My daughter Grace once jokingly told me that this was the difference between an American and a Canadian:
Every morning the American wakes up and exclaims, “Thank God I’m an American!” And every morning the Canadian wakes up and exclaims, “Thank God, I’m not!”
That was a long time ago. Now, married to an American and with two American sons, she has become a U.S. citizen.
And Canada, it seems, is in danger of becoming American in all the ugly ways that used to make Canadians shun Americanism.
Chris Hedges writes in Truthdig today:
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 Canada has withdrawn from the Kyoto Accords so it can dig up the Alberta tar sands in an orgy of environmental degradation.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.
I had hoped that Canada would escape the global infection that has afflicted so many nations but apparently not. With its economic success and political enlightenment, Canada has attracted the attention of the corporate predators who are intent on spreading their toxic doctrine throughout humankind. They are targeting Canada as they targeted America and Europe. The prospects are chilling.
Hedges puts it this way:
The decay of Canada illustrates two things. Corporate power is global, and resistance to it cannot be restricted by national boundaries. 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.
These “conservative” activists are all the more sinister because they are wolves in sheep’s clothing. Hedges warns that:
Our most dangerous opponents, in fact, look and speak like us. They hijack familiar and comforting iconography and slogans to paint themselves as true patriots. They claim to love Jesus. But they cynically serve the function a native bureaucracy serves for any foreign colonizer.
Obviously, the corporate quislings have risen to power in Canada. I never thought I would live to hear a Canadian cabinet member call environmentalists “radical.” But that’s how Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver described opponents to a proposed pipeline that would transport oil from the Alberta tar sands to Texas refineries. I happen to think the pipeline might be the less dangerous of two unwholesome alternatives, but I certainly would not call opponents to the project “radical.” A better adjective might be “concerned.”
Hedges seems to think the Occupy Wall Street movement is the only salvation – for Canada as well as America. He declares:
The Canadian prime minister is as much a servant of corporate power as the American president. And replacing either will not alter corporate domination. As the corporate mechanisms of control become apparent to wider segments of the population, discontent will grow further. So will the force employed by our corporate overlords.
But I think I know Canada better than he does. I lived there for two decades. My son, my sister and many other close relatives live in Toronto. My brother, his wife and their children live in London, Ontario. I have friends and relatives across Canada. And I cannot believe they will let the subversive neocons win the battle for their country.
Most Canadians are sensible people. They will not fall prey to the slick propagandists that corporate colonizers employ to spread fear and dissension. There are political alternatives to Stephen Harper and his gang. Good alternatives. We shall see what happens in the next election.