Is Canada a Colonial State?

by Andrew Loewen on January 2, 2013One comment

Yes. It is. A simple fact, an ugly reality, elided by Canada’s public school curriculum. But one recognized even by former Liberal Prime Minister and millionaire shipping magnate Paul Martin.

We have never admitted to ourselves that we were, and still are, a colonial power.

Never in my adult years have I professed Canadian patriotism; to do so is to endorse a system of colonial domination. Nationalists are a defensive lot, like insecure children, so I don’t know how effective it is to ask settler Canadians to renounce the pretense of “progressive” patriotism (the ideological foundation of the social-democratic Canadian left). But it is natural – and liberating – to dispense with the self-serving myth of “Canadian values” once you reckon with reality: Canada practices colonialism, is founded on it and persists through it. It is appalling and cruel; the settler population is complicit. No one is neutral in a colonial situation. Here is Russell Diabo explaining the formal structures of Canadian colonialism with razor precession, today. Canadians have much to unlearn. (Head below for something more fiery)

And here is former national chief of the Assembly of First Nations Georges Erasmus, delivering a historic speech more than 20 years ago. Too bad current chief Shawn Atleo never speaks like this.

We are sick and tired of being your conscience!

One comment

Andrew Loewen on January 3, 2013 at 10:03 am. #

Incidentally, Tobold Rollo has a commentary highlighting how the way forward out of these colonial relations has already been set out in the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (a point Diabo also underlines in the video). The groundwork has already been done on this. Reading the summary of the RCAP (online) is a great step for any conscientious Canadian. Unfortunately, the relation between the RCAP and government action is akin to that of climate science. The information is in, but there hasn’t been the social power from below to force the policy recommendations to life.

Meanwhile, First Nations Studies/Political Science professor Glen Coulthard has a short, excellent account of the militant struggles that brought the RCAP into existence.