Kyoto Book Excerpt
Monday, December 2, 2002
Kyoto Protocol compiled by un-elected global bureaucrats
Maurice Strong at Summit
THE Kyoto Protocol was the work of thousands of bureaucrats, diplomats and politicians. But no one person is more responsible for it than a Canadian named Maurice Strong.
Strong organized the UN first-world environmental summit in Stockholm in 1972 and has never stopped pressing for a world where UN resolutions would be enforced as law all over the Earth.
Strong went on to chair the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio and to become senior adviser to Kofi Annan, the UN's secretary general. Not bad for a kid from Oak Lake, Manitoba, who dropped out of school at age 14.
But Strong is different than other social butterflies who flit from one UN conference to the next. He is a powerful businessman, who has served as president of such massive energy companies as Petro-Canada and Ontario Hydro, and on the board of industrial giant Toyota.
He is a huge political donor, not just here in Canada, but to both the Republican and Democratic parties in the U.S. as well.
At age 29, he became president of Power Corporation, fusing his destiny to Canada's wealthiest and most influential families - including Paul Martin Sr. and Jr., now heir apparent to the prime minister.
Strong hired Paul Jr. to work for him during a vacation from university. "We controlled many companies, controlled political budgets," Strong said of his time at Power Corporation. "Politicians got to know you and you them."
Strong hired Martin into Power Corporation's executive suite. He helped guide Martin towards unimaginable personal wealth - and even predicted Martin's path to becoming prime minister. But Strong's influence reaches farther than Canada.
Indeed, compared to Strong's American and European friends, Martin is a small star in the constellation.
Strong sits on boards with the Rockefellers and Mikhail Gorbachev and chairs private meetings of CEOs, including Bill Gates. He hobnobs with the world's royalty, too - and with dictators and despots.
He once did a business deal with arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi, and wound up with a 200,000-acre ranch in Colorado - which his wife, Hanne, runs as a New Age spiritual colony.
He told Maclean's magazine in 1976 that he was "a socialist in ideology, a capitalist in methodology." He warns that if we don't heed his environmentalist warnings, the Earth will collapse into chaos.
"Do we really want this? Do we want Marx to be proven right, after all?" Strong asks. He shares the views of the most radical environmentalist street protester, but instead of shouting himself hoarse at a police barricade outside a global conference, he's the secretary general inside, wielding the gavel.
Strong has always courted power - but not through any shabby election campaign. He was a Liberal candidate in the 1979 federal election, but pulled out a month before the vote.
How could a mere MP wield the kind of international control he had tasted in Stockholm? Journalist Elaine Dewar, who interviewed Strong, described why he loved the UN.
"He could raise his own money from whomever he liked, appoint anyone he wanted, control the agenda," wrote Dewar.
"He told me he had more unfettered power than a cabinet minister in Ottawa. He was right: He didn't have to run for re-election, yet he could profoundly affect lives."
Strong prefers power extracted from democracies, and kept from unenlightened voters. Most power-crazed men would stop at calling for a one world Earth Charter to replace the U.S. Constitution, or the UN Charter.
But in an interview with his own Earth Charter Commission, Strong said "the real goal of the Earth Charter is it will in fact become like the Ten Commandments. It will become a symbol of the aspirations and commitments of people everywhere." Sounds like Maurice was hanging out at his spirit ranch without his sunhat on.
There has been no one like Maurice Strong before, except perhaps in fiction - Ernst Blofeld comes to mind, 007's round-faced nemesis in You Only Live Twice. But Blofeld sought to attack the world order, to challenge it from some remote hideaway - not to co-opt it, and transform it from the inside as Strong does.
Blofeld would threaten a meeting of the UN; Strong would chair the meeting and script its agenda. Strangely, Strong once indulged his inner Blofeld, musing to a stunned reporter about a violent plot to take over the world through one of his many super-organizations.
In 1990, Strong told a reporter a fantasy scenario for the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland - where 1,000 diplomats, CEOs and politicians gather "to address global issues."
Strong, naturally, is on the board of the World Economic Forum. "What if a small group of these world leaders were to conclude the principal risk to the earth comes from the actions of the rich countries?...
In order to save the planet, the group decides: Isn't the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn't it our responsibility to bring this about?"
That's Strong talking, but those are Blofeld's words coming out. But this is no fictitious Bond movie villain speaking - it is the man who chaired the Rio Earth Summit and who is Kofi Annan's senior adviser.
"This group of world leaders forms a secret society to bring about an economic collapse," continued Strong, warming to his fantasy. "It's February. They're all at Davos. These aren't terrorists.
"They're world leaders. They have positioned themselves in the world's commodities and stock markets. They've engineered, using their access to stock markets and computers and gold supplies, a panic. Then, they prevent the world's stock markets from closing. They jam the gears. They hire mercenaries who hold the leaders at Davos as hostage. The markets can't close..."
Strong catches himself. "I probably shouldn't be saying things like this."
But is fantasizing about holding the world hostage, like Dr. Evil in an Austin Powers movie, any less strange than Strong's other solutions to environmental problems?
In 1972, as Strong organized the first environmental conference for the UN, he granted an interview to the BBC. "I am convinced the prophets of doom have to be taken seriously," he said.
The only way to avoid doomsday, said Strong, was if "man, in light of this evidence, is going to be wise enough and enlightened enough to subject himself to this kind of discipline and control."
That discipline and control, of course, would be meted out by supernational organizations such as the UN. Just like his interview at Davos, Strong warmed to his topic.
The BBC reporter asked him what discipline and control people could expect - would it include legal limits on the number of children that a family could have?
Strong explained: "Licences to have babies incidentally is something that I got in trouble for some years ago for suggesting even in Canada that this might be necessary at some point, at least some restriction on the right to have a child."
But, if the world didn't follow his instructions - if governments didn't heed the warnings of the doomsayers - then "this is one of the possible courses that society would have to seriously consider." Strong himself has five children.
He knows how he is viewed by opponents to his radical environmentalism, or his promotion of a UN government with taxation and enforcement powers that trump national governments. And he seems to rather enjoy being described as a man at the centre of secretive power-brokering.
"Sure, these are but the deluded and paranoid ravings of the Western far right, and I wouldn't normally trouble to mention them at all," Strong writes in his self-conscious autobiography, "Except that my reaction when I hear a few of these charges is that I wish I had a smidgen of the power (and money!) they say I have.
"I wish I could accomplish a few of the things they already attribute to me. I do wish I could assist my many friends and colleagues in all the organizations I belong to, to remake the political and economic landscape."
But this is Strong feigning modesty, and not very convincingly. Later in his autobiography, he reprints his ostentatious seven-page resume, boasting every connection he has.
His book takes name-dropping to a new level, including a seven-page "name index," a list of hundreds of blue-chip associates that Strong has in his Rolodex.
Maurice Strong: A Dr. Evil-style strategist. Owner of a 200,000-acre New Age Zen colony. Designer of a proposal to "consider" requiring licences to have babies.
The architect of the Kyoto Protocol.