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(DV) Petersen: Canada -- The Honest Broker?







Canada: The Honest Broker?
by Kim Petersen
August 7, 2006

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“We in Canada are outraged that the Canadian Government and media again choose a morally unconscionable position and stand by silently while Israel perpetrates a massacre of civilians in Gaza, the West Bank and Lebanon.”


-- The Jewish Women’s Committee to End the Occupation


Zionist forces backed by the US are inflicting massive violence on the people of Palestine and Lebanon while most of the rest of the world stands by and looks on. Various “leaders” invert reality and bray about an Israeli right to self-defense. Canada’s prime minister Stephen Harper has been one of the most unabashed supporters of Zionism.

Since the election of a minority Conservative regime earlier this year, Canada has been tilting ever rightward, especially, according to some pundits, in foreign policy.

One of Harper’s first acts was to break off relations with the elected government of Palestine, Hamas. Following the launch of a murderous Zionist attack on Gaza and Lebanon, Harper mimicked US president George Bush that the government of stolen Palestine (renamed “Israel” by the thieves) “has the right to defend itself.” Harper opined, “I think Israel’s response under the circumstances has been measured.”

Some took exception to Harper’s direction. Leftist writer, Linda McQuaig, bemoaned the impact on “Canada [which] has a reputation for moderation and fairness.” [1]

James Clancy, president of the 340,000-member National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) claimed, “Canada is throwing away 60 years of history as an ‘honest broker’ in world affairs by abandoning multilateralism to become a partisan backer of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.”

It is uncertain which meter stick Harper is using, but the measured “response” has resulted in the killing of hundreds of Lebanese, evacuation of over half a million Lebanese, environmental devastation, the destruction of industrial infrastructure, hospital facilities, and a United Nations observation post that pleaded with the attackers to stop bombing nearby. The pleas, eerily enough, probably helped to direct a guided missile.

In the attack, (highly reminiscent of the Israeli attack on the clearly marked US surveillance ship, the USS Liberty, in 1967) one Canadian was among the four UN observer personnel killed: major Paeta Hess-von Kruedener.

UN “head” Kofi Annan claimed shock and distress at the “apparently deliberate” targeting of the UN post.

Hess-von Kruedener’s wife, Cynthia, was less oxymoronic than Annan.

“The building was clearly marked, their vehicles were clearly marked; they were clearly marked as UN observers.”

“So why were [Israelis] firing on that base? ... In my opinion, those were precision-guided missiles, so the attack was intentional.” 

Harper placed the blame for the attack on the UN, maladroitly questioning why it had observers at the observation post. [2]

As for Harper’s notion of a measured “response,” it is important to ascertain who is responding.

The entire world knows of the daring Palestinian raid, on June 25, that killed two occupation soldiers and captured another. However, few know that in the first twenty-three days of June there were 140 Zionist incursions into Palestine; more than 160 Palestinians were abducted, including women and children; but Palestinians had captured no Israelis. 

Further, on June 16, Zionist fighters killed three Palestinian children and a pregnant woman. On June 9, Zionists killed seven members of a family on a Gaza beach, leaving behind a 10-year-old orphan girl. Israeli forces killed at least 44 Palestinians in June preceding the Palestinian raid. According to Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, during this time Palestinians killed no Israelis. [3]

A fundamental fact is that the state of Israel is on territory stolen from indigenous Arabs by predominantly European invaders. The starting point, obviously, begins with the invasion.

Canada and the Zionist State

Canadians are even unwittingly helping Zionist forces carry out their carnage.

Few Canadians realize that their country is one of the world’s leading producers and exporters of advanced, war technology. Such is the power of the long-prevailing mythology that Canada is a great, global force for peace.

However, many of Israel’s most-deadly, US-made weapons systems -- now being used in air strikes against Lebanon -- would not be able to function without hundreds of crucial, high-tech, electronic components supplied by Canadian war industries, and subsidized unwittingly by Canadian taxpayers. [4]

The Canadian corporate media, with its heavy Zionist influence, has heaped disinformation at the Canadian media consumer. Still, many Canadians like to believe that their media is superior to that south of the border.

Years earlier, activist professor Noam Chomsky mentioned that he gets a lot of requests from corporate and state media when in Canada to say “how rotten the United states is.” Chomsky got “sick of this” and, one day, turned the tables on the Canadian media. He told of being on the national radio show, Morningside, where the host Peter Gzowski usually asked him leading questions about the US.

Chomsky mentioned he had arrived at War Criminal Airport in Canada. Astounded, Gzowski asked, “What do you mean?”

Chomsky replied, “Well, you know, the Lester B. Pearson Airport.” 

Pearson is a former Canadian prime minister and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in the Suez Crisis and setting up the UN Peacekeeping forces. But Pearson, Chomsky pointed out, was a “major criminal, really extreme.” He pointed out that Canada, under Pearson’s prime ministership, had enriched itself on the destruction of Indochina. [5]

Gzowski, according to Chomsky, “got infuriated” and went into “a kind of tantrum.” Listeners lit up the show’s switchboard and took umbrage with Gzowski’s rudeness and a contrite Gzowski was obliged to host Chomsky again, one last time. [6]

The point is that the Canadian media behaves little better than the US media when patriotic interests come to the forefront.

Pearson’s perfidy is not confined to Vietnam. While prime minister, Pearson conferred Canada’s blessing on the UN-ordered theft of Palestinian territory in 1947. He also defended the 1948 Zionist invasion of the UN-mandated territory of Palestine. [7]

Canadian government malefaction is stamped shamefully on the ruins of Palestine. Canada has provided taxpayer subsidy to a war crime that bears the name of Canada Park -- established on the ethnically cleansed villages of Imwas, Yalu, and Beit Nuba. [8]

As well, government aid is readily available to Canadian corporations seeking profit in Israel. [9]

Clearly, in the case of Palestine, Canada has no claim to act as an “honest broker.” Neither does it have particular claim to a “reputation for moderation and fairness.”

Canadian Imperialism

Canada is complicit in the crimes of US imperialism. It joined in the aggression of North Korea, profited from the aggression of Vietnam, joined in the first phase of the Persian Gulf Slaughter in 1991, and participated in the NATO-led aggression of Yugoslavia.

In 2004, Canada with France and the US brought about the coup d’état of the popular elected president of Haiti, Jean Bertrand Aristide. [10]

Now, Canada is mired in an aggressive mode in Afghanistan, and Canadian occupation-soldiers are coming home in body bags.

Birthed in Genocide

Honesty and a good reputation are not attributes that originate from ethnic cleansing and genocide. Just as the Zionist state is sullied by its bloody birth, so is Canada.

The Beothuck of Newfoundland are a people erased forever by the genocidal lusts of European invaders and their proxies. The Innu of Nitassinan (Labrador and eastern Québec) fight for their survival against forced settlement and the environmental devastation caused by industrial encroachment into their unceded homeland. [11] Government-backed corporations intrude into the unceded territory of the Lubicon Lake First Nation, lusting for resources. [12] 

A major ongoing confrontation is taking place near Caledonia, Ontario. [13] On October 2005, Haudenosaunee (Six Nations) chief David General informed Henco Industries not to develop a subdivision on Indigenous land. When the developer moved in, Haudenosaunee warriors occupied the unsurrendered site. The police have responded passively and aggressively to the warriors, but the Ontario government wound up compensating the developer -- not the Haudenosaunee!

One lawyer, who does not shirk from identifying genocide and has been most dedicated to the cause of justice for Original Peoples is Bruce Clark. Because of his zeal, he was called before the law society on many occasions. In 1996, the Law Society of Upper Canada v. Bruce Clark concluded:

Mr. Clark’s argument is anything but frivolous … The “genocide” of which Mr. Clark speaks is real, and has very nearly succeeded in destroying the Native Canadian community that flourished here when European settlers arrived. No one who has seen many of our First Nation communities can remain untouched by this reality. [14]

Nonetheless, Clark was disbarred in 1999 for being “ungovernable.” For fighting too vociferously against a law society-acknowledged genocide, Clark was deprived of his career. Such is the measure of justice to be meted out by the invaders’ court system.

Since coming to power, Harper has played the race card, catering to political interests and marginalizing the Indigenous minority. He has ignored the Kelowna agreement, a five-year, $5-billion plan to improve the lives of Original Peoples, many living in Third World conditions; he has undermined Indigenous fishing rights; he withheld Canada’s signature on the Draft Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Canada is no honest broker with its own Indigenous peoples.

Political Solutions

The opposition parties have been opportunistically criticizing the government. But it must be remembered that the Liberals, while forming government, had an egregious record of supporting Zionism. In fact, the Liberal Party caved in to Zionist pressure and placed the political arm of Hizbollah on the list of terrorist groups. B’nai Brith Canada had launched a legal suit to force Canadian government action against the social arm of Hizbollah, which then foreign affairs minister Bill Graham had deemed a legitimate charity.

Last year, Alexa McDonough, former leader of the social capitalist party, the NDP, opined: “Peace in Palestine cannot be maintained unless Syria pulls back from both its open and clandestine activities [in Lebanon]” -- an unprophetic statement that should dog her. McDonough also once disciplined foreign affairs critic, Svend Robinson, for his temerity to criticize Israeli brutalities against Palestinians. 

Alas, in Canada, the search for an honest broker must come from outside the three largest political parties. Canada needs representatives who will speak and act against injustices inside and outside Canada.

Until then, the notion of Canada as an honest broker must be considered as blatantly dishonest.

Kim Petersen, Co-Editor of Dissident Voice, lives in the traditional Mi’kmaq homeland colonially designated Nova Scotia, Canada. He can be reached at: kim@dissidentvoice.org.


[1] Linda McQuaig, “PM did not do enough to protect Canadians, says McQuaig,” The Star, 23 July 2006.

[2] Robert Fife and Canadian Press, “UN observer's wife calls Israel attack ‘intentional’,” CTV.ca, 28 July 2006.

[3] Alex Hemingway, “Gaza Crisis in Context,” Dominion Weblog, 3 August 2006.

[4] Richard Sanders, “Canadian Military Components used in Israel's War Against Lebanon,” Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade.

[5] See Victor Levant, Quiet Complicity: Canadian Involvement in the Vietnam War (Toronto: Between the Lines, 1986). Levant wrote “Canada’s arm sales to the United States tied it conspicuously to the destruction that was taking place in Vietnam. The bald fact that Canadians -- with the encouragement of their government -- were profiting from the U.S. war effort made a mockery of Ottawa’s pretensions of neutrality and its occasional criticisms of U.S actions.” 61.

[6] Noam Chomsky, Understanding Power: The Indispensable Chomsky, ed. Peter R. Mitchell and John Schoeffel (New York: New Press, 2002): 289-290.

[7] Gary Zatzman, “Canada and Palestine: double standards,” in Dossier on Palestine ed. Tony Seed and Gary Zatzman (shunpiking, 2002): 35.

[8] Ismail Zayid, “Canada Park: Canadian complicity in a war crime,” in Dossier on Palestine: 22-23.

[9] Tony Seed, “Profits from the Promised Land,” in Dossier on Palestine: 23.

[10] See Yves Engler and Anthony Fenton, Canada in Haiti: Waging War on the Poor Majority (Nova Scotia: Fernwood Press, 2005).

[11] Marie Wadden, Nitassinan: The Innu Struggle to Reclaim Their Homeland (Toronto: Douglas & McIntyre, 2000).

[12] Kim Petersen, “Canada’s Oil Invasion,” Dissident Voice, 25 April 2005. 

[13] Hillary Bain Lindsay, “Home On Native Land,” The Dominion, 19 April 2006.

[14] Bruce Clark, Justice in Paradise (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1999): 238. The case for made-in-Canada genocide: see Robert Davis and Mark Zannis, The Genocide Machine in Canada: The Pacification of the North (Toronto: Black Rose, 1973).

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