Is Canada Up the Creek?

The first in a series of no-holds-barred opinion pieces submitted by readers. Send your rant to [email protected]

The transformation only took a few years. The ultra-Zionist Canwest Global media conglomerate ruthlessly wielded the power it gained through the acquisition of Hollinger (all under the approving eye of Harper’s Reform Party, which is camouflaged as the Conservative Party of Canada). This media tyranny has altered the political landscape of Canada beyond recognition and Canadians, like the proverbial frogs in the frying pan, were oblivious to the rising heat.

Now we find ourselves a laughing stock after our Science Minister proclaims that he is not only unwilling to deny creationism, but unable to confirm evolution. Ottawa bars the entry of democratically elected British MP George Galloway because of his views on Afghanistan. We ditch Kyoto, pull out of Durban and remain the only Western country refusing to seek the repatriation of its incarcerated citizen in Guantanamo. We cut funding for English language classes offered by an Arab organization that is too vocal in its support for Palestinian rights while our ministers are dispatched to international forums in London to argue that criticism of Israel is tantamount to anti-Semitism. When a Canadian peacekeeper is killed in an Israeli attack on a UN compound during the 2006 Lebanon offensive, we choose to believe Israel’s version of events rather than that of UN witnesses. We’re the first country in the world to participate in the collective punishment of Gaza’s citizens after Hamas is democratically elected the ruling power. We’re the only country to veto a UN resolution calling for a ceasefire that will halt the indiscriminate Israeli pummeling of Gaza and prevent the further loss of innocent Palestinian life.

There was a time when American travelers used to sew the maple leaf on their backpacks and when Canada was respected as an honest broker in the Middle East. There was a time when we were admired for our progressive social policies. Those days are gone.

Today our politicians must openly demonstrate a staunch loyalty to Israel, and Canwest (which is little more than a Likud mouthpiece) publicly skewers those who are deemed insufficiently faithful. When not demonizing Muslims or fabricating stories about Iranian Jews forced to wear the Star of David, Canwest funds lectures by Christian fundamentalists like Joseph Farah of WorldNetDaily who declares that “there are no holy Islamic sites in Jerusalem” and likes to refer to the “so-called Palestinians.” Erasing the 1,300-year Islamic connection to Jerusalem may be vile historical revisionism on par with the crudest holocaust-denial, but that doesn’t stop Canwest chairman David Asper from personally introducing Farah as an “inspiration to us all.”

Canadians are facing an unprecedented ideological onslaught. This cultural crusade is waged with messianic zeal by deep-pocketed and well-connected disciples who use mudslinging and character assassinations to stifle any opposition. But power can be intoxicating. A recent string of high profile wins has produced a hubris too glaring to go unnoticed. Canadians may have been slow to sense the heat, but the smoke is now impossible to ignore.

—John Dirlik is a freelance writer living in Montreal. His op-ed pieces on the Middle East have appeared in the Montreal Gazette, but not since the Asper takeover.