Chris Hedges: What Happened to Canada?

by: Chris Hedges | TRUTHDIG | Posted Jan 31, 2012

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. I was in Montreal on Friday and Saturday and saw the familiar and disturbing tentacles of the security and surveillance state. Canada has withdrawn from the Kyoto Accords so it can dig up the Alberta tar sands in an orgy of environmental degradation.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.

The voices of dissent sound like our own. And the forms of persecution are familiar. This is not an accident. We are fighting the same corporate leviathan.



The following two tabs change content below.
    • A lot has happened since Chris Hedges asked this question. And it’s all terrifying. Canada has inched closer to a corporate puppet country, a hybrid petro-state. Harper and the ruling Conservatives gutted the Kyoto Accord and decades-old environmental protections to enable big oil to exploit Alberta’s dirty oil sands. Earlier this year, Harper led a high-powered Team Corporate Canada to China on a mission to generate a market for Big Oil. Of course, during the trip, Harper did not question not question China’s appalling human rights record. Back home, government fear-mongering has reached an alarming stage. Anti-capitalism movements, environmentalists, charities, Aboriginal groups, activists are routinely targeted, demonized and labeled “issue-based terrorists” and “enemies of the state”. In the meantime, the corporations continue to claim tax cuts and bailouts. They continue to make billions without creating jobs. Canada desperately needs an awakening beyond both Occupy and the Arab Spring!

    • Thanks, Nadine, for the sharing Naomi Klein’s piece. Frankly, I think under Harper, Canadian democracy is hurtling towards the Intensive Care Unit. In a working democracy there would be no state war against legitimate dissent. In a real democracy, some of the police officers who participated in the raids against the G20 and Occupy protests would be facing serious charges for assault and harassment. Politicians would be investigated for ordering the militarization of our cities and police forces. In a true, liberal democracy predicated on the rule of law, some police service chiefs would be investigated for supervising the recent military-style assaults on legitimate and peaceful public assemblies.