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Sunday, September 30, 2012

CANADA. THE ROAD TO FASCISM FROM 1945 TO STEPHEN HARPER

                              CANADA. THE ROAD TO FASCISM
                                               Imperialism, Colonialism, Fascism



Northland Publications
Copyright: 2012 by Robin Mathews
A portion or portions or all of this book may be reproduced electronically or in print on the condition that the portion or portions or all of the book are not offered for sale.  Sale of any part of the book or the whole book will constitute a violation of copyright.

Canadian Cataloguing in Publication Data/Mathews Robin 1931/Ist edition/ISBN 978-0-9686324-4-4 (electronic version).

Books by Robin Mathews: CULTURAL STUDIES/PUBLIC AFFAIRS. The Struggle for Canadian Universities (ed. With James A. Steele) 1969; Canadian Literature – Surrender or Revolution, 1978; Canadian Identity, 1988; The Canadian Intellectual Tradition, 1990, 1998; Treason of the Intellectuals: English Canada in the Post-Modern Period, 1995; George Grant’s Betrayal of Canada, 2004. POEMS. The Plink Savoir, 1962; Plus Ca Change, 1964; This Time, This Place, 1965; This Cold Fist, 1969; Air 7, 1972; Geography of Revolution, 1975; Language of Fire, 1976; The Beginning of Wisdom, 1978; The Death of Socialism, 1995; Being Canadian in Dirty Imperialist Times, 2000; Think Freedom, 2004.  PLAYS: Selkirk, 1977; Playmakers, 1980.


(FREE.  Robin Mathews has completed a new book called Canada. The Road To Fascism. From 1945 To Stephen Harper.  You can read the book free, download it free, add it to your own site, free.
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Canada.  The Road To Fascism. From 1945 To Stephen Harper deals with politics, economics, and culture. Go to your computer. Google the site called The Straight Goods.  On the first page of that site you will see in the upper right hand corner THIS: “Robin Mathews. Canada, the Road to Fascism.” Click on it. Simple.  Free...Robin Mathews)



 Table Of Contents.


  Canada in North America and the World……………………………....................        1


The Longest Undefended Border………………………………………....................    15


The Early Twentieth Century and the Second World War…...........................……………………………………………….....................    35



The Mirror of Culture in a Contested Society……………………….........................    42

Economic, Politics, War, and Cold War………………………………......................    50

The Diefenbaker Quandary. Liberal Dissension, Culture. Economics. Colonialism
…………………………………………………....................................................      58

The Struggle Between Lester Pearson and Walter Gordon. Economics, Culture, and Survival. Part One……………………………........................................................    73

The Struggle Between Lester Pearson and Walter Gordon. Economics, Culture, and Survival. Part Two……………………………........................................................   93

The Battle for a Canadian Economy and a Canadian Voice………………………………………………………………….......................    111

The Build-Up to a Neo-Liberal State. Trudeau and the Fight Against Independence……………………………………………………............................    126

The Biggest Sell-Out. Brian Mulroney and the Move To Free Trade………………………………………………………………………..............    140

Globalizing Canada. Canadian Cultural Consciousness. Takeover of the Mind…………………………………………………………………………...........    157

Canada and Culture: Destructive Forces at Work……………………….................    170

The Military Nature of Canadian Colonialism Hardens……………………………..    194

Media and Film in Canada: Blinding the Population…………………….................    207

Conclusion: The Harper Attempt at a Coup d’Etat and the Call to Freedom ………..224   

Endnotes………………………………………………………………………….....  251




CH Canada in North America and the World
(pages 1-14)

This book is, centrally, about the imperial-colonial-nationalist-independence battles in and involving Canada after the Second World War (1939-1945).  It is about the move towards fascism in Canada – which cannot be separated from its failure to get free of U.S. dominance in economics, politics, culture, and foreign policy.

 The book records political, economic and cultural battles that reveal a single direction. A continuing and predominating colonialism forged and supported by the taste-making leaders in all spheres has conditioned the population to accept a subservient position it its own country – and will continue to do so until that population decides to have change ….
Up front and close our history has involved (and continues to involve) apparently unrelated skirmishes about political philosophy, economic theory, ideas about social responsibility, law and the rule of law, visions about the role of the arts and education, the media, and – of course – about Canada’s colonial condition, its place in the U.S. imperial system, and its right to full and meaningful independence.


More and more all of those questions are coming down to a persistent concern about Canada losing its democracy…about Canada moving towards fascism. That is a concern which is significantly sharpened since the dubious (questionable in law) taking of government by the Stephen Harper forces in 2006 and in 2011. The Harper tactics to gain what many believe is illegitimate federal power are discussed in the “Conclusion”.

The argument of this book turns on the claim by the powerful – in private corporations, in their foundations and institutes, in governments which are essentially in the grasp of those forces, and in the mainstream press and media – that extreme neo-liberal values fairly describe democratic values. But, more and more, people of persuasions different from the neo-liberal persuasion believe neo-liberal values are anti-democratic values and – at their most highly developed – are fascist values. I will explain that apparently extreme statement a little farther on.
The democratic values held in Canada have generally taken for granted that candidates as members of political parties are elected to legislative bodies which independently make laws for all, following careful due process. Those legislative bodies and/or their designates oversee rules and regulations for the conduct of persons and organized entities such as churches, fraternal groups, labour unions, corporations, and political parties. The saying that  “Parliament is supreme”  is older than Canada, as is the statement that  “we are a country that lives under the rule of law.”   Both of those statements are seriously in question, now, in Canada.

      Canadians have taken for granted that democracy in this country means that all participate in the life of the nation and all receive consideration and a degree of care, and all do so through the rule of law.
For believers of neo-liberal theory those ideas are by no means taken for granted. Rather, neo-liberalism argues that the practice, the maintenance, the (apparent) needs, the health, and the unexamined operation of private corporations come before all other priorities in society. To assure the safety of their unexamined wealth, they argue that corporations are the central force operating in our democracy. Believers in neo-liberal theory argue that corporations provide employment and so must be given great power. At the same time neo-liberals attack all government employment and all Crown Corporations. Neo-liberals denigrate (falsely) all socially owned corporations as not only uneconomic but also as undemocratic.

They believe that private corporations have little or no responsibility to the society or to their employees. Common statements made presently are that “no one deserves a job” and “permanent employment is a thing of the past.” Following the same train of political thought, private corporations and their spokespeople argue their wealth must be unexamined, untaxed, unredistributed and – in these hard times – the population must be ready and willing to see heavy cuts to all Social Services – education, the judicial system, health care, etcetera.
Corporations make those claims partly on the basis of what is called globalization – the condition in which corporations become more wealthy and powerful than governments and in which they enlist particular governments in their global policies. “Globalization”  is, in fact, planetary fascism. Corporations advocate and achieve the destruction of workers rights, the breakdown of legislation for social well-being, the removal of national industries from the countries they are in to slave economies, the creation of false money to take over and/or destroy national governments and to enrich a very few at the expense of stable countries and investing communities believing in the rule of law.
The description of neo-liberalism given above is also the description of fascism or the fascist state. Such a state is characterized by the integration of private corporations and government into what is almost a single entity. That entity forces the population to conform to state policies by the use of the police and the military. It is, of course, a totalitarian structure, in which the balance between corporations and government is sometimes uneasy – and sometimes tips out of balance into military rule.
Those developments have been shaping most persistently in the last three decades – especially since the fall of the Soviet Union (1989) as a major (non-capitalist) power in contestation with the U.S.A.
The large movement of what we might call world history has affected Canada far longer than most Canadians realize. Their failure to recognize that fact has arisen, partly, from Canada’s small and far-flung population in its early decades and from problems of communication in those times. But other factors have been more determining.

Understanding them, grasping their implications – there lies the key to Canadians moving out of dependency, out of colonial status and the move towards fascism to independence.
Six factors are primary in an understanding of Canada’s colonial status, its status as a dependency, as servant of imperial policy. First, Canada’s long formal status (until 1931) as a colony and dependency of Britain probably conditioned Canadians to look outward for leadership. Among the francophone population of New France – a colony of France – a strong sense of independent identity was established, perhaps more so at the start than was the case with anglophones. That sense, especially in Quebec, has played a strong role in the internal life and politics of Canada, sometimes contributing a force directed against colonial-mindedness.
     After the Conquest of 1760 there is no doubt Canadians were in a colonial structure and thought in those terms. But a reason for the long, apparently willing, dependence is absolutely key to understanding Canada and its people. From very early in the European settlement of North America people in what we now call the U.S.A. wanted power over and control of the whole continent. The invasions of Canada in 1775 and 1812 were only the military signs of that never-ending intention. Possessing one-tenth of the population of the U.S.A. for nearly all of Canadian history, Canada needed Britain to prevent the U.S. from seizing the country. The mere connection helped rein in U.S. continental ambitions.
Full political independence was achieved in 1931 – only eight years before world events in the shape of The Second World War (1939-45) thrust Canada – in defense of what might be called European civilization – into the arms of the U.S. in military, economic, and other agreements that otherwise might never have been entered into.
Secondly, ideas of Canadian independence were always (and are today) in contestation. One thinks immediately of historical British pressure and influence. But that influence – symbolized by the monarchy – has been used as a defence against U.S. takeover as much as, and probably more than, it has been used as a force to shape colonial-mindedness.
Perhaps the most important factor in weakening the Canadian demand for independence has been the U.S.A. – both in its conscious and unconscious relations with Canada. The U.S. has always wanted to own Canada. The pressure from settlers (and others) who felt loyalty to the U.S.A. at the time of the invasions of 1765, 1812, and through the period of the Fenian Raids into Canada of the 1860s seriously complicated defence. There were always local inhabitants drawn to the U.S.A. Their opinions were often shaped and sharpened by the presence of recent U.S. immigrants strongly attached to the U.S.A. The presence of U.S. immigrants to Canada – faced honestly as a phenomenon – has always complicated Canada’s will to develop independence.

The third factor working against the development of a firm determination to have independence for Canada has been what we now call private corporate enterprise but which has borne different names through the generations. The first Annexation Movement which occurred in Lower Canada (Quebec) in the 1840s was led by Montreal merchants (mostly anglophone). Feeling ill-used, the merchants called for separation from Britain and  “a union upon equitable terms with the great North American Confederacy of sovereign states.”  The reasons given have never stopped being repeated in Canadian history. U.S. capital would enter Canada. Property would become more valuable. Prosperity would be assured. Trade would increase. An unhindered market would open. And so on …
Expressing a painful fact, and using humour to do it, J.W. Bengough, creator of the satirical weekly Grip, wrote a piece for the New York Canadian Club publication Canadian Leaves of 1887. In it he praises the U.S. for its shrewdness in dropping invasion as the way to take Canada. And he adds that he has no doubt   “your calculation is correct that as soon as the absent boodle aldermen and bank presidents form a majority of our population … they will cast a solid vote for annexation … ”  He goes on to write that..

 as soon as our most wealthy citizens so decide, annexation will be all right.”
 
The fourth factor which is primary in understanding Canada’s colonial status relates closely to the third. What J.W. Bengough called   “our most wealthy citizens”  have often been (as they are today) the leading advocates of Canadian subordination, of an inferior status for Canada in relation to the U.S.A. In our own day they are the primary advocates of Canada’s absorption into the U.S.A. Today the term  “our most wealthy citizens”  is even confused, for the reach of the U.S. multinational corporations into Canada often confers a kind of  “citizenship”  on major actors in the Canadian economy who are without a shred of loyalty to Canada except as a ripe fruit from which to squeeze all possible riches.
Their lives and their interests create, largely, the fifth factor affecting the desire for Canadian independence. That is the factor of the persuasion of Canadians to accept subordinate status in their own country. It is the propaganda factor, the large and continuing production of false explanations for and the desirability of Canadian submission to U.S. imperial policy and to its active supporters in Canadian government, media, press, and formal education.

Canadians are trained and educated to be colonials. Being effectively trained and educated, we provide the sixth primary factor that explains Canada’s continuing colonial status, its role as a dependency in an imperial system, its failure to take hold of its immense wealth and to direct it as a majority of Canadians wish it to be directed – for the good of Canadians and for an enlightened, humanitarian foreign policy in the world.

The sixth factor is, perhaps, the most painful for it is what we willingly do to ourselves. Using contemporary language, the super-wealthy  “one per cent”  in the Western World have convinced the   “ninety-nine per cent” of Canadians to be colonials, drones, servants,   “hewers of wood and drawers of water”  for their  “masters.”  They have even been, recently, convinced that a system of neo-liberal looting of their wealth is democratic. The sixth factor is the hardest to swallow. It is the major obstacle to be overcome. Canadians will – when they decide to do so – take back their country and set it on a great and noble path. But to do so, the ninety-nine percent will have to move the one percent aside – and so far they have been doing just the opposite.
Canadians have – for two centuries at least – been failing to secure Canadian independence, or they have been securing it in such a slender fashion that the one percent – behind the backs of ninety-nine percent of Canadians have been looting and levelling Canada and moving it increasingly under the power and control of the U.S.A. and, lately, even of China.

The sixth factor sees us rejecting our own possibilities of excellence, our own ideas of community minted here. It makes us sharply critical of the anti-colonials in our midst. “Who does he/she think they are anyway?” we ask. The sixth factor makes us crave the products of the imperial country. It makes us want to be like them. It undermines Canadian self-respect and leads us to be hoodwinked easily by expertise and authority – if it is said to come from the U.S.A. Our colonial-mindedness leads us to permit huge looting of Canadian wealth and huge pollution of the Canadian environment. It lets us see our own Native Peoples not as a founding first and treasured part of the country but as an impediment to development. Only by shedding our colonial mentality will Canadians be able to seize control of our own country for the good of all Canadians and for the good of the larger world community. The recent turn to a globalized colonialism, to the subjection of Canadians under treaties forged outside the North American continent is – if anything – more threatening even than the colonialism forged under U.S. power.

Before glancing more carefully at the concept of neo-liberalism, it must be seen from another vantage point. Perhaps surprisingly, neo-liberalism is directly connected to the idea of individualism. How, one might ask, is it that a powerfully oppressive force that can develop into what we call fascism – a police state forcing conformity by police and military might – can be connected to the idea of individualism? For individualism, many believe, is the highest expression of freedom, of liberty, of unimpeded choice for the person. The protection of individual freedom, however, is dependent upon a highly organized, democratic community under the rule of law. To put the matter as if in contradiction – for the individual to be free, the democratic state must be powerful.

The individual who rejects that perspective often calls himself or herself an anarchist. The word  “anarchist”  simply means someone who is  “without government”  because he or she governs himself or herself. The individual possessing an individualist perspective rejects government outside the self.


The idea of being a free person in the world, recognizing no government but conscience, admitting no limitation upon action but self-limitation – can be powerfully attractive. When that position is taken by deeply moral people who feel strong responsibility to justice and to the well-being of other people, what is called anarchist individualism may produce good results for the person and for others. But – the argument always arises – how do people who recognize no government but conscience and no limitation but self-limitation get prosaic things done like national highways, sewer systems for large cities, structures of medical treatment for whole populations? If they reject having representatives elected – given shared power in constitutionally limited parliaments – to act for the best interests of all, how do they get big tasks done? The question hangs there.


The fact is, however, that the anarchist individualist position is not taken merely by deeply moral people who feel strong responsibility to justice and to the well-being of other people. Just the contrary. It is taken by people who want no government other than conscience because they want no government outside themselves over the range of their action to gain power, to exhaust natural resources, to take what they want from the environment, to violate social structures, and to exploit individual people for their own profit and power. They want no idea of justice that interferes with their own drive for wealth and power.
The success of such people is easy to picture. They battle their way to positions of influence. They break down, wherever possible, systems of government that impede them, regulatory structures that prevent what is, in fact, lawless activity, and laws that limit their actions. They make alliances with others of like mind. They – finally – get into the position to buy governments and/or military structures, and they erase democratic rule as an impediment to their own success. In the place of democratic rule they erect fascist government (whatever name they may give it). It is rule by government/corporate alliance, using the police and the military to enforce conformity – and to end all ideas of individual freedom that might challenge the fascist state.


In very brief definition fascism is, partly, a belief that the State is all – that everyone must work for the State, and the State must be all-powerful. Neo-liberals quote that much of the definition of fascism as a part of their attacks on democratic government. They pretend democratic government which creates, for instance, universal medicare and pensions and which demands a fair and progressive tax system is a repressive force, proof of an all-powerful state. They pretend those things in order to attack democracy and attempt to destroy job security, fair pay scales, and benefits provided by government to its employees.

Fascism, in fact, is a system that unites private corporations and governments to strip away democratic choice and all structures built for the benefit of the whole population and to concentrate all wealth and power in the hands of an elite few. Fascism is a marriage of the State and corporations who use the police and the military to oppress violently any and all dissenters. Architect of fascism and source of the word in the world, Benito Mussolini, in 1921,  “allied his group with the propertied classes, with the landowners and industrialists.”  Adolf Hitler did the same in the operation of Nazism in Germany. The slave labourers he employed were worked to death, frequently, in brutal conditions, for German private corporations, some of which still exist and are major names in international commerce. In both countries, private corporations assisted in the fascist rise to power. And in both cases they did so in order to profit from instability, war, and the calculated brutalization and oppression of parts of humanity.


Anarchism and anarchists of the kinds described appear as a part of national character in the U.S.A. – in its government and among its foreign policy makers. Through its history, the U.S. as a country has acted as anarchist individualist. Preaching democracy, individual rights, the rule of law, and the right to the sovereign self-rule of nations, the U.S. repeatedly suppresses those ideals throughout the world where it deems its power interests are concerned – especially in its backyard: Central and South America – but not there exclusively by any means.
Practising an exceptionalism which is not exceptional, the U.S. acts – as its first priority - to uphold the dominance of its policy and power in the world. It claims to incarnate democratic ideals at the same time as it erases or resists the development of democracy in many countries. Backed by a huge propaganda machinery, the claims the U.S. makes to be democratic and to wish democracy for all peoples of the world are often believed with deep conviction … by Canadians.


The dominance of neo-liberalism across the globe, and its growing power in Canada, is a present form of the struggle against Canadian independence that is as old as this country. Neo-liberalism is the surrendering of the power of the nation’s population to private corporations acting, often, with the support of apparently freely elected democratic representatives. It is, especially, the surrendering of that power to homeless or multi-national corporations for whom the populations of countries have no legitimacy. Neo-liberalism is, therefore, simply one more face of the outside, absentee landlord, imperialist forces wishing to own, control, and exploit Canadian wealth for a few people who have no interest in the well-being of Canadians.

The present collaboration of elected Canadians with private (mostly foreign) corporations and their partner-governments is not a new phenomenon. It is simply another form of colonialism. In the last five hundred years, at least, the story of imperial/colonial relations has often turned on the willingness of representatives of the people to sell-out to rich, powerful, seductive agents from outside.

Sometimes sell-out to foreign powers is easily done – as Canada seems to have done in its early relation with Britain. Canada’s clinging to British power through most of the nineteenth century, however, cannot fairly be thought of as sell-out to a foreign power.  It was partly a product of the immigration pattern of the time and partly a product of the need to be able to call upon British forces if Canada was invaded by the U.S.A. – a constant and lingering threat. But the willing subjection of Canada to the U.S.A. in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries – giving up ownership and control of huge natural resources, tying itself to punitive trade agreements with the U.S., and moving politically into the U.S. imperial, expansionist trade and military structures – is very hard to explain. As is the Stephen Harper move to a subordinate position in relation to China. With a highly educated population, a high standard of living, and huge natural wealth to develop, Canada has repeatedly put itself in the hands of foreigners dedicated to exploiting Canadian wealth for themselves.

Sometimes sell-out to foreign powers isn’t easily done – as in Chile. I use that example because most Canadians don’t even know the example exists. It is instructive. After the middle of the twentieth century, Chileans began, restively, to demand greater control of the wealth of the country, and greater democracy. Chile’s huge copper resources (the largest in the world) were largely in the hands of U.S. and other foreign interests. Chileans threw up a strongly democratic leader in Salvador Allende. The U.S. was determined to prevent him from nationalizing copper extraction and from making other reforms in the society. To that end it flooded money into Chile to purchase newspapers, to bribe union leaders, and to gather other support. Allende refused advice to close newspapers and other media attacking him relentlessly and unfairly. He insisted upon an open democracy.


When in 1973 he announced the government’s intention to nationalize copper, the neo-liberal forces were unleashed in a coup taken up quickly by Augusto Pinochet, a general in the armed forces and silently backed by the U.S. government. Pinochet’s whole effort (quietly supported by the U.S.A.) – seen in retrospect – was to clear Chile of progressive forces and to set it up for a long history of neo-liberal rule. To that end Pinochet captured, tortured, and murdered most of the legitimate opposition leaders and activists. His rule is famous for torture and  “disappearances.”  The number of the murdered regularly quoted by the North American press is hugely inaccurate.
In a seventeen-year term of severe repression, Pinochet wrote a new constitution – still in force long after his removal. During his years, and to some extent after – energy production, higher education, the health system, retirement benefits, water management, and much of the production of copper was privatized. Copper production is seventy three percent in the hands of foreign interests and, by law, they pay very low tax.
By Pinochet law, still standing, any decision to nationalize mining demands such extravagant payment that no nationalization can be envisioned without a major change in legislation – which, also by Pinochet law, has been made difficult to effect. In fact, according to a Chilean economist, the present law treats Chilean copper in the ground as owned by the foreign corporations exploiting it – not by Chile. The president of the Chilean senate, M. Guido Girardi sums up: “Chile has been the laboratory of neo-liberalism.”

Now Chile ( almost unannounced by North American mainstream media) is bursting with large-scale discontent and demonstrations against the price of gas, hydro-electric expansion, against the cost of higher education – and more – all backed by a majority of the Chilean people … which in the wealthy, neo-liberal society are economically disadvantaged as prices rise and profits rise for the tiny elite owning Chile.
Chile is an excellent example of neo-liberalism instituted by gun and truncheon. When Pinochet was removed, the Western press and media hailed the return of democracy to Chile. But it did not return. Pinochet introduced a fascist state. Pinochet law exists behind a mask of democratic government which – as is the case more and more in Canada – serves private, corporate, anti-democratic interests. The Chilean political system, which Chileans are fighting against more and more, is precisely the system the Stephen Harper (so-called) Conservatives, apparently, intend to reproduce in Canada. That subject is addressed in the Conclusion.

Historically, Canadians have faced huge pressures to give up their democracy. That is especially so since the U.S.A. became the dominant imperial power in the world and determined that it wanted Canada, by hook or by crook, openly – by annexation, or covertly – by takeover of the Canadian economy and its politicians and by the subversion of Canadian culture and identity. The U.S.A. never wanted Canada to exist and from at least the early eighteenth century planned and preached to have it erased as a separate sovereign entity on the North American continent.


 The Longest Undefended Border
(Pages 15-34)

 The centrality of U.S. interest in Canada and its desire to absorb or at least to dominate this country go back to early years of European settlement on the continent. In the early eighteenth century, for instance, when  “Canada”  (as we think of it now) was in the hands of a small francophone population, representation was made by settlers on the U.S. East Coast (as we think of it now) to the British to assist in organization of a force to overthrow and erase French presence. That was not a part of big-power European ideas at the time but a desire of the thinly occupied settlement community to expand and to have power over all North America.

Manifest Destiny is the nineteenth century term that identifies the driving force in the U.S.A. to occupy and to control all of North America. John L. Sullivan brought it into circulation in an article written in 1845. It is called Manifest Destiny because believers assume it is the manifest (obvious to eye or mind) Will of God that the destiny of all North America is to exist under the flag of the U.S.A. The name was given to the idea in the nineteenth century, but it was a part of the fabric of the thinking of people who occupied parts of what is now the U.S.A. from very early days. The concept is related to the term American Exceptionalism created by U.S. thinkers to describe and/or explain actions of the people of the U.S.A. that shock and dismay much of the rest of the world.

Slavery in the U.S.A. and the U.S. government policy of extermination of the native peoples, for instance, are attributed to American Exceptionalism. By giving those offensive policies and actions a high-sounding name, U.S. intellectuals attempt to tame and legitimate them. It is their way of saying  we in the U.S.A. are quite normal and we do things which are perfectly reasonable to us, though they offend others. It is not that we are brutal or inhuman but that it is in our nature to do things occasionally which are exceptional to normal practice. People in the world must come to accept actions which characterize our exceptionalism. Our exceptionalism is really quite normal.” 

In the later eighteenth century, when in its War for Independence (1775-1781) the U.S. cut ties with Britain, and Canada retained ties, the U.S. wanted (and sought) dominating power over Canada. The U.S. invaded Canada – attempting to conquer it – in 1776, in 1812, and in a few flurries in the second half of the nineteenth century. In the later attacks Fenians (Irish loyalists in the U.S.) made raids into Canada from U.S. soil, hoping to bring Canada under U.S. rule. Since the raids occurred just before and after Confederation when government was firmly established here, the U.S. government could not consider the attacks random assaults by non-government forces – and then claim the territory occupied as U.S. territory. Besides, Canadians were quick to repulse the attacks.

The War of 1812 is especially important to the theme of this book – as historical fact, as concentration of political forces, and in the subsequent interpretation it has received by many Canadian historians. The war was, in large part, faked by the U.S. in order to conquer Canada while Britain was absorbed in a major war. The conduct of the politics inside Upper Canada was complicated by people with loyalty to the U.S.A. The reading of the War by Canadian historians has often had an apologetic or neo-liberal tinge. Canada’s achievement is downplayed. And many of the boldest defenders of Canada in 1812 are now aspersed and ridiculed because of the role they are accused of playing later in Canadian society.

The War of 1812 was based upon apparent U.S. rage at British interference with U.S. shipping to the enemy [France] during the war with Napoleon’s forces. And it was based upon U.S. rage at the British impressments of sailors. The British insisted upon boarding U.S. ships to examine them for sailors suspected of defecting to U.S. merchant service. But neither of those causes was serious enough or unreasonable enough to spark a major war. Britain was deeply involved in its war with Napoleon’s France.  The U.S. decided it was a good time to takeover Canada. As with the drive for Commercial Union in the 1880s and 1890s the real goal was to cut Canada off from Britain and annex it. The change of Atlantic Triangle politics in the twentieth century made the drive to free trade in the 1980s and 1990s more a matter of a massive propaganda campaign among Canadians conducted by continental corporations and by a Canadian government won to U.S. designs for the continent. In 1812 U.S. politicians thought the taking of Canada would be a pushover. Thomas Jefferson made his famous statement that the conquest of Canada would be  “a mere matter of marching.”

After the first wave of Loyalists came to Canada around 1776, many more immigrants came from the U.S.A. – a number of whom felt first loyalty to their birth country. They are the Yankees Susannah Moodie (of the book Roughing It in the Bush) met upon her arrival in Canada in the 1830s and depicts in that work.

Some Canadian writers after the mid-twentieth century find Susannah Moodie repugnant. She is one of the best known in the long tradition of writers recording the immigrant experience in Canada. Her negative critics won’t grant (a) that she was an immigrant struggling to take root in Canada, and (b) that she was not describing United Empire Loyalists but later arrivals, tenaciously Yankee, often contemptuous of Canada, and perfectly willing to see Canada annexed to the United States. Mrs. Moodie’s meeting with a young immigrant in the chapter entitled, "Our First Settlement, And The Borrowing System“  tells much. Turning upon Mrs. Moodie, the young U.S. immigrant says:  “We are genuine Yankees, and think ourselves as good – yes, a great deal better than you are.”
In the legislature of Upper Canada some of the late arrivers attempted to stall preparations for defence against U.S. invaders. And when hostilities broke out, a few in the legislature (many outside of it) defected across the border to assist the U.S. The resistance to U.S. ambitions was complicated by people in Canada working actively for a U.S. victory. Nearness to the U.S. and the influence of U.S. residents in Canada helped to divide opinion. The loyal forces made up of Native people, Canadians, and British troops effected the defence of Canada against an aggressor possessing ten times the population and wealth. Canadian historians often say that it was an accidental war, a useless war – for neither side gained advantage. But Canadians defended their country and preserved its sovereignty. If the U.S. had won, a day would surely be celebrated annually to celebrate “the liberation of the Canadian people from the oppressive yoke of British oppression.”
Finally, the group which was first and most solidly prepared to defend Canada in the War of 1812 was one that, later, became known as The Family Compact and is accused of impeding democratic development in Canada. There is no doubt some truth to the charges – that those people played a sometimes negative role in the events leading to the 1837 Rebellions before the superb alliance was formed between John A. Macdonald and Etienne Cartier leading to Confederation. But at the time of the War of 1812, people like John Beverley Robinson and John Strachan organized brilliantly, responded rapidly, and were very important in establishing a belief that Canadians could not only hold off the U.S. invaders but could win a war against them.

They were deeply suspicious of U.S. society. The recent enemy was actively anti-monarchist, partly as an attempt to destabilize Canada and make it an easy prey. Moreover, it traded in slaves and built its economy on slavery. Its presidents were often major slave holders. After U.S. independence, slavery increased and a virtual war of extermination was conducted against the Native Indians. The men who were later part of The Family Compact looked South and didn’t very much like what they saw there. They saw what they thought was a vicious government, practicing lawless expansionism which travelled under the name  “democracy.”  They watched free-booters grab land illegally for personal profit – and the U.S. government include that land as part of the U.S.A. Because the U.S.A. constantly boasted of itself as a democracy, the word was sometimes used in Canada to indicate slave-drivers and Indian-killers and land-grabbers – anything but what Canadians would mean using the word “democracy” today.

In earlier history U.S. government encouraged or turned a blind eye to the kind of so-called private incidents undertaken by free-booters who invaded territory – which was then included as U.S. territory. U.S. forces also engaged in what was referred to as filibustering. The term simply meant to fill land with settlers and then (by force if necessary) to annex it to the U.S.A. In one case – the case of a large part of Mexico – that nation welcomed U.S. settlers. The settlers, then, called upon U.S. government to include the territory as part of the U.S.A.

The territory in question annexed was the Mexican province of Texas and the land adjacent to it that the U.S. claimed as in dispute. The Encyclopedia Britannica (Vol. 15, 1962, p.391) suggests the annexation took place because there was an  “incompatibility of Mexican and American settlers.”  That is the U.S. writer’s way of glossing over a calculated policy intended to lead to war. Thus the war with Mexico (1846-47) came about. The U.S. seized a huge tract of Mexican land, including Texas. Of expansion by free-booters in earlier U.S. history, Jason Kaufman remarks that  “[this] has been a hall-mark of American diplomacy ever since. Such extra-governmental military actions fit nicely with the emerging belief in “manifest destiny” Americans’ God-given right to take control of all North America by any means necessary.”

The U.S. did much the same in the Oregon territory, without using free-booters. It agreed with Britain in 1818 that the nationals of both countries could occupy the territory to conduct commerce for the time being without prejudice to the claims on it by the two states. Using the time that followed before more negotiations, U.S. government pumped settlers into the region – and then claimed it as U.S. territory based on the rights of first settlement. Indeed, warlike president James K. Polk who went to the aid of U.S. settlers in Mexico and seized Texas for the U.S.A. demanded – in his election campaign of 1844 – all Canadian territory to the 54th (not the 49th) parallel.  “Fifty-four forty or fight”  was his slogan. In 1846 the British drew back from their claims for some territory south of the 49th parallel and agreed to the 49th parallel running to the sea.
President Polk knew he could defeat Mexico in a battle between the two countries, and he did. He didn’t know if he could beat Britain, and so “Fifty-four forty” was dropped without a “fight.”  Though in 1903, at the time of the Alaska Boundary Dispute, Theodore Roosevelt sent troops and threatened that if Britain didn’t accept the U.S. terms, he would be willing to use military force. And so into the twentieth century the U.S.A. was still rattling swords as a way of extorting land from Canada.

The drive West in Canada (and the building of the CPR) was a drive to prevent U.S. seizure of more western lands. During what might be called the Riel period (1868-1885), a period of unrest and territorial demands by the Metis people, northern U.S. papers took up a cry for annexation of Canadian territory. In 1867, U.S. secretary of state William Seward told a Boston audience:  “I know that Nature designs that the whole continent, not merely these thirty-six states, shall be sooner or later, within the magic circle of the American union.”  In 1870 U.S. people began a Winnipeg newspaper in which annexation was regularly advocated. In addition, the U.S. consul in Winnipeg sought U.S. money to overthrow Canadian rule. W. B. O‘Donoghue, an Irish American who represented St. Boniface, travelled to Washington to convince president Grant to turn the discontent of the Metis into a demand for the incorporation of Manitoba into the United States.
In 1867, as well, the U.S. moved to dissipate – as much as possible – the power and meaning of Canadian Confederation by buying Alaska from the Russians. The event can best be described, perhaps, by P.B. Waite.   "For Confederation the American purchase of Alaska was a significant flanking movement."   The Queen signed the British North America Act on March 29, 1867. In Washington that same night the American Secretary of State, William Seward, and the Russian Minister were up until the small hours completing the agreement for the purchase of Alaska. It was signed then and there – about 3 o’clock in the morning on March 30, 1867. It went to the Senate a few hours later.  The remarkable concurrence between the signing of the British North America Act and the American purchase of Alaska, accidental though it was, underlined the connection between the two events. Alaska, said the London Morning Herald on April 2, was the American riposte to Confederation; Americans regarded the creation of a union to the north of them as a kind of grievance. It seemed to them an aggravating agglomeration of British colonies whose main purpose was to frustrate American ambitions. J.L. Chamberlain, the governor of Maine said as much, at the opening of the Maine legislature in January, 1867:  “If it [Confederation] is successful, the result cannot but be injurious to us. The friends of this country in the Provinces are earnestly opposing the scheme.”  The Maine Senate protested that the monarchical consolidation to the north was a violation of the Monroe doctrine. So did the United States Congress … Charles Sumner urged the Senate to ratify the purchase of Alaska on the ground that it was a ‘visible step in the occupation of the whole North American continent … The [New York] World consoled itself with the belief that Alaska was ‘an advancing step in that manifest destiny which is yet to give us British North America.’ The New York Sun agreed. English papers recognized the same logic. The Morning Post said the reason for the "American purchase was not the intrinsic value of Alaska but the hope of aquiring land south of it." Sir Frederick Bruce, the British Minister in Washington, wrote in exactly that vein to Lord Stanley.’”

The attempt to sway the people of the Canadian Northwest into annexation was not only the work of U.S. interests. In Winnipeg, editor of the Sun, Edward Farrer, a Canadian and a lifelong annexationist, worked at the task. He was, as we shall see, a major force in the Commercial Union/Annexation Movement of the late 1880s and the early 1890s. In 1884 he was editor of the Winnipeg Sun.  “The Sun’s most notable feature that summer … was a consistent subtle campaign to undermine Confederation and to promote either Western independence or annexation … ”

In August, Farrer wrote in the Sun that  “it is as certain as anything can be in human affairs that independence or annexation is the ultimate fate of Canada … ”  Carman Cumming, biographer of Farrer, reports the editor was alleged at that time to be part of a  “bizarre plot … to annex the Northwest to the United States” – during which time he may well have made first connections with powerful names later involved in the Commercial Union/Annexation movement in the late 1880s and early 1990s.

Nor did U.S. ambitions to rule Canada falter, even after Confederation. On July 2, 1886, almost twenty years later, General N.P. Banks, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee introduced  “An Act for the admission of the States of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Canada East and Canada West, and for the organization of the territories of Selkirk, Saskatchewan and Columbia into the U.S.A.”  The attempt by General Banks didn’t go far, though it may not have been coincidental.  Annexation was on the minds of many in the U.S. In the same year that Banks made his attempt, Protection or Free Trade was published by Henry George the  “grass roots”  U.S. economist who became internationally famous for his advocacy of a single tax. His book on the subject, Progress and Poverty, (1879) had a huge sale and was translated into many languages.
In 1886, in his book Protection or Free Trade, Henry George is an unalloyed advocate of free trade. Asking what the U.S. might do with free trade, he answers the question:

We may annex Canada to all intents and purposes whenever we throw down the tariff wall we have built around ourselves.  We need not ask for reciprocity; if we abolish our custom-houses and call off our baggage searchers and Bible confiscators, Canada would not and could not maintain hers.  This would make the two countries practically one.  Whether the Canadians chose to maintain a separate Parliament and pay a British lordling for keeping up a mock court at Rideau Hall, need not in the slightest concern us. The intimate relations that would come of unrestricted commerce would soon obliterate the boundaryline …

All was by no means silent inside Canada at the same time both for and against the U.S. desire to take over the new country. As General N.P. Banks was attempting, within the U.S., to get an Act of admission to the U.S.A. for the organized Canadian territories and Confederated Canada, and as Henry George was advocating free trade as a way of virtually taking over Canada, U.S. interests and their Canadian allies, in Canada, were making their first moves to create what we now call a free trade agreement, then called Commercial Union. As the comment by Henry George makes clear, it was believed by some – both advocates and enemies of the idea – to be the first step towards full political union of the two countries under the U.S. flag. Manifest Destiny.


The battle against Commercial Union was fronted very much by one of the founders in 1868 of The Canada First Movement, George Taylor Denison. That Movement, important and active in the next decades, came about partly as a result of the assassination in 1866 of Irish-born Thomas D’Arcy McGee, powerful and eloquent advocate of Confederation. McGee focusses many of the most important developments of the times in Canada … before and after his assassination.

Born in Ireland in 1825, he travelled back and forth to the United States until he was thirty-two. He settled in Montreal in 1857 where he began a newspaper named The New Era. In it he called for what became Confederation, for a transcontinental railway, settlement of the West, a protective tariff, and (himself a poet) a distinctive Canadian literature. He was elected to office, and was part of the  “Great Coalition”  leading to the Charlottetown and Quebec conferences, preceding Confederation. Falling out of favour with Irish voters, he was dropped from the cabinet in 1866. His Irishness was telling in his destiny. Opposed to the Fenians and to their desire to gain Irish independence from Britain by revolution and the conquest of Canada, his assassination is attributed to a Fenian conspiracy. For Fenians, who wanted to take from Britain the territories that are now Canada, Thomas D’Arcy McGee’s eloquent advocacy of the consolidation of those territories into a single nation stretching from sea to sea would have been galling.
George Taylor Denison, prize-winning military theorist, long-time Toronto magistrate (1877-1921), and commander of the Governor General’s Bodyguard established and supported by his family, saw action in a Fenian Raid in 1866 at Fort Erie where some defenders were killed, others wounded. That was a year in which there were three separate Fenian raids into Canada. With four other young men, in 1868, Denison founded The Canada First Movement in a small hotel room in Ottawa. Realizing the strength of loyalties from pre-Confederation, the men – spurred on by the assassination of Thomas D’Arcy McGee – set out to encourage a sense of national being and purpose among the newly-minted Canadians. And they wanted to encourage and produce written materials to help locate the new identity. In Montreal McGee himself (among a number of interesting pre-Confederation poets from all regions) had published poems in the 1850s and 1860s. Charles Mair – one of the founders of Canada First – was the first to publish a volume of poetry in the newly-confederated Canada: Dreamland and Other Poems, 1868.
Mair figured, too, in the events surrounding Louis Riel (The Red River Rebellion, 1869-70), as did George Taylor Denison (The Battle of Batoche, 1885). Both men were participants in  resistance aganst forces they saw working to the break up of the country. Both had been made especially aware of threats to its unity when they helped form the Canada First Movement.

Accounts of the Canada Firsters written by Canadian historians and literary critics are often biased and incomplete. The reason may well be connected to the colonial mentality, a condition that is everywhere a part of the attitude of a colonized people. Ashamed of strong advocacy and action of an anti-colonialist kind, embarrassed by people who undertake such action, and subtly seeking favour with the imperial forces in the colony, colonial   “critics” and  “theorists”  are often subtle advocates of the imperial domination under which they live. At times they are wholly unaware of that role – possessing an opaqueness that makes their collaboration with domination hard to pierce. The colonial mentality marks almost all attention paid to the Canada Firsters after the first half of the twentieth century. All formal and scholarly publication on the Canada First Movement and its members must be carefully scrutinized. Little of it is balanced and fair.


Charles Mair was one of a party of men who intended to attempt forcefully to overthrow the peaceful provisional government set up by Louis Riel and others in 1869. Riel and his party had responded forcefully to the decision in Ottawa to send Wm. Macdougall  - without consultation - as Lieutenant Governor of the territory. The party of which Mair was a part was captured and imprisoned. Charles Mair escaped, and he made his way through the difficult winter season back to Ontario – considered a daring and remarkable trip.  Lionized by many, he advocated the suppression of Riel’s movement – and helped to inspire antipathy against the  “rebels.”  Riel’s execution of Thomas Scott – an angry, anti-Metis – confused and complicated the Riel movement until long after it had passed. (Not long after Mair escaped all the prisoners were released.) Moving to Prince Albert in 1877, he twice travelled to Ottawa before the 1885 Riel uprising in vain attempts to have the federal government turn attention to the dissatisfaction of the Metis.  If he had been listened to, the second Riel uprising and the battle of Batoche might never have happened.
George Taylor Denison, who Canadian writers regularly insinuate was a racist, went to the 1885 events centred at Batoche, but would only do so in a communications role because he disliked the armed action against Riel and the Metis. Wishing to protect innocent Indians in the area, he urged them to return to their homes and show plainly their uninvolvement in the conflict. When General Wolseley (who probably was a racist) unfairly convicted and imprisoned Poundmaker, the great Indian leader, Denison was one of the most vocal and insistent that Poundmaker be released. A friend of John A. Macdonald, prime minister, Denison nevertheless took up the cause of Poundmaker and was one of those instrumental in gaining the release of the great and tragic Indian. (Notice that no one suggests Macdonald was racist for sending Wolseley to Batoche or for permitting the hanging of Louis Riel.)

To George Taylor Denison fell the task of exposing and challenging the campaign for the Commercial Union of Canada and the United States. The campaign began in the middle 1880s (upon, it is suggested, the completion of the CPR across Canada) and Denison discovered it in 1887. Though it had supporters in Canada without doubt and a Canadian led the movement from New York, a very large number of silent and other U.S. supporters were pushing for its adoption. It ended in the famous 1891 federal election when John A. Macdonald spent his final weeks and, many believe, achieved his finest hour defeating the movement. In that election, he declared his total repudiation of Commercial Union. Macdonald made perhaps his most famous (and often misunderstood) statement:  A British subject I was born, and a British subject I will die.”  Canadian citizenship was not in existence until the Canadian Citizenship Act of 1947 established for the first time a status of Canadian citizen additional to that of British subject. And so John A. Macdonald was simply saying he was a Canadian of the time and intended to remain one.

The Commercial Union campaign was fronted by Erastus Wiman, a Canadian who had achieved some success in Canada and the U.S. as a manager and part owner of Dun, Wiman and Co., a mercantile agency. In New York he became the leading spokesperson for Commercial Union – appearing in both Canada and the U.S.A. He is alleged to have telegrammed a letter to Canadian newspapers in September of 1888 in which he declared the U.S. Senate Committee of Foreign Affairs had moved seriously to propose political union with the U.S. He then attempted, Denison reports, to pull the letter back before it could be published but his attempt failed. Wiman achieved a measure of financial success in the U.S. and founded the Canadian Club in New York in 1885, largely to further the ideas of Commercial Union.

In 1887, delayed almost a year because of fire in the printing shop, the Canadian Club published an anthology of addresses to the Club entitled Canadian Leaves. Among the presenters, Goldwin Smith, identifying himself as an Englishman, provides an erudite criticism of the U.S. War for Independence and U.S. support of lawless Irish acts against the English rulers. Support of the balky Irish, we learn at the close of the piece, unhappily retards the move to Commercial Union – which Smith also calls free trade.



J.W. Bengough, cartoonist and creator of the satirical weekly Grip, provides a satirical piece about Canada, which ends with a humourous endorsement of annexation. He observes that the U.S. has failed to take Canada by force, and so it is  “a tribute to American shrewdness…that you have dropped the military plan and resorted to this present scheme.”  He adds that  “as soon as our most wealthy citizens so decide, annexation will be all right.”  Congressman B. Butterworth makes an exhaustive plea for Commercial Union in which he says that the  “resources of Canada in material wealth, her supply of the materials indispensable to our people, are boundless.”  (p. 194) The Reverend George Grant, Principal of Queen’s University, makes a presentation called      “Canada First.”  He refers to the fading Canada First movements, and concludes that  “unrestricted commercial intercourse between Canada and the United States … must be considered from the ‘Canada First’ point of view.” (p. 266)

Erastus Wiman makes a forceful plea for Commercial Union and repeats Congressman Butterworth’s contention, saying,  “In a certain sense, Canada is a treasure-house from which can be drawn the commodities the United States need most, and which can be made in the highest degree contributory to her progress.”  (p.278) Erastus Wiman’s wealth quickly melted away as a result of his unsuccessful investment in Staten Island development. He lost his position as general manager of the Dun firm, as well, when it became clear he had diverted funds from the firm for his own use. That revelation doubtless pleased the enemies of Commercial Union.

Wiman’s counterpart in Canada was the influential and wealthy English immigrant Goldwin Smith. He is still famous as author of the first Canadian book advocating annexation: Canada and the Canadian Question, published in 1891 and intended to affect decisions about Commercial Union. In England Smith was influenced by Richard Cobden and John Bright who he befriended – advocates of free trade. In 1866, before leaving England to teach at Cornell University in the U.S.A. Smith, in an address at Manchester, suggested Canada’s integration into the U.S.

The British North American colonies will in time, and probably at no very distant time, unite themselves politically to the group of States, of which they are already by race, position, commercial ties and the characteristics of their institutions a part. No one can stand by the side of the St. Lawrence and doubt that in the end they will do this; but they will be left to do it of their own free will.

Arriving in Canada in 1871, and marrying the wealthy widow of Henry Boulton in 1875, he settled in The Grange (now the expanded Art Gallery of Ontario) where he lived a long and controversial life writing, editing, and publishing. He, at first, supported the Canada First Movement but soon abandoned it and returned to his earlier views. He not only supported Commercial Union but he became an ardent and eloquent writer and speaker on its behalf, and on behalf of the absorption of Canada into the U.S.A.

The battle fought over Commercial Union awaits its historian – and has probably not found it yet because of the colonial mentality in Canada, especially present among university historians who make up almost the only historians the country produces. The battle was colourful. It was intense, a furious battle. The characters involved were often larger than life. And it was of major importance in Canadian history. George Taylor Denison alleges he saw a list of 500 prominent U.S. supporters of Commercial Union. That list has never been found. Denison did publish a much shorter list. The U.S. president of the hour, president Benjamin Harrison, was aware of the movement, but how active he was in the cause is very difficult to determine. From all indications  found to date, he stood back from it, awaiting developments.

That does not mean Harrison was uninterested or even  “disinterested.”  In a remarkable book, The American Search for Opportunity, 1993, U.S. historian Walter LeFeber makes clear the Commercial Union campaign was fully a part of U.S. government policy.

Blaine had begun talking about the need for peace and order. Harrison was completing Blaine’s Good Neighbour approach by threatening to declare war on the uncooperative, or using economic war to obtain long-sought prizes. Canada, in the view of Blaine and Harrison, was one of the greatest prizes. They wanted to annex it, but to do so only after the Canadians voluntarily asked to join the union. Reciprocity seemed to offer a no-lose policy: if Canada signed such a treaty, it would be integrated into the United States. If it did not, the many Canadians who depended on the U.S. market (both Blaine and Harrison kept in close touch with such people) would demand a treaty on Washington’s terms or annexation. Sir Alexander Galt, Canada’s leading financial expert, declared the 1890 tariff act was aimed at forcing Canada to break its  “Colonial connection”  with Britain, and further claimed it was “a hostile measure – an act of commercial war.”  Galt was correct. Blaine urged Harrison not even to approach Canada for a reciprocity treaty because it could not be worked out to U.S. satisfaction. Canada, he added, will then  “find that she has a hard row to hoe and will ultimately … seek admission to the Union.”  Blaine was wrong. After a bitter political battle Canadian conservatives triumphed over Liberal continentalists in 1892 and turned towards Britain. United States officials had lost this battle.

In fact, the U.S. lost ‘this battle’ with the victory of John A. Macdonald’s Conservatives in the 1891 election. But LeFeber is correct that Blaine and Harrison – as well as other leading U.S. figures – kept in close touch with allies in Canada. Carman Cumming, writing of the major Canadian annexationist journalist Edward Farrer, reports that before being exposed by John A. Macdonald in the 1891 election,  Farrer was already known to have made several trips to Washington to meet officials favouring commercial or political union, including James B. Blaine, the powerful annexation-minded Secretary of State.”

One of the allies of Blaine and Harrison was a man on George Taylor Denison’s list – Frances Wayland Glen. He came from the U.S. to Canada to operate a firm owned by a relation. He was a strong and durable annexationist. After some years he returned to the U.S.A. A revealing letter to Glen from president Harrison says much. Unfortunately, I could not find Glen’s letter to Harrison in the Harrison papers. Harrison writes to Glen on August 27, 1892.

My dear sir: I have your letter of the 22nd and notice what you say upon the Canadian question. I cannot, of course, discuss it in a letter, but I beg to assure you that it has, in all its phases, had my most careful attention for two years past. It is quite likely that I shall have something to say upon the subject in my next annual address.

The antagonists played tag across Upper Canada (Ontario). Goldwin Smith would speak in a locality, to be followed by George Taylor Denison and his supporters who would circulate carefully prepared printed material to every household in the area. It was a bitterly fought and intensely felt battle. A crowning moment of high drama occurred when a typesetter at the Toronto Globe secretly spirited away from a print house incomplete proofs of an inflammatory, confidential pamphlet being prepared by the editor, Edward Farrer, the lifelong annexationist who had been hired to the Globe, in fact, to further Commercial Union. The pamphlet being produced was to be secret, to have only thirteen copies printed, to be made available to influential U.S. politicians, instructing them about how to treat Canada (punitively) in order to force Commercial Union. The proofs were put in the hands of George Taylor Denison who got them to John A. Macdonald. Macdonald used them to open the election campaign  “to prove the intrigues that were going on. The revelation had a marked influence on the election … ”


The intention of the annexationists was defeated by John A. Macdonald’s last great election campaign. Even in the years preceding the 1891 election, the frankest actors were certain free trade would lead to annexation. As LeFeber writes Blaine and Harrison “wanted to annex”  Canada, and they knew reciprocity (free trade) was the route to take. Henry George in Protection or Free Trade (1886) says with free trade we may annex Canada to all intents and purposes …”  Free trade with the U.S.A. went into effect at the beginning of 1989.

The role of Edward Farrer in the Commercial Union/annexation movement at that time was large and important as editor of both the Toronto Mail and then of the Toronto Globe. Farrer not only advocated Commercial union, but he is attributed by his biographer Carman Cumming with having intentionally stirred up strife between French and English, Catholics and Protestants in order to wreck Confederation on the route to annexation. He was thrust into the centre of the conflict when his pamphlet produced to show U.S. government how to force Canada to its knees was exposed and was used by John A. Macdonald, many believe, to turn the tide of the 1891 election.


Almost a century passed before the question of free trade/Commercial Union was again fought with passion in Canada, though a reciprocity agreement was defeated by voters in 1911. At that time, U.S. sources again spoke publicly of annexation in connection with the proposed agreement. The Liberals led by Wilfred Laurier were defeated and a Conservative government took power. In the later free trade battle of the 1980s, the prime minister, Brian Mulroney – revealing the huge turn Conservatism in Canada had taken – was a major advocate of free trade and close integration with the U.S.A. Though a majority of voting Canadians rejected the idea of a free trade agreement, the leader of the majority Conservative Party in the House of Commons, Brian Mulroney, signed the first Canada/U.S. Free Trade Agreement, as did president Ronald Reagan of the U.S., on January 2, 1988.




The Early Twentieth Century and the Second World War
(pages 35-41)

 The 1911 election revealed a Canada unwilling to get too close, by agreements or treaties, to the U.S.A. When the election was over, none realized that within a few years Canada would be a participant in the First World War (1914-1918) and would lose 61,326 men, and bring home 172,950 who had been wounded – from a population of less than eight million. Canada showed itself to be a significant force in the War, and at the insistence of Canadian prime minister Robert Laird Borden, had gained a voice in war councils and a seat at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 as well as at the League of Nations, established in coordination with the Treaty of Versailles.

Canada was gaining in political independence. Few Canadians are aware that Confederation didn’t produce a fully independent nation in Canada. That condition came only, formally and unequivocally, with the Westminster Act of 1931, though by practice Canada was gaining more and more independence of action through the years. Until 1931, however, Canada didn’t – formally – have the right to undertake treaties with foreign nations. In 1926 the report of the Imperial Conference of that year, known as the Balfour Report after its writer, declared that Britain and the Dominions of Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the Irish Free State were

autonomous Communities within the British Empire, equal in status, in no way subordinate to one to another in any aspect of their domestic or external affairs, though united by a common allegiance to the Crown, and freely associated as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations.

As a result Canada welcomed a British High Commissioner to Ottawa to recognize the new status, and Canada sent a diplomat to Washington since this country would now deal alone and independently with Canada/U.S. relations. In 1931 the Imperial Parliament passed the Statute of Westminster by which all restrictions on Canadian sovereignty were lifted except those Canada wished to keep. Canadians couldn’t – at least didn’t – find a way to amend or repeal the British North America Act and so that power remained in Britain as did – for many years – final appeals to the Privy Council of Britain. But only by Canadian choice.

Appeals of cases to the British Privy Council ended in 1949 and Canada’s Supreme Court became the last level of appeal. The long road to full independence had ended in the shadow of another World War. And the fight to get out of The Great Depression was truly only won by the crisis of the Second World War – estimates of the unemployed in 1939 still running as high as 600,000. The seriousness of the crisis for Britain, as German troops literally raced through Europe, required that Canada undertake difficult negotiations for aid with a United States pursuing neutrality and aware of its growing power – and determined to increase it.

The only person in the Canadian Parliament to vote against the Declaration of War with Germany – made after one week of nominal neutrality – was  J.S. Woodsworth, leader of the CCF. Parliament was of almost one mind about the Canadian role. Some ordinary Canadians remained sceptical. Perhaps with reason .... In the early 1950s, at summer work among veterans of that war, sitting in the lunch-time sun on a wharf at Powell River in B.C., one of the veterans asked me a question. Preceding it with the usual note of humour they employed, the veteran said to me

“You go to university. You can answer my question.”  He paused. “On August 31, 1939 none of us could get a job anywhere in Canada, not for fifty cents a day, not anywhere. But on September 30 – only a month later – we could all get work, free room and board, even our clothes supplied to us, and thirty dollars a month. In the army. Where did all that money come from – suddenly – to look after us? You explain. You must know. You go to university."

The power of Empire was rapidly shifting across the Atlantic to the U.S.A. That country had stayed out of the First World War until 1918, gathering wealth while Britain’s (imperial) power was being expended and Canada gave up – as many remarked – a huge resource in men it needed for the future direction of the country. In the Second World War, while Europe was being literally shattered, the U.S. remained apart for more than two years. And when it entered, it did so from a fortress untouched by the ravages of war and even – despite its dedication of men and materials to the war effort – growing in wealth and power. At the end of the conflict in 1945 physical Russia was decimated and lost 22 millions of its people. Britain was close to financial ruin and had to take what were almost the dictates of the U.S.A. in order to pull away from financial disaster.


Canada, too, was physically untouched and ended the Second World War strong and potentially ready to exert a genuine independence on all fronts. Independence. But the forces at work – psychological, economic, political, cultural, imperial and colonial, that had been at work for at least two centuries, intensified as Canada went into that war, and they have continued undiminished since.

In some ways Canada blossomed in the dark days of the Second World War, dragging itself out of economic Depression, devoting itself with genuine comradeship to the prosecution of the War, and living on the edge as news of casualties filtered back to cities, towns and villages all over the country. The sonorous and eloquent voice of Winston Churchill from London, holding off “the Nazi horde” almost by incantation, probably brought Canadians closer to Britain than they had been for a long time or ever would be again. I well remember walking along a country road as dusk was falling when radio was broadcasting one of Churchill’s wartime speeches. I could almost follow his words as I walked because every house on the road in that summer dusk, had its windows open … and every household was listening to the great orator.

If the war served in many ways to increase Canadian solidarity and self assurance, and even to provide some measure of cultural activity in the country – outside Canada, in the diplomatic realm, dark manipulations were afoot that would bring economic disaster to the world, subjecting it to a new Imperium whose reckless greed would imperil the economies of much of the world into the twenty-first century.


In 1944, foreseeing the end of the Second World War, Britons and representatives of the U.S.A. and others (Canadians were present), met at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, to plan for an international fund and bank to stabilize international trade and to assist post-war reconstruction. John Maynard Keynes was the chief British negotiator and also chief negotiator of a large loan from the U.S. to Britain in 1945. He was not only, perhaps, the leading economist in the world, but he was both a committed Englishman and a committed internationalist. And … he was ill with a chronic heart condition which killed him in 1946.

His work at the Bretton Woods negotiations certainly was intended to serve the needs of his country. But, as almost always, his vision was long and his understanding deep. Details of both his ideas and the transactions at Bretton Woods are complex, because the international politics of the occasion were Machiavellian and ornate. But they can be summed up quite simply. Keynes saw an exploding world in which trade would be a constantly increasing irritant and an obstruction to a just and balanced world, unless contained and regulated. He proposed a “World Bank” which would produce a special currency that all nations would have to use, through the international bank, in trading. When nations developed large surpluses in balance of payments for trade, they would have – through the bank – to rein in exports, or raise the value of their currency, or something else in order to move to a balance. By the same token countries which found themselves in a negative balance of payments situation – importing much more than they exported, would have – by the supervision of the World Bank – to redress the balance.
Keynes wanted a democratic ruling body, in which participants in the program each had a vote – regardless of size and power. He wanted (what became) the International Monetary Fund to be an adjunct of the structure described, and a functional organ of its role. He wanted, also, (anathema to U.S. interests) an instrument to assure the rights and security of working people anywhere on the globe. His most complete biographer, Robert Kidelski, makes clear that the U.S. – having arrived at dominant power in the world – wanted hegemony, not justice. It wanted to be the arbitrar of trade and wealth the world over. And so it rejected almost all of Keynes’s proposals. It took dominant power in the World Bank, in the International Monetary Fund, and in the World Trade Organization as they were created on the basis that giving them the most financial backing, the U.S. had the right to the most power in the organizations.

By the same token it took paramount power in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization [NATO], founded in 1949 to help contain the expansionist ambitions of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. NATO, always a U.S. instrument essentially, described as a cooperative organization of assenting countries, not only followed U.S. policy but was seen by the U.S.A. as a countervailing force to the United Nations which – because of its democratic character – occasionally resisted U.S. policy. Upon the fall of the Russian Empire in 1989, NATO reinvented itself to be, in fact, an instrument of U.S. policy outside the United Nations, often (because of U.N. weakness) getting the assent of the U.N. to undertake  “humane” actions to support the  “democratic”  life of nations in which the U.S. had or has or wants economic interest.

For Canada, both developments were fraught with implications for its own independence. To be a part of NATO is, in effect, (and has always been) to be a supporter of U.S. expansionist policy in the world. To consent to the outcome of the Bretton Woods negotiations was to accept that the U.S. would dominate trade policy and trade negotiations in the world. For the sake of peace and good relations, Canada chose to support the U.S.

Bretton Woods might be called  “colonization by negotiation concerning international institutions.”  The indications were clear. The U.S. was taking over. Canadian representative W.A. Mackintosh  “was worried by the manner in which the United States had achieved its goal [at Bretton Woods] and perturbed at the American assumption that the United States could now benevolently prescribe what rules the rest of the trading world should follow.”  Though very carefully, the neo-liberal authors of Canada since 1945 admit that Mackintosh and Canadian diplomats in Washington knew they were facing  “U.S. imperialism.”

With the collapse of the Russian Empire in 1989 the U.S. became the world’s sole  super power”, the result being that most countries of the world – and all of the countries of the Western World – became, to some degree, colonies of the U.S.A. Proof of that contention is borne out by the fact that the U.S. took up the whole  “offshore”, mock-legal, unregulated sham of subprime, mortgage securitization, fiat money-creating structures (that began to explode in 2007) and exported them all over the Western World – to the extent that the whole financial structure of the West was placed in jeopardy. Constant reiteration that the problem (present since 2007) will be solved carries little conviction. In the meantime the same financiers and investment speculators that brought on the problem are (unchallenged) continuing the activities that created disaster.  
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 The Mirror of Culture in a Contested Society
(Pages 42-49)

 Confederation not only produced – following its enactment – the Canada First Movement. But – with the passage of a little time – it produced the Confederation Poets, four young men born in the early 1860s. The publication of Charles G.D. Roberts’ book of poems in 1880, Orion and Other Poems, focussed the interest of the other three, and some of the best poetry produced in the English language in Canada was written in the following years by Roberts, Archibald Lampman, Bliss Carmen, and Duncan Campbell Scott. A contemporary born ten years earlier and dead by 1887, Irish immigrant (as a child) Isabella Valancy Crawford wrote some poetry not unrelated and of the highest order – but she only met Charles G.D. Roberts of the group and only once when he was editor very briefly (1883-4) of The Week, owned by intellectual and annexationist Goldwin Smith. 


      Anglophone poets before the Confederation Poets and Isabella Valancy Crawford were often excellent at their craft as well as fascinating in the ways they attempted to locate their voices in what, for them and their community, was a new country. But not – it appears – until the magic of Confederation had done its work could poets write with what can only be called a kind of natural confidence that their voices were fitted to the reality around them – and could write poetry of a high order. The culture into which artists are born, we know, shapes their consciousness and their work – however unaware they are of formative forces. The creation of Canada as a nation, its landscape, its social and political striving, its vastness – are present in the poems of the Confederation poets. The poets, at their best, speak with an indelibly and unpretentious Canadian voice.


The same is true of painters who came together in Toronto between 1911 and 1913 and have come to be known as  “Tom Thomson and The Group of Seven.”  Admirers of the Confederation Poets, they wanted to do in paint what the writers had done in poetry as well as to throw off the conservatism and unadventurousness of the painters considered “major” who were painting in Canada. Propelled by a passion to capture Canadian landscape uniquely in its astonishing variety and drama, the men produced painting that is increasingly recognized as work of the highest order. Lawren Harris of The Group recognized the genius of Emily Carr, working almost alone in B.C., and encouraged her production. That might just suggest we should speak of  “Tom Thomson, Emily Carr, and the Group of Seven.”


She, who had studied and painted in England, France, and the U.S., was only happy in herself at home painting in her native province. She is more and more recognized as a major painter of the last hundred years as well as one of the great woman artists. In her best painting and in the best poems of Isabella Valancy Crawford there is a spiritual likeness that is as inexplicable as it seems to be undeniably present.



One is invited to ask – considering the work of those poets and painters – how much a deep concern and a deep affection for the place and culture in which artists live inspires them to peculiar excellence? The question arises because of the still on-going battles – especially about poetry in Canada, and its sources – that erupted at the time of the Second World War. Those battles parallel similar ones brewing or begun or in full contest in the political and economic spheres, in higher education, painting, and less openly in other parts of the society, and they involve independence, imperialism, colonialism, and nationalism. As a community and a geography constantly in contention Canada (with more than two languages at work) has among its majority English language group a steady movement since the Confederation Poets through what might be called a Canadian tradition. That fact is astonishing in the face of the tireless attempts to erase the reality to which the Confederation Poets gave voice.



In 1943 A.J.M. Smith, a native of Montreal teaching in East Lansing, Michigan, at the Michigan State University, published an anthology of Canadian poetry – issued by the University of Chicago Press – called The Book of Canadian Poetry. It may be taken as a marker, a sign-post, bellwether of the battles mentioned. The argument Smith makes in the introduction to the anthology is that nativist poetry in Canada – poetry that takes its subject and inspiration from Canada – is inferior, and cosmopolitan poetry – poetry guided by the poets of England and the U.S.A. (principally) is superior poetry.



In a state of marvelous contradiction Smith recognizes the destructive qualities of colonialism and then opts for … colonialism. He writes that colonialism  “is a spirit that gratefully accepts a place of subordination, that looks elsewhere for its standards of excellence … ”  He quotes E.K. Brown with approval as saying that the colonial attitude of mind  “sets the great good place not in its present, nor in its past nor in its future, but somewhere outside its borders, somewhere beyond its possibilities.”


Smith writes those things after he has divided Canadian poets into two groups. One group has  “attempted to describe and interpret whatever is essentially and distinctively Canadian …. The other, from the very beginning, has made a heroic effort to transcend colonialism by entering into the universal, civilizing culture of ideas.”  The “universal, civilizing culture of ideas” was carried, Smith made clear in his work and life, in the literatures of Britain and the U.S.A. Like Northrop Frye after him, Smith was incapable of realizing that a Canadian (or a Nigerian, or an Australian, or a South African … or … ) could concentrate totally on his or her country and culture and enter the universal, civilizing culture of ideas.


Essentially, Smith was rejecting the inspiration and sources of artistic energy that moved the Confederation Poets and the Group of Seven painters, suggesting that only poets whose minds had been colonized by artists from one or other of the imperial English-speaking countries could produce poetry of real excellence and relevance. With F.R. Scott, poet and, later, constitutional lawyer, teacher and theorist, Smith began The McGill Fortnightly Review in 1925 to publish modernist poetry and criticism in Canada. Scott was also a leading thinker and writer on the Social Democratic left in Canada, one of the people to help found – and formulate the founding document of – the CCF. (The Cooperative Commonwealth Federation was founded in Calgary in 1932.) In 1961 it was transformed at a founding convention which replaced it with The New Democratic Party [NDP].


Unlike modernist poets elsewhere many of the Canadian modernists, as L.T.R. Mcdonald has pointed out, were politically engaged on the Left – as F.R. Scott was. Scott satirized the fading British Empire and its imperialists. But – significantly – he never acknowledged the presence of U.S. imperialism in Canadian life except to show approval of it. That may be a result of his friendship with Smith and others of like mind. But it may also be his own position and even, perhaps, a marker of Social Democratic thought in Canada in those years, thought that often tended to see the old Imperial power as used up and a bit ridiculous and the new Imperial power as a liberator and a bastion of freedom.


Treatment of F.R. Scott by historians reveals the confusion often present in their thought. Scott was anti-British Imperialism. He was not anti-U.S. Imperialism, and in one satirical poem depicts with approval a young U.S. girl (not a Canadian) shooting a hole through British Imperial rhetoric. Historians in Canada frequently name people nationalists who reject British imperialism and embrace U.S. imperialism, on the basis of their anti-British stance.


J.L. Granatstein and Norman Hillmer call Scott a nationalist. That designation is questionable. In the mid-1960s, the Liberal government of Lester Pearson attempted to respond to the overwhelming presence of U.S. publications in Canada and the public pressure for something to be done so that Canadian periodicals could exist and have an assured life. Granatstein and Hillmer (almost always propagandists for U.S. power in Canada) refer to what they believe was “the naïveté of the cultural Canada Firsters”, and they quote a satirical poem by F.R. Scott, entitled  “The Call of the Wild.”  Scott was playing with a poem of Bliss Carman’s entitled  “Spring Song.”


Scott paints the Canadians concerned about cultural identity as ignoramuses:  “Make me over, Mother Nature/Take the knowledge from my eyes” … He continues:


Clear away all evil influence/That can hurt me from the States/Keep me pure among the beaver/With un-Freudian loves and hates, Where my Conrads are not Aiken/Where John Bishop’s Peales don’t sound/Where the Ransoms are not Crowing/And the Ezras do not Pound.

One of F.R. Scott’s most famous poems is his satirical poem ridiculing the colonial-mindedness of members of the Canadian Authors Association entitled  “The Canadian Authors Meet”  in which the authors sit under a portrait of the Prince of Wales. In the early 1970s I wrote a poem modelled on his, about colonial-mindedness of the members of The League of Canadian Poets (a recent creation) depicted seated under a portrait of John F. Kennedy. I had the poem printed on card paper, dedicated it to F.R. Scott and sent him a copy. He did not acknowledge it. A few months later he was at a reception after having given a reading in Ottawa. I was invited to the reception at which the host took me to F.R. Scott and made introductions. Scott obviously did not approve of my work, publicly reported, to have Canadians of excellence hired fairly in universities and other cultural institutions (which would, of course, force a cut-back on U.S. hirings).  F.R. Scott looked at me and said, when the host said my name: “Not the Robin Mathews.” I smiled and replied:  “Surely not the F.R. Scott.”  He relaxed a little. I brought up our two satirical poems about writer groups, and I mentioned that he had not acknowledged the poem I wrote in imitation of his, dedicated to him, and sent him.  “Everything you say in that poem is true,” Scott said.   “Everything.”


He was a man covetous of his reputation in his lifetime and after it as well, for he assiduously culled and prepared his papers for archives before his death. I believe he didn’t acknowledge the poem I sent him because he didn’t want – on the historical record – a correspondence between us that might be preserved, containing any evidence that he approved of a criticism of the new colonial-mindedness among Canadians – which implied a criticism of the U.S.A. Perhaps with Granatstein and Hillmer he thought of me as revealing  “naiveté of the cultural Canada Firsters.”  All is not clear in the incident because the politics in the Canadian literary community are as complicated and dense as the politics in any other area of Canadian life.



The feeling on the Social Democratic Left which expressed admiration for the apparently principled energy of the U.S.A. and the worn-out mustiness of Britain influenced thought and action towards a colonial mentality in Canada. The same is true for the attitudes of the Communist Party of Canada. Taking its direction – very really – from Moscow and the Party in New York, the Communist Party of Canada [CPC] was often anti-nationalist, anti – that is to say – moves to liberate Canadians and to give them power in their own society. As late as the early 1970s both the CPC and the NDP at their executive levels fought against independent Canadian unionism and fair programs to hire Canadians into educational and other cultural positions. In his 1975 speech as the new leader of the NDP Ed Broadbent spoke with greatest fervor when defending U.S. unionism in Canada.



When James A. Steele and I found from research that the alienation of the universities from the Canadian population had gained such a high level that eighty per cent of hirings to Canadian universities in 1970 came from outside Canada – mainly from the U.S. and Britain – and that highly qualified Canadians, both at home and abroad, were being rejected for posts in Canada, we tried to have the information introduced in Parliament by the NDP, but were unsuccessful. A U.S. citizen assistant to then leader Tommy Douglas did all she could – as I interpreted her actions – to prevent Mr. Douglas from getting the information. The first question asked about the matter in the House of Commons was asked by the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party, Robert Stanfield. And the first mention of the subject in a public speech by a leading politician was made by Robert Stanfield.


At an NDP constituency meeting in Ottawa about that time, I asked Cliff Scotton, national secretary of the NDP, why the Party would not take up the issue of rights for excellent young Canadians in Canada. Turning to the meeting, Scotton asked if it was the task of the NDP to take up Robin Mathews’  “private hobby horse.”  A woman rose near the back of the room and said in a loud voice:  “Thank Christ for Robin Mathews”.

 
The native/cosmopolitan argument begun by A.J.M. Smith was taken up by John Sutherland, editor of First Statement (1943-5) and Northern Review, which first began publication in 1946. Sutherland championed Canadian literature and insisted on the relevance of writing that found its structure, inspiration, and subject matter without influence from outside the borders. Unfortunately, dogged by ill-health all his life, Sutherland died in 1956 at the age of thirty-seven. That battle simmered on until 1960, though the major English-language poets – poets like Earle Birney, Dorothy Livesay, E.J. Pratt, A.M. Klein, Al Purdy, Miriam Waddington, Milton Acorn, and Irving Layton were naturally and unpretentiously writers who found their inspiration, technique, and subject matter at home. With the decade beginning in 1960 the argument exploded again – this time with an insistence by some upon the priority and supremacy of U.S. poets.  



 Economic, Politics, War, and Cold War
(Pages 50-57)

 In the national policy-making rooms of Canada, A.J.M. Smith’s 1943 anthology of Canadian poetry did not register – though its general tendency was not wholly absent perhaps.That is because the opening months of the Second World War (1939) threw Canada and the United States into close discussion about the war in Europe and the threats to their own territories. A tendency to genuflect to the U.S.A. may have been present because the superiority of the U.S. – at least in power – was thrust before Canadians daily. What the U.S. did about going to war, and in the war, was of importance to every Canadian … and to all Europeans. The U.S. profile in Canada had to be, and was, very high.
As happens repeatedly in Canada the hugeness of U.S. presence in Canadian life and media affected public opinion during the war. In 1943, the year in which the turn in fortune of the allies seemed to assure an eventual victory against the enemy, The Canadian Institute of Public Opinion poll found  “that 49 percent wanted Canada to stay part of the Commonwealth after the war, twenty-one percent to join the United States, and twenty-four percent to become totally independent.”


The power and populousness of the U.S.A. – always in history possessing ten times the population of Canada – and the U.S. determination to imperialize the world have always attracted loyalty from some Canadians. They become the A.J.M. Smiths of our history, preaching to fellow Canadians the innate inferiority of Canada and Canadians and the need to mimic foreign cultures, especially that of the U.S.A. Or they become the Goldwin Smiths of the country, advocating outright annexation.


Looking backward, it seems impossible that both the U.S. and Canada could have seriously considered the events in Europe a threat to themselves. But the Nazi forces sped across Europe, and when France fell to the invasion in June of 1940, Britain began the time it stood alone – all Europe that mattered having been conquered … and with such rapidity the heads of leaders everywhere were set spinning. Nor was their fear a mere fantasy. President Roosevelt of the U.S.A. thought about Britain being invaded and surrendering – a not impossible future. What would happen to the British navy? Would it fall into the hands of the Nazis – and then be used with Germany’s might against the North American continent? Roosevelt wanted the British fleet to sail to North America rather than to be surrendered, and he asked Canadian prime minister Mackenzie King to sound out the British. Very soon Churchill spoke to the British parliament, assuring it that “our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle … ”


He admitted in a private note to King that he couldn’t know or control what a successor government set up by the Nazis might do. In all likelihood Churchill would not face the possibility before him, would not give it even planning legitimacy. He could have set to work instructing the Admiralty about the disposition of the fleet in such an eventuality. Perhaps he did. But always a British imperialist, Churchill probably couldn’t bring himself to think about the biggest gem in the Crown of British power – the fleet – sailing off to the U.S.A., the country he had recognized for some years was Britain’s imperial competitor for dominant power in the world.


It was in that aura of threatening calamity that Canadian government had to think about the unthinkable … unthinkable until that time: the idea of what would in fact be a military alliance with the U.S.A. to ride out the war years. The idea couldn’t be dismissed – and the U.S.A. – wanting perennially to control Canada’s wealth by physical absorption of the country or by strangling treaties, contacted (through its president Franklin Delano Roosevelt) Canada’s MacKenzie King in August of 1940 to suggest a meeting the next day in the little town of Ogdensburg just across the Canadian line in the U.S.
For some years leading to the Ogdensburg meeting Roosevelt had been concerned about the apparent failure of Canada to have built defenses against possible attack on the West and East coasts. He had travelled both coasts and had brought the matter up with King. Canada responded mildly to what the U.S. felt were needs to protect its territory – too mildly, evoking comments of warm friendship from Roosevelt and his determination to defend Canada if need be.



Out of their meeting came a Joint Board on Defence, and at the instancing of the U.S. president it was to be a Permanent Joint Board on Defence. Permanent? Who can say what grand designs president Roosevelt had? Certainly Britain’s prime minister Winston Churchill didn’t like what he saw. What he saw was Canada falling, not slipping, into the orbit of the growing U.S. Empire. Churchill may have been distressed at the loss of influence over Canada by the British Empire – which was a sacred entity to him. To Canadians the matter is very much more simple. Moving toward genuine independence over long centuries, Canada achieved its goal – by holding off U.S. expansionist ambitions and actions, and by slow negotiation with the British. That full, formal independence came only eight years before the outbreak of the Second World War.



When negotiations, after the Ogdensburg meeting, were underway to flesh out forms of co-operation in a Basic Defence Plan, the U.S. wanted de facto control of Canadian forces if the British were defeated. And to its shame, Canada agreed. A year later the U.S. asked that parts of Canada simply be placed under U.S. command in emergency. Canada refused, recoiling from the incursions upon its sovereignty. But Canada did allow the U.S. in to build the Alaska Highway through Canadian territory under the pretext of defence needs when Japan entered the war on the side of Nazi Germany. The U.S. moved into Canada to build airstrips, weather stations, and an oil pipeline as well – and almost always with hardly a sense they were in a foreign country.



It took the new British High Commissioner to Canada on a tour of the North to report to Ottawa that the U.S. people working there were more than careless with their status as guests in the country. Malcolm MacDonald was visibly alarmed – and conveyed his alarm to Canadian authorities. Donald Creighton, one of Canada’s distinguished historians, has called it  “an armed occupation of the Canadian North by American forces, virtually uncontrolled by the Canadian government.”  The result was that a Canadian general was appointed to be present in the North and to remind the U.S. visitors that they were not in part of the U.S.A.


All those facts piled on one another don’t reveal the new movement of economic exchange that grew naturally through the war. With Britain trading almost nothing, with Europe in tatters, trade between Canada and the U.S. had to grow – especially since they made agreements about sharing in weapons production and were adding production because of the condition of Europe. When, after the war, in 1952, the U.S. Senate examined that country’s needs into the future to maintain U.S. power, it found a number of key materials necessary to its operation were in Canada. As Erastus Wiman, major public advocate for Commercial Union in the 1880s, said in his address to the Canadian Club of New York in 1886:  “in a certain sense, Canada is a treasure-house from which can be drawn the commodities the United States need most, and which can be made in the highest degree contributory to her progress.”


Through all the negotiations about and with Britain, and with Canada – in everything that involved the Second World War – the U.S. was quietly and calmly moving itself into the position of the dominant imperial power in the world. To maintain that position, the U.S. needed and needs – now more than ever – the natural resource wealth of Canada. 

President Roosevelt’s desire for a  “Permanent”  Joint Board on Defence expanded over the years – and well after the war. The creation of the Soviet Union into a monster and bugbear was made to order for the U.S. – the expanding imperial power of  the free world.”  It is probably impossible for any Canadian to view the Soviet Union with any kind of reasonable perspective. Propaganda was and is still so consistently derogatory that brainwash has succeeded. In that regard a single fact must be faced. Whatever brutalities either power – the USSR and the USA – engaged in, whatever great and noble actions they undertook, they could not make genuine peace between them.


Since the U.S. won the competition between the two, the explanation can be put in the perspective of the U.S. victory. Capitalism is ruthless – and more ruthless the less it is regulated and supervised, as the financial meltdown of 2008 and following reveals. As supervision and regulation were stripped from U.S. private corporations and financial institutions, they moved quickly into community destroying activities which are morally criminal even if they have not been named criminal by court actions taken against the perpetrators.



U.S. capitalism, the major upholder of the market economy, of unregulated private Corporate activity, and State/Corporate integration – neo-liberalism – could not rest with a major Socialist, command-economy operating in the world, even one run by a dictator who had probably lost his sanity…even after Stalin was gone. One or other system had to be destroyed – as far as the U.S. powers saw history. Capitalism could not rest until it was the only economic system operating in the world. The Cold War was not conducted as a result of the brutality of the Soviet system or because the Soviet Union wanted to conquer the world. It was conducted because even the existence of a relatively unsuccessful so-called Socialist system in the world was a living criticism of the failings, the manipulations, the injustices, the criminalities of the Capitalist system – of neo-liberal economic functioning, however immature and whatever name was given to the functioning at the time.


When the Soviet Union was destroyed, Capitalism became more ruthless and conscienceless because its major ideological critic and antagonist was wiped out. Prince Charles was insightful enough to say at the time of the fall of the Soviet Union that he regretted the change, believing the two forces formed a useful balance. Whatever political philosophy, whatever political loyalties one holds, there can be no doubt that the Second World War, followed immediately by The Cold War, concentrated such attention on and gave such centrality and power to the U.S.A. – to its wants, its (apparent) needs, its aspirations – that Canada would have had to fight very hard to hold off the incursions – on every level – of U.S. interests.


The reason Canada didn’t fight as hard as it could have done might be put down to what we could call “the Goldwin Smith factor” in Canada. That is the tendency to sell-out Canada by a self-appointed, usually wealthy elite. That self-appointed elite may desire the outright annexation of Canada by the U.S.A., as Goldwin Smith did. It may desire only economic integration from which the elite can profit. Whatever the intensity of its alienation from Canada, the elite acts through research institutes, grants to universities, unending media propaganda, purchase of political parties, the continentalization of sports and culture – all – in order to condition the Canadian population not only to accept U.S. culture and interests, but also – willingly – to give away Canadian riches and to assure that the population of Canada will be poorer in the short and long terms and will be unable to work in the world for greater general peace and security.



Almost no one talks about the fact that when the U.S. made the atomic bomb, it kept everything about it secret from its wartime ally the USSR. Nor does anyone writing for Canadians talk about the even more astounding fact that when the British broke the unbreakable Nazi  “Enigma”  military code, it was slowly released to the U.S. ally but was never given to the Russians. As a result Russian soldiers and civilians went to their deaths in untold numbers because information about Nazi movements in Russia, known by the other allies, was not given to the Russians.


What is talked about by the media, historians, and literate commentators elsewhere is that in September of 1945 a cipher clerk from the U.S. embassy in Ottawa defected and reported that Russia was running spy rings in Canada. That more or less normal fact – doubtless paralleled by many other countries and especially by the U.S.A. worldwide – was treated as the most dirtiest of betrayals by a so-called ally. The Soviet Union clearly wanted to become master of the world. Drums were beaten. Loudly, public investigations ensued. And in 1946 in the little town of Fulton, Missouri, Winston Churchill – the master orator – declared  “the United States stands at the pinnacle of world power … ” Churchill went on:  “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe.”  He said a little later in his speech:  “Except in the British Commonwealth and in the United States where Communism is in its infancy, the Communist parties or fifth columns constitute a growing challenge and peril to Christian civilization.”


As part of the necessity to stand together against the new terror facing  Christian civilization”  Churchill cited Canada’s relation with the U.S.A. A few years earlier he expressed fear that Canada was falling into the U.S. hands, but on the Missouri occasion he chose to praise the fact that the  “United States has already a Permanent Defense Agreement with the Dominion of Canada …"


 Churchill’s speech in the little town of Fulton, Missouri has been taken by the world to be the announcement of The Cold War – the more than forty years of tense contest between the United States and the Soviet Union for global supremacy. The result was that an even more pressing need had, apparently, emerged for all of the  “free world”  to support the policies and ideas of the United States. And for Canada, especially – lying between the U.S. and Russia – there was a pressing need for it to open itself to any request made by the U.S. for economic sharing, for military cooperation, for unbroken solidarity in propaganda about the threat the Red Menace posed to freedom-loving people everywhere on the globe. As the confrontations of the Cold War proceeded, Canada, incidentally, was absorbed more and more into rule by the U.S.A. The confrontations of the Cold War lasted from 1946 until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989.


 The Diefenbaker Quandary. Liberal Dissension, Culture. Economics. Colonialism
(Pages 58-72)



The centennial anniversary of Confederation and the Centennial Celebrations in Canada ignited an enthusiasm for the country among a very large part of the population. Those events seemed to ignite, as well, a determination by a wide number to gain or retrieve independence that had been lost to, or blocked by colonialist forces. The idea that Canada had gone from colony (of Britain) … to colony (of the U.S.A) was widespread. Younger Canadians became more and more determined to gain real independence for the country.
Until 1967 things had continued as before. Having built the Alaska Highway through Canada, the U.S. – beating the drums of the Cold War – wanted Canada to lodge Bomarc anti-aircraft missiles on its soil, apparently as a part of the (often contested) North American Air Defence agreement of 1957. Fifty-six of the missiles were being prepared for at North Bay, Ontario and La Macaza, Quebec by 1962. When Canadians realized the missiles were to be fitted with nuclear warheads and their use was to be determined by the commander-in-chief of NORAD – never a Canadian – a public dispute arose, and the Diefenbaker government delayed the decision to install nuclear-armed missiles. There was additional good reason – with the on-coming development of intercontinental ballistic missiles – to delay and perhaps end the idea of using the Bomarcs at all.

John Diefenbaker, who became Canada’s prime minister in 1957, formed excellent relations with U.S. president Eisenhower, and was not willing to be pushed by the new flashy president, John F. Kennedy, into accepting that nuclear weaponry would be used by Canada. Their differences over that issue and the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 led in 1963 to Lester B. Pearson changing the Liberal position on nuclear weapons and to embracing the U.S. wishes. In addition, it led to General Norstad, retiring head of NATO, coming to Ottawa and interfering on behalf of the wishes of the U.S. – offered as what NATO wanted done. The negotiations about the Bomarc were NORAD negotiations, but the head of NATO felt perfectly at ease speaking in Ottawa on behalf of the U.S. In the midst of the Bomarc tangle, the Cuban Missile Crisis erupted in October, 1962. Quite simply, the Russians were intending to place ballistic missiles in Cuba. The U.S. had not only placed air bases in countries bordering on Russia. It had also, as early has 1958, placed missiles in England, Italy, and Turkey – all in range of Moscow. When the U.S. discovered the intention of Cuba and Russia, they announced a naval blockade of the island … and perhaps more. They considered their own heavily armed air forces placed near Russia and their missiles in range of its capital perfectly reasonable, but the idea of Russian missiles in a country bordering on the U.S.A. was an outrage. The U.S. went on high alert and asked the Canadian government to move its military forces to high alert status. Diefenbaker hesitated.

He did so because he wasn’t sure the politics being played out by John F. Kennedy were the correct ones. But he also did so because he had been led by the chair of the military Chiefs of Staff committee General Charles Foulkes – working with his friend and old colleague George Pearkes – to sign the NORAD agreement almost upon taking office in 1957 without being fully informed of its implications. Foulkes had apparently promised Washington he would get the agreement approved in Canada before the election that placed John G. Diefenbaker in power. An advocate of close military relations between Canada and the United States, Foulkes wanted the NORAD agreement to be ratified. We will probably never know if Diefenbaker was purposefully misled.

When the Cuban Missile Crisis erupted, the NORAD agreement, apparently, provided for the high alert process. That process was tantamount to the Canadian military receiving its orders from the U.S.A. Diefenbaker, naturally, bridled at the idea. That he was proved correct in arguing that the U.S./Russian disagreement would not come to conflict has never been properly acknowledged. When he bridled, Diefenbaker delayed. That infuriated his minister of defence, Douglas Harkness. In cabinet it was argued that to do as the U.S. asked would be to declare Canada’s subservience forever. Diefenbaker reiterated his belief in waiting. And so no decision was made. He had assured the U.S. ambassador that Canada would honour all its obligations if an attack on the U.S. was made. As we know now it never was made. Douglas Harkness, Canada’s minister of defence, went behind the backs of cabinet and ordered the Canadian military to adopt the level of alert the U.S. wanted, an act for which he was never punished. It could fairly be described as an act of treason.
Harkness was not alone. According to Norman Hillmer and J.L. Granatstein in their book Empire to Umpire, Admiral Kenneth Dyer, without political direction, cancelled leave of seaman on the East Coast  “and put all … ships to sea … Dyer acted on his own initiative.”  Hillmer and Granatstein continue:

In countless NATO exercises over the years he had formed a relationship with his U.S. commanders that was so close and so trusting, and his assessment of the Soviet threat was so fearful, that he felt compelled to put to sea to assist an ally.

Admiral Kenneth Dyer’s actions could also be described fairly as treason. To enter a condition of urgent preparedness for war on behalf of another country without an order from the elected government of his own country is, almost without question, a treasonable act – especially on the part of one of the country’s highest military officers. But in a country cursed with a colonial mentality, actions on behalf of the Imperial Master are often valued more highly than actions revealing loyalty to one’s own country – the subservient colonial land. If loyalty to the Foreign Master is greater than loyalty to one’s own people, where can be the treason? The Honourable Douglas Harkness and Admiral Kenneth Dyer would probably ask that question if they were on earth to ask it.

Following upon the Bomarc arguments and the Cuban Missile Crisis, Canada went to election in 1963. All the colonialist forces were against the Diefenbaker government, and the Liberals had reversed their position on nuclear weapons in Canada to isolate the Progressive Conservatives even more. To assist the Liberals in the election, the U.S. State Department issued a press release which was, in effect, an attack on Diefenbaker, and it made public other information to undercut his position. Realizing his straits, Diefenbaker conducted an election campaign rarely seen in Canada. In the face of the combined forces of the U.S.A., the corporate class, the Liberal Party of Canada, and the New Democratic Party, which joined in the motion of non-confidence that brought the country to election, Diefenbaker won ninety-five seats. Joined with the minority parties’ forty-one seat showing, the Pearson Liberals were denied a majority.
Nonetheless, U.S. Ambassador Butterworth in Ottawa wrote a private letter – which in the light of events that have followed in Canada is fraught with implication. In the letter he said, as reported in For Better or Worse, that

Canada’s place in the world and on the continent were at the core of the election, and that place has been resolved for the present and the immediate future. ‘At any rate [Butterworth wrote] the outcome holds salutary lessons which will not be overlooked by future aspirants to political office in Canada.’

Ambassador Butterworth was saying that Canadians should know now that none of them can gain public office in Canada if disapproved of by the U.S.A. That is the statement of an imperialist who believes his country controls everything of importance in the colony.
Because, however, of the unpredictability of life in colonies, the accession to power of the Pearson Liberals in 1963 provided some surprises. Walter Gordon, and others, suggest that Lester B. Pearson may have received “encouragement” when in New York in 1963 to change, unilaterally, the Liberal Party’s stand on nuclear weapons. Pearson did so a few days later in a speech in Canada. The Liberals had chummed up to the Kennedy administration and had been supported openly by U.S. people in the 1963 election. But very soon after the election an attempt was made to rein in U.S. influence.

A first major surprise was the work of Walter Gordon, finance minister in 1963, who held on doggedly until his death in the 1980s with work to fashion greater independence for Canada. In his first budget he may have provided the explosion that began the concerted effort, over the next twenty-five years, to gain real independence for Canada and Canadians. His budget, specifically aimed at increasing Canadian ownership and control of the Canadian economy, was attacked, scorned, and threatened into being re-written.
But we must go back – back to the early post-Second World War years when the see-saw of those wanting Canada in U.S. hands and those fighting against that situation was in full play. In 1951 The Massey Report, as it was called, was made public. The Royal Commission on National Development in the Arts, Letters and Sciences was struck in 1949 by prime minister Louis St. Laurent. There were five commissioners headed by the man who would become Canada’s first Canadian-born governor general, Vincent Massey.
Whatever may be the final judgement of the Report, it was significant in the creation of the Canada Council, of the National Library of Canada, of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation [CBC] Television, and of a host of other developments. One of the most important was the program of granting in the Arts which increased Canadian publishing, encouraged Canadian research, and gave a measure of financial freedom to creative people in a degree never before realized. Basing its argument on Canada’s small population at that time, the vast distances of the country, and the huge influx of U.S. cultural influence, the commissioners advocated State funding of the Arts – as was already common practice across Europe and in Great Britain.

Much has been made by the enemies of the Massey Report that it wanted to keep out U.S. “popular culture” and represented an elite group that only wanted  “high culture”  to be granted room in the country. Significantly, the commissioners recognized that almost all public, travelling, classical music and concertizing artists appearing in Canada came from the U.S.A. They wanted changes made so that Canadians working in those areas could develop and live successful lives in their own country.

In addition, U.S. popular culture, too, dominated Canadian life. Indeed, it was not until the early 1970s that the Pierre Juneau Canadian Radio and Television Commission [CRTC] rulings demanded quota radio-time broadcast of Canadian musicians as well as Canadian content in TV broadcasting. The result has been that Canadian popular musicians have not only succeeded in Canada. A significant number have become major international artists for the first time.

As might be expected attacks began on the Massey Report with its publication. One of the first out of the gate was a well-known controversialist liberal, Frank Underhill. Wikipedia describes him as  “a liberal continentalist”,  Quebec History describes him as  “an admirer of American civilization and an ardent cold warrior.”  Underhill scoffed at the goals of the commissioners, saying that Canada couldn’t get enough of U.S. influence. Over the decades, little Frank Underhills have proliferated. Their tack has been to call Vincent Massey an elitist who disliked ordinary people. Hundreds of submissions were made to the Massey Commission from ordinary people and their organizations – eager to have many of the things the Commission was to recommend. Almost all of the submissions were considered in meetings across Canada. In the face of those facts, a teacher of Canadian Studies at the University of Calgary reports in his computer course outline that the commissioners travelled across Canada  “trying to generate public interest in the arts.”  Robert Fulford, for decades a reactionary journalist in Canada, criticized the (inevitable) focus on U.S. cultural expansionism.

In 1990 University of Toronto Press published University of Toronto historian Paul Rutherford’s more than 600 page book entitled When Television Was Young: Primetime Canada 1952-1967. Of the Massey Commission he writes:  “The intelligentsia had taken up the task of civilizing Canada” (p. 14). The Commission was made up of Massey, he reports, and “three academics (plus one lonely engineer) – the ivory tower was in charge.” The fake populism of the Massey Report critics is amusing, since most of them – of course – were the kind of highly literate and well-placed members of the intelligentsia who might just have been appointed to such a Commission themselves.

    The critics of the Massey Commission, in fact, raise every kind of false issue in order to condemn its work. Rutherford is just one example. As if he is discovering something daringly new and obviously suspect, he reports that writers, painters, musicians and others had formed national organizations! Then – slyly obviously and desiring to hoodwink parliamentarians – they appeared before a parliamentary committee and suggested government action on behalf of culture. When the Commission was formed  “that leading sophisticate Vincent Massey”  was made Chair. (pp. 13-14)

Perhaps it is impossible to get a straight-forward, unemotional, unprejudiced, balanced assessment of the Massey Royal Commission. That is because Canadians who think about the matter are either in favour of U.S. takeover of the culture or they disapprove of that happening. When they are among the former, their position, which is usually more or less disguised, leaks into their writing – as it does with Underhill, Fulford, Rutherford, Paul Litt and a host of others. No one, however, denies the force of the Massey Report and its effects on the possibility of cultural work in Canada.

As if in strange answer to it, just a year later, a Report was delivered to U.S. president Harry Truman called The Paley Report or Resources for Freedom. That Report identified twenty-two key natural resources the U.S. required from foreign nations in order to maintain its imperial dominance in the world. Thirteen of the twenty-two – more than half the number – were named to be in Canada: aluminum, asbestos, cobalt, copper, iron, lead, natural gas, newsprint, nickel, petroleum, sulphur, titanium, and zinc. Uranium – so soon after the atomic bombs had been dropped on Japan by the U.S. – was listed as a possible strategic staple, available in Canada. The discussion in the Paley Report about how the natural resources would be made available to the U.S. moved toward a preference for free trade. In all the negotiations three decades later – and after – about free trade between Canada and the U.S., the primary U.S. goal has been to get access to Canadian natural resources without limit and without Canada being able – at any time – to cut off U.S. access, or to limit it. A goal almost as urgent for the U.S. has been to treat Canadian culture in such a way as to make it erasable on behalf of U.S. profit-seeking and propaganda for U.S. dominance.
Culture has been fought over as vehemently as any other aspect of Canada/U.S. free trade. Where – the question is still asked – does culture fit in a free trade world? The U.S. consistently pretends culture is simply another commodity for export and for profit making. It argues that U.S. culture should in no way be impeded from Canada, and Canadian culture should be in no way assisted to exist and to give expression to Canadian ideas, interests, concerns. Canada tries to insist (as the French of France vehemently do) that culture is something very different from a marketable commodity. All the while, Canada counts in its own ranks the Frank Underhills who are open (as he was) or disguised continentalists. They are people in the ancestral line of Goldwin Smith who believe Canada’s destiny is to be part of the U.S.A. and any moves to assure the expression of Canadians and their culture is false, forced, artificial, foolish.

Those arguments take us back even farther to the founding of the CBC in the 1930s. At that time the U.S. wanted no truly independent broadcasting system in Canada, but a spur line, so to speak, from their major railway of ideas. Already U.S. radio broadcasting was dominant in Canada, and radio was just beginning to be organized and developed for mass communication.  Concerned about the possibilities of its development the W.L. Mackenzie King Liberal Canadian government set up a Commission to examine all the aspects. It recommended in 1929 what would become the CBC/Radio Canada, a national broadcaster to serve Canadian needs. The crash of 1929 intervened and it was not until 1936 that the R.B. Bennett Conservative government launched what we know now as  “the CBC.”
During the debates and discussions about a national broadcaster and whether U.S. broadcasting should be restricted in Canada, a key phrase was created by one of the most powerful advocates of Canadian broadcasting, Graham Spry. He argued that, in broadcasting, Canadians would have  “the [Canadian] State or the United States.”  That has been, in fact, a major argument through Canadian history. The arguments in the 1880s for and against Commercial Union were arguments, in fact, about whether the U.S. would be granted unimpeded power over Canadian wealth.
Because of the huge territory occupied by Canadians, because of Canada’s limited population, because of its immense raw material riches – and because of the proximity of the U.S.A. – always ten times greater in population – Canada’s control of its own wealth has always been in question. The U.S. has always tended towards political, economic, and cultural expansionism … into Canada. And so one of the ways to keep Canadian wealth (of all kinds) in Canadian hands has been public ownership. That means ownership by the Canadian people rather than by a small group of private corporate entrepreneurs (which in Canada’s case are very frequently bought out by U.S. interests whenever they become profitable). Because the U.S. has been – from its beginning – a free enterprise (private enterprise) society believing in the sanctity of private corporations, it has fought Canada’s tendency to preserve Canadian ownership through public enterprise.

In 1974 – as the push for U.S. ownership of Canadian wealth was growing and as the resistance to that move had grown in power – Herschel Hardin published an important book, A Nation Unaware, in which he argued that primary and identifying characteristics of Canada are (a) the use of public enterprise and (b) interregional redistribution made possible by Canada’s federalism. Hardin’s argument has been battered and bruised by continentalists from the first hour of its publication. In 2011, on   “the net”  an article on the CBC appeared by someone called Max West, very probably the pseudonym of someone who didn’t want his or her real name known. The argument of  “Max West” was that the subtle and dirty intention in the creation of CBC was  One Big Nation, one Big Government, and one Big Broadcaster.”  West’s sloganeering is in keeping with the present arguments of the neo-liberals who pretend that any move to protect Canadian wealth by public ownership is a desire for a fascist state. And so, they argue,  Canadian wealth must be placed in the hands of private owners. It is a totally false argument but it is repeated tirelessly by the neo-liberal lobby in Canada, and is supported by the Stephen Harper government in Ottawa.

The see-saw of forces fighting for Canada in the 1950s was open and public.  It was not only  represented by the Canadian Massey Commission and the U.S. Paley Report. In Canada the creation of the North American Air Defence Agreement (1957) and the (Walter Gordon) Royal Commission on Canada’s Economic Prospects (1955-1957) were, in fact, in direct opposition, though apparently unrelated matters – and they received loud public airing.  The creation of NORAD, already referred to, placed headquarters for North American air defense in Colorado Springs, Colorado, under a chief officer who is always a U.S. officer. The arrangement is referred to, nevertheless, as a joint command. The slender control Canada has on the set-up is maintained by the rule that joint agreement must be reached before formal alerts may be called for or action may be taken. When John Diefenbaker refused to agree that the so-called Cuban Missile Crisis (1962) demanded Canadian forces place themselves immediately on highest alert under U.S. command, U.S. government was furious. But NORAD has not been discontinued; in fact, over the years it has been increasingly elaborated. That has been done – among other reasons – to assure that Canada cannot initiate any major defence policies without at least the full knowledge of the U.S.A.

The purpose of the Royal Commission on Canada’s Economic Prospects (1956, 1957) was undertaken, in fact, to examine more fully than before the state of the Canadian economy and to make recommendations to assure its independence. All such undertakings faced (and face) stock, rigid and frozen economic responses. The star-strewn list of participants in the Royal Commission’s work were stars in a single galaxy – one that was rigidly formed of classical economists who were the great grandchildren of Adam Smith and his followers. Even when they didn’t know it.
Many of the questions Walter Gordon posed to the participants were questions of real worth.   “Should we do more processing of our natural resources at home? … What are the implications of large-scale foreign investment in Canada? … How far is Canadian enterprise likely to be owned and controlled by the United States and what are its implications? … What measures might be taken to reduce the dependence of Canadian industry on United States research facilities?”    Before the final Report was issued, Walter Gordon issued a preliminary Report (1956) that was dogged with criticism and attack (even by the members of the Commission who said the preliminary Report didn’t mirror the work done by the commissioners). It was attacked on all sides by thoughtful dissenters and rigid neo-liberals.

But it had effect – as most of the work Walter Gordon undertook himself or initiated always did. The whole, real question of the meaning of foreign (read U.S.) ownership and participation in the Canadian economy was opened to public consideration. The public got the message that – for some reason – government wasn’t looking after the interests of Canadians … and wouldn’t explain why. Young academics began to break away a little from the classical catechism in economics and to ask questions about national stability and independence.

In Defence, Canada was linking itself ever-closer to the U.S.A. But in the public realm and in relation to the economics of Canada questions were being raised that would not go away … ever. To add to those developments, the Progressive Conservative government of John Diefenbaker took power in 1957. Hustled (he believed) into signing the NORAD agreement without full explanation of its implications, Diefenbaker expressed very mixed but critical feelings towards partnership with the U.S.A. His uncertain feelings, however confused, communicated to the Canadian public. His criticism of U.S. railroading has been taken as an indication of a strong  anti-Americanism – probably quite falsely. When he was no longer leader and when he saw himself as a lonely fighter standing among his own party members in the House of Commons, I chatted (in the early 1970s) with his wife Olive Diefenbaker. She told me they were soon to go to the University of Texas where he was to receive an honorary degree, and she conveyed to me that both she and her husband were flattered by the honour.

Irascible, quick to show impatience, chronically unable to delegate authority, furious at U.S. treatment, John Diefenbaker was not an anti-American. He did not even reach for greater independence. He might have pushed through the end of NORAD if he had exploited the pressure by the U.S. on Canada and the almost incredible defections to the U.S.A. of Douglas Harkness and Admiral Kenneth Dyer during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Complex he was, and furious at the treatment he received at the hands of the John F. Kennedy group. But he didn’t hate the U.S., and he went happily in the early 1970s to receive an honorary degree in Texas.

The treatment of John Diefenbaker by historians, critics, and other commentators points to the successful indoctrination of Canadians. It is a commonplace – and it is one that is encouraged by almost all U.S. interests – that when someone like John Diefenbaker fights to maintain the sovereignty and independence of Canada, that person is immediately branded anti-American. And, for the people who use the term, there is almost no sin greater. One need only read the book Yankee Go Home? by the unstinting advocate for U.S. power in Canada, historian J.L. Granatstein. Calling himself, for the sake of humour, “a devout anti-American”,  Granatstein, we are told on the dust-jacket,  “ believes that so-called Canadian anti-Americanism is a tool of the economic and political elites bent on preserving their power.” That is a complete tipping over of the real situation. The shabbiness of such a position is immediately evident upon the most cursory examination. The implication is that Canadians don’t want independence and sovereign power over their own wealth. Canadians don’t want power to develop programs for the good of the people and policies to assure Canadian responsibility in the world. Those  “wants”  have to move against U.S. designs for Canada, and so are called  “anti-Americanism.”  The only people who want Canadian independence and sovereign power over the wealth of Canada, according to Granatstein, are  “the economic and political elites”  – the very people who are cooperating to establish U.S. domination of the country. His insistence on turning fact on its head at every turn makes the book an astonishing piece of propaganda for neo-liberalism in the country.  “Falsehood is truth. See, I’ve said it.”

The extraordinary thing about the book is that it might (with corrections) be called On Guard For Thee. With a slight turning of the author’s attitude the book could be a serious consideration of the forces that have kept the independence spirit alive in Canada. But Granatstein is an increasingly deft manipulator of what might be called continentalist propaganda. And so in the introduction to the book he ignores, for instance, the fact that the Commercial Union movement of the 1880s carried with it the stated intention by a number of its leaders to use Commercial Union as a basis for the annexation of Canada. But what do facts matter… ?

Granatstein (making sure he refers to John A. Macdonald’s drinking habits which are totally irrelevant to his argument) denies Macdonald any of the evidence that made that prime minister’s fight a real one. Generally, Granatstein appears to set out to turn history on its head in his  “Introduction.”  Silly, empty, baselessly annoyed Canadians, according to him, are and have been making fools of themselves all through our history. In the face of a mostly benign and generous U.S.A. those Canadians are sick. They either fear the might of the U.S.A. or they envy it … or both (p. 4). But – whatever – they cannot have any real basis for wanting to defend Canada against the U.S.
  

The Struggle Between Lester B. Pearson and Walter Gordon. Economics, Culture, and Survival. Part One.
(pages 73-92)



As Canada moved into the 1960s the tug-o-war became intensified between Canadians who wanted a sovereign, self-respecting, independent country and those who wanted to live in a servile colony. Two figures focussed the conflict. Walter Gordon, first finance minister of the Lester Pearson Liberal government of 1963, fought a tireless fight for economic independence. George Grant, the irascible Conservative philosopher, declared the death of Canada (out of a failure of political philosophy) in his 1965 book Lament for a Nation. They stood as very different beacons casting light onto possible paths to independence. Walter Gordon came to understand the centrality of  “culture” – the structure of resistance to indoctrination.  George Grant, perhaps, less so.

One was a business man, the other an academic philosopher. Arranged around them was an army of people – too numerous to name – who joined the battle for an independent Canada. The energy and organization they produced eventuated (between 1967 and 1972) in the creation of wholly new organizations. Not the least of the new creations was a long list of new publishers devoted to the publication of Canadian ideas (the battle for the culture). It is essential to note that by February of 2012, all major Canadian publishers had sold out or collapsed. The symbol of Canadian-oriented Canadian publishing was sold to U.S./German interests in early 2012. McClelland and Stewart was permitted by the Harper government to be taken over, though the Canada Investment Act provides the power for that government to have rejected the sale.


One of the most important publishing houses created at the time of the proliferation of publishing houses was Hurtig Publishers. Mel Hurtig, at the time an active Liberal and bookseller in Edmonton, turned to publishing for nearly two decades. He took up the struggle for independence as a writer, speaker and as a founder of the Council of Canadians in 1985. Almost uniquely, he has gone on publishing books on the sell-out of the country – books which provide a rich resource on the subject.

Other new organizations appeared from every direction. Listing some of them tells the story. The Committee for an Independent Canada, the Waffle Movement in the NDP, the Writers’ Union of Canada, the Canadian Liberation Movement, the National Farmers Union, The Confederation of Canadian Unions, the League of Canadian Poets, the Action Committee of The Status of Women, the Canadian Artists Registry, and the first shape of what was to become Telefilm Canada. Theatre companies came into being or flowered with new energy, shaping a voice in Canadian theatre not heard before. Among the earliest were George Luscombe’s Toronto Workshop Productions, Theatre Passe Muraille, Toronto Free Theatre, and Twenty-Fifth Street Theatre in Saskatoon. After them new theatre companies sprouted across Canada – concerned to consolidate Canadian theater.
In 1970, Pierre Juneau changed the musical history of Canada by insisting, as head of the Canadian Radio and Television Commission, upon Canadian Content regulations on radio and television. One visible result has been the creation of internationally successful Canadian musicians in the popular music sphere. Before the Juneau rulings, such Canadians had trouble being heard in Canada, let alone outside it. Their plight was plain evidence that private Canadian broadcasters wanted to use the airways for quick and high profits using mostly U.S. material rather than developing any meaningful Canadian broadcasting.

In the late 1970s, I was invited with a few others to Moses Znaimer’s City TV in Toronto. We were invited in order to be interviewed by the bumptious and confrontational host of “The Shulman File”,  Dr. Morton Shulman, former chief coroner of Ontario and former MLA in the Ontario legislature. The subject was to be organizations for independence and independence ideas. Dr. Shulman hosted us at a bizarre champagne breakfast before the show. Then, in the bare-bones studio, just before the cameras rolled to film our live show, Dr. Shulman informed us we would never have been on City TV, would never have been invited to the show – except that City TV needed to fill its Canadian Content quota. “That’s what you are”,  he said flatly,  “Canadian content.”  The remark was an intended insult by Dr. Shulman. But we were there to discuss an issue important to Canada, which we wouldn’t have been without the Canadian Content rules.

The cultural change going on in the country was paralleled by investigations into the effects of foreign ownership of the Canadian economy. The investigation by a number of Canadian economists into Foreign Ownership and the Construction of the Canadian Economy resulted in the Watkins Report in 1968. In 1970 the House of Commons Committee on External Affairs reported on the same subject in the Wahn Report, named after its chairman, Ian Wahn. And then in 1972 a parliamentary report on Foreign Direct Investment in Canada was popularly known as the Gray Report, named after its chairman Herb Gray, then minister of national revenue. The Trudeau government refused to release that Report – a clear sign of Trudeau’s position on foreign ownership of the Canadian economy - about which more, later. The first of the Reports, the Watkins Report, was the result of an investigation conducted by academic economists at the instancing of Walter Gordon who gained the support for it from prime minister Pearson – though others in the cabinet, like Mitchell Sharp and Robert Winters, did not want the work undertaken. That situation takes us back to the beginning of the 1960s and Walter Gordon’s determination to have action on the state of foreign (especially U.S.) ownership and control of the Canadian economy.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s U.S. (and other foreign) academics were streaming into Canadian universities, affecting – as we shall see – views of Canadian culture. The Vietnam War (1955-1975) was moving out of its  “U.S. advisors”  phase and toward the commitment of large numbers of U.S. troops. U.S. participation in the Canadian economy was growing. The U.S. film industry had a stranglehold on Canadian movie theatres. At the same time, the U.S. CIA, established in 1947, was expanding heavily into cultural activities internationally. Spending lavishly (behind the scenes) the CIA – in the 1950s and 1960s and after – placed its agents internationally in publishing houses and the film industry and in visual arts activities. At the peak of its influence, Frances Stornor Saunders tells us, it had influence in more than 800 magazines, newspapers, and public information organizations. Stonor tells us, for instance, that the “CIA’s clandestine books programme was run … with the following aims in mind:

Get books published or distributed abroad without revealing any U.S. influence, by covertly subsidizing foreign publications or booksellers … Get books published … regardless of commercial viability … Stimulate the writing of politically significant books by unknown foreign authors, if contact is feasible, or indirectly, through literary agents or publishers.”

More on this in the, later, CIA section.
Canadian publishers produced few Canadian titles at the time, serving as agents for U.S. and other foreign publishers’ books. When I began teaching Canadian literature in the late 1960s, I was glad I was also on cross-country speaking tours. That allowed me to haunt the Thrift Shops and second hand stores of Canada in order to buy out-of-print titles of major Canadian authors so that I could hand to my students important titles that were often not available otherwise. Jack McClelland of McClelland and Stewart publishers and Malcolm Ross of Queen’s University had begun, in 1958, the New Canadian Library soft-cover series to bring important Canadian fiction and poetry back into print. Even so, the list was short when I began teaching Canadian literature. The McClelland and Stewart/Malcolm Ross initiative was – in the cultural field – of first importance. It provided a basis of reading and study in the literature of Canada not previously available.  What’s more, its importance grew …  Nevertheless, even in the late 1960s, it was not possible to supply, for instance, all of the major works of novelist Frederick Philip Grove to students wanting them – without having a private library from which to supply some of the books.


The story of the New Canadian Library series must be seen from a larger perspective than its status at the time. It is now astonishing that as late as 1970 major works of major Canadian writers in literature and the social sciences – valuable to the educational system – would have been permitted to become unavailable. It is astonishing, as well, that major cultural spokespeople carped about their value – and that there should have been no solid, assured government guarantee that the works would be kept in print. All of those facts speak to the prevailing colonial-mindedness of Canadians who, it seems, were unaware they were being denied access to their own literary and social history. Existing on a 4000 mile border with the most powerful imperial nation in history, Canada took almost no care – as an aware community – to assure the works and history of its culture were present, available, and taught in the educational system. The work of getting Canada fully and fairly represented in Canadian educational institutions took a fierce battle – which hasn’t, by any means, been concluded. It took and will continue to take a fierce battle because many major cultural thinkers and actors in the country believe deeply that Canadian achievement at all levels is so inferior it is best ignored in favour of the achievement of other (especially imperial) countries.


The NCL (excellent) publishing adventure was locked in the politics of imperialism and colonialism. Seeing McClelland at a large Teach-In at Dalhousie University in the early 1970s, I suggested to him a two-volume Canadian poetry book for use in universities and colleges. I assured him I didn’t care who edited it, just as long as it was produced, for it was needed. He told me that Malcolm Ross managed such matters and he would have Malcolm contact me. Malcolm Ross never did, ever. And when, later, I was teaching a summer school in Nova Scotia, friends of Ross told me he had only unkind things to say about me, and was – in their words – my  “enemy.”

I puzzled about their words because I had only been in his company once for about fifteen minutes and had said practically nothing. Then when he retired in the 1980s, Maclean’s Magazine carried a short tribute to him for his work in Canadian culture. Thinking he deserved the praise, I wrote to him to wish him well in retirement. At the end of my letter I brought up what his friends had said about me, and I asked him if it were true. I received a short, kindly letter from Malcolm Ross. In it he wrote:  “I always thought you were too anti-American. And now we are losing the country.”


Malcolm Ross had final control over the choice of people who would edit and write introductions to the dozens and dozens of reprinted New Canadian Library books he oversaw. His choice was often not determined by expertise but by political persuasion and personal friendship. That situation describes an important aspect of the Canadian “rebirth.”  It was often hesitant. It was often timid. It was often apologetic. It was often weakened by self-assigned cliques. It was often vitiated by the quarrels bred of ideological difference. And it was resisted every step of the way by quiet continentalist power and by spokespeople for Canadian sell-out. Many excellent initiatives were blunted, modified, or defeated after a very short time. Malcolm Ross is symptomatic. Looking at Janet Friskney’s excellent book on the M&S New Canadian Library, one can see the central sickness in our colonial society. Responses to the launching of the NCL are almost predictable. George Woodcock, editor of the flagship journal Canadian Literature, Northrop Frye – Canada’s leading literary critic and theorist at the time, and the energetically climbing Mordecai Richler, novelist and gutter journalist, for instance, all seemed constitutionally unable to see their own literature without wearing what might be called Imperial Blinkers.


The very idea of finding the self-worth of Canadian literature within the literature was beyond them. Through many years, interviewed in the Victoria College student paper, and elsewhere, Northrop Frye, for instance, declared he did not think courses in Canadian literature should be taught. Works by Canadians, he believed, should be examined in a general study of literature, not as works of a national literature. In the light of those kinds of responses, Ross and Jack McClelland deserve the highest praise for initiating the New Canadian Library. Friskney, in a sense, writes the acceptable history, and in doing so has produced an admirable work. But the unreported fist-fights on the ground illuminate the deeply colonial nature of the history she records. Malcolm Ross considered me – for some years – an  “enemy”  for confronting the major impediment to Canadian independence: the U.S.A. Mordecai Richler attacked James A. Steele and me  – in an English publication, and in Canada – for urging the hiring of excellent Canadians to Canadian universities.  George Woodcock refused to publish an article of mine in the journal Canadian Literature in its early years because I suggested that, partly, the rejection of Canadian literature had to be considered from a political point of view. What political forces, I asked, were retarding its full, independent flowering?


Later in 1975 when the first Learned Society in Canadian history was created to concentrate attention on the literatures of Canada – The Association for Canadian and Quebec Literatures – the flagship journal, Canadian Literature, would not report the founding or support ACQL/ALCQin any way. At the University of McGill meetings of Canadian Learned Societies at which the first steps were taken, the Associate Editor of Canadian Literature, William H. New, attacked me directly for working to bring about the organization. The editor of the journal, George Woodcock, obviously agreed with his Associate Editor. That story illustrates the sick power relations found in colonies like Canada. In the late 1950s Canadian Literature was created in Vancouver to produce the only learned journal west of the Ontario border – a journal to concentrate upon and investigate Canadian literature. Fifteen years later when the first national society was created to study (and produce articles and books) about the literatures of Canada, Canadian Literature refused even to acknowledge its existence.


The animosity felt towards ALCQ/ACQL by the editors of Canadian Literature may have had its roots in the politics of George Woodcock and William H. New. Woodcock was born in Winnipeg, but for nearly the first 40 years of his life he lived in England where he became an English Anarchist. He and New were in contact, of necessity, and probably in sympathy with the forceful U.S. Anarchists who flooded Vancouver after the late 1950s. Many of those U.S. Anarchists – as we will see – wanted to erase the history and traditions of Canadian literature and replace them with U.S. cultural references exclusively. The creation of a national organization – francophone and anglophone – to focus attention and concentrate work on Canadian literary production would probably not please Anarchists at all. And it would especially not please the U.S. imperial Anarchists living in our midst who had – it seems – quite other plans for the future of Canadian literature and culture than were held by the members of ALCQ/ACQL.


Jack McClelland, on his part (who had rejected The Struggle for Canadian Universities for publication in 1969), then categorically refused to re-print the work in the Carleton Library Series in the mid-1970s. He did so for political reasons – which he made very clear to Pauline Jewett, co-editor. Obviously surprised, Jewett described the letter to me in detail. Even the staunchest of fighters for a Canadian voice compromised their strongest held ideals because of imperial pressure on them to do so. The contradictions in people who were, apparently, leaders in the work of Canadian culture reflect the colonial lives and actions of leaders right across the spectrum of culture, politics, economics, and social ideas. Colonials – in most cases – live like colonials. They long for independence, for creative power, for vibrant culture, for brilliant and unique economic initiatives. But they crumble under the pressure of imperial power and will do so until the day when, finally, they determine, with the whole population, to be masters in their own house.

The Canadianization Movement to force fair hiring of qualified Canadians in universities and other cultural institutions – and to increase the teaching of Canadian materials throughout the educational system was (as J.L. Granatstein observes in his book Yankee Go Home?) remarkably successful, more successful than many of the other defensive and offensive initiatives undertaken to provide fairness for Canadians in their own country and culture. But that movement, too, was contested vigorously … and attempts to subvert it were undertaken openly and covertly, without let-up.

In 1969 James A. Steele and I were searching for publishers for our book The Struggle for Canadian Universities (Toronto, New Press). That book helped to launch the movement. It was angrily rejected for publication, before even being looked at it, by Ottawa’s Michael Macklin of Oberon Press. McClelland and Stewart’s chief negotiator at the time – who later became Anna Porter of Key Porter Books – clearly attempted (as I judge the matter in retrospect) to prevent publication of the book by pretending it was taking a long, long, long time to be considered. She called it our  “non book”.  New Press launched its own life with the publication of the book in 1969.

In the mid 1970s, Pauline Jewett was the Carleton University editor of the Carleton Library series. (She later became president of Simon Fraser University and, after that, an NDP MP in the House of Commons.) The Toronto editor was Jack McClelland of M&S. Pauline Jewett suggested to him (without Steele or I knowing) that The Struggle for Canadian Universities, because of its historical relevance, should go into Carleton paperback. The Carleton Library series was a sort of adjunct to the New Canadian Library series, intended to keep in print books in the Social Sciences that had continuing relevance to, especially, scholars and researchers.

Jewitt told me that she received a long, highly political letter from Jack McClelland absolutely refusing to consider having The Struggle for Canadian Universities included in the Carleton Library series. Some of McClelland’s friends and associates, she intimated, wanted to kill the Canadianization Movement and he was cooperating with them. “When I write my memoirs,”  Pauline Jewitt said to me, “that story will be in it.” Living a very full political life, Jewitt never found the time to write her memoirs.

As the 1960s decade extended, Canada was not formally in the Vietnam War. That war, nevertheless, haunted Canadian life. A large number of young, U.S. professors newly in Canada were primarily interested in the U.S.A. The flood of U.S. deserters and draft-resistors could think only of the U.S.A. They didn’t come to Canada; they fled from the U.S.A. They would have crossed into New Zealand if it were the closest English speaking country. That fact must be underscored. Many developed a warm and loyal relation to Canada. But their arrival in Canada was not the result of a desire to come to this country; it was the result of a determination to flee the U.S.A. The usual Canadian colonial preoccupation with U.S. affairs, moreover, assured that the Vietnam War would often usurp much-needed attention to Canadian matters.


At the time, I wrote there was a strong likelihood that the U.S. government quietly wanted the Draft Dodgers (as they were called) in Canada. First, by their exodus to Canada, tens of thousands of young U.S. males were kept out of U.S. jails and away from  “resisting” the Vietnam War at home. And, secondly, the CIA could plant agents among those fleeing to Canada. That is not a wild idea. Victor Marchetti and John D. Marks record the U.S. operating in just that way in a slightly different context, at almost the same time.

In the late 1950s, when espionage was still a big business in Germany, former [CIA] agents and defectors were routinely resettled in Canada and Latin America.  The constant flow of anti-communist refugees to those areas was too much for the agency’s Clandestine Services to resist. From time to time, an active agent would be inserted into the resettlement process. [Bold type used in the original.]

With thousands of U.S. youth pouring across the Canadian border after 1965, it would have been easy to have some  “active”  agents “inserted into the resettlement process.” Indeed it would be surprising if Clandestine Services did not take advantage of the opportunity. The whole question of the CIA and Canada in those years has never been fully researched. But the CIA was almost certainly active in Canada … more of which later.

After the battles about U.S. nuclear war-heads in Canada and the so-called Cuban missile crisis, the Diefenbaker Progressive Conservative government was defeated and the Liberals under Lester B. Pearson took office in 1963. Lester B. Pearson had been awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1957 for his adroit diplomacy in the Suez Crisis. It was a crisis spawned from East/West manoeuvres in the Cold War. President of Egypt Gamal Abdel Nasser – annoyed at lack of financial support from  “the West”  for a dam project – was determined to nationalize the Suez Canal. In brief – a plan by Israel, Britain, and France to return the Canal to Western control ignited a war in 1956 which not only threatened to expand but also was splitting the relations between the United Kingdom and the U.S.A. Lester Pearson, Canada’s minister of External Affairs, was a confirmed Cold Warrior, and he was horrified at the break.


Using his many connections in the international world as Canada’s minister for External Affairs (now Foreign Affairs), he did a truly remarkable job of assisting to bring the crisis to a resolution – one in which he was responsible for the first UN peacekeeping mission. It was an initiative that blossomed in later years with positive effects. Partly as a result of his international fame, Pearson was later seen as a worthy contestant for the position of prime minister. But in 1957 the Liberal government was defeated, and Lester Pearson ceased to be minister. The Nobel Committee award of the Nobel Prize for Peace and his established international reputation  worked in his favour later when he sought the leadership of the Liberal Party. One of his closest supporters and a man always key to the effective organization of the Liberal Party was Walter Gordon. He worked hard to assure that the leadership of the Liberal Party would go to Pearson, and it did in 1958. Walter Gordon was a close friend of Pearson’s, and he was a successful organizer and strategist. Pearson was neither. He developed the reputation of always seeming to agree with the last person to whom he spoke … and leaving, sometimes, the impression that he approved of policy suggestions he had no intention of supporting. Psychological dissection of the two men might be interesting. But the paths and patterns the two men clearly cut out over the next ten years – paths and patterns critically important for the life and future of Canada – are what matter.


Walter Gordon, not until the 1960s in political office, was responsible for and had headed up the Royal Commission on Canada’s Economic Prospects. Its commissioners were appointed in 1955. The work was extensive and, often, aspects of inquiry were undertaken for the first time. The preliminary Report was released to the public in 1956. It was attacked by one of the most powerful Liberal cabinet ministers of the day, C.D. Howe, often called  “the minister of everything.”  Howe was a continentalist, having good and strong relations with major corporate leaders in the U.S. The Liberal prime minister, Louis St. Laurent, also criticized the Report, contributing – Gordon believed – to the defeat of the Liberals by the Diefenbaker Conservatives that year.


The battle for the defeat of the Liberals was sharpened by what was called the Pipelines debate. C.D. Howe had arranged for a U.S. Corporation, TransCanada Pipelines, LP, to build a Canadian pipeline West to East, using a significant number of loans of money from Canada to complete the project. The CCF (forerunner of the NDP) saw clearly that the pipeline would be profitable and wanted it to be a public asset. The House was alive with controversy. Debate and argument in the House of Commons were hot and heavy – and when the Speaker of the House went against his own ruling that debate could continue (his change being suspected to have come about because of pressure from C.D. Howe), the House descended into bedlam.


A university student at the time, I remember the account I received from a friend who happened to be in Ottawa, and in the public gallery, when the pipeline debacle occurred. MPs, he said, stood on their desks tearing up phone books and throwing the paper into the air as order in the Chamber disappeared and the death knell of the Liberal government was being rung out across the country. The Diefenbaker years lasted until 1963.  The Liberals returned as government then under the leadership of Lester B. Pearson.


Three or four points must be made to reveal the overall movement in politics from that point. Lester Pearson supported internal changes in Canada to bring about greater security for average Canadians.  Walter Gordon was often the person to suggest changes, but Pearson rarely blocked change. Lester Pearson supported U.S. policy on all other matters, almost without change. He suggested a bombing halt in the Vietnam War at his Temple University, Philadelphia address in 1965. But he was suggesting a pause. Nowhere did he take a strong position against the War in Vietnam as Walter Gordon did. Under pressure from Walter Gordon, Pearson protected Canadian banks from what would have been significant takeover. But when Gordon was not on the spot, Pearson was willing to follow Mitchell Sharp (continentalist cabinet colleague) and open up Canada for bank takeover.
In an Ontario Liberal Convention held in Ottawa in the early 1970s, Mitchell Sharp figured darkly. The student Liberals at Carleton University were determined to weigh in on the drive for Canadian independence. They produced a button reading  “Keep It Canadian.” Pierre Trudeau, prime minister, refused to wear it when he made a speech to the convention. The students persisted, nonetheless. As the convention was winding down, Mitchell Sharp called the students together. Out of the range of the media, Sharp tore a strip off the students, telling them if they wanted to succeed in the Liberal Party they would drop the call for an independent Canada.


The irreparable rift in the Gordon/Pearson friendship was the result of Pearson’s loyalty to the U.S.A. Even his actions concerning the Suez Crisis were in many ways the result of his recognition that the new imperial power was the U.S.A. Both Britain and Canada needed to find ways to take a quiet place in that new structure. The U.S., like the Nobel Prize committee, was delighted with Pearson’s diplomacy. Pearson changed the Liberal position on the acceptance of nuclear weapons alone and without consultation with other leading Liberals. He made his speech to that effect on January 12, 1963 in Scarborough, Ontario. Walter Gordon suggests a number of reasons why Pearson may have made the sharp change in Liberal policy – to accept nuclear weapons by Canada. Gordon ends his list of suggestions by saying Pearson may have been influenced..

 “by the views of some of the people he saw in New York on the weekend before he made his speech.” 

In one of the first Canadian histories of Canada after 1945 the authors see Pearson with different eyes than those of Walter Gordon. The book, Canada since 1945: Power, Politics, and Provincialism, is – among other things, it seems, an announcement of the supremacy in Canada of the historiography of neo-liberalism. The book reads a little as though it were written by three boys realizing suddenly that they are the biggest bullies on the block. And that is fitting, because neo-liberal history writing was just coming into its sense of being the dominant mode in Canada. The book by Robert Bothwell, Ian Drummond, and John English is a perfect example of neo-liberal history, and it is approved of by the person who would become the Dean of neo-liberal history in Canada – J.L. Granatstein. Combining incorrect fact with insult, the book denigrates anything that is not neo-liberal. Historians always have a world-view, of course. They have to have or they would be unable to select and present a meaningful flow of ideas.


But a general rule of historians is that – inasmuch as it is possible to do so – they will correctly report facts, whatever they decide to interpret from them. Neo-liberal historians cast free of that heavy responsibility. In Canada since 1945 the authors, just for instance, report incorrectly information about Cy Gonick, founder and long-time editor of Canadian Dimension magazine. They report incorrectly information about poet and critic Robert Kroetsch. They report incorrectly information about me. They report that Mitchell Sharp wanted to protect Canadian banking – a serious factual error. As I wrote earlier, neo-liberals never let facts stand in the way of their arguments. In Canada since 1945 “qualified observers” are never named but always hold neo-liberal views. The authors do not write of the movement of industrial activity to oppressed or slave economies but to “the efficient low-wage countries of Asia and Latin America.”  In their coverage of the imposition by Pierre Trudeau of the War Measures Act they don’t use incorrect facts. They simply don’t report the facts.


Their assessment of Lester B. Pearson erases his apparent contradictions and places him in the neo-liberal camp. Readers will have to decide for themselves who Pearson really was. Perhaps friendship and political closeness confused Walter Gordon about Pearson. If so, those things don’t confuse the authors of Canada since 1945. In neo-liberal code, the authors declare Pearson in the U.S. camp – perhaps thereby explaining his private visit to New York in 1963 before changing his (and the Liberal Party’s) position on accepting nuclear weapons in Canada. Attempting to characterize Lester Pearson, the authors set out what they believe was his overall position. “Like Frank Underhill, J.W. Dafoe, and, in 1963, Peter C. Newman and Pierre Berton, Pearson shared an acceptance of Canada as a North American nation. Like Berton, he believed that Canada had  “cast [its] lot with this continent for better or worse.”
The authors go on to quote journalist Peter C. Newman (writing in March, 1963) to sum up Pearson’s position.


The future prosperity and even the existence of Canada depend directly on the goodwill of the USA. This doesn’t mean we should toady to Washington. But it does mean that we can hardly expect our point of view to carry much weight, if our chief emissary in future bargaining with the U.S. president is a politician elected on the basis of blatant anti-Americanism.


The authors continue:  “Canada was part of the American team; quarrels over strategy were for the privacy of the clubhouse, not for the playing field.”
The assumptions in the authors’ position are huge. First, they covertly declare that John Diefenbaker was an anti-American for attempting to protect independent Canadian policy. Secondly, the fact that Canada is on the North American continent means (to the authors) it must be subservient to the U.S.A. Then it must see itself as part of the U.S. “team”, which means it may have no significant internal or external policies that differ from those of the U.S.A. As the holder of huge, valuable resources that the U.S.A. has recorded it wants to tap for its own profit and policy, Canada must give them up to the U.S. on U.S. terms. The whole indoctrinating language of Canada being a North American nation is intended to mean  “a client state of the U.S.A.”,  as is the statement that Canada has cast its lot with this continent for better or worse.


    The authors do not say that the U.S.A. is a North American nation which has cast its lot with this continent for better or worse, and it must, therefore, pay strong attention to the needs and policies of Canada and work for its health and power, that the U.S. must consider itself a part of the Canadian team. They would laugh at such an idea. Clearly, then, they are arguing that Canada has no right to independent internal or external policies but must be a colony of the U.S.A. Early in the thrust forward of visible neo-liberalism in Canada, the authors of Canada since 1945 declare subordination to the U.S. as a characteristic policy of Canadian neo-liberalism. Might – for neo-liberal writers – is right.  And the U.S.A. has might.

The result, during the tumultuous years of the 1960s, was that Lester B. Pearson, during his years as prime minister, permitted Canadians (because the U.S. permitted them) to improve enormously their position socially in Canada. He betrayed Canadians on most economic matters involving the U.S.A. and, like his successor, Pierre Eliott Trudeau, fudged any major moves to protect Canada’s economic and cultural independence. Yves Engler, a writer with an opposite ideology to the authors of Canada since 1945 underscores their evaluation. He charts Pearson’s public life, his policies, and his actions, revealing what may be described as a total commitment to the U.S.A. and its policies. Engler records Pearson’s sell-out of an independent Canadian foreign policy, saying that Canada not only “voluntarily and wholeheartedly accepted the leadership of the Untied States”, but that Canada had a special role  “interpreting U.S. foreign policy to other nations” as far as Pearson was concerned.

Walter Gordon was the initiator of Canadian social reforms at the time. As Tom Kent wrote:

the social programs of the Pearson period … were very much the policies of Walter Gordon … Without him, there could have been no major transformation of Canadian society achieved through Medicare, the Canada Pension Plan (integrated with the reform of Old Age Security), extended family allowance, student loans, the Canada Assistance Plan, and other measures.

Stephen Azzi remarks (p. 131) that on the economic front Gordon was a failure, that his “initiative to reduce foreign investment was thoroughly defeated … ”  Gordon was pummeled by “the business community” and mostly left to hang out to dry by Lester Pearson. In that period of Pearson’s prime ministership Gordon made no headway. It is hard to criticize him for failure because the repudiation of his 1963 budget was so total and so harsh he might well have given up and left politics. The enemies he created in cabinet worked against his success without let up. He did leave politics in 1965 as a result of what was a double-cross by Pearson. The Right group in the cabinet wanted Gordon out, and so when he vowed he would resign if he couldn’t bring the Liberals to a majority win in 1965, Pearson pretended that he had to accept Gordon’s resignation. Pearson wanted rid of him in the finance portfolio … to be replaced by Mitchell Sharp. Shortly after, however, Pearson realized that Gordon had such popularity in the caucus and the country and that his presence in cabinet was reassuring to many Canadians (and might prevent a damaging split in the caucus). Pearson felt that the legitimacy of the cabinet in the eyes of Canadians needed Gordon as a member. And so Gordon was invited back as almost anything but finance minister. Pearson suggested Gordon be president of the Privy Council.


Gordon was back in cabinet in a shadowy role…but he was there. And when Mitchell Sharp did his best to open the country to what would be U.S. banking takeovers, Gordon fought him to a standstill. Winning that battle may well have been one of the most important actual victories Gordon had … for the country. When he met with Pearson and others, Gordon reminded them that his return to cabinet was effected for political reasons. By that he meant he knew he was not invited back out of loyalty or friendship or collegiality but because the prime minister had to invite him back in order to maintain harmony in the Party. That meant Gordon’s position mattered in the Party. He used that power to defeat Mitchell Sharp and the neo-liberals in government on the matter of the Bank Act.


 The Struggle Between Lester Pearson and Walter Gordon. Economics, Culture, and Survival. Part Two
(pages 93-110)


Before the election of 1965 Walter Gordon told Lester B. Pearson, prime minister and friend, that if the Liberals didn’t win a majority, he would resign. Gordon was a major organizer. Even neo-liberal commentators remark that it was a promise Pearson should not have accepted when the Liberals won a few more seats than they had held but not enough to give them a majority in the House of Commons. But the man the U.S. government worked openly to have elected in 1963 was feeling pressure from having independentist Gordon – usually refusing any other post than the one of finance minister – in the cabinet. The neo-liberal forces in cabinet had Pearson, earlier, offering Gordon almost anything to get him out of finance. And so – in an embarrassing personal meeting in which Pearson accepted Gordon’s resignation after the 1965 election – the friendship ended, and Walter Gordon believed he would have to do his work outside cabinet.
The U.S. continued to want unfettered access to Canadian resources and to the developed economy of Canada – and the neo-liberals in the Pearson cabinet supported that pressure. Gordon did not, but as finance minister, he originated the idea and assisted at the remarkably successful conclusion of what came to be called the Auto Pact – long in negotiation and finalized in January 1965. To many, the Pact was an acceptance of the integration of U.S. automobile production on the continent – an acceptance that the industry was being  “rationalized”  continentally on the U.S. model. Canada had once had small automobile manufacturers who were gobbled up by the big U.S. auto companies. Beginning again from scratch seemed too huge a task. The agreement was not a free trade agreement. It was a managed trade agreement over which Canada had considerable power. Canada protected Canadian production, monitored the relation of production and sales, and prevented Canadians from importing cars duty free. The Auto Pact was strongly positive for Canadian employment and inventive initiative.
Through all the discussions and arguments about trade with the United States, sectoral agreements, and managed trade relations were always possibilities. Before the first Free Trade Agreement was completed in 1988 Canada and the U.S. had sectoral and managed trade relations – and the two countries traded very effectively. But the U.S. did not want trade agreements in which Canada had real strength in regulation and oversight. Walter Gordon himself was uneasy about the Auto Pact, but it was not an overall deal nor a free trade agreement in fact.
Mitchell Sharp – new finance minister after 1965 – was a continentalist, an economic integrationist, a colonialist. Things seemed calm, but Lester Pearson found that Gordon wouldn’t go away. He had gained strong support in the caucus and the country, and Pearson – as already noted – discovered he needed Gordon back in cabinet for political reasons. So Gordon was invited back. He was not eager to return to the cabinet and – as it turned out – his return was messy. As he writes in his political memoirs he had three reasons for entering politics. One was to answer  “the need for policies to counter the excessive foreign control over the Canadian economy and resources if Canada was to avoid a satellite status. ”  He had fought for that and mostly lost. He had left cabinet, and continentalist Mitchell Sharp had been given the finance portfolio. When Pearson was forced to ask Gordon back into the cabinet, little changed on the foreign ownership front. The opponents in cabinet were at each other’s throats. The focus point at the time was the U.S. attempt to, first, get a banking foothold in Canada and, then, to move in on Canadian banks. Walter Gordon was central in the battle. In the midst of it Gordon got approval for a Task Force to inquire into the state of foreign investment in Canada.
But the spotlight was playing on the attempt of First National City Bank of New York to secure special (banking) exemptions for its subsidiary in Canada, the Mercantile Bank. Gordon covers the affair in Chapter fourteen of his political memoirs. In short, the U.S. intended to move its banking force into Canada. A battle went on that Gordon finally won. Mitchell Sharp – a leading continentalist force in the cabinet – fought every step of the way, breaking agreements made in meetings and doing everything he could to force legislation into place that would open the Canadian door to the U.S. in banking. The battle went on from 1963 to 1967. The U.S. took an active part. James S. Rockefeller and Robert MacFadden of City Bank came to Ottawa on more than one occasion. The U.S. State Department was heard, as well as the belligerent U.S. ambassador to Canada, Walton Butterworth. Gordon makes his own position clear in his political memoir.

I was opposed to opening the door to the American banks. I believed that if Citybank was permitted to establish itself in this country on a large scale through its subsidiary, the Mercantile Bank of Canada, it would be very difficult to prevent the entry of other American banks. (p. 269)

Canadians should realize the importance of the victory Walter Gordon won for Canada. The 2008 meltdown of the U.S. banking system occurred because of U.S. banking practices not accepted in Canada. U.S. practices threw the U.S. into recession and began the huge assault on European finances – because European banks followed the U.S. lead in de-regulation and in the production of ersatz  “securities.”  The neo-liberal government of Stephen Harper was able to stand relatively aloof from the 2008 collapse because of a fight Liberal Walter Gordon had fought and won forty years before, something Harper would, of course, never admit!
The Report of the eight economists set up during the Mercantile Bank fracas was completed in 1968. Called the Watkins Report, after the man asked to head it up, the Report saw the light of day only because Gordon and Watkins fought hard to save it. Antagonists wanted it completely suppressed. Robert Winters didn’t even want it tabled on the grounds it might upset the financial markets. A few years later, Pierre Trudeau, prime minister, used the same argument to attempt suppression of the Gray Report. To the threat of the Watkins Report’s suppression, Gordon threatened to resign and tell all, even managing to get a few boxes of the Report from the Queen’s Printer to assure it didn’t disappear. Watkins, on his part, leaked it to the Toronto Star and let it be known he had done so. Cornered, Pearson permitted the Report to be tabled with the statement that it was not backed by the government. Gordon resigned from government in March 1968 and in April 1968 Lester B. Pearson was replaced by Pierre Elliot Trudeau.

The Report placed international attention on Mel Watkins, head of the Task Force. He moved to the political left as the months passed, and he was to be a major force in the attempt to move the New Democratic Party to the Left. The result of what was called “the Waffle Movement in the NDP”  (1969-1974) was – at best – mixed. Some might judge that the backlash against it from the U.S. unions and New Democratic Party bureaucrats was so heavy that the NDP began, then, a long road to the Right until it would, finally, find itself voting in the House of Commons for neo-liberal legislation without turning a hair.
The 1950s and the 1960s very plainly were decades in which U.S. politicians, diplomats, and even bankers made themselves visible in attempts to gain advantage for U.S. interests in Canada. U.S. ambassador Butterworth’s statement after the election of Lester Pearson as prime minister in 1963 to the effect that U.S. approval for Canadian politicians seeking office was now a matter of fact revealed naked political intention. In culture direct intervention seemed somewhat less. Everything written about culture in Canada in the 1960s, however, faces a huge – and as yet unanswered – question, never before, to my knowledge, posed. The question relates to the lavish expenditure by U.S. agencies of the CIA in publishing, film-making, painting…and much more, after the founding of the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) in 1947.

We know the CIA was active in Europe. We know it created and financed one of the most prestigious cultural journals in English, produced in London. Encounter began in 1953 with Stephen Spender and Irving Kristol as editors until 1967 when the CIA role was revealed and Spender resigned. As a CIA supported publication it went on for more than twenty years. The journal was founded and funded to further U.S. policy and ideas in subtle fashion, and it did. The CIA set up agencies and adjuncts. They were concerned with influence, indoctrination, ideas, and persuasion sympathetic to U.S. intentions in the world. The organization was able, at its peak, to have influence with more than 800 magazines, public information organizations and newspapers.  It sponsored U.S. jazz artists, opera recitals, the New York school of abstract expressionism, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra on tour. It placed agents in publishing houses and the film industry.
Because of its wealth and its covert activity, the CIA and its agents could support, favour, push forward, and endow writers and artists – even without their knowledge. Indeed, the CIA claims that its huge support of the New York school of Abstract Expressionists was unknown to the artists involved, though their work was toured internationally and celebrated at home by the expenditure of huge sums of CIA money. Canada, during those years … and after … fought a pitched battle over the question of independence as is clear from the role of Walter Gordon in the federal cabinet and – later – out of it. It is clear, too, that independent choice by Canada concerning its own resources and political policy was not something the U.S. wanted. If the CIA worked just below the radar, the U.S. government didn’t. It interfered, as has been pointed out, directly in the federal election of 1963 to make sure the Liberals of Lester B. Pearson would be elected.
In retrospect, the battle becomes clearer. Over and over cultural organizations and cultural spokespeople – who should not have done so – denigrated Canadian achievement and/or became the offspring of U.S. cultural trends or schools. In the middle 1950s, the organization of artists in Ontario called ‘the Painters Eleven” (from which leading artists were generated) took the New York School [heavily financed and supported by the CIA] as an important example of how they wanted to work. The Painters Eleven, in 1956, were included in a showing of U.S. Abstract Artists at the Riverside Gallery in New York (which may well have been organized or secretly supported by the CIA).
In 1957 the leading exponent of the New York Abstract Expressionists, Clement Greenberg, came to Canada to review the work of the Painters Eleven. Greenberg was a member of the American Committee for Cultural Freedom, an arm of the CIA, and he was known as a conservative intellectual. He was most likely fully informed about the CIA connection to the Committee for Cultural Freedom. Greenberg came back to Canada in 1962 to be a workshop leader at Saskatchewan’s famous Emma Lake annual artists’ gathering. He was revered by many in the Canadian Art Establishment, and when he would write for Canadian Art magazine, its editorial staff considered the magazine had hit the big time. Greenberg’s influence on a number of Canadian painters of the time has to be seen as enormous. He travelled across Canada in the early 1960s, as well, and wrote of Canadian artists in the major Canadian art magazine Canadian Art, influencing the directions art in Canada would take.

In the politics of art, the Painters Eleven were, themselves, not especially fervent advocates of U.S. superiority and influence, with the exception, perhaps, of William Ronald and Jack Bush who went to New York and were, for a time, embraced by what were very likely CIA-supported critics and galleries. In his book The History of Painting in Canada longtime art educator, critic, and museum specialist Barry Lord writes of the first exhibition of the Painters Eleven in 1954 that it  “was just as much a reflection of the times as the establishment that year of the Continental Air Defence Command, which subjected Canada’s forces to direct orders from the Pentagon.” 

The group of writers who coalesced as  “the Tish Poets”  in Vancouver in 1960-1961 were much more visibly and audibly fervent advocates of U.S. superiority and influence. They were, to start, five young men who came under the influence of U.S. Anarchist and academic Warren Tallman. He arrived to teach at UBC in 1956. In most of their own writing George Bowering, Frank Davey, and Fred Wah, of the five, play down the formative force of Warren Tallman in their poetry and their lives. Quite naturally, they want to be seen as having developed independently when they did not. They were attracted to hospitable and energetic mentor. Tallman was inspired by the work of U.S. poets Robert Creeley, Robert Duncan, Charles Olson, and Jack Spicer. In the much recorded Poetry Conference of 1963 held at UBC, he saw that only one Canadian poet was included, an excellent poet and one of the quietest in Canada, gentle Christian poet Margaret Avison. Tallman effected such a monopoly of U.S. writers, of U.S. theory, and of U.S. reference in Vancouver that B.C. Bookworld refers to Vancouver at the time as a “branch plant”  for a  “distinctively American approach to writing. ”  Tallman was not alone as a U.S. influence. Soon at SFU there would be Robin Blaser and Jerry Zaslov – and others – pushing hard to centre attention on U.S. experience.
It may not be irrelevant to point out that in 1985-86 I was proposed for an academic exchange at Simon Fraser University by a Canadian scholar there who wanted a year in Ottawa. Cleared by the Dean of Arts and by the SFU qualifications committee, I was stopped dead by the English Department chaired by U.S. citizen (and spokesperson) Jerry Zaslov. He stated clearly that the Department – made up of a majority of recent arrivals, about 50 percent of whom were from the U.S.A. – did not want to let me discuss ideas of Canadian literary and cultural nationalism in British Columbia. Jerry Zaslov and his supporters dug in. Not until the Canadian Association of University Teachers published the finding that Simon Fraser University was violating the fundamental principle of Academic Freedom did the university reverse its months-long position supported by its Canadian (in fact, Vancouver Island born) president William Saywell.
Did professor Zaslov and some of his ardent supporters receive encouragement from the CIA? That is a question to which we may never find an answer.

In Vancouver in the 1960s and beyond U.S. immigrants strongly carrying the message of U.S. culture were everywhere. Stan Persky, Jack Spicer, George Stanley, J. Michael Yates, Jane Rule, Helen Zontoff, Warren and Ellen Tallman - fifty percent of the teachers in SFU’s English Department and a heavy percentage at UBC recently from the U.S.A. In fact, a graduate student from UBC who entered a graduate class I was teaching at Carleton University in Ottawa told me he had done an honours degree in literature at UBC and had never once been taught by a Canadian.
Knowing critics suggest that the best interpretive essay on George Bowering’s work has come from Robin Blaser, a missionary for U.S. poetic theory. Blaser was among the U.S. people for whom Canada and British Columbia were wiped out in a proposition that life in B.C. was lived in the  “Pacific Nation”  from Alaska to California. Perhaps not strangely, the definers of that nation were all from the U.S.A. The young Canadians who made up the Tish group were militantly in favour of U.S. influence. In his book Craft Slices (1985) George Bowering looks back to the time when some nice people in California provided the wherewithal to make possible the Tish poetry publication about to be founded (1961-69). The little sheet was probably not significant enough to be backed by the CIA. Though Bowering writes that the nice Americans wanted to see poetry get started in Canada, plainly meaning U.S. poetry.
Bowering and his friends used the Tish publication to attack Canadian poetic traditions and to attempt to replace them with poetics from the U.S.A. That is not surprising, perhaps, considering Bowering wrote that he wished he had grown up American. That attitude was paralleled across the country and across the sea by novelist and essayist Mordecai Richler, who made the same kind of statements as Bowering. Richler’s biographer, Charles Foran, tells his reader that Richler thought the border between the two countries silly. Richler, says Foran, in addition  “believed himself a proxy American.” 

In 1970 Warren Tallman, a U.S. citizen who didn’t want Canadian citizenship was appointed a judge for the Governor General’s literary awards. It was a strange appointment for a self-confessed Anarchist to take on – to represent the Queen’s representative in Canada. The appointment was challenged publicly. It was challenged because in the West of Canada there were many excellent people who had spent their lives working in the literature of the country – Canadians. They were by-passed for a U.S. citizen who didn’t want Canadian citizenship. As a result, the whole process of judging the awards was reviewed and changed. Tallman was enraged. He attacked me in articles – and eventually, later, hired a hall in order to create an event in which he could devote himself, publicly, to that attack. Tallman was a fierce fighter in the cause of erasing Canada. He said in one article that people were going to have to get used to things like his appointment – meaning that U.S. people would be taking over major cultural positions in Canada.
Strangely, members of the Tish group didn’t only preach the superiority of U.S. traditions and patterns of thought, they also attacked Canadians who were in no way engaged in dispute with them. Frank Davey excelled in the viciousness of  “Tish”  attack. How to explain the attack on Earle Birney in the little book, Earle Birney, Davey published in 1971 with Copp Clark? Almost all the things the Tish group and their U.S. puppeteers preached as desirable Earle Birney carried out in his poetry (and more) – before any of them appeared on the scene. He wrote of the local. He wrote of place. He fixed place brilliantly in simple language. He was experimental, attempting to catch the exact rhythm of speech – and succeeding in doing so. But he was a Canadian poet in the Canadian tradition. He made ridiculous the essence of the Tish group’s dependency on U.S. mentors, and puppeteers, and  “breathing” , and other nonsense mantras. All that they had of unique quality – if truth were to be told – was their colonial subservience.
Earle Birney had to be removed if the U.S. tradition was to be paramount in B.C. and Canada. And so – Frank Davey’s book appeared. It was so bad, so vicious, so calculatingly insulting that I wrote a note to Birney. I had been his student. We didn’t like each other much. But I knew he was a major Canadian poet … and will be a major Canadian poet. What on earth could have happened I asked Birney? He replied that Frank Davey had approached him as a warm admirer, had gained an invitation to visit, had taped and taped and taped relentlessly. And then Davey had taken the hours and hours of tape and used whatever he could find in them to insult and to denigrate Earle Birney in the book. Birney said that the invasion, the deception, were so awful that he had written a full account and archived it in his collection of papers in the Robarts Library of the University of Toronto,  “for the record.”  In a way, though, Warren Tallman won in the short term. In the year (1970) when he was a judge of the Governor General’s Awards for literature, his acolyte George Bowering won an award for two of his books of poetry.

In Eastern Canada more subtle rejections of Canada and its traditions were being played out in the 1960s. By 1962 Northrop Frye was a major cultural figure commenting on almost everything. He sat across the University of Toronto campus from Marshall McLuhan, attracting a different kind of student than McLuhan – and a great deal of public and media attention. He had published The Anatomy of Criticism in 1957, an important and influential book that brought him fame and popular attention. The CBC asked him to present a series of lectures in the 1962/63 Massey Lecture series. The six lectures Frye delivered nationally were called The Educated Imagination. Here was a leading Canadian scholar of international reputation delivering a series of lectures on the imagination and literature to the Canadian audience. In six hours of lecture Frye did not name a single Canadian author or work.
Quite clearly, for Frye, Canadian literature – as meaningful expression – didn’t exist. As if to underscore that proposition he always discouraged the teaching of Canadian literature unless it was tucked into a study of literature generally. And when he was asked (as the reigning literary scholar in Canada) to write the final essay in the 1965 Literary History of Canada – its  “Conclusion”,  Frye agreed. To prevent anyone from being carried away with enthusiasm at the thought of the major book produced on English Canadian literature, Frye commended the authors of the book for simply setting out what had happened in Canadian literature. They could not, he opined, have sought for excellence in the literature. If they had done so, he wrote

 “this book would, if written at all, have been only a huge debunking project, leaving Canadian literature a poor naked alouette plucked of every feather of decency and dignity.”
 
Frye’s obvious dissatisfaction with Canadian literature was shared by the young, coming author, Mordecai Richler. He was to become famous for his outspoken contempt for Canada, for most of its literature, and for anyone working for the country’s independence and viability. Richler presents a huge puzzle. A  “proxy American”,  he left Canada for Europe around the age of twenty. He didn’t really return to Canada – to live – until twenty-two years later. Nonetheless, he became the Canadian-hater abroad. His journalism from Europe taught disdain for Canada, which he termed a desert. He wrote, in his novels, about Canada because, one gathers, he felt so scarred by his milieu in Montreal that it spilled out whenever he put pen to paper. There, a fictional Canada comes alive.  But he wrote in his critical prose, his articles and essays, very often, to denigrate Canada.
The strangest things about his biography, written by Charles Foran, are the huge gaps Foran leaves. Mordecai, The Life and Times is a hagiography, a work of devotion and adulation. It is worth considering here because its research received the full support of the Richler family, and it is considered authoritative.  The biography gives itself away. Foran leaves out much of what matters. In a way it is a fantasized, fictionalized accounting that takes its place in the new Canada as neo-liberal community. Foran leaves out the reality of Richler’s personality. And he leaves out  “the times” … named in the title of the book. Richler’s  “times”  in Canada were times when he was aspersed by many for his anti-Canadianism. That could hardly be otherwise. At the moment he returned, in 1972, the country was alive with rejection of the old colonial hatred of home which Richler made incarnate. At least one negative article was written about his return. None of that is mentioned by Charles Foran. He completely voids his biography of any of the reality in Canada when Mordecai returned, and he reports nothing of the attitude to his return. Foran writes nothing about the vitality and the creation of cultural and other organizations at the time, which, in fact, created the milieu into which Richler stepped when he returned. Foran writes of the universities Richler visited, not mentioning the university/artist connection would have been almost impossible only a few years before.

The independence movement was changing the attitude in Canada to its own artists . One might say Foran writes of Mordecai Richler, making sure the reader will not be aware of the real tensions and social forces in the country that were almost palpable when he returned, and most certainly made up Richler’s  “times”.
Charles Foran has received award upon award for his biography of Mordecai Richler. Welcome to colonial Canada. As I have written already, the neo-liberal historians are unconcerned about fact. What is important is the propaganda image projected as part of the policy to shape a new reality in Canada.

The facts of Mordecai Richler’s  “rise” parallel the cultural activities of the CIA almost exactly. Mordecai was in Europe and England, writing of the stupidity of Canada and Canadians. The CIA, at the same time, was creating and financing a U.S. propaganda journal, the posh Anglo-American journal Encounter, as well as pushing forward U.S. cultural designs everywhere. One of those designs was to attach non-U.S. people to U.S. policy intentions. What better way to do it than to get those people to have contempt for their own countries and to look upon the U.S.A. as the desired land. Mordecai Richler had already set up the U.S.A. as a wonderplace. What would the CIA do with a young Canadian in England aspiring to be a major Canada-hater? Perhaps the CIA would help him out a little.
When the 1960s arrived, Mordecai Richler began to get wonderful access to U.S. publications. He soon began to get contracts to write for film. He appeared in leading U.S. magazines … and other ones. He even, later, in 1973, got a very lucrative place on the committee of people who ran The Book of the Month Club. The first and only Canadian. The U.S. magazines that liked him and paid him very large sums seemed to want his attacks on Canada, his mindless vituperations about Quebec, his trivializing of Canadian “personalities”.  His mindless vituperations about Quebec disregarded history and  “the times”  he lived in. That was no problem for his biographer who places Richler’s ahistorical attacks on Quebec in a haze that makes them seem to have substance – giving them a legitimacy that many Quebecers think is fallacious.
Remember Frances Stonor Saunders writing that the CIA, at its peak, had influence in something more than 800 magazines, newspapers, and public information organizations. Remember she wrote that the CIA put its agents into publishing houses, film companies … everywhere. Remember she pointed out – as did an agent of the CIA – that people who were doing the work of the CIA didn’t even have to know they were being backed, financed, given assignments and contracts. If they were saying the right things, all the CIA had to do was make sure they had places to say those things. Mordecai flourished. He returned to Canada. He soon bought a house in expensive Westmount, Montreal. Then he bought a summer place on Quebec’s fashionable lake with the anglo-nobs of Quebec, on Lake Memphramagog. And he put his children – whenever possible – into private schools that cost plenty. Nothing was impossible for this brilliant man who had gained access to so many sources that paid very, very well. His ardent admirers will say that Mordecai Richler rose to his position of approval on the basis of sheer brilliance and genius – and they may be right.
The mood of the times was a strange mood. Canadians were fighting for Canada … and many of the U.S. migrants to Canada were fighting against it with, alas, Canadian supporters. Those with good ears could hear echoes of the War of 1812 and the Commercial Union Movement of the 1880s. One of my U.S. colleagues at Carleton University (who did not take Canadian citizenship) gave speech after speech to high school students to the effect that  “nationalism”  always ends up doing things like the Nazis did in Munich, smashing and burning the homes and businesses of Jews. He was also the CBC Radio drama critic for Ottawa and unfailingly panned productions by The Great Canadian Theatre Company (founded 1975) which devotes its work solely to the creation and production of Canadian plays.

A scholar who hardly managed to produce a few letters to the editor in his career, he was named an Associate Editor on the production of the lavish 1976 book, Between Friends/Entre Amis,  “Canada’s official bicentennial gift to the people of the United States.”  He joined a group at the university that, by whisper campaign, tried to have a professor supporting the Canadianization Movement named (libelously) an anti-semite. That, if successful, would have tarred the whole group and its purpose. It was a brilliant tactic. The vicious and baseless whisper campaign was only stopped by a visit to the president of the university and a threat of legal action against the group. Then their slander disappeared as suddenly as it had surfaced. Tiring of his persistence in anti-Canadianism, I confronted him one day.  “Charles”,  I said,  “you do the work of the CIA. Do you do it out of love, or are you paid for your work?” Charles looked as if he had been hit by a baseball bat. He fumbled. Then he said:
 “The Embassy calls me every Christmas. But I’ll have nothing to do with them.”

U.S. Embassies around the world frequently have spies employed. They are given cover jobs, embassy ‘duties’, but they are there at the Embassy to spy and/or to direct spying in the country where the Embassy is located. The U.S. Embassy in Ottawa called my colleague every year, he informed me. As it doubtless did many other U.S. migrants to Canada, some of whom – we may assume – were happy to co-operate with  “the Embassy.”  When colleagues of James Steele and I found themselves at U.S. Embassy events, they were often taken aside by Embassy aides and grilled about The Canadianization Movement. And they were urged to have nothing to do with the “extreme nationalists” James Steele and Robin Mathews. Many visitors to the U.S. Embassy said nothing afterwards. But there were a few who made sure that Steele and I knew of the pressure being exerted by employees of the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa.
Culture matters. The CIA and U.S. Embassy employees in Ottawa knew that culture matters.
A complex set of events which must be called a cultural trend, though not related directly to what we think of as the arts and culture, was the huge support in Canada for the U.S. deserters and draft dodgers from the Vietnam War who began pouring into the country in the mid and later 1960s. Already memory is fading about the largeness of that activity. University and college teachers recently arrived from the U.S.A. made up the majority of early organizers who worked to support and assist the Draft Dodgers, as they were generally called.  U.S. professors pressed to have the new arrivals admitted to universities and colleges. One, a philosopher at the University of Windsor, took to radio to tell Canadians they had a moral duty to admit just arrived draft dodgers into graduate programs in Canada.
Their effect on the culture was, for the most part, an  “Americanizing”  effect – and often innocently. The biggest issue in the minds of the mostly young migrants, often, was their own condition away from their homeland and families. They talked about it, wrote about it, broadcast about it, and had drop-in centres for the like-minded … to talk about it. They created and operated a magazine called Amex Canada concerned with the condition of the U.S. migrants.  Mark Satin, a recent arrival to Canada wrote the Manual for Draft-Age Immigrants to Canada

in 1968 (Anansi Press) which is believed to have sold 100,000 copies. To this day, materials on the Vietnam War migrants in Canada is almost wholly enthusiastic, positive – even adulatory.  When I wrote at the height of the influx in Canadian Dimension magazine suggesting they would be a great deal more effective if they stayed home, went to jail, and joined the U.S. anti-war movement in the U.S.A. – the thousands coming to Canada - the magazine added a note that my article was a personal expression of opinion.
    The Canadian poet Marya Fiamengo Hardman was driving through the interior of British Columbia where she picked up two hitch-hikers at the height of the influx.  They were draft dodgers, they told her.  She gathered from their attitude they believed they expected praise for their courageous stand.  She remarked quietly that if the same thing happened in Canada she would stand her ground, fight, and go to jail here if necessary. She told them she wasn’t sure that leaving the fight was the most courageous thing to do.

    There seems to have been a general Canadian reluctance to consider the larger cultural implications of the influx, its draining effect upon the anti-war movement in the U.S., its effect on opportunity for Canadians in the higher education system, and its general tendency to make U.S. events more important than Canadian events. At one level, the huge sympathy the migrants received from Canadians speaks of the generous openness that exists in this country. At another level it may point to a colonial mindedness that automatically sees any major U.S. issue as a major Canadian one – and sees it as even more important to Canadians than Canadian issues.  Over the years many of the migrants moved into Canadian life and into Canadian arts and letters. None distinguished himself by taking a strong and influential position on behalf of Canadian independence.





The Battle for a Canadian Economy and a Canadian Voice
(Pages 111-125)


Pierre Trudeau swept onto the Canadian political scene like a prairie fire. Trudeaumania really happened. He was never, however – until perhaps late in his career  – committed to the idea of real independence for Canada. Walter Gordon was uneasy about Trudeau from the beginning, as he had good reason to be.

I was asked, of course, how I could support Trudeau for the leadership in view of the fact he was supposed to be lukewarm on the independence issue about which I have always held strong views …. I gained the clear impression that he approved in principle the proposals contained in the Watkins Report.

That was Walter Gordon just before Pierre Trudeau took on the leadership of the Liberal Party and became prime minister in 1968. On June 13, 1972, Gordon appeared before a parliamentary committee where he expressed his huge disappointment. Gordon quotes his own words that day in his book A Political Memoir:

at the beginning of the month, it was announced in effect that the Prime Minister no longer thought it was important to do anything at all significant to contain the increasing control of our economy by foreigners or, in other words, to do anything meaningful about the Canadian independence issue … It is ironical that while most of the growth in the foreign control of our economy is financed by the retained earnings of Canadian subsidiaries of foreign corporations, part of the funds required are being provided by our own banks and other Canadian lending institutions. In this way, Canadian savings are used to help foreigners increase their control of the Canadian economy.


At the time Trudeau answered a question about foreign ownership by saying he didn’t really care who owned the economy as long as taxes were paid to support government and its programs. Before that, in a 1969 bear pit session with students at Carleton University in Ottawa, he conveyed the same indifference. Asked by a student what he thought of the work being done out of Carleton University to assure that Canadians could find positions in the universities, the prime minister answered that he didn’t care who taught in Canadian universities.

Events moved very quickly in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and Pierre Elliot Trudeau was only a part of them. In 1965, philosopher George Grant published his widely read book Lament for a Nation. In it he declared the end of Canada because of the end of genuine Conservatism in the country. The book gave voice to deep concerns that were felt far beyond Walter Gordon’s political circles. On the Left, even, some people supporting the Waffle Movement in the NDP later acknowledged that Grant’s book had inspired them to join the fight for an independent Canada. In the decades that followed, some commentators have said that Grant didn’t really mean what he said. But when I wrote to him in 1965 to challenge his pessimism, he wrote me back to say that I did not see “the wave of the future.” And he cited the collapse of empires and the disappearance of cultures to support his position.


George Grant was a deeply conservative, Anglican Christian. Like Walter Gordon he came from patrician roots. His family, that is, had mattered in the shaping of Canada. He called out to Canadians to review their heritage and their culture. Quite properly, he was offended by the neo-liberal reading of the work done for Canada by John Diefenbaker. In the devilish erasure of that Conservative lion, Grant saw before Canadians a sorry future. Grant, like Gordon, was a part of the fight for Canada, though he vacillated more than Gordon did both about the integrity of the U.S.A. and about the need to muster real forces to hold it off. Perhaps he was not supported in sufficient strength by other Conservatives like (also patrician) T.H.B. Symons who was to father the two-volume Report in 1975 entitled To Know Ourselves: The Report of the Commission on Canadian Studies. Whatever the case, Grant’s consideration for an honorary degree at Carleton University in 1970, characterizes the real state of power in the struggle for Canadian voice.

A colleague of mine and I were unhappy about the way Carleton honorary degrees were being granted, one recently to the librarian of Harvard University. We wanted distinguished Canadians to get more attention. And so we decided to put forward George Grant’s name. By 1970 Grant’s name was a household word and he was being taken seriously in the most important debates about Canada’s future. My colleague claimed that Grant knew who I was, and so I should write to him. I did so, and asked if he would help us with our task by sending us his curriculum vitae so we could present it with our own presentation on his behalf. Grant graciously did so. We put his name forward, and listened at the keyhole to Senate considerations. We learned that Grant was being considered seriously; and then we learned he was on the short list and very likely to be chosen for an honorary degree.

The selection proceeded into its final committee. George Grant’s name was erased completely – a representative on the committee from Carleton’s philosophy department claiming Grant was no philosopher. (Neither Carleton University nor almost any other university in Canada taught any Canadian philosophy, then or now, denying it exists.) From so far down the list that no one had considered him seriously, the international, neo-liberal economist who held positions at the University of Chicago and the London School of Economics, and who was a Canadian, was pushed to the top of the list and granted an honorary degree. Harry Johnson was an advocate of free trade, opposed everything Walter Gordon and George Grant stood for, and regularly attacked Canada for wanting to develop its own economy. His address to the Carleton University graduates so offended one of my students that she reproved me for failing to be present. A portion of the Carleton University faculty considered they had won a victory – and, indeed, they had done so.

George Grant can be said to have represented the world of ideas in Canada and – at its best – the world of thoughtful culture. He was rubbed out at Carleton on behalf of an aggressive, neo-liberal, internationalist, free trade economist who, among other things, regularly attacked as backward and small town Canadian interest in preserving the country’s sovereignty.

The struggle was larger even than evidenced by George Grant and Walter Gordon and their supporters. Canadian union members, in the 1960s, for instance – those who were not public employees – were very largely without voice, being enrolled in chapters of large U.S. unions mostly given to business unionism and collaboration with employers. The exploitation of Canadian workers by U.S. unions brought about the creation of the Council (and then the Confederation) of Canadian Unions. That was a development resisted by the NDP because its financial and political ties were to the U.S. union structure in Canada (and still are).

Regular reports were provided of U.S. union centres (in the U.S.A.) disapproving of Canadian strikes, taking over the Canadian chapters involved, and settling the strikes without consultation with the Canadian union members. In addition, U.S. unions were receiving the payment of union dues from Canadian workers, holding large parts of them, and refusing to provide money for support of the workers at times of strike. Suggestions were made that the money from Canadian workers was being invested on behalf of the U.S. unions and unavailable to the Canadian unions. Doubtless a spur to action on their own behalf by Canadian workers was the information that from 1962 to 1970 U.S. unions collected from Canadian workers in excess of a 100 million dollars more than they spent in Canada. It is money that never returned to Canada.

Two of the primary organizers of the new Canadian Union organization were Kent Rowley and Madeleine Parent, who had been working in the union movement since the Valleyfield textile workers strikes in the late 1940s. The convention to launch the CCU was held in 1969 at the Mine Mill Union Hall in Sudbury, Ontario. I was surprised to be telephoned by Kent Rowley and asked to be the keynote speaker at that founding convention. I agreed, and asked what I should speak about.  “Your struggle is our struggle”,  Kent Rowley said – having observed the fight I was engaged with to have Canadians hired in Canadian cultural institutions. The convention in Sudbury was inspiring … and a success.

In 1968, in December, the Canadianization Movement was launched unknowingly when five colleagues presented a petition to the Faculty Association of Carleton University asking to be assured that Carleton would move to make sure two-thirds of its faculty would be made up of Canadians. We were attacked viciously – one colleague even suggesting our names be sent to the Ontario Human Rights Commission so that we could face criminal charges. Those things happened with members of the press in the room … who reported on the event. In 1969 the Waffle Movement in the NDP with its slogan “Independence and Socialism, Socialism and Independence”  was founded. In 1970 the Committee for an Independent Canada was formed. In 1969, as I have written, the all-Canadian Council (later the Confederation of) Canadian Unions held its founding convention in the Mine Mill Hall in Sudbury, Ontario.

Not until the convention was over and a success did Kent Rowley tell me that I was not first choice to be keynote speaker there. He had asked Mel Watkins who refused because he didn’t want to offend the bureaucrats of the NDP. A lingering weakness of the Waffle Movement was its hesitation to support Canadian unions for Canadian workers, a hesitation which grew out of the knowledge that the NDP was completely committed to a very tight relation with U.S. unionism in Canada – despite knowledge that Canadian workers were being sacrificed to U.S. union greed and manipulation.

In the 1971 NDP convention in Ottawa, Waffle candidate 28 year old Jim Laxer ran against David Lewis for the position of leader, and in the last of four ballots gained thirty-seven percent of the convention votes. The Waffle and its ideas held real strength in the NDP. That made no difference.  Or – to put the matter more clearly – it hardened the determination of the NDP power figures to run the Waffle Movement out of the Party. In 1972, at the Orange Hall in Orillia, Ontario, the unelected, appointed delegates from U.S. unions marched into the Hall and cast the determining votes to run the Ontario Waffle out of the New Democratic Party. Without the votes of the appointed U.S. union delegates there was a good chance the vote would have gone to keep the Waffle in the NDP and see its influence help to shape a position for the Party that showed real concern about Canadian independence. But David Lewis, his son Stephen Lewis, and their coterie were moving to the Right – and they wanted no Left influence at work in the Party to prevent that movement.

The Canadianization Movement to assure fair hiring of qualified Canadians in universities and cultural institutions and to augment the offerings about Canada to Canadian students, launched in December 1968, gathered momentum. The momentum was probably fueled by the publication in 1969 of The Struggle for Canadian Universities. Pressure was on the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada [AUCC], the university presidents’ organization, to undertake changes in university policy and to study the condition of universities.

Some years after 1969 I was at the annual meeting of what are called the Learned Societies – the gathering of Canadian scholars from all university disciplines to give papers, have annual meetings, confer awards, and more. Near the registration table of one of the societies was standing Geoffrey Andrew who had been for a long time Permanent Executive Secretary of the AUCC. We knew each other as friendly acquaintances over many years, and we greeted. Geoff Andrew asked me what I was occupied with at the moment. I laughed and told him my occupation didn’t change much (since the battle to hire Canadians and to teach Canadian materials was still on). On that question, he said, he wanted to tell me something because, he said,  “I think you should know.”  He told me that some months before December, 1968, the AUCC had applied to the Canada Council for money to do an in depth study of the Canadian holdings in universities, libraries, etc., and to examine the whole question of Canada in the higher educational system. The Canada Council had turned down the application.

Then, he said, Steele and Mathews went on the road with the Canadianization Movement. Six months into that campaign, he reported, the Canada Council contacted the AUCC with a question:  “How much money do you want?”  Geoff Andrew smiled.  “I think you should know that.”  The AUCC knew in 1969 that it would be creating a Task Force to examine the whole question that the Canadianization Movement had opened up. It did not appoint a lead investigator until 1972. It didn’t do so because it didn’t want its own role in the retardation of studies dealing with Canada to be known. And it didn’t want focus on the fact that its members – university presidents across Canada – almost habitually preferred to hire people from outside Canada rather than qualified and excellent people from within Canada.

For that reason the AUCC had to be very careful in its selection of a lead investigator. At one point in the long, long search I was contacted by Political Scientist Donald Smiley. He, it seems, had been asked if he would consider taking on the task. And so he wrote to me. He said he was considering taking a summer – two or three months – to cross Canada testing the waters. He would give public speeches – as I understood his letter – and take questions, etcetera. He wanted to find out if there was a reason to believe that Canada exists. He wanted to know, it seems, if there was a community in Canada that cared whether the country survived or not. And so on …

Then he would decide whether or not the investigation was worth undertaking. I replied to Professor Smiley that if he did undertake such a cross-country tour, I would follow him every step of the way. And every time he took a platform to speak I would ridicule him off the stage.

Professor Smiley’s interest in the project waned. I was then told that the AUCC was considering Ramsay Cook, the Canadian historian who spent a good part of his time ridiculing experts, ordinary people, and anyone in-between who expressed concern about the country – people Cook called “nationalists” afflicted with  “nationalism.”  He wrote at least one book on the subject in which he never defined what he meant by the two words. His interest … or the AUCC’s interest in him … also waned.

And then the movement of the stars … and destiny … threw the perfect person into the lap of the AUCC. T.H.B. Symons had been president and a founder of Trent University in Peterborough. A Conservative from a good Toronto family, Symons had studied at Oxford before joining with a few others to push the creation of Trent University. He became its first president. And, according to academic gossip, he became something of a martinet. When he couldn’t get his way, it was alleged, he would – in a temper – threaten to resign, or even offer his resignation. His colleagues at Trent University, apparently, humoured Symons’ idiosyncrasy until he did it one time too often. In a situation where he couldn’t withdraw, his resignation was accepted. And Tom Symons was out of a job. The wonderful irony that followed was that the university appointed a U.S. immigrant academic to become president of Trent University. Symons – not particularly distinguished as a scholar and, if truth be known, probably not very up on his subject – could, of course, teach in the history department of Trent.


Licking his wounds, Tom Symons went (probably not quite terminated as president) to an AUCC meeting. He offered his services to be the chief investigator on the whole matter of Canada, knowledge, and senior learning institutions. The AUCC jumped at the chance. One of their own was available – one who would understand the necessity to avoid asking about the role of higher administrations in the problem facing the country. Not only that, but Tom Symons wasn’t very hireable anywhere else. Chances are, then, he would be very pliable and flexible and cooperative. And he was. He would undertake..

 “to study, report and make recommendations upon the state of teaching and research in various fields of study relating to Canada at Canadian universities.”

It was an historian at McGill University who asked questions after the Symons Report was issued in 1975. Carmen Miller wrote a piece (now on the internet) entitled  “And what about university administrators, Tom?” Professor Miller points out that Symons adopts a posture which will be discussed at greater length later – the depoliticisation of the problem and the situation in which it occurred. In Miller’s words Symons doesn’t  “place the contemporary problem in its historical perspective.” But that’s not all.

Symons fails to look for the main sources of responsibility in the failure to develop adequate studies of Canada. In Miller’s words the very bad situation occurred among “chairmen, deans, vice-principals and presidents [who] possessed the power and responsibility to have things otherwise.”  He asks,  “how do we explain their failure?” Carmen Miller is unforgiving. He goes on:  “they stinted neither time nor money as they busily created numerous hothouse institutes, centres and programs so unrelated to Canada that they sometimes imported the staff, students and resources.”  Why, he asks, did they act with contempt toward Canada? The answer, he obviously believed, would be clear if Symons had undertaken to  “place the contemporary problem in its historical perspective.”

The failure would have been traced to the classical conditions which exist in any economic and cultural colony. Quite simply, a colony does not study itself, for in doing so it will reveal its real history, its real present condition, and the means by which to end its colonial status. The statement by the prime minister of Canada in his bear-pit discussion with students at Carleton University in 1969 gains meaning in the light of Carmen Miller’s criticism of the Symons Report. When asked his attitude towards the movement to assure that excellent Canadians would find positions in their own universities, remember – in the face of a huge influx of foreign academics – Trudeau said he didn’t care who taught in Canadian universities.
Miller praises the Symons Report for being a  “positive, expansionist report.”  And – observing the tendency of the Report to recommend expansion in non-Canadian directions – Professor Miller seems to intuit the tendency to return to a colonial perspective because he reports that some have taken to calling it the  “’Uncle Tom’ Symons Report.”  Two facts have to be balanced in discussing the Report. First, the well-financed concentration on Canadian knowledge forced some excellent developments. There is no doubt about that. Secondly – and at least of equal importance – the university presidents and their Boards of Governors knew the Canadianization Movement had to be taken out of the hands of the people who launched it, and it had to be neutered. That had to happen in order to save their own skins and to prevent scholarly investigation and teaching from getting out of hand and focussing too seriously on the real Canadian condition. Symons understood that requirement so well that the Report doesn’t list – in its exhaustive bibliography – the book that made Symons and the Report possible: The Struggle for Canadian Universities. It is an oversight that had to be a matter of policy.


Something needs to be said about the long years of Canadian Studies Commission activity. They can be summed up in a few words (awaiting an in-depth study yet to be undertaken). The AUCC was apparently unaware that in appointing an unemployed university president, it was creating a monster. Made Chair of the Commission on Canadian Studies, Tom Symons became “The Commissioner” and stayed it for fourteen years. To do his work, he went back and back and back to the funding sources for more and more money until his doing so became talk on the street. Having been caught in dereliction of their responsibility to the people who finance Canadian universities, the university presidents couldn’t ask publicly if Symons was taking overlong to complete the work or if perhaps he might be overspending, making a career for himself.

He gathered around himself a coterie of Conservative workers, males. They found their way into parliament, the civil service, and universities. They could if they wished assure the continuation of publication, expenditure, and the production of emolument. In the 1980s rumour was afoot in Ottawa that Tom Symons was receiving contracts below the radar. They were, it was suggested, contracts for work, for research it was intimated, that didn’t have to have the name of the person awarded attached to them – because they were always $25,000.00 or less. In retrospect one can see how successfully the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada neutered the Canadianization Movement. Tom Symons led activity all over the globe. He fiddled and fussed and gathered personal awards and avoided key issues – but very busily. Always busily. History provides further proof of the neutering of Canadian Studies. Since public attention has been shifted from the matter, centres for Canadian Studies in universities have been under constant attack, have been purposefully underfinanced, and – where possible – have been closed down.
Meeting Tom Symons soon after his appointment, I reminded him that the most pressing problem was the discrimination against young, excellent Canadians in the university job market. I pointed out that – without action taken – each year perhaps hundreds of them faced real injustice. I suggested he could report on that matter very quickly and bring greater public attention to it. All the necessary material was to hand. We had gathered much of it – and the rest was easily available. He agreed about the facts of the matter and refused to do anything about it. His team didn’t focus on the hiring problem for nearly eight years – because, I suggest, power in the universities wanted things the way they were. When the Liberal government finally brought in regulations to assure that excellent Canadians were considered seriously for positions in Canadian universities and colleges, the AUCC went to work to fight the new structure. They have fought it since to the point where it has virtually collapsed and they may bring from outside Canada the really superior foreigners (with a strong concentration on U.S. administrators) they want. The Commissioner of Canadian Studies is and has been silent on all the negative developments.
The failures of the Symons Commission and those in power in the universities may be illustrated by one example. Working at the University of Waterloo, Leslie Armour received a memorandum from the (U.S.) chairman of his Department of Philosophy in the late 1960s. It was answering claims made about the failure to teach Canadian materials. The Chairman declared in his memorandum that Canadian Philosophy was not taught “because there is no Canadian philosophy.”


That set Armour and his colleague and student Elizabeth Trott to work for years to produce what may be called the first serious history of Canadian philosophy in English. It is a book of enormous importance to thought in Canada. (Study of philosophy in francophone Canada was I other hands.) As I have suggested, serious study of the roots of thought and action in any culture will very likely (as Armour and Trott admit) bring into question the surface explanations of power and control. And their book – grossly undervalued by commentators and critics – does that. In addition, it opens questions (in the minds of readers) about the failure of Canadian scholars to connect religious thought in our history to the development of philosophy here, to bring into relation with developing Canadian thought the philosophies and beliefs of the indigenous peoples who met the first European visitors. It exposes the failure of philosophers in Canada to examine before audiences of students the relation between philosophy in francophone and anglophone Canada, and to connect statecraft with philosophical ideas modified and shaped in this country.


Canadian philosophy is still not taught in Canada. As the U.S. department chair wrote in the late 1960s  “there is no Canadian philosophy”  as far as those responsible for offering curriculum in Canada are concerned. Leslie Armour and Elizabeth Trott finished their book at the height of attention to the need for studies of Canadian knowledge. The book was sent out by the centre for publishing assistance to three readers: Northrop Frye, George Grant, and John Irving (historian of Canadian philosophy). They urged early publication of the text. For reasons best known to colonial administrators, the text was sent out again – to another three readers. They also recommended publication of the text. The book was sent out again to three readers – with the result obviously sought in the first place. Among the third three readers one found bases upon which to argue that the text was faulty.


Leslie Armour remarked that – after all the information and analysis of the text had been completed by Elizabeth Trott and himself – questions could well be raised about what to do next. But a critic had to have the text in hand in order to be able to raise those questions, as the critic of the work did. For four years the hugely important work on Canadian philosophy was tossed from hand to hand in order to delay its publication … or to exhaust its authors so they would withdraw it altogether. The text of The Faces of Reason was refused by the University of Toronto Press and by The University of British Columbia press. It was finally accepted (with deletions) by the University of Waterloo Press four years after it was ready for publication. It was, of course, virtually ignored in philosophy departments across Canada. It is fair to say it has had almost no influence whatever on the curriculum in philosophy departments of Canada.

As Carmen Miller writes in his review of the Symons Report:  “chairmen, deans, vice-principals and presidents possessed the power and responsibility to have things otherwise.”  But they were the same colonial servants in place when the Symons Commission was struck (with unwritten instructions, I believe) to neuter its own work. Across Canada, newly possessing a research into philosophy in Canada, a work that could provide the basis for decades of exciting, important investigation and teaching about an aspect of Canadian knowledge almost totally neglected – the administrators of universities at all levels turned their backs and did nothing.


Even Walter Gordon – mostly focussed on the ownership of the economy in Canada – grew concerned about literature, education, and public knowledge about the country. He gave his support in later years to the Canadian Studies Foundation, an independent organization attempting to promote Canadian content in elementary schools. He is said to have given it generous financial support. But the Foundation was a drop in the bucket. How could it be otherwise in the face of the huge commitment in higher education to the suppression of Canadian focus, knowledge, materials, and to the suppression of critical investigation into the roots of Canadian being. But Gordon was indefatigable … and he was privately wealthy, unlike most others who took up the fight for Canadian independence.



The Build-Up to a Neo-Liberal State. Trudeau and the Fight Against Independence
(Pages 126-139)


 In the first years of his prime ministership Pierre Trudeau gave little leadership on the independence issue. Plainly, as revealed earlier, his influence was – in the first years of his time in office – largely negative. Following the release of the Watkins Report in 1968 which examined the costs and benefits of the high level of foreign ownership of the Canadian economy, Mel Watkins moved farther to the left in politics and became a major figure in the work of the Waffle Movement in the NDP, founded in 1969. In Watkins’ own words the Movement issued  “a Manifesto for an Independent Socialist Canada which demanded that Canadian public ownership replace American private ownership … ”
Walter Gordon was, and remained, a firm believer in what might be called, in an attempt to be exact – Liberal Capitalist Democracy. He remarked in response to the Waffle position that it  “is not necessary to change our whole economic and social structure in order to retain our independence.”  The people who supported the Waffle Movement made the rather telling points that Canada didn’t really have an independent capitalist class, and what there was of a capitalist group had not acted in the Canadian interest nor guarded the Canadian economy from takeover.


On the matter of an independence policy for the country, both Gordon and Watkins made a good deal of sense – and both were listened to carefully by Canadians. Both had no doubt that the Canadian State would have to take part in the ordering of the economy if it was to remain in Canadian hands. Walter Gordon said as much in a speech at the University of British Columbia as early as 1960. The Walter Gordon and Waffle nationalists were saying only what Graham Spry had said in the battle for a publicly-owned and operated national broadcaster in the late 1920s and 1930s. Spry said, remember, it will be the State or the United States. In the Canadian economy at large, as time has passed since the Gordon/Watkins argument, power over the economy has gravitated more and more away from Canadians and the Canadian State and to the United States.


The Watkins Report, followed by the launch of the Waffle Movement in the NDP attracted much attention. So did the production quite soon of the Wahn Report (1970) calling for fifty-one percent Canadian ownership of foreign firms, among other recommendations to control foreign ownership. Then in 1972 the report on  Foreign Direct Investment in Canada also called the Gray Report contributed to more discussion and disagreement – especially since it was denied release at the beginning, firing speculation about its recommendations and sparking demands it be released. In response to the creation of the Waffle Movement, Walter Gordon and some of his associates founded the Committee for an Independent Canada in 1970. Gordon asserts that it was agreed the CIC “should be strictly non-partisan.”  Christina McCall Newman was not quite so sure. In a 1972 Maclean’s Magazine she wrote that Gordon and fellow founder Abe Rotstein were dismayed that  “the Waffle was the only organized independentist movement in the country” and that its Left direction would cut it off from the  “mainstream.”   Gordon’s intention to enlist the support of  “a wide-cross section of well-known Canadians from all walks of life”   speaks both to his personal influence in the country and his ability to attract and provide financial support.


It is quite fair to say that the two organizations were not non-partisan. In fact, any observer could see that the CIC was made up mostly of Liberals and Conservatives and the Waffle Movement was made up of people left of them. Neither organization was particularly sympathetic to people in the other one, as I well knew. As a spokesperson for culture in the Waffle Movement, I found that materials sent to the CIC on the Canadianization issue were often not printed in their paper or were delayed. I was acknowledged, but not welcomed.


When the Gray Report was completed, it caused dispute. Trudeau had asked Herb Gray, then in cabinet without a portfolio, to suggest policy to deal with foreign ownership. After two previous Reports unacted upon, a third seemed questionable. Nevertheless, forming a small group, Gray finished the work in 1971 and submitted it to cabinet in May. In official records it is usually dated 1972, the date upon which it was made (officially) public. Of course there was an immediate public request to have the Report made public. Pierre Trudeau refused to have it released. His refusal introduced an action by the Committee for an Independent Canada that was full of drama, and that reveals the nature of the organization – and the games played with the independence question by government when faced with public demand.


In his political memoirs Walter Gordon doesn’t say that the presentation to prime minister Trudeau of a petition with 170,000 signatures was made in the middle of the fight for the publication of the Gray Report – though he refers to its forthcoming possible recommendations. And Gordon says nothing about the drama that ensued when Trudeau refused, in June 1971, to meet all sixty or seventy members of the CIC who gathered from all over the country to be in attendance when the petition was presented. Trudeau would meet a few. Gordon reports they included Jack McClelland, Eddie Goodman, Mel Hurtig, Flora MacDonald, and himself. The intention, from the beginning was to apply pressure for legislation on the matter of foreign ownership of the economy. Seven or eight people met Trudeau and presented the petition.


No writer I have encountered tells the story of that event. It was intensely political. It revealed Trudeau at his manipulative best. And it showed, in fact, the weakness of the CIC – partly because its top people were, perhaps, too near the government to attempt to face it down in a confrontation. The gathering on the night before the meeting with Trudeau did, indeed, include sixty or seventy people, among them a few MPs and, other familiar Liberal and Conservative faces of the day. Trudeau’s spokesperson Marc Lalonde – who was at the time a shadowy figure behind the scenes – delivered the message by telephone to the group in the Chateau Laurier that the prime minister would not see that many people. He would see a few. His office could not accommodate all the assembled group. Of course discussion ensued. Some believed the group should insist that all be present especially since some had come to Ottawa at their own expense expressly to be present when the petition was presented. Those who wanted to insist Trudeau see all of those present didn’t doubt that the prime minister of Canada could find a room big enough. They were over-ruled.


A choice was made. Walter Gordon, Eddie Goodman, Mel Hurtig, Flora MacDonald, and Jack McClelland were picked to go. Someone pointed out that the Liberal and Conservative Parties were represented, but there was no one from the Left in the “non-partisan”  group. It was then that Pierre Berton was added – to represent the Left. No one laughed. The meeting with the prime minister was to be the next morning. Someone then loudly pointed out that the 170,000 signatures had been gathered mostly by young people and none was represented in the group meeting Trudeau. And so a student was added to make up the full complement. The next day we learned that there had not been enough room in the office for all the people who appeared to present the petition – and so a chair was provided for the student to sit just outside the door of Mr. Trudeau’s office.


Before the meeting with the prime minister the people who had assembled held a meeting with those who were to meet with Trudeau. The purpose was to make sure the chosen delegates would represent the wishes of the 170,000 who signed the petition and the people who had suddenly been excluded from being present. The meeting was friendly, but the people excluded wanted to make sure of one thing – that those meeting Trudeau would insist that the Gray Report be made public without delay. A motion was made and overwhelmingly passed that the delegation should ask that the Gray Report be released and should refuse to take excuses for not releasing it. That way, the group could meet with the press afterwards and  “make news”  if there was an insoluble disagreement.
When the group that met Trudeau returned to report – in the Chateau Laurier – they reported, as Walter Gordon does in his political memoir, that it was  “an excellent interview and that the Prime Minister seemed most receptive.” (p. 317) What did the prime minister say about the Gray Report, they were asked? He said that to release it would upset the (stock) markets. They were told to insist upon its release. Did they do that? No they didn’t. Since the larger group of non-delegates was somewhat dismayed, I asked the  “Left”  delegate, Pierre Berton, what he had said. Berton replied that he didn’t say a thing through the whole meeting, that people were used to him talking too much so he decided to say nothing at all.


The Trudeau government not only refused to release the Gray Report but, according to Walter Gordon,  “rejected the findings and proposals of the Gray Report.”   And so in November of 1971 Canadian Forum leaked a version of the Report (with the assistance of Abe Rotstein). In May of 1972, the government released the Report, entitled Foreign Direct Investment in Canada, but, by then, no one was in any doubt that the Trudeau government would be slow to act on the problem.


Pierre Trudeau was an admirer of Lord Acton, the nineteenth century Roman Catholic scholar who is best known for his statement that  “power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.”  Acton was a major thinker in his time, and he had a view of war, government, and competition that led him to the belief that little by little governments should resign powers to larger and larger entities as a way of bringing peace, order, and justice to the world. At the beginning of his prime ministership Trudeau gave many the impression that he was – in that context – an anti-nationalist. In the early years the parliamentary initiatives to protect Canadian independence were proposed by others, some forced, usually by the NDP. When Trudeau led the minority government from 1972 to 1974, the NDP, which held the balance of power, assisted in passing much social legislation as well as the figuring importantly in the creation of the Foreign Investment Review Agency and Petro-Canada. The NDP, at the time, was conscious of U.S. pressure on Canada and helped resist it.


Certainly Trudeau’s insistence upon holding Canadian confederation together is consistent with Acton’s ideas. As time passed and he couldn’t ignore U.S. expansionism and its use of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as an arm of U.S. policy, Trudeau became less ready to accept U.S. expansionist moves on the globe and in Canada. That fact probably changed Canadian history. As we shall see … 


The whole period of Trudeau’s time in office is now seen as a time of dramatic actions that changed the face of the country. That is true in matters of internal organization. The move of many in Quebec towards independence from Canada – with the election of the Rene Levesque Parti Quebecois government in 1976 – engaged his aggressive attention. The appearance of the FLQ (front de liberation du Quebec) in 1963 exploded into international attention in 1970 when members of the group kidnapped Quebec cabinet minister Pierre Laporte and British trade commissioner James Cross, later murdering Laporte.


Trudeau has been praised fulsomely and condemned fulsomely for his role in the solution to the problem. The ‘might-have-beens’ of history are offered from all directions. In the event, Trudeau invoked the War Measures Act, employed the army, lifted all human rights in Canada, arrested and jailed hundreds of innocent Canadians in Quebec, and – it is widely believed – saved the Canadian confederation by his militant actions. Historians usually choose to ignore the reports that RCMP created false FLQ cells and blew up postboxes and such in order to alarm the public and get its support for action against the “terrorists.”  Historians, universally, have refused to note the researches which suggest Trudeau and the RCMP collaborated to murder a young man who was intending to return to Canada and lead a revival of the FLQ.


History rarely records that reasons piled upon reasons for the McDonald Commission Inquiry into the RCMP, established in 1977. Nor does it record that the Commissioner – who the Liberal government reached across Canada to Edmonton, Alberta, to find for the sake of impartiality – was a faithful Liberal at the core of the Alberta Liberal Party. He was restricted from examining RCMP activities outside of Canada (and, therefore, the murder of Mario Bachand recorded in Last Stop, Paris), and limited in other ways, as evidenced by the title of his undertaking:  “Inquiry into Certain Activities of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police … ”  To suggest the depth of RCMP corruption at the time, the Canadian Encyclopedia lists matters referred to the Commission: 

a break-in at a data processing company and the theft of a Parti Quebecois membership list; 400 break-ins without warrants, mainly in B.C. (since 1970); electronic surveillance of at least one member of Parliament; unauthorized mail openings; the burning of a barn in Quebec; widespread monitoring of election candidates; theft of dynamite; and use of forged documents.


I was a part of the   “electronic surveillance”  of the  “at least one member of Parliament.” I have no doubt there were many others. When the War Measures Act was invoked by the Trudeau government, it was believed to be unnecessary by the Progressive Conservatives, the NDP, and the Creditistes in Parliament. With public groups in Ottawa, those parties were going to stage a large protest on Parliament Hill on the Sunday morning after the WMA went into effect. The huge demonstration never took place because on the night before it was to happen, Pierre Laporte’s murdered body was discovered near the airport at St. Hubert, Quebec – changing everything. In his 2010 novelistic handling of the FLQ crisis called La Constellation du lynx, Louis Hamelin argues that the murder of Pierre Laporte was  “facilitated”  by the Trudeau forces in order to manufacture consent in the population for the draconian measures undertaken by government. The novel is a work of fiction, but Hamelin spent years researching in order to provide a factual basis for his historical recreation. The book has not been hastened into English translation.


In the day or so leading up to the proposed demonstration, after the imposition of the War Measures Act, much telephone communication happened.  I was on the telephone to Erik Neilson, Conservative MP for the Yukon. I was a few miles away in my home; he was in his Parliamentary office. We could hardly hear each other speak – as if one of us was on the moon at least.  “What’s the matter with this line?”   Neilson asked me.  “We can hardly hear each other.”  I explained carefully that it was because both of our lines were being tapped by the RCMP. At that time if only one line was tapped, the speakers might not notice it. But when both lines were tapped, the drain was enough to make the connection very weak. I could tell Neilson was astounded that the RCMP would violate the sanctity of an elected member of Parliament. He not only made a submission to the McDonald Commission but publicly demanded action against such behaviour.


The Commission Report in 1981 served to bring about the creation of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), which has had as questionable a history as the RCMP’s own history in the last forty years. Other recommendations made by McDonald were mostly ignored, leading to an RCMP, which, at the present, has sunk in the public estimation as it is discovered to be connected to more and more lawless activity and to the cover-up of wrongdoing by highly placed corporate and political personalities. The RCMP in Canada is becoming, more and more, an anti-policing force, often appearing to work against investigation in cases where it should be initiating investigation.


At the end of the FLQ drama until Trudeau launched his campaign to  “repatriate”  the Canadian constitution and to create a Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the government turned its attention to some of the problems created by a loss of independence. Arising out of the three separate reports on foreign ownership a few steps were taken – and for a short time there was serious consideration of possible global policies to increase Canadian ownership and control of the Canadian economy. In 1973 the Trudeau government set up FIRA, the Foreign Investment Review Agency, to screen the investments of non-residents, to monitor takeovers, and to recommend intervention if deemed appropriate. The life of FIRA was a checkered one, and it was thrown out by the Mulroney Conservatives. They created an exactly opposite agency (1984), called Investment Canada to encourage foreign takeovers.


As well, in 1971, the Liberal government created The Canada Development Corporation, and in 1974-5 Petro-Canada. The CDC was successful in increasing both Canadian investment and Canadian ownership. It owned 100 percent of holdings in petroleum, mine and petro-chemical operations. The federal government, in 1986, held fourteen percent of its shares. At that time the CDC was 13th in Canada in holding of assets. An experiment in the private sector with, at its peak, 31,000 private investors and some government ownership, the CDC was working and achieving its goal of increasing Canadian ownership and participation in the Canadian economy. It was collapsed by the Mulroney government in 1986.



Petro-Canada was launched to give Canadians an active role in the exploitation of the fossil fuels of the country. Before its launch, all the majors in the Canadian oil-patch were foreign-owned corporations. Indeed, before the creation of Petro-Canada, allegations existed that reports of fossil fuel deposit futures were manipulated by the foreign owners to their own advantage and to the detriment of Canada and the Canadian people. Fierce resistance was built against Petro-Canada by (especially, U.S.) corporations, and its head office in Calgary, the Petro-Canada Centre, was named Red Square by its enemies. The undertaking was successful. At its peak it was one of the largest players in the oil fields of the West and it had operations of international significance. In 1990, the Mulroney government set about the privatization of Petro-Canada, reducing government ownership to nineteen percent, which was later sold off by the Liberal government in 2004.



The Mulroney government slashed CBC’s budget in 1986, and that of the National Research Council as well as privatizing Canadair. In 1988 Air Canada was privatized, and in 1990 the Mulroney government took Canada into the Organization of American States. Very much a multi-country organization that kowtowed to U.S., desires, the OAS wooed Canada for many years. It had its modern inception and re-began its life in 1948 with headquarters in Washington DC and a pledge to fight Communism. Canada believed it could maintain more independent policies in relation to Central and South American countries by staying outside the OAS. And so it did until the Mulroney love affair with the U.S. He took Canada into the OAS in 1990.


In 1980 the Trudeau government set up the National Energy Program to assure oil self-sufficiency for Canada, to shift fossil fuel profit-making towards government and the people, and to increase Canadian ownership in the oil industry. The Program was dogged by crashing oil prices, and by resistance from neo-liberals in private corporations and in the U.S. When Brian Mulroney’s Conservatives took office in 1984, they were slower to erase the National Energy Program than other independence initiatives – and Alberta oilmen were so angry they grub-staked Preston Manning’s Reform Party. It went through changes over the years and became the Right of Centre Stephen Harper Conservative Party.


One of the creations by the Trudeau government that was going to back-fire and serve the Mulroney rejection of Canadian independence was the Donald Macdonald Royal Commission on the Economic Union and Development Prospects for Canada set up in 1982. Macdonald, who had been an independentist Liberal, turned into a colonialist and produced a Report in 1985 that urged U.S. dominance of the Canadian economy. In 1987, Macdonald joined Alberta’s E. Peter Lougheed to head up the expensively-funded Canadian Alliance for Trade and Job Opportunities – a private corporation-loaded group created to fight for free trade with the U.S.A. A constant and unremitting factor in all of the creations by the Pierre Trudeau Liberal government to increase Canadian ownership and control of their own country was open resistance by the U.S.A. and the Conservative Party.


The U.S. fought against FIRA and all the other movements to ensure control by Canadans of their own country. When the National Energy Program was set afoot, the U.S. threatened retaliation. The Canadian Annual Review for 1982 reported  “severe strains”  in Canada-U.S. relations because of FIRA and the NEP, and wrote of a  “heat and fury of retaliatory rhetoric in the United States because of the NEP.” Both Petro-Canada and the NEP were widely popular with the Canadian people – even with Albertans, though propaganda pumped out by the neo-liberals since that time is that both were abhorred by Albertans. The Canadian Annual Review for 1982 reports attacks upon the NEP by business leaders and remarks that  “its popularity with the general public seemed intact.” (p.31).


Pierre Trudeau became more outspoken in his criticisms of the U.S. and more concerned with global peace and harmony in his last years as prime minister. In his years in power he helped defeat the move to Quebec separatism, he undertook the initiative of official bilingualism, and he patriated the Constitution with its Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In his last years he supported the initiatives mentioned – the Canadian Development Corporation, Petro-Canada, The Foreign Investment Review Agency, and The National Energy Program. Word was in the wind in those years that the government was considering a National Industrial Strategy – which would have been a move to secure greater independent control of enterprise in Canada by Canadians (and benefit to them from increased Canadian ownership.) In 1984 Trudeau retired from politics. His place was taken by John Turner whose government only lasted until the election that year in which Conservative Brian Mulroney became prime minister.


The moves – mentioned in the last two paragraphs – to assure a measure of Canadian independence, probably changed Canadian history as suggested earlier.  But they did not change it as the movers intended ….



Some hint of the attitudes to Canadian independence held by Brian Mulroney and his associates has already been presented. Eight days after becoming prime minister, Mulroney headed for Washington for a meeting with U.S. president Ronald Reagan. In office less than a year, Mulroney visited bellicose, reactionary prime minister Margaret Thatcher of England and held a summit meeting with equally reactionary Ronald Reagan in Quebec city at which the two sang – at Mulroney’s instancing – “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling.”  As a boy in Northern Quebec Mulroney had sung at parties, we are told, for the U.S. owners of resource extraction corporations in Canada. There are those who say he spent his time in office singing to the U.S. owners of the Canadian economy.


The three – Thatcher, Reagan, and Mulroney – marked a huge shift to the Right and to neo-liberalism in the English-speaking West. In Canada, the resistance to their program and their presence was strangely pallid, especially from the social democrats. Indeed, Stephen Lewis, of the famous NDP Lewis family, and a former leader of the New Democratic Opposition in the Ontario legislature, accepted an appointment by Brian Mulroney in 1984 as Canadian Ambassador to the U.N. Since the Mulroney ideology should have been repugnant to any New Democrat, and since Stephen Lewis was needed in the building and organization of the New Democratic Party in Canada, his defection is alarming. It was a defection because he acted on behalf of the Mulroney government – as its servant – at the United Nations.


The appointment was a brilliant move. With one stroke of a pen, Brian Mulroney could show the NDP was led by opportunists rather than people dedicated to a political view of the country and the world. He could claim that NDP leaders were more interested in personal aggrandizement than in dedication to the social democratic cause. As if to underscore the message, when Ed Broadbent left the leadership of the federal New Democratic Party, he let himself be appointed by Brian Mulroney in 1989 as head of a newly-created Centre, The International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development. Broadbent was well paid. He was taken out of the political sphere – bought out of it, one might say. With another stroke of the pen, Brian Mulroney removed a person who should have been one of the most important critics of neo-liberalism. Instead, Mulroney won Ed Broadbent to his own team.


The process by which the two major New Democrats were bought by Brian Mulroney was part of a movement that ran through the 1970s and continues to this day – towards the neo-liberal depoliticization of the public sphere. 





The Biggest Sell-Out. Brian Mulroney and the Move To Free Trade
(Pages 140-156)


 
In 1985 Brian Mulroney announced in the House of Commons the intention of his government to negotiate free trade with the U.S.A. The process was long. It took until October, 1988 to complete. The process was dirty. Extravagant and false claims were made for the effect it would have. In the last days of the  “free trade election”  a flood of money poured into the campaign as the key region of southern Ontario was flooded with advertising and propaganda which – it was said – bought the outcome for Mulroney. Still, in that election more Canadians voted for parties opposed to free trade than for the Conservative Party of Brian Mulroney.

The agreement reached and those which followed it are dense in fabrication, complex in structure. But the reason for the move to free trade and the effect it has on Canada are very, very simple. From 1981 until 1985 the U.S. ambassador to Canada was Paul H. Robinson, Jr. Like his government in Washington, he didn’t approve of the moves Canada made towards economic and political independence. Near the end of the Trudeau government (1983-84), Robinson attempted to loosen Canadian attitudes and, as he claims, gain from Canadians a willingness to consider sectoral free trade – which is not what we think of when we use the phrase free trade . It is, rather, agreement to end tariffs on certain mutually agreed goods.

In fact, with the Free Trade Agreement (FTA), Canada entered a trade, resource, and economic development strait-jacket. It does not now and has never had free trade with the U.S.A. Canada has a U.S. dominated trade, resource, and economic development arrangement which, for public relations reasons, is called free trade. Mel Hurtig in The Betrayal of Canada puts the matter slightly differently. He remarks that the FTA was sold as a trade agreement, but that it was really much more:  “a comprehensive agreement for the economic integration of Canada and the United States.”  That is an ominous way of putting the situation. But it is not quite correct – or, at least, it may be unintentionally misleading.

“Integration”  suggests sharing of power, equality of treatment, the making into a whole. When the Canadian Armed Forces were  “integrated”,  for instance, they were brought together as – in effect – a single force with equality for members throughout. When – in the U.S. – there was a move to racial  “integration”,  it was to provide equal opportunity, equal citizenship, equal status before the law for white people and black people in that country. The Canada/U.S. Free Trade Agreement and the North American Free Trade Agreement [NAFTA] that followed did not intend or bring about the economic (or any other kind of) integration of Canada and the United States. The so-called free trade agreements were constructed – and every effect proves it – to colonize Canada, to annex its powers of independent action, to erase any equality Canadians possessed in negotiation with the U.S.A., to debase Canadian citizenship and democracy – and to provide a basis upon which the U.S. could loot Canadian wealth as if under the rule of law.

In 1983 when a Liberal government was in place, Paul H. Robinson Jr. didn’t only open the question with “members of the government” but he also opened it, as he wrote, with “other leading Canadians.”  That second group was somewhat different than the first. The  “other leading Canadians”  were, for the most part, continentalists and neo-liberals. Chief among them was Thomas d’Aquino, president of the Business Council on National Issues who was pushing for free trade from every platform he could mount. At the time in Ottawa the Robinson meetings were described as semi-secret In fact, gossip around Ottawa was that Paul Robinson was having secret meetings with Canadians and others angry at the Liberal moves to increase Canada’s independence and its control over the Canadian economy.

Around Ottawa the purpose of the  “secret meetings”  was reportedly quite clear: to prevent Canada ever again from embarking on independence measures of the kind that the Trudeau government had engaged in. I remark earlier that the moves after 1980 by the Liberal government changed history. They did so by hardening the determination of neo-liberals to gain a throttle-hold on Canada and to destroy the possibility of any meaningful Canadian independence. The meetings were intended to find a way to provide unbroken U.S. dominance over the operation and development of the Canadian economy. What the group settled on as a solution was free trade.

David Langille, political economist, wrote about the BCNI and free trade. The Business Council on National Issues is made up of the heads of some 160 large corporations, including big oil, big auto companies, insurance and chemical corporations, and the big banks. Langille wrote:  “What is shocking is that Canadian business leaders met with American businessmen, with the U.S. ambassador, and with Vice-President George Bush, to solicit their endorsement for the deal, long before the Canadian government was even ready to discuss it.”


The Canadian prime minister was Brian Mulroney, a florid personality given to fulsome statement. He opened the era of wholesale lying to the Canadian people (which continues) in order to advance the neo-liberal agenda. In fact, his pattern of untruthful statements led to his street name,  “Lyin Brian”,  and to his popularity plummeting to previously unheard of lows. When he left in 1993, the Conservative holding in the House of Commons dropped from a comfortable majority of 154 to two seats. He has remained a figure of ridicule in Canada. The matter of public personalities can be overblown in the consideration of historic events. But the personality of Brian Mulroney needs to be considered. His dishonesty has been accepted by most of the Canadian population who lived through his period in office. That combined with his adoration of the U.S.A. has proved dynamite for Canadian history. At the crisis point of the free trade negotiations even continentalist and (many believed) toady negotiator Simon Reisman drew back from U.S. demands. Brian Mulroney was happy to assure there would be a sell out of Canada.
Perhaps one of the most fitting (brief) comments on the morality of Brian Mulroney is supplied by William Kaplan, Conservative lawyer and writer. In 1998 he published a book, Presumed Guilty: Brian Mulroney, the Airbus Affair, And the Government of Canada. The reader must recall, briefly, the bases of the long, long period of accusations against the Mulroney government and, specifically, against Brian Mulroney, prime minister from 1984 to 1993. The story is of major importance because it carries over, its latest phase occurring during of Stephen Harper’s time as prime minister – who, as a Conservative, is usually agreed to have had on-going contact with Brian Mulroney for some years, and who announced an Inquiry into the relation of Brian Mulroney and Karlheinz Schreiber in 2007.

A key figure in the so-called  “Airbus Affair”  was Karlheinz Schreiber a German arms lobbyist connected to European corporations, and ultimately jailed in Germany (in 2010) for eight years, convicted of tax evasion. Schreiber also holds Canadian citizenship. In short, in a letter to the government of Switzerland requesting access to banking records, the RCMP, in 1995, alleged that Brian Mulroney was linked to illegal kickbacks from the sale of 34 Airbus aeroplanes to Air Canada. To put the matter as simply as possible, allegations were made (and never proved) that Karlheinz Schreiber (in the words of Wikipedia)  “arranged secret commissions to be paid to Brian Mulroney”  in relation to the purchase of Airbus planes for Air Canada.

Brian Mulroney began a defamation suit against the RCMP and the Canadian government for fifty million dollars. He won an out of court settlement covering his court costs. His testimony later came under strong criticism. Especially over his claim to have been hardly familiar with Karlheinz Schreiber…having, said Mulroney, had coffee with Schreiber a few times. Later, Schreiber claimed a much closer relation, going back to his help in 1983 to win the Conservative leadership for Mulroney from Joe Clark. The  “German Connection”  may have begun even earlier at the 1976 first try Mulroney made to win the Conservative Party leadership. Karlheinz Schreiber often ridiculed statements Brian Mulroney made about their relation, claiming he knew Mulroney for years, dined at the Prime Minister’s residence, and a good deal more.

On November 8, 2007, Schreiber filed an Affidavit in court, making further allegations about Brian Mulroney. In that Affidavit, he also said that he had communicated to Stephen Harper on the matter of his pending extradition and that he had asked Brian Mulroney to intervene with Stephen Harper on his behalf.  Statements in the Affidavit plainly suggested a close relation between Brian Mulroney and Stephen Harper … and the possibility that Mulroney would have influence with the prime minister.

The next day Stephen Harper, prime minister, announced there would be a third party, independent inquiry into the dealings of Mulroney and Karlheinz Schreiber. On November 13, 2007, (with remarkable speed!) Stephen Harper announced a Public Inquiry, the terms of which would be set out by David Lloyd Johnston, president of Waterloo University and a Conservative in politics. David Johnston set the terms which excluded the possibility of charges being laid, excluded the Airbus contract, and any relation to Airbus of payments (alleged to be $300,000.00) paid in cash in white envelopes over three payments) from Karlheinz Schreiber to Brian Mulroney. Not long after the close of the inquiry David Johnston was named Governor General of Canada.

The comments by and the Report of Mr. Justice Jeffrey J. Oliphant made clear he did not believe that Brian Mulroney’s testimony was credible, and Oliphant ruled the actions of Mulroney that he could review were  “inappropriate.”  Justice Jeffrey Oliphant reported in May of 2010, and in July of 2010 Stephen Harper announced that David Lloyd Johnston would be the next Governor General of Canada.

In his book Presumed Guilty: Brian Mulroney, the Airbus Affair, and the Government of Canada (1998) William Kaplan expressed the belief that Brian Mulroney had been unfairly defamed, that he was innocent in the Airbus Scandal, and that he deserved a fair examination of the issues. And Kaplan believed that Mulroney hardly knew the infamous Karlheinz Schreiber accused of being deeply involved in political corruption in Germany. Brian Mulroney cooperated transparently, Kaplan believed, telling him he hardly knew Schreiber. The book was well received and did something to exonerate the former prime minister.

Kaplan then discovered in his own words:  “I had been duped.”  Schreiber had been part of the Mulroney circle even before Mulroney’s entry into public life. In fact, Schreiber had played an important behind-the-scenes role in Mulroney’s road to power … as, it seems, money from far-Right Conservatives in Germany may also have done … with Schreiber’s help. My argument is that  “Lyin Brian”  set a pattern for Canadian politicians, which has been almost faithfully followed … bringing a newer and deeper cynicism and willingness to deceive the public on the part of elected rulers. That cynicism (blatantly in view among members of the federal cabinet in the twenty-first century) has sprung from their confidence in the power they hold in tight alliance with private corporate wealth.
When Stephen Harper (2007) could no longer ignore the accusations against Mulroney and Karlheinz Schreiber, for instance, he sought an independent expert to set the limits of a Public Inquiry into the relation between the two men. It may be no accident that the limits imposed prevented justice from being done. Stephen Harper was known to consult Brian Mulroney on political matters and so was tainted from the start. Harper should have removed himself. He didn’t. Some believe he wanted as little to come out of the inquiry as possible. He appointed as an independent expert a Conservative university president, David Johnston. Johnston had also reported directly to Mulroney during the latter’s time in office, and so he was believed by some to be quite unfit for the appointment. But he acted anyway, and just happened to come up with a strait jacket for the commissioner of the intended inquiry, limiting his investigations and findings.

Judge Oliphant, the commissioner, was forbidden to conclude or recommend anything regarding the civil or criminal liability of any person or organization. Nor could he examine the sale of 34 aircraft to Air Canada from Airbus – the focus of allegations and doubts about Mulroney’s honesty. The Oliphant Commission took from 2008 to 2010 to enter its final Report, said to have cost, in all, about fifteen million dollars. Nothing of any significance arose from the Report – except, perhaps, the appointment of David Johnston to the position of Canada’s Governor General as recognition of his exceptional ability to work with a demeanor of perfect integrity in difficult situations. As well, of course, the name of Stephen Harper was protected from being linked with those of Brian Mulroney and Karlheinz Schreiber.

The sell-out has continued unabated. When Jean Chrétien won the prime ministership in 1993, he had campaigned on a promise to renegotiate or abrogate the Free Trade Agreement. In December of 1993 he signed NAFTA without changes. He promised that if a truly effective dispute mechanism and a clear definition of dumping were not in place, as well as a clear and complete definition of subsidy – after further negotiation – he would withdraw Canada from the deal. Two years later he announced that he could not negotiate those changes – and that he would do nothing more.

The question of subsidy explains for ordinary people the whole fraud of the free trade agreements. Generally speaking a subsidy is some kind of grant given to an industry by government in one’s own country to help make production cheaper. The products made can then be sold cheaper abroad than competing products from other countries. Subsidies for research and development are especially important. They permit development of new products permitting a cutting-edge advantage in sales. Subsidies can be disguised in many ways, and so any international agreement on trade must have foolproof ways of  “seeing” subsidies. The largest military budget in the world is the U.S. military budget. It provides for a huge amount of research and development in private corporations under government contract. Much of the work spills into the production of non-military,  “peaceful” products. That means a great deal of U.S. research and development – followed by the production of military and non-military products – is heavily and consistently subsidized by the U.S. government.

The U.S. has a gigantic subsidy system in its military budget alone that makes it almost certain that Canada cannot develop products to compete fairly in the U.S.A. or in other markets where the U.S. wishes to sell. Jean Chrétien and his cabinet knew those things. Nevertheless, Chrétien signed the NAFTA agreement, and then pretended he couldn’t negotiate fairness for Canada. But he did something more – he negotiated two supplemental agreements, accepting the dangerous precedent that private corporations can sue governments over so-called breaches of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
The assessment of the morality of Brian Mulroney reaches very much deeper than the matters mentioned above. It touches, as I have suggested, upon the dangerous shift to a dominant and pervasive neo-liberalism. That ideology, that world-view is contemptuous of human needs, is starkly criminal in its drive for power. It actively erodes the rule of law, shows contempt for conventions of fairness in government, and works to destroy the free, democratic expression of ideas.  Neo-liberal corporate/government power not only enlists the full cooperation of what are called the mainstream press and media. It absorbs those forces into the neo-liberal structure. They become neo-liberal forces themselves in huge concentrations of ownership operated for profit before all else. In the drive for profit, they necessarily make alliances with what appear to be criminal organizations, open or covert. Media empires unite with communication or information departments in governments – increasingly staffed with large pools of personnel. Together they shape opinion and fabricate false information for public consumption. Together, they richly endow and take control of universities, leeching them of the power to prepare critical voices absolutely necessary to a working democracy. Together they also work to destroy unions and the power of unions to produce and maintain voices critical of unrestrained corporate power.
Together they involve “IT” operations, corporations which use information technology, computer/electronic invasion techniques, data storage, data fabrication – and more – in ways that strip the individual of any ability to meet a corporation, a police force, a court, or a government, on equal ground in any contest concerning rights, freedoms, law, or traditional usages.

A complex example of intended fraud upon democratic practice which burst on Canadian consciousness out of the blue [the Tory blue?] in 2012 was the wholesale collection of fraudulent practices called  “Robocall”  activity in the 2011 federal election – used to derail and destroy democratic processes.
Things connect. In 1979, a man believed by many to be a charming but rather stupid fellow, Ronald Reagan, president of the United States declared, from the beginning of his candidacy for president, that he wanted to see some kind of North American Agreement that would integrate the economies of Canada, the U.S., and Mexico. In 1981 he proposed a common market for North America. And in 1984, the U.S. Congress passed a bill that had been fashioned to give the U.S. president new powers to enter into agreements such as the so-called free trade agreements that were in the offing, but not yet mentioned or given form. As if to suggest an inevitable shape to history, Pierre Trudeau set former Liberal Finance Minister Donald Macdonald and a team to work, in 1982, on the Royal Commission on the Economic Union and Development Prospects for Canada. Macdonald had left politics and was a board member of many U.S. Corporations as well as doing heavy work for Corporate clients in Canada.

The Commission reported in 1985, just in time to present recommendations and a huge supporting set of studies to the Mulroney government, contributing arguments on behalf of free trade. Its chief Commissioner and the Report argued openly for free trade. Macdonald joined with E. Peter Lougheed in 1987 to head up the corporate-supported, free trade pressure group misleadingly named The Canadian Alliance for Trade and Job Opportunities. The Macdonald Report has been described as a work that set the agenda for economic policy in Canada for many years. In 2005 the continentalist C.D. Howe Institute published a book of essays in celebration of the Macdonald Report … twenty years later.


One need only compare that Report to the efforts of people supporting Canadian independence. The Watkins Report group was set up grudgingly by Lester Pearson under pressure from Finance Minister Walter Gordon. Pearson did not think of expanding the study. The Wahn Report two years later was dismissed quickly. The Gray Report of 1972 was withheld from public eyes until it was leaked, and then the Trudeau government rejected it. In fact, the structure – especially of the economics portions of the Macdonald commission were lethally loaded. Gregory J. Inwood reports the single-mindedness of the appointees. He reports that  “economic nationalists, neo-Marxists, left political economists, Innisian economic historians, and others were left almost completely out.”   The Macdonald team made up of the Commissioner and twelve others travelled the country holding public hearings, produced seventy-two research volumes, a Report of 1,911 pages, and nearly 40,000 pages of testimony – all paid for by the taxpayers of Canada, all to put forward the conclusion that Canada should make a free trade agreement with the U.S.A.

It is tantalizing to think that Trudeau – tired of the economic nationalists who haunted his life – actively sought the Macdonald Commission and its trumpet-call to free trade. According to Gregory Inwood in Continentalizing Canada, the decision of Donald Macdonald and an inner group of the Commission to push for free trade (disregarding the research papers) could not have been predicted. Perhaps not. But in 1985 and until his death in September 2000, Trudeau didn’t intervene in the matter. He lashed out at the Meech Lake Accord in 1987-88, and after, because of his concern that Canada not be fragmented internally. But his championship of individual rights and (we are told repeatedly by Establishment historians) his efforts to assure Canada’s independence did not lead him at any time to express strong, public disapproval of free trade with the U.S.A. Those of us fighting the free trade agreements would have welcomed Pierre Trudeau into our ranks. Historians grant that he may very well have influenced Canadians to reject the Meech Lake Accord by his public attacks upon it. There is little doubt he could have had similar effect by taking up the cudgels against free trade, but he remained almost silent.
As did most of the Commissioners and the researchers for the Macdonald Report. Many now tell interviewers that the outcome of the Report and the outcome of free trade negotiations were not what they intended. But I don’t remember them making those statements during the free trade battle in this country. The move to free trade, as Gregory J. Inwood suggests has been the  “continentalizing of Canada.”  But the word “continentalizing”,  like Mel Hurtig’s word  “integration”  is misleading.  The move to free trade has had a colonizing effect upon Canada, an annexationist effect. It has destroyed much of Canadian independence, and it has – in a move that has been afoot across the Western World – acted as an instrument that undermines Canadian democracy. It has constructed modes by which the U.S.A. can dictate Canadian foreign policy, as well as economic health or sickness.

Free trade is simply another part of the active work of the U.S.A. to maintain world dominance – with increasing brutality and unilateralism. In his book on the War in Afghanistan, for instance, John W. Warnock makes a telling observation.  “In the post-9/11 world it seems like the Canadian government has concluded that it can no longer take any position that is different from that of the U.S. government. Stephen Clarkson and Maria Banda argue that the major difference between the Vietnam War era and today is the North American Free Trade Agreement, which acts as a common external constitution.”   Warnock remarks:  “The Canadian government has yet to take a stand on any issue with regard to the war that challenges a U.S. government position.”  (p. 171) Since the war may be declared an illegal one, the position of the Canadian government may make many Canadians sad.

I have hinted at the damage to Canada and the hidden assaults on Canadian independence since 1945. A consideration of the failures of the so-called free trade agreements must be prefaced by the adjustments the Mulroney government made before the first agreement was signed – adjustments to diminish Canadian power over the economy and culture of Canada. Without even any promise of balancing moves in the U.S., Canada weakened its generic drug laws to please the huge U.S. pharmaceutical companies and their government in Washington. It permitted the U.S. to declare Canadian stumpage fees too high in the Canadian forest industry. Before and after the entrance into free trade, the U.S. has insisted that it may determine the terms of production in the Canadian forest industry. Before the first Free Trade Agreement was passed, the Mulroney government, in effect, agreed with the U.S. on the matter.

In the battle for fair film legislation in Canada (a never-ending battle), then responsible minister, Flora MacDonald, in 1987, was determined to do something meaningful to aid Canadian film-makers by listening to them and moving on the key problem of distribution. She wrote legislation to assure that Canadian films would move up from being seen three percent or four percent of the time in Canadian theatres to fifteen percent. A battle was waged. Flora MacDonald and Canada lost. At the time CBC speculated that the endless delay had a lot to do with the fact that the Free Trade Agreement was in negotiation. The story behind the scenes was that president of the United States Ronald Reagan personally intervened with Brian Mulroney to kill any legislation. Chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America Jack Valenti fought against the legislation, and – according to some reports – went to Ottawa, as agreed by Ronald Reagan and Brian Mulroney he would do, where he oversaw the re-writing of Canadian film legislation to suit the Motion Picture Association of America.

With those surrenders even before the first Free Trade Agreement was signed, it is no surprise that the free trade agreements have stripped and are stripping Canada. Writing in relation to the recommendations of the Macdonald Commission, Gregory Inwood’s remarks are worth quoting at some length. He points out that  “the fundamental goal articulated by the commission of eliminating all non-tariff barriers to trade has not been realized.”  That is an understatement if the matter of subsidies alone – to which I refer above – is considered. Inwood goes on:

“American countervailing and other punitive measures against Canadian businesses still occur. No agreement has been reached on a subsidies code, notwithstanding the importance accorded to this both in the commission research and subsequent pronouncements by pro-free trade spokespersons. The Auto Pact was ostensibly exempted from the trade deals as per Macdonald’s recommendation, at least initially, yet a new North American content rule of 62.5 per cent and other provisions for autos and major components appear in NAFTA. Despite the recommendation by the commission that agriculture be exempted from any deal, the FTA and NAFTA both contained important conditions in this area. Moreover, the FTA and NAFTA went far beyond trade to incorporate a variety of measures designed to restrict the state from taking action in many non-trade related areas. They ensured, for instance that in the field of energy no government of Canada could enact any public policy resembling the National Energy Program. In the area of investment, barriers to foreign ownership were significantly reduced. And cultural industries of Canada were made the potential targets of countervailing actions by the United States Congress for perceived trade transgressions in other areas … ”


Inwood doesn’t record that Canada is now locked (as long as it is in the free trade agreements) into mandatory sharing of resources. It must supply the U.S., and is not free to negotiate terms more expensive in order to assist development in Canada. Inwood doesn’t record, either, that U.S. law governs most trade disputes. In the area of energy alone, Mel Hurtig lists ten ways in which Canada is prevented from using its oil and gas holdings for the benefit of Canadians. Commentators, in fact, get trapped in almost every discussion of the free trade agreements into listing – as I have just done – the punitive and oppressive aspects. That often prevents them from seeing the whole, larger process for what it was and is. Inwood, for instance, writes of the free trade agreements as if they have something to do with the Macdonald Report and its Commission researches. They don’t … or – if they do – they do so only incidentally.

Mulroney seized on the Macdonald Report and especially Macdonald’s recommendation that Canada take a  “leap of faith”  and enter free trade with the U.S.A. to claim he had solid backing for the action he and the U.S. government were shaping. But the action was only a part of the developing new face the U.S. was presenting to the world. We remember that the Paley Report of 1952 listed thirteen Canadian natural resources the U.S.A. needed to maintain its global dominance, and we remember Paley recommended free trade as the way to get the international access the U.S. needed. By 1980 issues had become sharper. The U.S. could see it would be challenged from a number of directions for resources outside the U.S.A. to which it wanted sole access. The rise of the Asian states was visibly on the horizon, and their hunger for resources equally visible. The U.S. increased its focus on military solutions and on diplomatic strong-arm tactics.
In order to have greater freedom to use military force, the U.S. has combined an attempt to undermine the fundamental principles of the United Nations with a move to co-opt the U.N. into voting in favour of U.S. military actions against sovereign states. In 1980 the Carter Doctrine was promulgated by the U.S. Named for president Jimmy Carter the “doctrine” states that U. S. access to oil in the Persian Gulf is a which it will do anything necessary to protect its vital interest.

Those are, partly, the reasons the U.S. has refused to recognize the International Criminal Court – unless it can urge that court to act upon crimes against humanity in a way that furthers U.S. policy. It declares that no U.S. person will ever appear before the ICC, and that the U.S. will intervene violently if a U.S. citizen is taken before the court. In fact, the U.S. works without rest to undermine international law. Its constant violations of the spirit and letter of the free trade agreements entered into with Canada are just a part of that policy which is more dramatically demonstrated in its rejection of the Geneva Conventions against torture and other kinds of mistreatment of prisoners as well as its rejection of the rules of war which exist to protect civilians and the infrastructure required to support human life.

In the Libyan war of 2011, NATO forces, with considerable Canadian participation, engaged in the destruction of civilian populations as well as infrastructure necessary for the support of life. Under present Canadian government, the U.S. War Against the Rule of Law is supported completely – at home and abroad. Canadians often are unaware that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was founded about 1949 to provide a shield against expansion by Soviet Russia. NATO lost its purpose with the collapse of the Soviet Empire at the end of the 1980s. Always dominated by the U.S., that country urged the partners in NATO to keep the organization afloat. It exists now as a parallel to the United Nations, dominated completely by the U.S.A. It works outside the U.N. organization and outside the rules and principles built with painstaking care to try to end (or limit) warfare and to protect (especially) civilian populations in the event of conflict.

Canada now takes part in or approves of any military adventure engaged in by the U.S.A., tied to that country by NATO policy. In almost every case NATO actions are declared subject to U.N. principles but – in almost every case – they are undertaken in violation of those principles. In 1995 and1999, the wars against Bosnia and Serbia were NATO wars with Canada’s full cooperation, violating Geneva Conventions – by policy not by accident. The wars in Afghanistan and Libya follow the same pattern. In fact, in 1996 the UN General Assembly named Depleted Uranium weapons to be weapons of mass destruction. In 2002, the Human Rights Convention of the U.N. pushed for a ban on them. NATO uses them, and has used them since – in Libya and in Afghanistan, wars in which Canada has taken full part.

The free trade agreements of 1988 and 1992/3 provided only a beginning to the movement intended to wipe out Canadian sovereignty and subordinate Canada to the U.S.A. and to the neo-liberal system dominant in that country. The use of NATO as a war machine to further U.S. policy is a demonstration of neo-liberal policy in action. NATO sets aside laws, rules, and conventions intended to govern war-making and the treatment of prisoners taken in war. It does so to expand the power of the U.S. and its most loyal allies. Since the announced War On Terror (2001) – a policy of permanent warfare against a non-existent entity – the U.S. can claim to be at war whenever it wishes to take action against a sovereign nation. As with the war in Libya, NATO can claim, as well, that it is waging war for humanitarian and democratic reasons.

Many Canadians are not aware of the huge defects of the free trade agreements or of the  developments that have gone forward since. Those developments confirm the baldly imperialist policy of the U.S.A., supported in Canada by neo-liberals in the corporate sector and governments wanting to support U.S. criminal power on the globe



 Globalizing Canada. Canadian Cultural Consciousness. Takeover of the Mind
(Pages157-169)

 Marshall McLuhan moved into increasing prominence from the early 1960s onward. He was a prophet of the shrinking world. Developments in electronic communication were reshaping human consciousness and making distances disappear. That fact has become so all-absorbing many people cannot remember a world in which it was not possible to have instant communication with almost any point on the globe. McLuhan referred to  “the global village”,  an apolitical place in which electronic reach became an extension of the human nervous system. But the electronic universe of the global village is not apolitical.
McLuhan was a part of the depoliticization of culture in Canada – but only a part. By avoiding the political (and imperialist) implications of the new communications, he taught the existence of a (non-existent) apolitical universe, blunting Canadian awareness. McLuhan’s most important influence – Harold Innis – himself a truly international scholar – understood that the form of dominant communication was essential to the kind of empire possible, and, usually, in existence. He recognized the U.S. as an imperial power in relation to Canada’s life and future. McLuhan chose to remove that awareness from every aspect of his work.

For Harold Innis, improved communications are inseparably connected to extended administrative areas – very often, that is, to empire. He argued that the expansion and extension of the new communication structures would make possible expansion of monopoly and authority – meaning an increasing anti-democratic restriction of knowledge and totalitarian repression of free expression and movement. Behind that sense is the reality we observe, that the farther the sphere of influence (the extension of imperial control) spreads the more lethal have to be the instruments of discipline, of containment. The U.S. develops (and other countries develop in response) increasingly complex, secret, and powerful unmanned weapons that can strike almost anywhere on the globe. They are guided by communication links almost without limit.

Donald Creighton suggests Innis saw a future similar to the future envisioned by George Grant – not only the end of Canada, but the end of Western civilization. Innis  “did not openly predict the downfall of western civilization, as both Spengler and Toynbee had done,” wrote Creighton,  “but from the angry despair with which he wrote of modern times, we can hardly doubt what he believed the inevitable end would be.”  Innis was as secular a thinker as George Grant was a Christian one. From their different starting points they came to an almost common conclusion: that ordinary, decent human beings in our time have separated (or have been separated) from perceptions that can anchor them in a stable world. For Grant, the loss of a Christian inspired conservatism opened the gates to savages who would destroy all that is good in society. For Innis, the unleashing of means of communication that would permit almost unlimited empire on the globe nearly certainly assured a future of misery and pain.

That appears to be a contradiction in terms. How can people in the world have increasing access to information and to other people at the same time as they are increasingly kept from important knowledge and are increasingly repressed in their everyday lives? The studies Innis engaged in during his last years suggest to some of his readers that the larger the administrative area of an empire becomes the more repressive it becomes, and the more able it is to inflict punishment upon dissenters. That is a puzzle we have not yet been able to explain fully. But in our time we cannot deny that as electronic communication expands so does barbarous punishment inflicted upon whole countries and populations by empire engaged even in what is called humanitarian war.

That can only be possible because the political in our lives is being deliberately depoliticised. How can wars – like the war in Libya (2011) – that destroyed vast areas of civil space and killed numberless innocent people – be called a humanitarian war? To be seen as what it really was, the war in Libya conducted by NATO forces was intensely political. The nature of its politcs, clearly expressed, would be offensive to most Canadians. But as a humanitarian war it can be presented as something like a visit of street nurses protected by police to a rough and poverty-stricken part of a big city. Humanitarian. Depoliticization in Canada is a process that has remained largely unexamined. That makes the concept, and the fact, difficult to explain fully. Fundamentally, it is a process by which highly political events, ideas, and concepts are stripped of political implications, denatured. McLuhan attempted to remove political implications from imperialism (as did Northrop Frye). Neo-liberalism attempts to present the ambitions of large corporations to gain political power and to oppress democratic freedoms as an apolitical concern to maintain high employment and to secure a stable economy. Depoliticization can be seen at work on many levels. It is a key to the assault on democracy, the decreasing power of the rule of law, and Canada’s increasing absorption into the U.S.A.

We may say Marshall McLuhan depoliticized the work of Harold Innis. In effect, he was a visible part of the ideological and technological action that erased the border between truth and lies, making possible - first - the rudderless moral fantasy that was Brian Mulroney, a colonial satrap who believed he could sit as an equal with imperial despots.  McLuhan made possible - secondly – the extension of that condition into the fascist and Orwellian world of Stephen Harper.

Even in McLuhan’s work, however, the political is just below the surface. He coined the expression  “the medium is the message”  in his 1964 book, Understanding Media, The Extensions of Man. Most people think of  “the medium”  as the technical carrier of communication: radio, television, cell phone, computer and all its elaborations. We speak of the media (plural of medium) when we mean those modes of communication that are intended to reach the general public. There is another meaning implicit in our use of the word media – especially in the phrase  “the mainstream media.”  We mean – at the same time – the technical carriers, the political power sources from which they spring, and the personnel who are most superficially the face of the media.

Thought of carefully, the medium, in the expression  “the medium is the message”  is the same kind of medium that takes key position in a séance (an attempt by living people to contact the dead or other spirits). In that case the medium is a trusted person, thought to have special powers, who relays messages from another level of being to the assembled people at the séance – messages which are intended to be taken as truth. As investigators in the past showed, much of what mediums did was fraudulent, manipulative, and intended to mislead. What better description can we have of the gigantic mainstream press and media corporations apparently presenting real events and speaking through well-known and popular commentators and news readers (as if they are independent and principled individuals)?


The spiritualist language helps even more. It speaks of channelling. That is a process in which the medium allows the use of his or her physical body to a spirit who may communicate with the people taking part in the séance. However apolitical its technology is – the mechanics of its construction, its breadth and range, its seemingly unimpeded opening to ideas and cultures,  “the medium”  (as McLuhan used the term) is much more than a mere opening to other experience. It is even more than an imposition of  “message” as a function of its technical structure. For those who own its possibility of expression can channel the messages they want to a population which becomes indoctrinated without consciousness of the process – believing they are receiving truth. What must be seen is that we, as perceiving people, are active agents in our own depoliticization. We – accepting the truth from the medium – soak our environment in the “reality” of that “truth.”  The fact we must face is that the intellectual being of every person has been taught by experience that his or her survival depends upon believing the evidence of the senses. A hot stove can burn. A too bright light can blind. What we see, hear, feel, smell, and taste gives us the key to living … to reality.  “Seeing is believing.” We accept perception through the senses as real. The experience of electronic perception can be a manufactured real, making it all the more dangerous.

The senses have no way of knowing what is manufactured and what is real. That may be one reason why the expansion of communication by electronic means assures the enslavement of many, many ordinary, decent people. And so the apparent contradiction in terms referred to, above, may not be that at all. Increasing electronic access to information and to other people may be the guarantee of increasing ignorance and repression in increasingly totalitarian states where key information becomes disinformation, becomes prepared reality, becomes a consistent fantasy created in order to guarantee adherence to a false view of life and humankind.


The electronic reach is, of course, backed up by real events on the ground. Just for instance, the choice by the U.S.A. to attack Afghanistan (2001) was part of a global, non-specific, policy of aggression to assure U.S. dominance. To legitimate that aggression and others to follow anywhere, a suitable propaganda title was created:  “the war on terror”  into which the U.S. aggression in Afghanistan could fit. Repeated and repeated, the meaningless phrase has taken on a quality of reality in the minds of a huge population which has become willing to support any U.S. aggression undertaken in that name.
The Canadian government admitted the reality of the phrase when it joined the NATO force – the International Security Assistance Force – and set Canadian soldiers to fighting (2002) in Afghanistan under its imperial controller – the U.S.A. Nevertheless, many, many Canadians have always doubted the correctness of being in Afghanistan, revealing often more than half of polled numbers reject Canadian military presence there. The statistics of polling, in fact, appear to back the idea presented here. The huge surge of sympathy for the U.S. when the towers in New York fell with many accompanying deaths on September 11, 2001, was quickly translated into support of a battle for  “the cause”  in Afghanistan. In the first year, captured by the propaganda campaign for the aggressions – first called “Operation Infinite Justice”  and then  “Operation Enduring Freedom”,  the Canadians polled supported to almost seventy-five percent.



But as time passed, the propaganda campaign met the reality Canadians saw day to day. In 2006, 2008, 2009, and 2010, for instance, polls revealed – that despite continuing Canadian and U.S. government propaganda – Canadians in a majority rejected Canada’s military role in Afghanistan. In 2011 sixty-three percent were against military participation and fifty-eight percent declared the whole operation a mistake. Those conclusions were made by Canadians who had spent ten years being bombarded by government and mainstream press and media to come to other conclusions. On the one hand efforts at depoliticization can be (and are) frequently dangerously effective.  On the other hand, concerted opposition by word of mouth, through social and community media, and by other means can mitigate and/or erase major state and  private corporation attempts at indoctrination.  That fact is both reason for hope and an explanation for the present, increased attack on democratic forms of communication in Canada. The point needs to be underscored that though a majority of Canadians – over years – disapproved of Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan, nothing changed in government policy because Canadian policy was not – in effect – made in Canada. U.S. leaders manufactured the lie. Inside the U.S.A. the argument was whether the war in Afghanistan was right for the U.S.A. In Canada, the argument had to be whether joining a U.S. war in a foreign country almost without connection to Canada was right for Canada, was worth the huge expense and the lives of Canadian soldiers and members of the Afghanistan population. On that subject propaganda creations had to be on-going … and were.

In imperial/colonial relations particular events like the War in Afghanistan provide the possibility of seeing in sharp outline the way a country like Canada does the bidding of its master. It is probably true that Canada has spent something like $30 billion dollars to conduct its military operation in Afghanistan (to say nothing of the death and havoc created). The sum spent could have solved many Canadian problems of health care, education, seniors assistance, aboriginal standard of living – with some left over for increased real assistance to needy foreign nations. Estimates vary, but we need not worry. In 2008 the Rideau Institute suggested the cost would be $28 billion. But since the government of Stephen Harper has no intention of telling the full cost, $30 billion may be an underestimate when RCMP costs, Foreign Affairs costs, assistance costs, and more are figured in. Partly, the reason for Canadian subservience is the size of the propaganda effort on behalf of the imperial power. That is a way of saying it is part of the calculated use of the medium to convey a wholly false message. The false message is on-going. It is becoming a part of Canadian consciousness – and to question it sharply and clearly is to be described quickly as anti-American or inhumane, attitudes in Canada only slightly more awful than racisim, anti-semitism, and homophobia.

Indeed, in the Canadianization campaign (from 1968 well into the 1980s) to hire qualified Canadians in universities and other cultural institutions and to offer a reasonable range of Canadian materials for study almost all those attitudes were mixed. The U.S. government and U.S. embassies disliked the campaign because it interfered with their plans for Canada. Plainly, the more U.S. courses proliferated in Canadian colleges and universities, the more Canadians would be ready to accept U.S. reality. The more that U.S. academics were accepted in Canada as normal, the more their views of the world could predominate in Canada. As a result, in many of the meetings to discuss the issues across Canada (and in the mainstream press and media), the campaign was accused of being anti-American. And then it was accused of being a secret anti-semitic campaign – in order, I suggest, to turn the focus away from the fact that the most foreigners being hired were from the U.S.A.

To wish to limit hirings from outside Canada to a reasonable number that would allow Canadians of excellence to be hired was, first, called anti-American. Then it was called a secret anti-semitic campaign (to keep Jews from being hired). Then it was called racist. In more than one meeting I was involved with, a U.S. academic rose and asked if it was possible that what we really were after was the result of our racism. The largest influx was from the U.S.A., and supporting that influx regardless of the injustice done to young Canadians, the speakers tried to suggest that the people conducting the Canadianization campaign saw people from the U.S.A. as another race. Preventing them from taking positions in Canada was, therefore, racism. That claim didn’t go far … but it was tried. Every possible tactic was tried to slow the movement. Many tried to defuse the whole matter by alleging that in the great world of scholarship there are really no differences. That anarchist individualist ploy was common.  “Don’t think of me as someone from the U.S., I’m just a human being.”  Britons rarely said that, being very conscious of themselves as representatives of a beaten empire, feeling displaced perhaps – and holding some specific views about national differences.

At one large meeting at UBC, a U.S. sociologist rose in the meeting and said he was  “just a human being”,  that he was only interested in the personal identities of his students, the genealogies of his students – who were their grandmothers and grandfathers, how they settled on their musical tastes – and on he went with more of the same. When he finished I remarked that, in Canada, his (quite long) statement could only come from someone from the U.S.A., probably only from someone educated in a New York university, probably the City College of New York. He was, without doubt, a human being – but from a particular place that left highly visible evidences of its conditioning upon human beings raised and educated there. He could have said I was all wrong, but he didn’t say another word.

The process has many faces. There is the huge size and power of the U.S.A. that Canadians have to deal with. There is the endless flow of U.S.-originated and slanted information that has always poured across the border. There is the fact of U.S. expansionism from its beginning. There is the alliance formed by large Canadian corporations and banks and mainstream media – and by elected officials – with policy makers in the U.S.A.

Interestingly, the British connection is often used to recruit young Canadians to sympathy for the U.S.A. and relates to the tendency of young Canadians and Canadians in powerful corporate and governmental positions to ally with U.S. designs for Canada. In the 1880s, Charles G. D. Roberts, major poet and prose writer, was an independentist – and he spoke of his position. He was told by his father and others that Canada had to have Britain as a close ally to hold off the U.S.A. That fact is made clear in history. Through the nineteenth century the U.S. put pressure on Canadian legislators to get rid of the monarchy. What did the U.S. legislators and diplomats mean? They meant that a Canada without the protection of Britain would be a sitting duck for takeover. Charles G.D. Roberts’ father – and many others knew that. Their connection to Britain may have been sentimental – but it was much more than that. They advised Charles to drop the independence cry and work for a viable British empire in which Canada could have real power.

Through the years when Britain caved in to U.S. demands for Canadian territory in New Brunswick, in the Pacific Northwest, in Alaska and elsewhere, Canada was helpless. The population of Canada has always been one-tenth the population of the U.S.A. Growing rich by policies of Black Slavery, piracy on the Atlantic seas, the extermination of the Indians, and the use of huge tracts of arable land – more than seven times as much arable land as Canada possesses – the U.S.A. developed an expansionist policy, a propaganda of exceptionalism, and a belief in a divine role which it named Manifest Destiny.


As Britain weakened and became more and more unable to be the protector of Canada – and as the U.S. grew stronger – many Canadians felt betrayed by Britain and saw in the U.S.A. a saviour, or at least an ideal of classless, egalitarian, humanitarian society. Those Canadians chose to forget U.S. racism, the wars the U.S. has conducted to conquer Canada, the times the U.S. has grabbed chunks of territory that should be in Canada, and the less visible but on-going efforts by the U.S. to own and control Canadian wealth (and wealth elsewhere around the world). That whole struggle – which makes up a large part of Canadian history – points to another factor so obvious it can easily be passed by. The subjugation of Canada has been both sub-text and a part of the major text of U.S. history and policy – the removal of Britain as the dominating global imperial power and its replacement by the U.S.A.

Writing of the present, calamitous, offshore global financial system constructed to destroy the taxing power of states and the responsibility of banks, and (especially) of multi-national corporate entities to any legitimate national jurisdiction, Nicholas Shaxson points directly to the conflict as seen by a major player in it. In John Maynard Keynes’ most complete biography, Robert Skidelsky argues that for Britain the Second World War was in fact two wars, one pitting Britain under Winston Churchill against Nazi Germany, the other lying behind the façade of the Western alliance and pitting the British empire, led by Keynes, against the United States. America’s main war aim after the defeat of the Axis powers, he argued, was to destroy the British Empire.

Shaxson goes on that  “Skidelsky’s account leaves no doubt that the two countries were quietly locked in a titanic struggle for financial dominance, as the thrusting new American superpower began to displace the old empire.”  Any reader of Skidelsky’s three volume biography of Keynes cannot doubt Shaxson’s words.

But clear-eyed observers of Canadian history see that  “the thrusting new American superpower”  was moving in the direction Shaxson points to long, long before the Second World War. The U.S. expansionism that has become more and more visible since the Second World War has been an on-going part of Canada/U.S. relations from the beginning. The U.S. resented the foundation of Canada from the beginning and sought to undermine it – to end it as an independent political force and to annex its untold natural wealth. Britain in the formative years protected Canada, almost unaware that Canada, fully independent, could help hold back  “the thrusting new superpower”  from assuming dominant imperial status in the world.

The above statements are not made in defence of British Imperialism, obviously. They are made to point out (1) that the U.S. has always coveted Canadian wealth and territory; (2) that from 1776 onwards U.S. intentions towards Canada were stated – and in wars – acted upon. After wars failed, the U.S.A. set about to undermine the ideas of monarchy, of  the British connection, of Canadian independence. The stated intention of U.S. interests in the 1880s and 1890s was to absorb the Canadian economy into the U.S. economy. In the two major wars of the twentieth century Canada, the U.S.A., and Britain were allies. At the same time the U.S. worked to undermine British power – at least partly to gain domination over Canadian wealth and policy.

Perhaps the historical meaning of the Canadian/British connection – for Canadians – has been stated as clearly as it need be by Norman Penlington. He uses the term  “Imperial unity”  to describe the relation sought at the time of the Commercial Union movement. But, in doing so, he describes what almost all pro-British attempts at national policy have intended.

“Imperial unity”,  however described, was a matter of national survival for Canadians; neither Britain nor the other self-governing colonies had such a corresponding need. Canadian supporters of imperial unity were ardent Canadian nationalists, who had no intention of bartering away hard-won rights of responsible government. To them  “Imperial federation”  which was used indistinguishably from  “Imperial unity”  meant the orientation of Canadian policy towards Britain for the attainment of specific political and economic purposes. The desired end was the strengthening of Canada, not to aid Britain, but the better to defend the Dominion against the United States.”

The huge machine that pumps propaganda out of the U.S.A. has always influenced many Canadians who don’t belong to big corporations, major banks, or elected legislatures. For most of the twentieth century many Canadians believed the U.S. had flaws – yes – but it intended well, and its founding documents created a country that genuinely wished good for the world. For many Canadians the realization of their hope for a good, just, and equal world order rested – they believed – with the U.S.A. There are still Canadians who believe that, and the U.S. machine still pumps out propaganda to that effect. But the role of the U.S.A. in the world makes the claim harder and harder to believe. Fewer and fewer Canadians believe it.

Surprisingly – or, perhaps, not surprisingly at all – among those who believed were (and still are) a very large number of the tastemakers – broadcasters, writers, poets, playwrights, critics, novelists, painters, and more. Why should they be less ensnared than others in the propaganda emanating from the huge U.S. machine? Why should they be less captivated by successful people travelling here from the U.S.A.?  It could be argued they should be more easily ensnared because – for many of them – success in their work, they are told, is to achieve success in the U.S.A. And if success means making money, then what they are told is true. And – as we shall see further on – Canadian government has given, over and over, advantages in Canada to U.S. profit-making operations, always to the detriment of Canadian enterprise in those areas and to individual Canadians who want to make interesting, respectable lives at work in Canada.



 Canada and Culture: Destructive Forces at Work
(Pages 170-193)



When we think of the University of Toronto and of Canadian culture and ideas, we think of Harold Innis, of Marshall McLuhan, of Northrop Frye and Margaret Atwood. We are rarely asked to think about one of Canada’s finest historians, Donald Creighton (1902-1979) – who fought openly against Canadian colonialism and U.S. dominance in Canada. For his articulate defence of the country he is all but erased from memory. Even more erased is one of the best minds on the Left in Canada, Stanley Brehaut Ryerson (1911-1998), who was for years a member of the Communist Party of Canada, its leading intellectual, and later a distinguished Left nationalist voice in Canada. He edited Left journals and wrote exhaustively about Canada and its political condition over many decades. Ryerson’s book on French Canada is almost completely neglected. And his two excellent volumes of Canadian history are hardly known. I refer to Ryerson to suggest there should have been another voice heard at the University of Toronto over the Frye, McLuhan years. That voice should have been Stanley Ryerson’s voice.


I am suggesting that Canada’s major university (a symbol for most of anglophone Canada) closed itself off from real and distinguished debate by silently rejecting one of our major thinkers. When Ryerson left the Communist Party of Canada in 1971, he had trouble earning a living. He had been granted teaching assistantships here and there, as a temporary employee. Then the University of Quebec at Montreal [UQAM] hired him as a full professor, acknowledged his contribution to ideas in Canada, and engaged him as a full academic colleague teaching graduate and undergraduate courses. By doing what it did, UQAM revealed the closed mind which ruled at the University of Toronto.

Had he been at the University of Toronto, able to engage in discussion and debate with Frye, McLuhan, Creighton and others of Liberal and Conservative views, the effect on the intellectual community would have been salutary. But the ideas of the Left in Canada and ideas emanating from a significant portion of the world were shut out. They were shut out because the U.S. was in a Cold War for global supremacy against the Communist world. And so all thought connected with it – thought that was Canadian and important to Canada – was almost completely closed off from the Canadian young.

Ryerson is a dramatic example. But he is not alone. In the 1970s a symposium was held at the University of Toronto on the work of Hugh MacLennan, major Canadian novelist, holder of a Ph.D., and five times winner of the Governor General’s award for literature. Claude Bissell, president of the University of Toronto, opened the event and lamented the fact that McGill had won MacLennan to its halls and the University of Toronto had been the loser. I spoke the next day, and I pointed out that the University of Toronto wouldn’t have hired Hugh MacLennan if he was starving and in distress. McGill only suffered him as a part-time teacher. MacLennan’s biographer rose in the audience at that point and quoted the miserable sum he was paid by McGill.



The University of Toronto thought of itself as a parallel institution with Harvard and Oxford. It really didn’t want the bother of a parochial Canadian novelist among its number. MacLennan wrote about Canada with passion and insight; and he was suspicious of the U.S.A. He offended the Toronto circle around the strong admirer of the U.S., Morley Callaghan, novelist and short story writer. That circle looked to the U.S.A. for models of excellence and for creative ideas. MacLennan was, surely, not suitable as a teacher at U. of T. If Hugh MacLennan was undesirable; and Donald Creighton was an embarrassment – how could any sane person think that Stanley Ryerson could make a useful contribution to the consideration of ideas there – or anywhere in English Canada? The oppressive narrowness of intellectual focus to which I have referred has continued and has hardened in Canada. Neo-liberalism has become Main Stream. But in literature and culture, neo-liberalism is distinctly uncomfortable, for it preaches that might is right, the private corporation is king, the poor are undeserving, the arts are a frivolous decoration, and artists are freaks best ignored unless they are openly propagandists for reactionary power.

Neo-liberalism moves through the cultural world in disguise. Its present disguise (in the cultural world) is often called postmodernism, and postmodernism’s chief Canadian advocate until June of 2011 was Robert Kroetsch, poet, novelist, critic, and literary theoretician. Like both Frye and Atwood, his following was large, and devoted. Like Frye and Atwood, he was admired by most and adored by many. Like Frye and Atwood, he was a depoliticizer. It may be fair to say that a necessary step in the development of neo-liberalism is apparent depoliticization. Kroetsch was – in many ways – very much stranger than either of the other two discussed above. Born in Heisler, Alberta, he took his first degree at the University of Alberta, worked for the U.S. Air Force in Labrador for three years and then went to Vermont for an M.A. and to Iowa for a Ph.D. After that he worked as a university teacher in Binghampton, New York until 1978. He may be said to have been employed by or working in the U.S.A. for something like twenty-seven of his first fifty years. When he returned to Canada in 1978, a large part of his life had been U.S.-centred and oriented.

Postmodernism, I have written above, is often neo-liberalism in disguise. It has dubious roots, and it has dubious effect. It cannot be characterized fully here (or, perhaps, anywhere). It has, however, to be briefly mentioned as a way of considering Robert Kroetsch and Canada. To begin, the French deconstructionists and postmodernists (post 1960) founded a part of their  “philosophy” on work by the Nazi philosopher Martin Heidegger. That fact has endless implications for literary and social theory, and it opens endless argument. In addition, the huge flowering of French philosophy in the 1960s and after – involving Jacques Derrida and many others – placed language and meaning, as they had been known to that time, into question. It is a common statement arising from the philosophical work of the time that the  “great metanarratives”   previously accepted have all been called into question.

The  “metanarratives”  could extend from ideas of law and society to ideas of civil foundation, the genesis of nations, gender, communities in harmony, shared ideas of the good, and much more. Deconstructing language and meaning can lead to (and often wishes to lead to) open-ended statements intended to be unfixed in final meaning or intention. One of the effects – relating the activity to neo-liberalism – is, obviously, the subversion of what was traditionally believed to be the good, the decent – in behaviour, individually and at large. In a fragmented society – one in which touch with fundamental ideas of the good are lost – the way is open to decimate social structures in place and replace them with structures that are apparently more just and free but which support a small elite clique, a ruling junta, a dictatorship supported by military force.

In the case of Canada, considered as a  “something”,  postmodernism generally wishes to reject the possibility of a definition of Canada, of a meaningful intellectual history for the country, of a centre of decency in any of its foundational postulates or activities historically because to engage in such theorizing is considered repressively homogenizing.
Robert Kroetsch’s engagement with Canada is a mixture of hyper-autobiographical fantasy, regional fixation, postmodernist de-centration, and attack upon national myth. Postmodernism in Canada is, finally, an attack on the viability of the Canadian nation as anything but a colonial dependency existing in fragments available for exploitation by external forces. It is perhaps not without significance that Kroetsch, who focussed on his Alberta origins and concentrated his writing in Alberta locations and retired to Leduc at the end of his working career, has left us almost no serious critical comment on the Tar Sands of Alberta and the destruction of prime Alberta land and water by the (mostly foreign) private corporations wringing wealth from the abused environment.

An apparent peculiarity in his criticism, Kroetsch attacks Susannah Moodie with a viciousness that is hard to understand. But he is not alone. The attitude of writers in the last fifty years to Moodie, and to John Richardson (author of Wacousta), reveals their dissatisfaction with Canada. Frye uses the novel Wacousta to shape his idea of  “garrison and wilderness.”  White Canadians huddle in their garrisons (as they do in Wacousta, according to Frye) terrified of the wilderness outside the fortress. That depicts the attitude of all Canadians to the wilderness … according to Frye. Atwood picks up the argument in Survival.

Neither observes that the Native People in the novel, finally organizing resistance to the theft of their continent, are striking back, making life especially difficult for white people going into unknown territory. All are in an intense political situation, not born of life in nature. That is the situation across the large territory of forts and palisades. Frye does not say that in the novel itself the peculiar condition there, the Indian terror just outside the garrison is in fact led by a white man, probably mentally unbalanced, who is seeking revenge against the white senior officer of the garrison. The conflict, then, is political on the large scale, and personal (between two Europeans) on the small scale. It has nothing to do with the peculiar character of the Indian or the innate personality of wilderness. And so the situation is not one in which a huddling garrison of white people wholly unable to deal with the Canada of wilderness lives in terror of the indigenous people who are seen as brutal savages lurking in a dark and forbidding forest. On the contrary. At the end of Wacousta, a native person effects the death of Wacousta, the evil protagonist, and Frye’s “garrison”  and  “wilderness”  populations work together to make a habitable world.

By the same token, Susannah Moodie is misunderstood and misrepresented by many contemporary writers who feel, it seems, a deep resentment of her. They do so – one has to speculate – because Moodie has a solid sense of the good and of justice, of a world in which organized decency is possible. Not only that, but she lives, often, isolated, often without her husband, often facing huge physical difficulties – without relinquishing her sense of the good. In that world, Mrs. Moodie entertains visiting Indians, her husband insisting they enter the house as other guests do. It is Susannah Moodie who says the Indian is nature’s gentleman who never does a rude or vulgar thing. Atwood sees Moodie as someone for whom Canada is alienating and destructive. In Survival Atwood writes that Roughing It in the Bush was  “written for the express purpose of telling others not to come …"  But that is only a small part of the story. Moodie wants gentlefolk who can’t bear the tough life of settlers to stay away. But she praises people who can manage, and she expresses admiration for strong people who come, do well, and – in a democracy she admires – have the opportunity, even, to take a place in the legislature.

For Robert Kroetsch, Moodie is unbearable. In his essay  “Beyond Nationalism: A Prologue”,  Kroetsch writes of  “the whining and bitching figure of Susannah Moodie.”  In his essay,  “Carnival and Violence: A Meditation” , Kroetsch evokes Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness when he thinks of her. Kroetsch writes:


She is the closest thing we have in Canadian writing to Joseph Conrad’s Mr. Kurtz, and, like poor, dear hesitating Marlow, I feel the ‘fascination and the abomination’. We read her and wonder in horror – is this where Canadian literature comes from?


Some of the abomination Kroetsch feels rises from the unstated undercurrent of unease in Moodie’s work at the mood of U.S. expansionism around her. She arrived in Canada only about fifteen years after the War of 1812, an experience Canadians felt freshly in their minds. Kroetsch could only be offended, could only feel  “abomination”  at such a woman – at anyone feeling endangered by the U.S.A. Looking at Niagara Falls and seeing U.S. workers busy on the U.S. side, Susannah Moodie asks what those “gold worshippers” will do next.

Clearly Susannah Moodie had to be anathema to Robert Kroetsch – because she represents a vision of Canada that is not the U.S.A. And, in addition, she is probably anathema to him because she is a tough human being who is at ease in the company of her husband as well as courageous and tough when alone – and, as often as not, someone who uses her own powers to make the partnership more effective – without being under male supervision. When I write that Mrs. Moodie represents a vision of Canada that is not the U.S.A. – and is therefore offensive to Kroetsch – I move towards a vision of the two countries not usually called upon. In almost every case throughout this work where I have made reference to the failure to maintain Canadian independence of action and policy, the case has been one in which the power dominance of the U.S. is conceded. In almost every case physical might has proved to be  “right.”  In every case the U.S. has gained position and overseer rights that give it pleasure at the cost of Canadians.

In those terms, Canada, historically, has been forced to shape its identity almost as a function of U.S. identity. In those terms, one may see Canada/U.S. relations as not unlike those between a couple in which the dominant partner is too self-involved and stupid to see the real nature of the partnership. That seemed to be the condition of Robert Kroetsch’s human and writerly relations. He appears to have been offended by Mrs. Moodie’s femininity, her toughness, her self-reliance, her certainty of goodness in the world. The fact that he drew around him a very large number of people, both male and female, who made excuses for him and who lauded fictional texts that should have offended them should be surprising. But in Canada – to continue the comparison – every level of the relations of Canada and the United States produces the same reality (or unreality): docility before the bully, willingness to pretend, passiveness in the face of obvious injustice.

Dianne Tiefensee sums the matter up in terms of Kroetsch’s writerly and fictional output – steering clear of what we might call his life in  “the real world.”  So long as he dwells in his (essentially) blind, male dominant duality, and his reference to traditional ways of thinking that reinforce that structure, his thinking, she suggests,  “will be dialectical and metaphysical, logo-, ethno-, and phallocentric, which is to say inescapably solipsistic, racist, and sexist. Or, to put it another way, it will be repressive of the irreducible difference that is the concern of Derridean deconstruction.”


This text has avoided psychological analysis of personality types that form around the neo-liberal drive for power. Robert Kroetsch provides the chance to glance in that direction, however briefly.

Very clearly, Frye, Atwood, Kroetsch (and their admirers – or what A.S.P. Woodhouse used to refer to as  (“the small frye”)  want to reinvent the history of Canada. One suspects they want to create a U.S. history for this country and twist major works of founding literature into what (consciously or unconsciously) they sense are U.S. shapes. In one of his essays Kroetsch writes about the  “experience of feeling powerless”,  but he carefully avoids relating it to imperial/colonial experience. Anything but that. If one threads a way through the works of Robert Kroetsch – Mr. postmodernism in Canada – to find an overall view of Canada, one finds a constant disparaging of the place, a constant refusal to accept it as a self-respecting community. That is often the U.S. view, for the imperial spokesperson does not easily see the colonized people as anything but a confused rabble, or, at best, a gathering of charming but unimportant “others”.

Almost none of Kroetsch’s assumptions about Canada are true. They are built up by using a misread imported methodology which leads to conclusions superimposed as the result of what appears to be a rampant, dissatisfied individualism. It is not at all surprising, if that is the case, that Kroetsch remarked he wanted to introduce into Canadian literature the Huck Finn mythos.

Canada’s beginnings, for Kroetsch, are unclear. (That is the U.S. canard that because we didn’t have a violent conflict to establish the nation, it cannot be legitimate.) The nation, for Kroetsch, doesn’t really come together, because we are a series of margins – a land mass in which cities are always bordered by wilderness. (That is a play on the Frye garrison/wilderness alienation.) Loyalties in Canada are to regions, he argued, which resist a national sense. (That has always been an argument of imperial powers about subjected territories anywhere,  “divide and conquer”,  and – in Canada – it is an argument of large private corporations resisting federal oversight and regulation.) As if blind to its huge natural wealth, Kroetsch argued that Canada was irrelevant to imperial powers – which may be a reason he was able to live in the Tar Sands Province (being torn apart for foreign profit) with hardly a murmur about the environmental desecration around him. Long away from them, he formed what is a colonial view of other Canadians. He  saw them as often resentful, basing their identity on not being like other fine people (such as those in the United States). And, finally, like all those who have worked for Canada’s absorption into the United States or for Canada’s continuing role as a raw materials colony, Kroetsch rejected the idea of U.S. imperial domination of Canada.

Canadians may turn away from the pattern of sellout by large private corporations and their governments in Canada with a feeling of betrayal and sadness. They may turn to their artistic, cultural, and creative spokespeople to find relief, encouragement, and hope for a different vision. They will not find a different vision there, especially among the most celebrated of cultural spokespeople. For the culture of a colonial country – until real resistance begins – mirrors the economic and political condition; it cannot do otherwise. Cultural leaders do not hold pre-eminent place because they are the most brilliant actors – but because they accept and promulgate views necessary to keep the population docile. Those who refuse that role are persistently demeaned, pushed aside, denied platforms, silenced.

Moving outward from the position of a person like Robert Kroetsch, the less  “intellectual”  literary world (matched, too, in theatre and film) may be characterized by the remark made by Yann Martel upon winning the Booker prize for literature in 2002 for his novel The Life of Pi.  Canada, said Yann Martel, is  “the greatest hotel on earth.” Having spent his childhood in Costa Rica, France, Mexico, and Alaska, as well as Canada, Martel may see countries as brief stopping places with better or worse levels of room service. The statement was very likely made with the fullest intention to compliment the country. Martel’s statement mirrors a very large part of the condition of published literature in Canada in the last decades. Critics observe that  “Canadian”  novels that win prizes in Canada and elsewhere in the world frequently have nothing to do with Canada. They are  “cosmopolitan”  novels. Many commentators exult in our evident maturity. Writers find their subjects in a thousand places and must always do so. That is not the point. The point is that the state of literary publishing in Canada reveals the (wealthy) colonial cultural condition of the country. In poor colonies, writers don’t refer to their country as  “the greatest hotel.”  While it may not be true to say that Canada is being erased in its own literature, it is true to say that a kind of ground level alienation from Canada is present. One critic remarked that Canada is producing a kind of kitsch novel pasted together from Hollywood ideas. That may be an extreme statement.


Alienation from Canada may be seen in the closure of one of Canada’s last independent publishers of any size – Key Porter Books, in 2011. Most Canadians in the cultural field and certainly most other Canadians hardly noticed the closing of the operation. A literary agent in Toronto did notice. Chris Bucci said,  “I think it’s terrible for Canadian writers. We don’t have enough publishers as it is, and I think it’s going to mean that the bigger U.S. multinationals will have even more control over what gets published here.”  In the years when Canadians fought for the independence of the country – after 1967 – new publishers sprang up and flourished. Canadian materials were increasingly available. The death of Key Porter Books returns Canada to the position of a country in which foreign interests (read the U.S.A.) have major control  “over what gets published here.”  That comment is reinforced by the sale of Canada’s premier publisher of Canadian books, McClelland and Stewart, at the beginning of 2012. The M&S sale, of a Canadian publisher at work for 106 years, will be dealt with in the  “Conclusion”  of this text.


Take the matter one step further. Canada is in a critical time in its history. Huge Canadian corporations are being taken over. Working conditions for long-time (and especially new) employees are being savaged. Education costs are soaring for young Canadians. Government is cooperating with the assault on ordinary Canadians, and it is taking Canada into senseless and almost meaningless U.S. imperial wars. Canadian government is denying global warming and refusing to confront the matter seriously. In the Alberta Tar Sands a false and frenetic kind of life is being lived by the people employed in the insane operations there. Canada’s literary community, on the whole, ignores it all. There has not been a serious novel (or work by a recognized poet or playwright) published in the last thirty years that places Canadians at the core of the dilemma that arises out of living in a wealthy colony exploited and ravaged to enrich a global elite.

In a colony, one might say, the more people in the arts, letters, and sciences are honoured, bemedalled, titled, and awarded, the more one may assume that they have given themselves to being representatives of the colonial condition as an acceptable and even a desirable condition. Their position in the colony is proof that they are wholly pleasing to its masters.

 The Military Nature of Canadian Colonialism Hardens 
(Pages 194-206)



 Across the Western World a huge conflict is in process. Seen from many vantages, it looks the same. Parliaments are being subverted. Political parties are being bought off or successfully indoctrinated with neo-liberal ideas. The rule of law is being actively and intentionally undermined by governments, police forces, mainstream media, and the courts. The defenses of ordinary people against exploiting power are being erased even while the defenses are being (hypocritically) praised as definitive of democracy by those in power who are undermining the liberties of ordinary people. The War on Terrorism was declared by U.S. president George W. Bush in 2001 in preparation for the war against Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and any other sovereign state the U.S. wishes to destroy or occupy. Canada fell in behind the U.S. instead of calling into question the whole bizarre piece of theatre.

The Canadian dilemma in what might well be called an international class war has resulted from the neo-liberal convictions of private corporations in Canada, from the work of educators – especially in economics and business, and from parliamentarians, especially those who have, like Donald Macdonald of the Macdonald Royal Commission, spent time in and became a part of the corporate class. It has come, too, overwhelmingly from a world of newspapers, periodicals, radio, television and all the other communications media in which ownership has integrated and concentrated to the extent that media operations are now huge and a part of the private corporate class which they serve. The service they provide is the fabrication of news, the misreporting of events, the production of whatever disinformation is necessary to misinform, to mislead, and to entrap the population in a frame of mind that is open to the destruction of democracy and the support of despotism as government.

The Canadian dilemma pits those forces against the wisdom and power of the larger population. Will Canada assist the neo-liberal forces to take control of the wealth of nations (including the Canadian nation) and pauperize whole populations. Or will Canadians carefully build shields against that movement, securing its own population and standing as an example of wise administration for others? The Canadian government in the twenty-first century, so far, has given itself totally to the neo-liberal movement, supporting the destruction of democratic freedoms and the rule of law at every level of its operation. The shift away from truly democratic government has been inexorable. But the population is becoming more and more aware of the false world they are asked to accept. The realization of that awareness has yet to be given a face in the country.

In 1993, a Liberal government took power in Canada, led by a long-time parliamentarian and widely experienced member of cabinet Jean Chrétien. He came to power as a result of the disgrace and disapproval that had fallen upon Brian Mulroney and his government. Jean Chrétien had the chance to pull Canada back from the swamp into which it was sinking. He even said he would do it, declaring that if the Free Trade Agreement was not opened and renegotiated, Canada would withdraw from it. But he was plainly a part of the corporate power structure. When he left office between 1986 and 1990, he sat on the boards of powerful corporations like Power Corporation of Canada and The Toronto Dominion Bank, for instance. He did not renegotiate the Free Trade Agreement but accepted it with its gigantic unfairnesses to Canada and to its working population. He took Canada into the Afghanistan War in 2002 – a war which was never sanctioned by the United Nations, but which was, in effect, a U.S. Imperial War. At the time, the president of the U.N. General Assembly was clear. He said: “The fight against terrorism should not be directed against any religion or ethnic group, nor against the Afghan people … ” The U.S. ignored the United Nations.

And when the U.S. undertook as well its  “oil war”  against Iraq, in 2003, Jean Chretien refused to take Canada (officially) into it – though Canadians were, as Canadians, assisting U.S. forces with intelligence and other kinds of support. As with the earlier Vietnam War, Canada was not formally in it, but the Canadian government allowed many kinds of “assistance”  to the U.S. operation. Many Canadians believe that Chrétien made a bold and determinedly independent step in refusing to take Canada (officially) into the Iraq War. Not so. John Warnock tells the real story:

John McCallum was appointed the new minister of national defence in May 2002. He flew to Washington in January 2003 to meet Donald Rumsfeld. The U.S. secretary of defence made it clear he wanted Canada to be in charge of the ISAF (the International Security Assistance Force) mission in Afghanistan and he wanted Canada to take on the responsibility of leading the mission. McCallum told Rumsfeld that if Canada took on this role, they would have no forces available for the invasion of Iraq. Rumsfeld replied: “Yeah, I know that.”  Other official exchanges confirmed that the Bush administration was not asking Canada to be part of the U.S. invasion force.

In 1997 Jean Chretien’s government signed the Kyoto Accord, intended to be the launch of a global effort to contain and lessen greenhouse gases and to protect the planet’s environment. Then the Chrétien government did absolutely nothing on the matter. That policy suited the U.S. which signed the Accord in 1997 and then withdrew from it in 2001. Incidentally, the U.S. action confirmed the me-too attitude of Canada in relation to the U.S. Canada signed the Accord. The U.S. did not like the Accord – and so Canada let it lapse completely, violating Canada’s international undertaking, publicly assumed. Since the Stephen Harper neo-liberals have gained power in Canada they have rejected the whole international environmental program, joining the U.S. as a siamese twin on the matter. As Stephen Harper said on December 7, 2011, at a U.S./Canada agreement on perimeter trade access and policing:  “Canada has no friends among America’s enemies.”  He might have gone on to say that Canada has no policies – even to save life on the planet – if they conflict with U.S. policies.
Jean Chrétien took Canada into the U.S. war against Afghanistan. He broke his promise to re-negotiate the first Free Trade Agreement and, in fact, accepted the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1992. He signed and then betrayed the Kyoto Protocol to begin working on greenhouse emissions destructive to the environment of the planet. And then he passed the mantle of power to Paul Martin, prime minister for a short time – December, 2003 to the election in January of 2006. Martin’s government fell on a non-confidence motion in which the neo-liberal Stephen Harper Conservatives were supported by the NDP and the Bloc Quebecois.

Paul Martin’s government refused to take part in the U.S. Star Wars program, its National Missile Defence Program of 2005. Martin pushed for – and had much to do with the expansion of the G8 countries (the most “developed” countries) to become the G20. That expansion took account of the obvious movement of other countries from the category of developing countries. Though a member of the corporate elite of Canada – Chairman and CEO of the Canada Steamship Lines – Martin was seen by some as attempting to forge independent paths for Canada. Quite apart from the difficulty of convincing others, however, he seemed to have trouble convincing himself. It was not a surprise, then, when in 2005, Paul Martin joined with U.S. president George W. Bush and the president of Mexico, Vincente Fox at Waco, Texas, to sign the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (the SPP).


As we have come to see in relation to other formations of the kind, the incentive for the SPP didn’t come from grass roots political constituencies or from MPs working together in their caucuses in Parliament. It came from, in Canada, the Canadian Council of Chief Executives – an organization of the most powerful corporations and banks in the country, many of them branch-plants with head offices in the U.S.A. They urged an SPP as early as 2003. Paul Martin was following their lead. Nine days after the CCCE transformed itself into a Task Force recommending, along with a Mexican and a U.S. organization, that North America have a Security and Prosperity Partnership by 2010, the three leaders signed the SPP. On HYPERLINK   "http://www.globalresearch.ca" 

globalresearch.ca , (March 17, 2008), Andrew Gavin Marshall lists the intentions of the SPP. It would implement common border security and bioprotection [enhanced surveillance] strategies, enhance critical infrastructure protection, implement a common approach to emergency response, implement improvements in aviation and maritime security, combat transnational threats, enhance intelligence partnerships, promote sectoral collaboration in energy, transportation, financial services, technology, and other areas to facilitate business [and] reduce the costs of trade.

The SPP created working groups in each country, never identified publicly but working to advance the ends of the SPP. They were groups working to help make changes to the political, cultural, and economic structures of the countries – and they were not identified for the larger population. The organization thickened, calling for a  “North American Competitiveness Council”  to further the goal of what it called  “deep integration.”  In 2006 Stephen Harper was elected and declared his government’s intention to build a closer relation with the U.S. In a secret meeting of the SPP partners held in Banff (Sept. 12-14, 2006) it was suggested the growth of the organization might be an  “evolution by stealth.”
Reaction and resistance to the idea was strong and openly expressed, and it was articulated clearly by the Council of Canadians which, among other forces, lifted much of the secrecy that surrounded the idea. The resistance may have, in fact, pushed the movement underground. Though the SPP and firm announcements of integration (meaning the of absorption of Canada into the U.S.A.) have fallen off, the December 2011 meeting of Barack Obama and Stephen Harper to initiate the Beyond the Border Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness Action Plan is, in fact, a declaration of further Canadian absorption into the United States. That is a movement whereby unique and superior Canadian regulations are flattened to U.S. standards, in which U.S. police officers are given the right to operate in Canada, and in which U.S. intelligence may track Canadians anywhere in the two countries. At the inauguration of the Plan, Stephen Harper said “These agreements create … the most significant steps forward in Canada-U.S. cooperation since the North American Free Trade Agreement”.

The idea of a perimeter being drawn around North America must focus the attention of Canadians. It is not a perimeter drawn around Canada; it is a perimeter which absorbs Canada into the U.S.A. It is (intentionally) suggestive of  “Fortress North America”  which – in itself – suggests North America against the world. And, in effect, that is what power in the U.S. and in private Canadian corporations and financial institutions wants to see.  “Fortress North America”  would not be quite alone, for hegemonic partners would be made up of the countries of Europe in close collaboration (for use in wars and trade associations). What the U.S.A. – the contemporary super-power – is facing, or believes it is facing, is real replacement by Asian countries, perhaps in league with a Russia newly armed and happy to see the U.S.A. rendered powerless.


One of the reasons absorption of Canada into the U.S.A. has not been faster is the manic fear the U.S. presently has of foreign threats to its world domination. It sews up its border believing Canada may feed terrorists into the U.S.A. It wants Canadian wealth on U.S. terms – and so far it is getting it. Canadians probably don’t understand the desperation felt in the U.S.A. People in the U.S.A believe themselves really chosen by God to dominate the world – Manifest Destiny and U.S. exceptionalism. Those people are willing to go to extreme lengths to maintain the dominant position of the U.S.A.

It may not be accident that the U.S. has thrown everything into the development of weapons of mass destruction rather than using its wealth and power to form genuine relations of sharing and trust. That fact demonstrates that the Canada-U.S. partnership is a sham. None of the so-called sharing agreements of the last fifty years give average Canadians any reason to believe the U.S. respects Canada or wishes to see it live in a fair and just relation on the continent. And so another proposal has been made for partnership – this time by the use of a common currency. It was put forward first in an article called “The Case for the Amero”, published by the secretly endowed Fraser Institute. (The Vancouver-based Fraser Institute refuses to publish a list of its financial supporters, leading many to suspect that the largest proportion of its money is contributed from the U.S.A.) A common currency was discussed in 1999 by the C.D. Howe Institute as well, also a politically Right think-tank. Discussion increased in 2007 and 2008 in the atmosphere created by the neo-liberal Stephen Harper government – and it was joined by the proposal for a North American Union.


That idea takes us back to the election of 1891 when Goldwin Smith and Erastus Wiman were campaigning for Commercial Union which they intended as a first step to the annexation of Canada by the U.S.A. The recent idea of North American Union has been fought in both Canada and the United States, with the effect that it (like Commercial Union after 1891) has gone underground. As the U.S.A. weakens in the world theatre, its people are not now as confident as they were that they can swallow Canada without suffering indigestion. Better simply to loot it of all the wealth that can be carried off to the U.S.A.

A significant reason for the dampening effect upon U.S. North American expansion has been the financial meltdown of 2008, the increased unemployment there, the massive foreclosures, the huge dip in house prices and house ownership, and the escalating national debt. The U.S., which has trumpeted for years the need for open borders and for unimpeded trade, is growing protectionist. The recent Buy America legislation, 2009 and after, not only is a violation of NAFTA terms, but the U.S. has waved aside World Trade Organization terms to favour its own producers. The U.S. ignores international agreements whenever doing so is convenient for its large corporations. Because Stephen Harper – selectively - doesn’t believe government should involve itself in the development of national enterprise, Canada has cooperated with U.S. attacks upon Canadian economic activity in the Buy American program!

The U.S. wants everything it can squeeze from Canada, but only if it can also protect its own economy. That is not too difficult for the U.S. to do – as far as Canada is concerned. In almost every trade, defence, mobility, and security agreement since 1945 Canada has accepted an unequal place. None moreso than in Canada’s equal membership in NATO, which, from its beginning in 1949, has been dominated by the U.S.A. and devoted to U.S. expansionist policies. Many Canadians will be surprised to be reminded that for some decades the New Democratic Party resisted Canada’s membership in NATO and had a policy to take Canada out of the Organization. The New Democratic Party argument was (correctly) that membership undermines an independent foreign policy for Canada. New Democrats were also highly critical of NATO activities and the Organization’s willingness to close its eyes to dictatorships and rampant abuses of Human Rights. In 1969 Ed Broadbent argued that a complete withdrawal was necessary if Canada was going to make its own foreign policy. In 1970 the NDP rejected the Liberal White Paper because of its acceptance of NATO. In 1975 T.C. Douglas urged a phasing out of Canada’s membership. The NDP’s own White Paper in 1987 confirmed the Party’s long-standing policy to take Canada out of NATO. In 2004, however, Jack Layton, NDP leader, changed course for the NDP, and in June, 2011 the NDP voted to support Canadian forces in Libya and the NATO bombing of Libya.


The NATO bombing of Libya – stretching military actions far beyond U.N. intentions – is, perhaps, symbolic of what NATO really stands for. It is a U.S. policy instrument, primarily. It is a Cold War creation, developed after the end of the Russian Empire and the Cold War to serve U.S. dominance anywhere in the world. After the Second World War the two super powers – the U.S. and the USSR – competed for influence and power in the world. NATO was a back-up, a cooperator in moves by the U.S., always identified as The West or The Free World, almost never as the U.S.A. and its allies. In 1989 (see below) Robert T. Osterthaler described NATO as a military alliance. That made Canadians nervous very early on, and Lester B. Pearson pushed to have the Organization take part in educational and cultural projects and exchanges.


As a result, one of the programs set up was an academic exchange program among scholars of the then eleven NATO countries in order to familiarize them with each other, and to share ideas. As an incentive, academics could take positions in universities in other countries for twenty-three months without paying income tax in the guest country.The twenty-three month limit was intended to assure the guests were not intending permanent residence in Canada or other NATO country. Canadianization investigations were being pursued in the late 1960s and early 1970s to expose discrimination in Canada against Canadians and the preference by administrators for foreign scholars – especially U.S. and British scholars. Research revealed that – on a very large scale – U.S. and British academics were hired in Canada, listed as temporary NATO guests, and absolved of taxes for the first two years though both they and their employers intended them to be permanent.

As a result millions of dollars were lost to the Canadian treasury because of the unpaid taxes of the new, foreign university employees. When the matter was pointed out to the Canadian tax department and a way outlined by which a very simple check could be made in order to retrieve the, in fact, consciously stolen money, the Canadian tax authorities refused to lift a finger.


The Warsaw Pact countries, more tightly dominated by Soviet Russia, more or less balanced NATO and were equally subservient to Soviet policy. The Warsaw Pact was put into place in 1955 after Germany was accepted into NATO in 1954, only nine years after the end of the Second World War. The two blocs were almost formally announced as in full-scale competition in 1946 when Winston Churchill made his famous speech in Fulton, Missouri announcing that an iron curtain now separated the two global factions. The rift intensified propaganda on both sides. History written by Western historians calls to mind the attempt by the Hungarians in 1956 to resist Soviet policies, giving rise to the Hungarian Revolution in which a hard fought resistance ended in the snuffing of Hungarian hopes for greater freedom in their own country. That history also calls to mind the “Prague Spring” in 1968 when President Alexander Dubcek attempted to introduce reforms allowing greater freedom of speech, travel, and media. The Warsaw Pact countries invaded brutally and ended the idea of reform in Czechoslovakia. Western historians are less willing to outline the moves made by the U.S.A., often fronted by NATO, against desires for freedom and democracy among countries in its  “sphere of influence.”  NATO, in fact, did not go to war as the Warsaw Pack countries did – until the end of the Russian empire. U.S. covert operations made the use of NATO in open war unnecessary.

In 1953, the U.S. backed a coup d’état against the Prime Minister of Iran, Mohammad Mosaddegh who nationalized Iranian oil. The famous Shah of Iran then ruled by terror and torture for nearly twenty-five years with full U.S. support. In 1954 Jacabo Arbenz, Guatemalan leader, began land distribution to provide some justice for his people. Huge tracts of land owned by U.S. interests were lying unused while Guatemalans were starving. In 1953-54 the CIA trained and armed a Liberation Army that overthrew Arbenz and set up a government that spent decades murdering, imprisoning, and torturing Guatemalan dissidents. In 1967 Greece, a NATO member, underwent a military right-wing coup, followed by years of terror and torture. NATO did nothing, and the CIA actively supported the Greek junta. In 1973 the U.S. prepared and financed the military coup in Chile, resulting in seventeen years of terror.

In Nicaragua the Somoza family ruled for two generations with the full support of the U.S.A. Resistance to the regime ended the dictatorship in 1979 with a government which launched land reform, a literacy campaign, and improved social services for Nicaraguans. Financing, training, and equipping an army to fight against the Sandinista government of Nicaragua in 1981, the U.S. spent huge sums to overthrow the leaders who cemented their position by democratic election. Finally, in 1985 the U.S. Congress refused to pump more money into the illicit war. And so the government of Ronald Reagan secretly sold arms to Iran (under arms embargo), and engaged in drug trafficking to get around Congress and continue to finance the war against the legitimate government of Nicaragua.
Those are only a few of the operations the U.S. conducted under the guise of the Fight Against Communism, precursor to The War on Terror. In every case, the local populations were seeking greater justice, greater freedom, and alleviation of economic repression. The U.S. chose to call the drive for reform a desire for Communism.


During the years after 1989 – until today – a major development was and is underway in military and foreign policy which has shaped Canada in a new and ugly way, few Canadians having the faintest idea of the change and its huge implications. The development is the new role, structure, and power of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, NATO. In the book, NATO Expansion, written mostly by people who believe expansion is a good thing and who certainly believe the existence of NATO is good, a phrase appears. It is NATO’s ability  “to operate out of area”  – meaning anywhere in the world besides the North Atlantic and Europe. That is the key to the reason NATO continued after the break-up of the Soviet Empire – and went into an expansionary phase. If the U.S. was to secure itself as the only super power, it had to have the military capability to move unimpeded by the United Nations against any threats to U.S. hegemony. To disguise its imperial wars, the U.S. needed an umbrella organization that would pull in allied and satellite countries.

NATO was not only perfectly constructed to do that. But it was there on the day the Soviet Empire collapsed. U.S. Brigadier General Osterthaler describes it in the 1998 publication.

The fundamental strength of NATO is that it is more than a security institution. It actually is a military alliance, and it has some capabilities that do not exist in any other alliance in which the Untied States plays a role, European or otherwise. NATO has a standing command structure and military decision-making tradition, a fixed set of processes, and military headquarters for planning. It has political military committees, decision-making institutions, and a standing body called the North Atlantic Council in which all member states are represented with an ambassador.

Building upon that solid base constructed over nearly forty years, NATO set out to expand into Eastern Europe and to change its mandate. The change increases overt U.S. imperial activity in the world, ties Canada more closely to dangerous U.S. policy, and further erodes Canadian sovereignty and independence. We shall see how.


 Media and Film in Canada: Blinding the Population
(Pages 207-223)



The U.S. film industry has always made huge profits in Canada. It was, therefore, from the beginning, a sitting duck. Canadian government (with Canadian film enterprise) could have used taxation of U.S. film in Canada as a major source of revenue to build an independent Canadian film industry speaking the Canadian languge to Canadians and – increasingly – being of interest outside Canada. Moreover, the sitting duck position of U.S. film could have bred another advantage. As Canadian film structures became solid and productive, the Canadian government could have demanded a measure of reciprocity in film viewing. If Canada is to take x percentage of U.S. films for prime-time viewing in Canada, then the U.S. will have to take y percentage of Canadian films for prime-time viewing in the U.S.


The rewards to Canada would have been abundant. Instead of Canadians being brain-washed into believing Canada cannot operate in a major modern entertainment arena, the real talent and creative genius of Canadians would have been evident. Canadians would have gained confidence in their own culture and its legitimacy. They would, moreover, have been able – without propaganda or rhetoric – to absorb and celebrate the Canadian sensibility and world-view. And – perhaps incidentally – a major, culturally sophisticated enterprise could have been built employing large numbers of Canadians and bringing financial profit into the country.

Materials on the history of Canadian film are plentiful. They all tell the same story. It is a story of collusion by Canadian government with U.S. interests and the sell-out of creative talent and energy in Canada. But more than that. It is the story of willing cooperation of the Canadian government with an indoctrination system geared to assure the alienation of the Canadian people from their own country, culture, thought-processes, and loyalties. A result in film-making of media concentration. Film production and its theatre exhibition are relatively easy to regulate. Canada has not sought in any serious way to begin that task. The almost equal failure to regulate television (and now more complex forms of electronic communication) points to unstated policy. It points as well to a failure of national will in the production and dissemination of materials. What is called globalization in culture and ideas should be called Americanization but – for reasons of policy again – it is not. No one doubts the complexity of the cultural problems created by the elaborated forms of global electronic communication. But failure to undertake serious defence of resident cultures is made to seem too complex to undertake simply because the political will is not there to undertake it. For imperial reasons the cry goes up immediately that to regulate what is in fact the flow of imperial propaganda is to inhibit the free flow of ideas.

The early story of the Canadian film market is of enterprising Canadian capitalists allying with U.S. film-makers and distributors to corner the market in Canada. Before long the vertical integration being pursued in the U.S.A. – production, distribution, and exhibition – was introduced (actually simply extended) into Canada. That is what capitalism does. But that is not always what governments permit. The British government, for instance, saw what was happening and intervened to prevent film made by British creators and the film houses showing those films from being absorbed and destroyed by U.S. interests. The war that was fought to get complete control of the Canadian film market was not a gentle one – though financial backers in both Canada and the U.S. made heart-warming statements. Manjunath Pendakur, in his book Canadian Dreams and American Control writes:

Famous Players expanded rapidly. The new company pursued independent [Canadian] exhibitors with a vengeance unsurpassed in Canadian motion picture history. Famous Players had its own  “wrecking crew”  and a  “dynamite gang”  to help achieve its end of monopolizing the Canadian theater business …

Pendakur’s detailed account of the manipulated and apparently highly dubious takeover of the Canadian film market deserves close study. There was a strong basis for the New York Times editorializing in 1928 that  “the sun never sets on the U.S. film” , playing with the well-known British claim earlier that  “the sun never sets on the British empire.”

Canadian film-makers – through all the battles and sell-outs – have petitioned the Canadian government to act on the behalf of Canadians, and they have always been betrayed. In 1947 Canada was in financial difficulties. All kinds of import restrictions were introduced as well as measures to limit Canadian holidaying in the U.S.A. Money was flowing one way in the film market – south to the U.S. Nothing like reciprocity existed, as the Commissioner of the National Film Board pointed out at the time. Seeing a possible move against U.S. film by the Canadians, U.S. lobbyists moved in. They came to Canada and met chief figures including the Deputy Governor of the Bank of Canada and Lester B. Pearson, Secretary of State for External Affairs. The Canadians had been well briefed, and they used their knowledge, in fact, to betray Canadian film-makers and the larger population. With the U.S. representatives they set up what was called The Canadian Cooperation Project. Its stated intention was to get more U.S. production into Canada, to get more Canadian films into the U.S. market, to get greater openness in the U.S. to Canadian capital in the overall film industry. As well, it was intended to promote Canada to U.S. viewers. In his book Hollywood’s Canada, The Americanization of Our National Image, Pierre Berton sums up what happened, in fact.


From start to finish, the Canadian Co-operation Project was a public relation man’s boondoggle. But from the point of view of the American film industry, it was remarkably effective. It prevented a quota system and thwarted any wistful hopes there might have been for a home-grown motion picture industry. The money taken out of the country by the Hollywood movie companies continued to increase year by year.


Berton records the U.S. continuing insistence upon twisting Canadian history and event into what can fairly be called U.S. patterns – for Canadian consumption and “education.” If U.S. films about the U.S. indoctrinated Canadians with U.S. ideas and values, U.S. films about Canada were even worse.
As might be expected, the surge of concern about Canadian independence, especially after 1967, was present among the makers of film in Canada. Their representations to government continued – and took advantage of the general awakening in the population. The film-makers had been able over decades to see the points of key importance that crippled their efforts. They could explain them simply and in layman’s language to Canadian legislators. Though argument at the time was strong, Liberal governments did little but promise. Then governments changed, and the Mulroney government appointed Flora MacDonald minister of communications.

MacDonald listened to the Canadian film-makers in 1987 who told her they needed to get their films before the Canadian public, that the distribution of films in Canada was foreign-dominated, and no matter how good a Canadian film is – it simply isn’t seen, even when it is covered with awards. She saw the evidence – that Canadian films get only about four percent of the time on Canadian screens. MacDonald, at last, determined to go where effect would really be seen. She prepared legislation to boost the statistic from about four percent to fifteen percent of screen time. The simple argument was that Canadian films had to be given fair access to Canadian theatres so Canadians could see them. Brian Mulroney, prime minister, appeared to back her work.

Many pointed out that she was simply doing what Pierre Juneau did with the music quotas in 1970, with the result that Canadian music thrives as never before, producing internationally successful names … as never before. The trajectory of the ensuing Canadian film battle can be told in the headlines. It didn’t take long:  “Film law to go ahead despite U.S. protests to Ottawa.”  (Toronto Star, Feb. 18, 1988).  “MacDonald denies film bill stalled.”  (Toronto Star, Feb. 27, 1988.)   “U.S. Senators talking tough on film policy.” (Globe and Mail, Mar.5, 1988).  “U.S. cranks up the pressure over film distribution policy.”  (Vancouver Sun, April 27, 1988).  “Ottawa weakening film bill to suit U.S. secret memo.” (Toronto Star, May 3, 1988).  “We haven’t weakened on film bill, says MacDonald.”  (Vancouver Sun, May 4, 1988).  “MacDonald to introduce weakened film bill.” (Globe and Mail, May 6, 1988). “How Flora Macdonald lost one to the gipper on films.” (Financial Times, May 16, 1988).  “Flora gracious in defeat.” (Cinema Canada, Dec. 1988).

The story behind the headlines is as punishingly humiliating as it can be. MacDonald really intended a sea-change in film policy in Canada for all the good reasons. Resistance was fronted by Jack Valenti, president of the Motion Picture Export Association of America. He was supported by the Canadian executive director of the Canadian Motion Picture Distributors Association – which was answerable to the U.S. Association. The apparently independent Canadian Association expressed serious doubts about the legislation.
Valenti travelled to Ottawa, met Flora MacDonald, and came as close to ordering her to change the legislation as was possible. As the headline suggests, MacDonald held her ground. But she hadn’t figured on Brian Mulroney. Jack Valenti went to see Ronald Reagan, the U.S. president who was a former movie actor – nicknamed  “the gipper”  in the U.S.A. from a movie role he had played in 1940. Ronald Reagan, of course, supported Valenti and personally telephoned Brian Mulroney. The two men must have agreed that the legislation had to be gutted and in the right way. For talk in Ottawa was that Jack Valenti went to Ottawa to advise on the form of the legislation and, in fact, drafted it himself – legislation that cut out anything of substance, leaving Canadian film-making crippled – as it remains to this day. The last major legislative reconsideration of film, film-making, and the film market in Canada was, in fact, written by a U.S. lobbyist for the U.S. film industry with the approval of the president of the United States and the prime minister of Canada.

It is a reconsideration that guarantees creative film people in Canada will not have the products of their work seen by Canadians. It guarantees that there will be no significant Canadian film industry – meaning hundreds, probably thousands of well-paying and interesting jobs will be denied to Canadians (jobs that naturally spill over into every other kind of electronic image making and communication). It guarantees that revenues which should flow into Canada (and into government coffers) will never appear. It guarantees that the entertainment brainwashing of Canadians will continue – and the overall colonial-mindedness of Canadians will be reinforced – without modification by a balance of Canadian voices powerfully present in the Canadian film world.


In this section we have been, in fact, talking about one of the main concerns of Harold Innis – empire and communications. We have been dealing, too, with the famous Marshall McLuhan phrase that  “the medium is the message.” In this case since the medium is ninety-six percent U.S., the message cannot be clearer.  And, as already made clear, the “medium” is as much a product of those who have power over it as it is a particular technological form of communication.


Media concentration in the newspaper industry is as sorry a story – with one difference, that newspapers in Canada must be owned in Canada. Manjunath Pendakur points out in his record of the U.S. takeover of the Canadian film industry and market that the corporate, banking and other financial interests on both sides of the border operated to assist the sell-out. That statement simply means – what the financial crash of 2008 showed the world – that financial interests have no country, no allegiance to society, no concern about people or governments. That is a dramatic way of saying that as time has passed in Canada the mainstream press and media have changed. They have been elevated into a position of power, wealth, and influence that makes them indistinguishable from other major private corporations. The purpose of those private corporations is to maximize profit before all else. The claim that corporations have first responsibility to their shareholders (before responsibility to the society, to law, to anything else) is only partly true. Shareholders become more and more like voters in democratic society – people who have to be hood-winked so that the real wealth generated by private corporations can be funnelled to a small elite.


Newspapers have never been the protectors of the little man, the guardians of democracy, the champions of free expression that their own propaganda has proclaimed. Greed, loyalty to power, and desire for profit have always been driving forces in their lives. But, in earlier years, their ownership and their political allegiances were different enough and separated widely enough to prevent them from presenting a single, almost monolithic face. As they do now. Now, newspaper owners also own television companies, and ramifications of digital, electronic communication. That is a natural development. As websites and bloggers and other such entities appeared in the computer world, newspapers had to match or be left behind. And so they not only have gone online, but their investment officers have moved capital into all of the new developments. They have many arms – but they are all attached to the one octopus head.

One of the very strong characteristics during the changeover in the last thirty years has been the degradation of newspaper conduct, reporting, and quality. With Conrad (Lord) Black – a convict in jail as I write – independence of reporting and editorial direction were attacked and limited, employment was made less secure, and hard Right political policy more and more put into place. Certainly, newspapers were feeling a financial pinch, but the attitudes of newspaper owners hardened during this time independently of the economic situation.

The Black empire fell mostly into the hands of the Asper family – and they continued – perhaps intensifying – the conduct and policy of Conrad Black. To review their actions one can do no better than read the account of the family  nation”  by Marc Edge. CanWest Global, as the Asper octopus was known, then fell into the hands (mostly) of PostMedia Network Inc. in July, 2010. The sprawl of ownership and the interlocking of media operations that have become “normal” (and the writhing changes within the ownership ranks) fill books and magazine columns. They are not inhibited by government or legislation. The danger of media ownership concentration has been understood for the last sixty years – since the end of the Second World War. There have been four government commissions and studies of the problems with almost no ameliorative effect.
The first, the Royal Commission on Publications (1960-1961), concerned itself mostly with periodical publications and the effect of the foreign product (mostly U.S.) on “competition”  and national identity. Called the O’Leary Report after its Chief Commissioner, the study was set up because of what was deemed the overabundance of U.S. periodicals that were said to be driving Canadian publications off the newsstands. The problem – though particularized and present before intense concentrations of ownership, television expansion, and digitalization – was fundamental. How were Canadians going to be able to speak to each other, to maintain a cultural community with a solid character in the face of the tidal-wave of U.S. publications in Canada?

The O’Leary commissioners recommended a revision of the tax structure for foreign publications so that there could no longer be deductions from income tax of advertising expenditures aimed at the Canadian market but present in foreign publications. In a way wholly characteristic of government conduct in Canada, the recommendation was not put into effect for sixteen years – and then with aggressive resistance by U.S. interests.
The Davey Committee of the Canadian Senate was struck in 1969. The Committee spent twenty-two months in investigation, in a country – it was said – which possessed the highest concentration of media ownership of any democratic nation. The Committee expressed alarm at cross-media ownership (what is now called “convergence”), and at chain ownership. Putting the matter sharply, the Committee’s Report (vol. 1, p. 67), asserted that Canada  “should no longer tolerate a situation where the public interest, in so vital a field as information, is dependent upon the greed or goodwill of an extremely privileged group of businessmen.”  Its recommendations were ignored or were responded to in such a weak way the responses made no difference to the prevailing situation.

Following the Davey Committee Report, concentration of ownership and power increased dramatically. And then on August 20, 1980 something strange occurred. The Southam newspaper organization closed the doors of the Winnipeg Tribune and the Thomson chain closed the doors of the Ottawa Journal. By the merest accident the seemingly coordinated actions of the two press giants on precisely the same day gave each a monopoly in the city where the other closed its newspaper. Concern was expressed so strongly that the Trudeau government created the Royal Commission on Newspapers in that year. Tom Kent was chosen to head the task. The Commission conducted hearings, did interviews, and received written briefs for a ten-month period. Its report (1981) was contained in nine volumes. It recorded that the predictions of the Davey Committee of increasing concentration had been born out while nothing was done to correct an increasingly dangerous situation.

The recommendations of the Kent Commission were so good that the whole fortress of media power was concentrated on destroying everything proposed. It recommended a Canadian Newspapers Act to put activities under legislation so that breaches of the law could be addressed. It recommended limitation of media power, major actors being forced to reduce holdings. And, especially, it recommended that no company should be permitted to own newspaper and television, or radio stations in the same market. It recommended more – about quality and coverage. But none of the recommendations were acted upon with continuing effect. In 1982 the Trudeau Government directed the CRTC to act in such a way as to prevent licensing of an owner with another media interest in the same market. Before the CRTC could act, Brian Mulroney became prime minister and erased the policy. The Kent Commission recommendations disappeared.


But in October 2002 in Policy Options/Options Politiques Tom Kent was heard from again. Having had twenty years to watch the rejection of his Commission’s recommendations and the developments since, he underscored the new situation. It can be summed up in the move from media concentration (the ownership of chains in newspapers, television broadcasting, etc.) to media convergence – a much more dangerous development. Media convergence is a baldly economic strategy involving ownership of all forms of media and information gathering and, in a sense, piling them one on top of the other. That process, in effect, may be used to debase news gathering, weaken editorial quality, destroy variety in the gathering and sourcing of information, and to work as an on-going policy to encourage government deregulation of all aspects of the industry. It bases itself, as stated, on ownership of all the kinds and all the levels of media. It is constructed, moreover, by accident or design, to prevent newcomers entering the field, newcomers who might have a foolish desire to serve the Canadian population with respect and integrity.

Media convergence means larger holdings and a smaller number of owners. It means the use of digitalization and repetitive use of materials to cut costs of personnel, administration, advertising-gathering … and to increase audience indoctrination.
In his 2002 article, Tom Kent gives objective reason why the media giants of Canada have so obviously become the servants of government in an elite club where both sides work for the power of the other. But the relation is slippery. Government and corporations are accused, across the Western World, of integrating to assure the power and wealth of a small elite. That may well be the fact in Canada, but – in relation to the media – as Tom Kent, reveals, the sliding together has been partly accident, partly design.

The new system, the new convergence, according to Tom Kent, places the converged giants at the mercy of government. The reason is simple. Anyone may gather capital and begin a newspaper to become a standing, forceful critic of government. But television licenses are granted by government and are renewable – or may be denied renewal by the CRTC, an apparently arms-length, independent Commission. Except the CRTC may receive instructions from cabinet about decisions it must make. According to Tom Kent, a media giant will massage its newspaper presentations to be satisfying to government so that the giant will not be denied the television license which allows it to make much more money than it can make from its newspaper operation. The media giant, as a result, is in the grip of government in all the expressions of its operation. As governments move in to license and regulate other forms of electronic communication, the same censorship power will be present.

But, of course, balances shift. At critical times – when government is seriously at fault and needs full investigation (or cover up) by media, or when government is in election campaign and needs various kinds of coverage – media giants can wring out concessions, can demand to govern on certain matters that relate to their wealth and power gathering. Governments may well have to satisfy media giants in order to stay in power. Convergence, then, means more than what most of the academics and theoreticians of media in Canada will grant. Not only is it a converging of media kinds or genres under one ownership roof. It is, also, much more than a pushing forward and outward of what was long recognized as the formation of chains and networks to gain economic advantage.
Convergence is now a matter of uniting with government to forge and present a seamless picture of the society in which all opposition to large, private corporate policy is declared dangerous, backward, undemocratic, and deserving of draconian action to erase it. What has appeared to be an economic development to increase the power and profitability of monster media organizations is fast becoming a means by which neo-liberal alliances are solidified among governments, police forces, the military, and the large information, entertainment, communication, and indoctrination giants.

Tom Kent advises that a solution to the present danger is to prohibit the issuance of broadcast licenses to owners of newspapers. That would no doubt be a beginning. But his recommendation in 1981 that Parliament pass a Newspaper Act under which  “the fourth estate”  would be able to be judged as within or outside the law is equally important. Such an Act must be accompanied by legislation to cover all uses of electronic and digital devices for the purpose of carrying communication to the public. The important thing for Canadians to notice now is that the nine volumes produced by the Kent Commission in 1981 and the important recommendations accompanying the nine volumes were completely ignored – because they offended the growing media giants. If the recommendations had been followed, Canada’s democracy would not be – as it is now – in deep peril.

In June of 2006 the Senate Standing Committee on Transport and Communications released a Report on the state of media and communications in Canada – a Report without force. It reported that concentration of ownership leads to limits on news diversity and quality. It observed the failure of the CRTC and the federal Competition Bureau to stop media concentration. It recorded the worsening conditions for journalists under the new conditions. It also remarked upon the serious underfunding of the CBC and upon the lack of training in Canada and of serious institutes of investigation and reporting.

In 2008 the CRTC (which can be overruled by cabinet at any time) ordered some limitation – laughable limitation – on ownership in a given market. No one, it ruled, can own broadcasting assets holding more than forty-five percent of the country’s total television viewership. That means that two corporations, vertically integrated, engaging in deep convergence (ownership of other kinds of media to the point of fabricating news and information) could own broadcasting assets which served ninety percent of Canadian viewers. Joined with government, the two corporations could supply an almost seamless propaganda machine for a police state.


Conclusion: The Harper Attempt at a Coup d’Etat and the Call to Freedom
(Pages 224-250)

 In 1982 the Trudeau government instructed the CRTC to refuse television licences to media corporations with major newspaper operations in the same market area. The Mulroney government won office the next year and erased that order. It was critically important to Canadian democracy. Its erasure assured continuing concentration and convergence in Canadian media. Almost the only positive move made by the Trudeau government arising out of the Kent Commission was destroyed within months.
In the run-up to the 1993 election, Jean Chrétien promised that – in power – he would insist upon renegotiation of the Free Trade Agreement to make it a fair agreement to Canada, with equal rights accorded this country. Definitions of  “dumping”, of “subsidy” had to be made clear, and dispute resolution mechanisms, for instance, had to be fixed. Much more needed sharp clarification, for the FTA and NAFTA are both packed with unclear statements about terms of agreement. Two years after gaining power Chrétien announced that no agreement could be reached with the U.S., and so he would do nothing. But he had already, shortly after taking office, ratified the North American Free Trade Agreement without a murmur.

The free trade agreements signed by Canada were not agreements on trade, fundamentally. The existing trade patterns with the U.S.A. were effective, and there was nothing impeding improvement where problems existed. The agreements were about giving the U.S. power over Canadian resources and giving U.S. unimpeded access to their exploitation. Whatever volume of fossil fuel Canada exports to the U.S.A. at any period, for instance, governs the volume Canada must export to the U.S.A. in future.

The Agreements were about removing capital/financial services from Canadian oversight and about erasing the border in any way that it impedes U.S. exploitation of Canadian wealth. They were about a steady and corrosive process of deregulation. Under the guise of standardizing regulation, Canada debases its regulation regime across the board to integrate with the U.S.A. For Canada, the free trade agreements have brought no benefit. Proponents will point to small areas where Canada seems to have gained. They will argue that the gains – which might have been there without free trade – are proof of benefit.
But Canada’s loss of control over export of resources, its loss of sovereignty in many, many areas, its ability to be sued by private corporations for loss of business because of Canadian government policy, its loss of weight in global affairs (because other nations see Canada, increasingly, as a docile satellite of the U.S.A.) renders this country a mirage as a self-respecting, independent nation. Free trade shackles Canada to its economic and cultural master. The essential point that has been made and must be reiterated here is that Canada does not have free trade. It has entered economic agreements with the U.S.A. that are unequal and unjust to Canada and Canadians. Canada’s ruling elites have betrayed the nation and the Canadian people. The ruling elites have blinded, hoodwinked, or bribed the elected representatives of the people. The misnamed free trade agreements have been used as platforms upon which to subjugate the interests of the Canadian people, to erase their fundamental freedoms, and to seize the wealth that is theirs.

Much could be written about the events from the time of the Paul Martin Liberal defeat, the years of minority government, and those which have occurred since the (possibly illegal) majority victory of the Stephen Harper Right on May 2, 2011. It is a tale of the growth of neo-liberalism (and its real and quasi use of lawless actions), the destruction of Canadian democracy, the erosion of the rule of law in Canada, a visible move towards fascism, and the increasing colonial dependency of the Canadian nation. The story of what may fairly be called the lawlessness or – more extremely but not incorrectly – the criminality of the Harper regime might be told by beginning with the repetition of the story of the decades-long allegations of personal corruption of former Tory prime minister (from 1984 to 1993) Brian Mulroney. For some years Stephen Harper and Mulroney were in contact, Mulroney known to be consulted by Harper.  That story is not usually considered with other allegations of Stephen Harper wrongdoing, a serious oversight.
      For it is key in the wrongdoing of Stephen Harper and is reexamined here to underscore that fact. The key event for our purposes ends the long and distasteful history of allegations and stories concerning Brian Mulroney and his involvement with Karlheinz Schreiber. More importantly – as already explained – it reveals the manipulations of Stephen Harper to protect the system of corruption that is the backdrop for the growth of neo-liberalism in Canada. As already pointed out Schreiber was an international arms dealer, lobbyist for German airplane manufacturers, and fraudster (he is in German jail as I write, having been being finally extradited from Canada). Schreiber gave Mulroney three white envelopes (at different times) with, in each, something like $100,000.00. But allegedly connected to that payment for services (?) which was agreed to before Mulroney left office in 1993 or soon after – was the whole business of Air Canada buying 34 aircraft from European Airbus and Karlheinz Schreiber being paid $20 million to help facilitate the sale. The destination of the $20 million has never been determined.  Allegations, however, were made that Schreiber had paid Mulroney commissions in relation to the acquisition of the planes. The allegations have never been proved, nor have they ever been thoroughly tested.
Suspicions are strong that the Oliphant Inquiry struck in June of 2009 as the result of pressure upon the Harper government was faked from the beginning. Remember that Brian Mulroney and Stephen Harper had a long relation before the pressure on Harper forced him to agree to an independent inquiry. The spur to begin the inquiry may well be that during the week of November 5, 2007 Karlheinz Schreiber had filed an affidavit in the Ontario Supreme Court containing allegations about his relation with Brian Mulroney as prime minister.  He claimed, as well, that he had written to Stephen Harper about the extradition applications filed against him and that he had asked Brian Mulroney to intercede on his behalf with Harper, the prime minister. The affidavit appeared to bring together in a way that might have serious political repercussions Brian Mulroney, Karlheinz Schreiber, and Stephen Harper.  Harper moved quickly to announce a public inquiry about the relations between Mulroney and Schreiber.

Harper’s task was to spend a lot of money pretending a real inquiry was being conducted, get a generally recognized head of the inquiry believed to be honest and create a non-event in which justice and the rule of law would be defeated. Whether Harper did that must be left to the reader to decide. Appearances point that way.

The key to killing and/or containing the inquiry lay in the terms presented to inquiry head, Mr. Justice Jeffrey Oliphant. What could he investigate? Mulroney had conducted a libel suit (1996) against the Canadian government because it sent a message to Switzerland saying that it suspected him in the Airbus purchase. In examination Mulroney declared that he hardly knew Karlheinz Schreiber – that he had  “a cup of coffee … once or twice” with him. Mulroney won $2.1 million in the case. It later became clearly evident (from Karlheinz Scheiber and others) that Brian Mulroney knew Schreiber well, dined him at the Prime Minister’s residence, and much more. One of the key things, then, that the Oliphant Inquiry needed to look into was the full and complete role Brian Mulroney had in the purchase from Airbus of the thirty-four aircraft for Air Canada.

Stephen Harper wanted to have his hands free of any suspicions in the inquiry he knew he had to set up. And so he went to a faithful Conservative, a lawyer and the president of the University of Waterloo, David Johnston, and asked him to frame the terms of reference for the inquiry. David Johnston narrowed the possibilities of investigation and ruled out any investigation into the sale of Airbus planes to Air Canada. The hands of Mr. Justice Oliphant were manacled. The major matter needing full investigation and clarification was closed to Justice Oliphant by the terms of the inquiry as set out by David Johnston. The inquiry wiped out any reputation for honesty that was left to Brian Mulroney. Justice Oliphant’s 2011 Report recorded that he couldn’t accept Brian Mulroney’s testimony. As Andrew Coyne wrote in the June 4, 2009 Maclean’s Magazine in the midst of the Mulroney testimony:  “if we conclude that Mulroney is telling a pack of lies, what do we do about it?”
In the outcome Stephen Harper was saved embarrassment because no criminal charges came out of the inquiry – charges that might have soiled a range of Conservatives in the country, not excepting Stephen Harper himself. In fact, Mr. Justice Oliphant was forbidden by the terms of the inquiry to recommend charges. But much more important, the inquiry wiped out any reputation for honesty that was left to Stephen Harper.  Observers must admit the inquiry awakens suspicions of breach of trust by Stephen Harper at the highest level. The appointment of David Johnston to set the terms of the inquiry appears to have been a measure of the crassest dishonesty. The terms Johnston set Justice Jeffery Oliphant suggest collusion to defeat the fair administration of justice. And his subsequent appointment as Governor General of Canada must look to the well informed as an intended insult to the Canadian people and a planned debasement of the highest office in Canada. If the whole charade of an inquiry was as grossly manipulated as it appears to have been, Canadians cannot review the events often enough to understand the dangerous character of Stephen Harper.  If appearances are correct, he has created a cover for two men famous for dragging democratic honesty and trust in the muck. And Stephen Harper has helped them – as fellow travellers in his own shady world – escape the accounting they owe to justice, to the rule of law, to decency, and to the Canadian people.
That highly dubious sequence of events under the direct supervision of Stephen Harper is visible for all to see. They cannot examine it often or closely enough. Other manipulations of democratic trust, of the electoral process, denials of accepted labour/management bargaining processes, subjugations of Canadian ownership rights in order to serve U.S. interests, the decimation of environmental review structures, the muzzling of government scientists, and restructurings of taxing protocols to enrich corporations and impoverish Canadians are being effected with the greater or lesser visibility of Stephen Harper – but almost certainly under his guiding hand.
We should not – in the midst of the increasingly neo-liberal, neo-fascist activity – lose our perspective on our history. The present activities are a culmination. They are the ripened fruit of a long, long season of betrayal. The “continental” military agreements, as well as Canada’s pious adherence to NATO, the cultural agreements (and oppressions), the savagely misnamed free trade agreements, the foreign ownership and takeover laws and protocols entered into – as well as the failures to legislate in education fields, and in relation to the press and media have prepared – over many decades – for the moves we now face to end the power of the Canadian people to shape their own country and its future.
Stephen Harper’s actions and the actions of his supporters in the Conservative Party, in the police forces in the country, in the mainstream press and media, in the private corporations, in the corporate-owned research centres and  “Think Tanks”  are leading Canada and Canadians into a  “one-party state”, into the condition of a full-fledged Banana Republic, a neo-liberal police state – what may fairly be described as – though none like the phrase – fascist rule. Remember that fascist rule means the blending of private corporate and government power to serve the interests of a small, powerful elite and to assure “stability”  and  “longevity”  against the wishes of the population by the repressive use of police forces and the military. In Canada’s case the small, powerful elite is made up of (mostly) continental corporations intending to erase real democracy in Canada in order to have unimpeded and unregulated right to plunder Canadian wealth.
A place where reasonable Canadians may believe Stephen Harper and his organization engaged in Criminal Breach of Trust occurred in the 2006 election. In that key election (which changed a minority Liberal government to a minority Conservative government) the Harper Conservatives planned and used a violation of Elections Canada regulations. Purposefully exceeding permitted expenditures, flowing money through sixty-eight candidate offices, they, in effect, violated trust and regulation in order to gain advantage in the election. And they fought hard to keep truth from being told. For five years the Conservative Party fought Elections Canada in the courts. And then on November 11, 2011 the Stephen Harper organization admitted guilt and paid a $52,000 fine. The whole story is ugly. The assault on democratic politics is enormous. The Canadian Press story (Nov. 11, 2011) reported that the  “Conservatives are being accused of buying victory in the 2006 election that brought Stephen Harper to power … ”  Any Canadian stating that the Stephen Harper Conservatives illegitimately took government in Canada cannot be dismissed.
Prosecutor Richard Roy permitted what is called a “plea bargain” to end the case. In a plea bargain the accused are forgiven (perhaps serious) charges on condition they admit guilt on others. In a matter of such national gravity using a plea bargain was astounding and reprehensible. The fine imposed was a joke. All charges were dropped against four top Conservative Party officials who, many believe, clearly planned the misuse of Election funds. As a comment on the willingness of the Conservative Party to violate trust, the spokesman for the Party issued a public statement that the outcome of the trial was a big victory for the Party.
The “in-and-out” election scandal and its ending under Prosecutor Richard Roy brings in for scrutiny the role of the law and the courts as absolutely necessary bastions of democratic life and health. In history, the accession to power of oppressive, despotic, and criminal regimes almost always has the cooperation of the courts – or those regimes quickly subjugate law and the courts. Partly, the cooperation of the courts and the judiciary is accident. Justice Jeffrey Oliphant should have accepted the appointment as head of the inquiry into the relations of Karlheinz Schreiber and Brian Mulroney. He should have sat for two or three weeks on the public process. Then he should have resigned, saying the terms of the inquiry set up by David Johnston were too narrow and prevented justice being done. Justice Oliphant would doubtless reply that he was hemmed in by the terms he was given. But in a democracy no judicial authority can be hemmed in by terms that defeat the fair administration of justice.
By the same token, Prosecutor Roy should have declared publicly that an ending to the “in-and-out” case concerning Stephen Harper Conservative Party organized misuse of election monies would not come about until all people involved were tried and accounted for. The Election Spending Scandal was a matter of misusing funds to gain fraudulent advantages in an election – what Canadians are used to reading about in quasi-dictatorships like Russia and U.S. Banana Republics in Central and South America. But the organization of fraudulent tactics in that election went – it appears – even farther.
Preceding the election, Liberal finance minister Ralph Goodale had stated that the Liberal government would not tax Income Trusts. There was much debate about their tax status, and at the time of the election leaks about policy seem to have come from the finance department. An NDP MP, finance critic, wrote to the RCMP Commissioner, Guiliano Zaccardelli, asking him for an investigation. Under normal circumstances one could be announced. But during an election the RCMP would not normally name anyone … and might not announce investigation, though investigating – until after the election. Instead Zaccardelli had the investigation announced and asked in a press release that Ralph Goodale’s name be reported as being investigated.

That was scandalous behaviour on his part and is said to have contributed to the downfall of the Liberal minority government. Jane Taber reported on April 29, 2010, Globe and Mail, that the  “RCMP later admitted that including Mr. Goodale’s name was not in keeping with past practices.”  It is fair to believe that activated by Conservatives or on his own – the Commissioner of the RCMP engaged in electioneering for the Harper Conservatives.
Guiliano Zaccardelli was, later, forced to resign in disgrace over his handling of the Maher Arar scandal. He was then given a plum job with Interpol. His successor, William Elliott, was judged by at least some to be almost a complete failure. He was appointed RCMP Commissioner out of the office of the Minister of Public Safety, Stockwell Day. Elliott, too, was forced out – in Elliott’s case by an uprising of senior officers in the RCMP who claimed he was unsuitable. He, then, was given a plum job at the UN. His successor is Bob Paulson, long-time RCMP officer in British Columbia – perhaps one of the most corrupt provinces in Canada. Commissioner Paulson has done nothing, publicly visible, to reform and reconstruct the seriously failing RCMP.
In British Columbia RCMP women exploded into public attention in 2011 and 2012 over abuse suffered in the RCMP ranks. At the same time, a highly doubtful Public Inquiry has been conducted into RCMP and Vancouver Police Department behaviour during the more than ten years (1991-2002) when dozens of women and many others (some organized crime victims) were murdered and/or “disposed of” on the Pickton pig farm in Port Coquitlam. All RCMP Commissioners have kept a strangely arms-length relation to the serious and repeated charges. Commissioner Paulson declared an interest in the abuse charges by RCMP women. But as far as the Canadian public is concerned he has not lifted a finger in the matter, has not visited British Columbia in relation to the murdered women Inquiry, and has not – in addition – undertaken a single move to reform and reconstruct a police force increasingly in disgrace. His inaction, one may surmise, is perfectly acceptable to the Harper government, which may be making sure the RCMP is in a politically induced coma. The Harper government may very well not want a clean, strong, honest, and effective RCMP.

In 2008 and 2009, Stephen Harper showed his contempt for Parliamentary honour and practice by unilaterally closing down Parliament – first to save his skin when a vote of confidence was clearly about to end the Conservative government and then to escape criticism for serious military dishonour in Afghanistan. Built up over centuries, Parliamentary practice, usage, and convention are very often based on the honesty of parliamentarians. To violate, to dishonour, to shred conventions and trust is not difficult. It doesn’t take brilliance. It merely takes what lawyers call the  “mens rea” – which is the decision and determination to do wrong.

In 2008 Stephen Harper faced a Parliament which understood his determination to destroy the integrity of Parliament. Parliamentarians were moving towards forming a coalition which – presenting a motion of non-confidence – would topple his government and force an election which he would have had little chance to win. Harper went on television and lied to the Canadian public, telling them that a coalition was illegal – a statement which is complete nonsense. Then he went to the Governor General, Michaelle Jean, in a cavalcade of several cars like a Mafia Boss and – many believe – dragooned her into granting what is called  “prorogation”,  the dissolving of Parliament for the time being. That was one of the darkest days in Canadian history and Madam Jean will live in Canadian history as having failed at the most important moment of her career – and perhaps of Canadian democracy. History plays itself out. The proposed coalition of anti-Harperites dissolved. The illegitimate Harper government was saved. Canadian democracy is deeply scarred. Fascism gained a stronger foothold in the country.

In 2009, Harper played the same card. That time, however, he didn’t bother consulting with the Governor General before announcing a prorogation. At the time, serious allegations were being surfaced that the Conservative government had approved and was practising what must be called a  “war crimes process.”   It was one in which Canadian forces in Afghanistan gave up prisoners to other forces, knowing that those forces engaged in torture and other kinds of gross mistreatment. An ardent and enthusiastic supporter of the U.S. war in Afghanistan, Stephen Harper couldn’t pretend that his government was anything but fully engaged in the war. The allegations of organized behaviour on a war crimes magnitude could only wreak havoc on the Conservative position in the country. And so Harper closed down government on the pretext that it should not sit for the term of the (2010) Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, B.C. By doing so, he gained something like a three month reprieve in which to cover the tracks of Conservative government wrongdoing.
After the 2010 G20/G8 summits in Canada, the Conservative government was accused – and there was no doubt the allegations were true – of siphoning $50 million of money allocated to the border infrastructure fund and using it for pork-barrelling in the Tony Clement (Industry Minister) riding of Muskoka Parry Sound. There gazebos appeared, and parks, public toilets, roadway beautification projects, many of them so far from the summit locations as to be laughable. The fiddling with funds – unreported to Parliament – was ably assisted by John Baird, Infrastructure Minister. The Auditor General of Canada reported that no paper trail– fair evidence of record – was used in the expense, and that the government broke several policies on spending in the misuse of the $50 million.
Even more disturbing is the violence of police at the G8/G20 summit in June, 2010, in Toronto.  The NDP called for a public inquiry into the police violence, mass arrests, dubious  “anarchism”  … and more.   Postmedia News reported on December 6, 2010 that  “Conservative MP Dave MacKenzie, parliamentary secretary to Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, said issues surrounding police conduct have no place in politics and should be taken up with one of the independent bodies that handle such complaints”.

Suspicion of Canadian police forces received support in early September, 2012, when a Public Service Alliance of Canada aeroplane towing a banner critical of Stephen Harper was grounded [in flagrant violation of constitutionally protected freedom of expression] by the RCMP in Ottawa. The Force could not have given a sharper proof that it works for Stephen Harper, not for the law and for Canadians.
Election fraud. Gross infraction of Geneva Conventions on the conduct of War. Contemptuous violation of the rules and processes of Parliament. Pork Barrel constituency graft on a gigantic scale. And open refusal to admit the connection between police activity and government responsibility, In every case mentioned and in those to follow Stephen Harper and his cabinet and coterie have actively violated or undermined the rule of law in Canada – the primary basis of democratic society. And in every case Conservatives in Parliament have risen to obfuscate, mask, and deny wrongdoing.

The election fraud of 2006 has been exceeded by the Robocall Scandal of the election of 2011 in which the allegations of Conservative Party fraud burst in early 2012 and proceeded to grow. The simple fact is that the combination of the 2006 Conservative Party election fraud and the fraudulent behaviour of people working for that Party in the 2011 election to suppress votes and mislead voters may have provided Canadians in 2011 with an illegitimate government, a government in place as a result of continued fraud and deception. If that is the case, Canada’s democratic system has been assailed as never before in its history…and a fascist state stares Canadians in the eye.

All of the dubious and fraudulent and repressive activities written about above (and to follow) have been and are being engaged in to consolidate what is being called a growing despotism in Canada. Behind the theatre, the deception, and the greedy self-indulgence lies a neo-liberal determination to end democracy in Canada as Canadians have known it from the beginning and to replace it with a real or quasi-fascist state. A fascist state – as already stated – is one in which the activity of government is integrated with the powers of private corporations to oppress the larger population (with police force if necessary) and to concentrate wealth in the hands of a small elite. In our time a fascist state is prepared for by neo-liberal propaganda and neo-liberal government policies.

In a nation which is not a colonial dependency, that development is arranged (as it was in the Italy of Mussolini and the Germany of Adolf Hitler) almost exclusively within the bounds of the country (and its conquered vassal states). In a colonial dependency like Canada the integration of government with private corporations (as we have seen in the free trade agreements) is international. The Stephen Harper government makes its public and its backroom pacts with, mostly, foreign multi-national corporations. Many agreements of direct concern to Canadians are made in secret or with inadequate information being provided to the population. Just such an agreement is the Canada China Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement (2012) which has been hailed as one of the most damaging Agreements in Canadian history – reached without a moment of debate on its contents in Parliament or any other legislative body in Canada.
The Stephen Harper behaviour in the Wheat Board battle, the Stelco sale to U.S. Steel of Pittsburgh, in the treatment of Canadian unions, and in the sale of publisher McClelland and Stewart to a foreign owner tells the story for Canadians. In 2007, after several rocky years of operation, Stelco was sold to U.S. Steel of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.  The sale was trumpeted by Canada’s neo-liberal flagship, the National Post (Aug. 29, 2007) as creating “an integrated North American company.” The so-called  “rocky”  years are highly suspected by people in Hamilton to have been at least partly “arranged” to make the Canadian steel company appear unprofitable and a sitting duck for takeover. It was valued at about $5.00 a share going into its takeover, and almost immediately after was valued at something like $35.00 a share. Something magical happened in a very short time – without any expenditures to increase Stelco’s value. The Stephen Harper government approved of the sale as a net benefit to Canada. Even if, after sale, Stelco had been operated to the best of its performance, few believe the sale benefitted Canada in any way.
U.S. Steel agreed – as terms of the purchase – that it would maintain agreed levels of steel production from the Canadian operation and that it would maintain an employee level of over 3000. U.S. Steel broke its commitments almost immediately and went to court to claim that the Investment Canada Act was unconstitutional and so could not demand the terms it did to allow for the sale. U.S. Steel lost. It had not just fudged a little on its agreement but had violated it in a major way producing almost no steel from the Canadian operation. Locking out workers, U.S. Steel is alleged to have transferred production from efficient Canadian operations to less efficient U.S. ones – a standard practice in takeover strategies conducted by the U.S. When the court case was entered into, the Canadian government was the principal actor, but other “interveners” were a part. One of the interveners was the union, local 1005 of the United Steel Workers. Another was Lakeside Steel, a Canadian corporation that had hopes of getting the former Stelco if the violations by U.S. Steel forced it to sell. The amounts that U.S. Steel could be asked to pay for deliberately violating the Canadian Investment Act, for locking out employees, for withdrawing wages and related costs, and for doing damage to the community of Hamilton could have been significant. Clearly Lakeside Steel thought U.S. Steel might even have to divest itself of the former Stelco.
But none of the interveners – who were part of the trial – “figured in”  Stephen Harper. In a closed door, backroom deal, Harper made a coward’s deal with U.S. Steel, requesting it spend $50 million on the former Stelco properties, a sum that could soon be “accounted for”  in maintenance costs to keep the assets workable. The Canadian government also asked that the Steel operation be continued until 2015 – with no other demand to keep it operating. The so-called  “agreement”  was made without reference to the interveners. They were informed of the outcome in a terse letter by their own government, as if they were not serious parts of the court action. It must be plain that the Harper government has no interest in the health of Canadian industrial enterprise. Neo-liberal conventional wisdom is that all meaningful enterprise in Canada should be – as the National Post wrote of Stelco at the time of sale – “integrated North American” operation.
The story of the Conservative government sell-out of the Wheat Board (2011) has a simple, anti-democratic shape. In a vote about the future of the Wheat Board, those who use it voted in a majority to retain it. The Conservatives not only ignored the vote but, it is suspected, lined up farmers to speak publicly for sell-out. The Wheat Board is not a government agency but an independent organization paid for by the farmers who use it. At the time of writing the Wheat Board/farmers are suing the Harper government for close to $14 billion because of interference in the sovereign affairs of the Board.
In addition, when in minority government after the fraudulent 2006 election, the Conservative government set out to harass the Wheat Board to weaken and, if possible, destroy it. It replaced government appointees with anti-Wheat Board members. It exerted a gag order on all Wheat Board staff in an attempt to prevent them from campaigning on behalf of the Organization. The Conservative government fired the pro-Board president, saying he served at the pleasure of the government and the government was getting rid of him. And it intervened in the election of farmer representatives. As one might expect in the consistently pro-U.S. stand of the Harper Conservatives, U.S. farmer organizations have consistently criticized and fought against the Canadian Wheat Board. The Canadian Federal Court ruled that the Conservative government broke the law in introducing legislation to end the Wheat Board. The Harper government ignored the ruling, and the law, and passed the demise of the Wheat Board into law in December, 2011. The legislation received Royal Assent. That means David Johnston, chosen by Stephen Harper to shape the rules for the Oliphant Inquiry into the corrupt activities of Brian Mulroney, and then made Governor General by the same Stephen Harper was willing to sign and give assent to a piece of legislation created outside the rule of law. Some might praise the Governor General for his unerring consistency.
A court ruling that the Conservatives did not use an acceptable process, and were obliged to consult the people directly involved in Wheat Board operation before changing its structure was ignored completely by the Governor General. In fact, Conservative spokespeople said they had the right to dispose of the Board – meaning they had no responsibility to honour previous contracts, conventions, modes of operation … or the law.
The Wheat Board has certain rights and is continuing operations even after the Conservative government has denied it the central place in marketing Canadian Wheat and Barley. The intention of the Harperites, some allege, is to assist the enormous monopolies (none, of course, Canadian) that control an increasingly large amount of the world’s food supply. They want to add Canada’s Wheat and Barley to their list. The implications are frightening. Behind the famous “Arab Spring” of 2011 lurks a managed shortage of food supplies, manipulated, it is alleged, by the food monopolists of the world to force up prices – and, therefore, profits.
A signature characteristic of neo-liberal corporations and governments is the desire to reduce working populations to starving supplicants who will abase themselves for the right to eat. The first steps in that process were taken by the Harper Conservative government in June of 2011. Postal workers were faced with a Crown Corporation which wanted to pay new workers less than present workers and introduce new terms for sick leave, wishing, in fact, to lower the whole payroll cost over time. Canada Post has not been losing money in the last years, and so there is no pressing budgetary need to cut labour costs. The attack on workers wages is ideological (the politics of neo-liberalism).
On June 23 the federal cabinet interfered in the collective bargaining process, preventing strike action. On June 26 it passed Bill C-6 which gutted the collective bargaining process, specified pay increases, and forced binding arbitration – and imposed a four-year contract with wage increases that are less than the last offer of Canada Post made at the bargaining table. The Canada Post workers had made clear that all critical mail would be delivered in the strike, and there would be no need to fear for risk recipients. The Conservative cabinet ignored the union and destroyed its democratic rights to fair labour processes, misleading Canadians by saying that the postal deliveries were an essential service.
Soon after – in an even more draconian move – the cabinet interfered with a proposed strike of flight attendants working for Air Canada. By October 2011 the attendants had refused two proposed offers from management that the union executive recommended be accepted. To prevent strike action, Lisa Raitt, labour minister, referred the dispute to the Canadian Industrial Relations Board. David Doorey, associate professor of labour law at York University, called Raitt’s move  “a cynical play to stall the [collective bargaining] process long enough to pass back-to-work legislation.”

Once again, cabinet described the work of Air Canada as an essential service – saying that in these pressing economic times Air Canada’s services cannot be disrupted. These are the pressing economic times which just saw James Baird (now minister of foreign affairs) and Tony Clement (now president of the Treasury Board) secretly loot $50 million from the border services allocations to use for pork-barrelling in Clement’s riding. They are the pressing economic times when the Harper government is about to spend billions of dollars on prisons that every expert in the country says are not necessary. The proposed new prisons are, the experts say, a destructive initiative. These are the pressing economic times when minister of defence Peter MacKay uses military aircraft as air taxis, piling up astounding costs for free private flights. And when the costs of the proposed new C-35 aircraft for Canada’s air force are lied about to the population to cover up the inflated and wholly unnecessary expenditure.
The outcome of the Air Canada attendants struggle with management was the appointment of an  “independent”  arbitrater, in order to destroy the union’s right of collective bargaining. Elizabeth MacPherson - head of the very organization, the CIRB – to which the dispute was referred - was named abritrater. Ms. MacPherson forced the attendants to accept the last management offer – which they had refused. In support of her master, Stephen Harper, Ms. MacPherson chose to analyse the situation in a way that is completely insulting. She decided that since fewer than a hundred per cent of the attendants voted against the last offer, some of them must have been satisfied with it. In making that absurd statement, Ms. MacPherson probably made an historic breakthrough in union oppression that had not been thought of heretofore. That was in 2011. In October of 2009, speaking before an expert audience in Toronto, Ms. MacPherson reported that the Canada Industrial Relations Board has  “consistently interpreted the [Canada Labour] Code so as to encourage the establishment of collective bargaining relationships.”  In 2011, however, when Stephen Harper said  “jump”,  Ms. MacPherson, obviously, replied,  “how high?”
Following her success in 2011, Lisa Raitt, labour minister, again, in March 2012, stopped a pending Air Canada (machinist and other employee) strike by referring the dispute to the Canadian Industrial Relations Board, Ms. Raitt did so in order to make sure March Break holidayers in Canada could fly out of the country. As the Harper government’s repression of democratic rights proves successful it becomes more brazen. In three strikes which even the Conservative government of Stephen Harper cannot say are essential services, it has involved itself and attacked fair bargaining processes even while declaring it has nothing to do with the enormous attacks on the employees of the large corporations.
Two operations – locomotive maker Electro-Motive at London, Ontario, and the aluminum smelting operation at Alma, Quebec – were recently bought by foreign multi-national corporations. Government approval that the sale was in the Canadian interest was required and was granted. Electro-Motive of London, Ontario was bought by Caterpillar, a hugely successful international corporation. In 2008, before the sale, the Conservative government gave Electro-Motive millions in tax breaks and subsidies. Then in 2010, it was sold to Caterpillar. And in most recent negotiations with the union, Caterpillar offered a contract with wage cuts of fifty percent, elimination of a defined pension plan, and the slashing of other benefits. The contract was rejected by the employees – and Caterpillar locked them out.
Business observers suggested Caterpillar was trying to destroy the operation in Ontario and ship it to Muncie, Indiana, so that it can take part in Washington’s ‘Buy America’ policy. On February 2, 2012, Caterpillar announced the closure of the Hamilton factory. The intention from the start, many insist, was to gain all the know-how, expertise, and “intellectual property”  held by the Canadian operation, to loot it, and to close the factory. Stephen Harper and his government refuse to act to protect the operation and the Canadians thrown out of employment. The Canadian government refused – in this case – “to interfere.”
In Alma, Quebec, the Alcan operation, bought in 2007 by the Anglo Australian mining giant Rio Tinto faced negotiations at the end of 2011. The Australian newspaper, The Australian, reports more on the issue than do any of the Mainstream Press outlets in Canada. Matt Chambers of The Australian wrote on January 3, 2012, that the Quebec operation is one of the biggest and cheapest aluminum smelters that Rio Tinto possesses. Part of the reason for that is the price electrical power can be bought from Quebec Hydro. A Crown Corporation owned by the people of Quebec – it would seem – is enabling a foreign multinational corporation to gain enough profit globally to savage the lives and the community of working people in Quebec.  That is usually called globalization.
Matt Chambers goes on to report that  “Rio has a history of union-busting in the iron ore, coalmining and aluminum industries in Australia.”  In the negotiation the union rejected the company’s desire to contract out jobs done by employees, though wages and seniority were also points of contention. It happens that at the present time the world market for aluminum is less strong and down a little in price, and so Rio Tinto has cut operations significantly, has locked out workers, and is maintaining – it says – meager operations with senior staff.
In both cases the Harper Conservative government judged the sale of the Canadian operations were in the best interest of Canada. Clearly they were not. And – at the time of writing – the Conservative government is silently taking the part of the multi-national corporations. In fact, the Harper government is giving more and more evidence that it is using the Investment Canada Act as an instrument to destroy Canadian enterprise of all kinds. Investment Canada is a product of the Brian Mulroney move to destroy steps taken under the government of Pierre Trudeau to secure some Canadian independence in the culture and economy.

The Trudeau government created the Foreign Investment Review Agency to retard or to stop important foreign takeovers of Canadian enterprise. Mulroney removed FIRA and replaced it with The Investment Canada Act designed to facilitate – with some limitations and regulations – takeovers. The Investment Canada Act rules out foreign takeover of Canadian publishers. Under the law, the sale of McClelland and Stewart to a German multinational, Bertelsmann AG, is outside the law – is in violation of Canadian law. The Harper government openly violated Canadian law … again, in permitting the takeover. The Globe and Mail, stepping ever so carefully in an attempt to avoid offending the Stephen Harper government, gave clear evidence that breaking the law is obvious Harper government policy.  “The M&S decision follows earlier ministerial decisions that allowed companies such as Amazon and Apple to bypass Canadian distribution channels in [what the Globe and Mail calls] apparent contravention of the act, leaving publishers with the impression that the law has become a dead letter.”
The history of the Conservative government on the environment is known globally. Permitting Tar Sands development as presently conducted is lethal, its product named “dirty oil”  around the world. The Canadian government spends heavily to propagandize while barely maintaining regulation, surveillance, and environmental standards. That is in keeping with neo-liberal ideology. Equally, Canada is now a  “rogue state”  in probably the most important issue in the world – global warming. Being opposed to any serious moves to cut down the human causes of global warming, the Conservatives pretend they were delivered an unworkable situation from previous Liberal governments. That is only partly true. The Liberals did almost nothing to adhere to the Kyoto Agreement to lower carbon emissions. But all through that period before assuming power the Conservatives fought against any action to arrest global warming. In power, as minority government, they fought against serious moves to prevent global warming and they refused to take any action … their devastating record on environmental control of the Tar Sands tells all. In December of 2011, in power with a majority government, the Conservatives announced Canada’s withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol on climate change.

The Kyoto Protocol which expires in 2012 committed major industrial economies to reduce their annual CO2 emissions to below 1990 levels, while providing financial support to developing nations to encourage them to follow suite eventually. Canada ratified the accord in 1997. Most nations in the world have criticized Canada’s move to withdraw completely. For instance, China, Japan, India, and France were early to show displeasure. The little country of Tuvalu, a small group of islands, called Canada’s move “an act of sabotage on our future … a reckless and totally irresponsible act.” The major theme of the countries criticising is that – however badly negotiations have gone in the past – work must be done and it must have all countries trying for solutions together. Leader of the Green Party in Canada, MP Elizabeth May pointed out that Canada is bound by its own legislation on the matter, and – unless it intends to reject the rule of law – it must continue to do work. Ms. May said

The Kyoto Implementation Act was passed by the House of Commons in 2007 and has royal assent. It requires Canada to continue reporting and doing its job, fulfilling its obligations under the Kyoto Protocol. I wonder that the prime minister of this country thinks he [can] withdraw us from an international treaty which was ratified by the House of Commons with no discussion in the House, and violate a domestic law with no discussion in the House.

Ms. May was not alone. Commissioner of the Environment, Scott Vaughan remarked that he had a legal mandate to inform Parliament about the government’s progress in meeting the Kyoto targets. Mr. Vaughan said,  “if the act of Parliament remains the act of Parliament, meaning the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act, then we will abide by the law. So if the act remains, then we will inform Parliament … ”

Hardly noted for the public in Canada’s mainstream press and media, the current position of the Canadian government with the latest environmental move brings it exactly into line with the U.S.A. It is exactly the position of the U.S. government. Canada rejects the policy of the Kyoto Protocol and has resigned from membership. That is of primary importance to understanding the absorption of Canada into the United States. All the posturing and propaganda by the Harper government on the environment has led in a single direction – to the adoption of the U.S. position on climate change, a refusal to work with the rest of the world.
That cannot be separated from everything that has been written here so far. On December 7 of 2011, Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper and U.S. president Barack Obama announced what is called the Beyond the Border Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness Action Plan. The implications of the agreement for increased loss of Canadian sovereignty are huge. The two men also issued a Plan to seek greater regulatory alignment in areas of agriculture and food, transportation, environment, health, and consumer products. Canada has had more stringent requirements in those matters than the U.S. generally and there is no hint that the U.S. will align with Canada’s higher standards. On the contrary. President Obama said the Plan will bring the  “two economies even closer together.”  The ways it will do so are dangerous to democracy in Canada, as we will see.
But before looking at those most recent steps, they have to be seen as a part of what is called the move to a North American Union. It is complicated, key to the life of every Canadian, and should be examined by readers in a way there is not space to examine it here. The timeline is produced and kept up at HYPERLINK "http://nauresistance.org/nau-timeline/ " nauresistance.org/nau-timeline/ The timeline, according to North American Union Resistance begins in 1921. It tells a long and painful story from then until now. This book shows the timeline is much, much longer.

In this century dramatic steps have been taken in the absorption of Canada into the U.S.A. The Declaration of Quebec signed in April of 2001 by Jean Chrétien (Liberal prime minister) and George W. Bush (Republican president), for instance, was a commitment to hemispheric integration In 2005, at Waco, Texas, Paul Martin (Liberal prime minister) and the leaders of Mexico and the U.S.A. signed the Security and Prosperity Partnership. The SPP was the major focus of continental integration until 2009. Secret, undemocratic, unregulated, and without oversight or approval in legislatures, the SPP process and machinery were attacked and criticized in both Canada and the United States. Finally, in 2009 the Security and Prosperity Partnership centre announced on its website that it was shutting down, that activity would cease.
The SPP may have been secret, undemocratic, unregulated and without oversight in legislatures, but in his 2008 budget, James Flaherty, Canadian Conservative minister of finance, announced $29 million dollars would be spent on aspects of the SPP. It was supported from the start by national budgets, but its activities, the deliberations of its participants, and the undertakings of its working groups were given minimal publicity, for they feared – as happened – ardent criticism. The way in which the SPP groups attempted to keep their work from the populations in the relevant countries reveals that they were serving an elite which wants to use the continent for its own purposes, knowing those purposes are not the same as the purposes of the larger populations.
On February 4, 2011, Conservative Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper and Democratic U.S. president Barack Obama announced a new security and prosperity initiative. And on December 7 – as stated above – they announced the  “Beyond the Border Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness Action Plan”.

None of what is proposed is good for Canadian sovereignty. Agreement has been reached to share private, personal information without hindrance. The Beyond the Border initiative will, also, permit enforcement officers to operate on both sides of the border. In the description of the intention, cross-border crime is the target. But once police officers from another country are granted legitimacy in police action in Canada, the door is wide open for every kind of violation, including attacks in Canada upon critics of the U.S.A. by U.S. enforcement officers. The documents have been criticized for giving no evidence that at any time or in any regulated way Canadians will be provided with information about – or given any responsible accounting of – activities engaged in here. In fact, we may suppose that secrecy will be the characteristic of as much activity as possible – under the claim of national security.
The simple, on-going fact that Canadian leaders and the Canadian mainstream press and media persistently avoid is the fact of U.S. imperialism. The U.S. does not sit beside Canada as Norway sits beside Sweden or as Peru sits beside Bolivia. The U.S. sits beside Canada as the most powerful imperial country the world has ever known. An imperial country is one which seeks to make other countries subservient to it. Canada sits next to the country that has covetted Canadian wealth and Canadian geography for two hundred years at least. In their designs for “North America” the power brokers in the U.S. have argued, propagandized, coerced, bribed, and seduced Canadian leaders and corporation owners into managed levels of loyalty: loyalty to Canada openly, loyalty to the U.S.A. in secret; loyalty to democracy openly, loyalty to fascism in secret.
A simple activity of fascist states is recognized by all serious observers.  It is the destruction of fact, of truth, of history, of real events, and their replacement by a pattern of falsehoods supporting fascist rule. In that regard, a former, major pollster for Conservative forces in Canada, Allan Gregg, is reported in the September 10, 2012 newspaper The Hill Times (pp.1 and 15),
as fingering the Harper government.  Mr. Gregg pointed to the cuts rolled out in the “omnibus”  2012 budget which, in fact, erase real information Canadians need to make democratic choices.  Mr. Gregg refers to half the staff at Statistics Canada receiving redundancy notices “along with 20 per cent of the workforce at Library and Archives Canada; and 70 per cent of the scientists at Parks Canada; the cancellation of the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy; the Experimental Lakes Area project; the National Council on Welfare and the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Science amongst others; plus the massive changes to the Fisheries Act and Environmental Assessment regulations ….”  Mr. Gregg added that it “amounted to an attempt to eliminate anyone who might use science, facts, and evidence to challenge government policies”.
     Whether fully aware of it or not, Mr. Gregg gives numerous examples of the Harper government fabricating fact, what he calls  “the willful dissemination of misinformation”.  Fascist states always – as part of their being – replace real information with false information.  They have to in order to keep the population ignorant and misinformed. Erasure of fact, history, and real evidence is followed by  “the willful dissemination of misinformation”.   Mr. Gregg cited a number of titles of government bills which, in fact, truly misrepresent what is in the bills and what is intended in their passage.
     The Harper government move to fascism has confused and even fooled many Canadians. But it has not fooled the majority of Canadians. As a result, when Canadians fully realize the direction in which they are being taken, the lies they are being told, the new processes of repression being put in place, and the way the wealth of their nation – in culture, in economics, in social affairs, in fundamental freedoms – is being exploited, wasted, and looted for the profit of a tiny North American and global elite, Canadians will change the direction of the nation.

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 Endnotes

PAGE 


PAGE  251


Margaret Conrad, Alvin Finkel, Cornelius Jaenen, History of the Canadian Peoples, Toronto, Copp Clark, 1998, Vol. 1, p. 368

J.W. Bengough, “The Humourous Side of Canadian History”, in ed. G. M. Fairchild, Canadian Leaves, New York, Napoleon Thompson & Co., 1887, p. 5

“Fascism”, Encyclopedia Brittanica, 1962, Vol. 9, p. 104A

M. Guido Girardi, quoted in Herve Kempf, “Au Chili, le printemps des étudiants”, Le Monde Diplomatique, Oct. 2011, pp. 1, 12, 13.  And for an overview of the overthrow of the Allende government, see Paul Jensen, The Garotte, the United States and Chile, 1970-1973, Aarhus Univ. Press, 1988.

Susannah Moodie, Roughing It in the Bush, (1852), Ottawa, Carleton University Press, 1995, p. 87

Gerald Craig, Upper Canada: The Formative Years 1784-1841, Toronto, M&S, 1963, pp. 106ff.

Jason Kaufman, The Origins of Canadian and American Political Differences, Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 2009, p. 175

George F. Stanley, Louis Riel, Toronto, Ryerson Press, 1963, pp. 39, 40, 79, 80, 81 ff.

Peter B. Waite, The Life and Times of Confederation, (1962) Toronto, Robin Brass Studio, 2001, pp. 326-327.

Carman Cumming, Secret Craft, The Journalism of Edward Farrer, Toronto, UTP, 1992, pp. 52-56.
Henry George, Protection Or Free Trade, (1886) New York, Doubleday, Page, 1927, p. 330.

George Taylor Denison, The Struggle For Imperial Unity, Toronto, Macmillan, 1909, pp. 102-103.

G.M. Fairchild (ed), Canadian Leaves, New York, Napoleon Thompson and Co., 1887.

Goldwin Smith quoted in Sir John Willison, Reminiscences Political and Personal, Toronto, M&S, 1919, p. 73.

Walter LeFeber, The American Search for Opportunity, The Cambridge History of American Foreign Relations, Vol. 2, Cambridge University Press, 1993, pp. 78-79.

Carman Cumming, Secret Craft, The Journalism of Edward Farrer, Toronto, UTP, 1992, p. 7.

President Benjamin Harrison to Francis W. Glen, August 27, 1892, Presidential Papers, Microfilm, BH Papers, Series 2, Reel 84.

George Taylor Denison, The Struggle For Imperial Unity, Toronto, MacMillan, 1909, p. 165.

Carman Cumming, Secret Craft, The Journalism of Edward Farrer, pp. 118-128, 148ff, 176-204.

Roger Graham, “Through the First World War”, in J.M.S. Careless, R. Craig Brown, eds., The Canadians 1867-1967, Toronto, Macmillan, 1967, p. 176.

Robert Kidelski, John Maynard Keynes Fighting For Britain, Macmillan, 2000.

Bothwell, Drummond, English, Canada since 1945: Power, Politics, and Provincialism (1981). Toronto, UTP, 1989, p. 86.

A.J.M. Smith, The Book of Canadian Poetry, (1943) Chicago, University of Chicago Press,1948, pp. 4,5,14,15.

F.R. Scott, “Picture in Life”, Selected Poems, Toronto, Oxford University Press, 1966, p. 75.

J.L. Granatstein, Norman Hilmer, For Better or Worse, Toronto, Copp Clark Pitman, 1991, p. 238.

F.R. Scott, “The Call of the Wild”, The Collected Poems of F.R. Scott, Toronto, M&S, 1981, p. 255.

F.R. Scott, “The Canadian Authors Meet.” Selected Poems, Toronto, Oxford University Press, 1966, p. 70.

Norman Hillmer, J.L. Granatstein, Empire to Umpire, Toronto, Irwin Publishing, 1994, p. 176.

Donald Creighton, “Harold Adams Innis – An Appraisal”, in eds. Melody, Salter, Heyer, Culture, Communication, and Dependency, New Jersey, Ablex Publishing, 1981, p. 23.

Erastus Wiman, “The Advantages of Commercial Union to Canada and the United States”, in ed. G. M. Fairchild, Canadian Leaves, New York, Napoleon Thompson and Co., 1887, p. 278.

Norman Hillmer, J.L. Granatstein, Empire to Umpire, Toronto, Irwin Publishing, 1994, pp. 260-261.
J.L. Granatstein, Norman Hillmer, For Better or Worse, Toronto, Copp Clark, 1991, pp. 213-214
.
Paul Rutherford, When Television Was Young: Primetime Canada 1952-1967, Toronto, UTP, 1990.

Paul Litt, The Muses, the Masses, and the Massey Commission, Toronto, UTP, 1992.

Herschel Hardin, A Nation Unaware, Vancouver, J.J. Douglas, 1974.

Stephen Azzi, Walter Gordon and the Rise of Canadian Nationalism, McGill-Queens, 1999, pp. 40-41.

J.L. Granatstein, Yankee Go Home? Toronto, Harper Collins, 1996.

Frances Stonor Saunders, The Cultural Cold War, New York, The New Press, 1999, p. 245.

Janet B. Friskney, New Canadian Library: The Ross-McClelland Years, 1952 – 1978, Toronto, UTP, 2007.

Victor Marchetti and John D. Marks, The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence, New York, Knopf, 1974, p. 268.

Walter Gordon, A Political Memoir, Toronto, M&S, 1977, p. 113.

Bothwell, Drummond, English, Canada since 1945: Power, Politics, and Provincialism, (1981) Toronto, UTP, 1989.

Bothwell, Drummond, English, Canada since 1945… p. 257.

Yves Engler, Lester Pearson’s Peacekeeping – The Truth May Hurt, RED/Fernwood Publishing, 2012, p. 140.

Tom Kent quoted in Stephen Azzi, Walter Gordon and the Rise of Canadian Nationalism, McGill-Queens, 1999, p. 131.

Walter Gordon, A Political Memoir, Toronto, M&S, 1977, p.255

Barry Lord, The History of Painting in Canada, Toronto, NC Press, p. 205.

George Bowering, Craft Slices, Ottawa, Oberon Press, 1985.

Charles Foran, Mordecai, The Life and Times, Vintage Canada, 2010, p. 191.

Frank Davey, Earle Birney, Toronto, Copp Clark, 1971.
Northrop Frye, “Conclusion”, in ed. Carl Klinck, Literary History of Canada, Toronto, UTP, 1965, p. 821.

Charles Foran, Mordecai, The Life and Times, Vintage Canada, 2010.

Walter Gordon, A Political Memoir, Toronto, M&S, 1977, p. 300.

Walter Gordon, A Political Memoir, Toronto, M&S, 1977, pp. 318-319.

Leslie Armour and Elizabeth Trott, The Faces of Reason, Waterloo, Wilfred Laurier Press, p. xviii.

Mel Watkins, “Waffle”, The Canadian Encyclopedia, 1988, p. 2270.

Walter Gordon quoted in Stephen Azzi, Walter Gordon and the Rise of Canadian Nationalism, McGill-Queens, 1999, p. 171.

Walter Gordon, A Political Memoir, Toronto, M&S, 1977, p. 316.

Christina Newman, quoted in Stephen Azzi, Walter Gordon and the Rise of Canadian Nationalism, McGill-Queens, p. 177.

Walter Gordon, A Political Memoir, 1977, p. 315.

Walter Gordon, A Political Memoir, 1977, p. 318.

Louis Fournier, FLQ, Montreal, Quebec-Amerique, 1982.

Michael McLoughlin, Last Stop, Paris, Penguin, 1988.

Canadian Encyclopedia, Second Edition, Hurtig Publishers, 1988, p. 1070.

Mel Hurtig, The Betrayal of Canada, Toronto, Stoddart, 1991, p. 10.

Paul Robinson, “Good Business For Good Neighours”, Chicago Tribune, October 26, 1988.

David Langille quoted in Mel Hurtig, The Betrayal of Canada, Toronto, Stoddart, 1992, p. 197.

William Kaplan, A Secret Trial, Brian Mulroney and the Public Trust, McGill-Queens, 2004, p. 13.

Gregory J. Inwood, Continentalizing Canada, The Politics and Legacy of the Macdonald Royal Commission, Toronto, UTP, 2005, p. 207.
John W. Warnock, Creating a Failed State: The U.S. and Canada in Afghanistan, Fernwood Publishing, 2008, pp. 170-171.

Gregory J. Inwood, Continentalizing Canada, The Politics and Legacy of the Macdonald Royal Commission, Toronto, UTP, 2005, pp. 304-305.

Mel Hurtig, The Betrayal of Canada, Toronto, Stoddart, 1991pp. 213-214.

Harold Innis, “Great Britain, the United States and Canada”, in ed. M.Q. Innis, Harold Innis, Toronto, UTP, 1956, pp. 394-412.

Donald Creighton, “Harold Adams Innis – An Appraisal”, in eds. Melody, Salter, and Heyer, Culture, Communication, and Dependency, New Jersey, Ablex Publishing, 1981, p. 24.

Nicholas Shaxson, Treasure Islands, Palgrave Macmillan, 2011, p. 49.

Norman Penlington, Canada and Imperialism, 1896-1899, Toronto, UTP, 1965, p. 11; and see pp. 261-263.

George Bowering, “Confessions of a Failed American”, Maclean’s Magazine, November 1971, p. 79.

George Bowering, At War With The U.S., Vancouver, Talonbooks, 1974, p.25.

Northrop Frye, “Conclusion”, in ed. Carl Klinck, The Literary History of Canada, Toronto, UTP, 1965, p. 821.

Northrop Frye, “Conclusion”, in ed. Carl Klinck, The Literary History of Canada, Toronto, UTP, 1965, p. 822

Northrop Frye, “Conclusion”, in ed. Carl Klinck, The Literary History of Canada, Toronto, UTP, 1965, p. 847.

Northrop Frye, “Conclusion”, in ed. Carl Klinck, The Literary History of Canada, Toronto, UTP, 1965, p. 847.

Northrop Frye, “Conclusion”, in ed. Carl Klinck, The Literary History of Canada, Toronto, UTP, 1965, p. 848.

Margaret Atwood, Survival, A thematic Guide to Canadian Literature, Toronto, Anansi Press, 1972.

Atwood, Survival, A thematic Guide to Canadian Literature, Toronto, Anansi Press, 1972,
p. 183.

Atwood, Survival, A thematic Guide to Canadian Literature, Toronto, Anansi Press, 1972,
p. 245.

Donald Creighton, “The Coming Defeat of Canadian Nationalism”, Empire Club Addresses, 1970-1971,November 16, 1970, pp. 116-128.

Stanley Ryerson, The Founding of Canada – Beginnings to 1815, Toronto. Progress Books, 1960; and Unequal Union: Roots of Crisis in the Canadas, 1815-1873, Toronto, Progress Books, 1968.

Atwood, Survival, A thematic Guide to Canadian Literature, Toronto, Anansi Press, 1972,
p. 149.

Robert Kroetsch, “Beyond Nationalism. A Prologue”, in Evelyn J. Hinz, Beyond Nationalism, The Canadian Literary Scene in Global Perspective, Amherst, University of Massachusetts, 1981, p. viii.

Robert Kroetsch, “Violence – A Meditation”, The Lovely Treachery of Words, Oxford University Press, 1989, p. 98.

Diane Tiefensee, Deconstructing Robert Kroetsch and His Critics, McGill-Queens, 1994, p. 155.

John Warnock, Creating a Failed State: The U.S. and Canada in Afghanistan, Fernwood Publishing, 2008, p. 155.

Robert T. Osterthaler, “NATO Enlargement Into Eastern Europe”, in ed. Kenneth W. Thompson, NATO Expansion, University Press of America, 1998, p. 11.

Manjunath Pendakur, Canadian Dreams and American Control, The Political Economy of the Canadian Film Industry, Wayne State University Press, 1991, p. 61.

Pierre Berton, Hollywood’s Canada, The Americanization of Our National Image, Toronto, M&S, 1975, p. 172.

Marc Edge, The Asper Nation: Canada’s Most Dangerous Media Company, Vancouver, New Star Press, 2007.

John Barber, “Final Chapter in the house that built Canadian lit”, Globe and Mail, January 11, 2012, p. A3.

Meagan Fitzpatrick, “May accuses Harper of breaking law over Kyoto”, CBC News, December 13, 2011.

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______________________________

The above in its entirety is the work of Robin Mathews


The Straight Goods

Cheers Eyes Wide Open

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AltaRick said...

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