Nation to Colony — revolution in reverse

There are so many uprisings and revolutions underway in faraway places that it is easy to overlook the fact that we Canadians have had a revolution underway for several decades and that it is only now heading into its final stages as Harper moves to “harmonize” with the Americans on a North American perimeter.  Of course our revolution, being Canadian, is in reverse.

Historical and philosophical context is important  so, before I blather on any more, here (mercifully shortened) is the way I saw it unfolding back in the 1980’s.

From  Nation to Colony

[….] Centuries from now, historians will puzzle over the Canadian phenomenon.  They will see the 20th century beginning with Canada a colony of Great Britain.  They will see a brief sixty years (about 1930 to 1990) during which Canada emerged as a proudly independent nation.  They will then see a swift decline into Canada as a colony of the United States. It will have happened because of the naivete of Canadians who seem to be unaware of the facts of history, one of which is that empire follows trade. [….]

The pattern was always relatively simple. Business moved in and established facilities and made investments that returned handsome dividends to the economy of the dominant country. When the locals got restless or other competition moved in, the dominant country reacted to the needs of its own business community and supported “trade” with might.

Often, the only way out of such colonial domination was via revolution.  The American colonies revolted from Britain.  The Indonesians revolted from the Dutch.  The Vietnamese revolted from the French.

Canada was unusual. She moved to independence through evolution.

Canada is being unusual once again. She is returning to colonialism via revolution.

Paradoxically, the revolution is being conducted by a party already in power that is now inviting the world’s most powerful nation to consolidate the business entrenchments that inevitably precede the absorption into empire.

Future historians will be further amazed by the gullibility of Canadians who believe that the revolutionaries are “Conservatives” in the Canadian tradition.  They are not.  Their philosophy bears little resemblance to that of the nationalist party of John A.MacDonald and the populist party of John Diefenbaker.

The Mulroneyites are Neo-Conservatives, calling (under the guise of Free Trade) for Open Investment.  Their slogan — “A Level Playing Field”.

Open Investment entrenches empire and the Level Playing Field ensures its continuity. Once it’s established, any change to that so-called Level Playing Field brings a reflex protective reaction from the controlling country.

Any  nationalist movement that attempts to keep profits at home is a threat to a mercantile empire.  It is no accident that the United States has consistently opposed ANY regime, anywhere, that impedes American business interests.

It is worth asking ourselves what the pattern of 20th century history would have been if the Mulronyites’ Canada-US economic union had been instituted earlier.

Canada entered two World Wars almost three years ahead of the United States.  Historians  agree that Canada’s contribution, both militarily and industrially, helped tip the balance.  Could Canada have ventured so courageously if her economy had been integrated with that of the US?  Of course not.

Canada moved as a free agent behind the scenes at the UN when the Suez crisis brought the world to the brink of another World War.  The US was not even talking to Britain and France but fortunately independent Canada was trusted by the Europeans, the Americans,and the Afro-Asians.  The result was a remarkable, and hopeful, experiment in middle power peace keeping.  With an integrated economy Canada is about to abandon forever her right to a voice as an independent international moderate. That is a betrayal of global proportions  [….]

Canadians are practical folk who see justification for some public ownership of utilities, for public health care with equal access, for regional subsidies — the list is long and most of it runs counter to the philosophies of the United States.

In the economic union of our new colonialism Canada will have lost her ability to sway in creative tension between the productivity of the right and the humanism of the left.  She will be committed to the Neo-Conservative Right.  Therein lies the revolution.

A people that is docilely willing to be stripped of such future options is a people devoid of both pride and honour.

So now, in 2011, it appears obvious to me that the current Obama/Harper “perimeter” will consolidate the revolution.  Police are already working side by side on both sides of the border – I’m willing to bet a lot more on our side than theirs.  The Canada/US border, that mythical “porous” line, is going to be made tighter and tighter so that the perimeter idea will look good.  Then the perimeter, manned by security, customs, and immigration personnel from both countries, must of necessity be governed by the same laws.  Guess who will dictate those – the mouse or the elephant?

But shucks, “perimeter” has a nice faraway sound to it.  Sort of a coastal thing. It’s away up there across the Arctic and down the wild Atlantic coastline and the exotic B.C. islands and deep into the fiords.  By all means, let’s protect the perimeter.  But hey, the perimeter is also every port and airport that accepts ships and planes from other countries.  The perimeter is Halifax, Quebec City, Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg –  okay, you get the picture. The so-called perimeter is not a perimeter.  It’s our national heartland.

And the heartland is to be manned by personnel from both countries? Administering different laws, different regulations?  Who among us  swallows that crock?

Recently, speaking in New York, our current Minister of Foreign Affairs put it rather clearly. He called for measures “within, at, and away from the border that will enhance security co-operation, facilitate smoother access for people, goods and services, and reduce the hassle, as well as the costs, of entry to each other’s market.”  (Italics are mine.)

Now toss this into the brew. In addition to those “measures” is an agreement quietly reached by our two militaries allowing the troops from one nation to support the armed forces of the other nation during a “civil emergency”.  Having seen the police in action during the G20 we’d damn well better not try taking any more civil protest into  our streets.

Next will come a single monetary policy and the game’s really over.  So let’s sit back and root for the peoples of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, or any other faraway land, and applaud their courage and desire for freedom.  And in the meantime let’s  hope that in the forthcoming Harper budget there are enough sops to our “loyal” Opposition to postpone an election. An election, in case we’ve forgotten, is a bloodless way to stop a government bent on completing an ideological revolution.  But we wouldn’t want that — or would we?

What do you think?

From Nation to Colony
From Down Paradox Lane
Lindsay This week, Feb 5th, 1988
Copyright © Munroe Scott

About Munroe Scott

Munroe Scott is a veteran of the freelance writing world.
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3 Responses to Nation to Colony — revolution in reverse

  1. Vaughan Lyon says:

    You have not lost your touch — big ideas reduced to good reads.

  2. Jo Hayward-Haines says:

    The machinations of multi-national corporations applaud and foster these sorts of compliances regarding borders – they serve to quell people on both sides from questioning or resisting, provide security against freedom of speech, assembly etc. and harmonize regulations right down to the humdrum. We see the seeds of oppression here and we can also see further manifestations of this kind of oppression in Eqypt, Tunisia and Libya. These people are fighting for our freedoms as well.

  3. Mark Finnan says:

    Concerned as I am that we have strident free-market fundamentalists in government singing from the same corporate hymn-book published in the U.S. and popularised by the Reaganites and the Bushies with disasterous consequences for American society, I am delighted that you are so effectively highlighting the inevitable and disasterous consequences of Canada joining the choir. We need more of this.

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