Starves the Soul, Feeds the Ego

It was another blogger who coined the term “starves the soul, feeds the ego” in regards to Canada, or at least introduced me to it. There is no more apt description of Canadian life.

There is something incredibly hollow and shallow about its society and culture. The media feeds the constantly needy caker-complex, bathing the national ego in anecdotes about politeness, kindness, desirability and superiority. Raging with insecurity, the caker is fed a nonstop barrage of supercilious tales regarding its southern neighbor; no matter the ailment, smug condescension is the balm that soothes.

Imagine the personification of Canada: a frail, thin, frowning man sitting at a long feast table among a crowd; the more they eat the fatter they grow, and yet Canada sits there woefully malnourished; eating and eating while never feeling full. The more he eats, the thinner he grows and the less satiated he feels: starves the soul, feeds the ego.

Such is life in a cultural wasteland where honesty is never valued, the past remains hidden, progress is undermined and souls burning with passion are slowly extinguished as they languish, whither and smoke out.

In Canada appearances are everything and take precedent over integrity, change and growth.

To appear progressive and liberal, Canada placed a black woman (Viola Desmond) on the ten dollar bill in order to gain plaudits from the international community. And yet, this same country hid its past of slavery for hundreds of years, from generations of its citizens. To this day, the overwhelming majority of Canadians don’t know their country had slavery for over two centuries; the few who do learned from open information now available through the internet, not their government.

On the opposite side of the bill is an image of the Museum for Human Rights located in Manitoba. Beside it is a feather meant to represent the First Nations peoples. Here too lies massive irony and rot. The museum cost $351 million dollars and is located in a small province (pop: less than 1.5 million) with the worst statistics for Indigenous people (racism, crime, poverty, living conditions), where one-third of children are living in poverty; a figure which rises to over 75% of Aboriginal children on reserves.

This bill is but one obvious example of Canada’s rank hypocrisy and desire for global promotion and accolades over substantial action at home. Starves the soul, feeds the ego.

When a sore point is touched on Canadian policy (foreign or domestic) or a light shined on internal issues, the default reaction is to look to the United States as a red herring for inaction and ineptitude. But despite the many well known issues of America, I am in agreement with this commentator:

There is something seriously sick about Canada, something that permeates the air with its rotten tones of corruption, denial, and monstrosity. At least in America there is an active and robust social dynamic that keeps the fresh air flowing over the dead bodies and the hope of change, but in Canada? They’re still a monarchical colony who worship a queen …

Rot, corruption, denial and sickness: the culture shows no promise of changing any time soon, but will continue to put on airs for the international community.

Starves the soul, feeds the ego.

Foreword (quoting George Elliot Clarke)

I wanted to share this Foreword to the book The Hanging of Angelique, written by George Elliot Clarke. I only recently discovered this book, and the summary in the beginning perfectly captures everything I’ve been saying, only with more eloquence than my rantings.

I find Canada worse than the United States in the same way I find a corrupt police officer worse than a criminal: it is the complete betrayal of trust based on false imagery and misrepresentation; the total base hypocrisy which is abominable and beyond contempt.

So, to quote:

“As I WRITE THIS FOREWORD, Mme. Michaelle Jean, born in Haiti in 1957 and a resident of Montreal, Quebec, since 1968, is being sworn in as Her Excellency, the governor general of Canada, the nation’s twenty-seventh head of state. Mme. Jean is, culturally, Haitian-Quebecoise-French; historically, she is like the vast majority of Black people in the western hemisphere– a descendant of African slaves. While performing her viceregal duties, this savvy intellectual– a socially oriented broadcast journalist by trade, a student of Haitian and Quebecois history, and a speaker of five languages– may reflect on the irony that she is queen in all but name of a society, Canada, that was established just as Haiti was, on the economic basis of African servitude. Not surprisingly, European-Canadian commentators on Mme. Jean’s ascension have noted that she is a “descendant of Hatian slaves” and some have applauded Canada’s blindness concerning “race” and “gender”– that is to say, it’s supposed liberality– in selecting a Black woman for the post of head of state and commander-in-chief of the Canadian Armed Forces.

But forgotten (in fact, repressed) amid all the analyses of Mme. Jean’s elevation is Canada’s own practice of slavery, Aboriginal and African, its emancipation of slaves only by imperial fiat (from London), and its continued conjoining of labour needs and “race” in its immigration practices. Forgotten too, are the two salient anniversaries that 2005 represents for African Canadians: the arrival of the first African person in Canada, namely, Mathieu de Coste, in 1605; and the relaxation of anti-Black immigration laws with the 1955 promulgation of the West Indian Domestic Scheme.

The avoidance of Canada’s sorry history of slavery and racism is natural. It is how Canadians prefer to understand themselves: we are a nation of good, Nordic, “pure”, mainly White folks, as opposed to the lawless, hot-tempered, impure, mongrel Americans, with their messy history of slavery, civil war, segregation, assassinations, lynchings, riots, and constant social turmoil. Key to this propaganda–and that is what it is– is the Manichaean portrayal of two nations: Canada, the land of “Peace, Order, and Good Government,” of evolution within the traditional constraints of monarchy and authority, where racism was not and is not tolerated, versus the United States of America, the land of guns, cockroaches, and garbage, of criminal sedition confronted by aggressive policing (and jailing), where racism was and is the arbiter of class (im)mobility.

Indeed, in Canada, “race” and racism are concepts used to refight the American Revolution, to establish that the Yankee Revolt against the Crown was wrong, while Canada’s loyalty to the monarchy, heirarchy, and public order fostered a more harmonious and, ironically, rouge-tinted society.

But the price of this flattering self-portrait is public lying, falsified history, and self-destructive blindness. It means that we can forget about a Canadian-led expedition to the Congo in the 1880s, which resulted in Africans’ heads being cut off and stuck on fence posts– a scene that may have inspired Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. We can guiltlessly commemorate, with a single plaque, an entire Black community– Africville– which had been in existence for almost 150 years when, in 1962, the city of Halifax decided to relocate its citizens, razing and burying all signs of Africville’s former life. We can ignore the contributions of nineteenth-century Black settlers who cleared and tilled parts of this land until “official” settlers arrived from Ireland and England and claimed the title. Think, for instance, of Priceville, Ontario, where, in 1989, grave markers of the town’s first inhabitants turned up in a farmer’s field. Only then did the townspeople “discover” that the Black cemetery had been ploughed under, the Black presence buried and all but forgotten.

Our refusal to embrace the facts of our history means that we, as a people, can commit atrocities such as the one that occurred in Somalia in 1992, when “our boys,” part of a taxpayer-funded, elite paratrooper regiment, shot three Somalis and lynched one, a child. It means that we make liars out of our “coloured”– that is, “visible minority”– citizens, as our federal government did in 2003. In that year, when the United Nations released a report stating that Africans and Aboriginals suffer racism in Canada, the response of the Liberal government of Canada was that the UN was wrong…

… Unlike American literature and society, in which rebels, Black and White, are celebrated, canonized with folk songs, and given “star billing,” even if they were silenced by officially sanctioned bullets or state executions, Canadian literature boasts very, very few such figures. The Manitoban mystic Louis Riel, hanged for insurrection in 1885, is one vaunted rebel, especially for Metis and francophones. In African-Canadian circles, no such celebrity exists; our “criminals” are seldom martyrs…

… The reader will notice, no doubt, that, while I claim that Mme. Angelique is the best-known African-Canadian slave, she appears in only a handful of texts (excluding histories). Here we address the nub of the problem that Dr. Cooper’s research challenges: the repression of the history of Canadian slavery necessitates the oblivion of actors such as Mme. Angelique. The recovery of that history mandates the remembering of representative and extraordinary slaves…

Some may object that, because colonial Canadian slavery was not as extensive as the Southern U.S. version, Dr. Cooper’s research is academic and inconsequential. However, we must recognize that slavery was practiced in a solid third of what is now Canada– in Upper Canada (Ontario), New France (Quebec), New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia; that it numbered in thousands of slaves (with the greatest number in New France), held “legally” under various colonial regimes and traded globally; that it lasted for more than two hundred years; and that it ended only because it was not vital to the boreal economy.

As historian James Walker has argued, because colonial Canada held African slaves, its society fostered anti-Black racism-Negrophobia that persists in Canada today. Furthermore, because slavery was all about extracting free–and hard– labour from understandably recalcitrant persons, it sanctioned torture, even in Canada. Thus, one reads that a Loyalist kept his slaves chained to his basement walls in Fredericton, New Brunswick; or that a Nova Scotian bachelor minister owned two teenage female slaves, thus exciting public controversy; or that a Nova Scotian mistress bludgeoned a boy slave to death with a hammer; or that “a slave of Judge Upham” was hanged, on flimsy grounds, for the murder of a White woman in New Brunswick; or that Jean-Baptiste Thomas was hanged in the Montreal market, for theft, in the summer of 1735 (just a year after Mme. Angelique was executed); or that Josiah Cutten was hanged, in Ontario, in 1789, but was likened to animals that “go about at Night for their prey”. Ah, the records of Canadian slavery are every bit as vicious as those we Canadians know so much better– those of the Great Republic…

… “Four hundred years after the first African landed on Canadian shores (in Nova Scotia), 270 years after the grisly execution of Mme. Angelique, 170 years after the British Empire abolished slavery in Canada, and 50 years after Blacks were once again permitted to immigrate to Canada (specifically, from the Caribbean), one watches a brilliant irony unfold: the Jamaican-Canadian Dr. Cooper, a native of a society of slave revolts, presents her governor general, the Haitian-Canadian Mme. Jean, a native of a country established in rebellion and revolution, with a document about another Black woman, who was a martyr for liberty in colonial Canada.”

I now finish off with a quote from Afua Cooper in her Preface:

“The story of Angelique provides an opportunity for us to reclaim a hidden past. Since much of the Black past has been deliberately buried, covered over, and demolished, it is our task to unearth, uncover and piece it together again. This we are called to do, because the dead speak to us.

Canada: guns are bad, unless we’re selling them!

While cakers were busy congratulating themselves on being so “nice” and “polite” and “beloved worldwide” they forgot to worry about the little matter of being the second biggest arms dealer to the Middle East.

There’s some irony in this of course, because cakers are always badmouthing Americans and their “gun culture” while espousing the wonders of Canada and its “violence-free” reputation.

It’s a little difficult to criticize the U.S. (number one) when you’re the runner-up. Of course if one wants to make excuses for the United States: at least it’s the third most populous country in the world and the leading super power. So why is peaceful, nice little ol’ Canada – at 1/10th the population –  right up there at number two?

Because cakers are complete hypocrites and the caker kingdom is nothing but a massive fraud behind the ridiculous propaganda.

More from the Globe and Mail article:

“Canada has also vaulted to sixth overall among all arms-exporting countries, based on rankings released by Jane’s this week. This means only five countries are currently selling more weapons and military equipment… 

The Trudeau government gave the green light for the $15-billion sale of fighting vehicles to proceed to Saudi Arabia, a country regularly ranked by watchdog Freedom House as among the “worst of the worst” on human rights.”

Yes, money talks. Funny how Canada’s “values” fly out the window when there’s green on the table. That’s how business works, but it’s made more unbearable by the queasy self-righteous countrywide fawning over our benevolent values; how superior we are to the U.S., and the endless self-congratulations.

Judging by caker treatment of Aboriginals and Black people, national poverty, willful denial of the past, and willingness to sell arms to despotic regimes – Canada is no better than the USA or any other nation for that matter. But you won’t catch the cakers admitting that any time soon!

The Liberals tried to pin the Saudi-deal on the Conservatives who’d previously made it, but they approved the permits. They tried to say they ‘had no choice’, but even so, in April:

“… the Trudeau Liberals used their Commons majority on the House foreign affairs committee to reject an NDP proposal, backed by the Conservatives, to create Parliamentary oversight of arms exports. New Democrat MP Hélène Laverdière had envisioned a subcommittee of MPs to screen arms deals.”

What else?

“Canadians are told the aggregate dollar value of arms exports to countries – by category – but no details on transactions. The Saudi deal came to light only because the Conservative government was eager to publicize what it saw as an export win.  

It is not clear whether Canada’s export-control regime has ever blocked shipments of weapons. The Canadian government cannot say how many applications to export weapons and military technology have been rejected in the past 10 years, for example. “Export permit data is not compiled in this fashion,” a spokesperson for the department of Global Affairs told The Globe and Mail in January.”

We come back to the caker favorite: we don’t have the data! What a surprise!

Sweden has been a large arms exporter but is now looking to rethink policies and not support despotic regimes in their purchases.  The government has cancelled agreements, publicly criticized the Saudis, and is looking to make ‘democratic status’ a central condition for future exports.

“This means that the potential markets for Swedish defence industry will diminish,” Lena Hjelm-Wallen, deputy committee chairman and a former minister of foreign affairs, said last June. “That is the price we’ll have to pay.”

The Swedes ‘put their money where their mouth is’:

 “Arms sales, however, are down. Sweden exported the equivalent of $2.2-million worth of military equipment to Saudi Arabia in 2015, compared to $54-million in 2014 and $110-million in 2013. The last export licence awarded for arms shipments to Saudi Arabia was in March, 2015, Mr. Perlo-Freeman said.”

Can you envision such an attempt at integrity from the cakers? Me neither. It’s simply more proof that if cakers had the money and population of the U.S. they would be no better (probably worse).

Contradictions in Canada: Blacks

Canada: land of cognitive dissonance.

Here is one example of Canadian contradiction:


Blacks


Black people have been in Canada since the early 1600’s and unknown to a large segment of Canadians, they were also slaves in early colonial Canada (black history in general is overlooked or completely ignored).

Few enough think about the experience of black Canadians: regular racism, discrimination, lack of empathy and dismissive attitudes about their hardships. Most Canadians flippantly tell them that racism against blacks is a problem in the USA, not here.

Most Canadians know about issues of racism against Aboriginals, but believe that racism against blacks is minimal in Canada. Canadians love to shake their finger at their American neighbors and self-righteously proclaim themselves so superior in issues of race – particularly regarding black people. But as is so often the case with cakers, their self-image and reality are at blunt odds…

The data shows that when it comes to hate crimes, black Canadians are the number one victim! They account for roughly half of all racial hate crimes, which is parallel with American stats.

The USA has 10x the population level of Canada: 35 million vs 318  million. Black Canadians make up 2.9% of Canada’s population while black Americans make up 13.3% of the population. Which begs the question: who has the bigger problem here?

It should be noted that the likely reason hate crimes against Aboriginals are so low is because half their population resides on remote reserves, and a large percentage of the rest live on reserves inside cities or on the outskirts.

What can we conclude from all this? Cakers are no better than their American neighbors, and in fact a whole lot worse in most ways! 

Canada has a problem with racism. In fact, Canada has many problems … all swept under the rug so as to look good in front of the world. 


Note: While re-posting this, I updated it with current stats. I knew they would be no different because Canada never changes. 

Update: since this post, Statistics Canada has stopped compiling hate crimes information on individual groups and has combined them together.


Stats Can: 

2017 https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/181129/t001a-eng.htm

2015/16 https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/85-002-x/2018001/article/54915-eng.htm

2014/15 https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/85-002-x/2017001/article/14832-eng.htm

2013 https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/85-002-x/2015001/article/14191-eng.htm#a11

2012 https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/85-002-x/2014001/article/14028-eng.htm

2009/10 https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/85-002-x/2012001/article/11635-eng.htm