"Outside of legal spheres, the word 'traitor' may also be used about a person who betrays, or is accused of betraying their own political party, nation . religion, social class or other group to which they may belong."
Definition of treason, en.metapedia.org
EARLY last week, this column began life as a light-hearted Halloween story about Guy Fawkes the traitor who, on Nov. 5, 1605, failed in his efforts to blow up Britain's Houses of Parliament.
As is often the case with wars and revolutions, what became known as the Gunpowder Plot had its roots in over-heated religious differences. In 1605 it was between Catholic and Protestant rulers, their governments and the people.
My own plan was hatched in the hope that humour would offset my usual depressing stories about political misfeasance. It would have been a welcome break - for all of us.
Unfortunately, a betrayal underway in Ottawa would have made levity on my part seem like fiddling while Canada's sovereignty burned.
Briefly described, the misfeasance or worse is this: On Sept. 8, 2012, while in Vladivostok, Russia, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the President of China, Hu Jintao, witnessed the signing of the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement.
If and when the deal is ratified by Harper's majority government, Canadians will have been given no opportunity to hear parliamentary debate on the proposal - not even a salutary nod to democratic process.
Yet the deal is a culmination of nearly two decades of on-again/off-again negotiations that concluded in Feb. 2012 when Harper was again offshore, that time in China.
Could the PM make it any plainer that he has no interest whatsoever in facing the will of Canadians in the matter?
At this point, it might be useful for you to know I am not ideologically opposed to fiscally right-wing governments.
In the late 1980s, I fell for slogans that announced The Reform Party of Canada. Initially sincere, they evolved into little more than politically motivated flimflam.
But like thousands of others, I lived in a West that wanted in on the federal process; I, too, believed in the Common Sense of the Common People. The North Vancouver branch of the new party was founded and I was its first president.
After all the tough groundwork by early and idealistic Reformers, it wasn't long before the opportunistic "real" politicians climbed aboard the bandwagon.
Important to this story is that one member of the early group bided his time and played the reform game on a more personal front.
Virtually unnoticed by the people of this province, Albertan economist Stephen Harper accompanied leader Preston Manning on many forays into B.C. and in 1993, he became MP for Calgary West.
Patiently working his way through Manning's Reform-Alliance Party, the National Citizens Coalition, the merger between the Alliance and Progressive Conservatives and two minority governments, Harper's mission was accomplished when, in May 2011, he led the Conservatives to form his first majority government.
In our 2012 political world, that unassailable majority allows Harper to curtail parliamentary process while he hands off Canadian sovereignty to a communist country. By so doing, he severely compromises the ability of our provincial government to protect the best interests of British Columbians and the economic and environmental resources of the province.
And if her Oct. 9 address to the Canada-China investment summit is any indication, our unelected premier is happy to take B.C. along for the ride.
So much for The West Wants In.
Some readers may want to challenge my belief that Harper is dealing away Canadian sovereignty to China.
After all, is he not the man who said: "Exercising sovereignty over Canada's North, as over the rest of Canada, is our No. 1 Arctic foreign policy priority"?
Is he not spending billions of dollars to build ships to patrol Arctic waters in order to establish that sovereignty?
To which I can only answer with the words of Gus Van Harten, Associate Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School in his open letter to the prime minister: "This treaty will have major implications for core elements of Canadian legislative and judicial sovereignty," he wrote in his final paragraph.
"It will tie the hands of all levels and branches of government in Canada in relation to any Chinese-owned asset in ways that many governments in Canada, I suspect, have not considered closely," the letter continued.
And then, for anyone who cares deeply about this country and all that she means to its citizens, Van Harten closed with the most gut-wrenching sentence of all: "The implications will be legally irreversible by any Canadian court or other decision-maker for at least 31 years."
So there you have it.
By the time you read this, your concerns and mine may all be for naught, if, in Wednesday's unbalanced session of the House, federal Conservatives have already ratified the deal.
So what is the moral of this story - other than to be careful what you wish for when electing a workable majority government?
It is that, Guy Fawkes and religious disputes aside, there are more ways than 36 barrels of gunpowder by which to blow up a peaceful democracy.
My only remaining question is this: Why would anyone want to do that?