Canada Day came and passed on this blag with nary a word, and even last year I wasn’t particularly serious about the celebration. Then, for July 4th, Marcus wrote a post about the many hypocrisies on which the American empire is founded. He notes in passing that all nations likely trade heavily in this hypocrisy, and Canada is no different.
I’ll start with this observation: Canada is consistently perceived as a trustworthy and welcoming country, ranking 1st in the entire world for four times in the past six years by survey discussed in this article. This is important context, the feature I frequently call “Teflon coating” when I’m writing about Canadian politics.
Canada could arguably be considered a part of the American hegemony in some ways, as opposed to an empire ourselves, given our assistance in some of America’s more egregious war operations. Marcus cites:
As of this writing the US Empire has special forces teams operating in over 70 countries worldwide. That’s the declassified estimate. Imagine the world’s reaction if ISIS had extremely well-trained and armed units, in 70+ countries world-wide, with a huge logistic and intelligence apparatus behind them, spreading ISIS ideology at the tip of a bayonet. Sound too much like moral equivocation for you? ISIS hasn’t bombed Cambodia, yet. Nor North Korea. The war crimes of ISIS are a peccadillo next to the US’. Admittedly, they’ve worked hard to come up with a more repellent ideology than anarcho-globalist capitalism; an impressive feat. The CIA continues its work, alongside the special forces, interfering with other countries’ internal politics in the name of [CLASSIFIED], the intelligence community’s massive [CLASSIFIED] budget and no effective oversight guarantee that it will continue to export and foster terror and political destabilization.
For Obama, there were no “boots on the ground” in America’s contemporary missions in Syria. For Justin “but his hair” Trudeau, “advise and assist” apparently means “break the world record for longest range sniper kill.” Perhaps “Advice” is the name of the sniper rifle? Despite Trudeau’s enthusiasm to announce the world record, Mulcair was the only one in Parliament to stand up and ask “what the fuck? I thought we were doing recon.”
Nobody seems to care.
The RCMP and CSIS fed Syrian officials “questions” they wanted “posed” to three Canadian prisoners they captured and
tortured “enhanced interrogated.” Hey, it means Canadian intelligence is telling a technical truth when they say they haven’t perpetrated torture.
Nobody seems to care.
When the USA’s Senate Intelligence Committee released is scathing condemnation of the post-9/11 CIA torture program, a lot of folks forgot to mention who supplied the (mostly bunk) intelligence said operatives were using. America’s catching most of the flak for pulling the trigger while Canada is sidling away after loading the gun.
Canada is paying for its new child-care benefit by selling weapons to Saudi Arabia. What could possibly go wrong?
Once again, nobody seems to care.
Our domestic policy is inarguably better by many metrics compared to our southern neighbour, but a few things still stick out:
The government budgeted ~$500 million for the Canada 150 celebrations; that’s about half of what was earmarked for every single Indigenous reserve in the country for the 2017-2018 fiscal year. You still can’t drink the water on Indigenous reserves. Imagine Flint, but everywhere.
Canada, just as the USA, ratified the 1987 United Nations Convention Against Torture. It’s 2017, and the Correction Service of Canada is just now supposedly “limiting” its practice of indefinite solitary confinement without due process for inconvenient prisoners–after having lost multiple lawsuits over this issue. The new limitations do nothing to stop the practice of selecting inconvenient prisoners (chiefly the mentally ill, indigenous, and/or transgender) for “administrative segregation” but are nice enough to impose a cap of 21 consecutive days. You know, 6 days past the documented mean for psychological damage. It’s incremental progress! We’re shooting you in the shin rather than the knee.
Our Charter of Rights and Freedoms supposedly applies to everyone on Canadian soil, citizen or not. We break it all the fucking time.
Every time the United Nations turns its gaze to Canada it issues periodic failing grades on separation of church and state to Canada because we have publicly funded religious schools (and our Head of State is also the head of the Church of England).
Canada’s public PR has somehow survived even historical analysis. John A. MacDonald, often lauded as the Canadian equivalent to Abraham Lincoln, credited as the chief architect of Canadian federation, had this to say on the Indigenous peoples we colonized, murdered, and segregated:
“When the school is on the reserve, the child lives with its parents, who are savages, and though he may learn to read and write, his habits and training mode of thought are Indian. He is simply a savage who can read and write. It has been strongly impressed upon myself, as head of the Department, that Indian children should be withdrawn as much as possible from the parental influence, and the only way to do that would be to put them in central training industrial schools where they will acquire the habits and modes of thought of white men.”
And no, we don’t have the excuse that we were technically British. This is 100% colony-started and colony-enforced policy. All the Brits did was rubber stamp it.
But this probably isn’t what’s on people’s minds when they’re ranking Canada as the #1 most trustworthy and “welcoming” in the world.
So I’m at a loss as to how Canada has the reputation it does. Perhaps its the same mechanism which has people focus on who scored the goal rather than who helped set it up, but–with the notable contemporary exception of Iraq–Canada has either a supporting role in many of America’s international atrocities or has directly participated largely without consequence, to say nothing of our treatment of the Indigenous is no less appalling or how our law enforcement is taking its cue from Americans.
I’d like to think that we can set the bar a bit higher than “not as bad as the USA.” And yet, I trust Canada will remain Top 3 on the next survey, and us filthy State-questioning hippies will hold on to our reputation as wet blankets.