Following Canada's recent rejection of a landmark United Nations indigenous rights document; the only United Nations member in the world to have taken this stance, Canada's international status is navigating into a dark and disturbing course. Notwithstanding their recent loss of the United Nations Security Council seat, they have been subject of a staunch and telling report by the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples earlier this year. In addition to the continued legislation imposed on indigenous peoples and their affairs that is fuelled by complex and institutionalized gender discrimination, the rampant and disturbing statistics of missing indigenous women that Amnesty International has reported on as well as the Special Rapporteur having demanded an inquiry be conducted was dismissed and refused to be adhered to by the government due to the Royal Canadian Mounty Police deeming it unnecessary. Furthermore and most importantly, one of the main issues reminded and reinforced in the report was the infamous Indian Act, 1876 that has been and continues to be responsible for driving indigenous peoples into collective self-destruction. The Indian Act, 1876 is a racist legislation that subjugates and subordinates indigenous peoples of Canada and their affairs to the federal government. The state sponsored racism is reflected in the racialized statistics that demonstrate predominance of indigenous peoples in relation to negative situational circumstances in all political, socio-economic and legal affairs.
Setting aside the historical and continued racism towards indigenous peoples from the time of first contact between the European settlers and indigenous peoples including the violation of their right to self-determination, we now have another form of racism being legislated like the Indian Act, 1876 and that is Bill C-24 also known as Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act. This bill which is now law in the country creates categories of first class and second class Canadians including the power to strip away nationality and specifically targeting those who are of dual citizenship, all in the name of security.
The Politics of Color in Canada
Before understanding the contemporary political situational circumstances in Canada, it is critical to understand the historical roots of the Conservative party of Canada led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper governing the country today. The current Conservative party of Canada is a merger between the Canadian Alliance and the Progressive Conservative Party. The Canadian Alliance was a successor to what was known as the Reform Party which existed from 1987-2000; became the Canadian Alliance in 2000 and lasted until 2003 whereby the merging of them with the Progressive Conservatives occurred. The Reform Party was an ultra-right wing party that advocated for the complete dismantling of government responsibility in relation to indigenous situational circumstances and preached staunch anti-immigration and anti-multicultural policies. The three most exclusive, influential and outspoken speakers of the party were Preston Manning, the sole leader of the Reform Party who is currently retired from politics, Stan Waters the Reform Party foreign affairs spokesman and first to be elected as Senator for the Party and Stephen Harper, Chief Policy Officer of the Reform Party where he designed the Reform Party campaign platform and is currently the Prime Minister of Canada.
The Reform Party was sympathetic to the Apartheid Regime and were critical of the Canadian government's negative stance on Apartheid rule including the release of Nelson Mandela from prison which they tried to influence and change. There were many high-profile pro Apartheid activists in the party namely Herb Grubel, Donavan Carter, K.H.W. Hillborn and Arthur Child- who is the only Canadian to have received the apartheid regime's medal of honour. Notwithstanding the parties organizational and promotional events of pro-apartheid rule, the party and particularly Stephen Harper were involved with groups called the Heritage Front and the Northern Foundation. These groups were racist white supremacist organizations that were openly pro-Apartheid and supportive of the Reform Party. Many, if not all of the Reform Party were members of the Heritage Front and the Northern Foundation including Stephen Harper who in fact used these white supremacist groups as security during campaigns or party meetings.
Setting aside the fact that South Africa's Apartheid regime was inspired and mentored by Canada and its particular historical and contemporary relationship with its indigenous peoples and further reinforced by Glenn Babb's visit to an indigenous reservation in 1993, Canada's evident apartheid is in a two-tiered form, one by the regime against its indigenous peoples and the other by the regime against its non-indigenous, non-white immigrant population reflected through its immigration policies historically and contemporarily as a settler colonial state. The current government of Canada and its present residues of pro Apartheid individuals governing the country are taking this already institutionalized racism to a new level, rendering it a potential and evident Apartheid State under international law.
Notwithstanding the pro-apartheid residues reflected in the Harper government's approval of a refugee case claimed by an Afrikaner fleeing political persecution in 2009, the said government ignored the indigenous community of Attawapiskat's call for a State of Emergency as a result of its subhuman and fourth world conditions that the community is living under. As a result of the lack of action by the Harper government, the Canadian Red Cross had to intervene to address this community living under these deeply disturbing socio-economic conditions. The very same community has the South African DeBeers Diamond Mining Company, infamous for its aiding and abetting the Apartheid regime in South Africa as well as destroying an indigenous community in Botswana; now making millions of dollars excavating diamonds from the indigenous community in Canada, the royalties of which are going to the Province of Ontario as opposed to the community that is left to live under the above mentioned disturbing situational circumstances.
Furthermore, the Harper government's staunch, unequivocal and unconditional support for the State of Israel, a state that has been designated as a terrorist state, responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity, including Apartheid as a result of the presence of an illegal Apartheid wall, illegal Jewish only settlements, Jewish only roads and Jewish only buses further demonstrates the pro-Apartheid residues of the current Canadian government. In fact, Canadian companies like Green Park International and Green Mount International are assisting in building this apartheid infrastructure of which a legal case has been filed against them. It is worth noting that not only was the State of Israel supportive of the Apartheid regime in South Africa and assisted them with nuclear weapons, the Goldstone report; a UN inquiry into war crimes committed by Israel during Operation Cast Lead in 2008 found evidence of up to 75 Afrikaners fighting with the Israel Defense Forces.Last but not least, the Jewish Defense League is designated as a terrorist organization by Israel, the United States and European Union; denounced by the Anti-Defamation League for their violent extremism and racism and yet they have an office in Canada and operate legally. In fact, the Jewish Defense League has made alliances with the British National Party which is a white supremacist, anti-Semitic organization. Most importantly, the Jewish Defense League relate their "cause" to the White Afrikaners of South Africa further demonstrating Canada's facilitation of the politics of apartheid.
The Color of Democracy in Canada
With the historical context mentioned, the contemporary does not look much different given the stances and conduct of our current government led by Stephen Harper. The Harper government has cancelled the Court Challenges Program, a government fund made available to citizens to challenge decisions that were related to language and equality rights as guaranteed in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms; demonstrating their racist anti-multicultural and anti-immigration policies that are in actuality in violation of Section 27 of the said Charter. Now, with the codification of the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act concerns of which were expressed by Amnesty International, its affects are already taking place in terms of its anti-immigration and anti-multicultural stance.
Canada is a monist state meaning international law is incorporated or enmeshed within Canadian domestic law. Therefore, any violation of domestic law in Canada, is simultaneously a violation of international law. Setting aside the various violations of the Charter in relation to indigenous and non-white immigrant affairs, Canada is in violation of the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid, thereby committing crimes against humanity as a result of its Apartheid type policies and decisions as per international law; mainly Articles 2(c)(d) and (f) as well as Article 3(a) and (b) respectively.
History has clearly shown the international community what Apartheid systems lead to and most importantly that history repeats itself as humanity does not learn from history. The Apartheid regime in South Africa had to deal with the insurgency of the African National Congress led by Nelson Mandela. In Israel, the Apartheid regime had to deal with the insurgency of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Hamas and Tanzim led by "the Palestinian Mandela"-currently imprisoned. Given these facts, reports of potential indigenous insurgencies being ripe in Canada as a result of such similar contextual dynamics is not surprising. Based on the incestuous relationship between Canada, Israel and South Africa in relation to Apartheid; the upcoming elections of October 19, 2015 will demonstrate and test what the color of democracy is in Canada and reinforcing the two options learned from history; the ballot box or the bullet box. Let's pray it's the former.