Good bye Canada ?

Good bye Canada.

No, I’m not leaving Canada but my Canada, and yours, is leaving us. Well, not so much leaving us as being transformed around us into a country we will soon no longer recognize. And what’s more, into a country we won’t want to recognize.

Canada is being changed. Canada has changed.

Don’t take my word for it, look around you and hear other voices. Here’s an American voice:

What happened to Canada? It used to be the country we would flee to if life in the United States became unpalatable. No nuclear weapons. No huge military-industrial complex. Universal health care. Funding for the arts. A good record on the environment.

 But that was the old Canada.

Those are the words of Chris Hedges, in an article titled Corporations Have no Use For Borders.  Hedges is a journalist who for more than two decades reported from within more wars, rebellions, revolutions and uprisings than most of us even care to think about. He was a foreign correspondent for fifteen years for The New York Times. He has taught at numerous prestigious universities, including Princeton, Columbia and good old U of T. He knows whereof he speaks and writes. And his words hold no comfort for Canadians:

Canada has withdrawn from the Kyoto Accords so it can dig up the Alberta tar sands in an orgy of environmental degradation. It carried out the largest mass arrests of demonstrators in Canadian history at 2010’s G-8 and G-20 meetings, rounding up more than 1,000 people. It sends undercover police into indigenous communities and activist groups and is handing out stiff prison terms to dissenters. And Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper is a diminished version of George W. Bush. He champions the rabid right wing in Israel, bows to the whims of global financiers and is a Christian fundamentalist.

In case one wonders whether a Pulitzer Prize winning war correspondent is straying out of his field by identifying our PM as a Christian fundamentalist it may be worthwhile to point out that Hedges has a Master of Divinity degree from Harvard Divinity School and is well aware of how “faith” impacts political ideology.

Hedges talks of “the decay of Canada” and attributes it to Corporate Power:

Corporations have no regard for nation-states. They assert their power to exploit the land and the people everywhere. They play worker off of worker and nation off of nation. They control the political elites in Ottawa as they do in London, Paris and Washington.

A few brief years ago we Canadians would have written off such a warning as the utterings of a madman. But perhaps, just perhaps, when a highly informed American voice assures us that Corporations are in control of Ottawa, perhaps we might listen up.

It’s not as though our own voices are silent.

Here are recent words from the personal blog of the Anglican Bishop of Quebec, Dennis Drainville. He was reacting to the recent pronouncements from our PM and cabinet ministers Oliver and Kent all of whom seem bent on categorizing as disloyal and dangerous “radicals” any environmentalists or other citizens who oppose the Harper Government’s corporate friendly objectives :

[T]his majority government, which received about a third of the votes cast by approximately 50% of those eligible to vote, has decided that what is good for Canadians is the corporate agenda led by the scions of the Petroleum Industry….This is no slight correction in the development of policy, it is a fundamental and dangerous change in the raison d’etre of the role of government.

 The good bishop has earned his right to voice opinions concerning any government’s relationship to its people. Drainville is an ordained Anglican priest who, in the social work trenches, helped establish Toronto’s STOP 103, of which he was Executive Director. He literally went to the barricades in Ontario on behalf of Aboriginal land rights and for his efforts received the reward of a brief prison sentence . Later, as an NDP candidate, he not only won a seat in the Ontario legislature but did so in a staunchly Conservative rural riding by defeating the nearest rival by well over 6000 votes. Later he ministered in the Gaspe on behalf of both the Anglicans and the United Church and, simultaneously, taught Humanities and History at a CGEP and served for eight years on the city council of Ville de Percé. Now, as Anglican Bishop of Quebec, when Drainville voices an opinion it is based on deep grassroots experience:

No longer is the Government of Canada playing the role of careful steward of our collective resources and a protector of our people and lands. We now have a government committed to furthering the corporate agenda regardless of the effects of that agenda on vulnerable peoples and lands

 For some, “corporate agenda” sounds like an old fashioned left wing rant but we’re badly mistaken if we think it means the same now as it did back in, say, the ‘70s. As I’ve said before, the modern mega corporation is an alien species not to be confused with the business next door. And since I’ve said it before I’ll say it again, the Corporate Creatures with whom our PM is aligning his government (which used to be our government) are dedicated to the enterprise of making profit from war, disease, natural disasters, worker displacement, and environmental degradation.

Away back during World War Two the term Quisling became synonymous with politicians who aligned themselves with foreign invaders. It’s difficult to say what term should be used for politicians who align themselves with alien creatures. The good bishop calls them “enemies of the people”:

Canadians must not be passive to this assault on our rights and freedoms. Any and all governments that repudiate the ” Common Good” must be seen as the true enemies of the people. We must be both active in responding to the needs of our fellow citizens and vigilant to protect our common interests. Only in this way will democracy be preserved.

I return to Chris Hedges. In asking “What happened to Canada?” he is under no illusions as to the answer and in his article sees the global Occupy Movement as the current best hope for democracy:

This, I suspect, is why the tactics to crush the Occupy movement around the globe have an eerie similarity—infiltrations, surveillance, the denial of public assembly, physical attempts to eradicate encampments, the use of propaganda and the press to demonize the movement, new draconian laws stripping citizens of basic rights, and increasingly harsh terms of incarceration…….The Occupy movement reminds us that until the corporate superstructure is dismantled it does not matter which member of the native elite is elected or anointed to rule. The Canadian prime minister is as much a servant of corporate power as the American president. ….

Amen. Here endeth the lesson.

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About Munroe Scott

Munroe Scott is a veteran of the freelance writing world.
This entry was posted in Opinion, Politics and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Good bye Canada ?

  1. markfinnan says:

    Yes. You’re telling it like it is.
    Welcome back
    Mark

  2. John Peer says:

    Indeed, it is easy to tell how much the corporatocracy fears the Occupy Movement simply by the lengths they are going to discredit it.

    It’s almost comical (if’n it weren’t so sad…) to watch the constant barrage of attacks against the movement by conservative news sources.

    Munroe Scott explains it thusly: (by quoting Chris Hedges) “”This, I suspect, is why the tactics to crush the Occupy movement around the globe have an eerie similarity—infiltrations, surveillance, the denial of public assembly, physical attempts to eradicate encampments, the use of propaganda and the press to demonize the movement, new draconian laws stripping citizens of basic rights, and increasingly harsh terms of incarceration…….The Occupy movement reminds us that until the corporate superstructure is dismantled it does not matter which member of the native elite is elected or anointed to rule. The Canadian prime minister is as much a servant of corporate power as the American president. ….””

    Where I depart from this pessimism, is that I DO believe it makes a difference who the PM is…and who the elected MP’s are! I do not believe, for one minute, that there is no way to lessen the death-grip on public policy held by big money and corporate power and greed. There are simply TOO MANY good people who have been, and are, and will be, dedicating their lives to bringing forth policy alternatives for a better Canada, and therefore a better world.

    But they are up against two major problems…the rich envy felt by most ordinary conservatives (and many others as well), who feel that “surely their turn will come!” if they vote in support of money, and those with the most of it in their purse…and the FEAR MONGERING that these right wing corporate-kissing leaders use to retain a hold on power. Until people stop voting out of fear and hostility towards those whom they DON’T see when they look in the mirror, the status quo will continue.

    But the cat is out of the bag…and for the first time in MY adult lifetime, the conversation worldwide has turned towards the inequalitiy, greed and corruption that pervades our political system…as well as our financial systems AND our daily lives. But it is clear to me that one “side” is far worse that the other! What kind of fool honestly thinks that if Jack Layton, as an example, had won the PMO (and lived, sadly), that Canada would be taking the pathetic road currently being travelled by the Harper Gov’t?? Nonsense!

    Who thinks an NDP-led PMO would permit Canada to become the laughing-stock amongst environmetalists that Harper is making it? Who amongst us thinks that an NDP-led gov’t would dismiss the cries and outrage of the 99% as “a lunatic fringe” the way the Reform/Alliance Party (aka the CPC) has done under Harper??

    And so, for his pessimistic and deterministic “surrender” to the corporatocracy at the end of his essay – I gently thumb my nose at you, Munroe Scott! And likewise to you, Chris Hedges, who has found an increase in his book sales by trapsing around the country crying that it’s all over, the liberal movement has failed, and we have only 1000 year reign of increasing despair and degredation of our planet to look forward to…!

    Bullshit.

    Not on “our” watch.
    Occupy. Spring cometh.

  3. pete56 says:

    It IS unfortunate that Harper kowtows to the US, which kowtows to the corporations.
    In a sense,Harper is Mulroney-lite,though: motivated by greed and power.
    In another, he’s Mulroney-plus, not only taking the money,but giving away the whole shebang,and nullifying the rest.
    He KNOWS his posterior is a putting green if he overplays his hand,and his recent Oopsy! speech about the future OAP changes shows that. He skulks in secret, except secrets are kind of rare when they aspire to any kind of significance.
    We live in the information age.How come guys like Steve think they can get away with this guff in secret? It doesn’t show any kind of wild capische,regarding the folks of Canada. We’re not a pack of lumberjacking retards. We’re more informed,and pretty adamant about keeping what we’ve either been given, or earned.
    Personally I think OWS is going to expand far beyond the current design,and enter into everyday life, and corporate and law-enforcement disruptions, as recently ‘Anonymous’ and others have been haranging (sp?) various agencies of corporate and law enforcement ,via hacks to their computer systems.
    I’m fer it!
    Moreso than ever in recorded history,allover the world, we all are one, via this computerized society. Skilled somebodies(even anonymous ones) need to kick up a fuss about the abusers in it.

  4. janfromthebruce says:

    Scott I liked your blog posting, however, like John I disagree with utter dispair and “meme” (another right-wing propaganda thought – “all politicians are the same”) all political elite are the same and can do nothing. The NDP is different and we are not USA.

  5. As we used to say in the day … “Right On!” I’m a big fan of Chris Hedges too.

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