Monday, September 23, 2019



 By Robin Mathews/September 2019.

Like a Phoenix Infrequent The Council of Canadians is, sort of in the news again, with a new Executive Director and new Chairperson. Named by whom? (People think of Maude Barlow when they think of the COCO.  More about that later.) From my recollection, the list of founding members of the COC as named in Wikipedia is as fine a romantic, fantasy list as might be available!! The Council seems to attract fabulation. As one of those who was on the ground floor back in 1985 at the founding and was on the first National Board I will tell all.

Just where the new officers come from I cannot tell you.  From being envisaged as a wonderfully democratic organization back in those heady days of the 1980s, the two new officers may have appeared from under a large mushroom. Although I live in a tiny village in B.C. called Vancouver, COC managed to find me, it seems, so it could announce the changes, and ask for money: over and over and over.

Reviewing the past, the recent message from The Centre does NOT SAY the Council of Canadians (begun, in fact, by Mel Hurtig and Walter Gordon: Wikipedia gets much wrong) was created as an actively anti-imperialist organization (nor, or course, does Wikipedia).  The Big Fact at the time was U.S.-loving-Brian Mulroney, full of Blarney and uncertain truth taking Canada into a questionable Free Trade Agreement with the USA. (That was a present symptom: more integration was at stake.) The writers of the recent message skirt the foundational fact about the COC its anti-imperialist roots. Who, in public life in Canada today, would be so crude, so bad-mannered, so boldly forthright as to tell the truth about the formation of the Council of Canadians!

The truth is borne out by the fact that Walter Gordon (important Liberal Party organizer, brief Liberal Finance Minister, and on-going fighter for Canadian independence) began in the early 1960s writing books about foreign (read U.S.) takeover of the Canadian Economy.  He was a key builder of the revived Liberal Party and was made Finance Minister in the government of Lester B. Pearson. As minister he introduced (in 1963) a takeover tax to slow, especially, takeover of the Canadian economy by the imperializing U.S.A.

Lester B. Pearson was attacked by all the powers of Finance in Canada, roiling in fury at Gordon's initiative. Courageous Lester Pearson did not defend his minister. He asked for Gordon's resignation. Gordon agreed to go on condition Pearson would permit the creation of a Task Force to investigate Foreign Ownership in Canada.  Pearson agreed.

To be brief the Task Force (made up of a number of economists, not all progressive ones) reported in 1968 and advocated measures to control investment from outside Canada. 

That takes us one more step towards the formation of the Council of Canadians.

The Watkins Report, issued in 1968 (a year after the widely celebrated Centennial of Canada celebrations) was a major National Event. And it is connected, of course to Walter Gordon, and both are connected to the creation of the 1969 Movement (Mel Watkins, Jim Laxer, Bob Laxer) in the NDP for a swing to the Left and to increased national ownership of the economy. The movement called The Waffle Movement, attracted many, and it fought to take the NDP in a Left-wards direction. Indeed, Liberals Walter Gordon, Peter Newman, and Abraham Rotstein fell together, as a result, to form in the next year The (Liberalish) Committee for an Independent Canada which - on its slightly less militant part - advocated action on the ownership of the Canadian economy and much more.

Just as Walter Gordon and the Watkins Report had much to do with the creation of the Waffle Movement in the NDP [Go Left], they also contributed greatly to foundation of The Committee for an Independent Canada. The Far Right operators of the New Democratic Party at the time were, really, David Lewis and his son Stephen with U.S. Unions-in-Canada providing some of the financial basis of the Party.  And so in 1974, in the Orange Hall in Orillia, Ontario the NDP had a Night Of The Long Knives and drove OUT OF THE PARTY its first progressive, reform movement since its founding in 1960.  The bosses of the New Democratic Party wanted no movement to the Left that the Waffle Movement represented as has been clear ever since which is why the NDP is not characterized as the Canadian Parliamentary Left but as Liberals In A Hurry (and not much of a hurry).

Time passed  The Waffle Movement in the NDP was crushed. The Committee for an Independent Canada folded its tents. Brian Mulroney took power the Trudeau Era was over and Big Negotiations were on for a Free Trade Agreement with the U.S.A. Many saw that (with Brian Mulroney fronting the action) as, very probably, a danger to Canadian independence.

Walter Gordon was aging and, in addition, ill. So Mel Hurtig was front and centre in the call to a meeting at the Four Seasons Hotel on Bloor Street in Toronto in 1985.  When I walked into the meeting, I found myself in the company of the people I knew in all the fights for Canadian Independence over the previous twenty years.  And from his sick-bed Walter Gordon came for a brief few minutes to the meeting to give the new departure his blessing.

(A side piece of information of a disturbing nature: talking not long after the meeting to Mel Hurtig, he informed me that while the meeting was going on downstairs, his room in the hotel was entered, ransacked, and all his belongings and papers were messed with and scattered around the room ... in evident disarray. I was alarmed and puzzled. Who?  Mel smiled: the RCMP leaving its calling card he opined.)

Out of the meeting came The Council of Canadians. It was to be a democratic organization meeting every two years in a major Canadian centre where policy would be shaped and officers democratically selected.  As I remember it, Mel Hurtig was the first (naturally) head of the Council, and was re-voted in at the next meeting (was it Winnipeg?). Remember? Mel Hurtig flew over the U.S. ship travelling through the Canadian Northwest Passage (without permission) and dropped a Canadian flag on its deck to remind it, (Canadian government being too reticent to do so!!)

A little later, Maude Barlow became the energetic and effective leader of the Council. From then on there were no more bi-annual meetings to shape policy and to elect the leader. Because two-year periods repeatedly passed without meetings, Ms. Barlow was not, obviously, the elected Chair and so for some years she signed communications as Voluntary Chair of the COC.  Members of the Council of Canadians have not met … have not jointly made policy and have not voted for top officers for at least 25 years.

The fight for Canadian independence has been erased until the Council is now well What is it now??

There may not, in fact even be members anymore maybe just contributors.  Who elected the two named as Chair and Executive Director in the recent communication?  And so who is the Council in the phrase The Council of Canadians and who made Maude Barlow Honorary Chair of the Council of Canadians? (Not you.  Not me.)

Behind all the history considered here a larger question seems to loom. Canadians (beneath the surface) seem to want a Canadian independence party one that rejects, for instance, the me-too / U.S.-ordered hatred of Russia, of Venezuela, of Iran, of Middle East countries, of now Cuba ALL OF WHICH Chrystia Freeland, Canada's Me-too! Us-too! Foreign Affairs minister embraces as if she were, herself, a born-again citizen of the U.S.A.

No wonder the urge for something different, for an independent Canadian path surfaces over and over until maybe one day Canada will create a winning and triumphant Party of Canadian Independence and Decency.  Obviously The Council of Canadians created to urge forward that purpose, has chickened out ....  And so ... the field (ladies and gentlemen) is open again.

Contact: Robin Mathews

Saturday, September 7, 2019

The Birthday Of A Gigantic Colony (July 1, 2019). The Indigenous Peoples Of Canada. Part Three. What's To Celebrate? by Robin Mathews

 The Indigenous Peoples Of Canada.

The amount of money spent is huge.  It is accompanied by unending faux comment by the Mainstream Press and Media [half truth, no truth, and sleight-of-hand].  The Fourth Estate bathes itself in the flood of expertise by Social Scientists: Sociologists, Anthropologists, Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Suicidologists and more who operate and/or provide the structure of the passionately concerned, humane, sensitive, deeply caring reconciliation, truth and other keenly motivated "Commissions of Inquiry" into the deeply destructive, on-going, un-health and deracination of Canada's Indigenous Peoples from sea to sea to sea.

How has the legislation since John A. Macdonald continued to be destructive of Indigenous life and community?  Why are top Social Scientists unable (?) to fathom the reasons for the unending degradation of Canada's First Peoples?

The hard, hurting short answer to the last question may be because the Social Scientists are, in fact, (even when unaware) unable to find any meaningful solution living as they do in the side-pocket of Power (quite close to its wallet).

What is to celebrate about a sickness in Canadian Society that is more than 150 years old?

The vastness of the subject, its intricacies, its on-going (apparent) insolubility, and the endless publication attempting to deal with it must surely cause many, many concerned non-indigenous Canadians to turn off, to turn away from the subject from sheer confusion. Are they racists?  Perhaps. One cannot say categorically: No, not racists.  But let us say 'Not Racists' merely confused people unable to find a thread they can take hold of to lead them (a) to the core of the problem, and (b) able to see Real Solutions that may be given life.

With the enormous literature on the subject one is lucky to find the core, the key, the heart and soul of the matter in terms that any Canadian may understand.  It is there.  And when it is presented any Canadian (except those who are on the distraction payroll) will say:  Yes, of course.  Now let's begin real change.

Reading the book by Roland D. Chrisjohn and Shaughnessy McKay (with Andrea O. Smith): Dying To Please You: Indigenous Suicide in Contemporary Canada makes everything plain.  [Read also The Circle Game by Roland Chrisjohn and Sherri L. Young , with Michael Maraun].

[Notice the two books are not published either by major University Presses or by major Mainstream publishers in Canada those last being, in fact, U.S. Branch Plant operations in Canada: Gigantic Imperial  Publishers for a Gigantic Colony.]    The publisher is Theytus Books, Penticton, B.C.

The condition we face arises, they reasonably say, out of the nature of our society.  Dying to Please You¦. refers to global developments since Columbus discovered the geography of the Western Hemisphere in 1492 and the rape of South and Central and North America was launched, and (in relation to the lives of the Indigenous Peoples) has never ended.

That is the basis of the argument.  It is that Pizarro, the famous looter/murderer of Indigenous people in the first half of the sixteenth century was simply father and uncle to all that has followed and which continues to this day: the rape and looting of all 'The New Worlds' by Pizarro's Capitalist descendants. The primary cause of the disease attacking the Indigenous in the world and in Canada is called Capitalism.  Genocide follows.

Genocide, write the authors of The Circle Game, is key to the whole story.  Genocide to cover up the wholesale theft of North America from the Aboriginal Peoples, to avoid having to compensate those whose property was stolen, and to obliterate the chain linking specific genocidal actions taken against Aboriginal Peoples, to the legal, political, economic, and social elite that conceived and implemented genocide. (p. 74)

(On that central matter read all the volumes by Anthony Hall and Bruce Clark as very useful further instruction.)

The authors of Dying To Please You. assert that the program has been a shared activity of all The Western Imperial Malevolent Powers. (p. 104)  That is true from at least Pizarro onwards. The authors of the two books before us deal head on with the subject and so we may be usefully brief. The nature of our society is (as the authors record) that it is a Capitalist Society … one in which (a) Capitalists, in fact, rule, and (b) in which the goal is to gain possession of and exploit anything and everything that will increase Capitalist wealth.  The problem for Canadian government, now, the authors aver, is how to appropriate indigenous land and property without paying for it.  Moreover, the possibility that indigenous nations maintain their ownership while being compensated for previous outright robberies is not allowed to be raised as an issue.  (p. 106, Dying to Please You.)

And so, for the Indigenous Peoples, Dying to Please You. recommends they come to grips with the domination of our lives by capitalism (p. 138).  But, surely, a real solution will only come about when all Canadians come to grips with Capitalism and reconstruct 'the present system', excluding the power and the tools of Capitalism.

Education in our time as The Circle Game points out, is, in fact, training to accept the Capitalist Status Quo.  We have probably gone backwards.  In the 1950s and 1960s debates about Capitalism were fairly common on university campuses.  And the Communist Party of Canada was visible and was dumping on (and educating about) Capitalism.  Marxist Study Groups were fairly common.  Now Canadian university campuses are firmly and richly in the hands of the Capitalist State, as is every legislative body and almost every visible Political Party in the country.

One of the very best ways to protect Capitalism is to establish as Absolute Truth that any examination of, and/or any reference to Marxist Thought can only come from filthy, vile, near-mad, immoral, humanity-hating, gross, vile, anti-community, self-seekers (when, in fact, the description may, rather, describe perfectly almost any serious Capitalist.)

None of that bodes well for the real condition of Canada's indigenous peoples OR for the indoctrinated population standing, apparently helpless, in the face of on-going extermination on-going genocide.

What a strange and sorry tale to tell about Canada on the occasion of its 152nd Birthday Party.  The greed of its Capitalist Class, the existence of  barely disguised Capitalist government, added to the ignorance of non-Indigenous Canadians (and even many of the Indigenous) delivers a continuing condition of oppression, gross misunderstanding, and genocide.

Come the Revolution as people used to say, things will change!  But the Revolution seems farther and farther away.  Except one of the characteristics of Revolution, we are told, is that often, unexpectedly, the chain of consent snaps and the community is in revolutionary change almost as a result of what seemed to be the unnoticed nature of the society.  Hope, as Alexander Pope wrote, "hope springs eternal in the human breast."

  Contact: Robin Mathews