• Strategy for Sovereignty of the Nations of Quebec

    On November 27, the Canadian Parliament adopted a motion recognizing the existence of the Quebec nation. Quebec’s minister of intergovernmental affairs, Benoît Pelletier, expressed the hope that this recognition be translated into changes in the Canadian Constitution. He was, however, unable to specify how and, especially, when these changes might take place, given the lack of openness and political will in the ROC (Rest of Canada) to reopen constitutional negotiations. For Mr. Harper, the adoption of this motion does not entail any legal or constitutional consequences. It is undoubtedly a bit early to say whether this superficial political move will lead to any historic gains.

  • Don Cherry for Prime Minister?

    I admit to cheering (almost crying) when Tommy Douglas was announced as our Greatest Canadian on the popular CBC show. Hey, it’s gloomy times for the Left, and we take any victory we can get, no matter how small. Yet my celebrations were cut short when host Wendy Mesley conveyed the bad news: Don Cherry ranked seventh in the contest, just pipping Sir John A. and Alexander Graham Bell. I’ve always thought that the Rock’em Sock’em videos make a great contribution to nation-building, but surely they don’t surpass Confederation or the telephone?

  • Music of Oppression, Music of Resistance

    The conditions of an oppressed group’s lived experience are directly connected to the kind of resistance songs that the members of that group will produce. For example, “La Marseillaise” became the anthem of French revolutionaries in the late eighteenth century at about the same time as revolutionary Haitian slaves were gathering in the hills above Port-au-Prince to play their instruments and invoke the spirits of their ancestors.

  • New Clothes, Same Old Canadian Thinking

    There are Aboriginal lawyers, doctors, judges, professors, teachers, architects, engineers, writers, musicians, artists, politicians, corporate executives, bureaucrats. In fact, Aboriginal peoples can be found in all walks of life today. But for most Aboriginal people in Canada, descendants of the first occupants of this land, whether they live in the cities or the country, poverty is an everyday reality. In this time and place, poverty means shame, constant worry and fear.

  • Civic Nation Good, Ethnic Nation Bad

    A certain Ramsay Cook, the one who called me a “national socialist” in the late sixties, defines the ethnic nation as having “a language, history and culture that marks them out as a separate people,” while “a civic nation” has only “common civic values” (Globe & Mail, November 10, 2006). In Quebec, says Cook, many “allophones” and Anglophones don’t share the French language and culture, and only some of the history. Therefore, if the Quebec nation is deemed to have a common language, etc., that would exclude the “allophones” and anglophones.

  • The Hauntings of Colonialism

    The publicity attending a showdown in the early 1980s between logging interests and Indigenous peoples in British Columbia drew attention to the ecological ideals of the Fourth World. That showdown took place in Haida Gwaii, the legendary archipelago also known as the Queen Charlotte Islands. The controversy attracted the attention of a science broadcaster who was then emerging as one of the most effective voices in the emerging global community of environmental activists. David Suzuki has described his production of a 1982 CBC documentary on the future of the Queen Charlotte Islands as a turning point in his development as a scientist, broadcaster and author. In making the film Suzuki developed lasting collaborations with a number of Aboriginal friends from the region, including Miles Richardson, Guujaaw and Patricia Kelly. As Suzuki describes it, “Guujaaw changed the way I viewed the world and sent me on a radically different course of environmentalism.”

  • Pathways to an Ethic of Struggle

    My discovery of what colonization really is took a long time in coming. It took a long time because you can’t understand the impact of these powerful forces of disconnection upon our people until you work within this system and try to make change. That’s the reason why this understanding is the sum of my own political experience, my lived experience. But it took a really intense effort over the past ten or twelve years to come to an intellectual understanding of it, and really to find a way to articulate it.

  • Drawing the Lessons of 9-11

    Governments have long found it useful to manufacture rationale for pursuing war and repression. The sinking of the Battleship Maine at the outset of the Spanish-American-Cuba War is the classic example. When President Harry Truman wanted to offer assistance to anti-Communist forces in Greece and Turkey in 1947, Republican senator Arthur Vandenburg promised his support if Truman would “scare the hell out of the American people.” In 1962, the Pentagon mounted Operation Northwoods, a plan involving false-flag actions, state-sponsored terrorism and the hijacking of planes on U.S. and Cuban soil designed to generate American public support for an invasion of Cuba. Then there was the case of the distraught young Iraqi woman testifying before U.S. Congressional hearings in the run-up to Gulf War I about babies being tossed out of incubators by Saddam Hussein’s soldiers.

  • Is Canada An Imperialist State?

    as Canada become an imperialist state, as some on the Left argue? On the surface, a case can be made. Why did Canada participate in the kidnapping and expulsion of Haiti’s elected head of state, Jean-Bertrand Aristide? Why are Canadian troops fighting the insurgency in Afghanistan while supporting a regime dominated by feudal warlords? Is it not true that Canadian mining companies are scouring the world from Guatemala and Colombia in Latin America to Indonesia and Mongolia in Asia, exploring and tearing up the earth and taking full advantage of cheap labour in these countries? And is it not also true that in recent years Canada has become a large exporter of capital - some say it exports more capital than it imports - a sharp reversal from its former days as a dependency of the U.S.?

  • A Modest Proposal to Curb State Terror

    Many Canadians are outraged that the government has given its secret security and police forces new repressive powers to help conduct the U.S.-initiated “War on Terror.” A central aspect of these powers is the increased use of security certificates which allow for the arbitrary arrest and deportation of foreign-born nationals.

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