Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Canada Day 2020

North America is referred to by some of its original inhabitants as "Turtle Island." In the late-15th Century the Italian explorer, rapist, slave-trader Christopher Columbus arrived in the Western Hemisphere and claimed it for the Spanish Crown.

The Dutch, French, and English soon got in on the game and established fishing outposts, fur-trading outposts and colonies in the northern parts of the continent. The English defeated the Dutch, turning "New Amsterdam" into "New York." Eventually, with their defeat in the Seven Years War the French Crown surrendered its territory of New France to the English and it became "Canada."

Then, for a number of reasons, tensions between the British Crown and its Thirteen Colonies led to the American Revolution. Those inhabitants of the colonies who had stayed loyal to the Crown were forced to flee to Canada when the Thirteen Colonies won their independence.

The new United States of America was an oligarchic republic with the majority of its wealth being based on slavery. Canada was comprised of "Canada East" which was majority populated by the former French-speaking Roman Catholic inhabitants of New France and "Canada West" which is where the bulk of the English-speaking Loyalists settled.

Pretty much none of the things that animated and inspired the French and English inhabitants of what is now Canada motivate us today. Very few of us care about the British Crown. Even fewer want to go back to the monarchical system of government that prevailed in the year 1800. We don't (thank god) care much about the differences between Catholics and Protestants anymore.

One constant is that our country was built on stolen lands. And this is inconvenient for us. Aboriginal Title to lands that Canada wants to claim introduce confusion and delay into the capitalist-imperialist project. So it's been one long line of abuse for over two-hundred years. Treaties that were violated (and which stephen harper attempted to unilaterally abrogate), deliberate starvation, residential schools and other forms of cultural genocide, stealing of Aboriginal children, Canadian Apartheid.

This country was founded on values that we no longer embrace. It was founded on theft and genocide. It is a pseudo-democracy that we don't understand or care about. I find it hard to muster suitable enthusiasm for fireworks. 


lagatta à montréal said...

I have none. I don't even like them for our Fête nationale. They frighten pets and war survivors.

Sadly, our old friend S disagrees... I'm no great fan of the NDP, though my MP (Alexandre Boulerice) is left-wing and effective. The only party I actually belong to is Québec solidaire. However it is sad indeed to want the NDP to implode in favour of more corporate Liberals.

Waiting for the bit of $$$ Trudeau is doling out ONLY ONCE to 65 and older. Prices are still much higher at the supermarket or local grocery and "specials" (promotions) have practically disappeared. And of course I have very little paid work. Trudeau has no interest in repeating this necessary measure.

thwap said...

I don't often find myself on the same side of issues as small business owners. But any idiot besides Justin Trudeau could see that his refusal to put a moratorium on mortgages, rents and debts for small businesses was going to be catastrophic for them.

When people can't earn, they can't pay. Let the super-profitable FIRE sector twiddle their thumbs for a few months. They'll survive. But NOOOOOOOO! Trudeau and Moreau and the whole damned lot of them are too committed to coddling their pay-masters.

We all need help during this crisis. It won't defeat us and make us lazy. Promise.

lagatta à montréal said...

Yes, unfortunately small business owners have a horrific record in terms of opposing environmentally-friendly initiatives such as safe infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists, as well as low wages and discrimination. I'd never advocate for a disgusting monopoly capitalist such as Loblaws, but they seem somewhat less discriminatory in term of hires. But in this case I think they have a point.

I'll once again scream against the refusal to repeat the payment for people 65 and over, despite the fact that profiteering has continued apace: in groceries near me, they have actually hid or removed the price on necessary products such as the iconic toilet paper.

thwap said...

We're seeing the extent of their demands.

They want everything.

lagatta à montréal said...

Do you mean small and medium-sized businesses, corporations, or both? I agree that small businesses have a lot to answer for (a couple of decades ago, one small business owner on Jean-Talon was caught pouring petrol on saplings planted by the city to kill them. And sadly, some of the worst offenders are "white ethnics" who faced discrimination when they arrived some decades back.

Still, if only in their own interests, smaller businesses ensure the accessibility of local shops easily accessible on foot, via bicycle or on public transport (a short trip, often just one line). I was very happy to go to my nearby Vietnamese grocery today - good fresh produce and soba noodles. Dammit, I forgot my reading glasses so I couldn't peruse the tiny print of spice paste mixtures. (I see fine otherwise, I just have mild age-related farsigthedness).

thwap said...

Small business people can be horrid because they're often marginal and see everything through the lens of their own self-interest.

Large corporations can be more socially progressive and, depending on their profitability or the section of the market they try to appeal to. But they destroy societies and every "value" they profess is a fraud.

And, as a class, the capitalist leadership wants everything. Their appetites are insatiable.

lagatta à montréal said...

Yes indeed. The infamous Jackie wants me and anyone else even mildly on the left, such as the NDP, dead. Yes, she wrote that, though it was through the curse of Coronavirus. Such comments should be banned. I'm no fan of Justin, but I most certainly don't want him or any member of his family circle harmed or "offed". That is disgusting.

Neither do any members of my tenants' association, who just wans Justin to recognise the gravity of the problem and at least explore possible solutions. Nobody sane wants him, his family or even the Cons harmed, and certainly not killed. That is the speech of far-right racist nutcases.

thwap said...

"Jackie Blue"/s interminable presence and her lengthy screeds have caused me to believe that Simon has gotten a paying gig with the Liberals.

I don't know how popular his blog got in the last years of the harper regime, but it's possible it got very popular. People always tend to like stirring (even if empty) rhetoric about "We will destroy them" or "We will be victorious." Whereas someone who writes "We keep doing the same thing over and over and it gets us nowhere" gets comments telling him to stop being such a downer.

So I think it possible that the Liberals reached out to Simon to be a Liberal Party blogger and this "Jackie Blue" character is his handler.

And she is, as you point out, disgusting. First of all, the lie that she's an American. Can you think of a US-American Democratic Party fanatic who would spend all day commenting on a Canadian political blog and who has an exhaustive, microscopic level of detail about Canadian politics?

I remember once how a commentor there who said they were First Nations said that the Liberals' policies were hypocritical and generally insufficient and Jackie's response was "Well, we're the best you're going to get, so suck it up buttercup."

She hates Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn so she's got that working against her.

"Jackie Blue" is a song from the 1970s. (Sung by Crystal Gale?) For a joke I called her "Schecky Green" because of the meter and the colour stuff, and she (unhinged as she is) accused me of anti-Semitism!

lagatta à montréal said...

No, I don't think she is US American either, though there are people with odd obsessions. Canadian politics?

lagatta à montréal said...

I'm so sick of anti-semitism accusations against leftists, especially since it has been many years since we have experienced the number of antisemitic slurs and actions on the part of the far-right as of now. I remember Ernst Zündel and his fanboys - who also committed hideous racist agressions, including of the South Asian people they called "Pakis" whatever their nationality, and of course againt Roma (Gypsy) people. There is a new generaton of such slime, and they are the people who carry out racist agressions against Jews and Arabs (both Semites) alike.

Thwap, I may have already posted this; in my neighbourhood we have voted left across the board and there was a notorious neo-Nazi organising meetings very close to the building housing the riding offices of Alexandre Boulerice (NDP) and Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois (Québec solidaire). A peaceful demontstraton through the area got the shithead to leave and hide elsewhere. We don't want racism or fascism polluting our diverse and progressive neighbourhood! The Nazi had taken part in the firebrand "demonstrations" in Charlottesville.

Nazis raus!

thwap said...

I'm happy to hear it only took a peaceful march to get that failure to scurry away. Congratulations.

lagatta à montréal said...

I don't know what it will take to get a site or forum where genuine left voices can be heard. And I'm not speaking about any specific faction. I re-read some of Simon's contents and they are absolutely disgraceful; yes, on the same level as racist, homophobic or anti-semitic/anti-Muslim comments on rightwing sites. I really don't want to have to defend timorous NDP MPs, but the comments are beyond the pale.

I say anti-Muslim rather than Islamophobic as I think secular people have the right to criticise organised religions (all of them) but certainly not to target or harm people of faith or those who are presumed to be so.

Simon does write very well and can still be witty. Jackie strikes me as a unhinged pub ranter, and I don't care whether she is utterly sober - sometimes those can be the worst.

There has to be some kind of revival of left journalism and commentary. Suspect it will come from people younger than us, but with some input from elders, as rabble has featured commentary from Noam Chomsky and David Suzuki, who could be my dad(s).

thwap said...


Discussion boards appear to be dead. Instead there's the free-for-all of fazebuck or reddit. is still doing good stuff. PressProgress is alright. The National Observer. Straight Goods. Linda McQuaig is one of the Toronto Star's bright lights. Our Times Magazine should be supported.

Canadian Dimension. Michael Laxer's latest blog, ... "The Left Side?"

But I'm all out of ideas now.

lagatta à montréal said...

Here in Québec we have Ricochet, which publishes in French and in English, though not all articles appear in both languages. A friend does an anti-Nazi anti-extreme site (in French, though there are cited articles in English and other languages. He outed the far-right shithead who revealed the home address of Dr Horacio Arruda, Québec's Director of Public health and a Deputy Minister, which has been followed by death threats from far-right anti-vaxxers. The far-right conspirationist story comes up first at friend's site

Laxer has some interesting content, but is a bit too Ostalgic for my tastes.

thwap said...


My preferred model for newspapers has long been funding based on population from all three levels of government: federal/provincial/municipal or county.

All three are committed to a stated level of funding adjusted for inflation and no level of government can reduce its funding without the approval of the other two.

Governance will be tripartite, with equal representation for the management, the journalists, and the readers. Journalists will be represented by elected union officials and the public from representatives elected from subscribers.

Funding can also come from advertisers, but it must be the case that the newspaper can carry on perfectly fine without it. Do you think that allowing advertiser funding is dangerous?