On July 1 we were supposed to commemorate, what exactly? Oh, yeah, the founding of Canada as a self-governing dominion, but you’d never know it by the name “Canada Day.” The event in question, as every Canadian school child should know, occurred in 1867 when the provinces of Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia formed a confederation to resist the spread of individualistic Yankee republicanism.
The people of British North America, as the area was known at the time, were conservative (in the proper sense of the word), which means they did not look upon government regulation or state economic activity as a godless attack on the sanctity of individual liberty. Thus, “peace, order and good government” not “life, liberty and the pursuit of selfish… er, happiness” became the basis of Canadian parliamentary democracy.
Given the events of the previous week at the G20 Summit in Toronto, though, Canadians have even more reason to doubt that any tangible philosophical or historical connection to the 1867 Confederation remains.
The sight of thousands upon thousands of heavily armed black-clad riot police laying siege to whole sections of downtown Toronto was a grotesquerie. This was not a security measure; this was a military occupation. In April 1993, I interpreted for the local media when Russian President Boris Yeltsin and U.S. President Bill Clinton arrived in Vancouver for a summit. There was security then, but citizens were not treated like enemies of the state.
The militaristic overkill in Toronto is further proof that matters of security and dissent cannot be debated rationally, as should be the case in a free, open democracy. Because of what happened on Sept. 11, 2001, contrived media-driven paranoia about “terrorism” has covered the globe like a miasma. Popular dissent, especially well-organized, effective public dissent is demonized and those who express contrary beliefs can be persecuted. In the name of security we are being forced to embrace the police state.
The governors of a police state, like all tyrants, rule through treachery and fear the rule of law and their own people. As an example, on June 2 the Ontario government, without debate in the Legislative Assembly, passed the Public Works Act, which authorized sweeping police powers. Under the Act, anyone within five metres of the G20 security fence could be searched and questioned.
Correspondent, Steven Zhou, told the Canadian Charger about citizen, Dave Vasey, who was arrested for refusing to show his identification; however, Vasey said he had no knowledge of the legislation, which is not surprising since it was passed in secret!
Those arrested at the G20 summit, more than 500, were warehoused in cages in a makeshift jail in the old Toronto Film Studios building on Eastern Avenue. Despite the presence of lawyers, many were held without counsel for hours, and even those who came to offer support were attacked, tear-gassed and forcibly dispersed. Never before had tear gas been used against Canadians by their own police forces.
If a government in any other country behaved like this, we would condemn its actions as tyrannical, and decry the violations of human rights. So, how does the debacle in Toronto square with a celebration of the founding of Canadian democracy? It clearly doesn’t.
Canada is not a representative democracy in any honest sense of the word. How could it be when the head of government acts like an autocrat and refuses to abide by Parliamentary directives—in this case, turning over documents on the torture of Afghans.
Such (typical) conduct is a gross violation of the founding Canadian principle of “responsible government,” by which the government or Cabinet is responsible to the people’s elected representatives in the House of Commons. Harper has declared himself to be an outlaw, a subversive, a traitor—just the kind of overweening, obsequious stooge Israel wants as its governor in Ottawa.
Harper has rung up such a consistent record of pandering to Isramerican lobby groups, and sacrificing the interests of Canadians to corporations, that his government cannot be considered Canadian.
- Canada signed the Kyoto Accords—Harper repudiated them;
- Canada gives generously to the world’s disadvantaged—Harper colluded with Israel to impoverish Palestinians after Hamas became the legitimate government of Palestine.
- Canada believes in freedom of expression—Harper tells Canadian aid groups to keep quite on policy issues. For speaking out against the impoverishment of Palestinians, Harper summarily cut funding to the aid agency KAIROS.
- Canada believes in supporting all forms of cultural expression—Harper peevishly cut funding to the Canadian Arab Federation.
Against this list of ignominy—there is much more—how the hell can we commemorate Canada as a “self-governing dominion!” Canada is utterly divorced from its history. July 1 should be reconsidered as a day of reflection for what this country used to stand for; to pretend that we are still celebrating the 1867 Confederation is a sick delusion.
The great thing about the G20 summit protests is that they happened, and gave proof that large numbers of Canadians recognize that peace and order without the rule of law is but servitude.