There have been calls to abolish the Canadian senate, or to reform it. Yet the Senate of Canada has been a vital institution that has influenced the political culture of the country.
For 150 years the Nation State has been the dominant for of government. People today can hardly imagine anything else. But for most of history a host of other forms have thrived. The Company State was both fully business and fully government. The Hudson Bay Company and East India Company were the largest. Between them they governed ten percent of the Earth’s surface and population. As governments they held the title “Honorable”. Their headquarters were next to each other in London. They shared both people and ideas. These Company States protected their interests from the Nation State. They occasionally turned their guns on the Royal Navy and had different foreign policies. The HBC government was neutral toward Russia in Alaska while Britain fought it in the Crimea. Company States were not just state-like or quasi-governmental nor “imitations” or ”extensions” of the Nation State. They should be understood as governments on their own terms. The Honorable Hudson Bay Company was the legal government in the Hudson Bay watershed and it governed Columbia to the Pacific Ocean through 21-year agreements. In proto-British Columbia it created and defended settlements, managed the economy and administered transportation, communication and legal systems. It was not a Nation State with total sovereignty over bound territory. It shared overlapping heteronomy with First Nations and it respected their legitimacy. Its economic success depended on healthy Native communities and cultures. Many Aboriginal people embraced the global economy, welcomed manufactured products and provided export goods. Some became the Home Guard around each trading community, acting as middlemen for trade and providing defence. The Hudson Bay Company state was secular Banned missionaries, encouraged mixed-race marriages and restricted European settlement. It practised harm reduction over prohibition and it managed resources to protect the environment, refusing to purchase endangered… Read More »Government in Proto-British Columbia