As Edmund Burke once wrote, “all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” It is time for Canada to shed the shackles of apathy and rise.
By Nadim Fetaih
I have long been a proponent for a revolution in Canada. I have written many blog pieces to try and inspire the Canadian people and have stuck with my belief that Canada has the potential to once again become a leading force in the world, to inspire freedom and prosperity for people around the globe.
With recent events though, this belief has begun to chip away. My once strong resolve for hope has begun to decompose with the filth I have seen in not only the political spectrum, but the social spectrum as well. Within the past year alone we have seen so many repugnant acts by our political elite. Harper — our near dictatorial Prime Minister — has stepped beyond the bounds of his political mandate far too many times.
The most internationally known aspect of popular Canadian sentiments has been its exit from the Kyoto Protocol. This was not only a defeat to all those who have been fighting the oil tar sands development, but also to any Canadian who once believed we were leaders in the world. No, instead we boldly stated that we are nothing but puppets, selling our souls to international corporations at the expense of our health and environment.
In the process, we proved once more that we are nothing but a side-kick of our neighbors to the south — that unless our master, the United States of America, enters into an endeavor, neither will we.
Now, we are heading into talks with Israel and the U.S. to walk into yet another disastrous conflict, this time against Iran. Our soldiers have fought in two U.S.-provoked wars; Afghanistan and Iraq. They have killed and been killed. They have shed blood and been part of inevitable horrible acts from the catalyst that is war. Yet, we are willing to follow the imperialist United States into another bloody war, and for what?
Iran has no weapons of mass destruction. The only country which does have nuclear weapons in the region is the very country we are siding with. But, still, we are blindly following our puppet master into yet another war — a war with much more profound implications; a war which could hypothetically escalate into another major global conflict if Russia and China side with Iran (as they currently seem to be doing).
These two issues alone should be enough for mass protests, right? But wait, there is more.
Here in Canada, our ‘democratic’ process is being questioned. Not only because of the inherent problems with having an unproportional voting system, but rather because the ‘Harper Government’ willingly manipulated that very voting system. The conservative party hired a company to call registered voters. This on its own is not unusual, but the problem is that the company aimed to find out whom the voter was actually planning to vote for.
If they were planning to vote for the conservatives, they would be pressed to vote — if not, then many people would be given false information on where they needed to vote (referring to it a ‘change of venues’). This annulled opposition votes, as voters would simply end up in a voting area where they weren’t registered. Thousands of voters were called around our country — the most organized effort to obstruct ‘democracy’ in our country since its conception.
Currently, many laws and decisions have been made without any prior public debate — completely negating the idea of representative democracy. Some laws that are heading to our (primarily conservative) senate are the following:
- Bill C-10: This omni-bus crime bill will make mandatory minimum sentences the norm in our country. This has been widely accepted as not only a waste of tax payer money (considering we will have to build ‘super prisons’ to house all the ‘criminals’), but also as a failed practice. It never led to a drop in the crime rate. It only ensures that petty criminals are imprisoned alongside the dangerous ones, encouraging further crime. The bill has even been denounced by the Texan governor — who has been telling our government that preventative measures and treatment of those ‘criminals’ is far more effective in lowering crime, as well as saving money.
- Bill C-30: This is the Canadian version of SOPA/PIPA — with an added twist. It will give our police force the right and authority to monitor our e-mails, web history, and private activity without warrants. It will allow the police to monitor our IP addresses and trace any activity back to our locations.
- NDAA: the National Defense Authorization Act: This, many people will know, exists in the United States. What NDAA does is allow the military to indefinitely detain American citizens considered ‘terrorists’ or threats to the system. But wait, the recent integration of ‘security’ between Canada and the U.S. now makes it possible for the U.S. to charge any Canadian as well (most notably seen in the case of Mark Emery). This fact has now been underlined by the ‘Beyond the Borders: Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness’ act.
These three laws have either passed (the NDAA), or are likely pass in the coming months (Bills C-10 and C-30). Our freedoms are slowly being taken away to ensure that any future attempts to revolt will be fought back with harsh measures not only from our own government, but from the U.S. government as well.
As if that weren’t enough, we are currently awaiting the presentation of our Federal and Provincial government budgets for this fiscal year. Much of this is being hidden from the people until the budgets are actually put up (and with majority governments across the board, it is unlikely that they will not be passed). These budgets bring austerity measures that will rock our country’s social foundation. Many are expecting billions of dollars to be taken away from our healthcare, our Old Age Pension, EI insurance and other social security nets we have been so used to.
All of this has been discussed as a means to ‘balance the budget’. But this is not truly the case. To add insult to injury, our Federal government will be spending hundreds of billions of dollars on fighter jets, battleships, super-prisons around the country and even a glass dome retrofitted to our Parliamentary building. All the while, economists around the country are warning of an impending second recession.
Our economy is stalling. Many people believe we will be the first country of the Western hemisphere to fall back into recession. No jobs have been created, even though the ‘Harper Government’ introduced the ‘Canadian Action Plan’, which has in reality done nothing but spend billions of dollars on new infrastructure projects that created no lasting change, nor any lasting jobs. When considering population growth, our economy is not growing — indeed, it is contracting.
Finally, our economy is entirely based on natural resource extraction — considered the most volatile market because it is entirely dependent on the conjuncture of the global economy and the market-based prices of these goods. Commodity speculation and a worldwide recession can cause these prices to drop at any moment, crippling our very economy. To top this all off, our economic dependence on the U.S. may just be the reason our recession could turn into depression.
But while all of that has transpired — and with all the information out there about the degradation of our nation, our economy, our social welfare system and our environment — the people have not stood up. Rather, they are just as lethargic as ever. Worse yet, they know the problems, they see the issues, and choose not to do anything about it.
Popular inaction in the face of injustice is worse than any governmental action that creates it. It is as a result of the people’s inability to say “NO” to the destruction of our freedoms that our government has the ability to destroy those freedoms to begin with. It is because of the inaction of well-educated people that we will soon see the worst of all imaginable worlds.
As Edmund Burke once put it, “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men [and women, sic] to do nothing.”
So while our government allows outside military forces to arrest our people on the basis of a vague and undefined ‘terrorist’ category, it is us who are to blame for any person indefinitely detained without trial. While our government will go to war with yet another country, potentially costing us billions of dollars and unspeakable amounts of lives, it is us who have allowed these deaths to occur by refusing to rise up in the face of such blatant insanity.
While our government passes laws giving unprecedented powers to the police, it is us who unwittingly gave up our rights, freedoms, and security. While our government (happily aided by multinational corporations) blindly leads us into a second depression, taking away our social-security programs in the process, it is us who have given our social programs away and who blindly follow our ‘leaders’ towards economic doom.
I am sick and tired of people using scapegoats. It is not immigration that is the problem. It is not the euro-crisis. It is not the criminals. And it is most definitely not the government. When looking for the problem in our country, why our future looks so bleak, why there are no jobs, why corporations are taking over, why police brutality is going up, why education is going down and why our healthcare system is ailing, you need only look in the mirror.
If we all face this very simple fact, then maybe, just maybe, we can stop our downward spiral. If we all accept that the onus is only on the people for not standing up for their rights, this spring and summer may just be our saving grace.
If not, our future will be exactly like Prime Minister Stephen Harper has decreed it to be: “You won’t recognize Canada when I get through with it.”
Nadim is a Canadian-Egyptian filmmaker. His first documentary, A Tale of Two Revolutions, is scheduled to be released later this year.