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Europe, Canada and US

Democracy Canadian-style Part II: At home

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Given Canada's neo-realpolitik internationally, it is no surprise that Canadian domestic affairs are following an identical logic. In the past, Canada appeared to stand apart from such settler colonies as the US and Australia in dealing more fairly with its natives. John Ralston Saul argues for the "originality of the Canadian project", that contained elements of a rejection of the Enlightenment project of Europe/ the US, which was based on secular rationality and liberal revolution. Canada was never a monolithic nation state, but rather based on consensus, incorporating the native philosophy of man as part of nature. Canada's policy of constant immigration furthermore fuelled the need for a multicultural "intercultural" ethic. It was never a 'melting pot' and Canadians have always prided themselves on their lack of US-style national chauvinism. (Europe is formally multicultural because of its need for cheap immigrant labor, but old imperial nationalisms live on.)

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Democracy Canadian-style Part I: Abroad

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Canada's role in the postmodern imperial world is as a poster child for promoting formal electoral democracy -- at home and abroad. Internationally, instead of offering peacekeeping troops to the UN, as in days of yore, and promoting grassroots development in the third world, it takes orders directly from its US-Euro masters, helping them invade countries if necessary to set up the mechanisms for elections, and ignoring for the most part the real problems that the poor of the world face. It uses its foreign diplomatic service not to promote peace and social justice, but to support the needs of Canadian corporations abroad and facilitate their quest for profits.

This has been the strategy in Afghanistan, Libya and now Mali, the latter in cooperation with France, with Canada providing air transport of French military equipment. It is the mirror image of its treatment of Canada's native people, who are force-fed a similar formal role in Canada's political system, where formal equality -- as exemplified in Bill C-45 -- is touted in order to mask the real problems natives face, and -- as if by coincidence -- at the same time pave the way to take control of the natural resources that are the natives' heritage.

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Canada's First Nations: Expect resistance

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“Respect Existence or Expect Resistance”, chant native Canadians as a showdown 11 January loams with Prime Minister Harper.

Sparked by Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence’s hunger strike on tiny ‘Victoria’ Island near Ottawa's Parliament Hill, now in its third frigid week, the native uprising across Canada is in fact the latest manifestation of the world's colonized peoples trying to throw off the shackles of imperialism. An exciting moment, one of vital import for us all.

Their warrior path brings to mind Egyptian Muslims fighting their westernizers and Mubarakite old guard since the revolution in January 2011, or the struggle by Palestinian natives against Israeli theft of their land. It is a continuation of the Iranian people's struggle in the face of unrelenting subversion from the West. It’s no coincidence that Cairenes were some of the demonstrators at Canadian embassies, or that native activist-leader Terrance Nelson recently was offered support in Tehran for his efforts to gain a seat at the OPEC table for the real owners of Canada’s oil and gas resources.

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Human rights: the people vs the UN

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Even as the US government is re-elected to the UN Human Rights Council, the UN Committee Against Torture hears a complaint against Bush, notes Eric Walberg

The recent death of Iranian dissident blogger Sattar Beheshti in police custody was a sad event. All human life is precious. “If anyone kills a person unless in retribution for murder or spreading corruption in the land – it is as if he kills all humanity,” states the Quran. An investigation by the Tehran prosecutor, the head of Tehran police and the head of Tehran prisons was ordered by Iranian parliament and Beheshti’s interrogators were hauled on the carpet.

At the same time, the US was elected to a second three-year term on the 47-member United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC). President Bush boycotted the HRC for criticizing Israel too much, but Obama joined in 2010 to ‘improve’ it. US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice welcomed Washington’s re-election this week, saying that the HRC “has delivered real results”, citing its criticism of Syria, though she criticized the rights council’s continued “excessive and unbalanced focus on Israel”.

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Canada-Iran: Looking for real democracy

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One Canadian leader looks for allies to develop our resources responsibly, while another looks for enemies where there are none, says Eric Walberg 

News that should warm the heart of any supporter of native rights and critic of Stephen Harper -- that native activists will finally get a voice at OPEC (however weak) -- has been greeted by the silence of the liberal lambs. Where are voices of reason? Where is the opposition in Canada's so-called democracy?

The only public response to former Roseau River chief Terrance Nelson's efforts to help his people -- Canada's First Nation (as opposed to the settlers who stole the land and who export and destroy our resources) -- is to accuse him of treason, of consorting with the enemy, the enemy being a nation which has never threatened Canada, the US or any other nation with aggression. A nation which is instead the victim of harsh sanctions and unrelenting subversion by Canada and its 'friends’.

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Canadian Eric Walberg is known worldwide as a journalist specializing in the Middle East, Central Asia and Russia. A graduate of University of Toronto and Cambridge in economics, he has been writing on East-West relations since the 1980s.

He has lived in both the Soviet Union and Russia, and then Uzbekistan, as a UN adviser, writer, translator and lecturer. Presently a writer for the foremost Cairo newspaper, Al Ahram, he is also a regular contributor to Counterpunch, Dissident Voice, Global Research, Al-Jazeerah and Turkish Weekly, and is a commentator on Voice of the Cape radio.

Europe, Canada & USA

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Eric's latest book The Canada Israel Nexus is available here http://www.claritypress.com/WalbergIV.html