Nov 112016

Someone on Facebook posted a link to this article: Canada in the Age of Donald Trump

The person who posted it thought it was a good call to arms regarding being anti-racist in Canada.

I beg to differ, so here’s my response.

First, right off the bat, anyone who implies—as does this author—NATO and NAFTA are inarguably good things needs their heads examined.

This is one of the most shamefully hubristic articles I’ve ever seen on Canada. And I’ve read garbage by Margaret Wente.

Oh god… he actually had the gall to write an article on Canadian EXCEPTIONALISM?!

Does he know how our Indigenous peoples get treated in Canada? Under Trudeau? Does he understand Trudeau hasn’t halted revocations of citizenship under Harper’s legislation, but has accelerated them? Because that just smacks of multiculturalism!

Does he understand that Trudeau looks poised to support several pipeline projects, many of which tear right through Aboriginal communities?

Just because the US has taken a terrible, appalling turn doesn’t mean Canada has somehow been magically transformed into some kind of anti-racist paradise. Do you think we had ten years of Harper rule here because people are colour-blind?

If we are not extremely careful, we will end up just like the United States. There are no two countries more closely economically and culturally interlinked in the world, so if the author thinks we are somehow immune to that kind of hate, he only has to look at our own history to have that ridiculous notion blown all to hell. When the US was interning Japanese people who were five-generation citizens, so were we. When they were drumming gays out of the civil service during the Red Scare as “security risks,” so were we. When they were creating “yellow” ghettos of Chinese immigrants, so were we. As the US brings in cheap immigrant labour to do the jobs the “old-stock” population doesn’t want to do—or wants decent money for that the corporate overlords don’t want to pay—while putting up every conceivable barrier to citizenship, SO. DO. WE. (e.g. live-in caregiver program, foreign agricultural workers, tunnel borers for the Canada Line, etc. ad infinitum)

Canada has a hugely racist past and present—and 40 years of cheery-looking state policy wrapped up in a nice “multicultural” bow does not erase or change that. Any article that posits Canada as somehow superior on racial issues to the point where we are the “last” country to believe in “multiculturalism” is nonsensical. Idiotic. But more importantly, this kind of “journalism” is insidiously dangerous.

The entire situation in the US is possible because “good people” there cannot wrap their rah-rah-America brains around the fact that America, their beloved homeland—land of the free, home of the brave—is a terrible, awful nation-state. It has huge inequities and terrible bigotry, a horrific past, racist law upon racist law, a prison system that entraps countless black men, gun violence so bad that there is a mass shooting there nearly every day of the year, and the unbelievable hypocrisy to think, still, that it is somehow the best nation on Earth, the strongest democracy, the beacon of light and hope in the world. There is no greater hubris alive than the hubris of America.

And until I read this article, I wouldn’t have thought there was a Canadian in the world who would make claims in even a remotely similar vein about Canada.

I’ll tell you one thing: we certainly won’t become a better nation by falling into the same blind, believe-our-own-hype, Pollyanna trap. We need to do better not because we are the best and need to lead the way, but because every day we are failing. Every minute of every day, someone in this country is suffering from racism. Maybe every second.

Not in the US. Not in post-Brexit Britain. Not in France or Germany or the Scandinavian nations.

IN CANADA. The true north strong and free.