How and why did our former government facilitate the extradition of one of its citizens by withholding critical information that would otherwise have saved him years of torment? Given this egregious irregularity in judicial and government proceedings, and given that Canada’s extradition law offers few, if any, safeguards to protect the requested individual from extradition, it behooves all Canadians to ponder seriously the extent of their civil liberties.
As the world contemplates with horror the United States’ recent policy of separating immigrant and refugee children from their parents and detaining them for attempting to cross the border, it is important to see these disturbing events in a global context and to recognize them for what they are. Although such practices also take place in Canada, the reality is that anti-immigrant sentiment is pure hypocrisy in settler-colonial states like the United States and Canada.
If we are to build a just society, we require a just economy. And while that must include better social programs financed through redistributive taxation, the democratic socialist project is not encompassed by social programs alone; it must concern itself with the democratization of the economy. And while this shouldn’t be done solely through state ownership—worker, community, and consumer cooperatives all being viable mechanisms here—public control will nonetheless be a central plank.
Though many Canadians saw the events of that summer as a “crisis,” to the Mohawks, “Oka” was just the most recent event in an almost 300-year struggle to protect their land from colonial and capitalist development. With the 30th anniversary of Oka on the horizon, and new struggles by Indigenous land defenders making headlines across the country, including in Kanehsatà:ke, I recently had the honour to speak with Ellen about the legacy of Oka and the future of Indigenous resistance.