Canada's Republican Shift to the Extreme Right | Unpublished

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Grimsby, Ontario
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Mark Taliano is a retired high school teacher.  Currently, he is a writer and activist.

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Canada's Republican Shift to the Extreme Right

April 29, 2015
Canada's Republican Shift to the Extreme Right

This OpEd was written in the spring of 2015, before Bill C-51 was passed. 

Canada's disempowering shift to the extreme right suppresses and infantilizes Canadians with a view to enabling trajectories of transnational corporate predation for the benefit of domestic and foreign oligarch classes.

Canada's parliament passed Bill C-51. Constitutional lawyer Rocco Galati: "We've entered into the final fascist state."

As we move closer to another federal election, Unpublished Media is reposting this and other letters from past elections to remind Canadians of arguments that are still relevant today… 

The “fascist shift”, as described by author Naomi Wolf in The End Of America/ Letter Of Warning To A Young Patriot, is accelerating in Canada with the tabling of (“State Terror”) Bill C-51.

Though universally condemned by experts, and increasingly unpopular amongst Canadians, the Bill will almost certainly pass, as common sense and public opinion become the first casualties of Canada’s shift to the extreme right.

The following overlapping and intersecting fascistic strategies, as enumerated by Wolf, are being entrenched in Canada, all to the detriment of civil society, and to the benefit of a predatory system of top down governance and control:

Invoke an external and internal threat

The Harper government has manipulatively invoked the threat of ISIS to create unreasonable societal fear, so that it can advance an imperial agenda beneath the cover of lies and deceptions.

There are simply too many holes in the official ISIS narrative to accept it at face value.  There exists too much contradictory evidence of the West supplying ISIS with weapons and foodstuffs, and of the West not being “serious” about destroying ISIS  -- in addition to the fact that the West and ISIS share common goals: namely, the conquest of Syria and further destabilization of the Middle East – to unquestionably believe the official government narrative.  

As professor Michel Chossudovsky explains in, “America’s ‘Global War On Terror’, Al Qaeda And The Islamic State”:

The Global War on Terrorism has become a consensus. It is part of war propaganda. It is also used by Western governments to justify and implement ‘anti-terrorist’ legislation. It is the cornerstone of the West’s demonization campaign directed against Muslims. 

It should also be understood that the ‘Global War on Terrorism’ supports a process of ‘economic conquest’, whereby countries forego their sovereignty.”

But the unreasonable fear creates the pre-conditions for the government to impose Police State legislation on a compliant public that seeks “protection”.

Surveil ordinary citizens and target key individuals

Peaceful human rights advocates such as Drs. Pam Palmater and Cindy Blackstock are already being targeted and surveilled, at considerable expense, and for no legitimate reason, yet Bill C-51 promises to become even more intrusive and repressive.

Blackstock is an activist for child welfare as well as Executive Director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada.  Palmater is a lawyer and university professor who is an  activist for First Nations causes.

Canada’s Privacy Commissioner, for his part, argued that, Bill C-51 “would potentially lead to disproportionately large amounts of personal information of ordinary, law-abiding citizens being collected and shared,” and that, “this sets up the prospect of profiling and Big Data analytics on all Canadians.”  

Surveillance of law-abiding citizens, under the watchful eye of “Thought Police” has the effect of putting a “chill” on freedoms of expression and assembly as guaranteed by Canada’s Charter of Rights. It is not consistent with free and democratic societies, but it is yet another hallmark of Police State repression.

Subvert Rule of law

Bill C-51 violates Section 35 of Canada’s Constitution by negating and denying rather than recognizing and affirming aboriginal and treaty rights.  First Nations have not been adequately consulted according to Canadian law.

Additionally, Bill C-51 derogates international rights.  According to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), issues that impact First Nations (such as Bill C-51) require the Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) of the impacted communities.

Cast criticism as "espionage" and dissent as "treason"

Bill C-51 also subverts the rule of law by using poorly defined words that could be interpreted in a myriad of ways.  Megan Drysdale explains in “The Top 6 ways You Will Be Affected By Bill C-51”  that “innocent words” could be “interpreted as terrorism”: 

Bill C-51 broadens the scope of propagation crimes to include advocating or promoting "terrorism offences in general." The wording of the bill is broad enough that a terrorist purpose is not required. Speaking privately about solutions to controversial conflicts or debating an academic opinion that ‘may’ cause a listener to commit a terrorist offence could count as an indictable offence for you, regardless of your own intentions. "Being reckless," as the bill describes it, can lead to up to five years in prison.

Theoretically, then, an individual who exercises his/her freedom of dissent, and freedom to resist could be falsely branded in catch-all terms such as “terrorism”, or “espionage”, or even “treason”. 

Government intentions revealed themselves in November, 2011 when NDP MPs Megan Leslie and Claude Gravelle were accused of treachery for travelling to Washington to communicate the NDP position regarding the tar sands. Leslie explained that they went “to propose a sustainable jobs strategy under a long term green energy future and to let her American interlocutors know there are Canadians who want tougher regulation of the tar sands.”

Restrict The Press

The press has long been compromised by corporate monopoly ownership, but now public media is increasingly compromised as well, so much so that media has basically become an “arm of the government”.   

A December 11, 2014 article entitled “The Conservative Broadcasting Corporation” , for example, shows that membership of the government-appointed Board Of Directors for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), is dominated by people who are, or have been, financial contributors to the reigning Conservative Party of Canada. 

The messaging is further compromised by the government’s restriction of information sources.  The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), yet another “arm of the government”, is being used to audit “radical” charities.  Elizabeth Renzetti explains in “Silence of the Charities” that,

“If you look at the 52 groups that have been targeted for audits since the Harper government’s 2012 crackdown on political activity by charities, it’s not hard to see what joins them: advocacy of causes that the Conservative government thinks are, by its own admission, “radical.” I don’t actually know the full list, because it’s not been revealed, but last year the CBC revealed the names of seven environmental charities, including the David Suzuki Foundation and Tides Canada. The free-speech group PEN Canada and human-rights advocates Amnesty International were also targeted. Some 400 academics signed a letter denouncing the audit into the political activities of the progressive think tank Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.”

Each of these “covert” strategies pollutes the collective mindset of the population in favour of the state, and makes a mockery of the notion of “freedom of the press”.

Arbitrarily detain and release citizens

Vague definitions of “terrorism” coupled with lowered standards for legitimate detention as outlined in Bill C-51 means that seemingly “one-off” debacles such as the mass arrests of demonstrators during the G-20 protests, described by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) as “unprecedented, disproportionate, and, at times unconstitutional”, could theoretically be “normalized”.

The threat of arbitrary detention and release is an impediment to freedoms of peaceful assembly, and freedom of expression, and another sign of a closing society.

Infiltrate citizen groups

The threat of agents provocateurs who infiltrate citizen groups also serves to stifle people from exercising their rights, as it puts a chill on peaceful demonstrations. 

Maude Barlow, Chairperson of the Council of Canadians, explains in an Action Alert, that “three undercover police officers attempted to incite violence in 2007 at the Montebello protest against the Security and Prosperity Partnership,” and that,  “the proof of their actions was caught on film.”

Such actions, closely related to false flag operations, also serve to deny citizens of their rights of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly – two enemies of closing societies.

Develop a paramilitary force

Private, para-military agencies are making inroads into Canada’s military and security apparatuses. According to a National Post article, “Notorious security contractor Blackwater trained Canadian troops without U.S. permission: court documents”, dated August 8, 2012, Blackwater/Academi has had an untendered contract with Canada since 2006 for training to Special Operations troops and some police.

More recently, a Blackwater/Academi employee informed me, (in person), that his company will be providing security for the 2015 Pan Am Games in Ontario, Canada.

On the surface, what we know about the integration of para-military forces such as Academi into Canada’s military/security apparatuses seems fairly innocuous, however, para-military forces such as Blackwater/Academi have a huge presence overseas, and their covert operations, often with little oversight, and considerable immunity from prosecution, are increasingly involved in assignments that, until recently, would have fallen under the exclusive domain of the military.

Fascistic governments typically employ para military forces to create a buffer (of plausible deniability) to compromise transparency and accountability.

For example, Dawn Paley, author of Drug War Capitalism, explains in a research piece that,

“Through the 1980s, the Colombian state became increasingly paramilitarized, a process which ‘manifested itself as threats, bombings, and selective assassinations or collective massacres of government officials (principally but not exclusively from the left), and of popular political leaders, workers, peasants, professors, human rights activists, and members of nongovernmental organizations.’ “

Such is the danger when countries hire covert para-military forces, often beneath the radar, to advance their agendas.

Establish secret prisons

One final hallmark of the fascist shift as identified by Naomi Wolf, is the establishment of secret prisons.  Since the U.S has “black sites” throughout the world, Canada’s increasing “harmonization” with her ally, in terms of cross border policing and military operations abroad, raises red flags.  If our closest allies use gulags/black sites, are we not at least indirectly implicated?

Canadian diplomat Richard Colvin explains in, “Canada complicit in torture of innocent Afghans, diplomat says”, that “we detained, and handed over for severe torture, a lot of innocent people.”

While we may not yet have our own secret prisons, it would seem that we have used “secret prisons” abroad, to detain and torture innocent civilians.

Clearly, Canada’s shift to the extreme right is in high gear, and Bill C-51, once passed, will put us in overdrive.  

How will we ever be able to pull ourselves free of the mess that we’ve made?

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