comforting words to date may have purchased.
If he wants to placate the West, the last person -- the very last -- Martin should invite to be a senior adviser is Maurice Strong. Strong is an unreconstructed Trudeau-ite, which may make Liberals giddy with nostalgic glee, but is unmitigated bad news for Westerners.
Strong may not have been present at the birth of the National Energy Program in 1980; but as the founding president, chairman and CEO of Petro-Can from 1976-78, he was there at its conception.
Strong enthusiastically supported Ottawa's first major intrusions into provincial resource management, such as the elimination of deductions for provincial resource royalty payments from federal income taxes. The Liberals and Strong euphemistically called this "revenue sharing," because it took income that would have gone into investors' pockets and oil companies' bank accounts in the form of tax rebates and "shared" it with the federal government, which forcibly kept it in Ottawa.
Strong also favoured heavy federal subsidies to Petro-Can for frontier exploration. These gave the federal oil company a competitive advantage over privately held oil companies, with the hope the "Canadian" company would eventually control the lion's share of new oil reserves. Eventually, private oil companies were forced by the Liberals to sell a portion of their successful explorations to "Ottawa Oil" as Petro-Can was often known.
To people who are suspicious of the market and have no clue of how wealth is created (such as the majority of federal politicians of the past two generations), Strong has been seen as a business genius, even a new breed of executive who combined social justice and environmental concern with making a buck. Never mind that he did both mostly by milking taxpayers or using his connections to yoke his competitors.
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Friday, in his own words, I'll examine Maurice Strong's two current obsessions: "global governance" and radical environmentalism, particularly his involvement in the Kyoto accord.
Champagne socialist full of bubbles: Maurice Strong profits from pushing leftist ideas
"Economic growth is not the cure; it is the disease."
That is Maurice Strong's take on what is wrong with the world, today, and what is the greatest threat to the environment. Everything that is wrong can, in Strong's mind, be traced to three sources -- industrialization, wealth and free markets. I'd add a fourth -- Christianity -- except Strong never quite comes out and blames it for the world's ills. He merely hints at it with statements such as "We are all gods now, gods in charge of our own destiny," which he made in his autobiographical 2000 book Where on Earth are We Going?
Actually, Strong's three sources of evil are really just one source -- Western civilization. Although he has reaped enormous personal profits from the Western ways of business and life, Strong has been a lifelong biter of the hands that feed him so well. In 1990, he even mused about a possible revolution against "industrialized civilizations."
What if it were concluded, Strong romanticized, "that the principal risk to the earth comes from the actions of the rich countries? ... Isn't the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn't it our responsibility to bring this about?"
Strong wasn't exactly speaking for himself in this daydream. His nightmarish scenario involved a "small group of ... world leaders," gathered together at a semi-private conference, who decide to overthrow the established political and financial orders "in order to save the planet."
But he was not speaking for himself, either. Strong revels in telling fawning audiences that he is "a socialist in ideology," but "a capitalist in methodology." His socialist core would explain his attraction to revolutions against rich, industrialized civilizations.
And his membership on a dozen international business and environmental organizations would explain why he thinks such a revolution might spring from a small, semi-private gathering of world leaders.
Those are the circles Strong runs in. They are the people he knows. Undoubtedly, as he has sat through literally hundreds of such gatherings, he has occasionally marvelled at the amount of power represented by the leaders in the room, and speculated on what might convince those leaders to suspend democracy and diplomacy, and join him in the top-down coup of his dreams.
If the idea of a revolt against power, privilege and wealth, led by the most powerful, privileged and wealthy strikes you as a bit incongruous, then you need to understand two more things about Maurice Strong: He has made his fortune, reputation and influence out of peddling radical leftist ideas to the international jet set, to champagne socialists like himself, who very much enjoy what rank and riches have given them, but who despair the consumerism and capitalism they see in those beneath them.
The other piece you need to the Strong puzzle is his contempt for ordinary people and the institutions that give them control over these leaders. Strong thinks only superior mortals who run in his circles and share his philosophy are fit to decide how the world should be run.
Only once has Strong lowered himself to stand for public office -- in the 1979 Canadian general election that saw Joe Clark's Tories squeak into power. But he couldn't even bear to see that through to election day.
According to an eye-popping indictment of Strong's smug contempt for democratic accountability, in the book, Fight Kyoto, Calgary journalist and lawyer Ezra Levant points out that Strong withdrew as the Liberal candidate in a Scarborough riding one month before voting day because he found his "constituents' priorities were parochial."
Strong is a founder of the Council on Global Governance; the author of the Earth Charter (earthcharter.org), that he wants to be not only the supreme law of the planet -- replacing national laws and constitutions -- but a new "Ten Commandments," as well.
Strong is or has been a board member with Earth Council, the World Wildlife Fund, the David Suzuki Foundation, the United Nations Environment Program and two of three of the UN's big world environment gatherings -- Stockholm in 1972 and Rio in 1992.
The 1997 Kyoto accords sprang directly out of Strong's Rio conference in 1992, with Strong having a hand guiding the accords to fruition all the way, as a special adviser to the UN secretary general, periodically with the status of undersecretary general, himself.
Levant claims Strong has "never stopped pressing for a world where the UN's resolutions would be enforced as the law in every corner of the Earth." And Strong has made it clear he sees no harm in carbon taxes, air travel taxes and financial transaction taxes that raise billions or even trillions annually to fund a super world bureaucracy where he and others can influence world affairs without every grubbying themselves by seeking approval from -- ugh -- voters.
This is the man Paul Martin wants to make a senior economic and environmental adviser in his PMO. But that's no surprise, either. Levant details how Strong hired Martin to be his personal assistant at Montreal's Power Corporation, even before Martin had left university, and later helped Martin get his stake in Canada Steamship Lines, the company that is the source of Martin's personal wealth, not to mention his pride and joy. Martin's enthusiasm for Strong's counsel goes way, way back.
Canada's Commitment to Earth Worship at the Roots of Rapid Change to Canadian Law
By Dr. Charles McVety
(The contents of the article were presented in a half-hour program on CTS TV, March 7, 2004, 11 p.m. EST)
The article explores the history of the relationship between Maurice Strong and Paul Martin. Maurice Strong gave Paul Martin his his first job during summer vacation in university, hired him for Power Corporation Canada Ltd. after Martin finished university, and offered Martin a sweetheart deal, the purchase of Canada Steamship Lines, that made the Martin family unbelievably rich.
Importantly, the article identifies Paul Martin's commitment to support the plan by Maurice Strong, Michael Gorbachev, Kofi Anan and Stephen Rockefeller to impose a universal religion of Earth worship on the world population. The new-age religion is to replace all others.
The Canadian government provided millions of dollars in funding for the development and goals of Maurice Strong's new-age religion. The Canadian federal government also provided a $161 million in contracts to Canadian Steamship Lines, a corporation that has most of its fleet of about 50 ships registered in Barbados and Liberia and that uses shoddy labour practices that earn it an estimated extra $775,000 a year on each of its foreign-registered ships.*
Maurice Strong was recently appointed as senior advisor to the Prime Minister's Office.