All posts by Yves Engler

Canadian imperialism in Africa

Canadian imperialism in Africa has had a rare social media moment.

On Twitter K. Diallo recently posted a map of the continent with the sum of Canadian mining investment in each African country under the words “75% of mining companies globally are now Canadian. Canada is a great source of corporate neocolonialism expansion.” The tweet received 25,000 likes and 8,500 retweets.

But the map is dated. It said there was $31.6 billion worth of Canadian mining investment in Africa yet Natural Resources Canada put the number at $37.8 billion in 2019. The scope of Canadian resource extraction on the continent is remarkable. Many companies based and traded here have taken African names (African Queen Mines, Asante Gold Corporation, Tanzanian Royalty Exploration, Lake Victoria Mining Company, Société d’Exploitation Minière d’Afrique de l’Ouest, East Africa Metals, International African Mining Gold (IAMGOLD), African Gold Group, etc.).

Canadian resource companies operating in Africa receive significant government support. Amongst a slew of pro-mining measures, Justin Trudeau’s government has put up more than $100 million in assistance for mining related projects in Africa, signed Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements and backed Barrick Gold during a high-profile conflict with the Tanzanian government.

A similar Facebook meme on Ghana has also circulated widely in recent days. Appearing to originate from a statement posted by Kgoshi Mmaphuti Uhuru Mokwele, it notes:

Ghana is the biggest gold producing country in Africa & 8th in the world, but 93.3% of Ghana’s gold is owned by foreign corporations, mainly America and Canada. Ghana owns less than 2% of all the Gold in their land. Ghana has to borrow money from the IMF & World Bank to buy their own Gold, which is on their land, mined by Ghanaian workers, using Ghana’s resources. The price of the Gold is set in New York & can only be purchased with American dollar.

Canada has certainly contributed to the Ghanaian (and African) impoverishment Mokwele alludes to. Alongside their counterparts from the US and Britain, Canadian officials participated in the 1944 Bretton Woods negotiations that established the IMF and World Bank and Ottawa continues to have outsized influence within those institutions. Tens of millions of dollars in Canadian aid money has supported IMF structural adjustment policies of privatization, liberalization and social spending cuts in Ghana, which benefited Canada’s rapacious mining industry.

After a high profile Canadian-financed structural adjustment program in the late 1980s NGO worker Ian Gary explained its impact:

Ghana’s traditional sources of income — gold, cocoa, and timber — have benefited from the program, but this has only exacerbated the colonial legacy of dependence. Nearly all of the $1.5 billion worth of private foreign investment has been in mining, with most of the profits being repatriated overseas. ‘User fees’ for health care services and education have been introduced. Disincentives to food producers, and the damage caused to local rice producers by cheap rice imports, led to increased malnutrition and lower food security. Rapid and indiscriminate liberalization of the trade regime hurt local industry, while cutbacks in the public sector shed 15 per cent of the waged work force.

But Canadian support for colonial exploitation goes back much further.

Ottawa began dispersing aid to African countries as a way to dissuade newly independent states from following wholly independent paths or falling under the influence of the Communist bloc. A big part of Canada’s early assistance went to train militaries, including the Ghanaian military that overthrew pan-Africanist independence leader Kwame Nkrumah in 1966. After Nkrumah’s removal Canadian High Commissioner C.E. McGaughey wrote External Affairs in Ottawa that “a wonderful thing has happened for the West in Ghana and Canada has played a worthy part.” McGaughey boasted about the effectiveness of Canada’s Junior Staff Officers training program noting that “all the chief participants of the coup were graduates of this course.” (Canadian major Bob Edwards, who was a training advisor to the commander of a Ghanaian infantry brigade, discovered preparations for the coup the day before its execution, but said nothing.)

During the colonial period Ottawa offered various forms of support to European rule in Ghana and elsewhere on the continent. Beginning in the early 1900s Canadian officials worked to develop commercial relations with the British colony and in 1938 Canada’s assistant trade commissioner in London, H. Leslie Brown, spent three weeks in the Gold Coast. In 1947 Alcan commenced operations there through its purchase of West African Aluminum Limited.

Numerous Canadians played a role in the British colonial service in Ghana. In 1921 former Canadian Lieutenant E.F.L. Penno was appointed assistant commander of the Gold Coast police and was later made overall commander. At the start of the 1900s Galt, Ontario, born Frederick Gordon Guggisberg helped mark over 300 mining and timber concessions in Ashanti and the Gold Coast, which aided Britain’s Ashanti Gold Corporation extract six million ounces of gold from the colony. After two decades moving up in the colonial service Guggisberg was governor of Ghana from 1919 to 1927 (a Canadian governed Kenya and Northern Nigeria as well).

Canadian missionaries and soldiers also played a role in subjugating Ghana at the turn of the 19th century. According to Global Affairs, “In 1906, Québec missionaries established a church in Navrongo in northern Ghana, thus marking the arrival of a Canadian presence in the country.” Oscar Morin and Leonide Barsalou set up the first White Fathers post in the Gold Coast where Canadians would dominate the church for half a century.

Numerous Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) trained individuals fought the Ashanti in turn-of-the-19th-century wars. RMC graduate Captain Duncan Sayre MacInnes helped construct an important fort at the Ashanti capital of Kumasi and the son of a Canadian senator participated in a number of subsequent expeditions to occupy the hinterland of modern Ghana. For more than half a century a selected fourth year RMC cadet has been awarded the Duncan Sayre MacInnes Memorial Scholarship.

Scratch the surface of African history and you’ll find Canadian involvement in colonial rule. This country’s role in the impoverishment of Ghana and Africa in general deserves far greater attention.

The post Canadian imperialism in Africa first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Afghanistan:  a military and an “aid” failure

While recent events have destroyed the credibility of militarists who pushed for the invasion and 20-year-long occupation of Afghanistan, the moral bankruptcy of their supporters in the aid industry has also been stunningly revealed.

A quick Taliban victory over the foreign trained “Afghan army” at least (momentarily) embarrassed Canadian militarists. But what about their camp followers in the NGO universe?

Over the past two decades Ottawa has plowed over $3.6 billion in “aid” into Afghanistan. During this period the central Asian country has been the top recipient of official assistance, receiving about twice the next biggest destination, another victim of Canadian foreign policy, Haiti.

While Afghanistan is undoubtedly deserving of aid, 10 countries have a lower GDP per capita and 20 countries have a lower life expectancy. So why the focus on Afghanistan? Because it was the place where policymakers thought aid was most likely to have positive results? Of course not. The aid was delivered to support the Canadian, US, and NATO military occupation.

Canadian personnel repeatedly linked development work in Afghanistan to the counterinsurgency effort. “It’s a useful counterinsurgency tool,” is how Lieutenant-Colonel Tom Doucette, commander of Canada’s provincial reconstruction team, described the Canadian International Development Agency’s work in Afghanistan. Development assistance, for instance, was sometimes given to communities in exchange for information on combatants. After a roadside bomb hit his convoy in September 2009, Canadian General Jonathan Vance spent 50 minutes berating village elders for not preventing the attack. “If we keep blowing up on the roads,” he told them, “I’m going to stop doing development.”

The CF worked closely with NGOs in Afghanistan. A 2007 parliamentary report explained that some NGOs “work intimately with military support already in the field.” Another government report noted that the “Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC) platoon made up of Army Reserve soldiers organizes meetings with local decision-makers and international NGOs to determine whether they need help with security.”

The aid was also a public relations exercise. At politically sensitive moments in the war Canadian officials sought to showcase newly built schools or dams to divert attention from more unsavory sides of military conflict. Alarmed about a growing casualty list and other negative news, in fall 2006, the Prime Minister’s Office directed the military to “push” reconstruction stories on journalists embedded with the military. Through an access to information request the Globe and Mail obtained an email from Major Norbert Cyr saying, “the major concern [at Privy Council Office] is whether we are pushing development issues with embeds.” In an interview with Jane’s Defence Weekly’s Canadian correspondent, a journalist described what this meant on the ground. “We’ve been invited on countless village medical outreach visits, ribbon-cutting ceremonies, and similar events.” The hope was that reporters embedded at the Canadian base in Kandahar would file more stories about development projects and fewer negative subjects.

At a broader level aid was used to reinforce the foreign occupation. The aim was to support the Afghan forces allied with the US-led occupation. Canada’s military withdrawal from Afghanistan led to a drop in aid, and now that US forces have withdrawn, Canadian aid will likely dry up.

Historically, military intervention elicits aid. Call it the ‘intervention-equals-aid’ principle or ‘wherever Canadian or US troops kill, Ottawa provides aid’ principle.

Ottawa delivered $7.25 million to South Korea during the early 1950s Korean War. Tens of millions of dollars in Canadian aid supported US policy in South Vietnam in the 1960s and during the 1990-91 Iraq war Canada provided $75 million in assistance to people in countries affected by the Gulf crisis. Amidst the NATO bombing in 1999-2000 the former Yugoslavia was the top recipient of Canadian assistance. After the 2003 US invasion of Iraq Canada announced a $300 million aid package to that country.

As mentioned above, Haiti has been the second largest recipient of Canadian aid over the past two decades. While an elected, pro-poor government was in place between 2001 and 2004 Canadian aid to Haiti was reduced to a trickle. But after the US, French and Canadian invasion ousted thousands of elected officials in 2004, hundreds of millions of dollars flowed into Haiti. Throughout the 15-year UN occupation, Canadian aid continued to flow.

In the years after invasions by foreign troops, Afghanistan, Iraq and Haiti were the top recipients of Canadian “aid”. The thread that connected those three countries was the presence of Canadian or US troops.

Should it even be called aid when it comes along with foreign soldiers? A better description would be the “break it and you pay for it” principle.

Where is the discussion of all this in the NGO world? Canada’s international assistance policy gets a free ride — of course, we’re a force for good — in the mainstream media. But does anyone really believe it’s good for “aid” to be tied to military occupation?

Will those who uncritically promote increased Canadian “aid” discuss its ties to the disaster in Afghanistan? Are any of the NGOs that followed foreign troops to Afghanistan speaking out about their error?

• Yves Engler’s Stand on Guard For Whom?  A People’s History of the Canadian Military is now available.

The post Afghanistan:  a military and an “aid” failure first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Afghanistan was based on lies: Will Canada’s militarists apologize?

The quick collapse of the US-backed government in Afghanistan has revealed how little ordinary people should trust Canada’s military, arms industry and associated ideological supporters. Their justifications for war, their claims of progress and then victory have proven to be no more than propaganda and lies.

Canada’s biggest military deployment since World War II, more than 40,000 Canadian troops fought in Afghanistan between 2001 and 2014. Canada spent $20 billion on the military operations and related aid mission and over 200,000 Afghan civilians and combatants were killed in two decades of fighting. As I detailed yesterday, Canada engaged in significant violence and war crimes in the central Asian country. Canadian special forces participated in highly unpopular night-time assassination raids and a JTF2 member said he felt his commanders “encouraged” them to commit war crimes in Afghanistan.

The reasons presented for Canada’s war in Afghanistan were to fight fundamentalists, build democracy and support women’s rights. These rationales never added out.

Just before Canada ramped up its fighting in Kandahar in 2006 Canadian troops invaded Haiti to overthrow the elected government there. Five hundred Canadian soldiers backed violent rebels — Haiti’s Taliban, if you like — who employed rape as a means of political control. A study in the prestigious Lancet medical journal revealed there were 35,000 rapes in the Port-au-Prince area in the 22 months after the overthrow of the elected government. So much for advancing women’s rights.

The other supposed motivation for the invasion and occupation was to weaken Al Qaeda and Jihadist forces. As Canadian troops wound down their occupation of Afghanistan a half dozen Canadian fighter jets bombed Libya. With a Canadian general overseeing the war and Canadian naval vessels helping out, NATO helped rebels in the east of the country opposed to Muammar Gadhafi’s secular government. A year and a half before the war a Canadian intelligence report described eastern Libya as an “epicentre of Islamist extremism” and said “extremist cells” operated in the anti-Gadhafi stronghold. In fact, during the bombing, noted Ottawa Citizen military reporter David Pugliese, Canadian air force members privately joked they were part of “al-Qaida’s air force”. Lo and behold hardline Jihadists were the major beneficiaries of the war, taking control of significant portions of the country.

If fighting Jihadists, building democracy and defending women’s rights were not Canada’s main objectives in Afghanistan what was?

Supporting the US was the main reason Canada was fighting. “Washington’s reactions tended to be the exclusive consideration in almost all of the discussions about Afghanistan,” explains The Unexpected War: Canada In Kandahar. “The political problem, of course, was how to support Washington in its war on terror without supporting the war in Iraq. The answer to the problem was the so-called ‘Afghan solution’.” Former Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham explained “there was no question, every time we talked about the Afghan mission, it gave us cover for not going to Iraq.”

But there’s more to it than that. The military saw the conflict in Afghanistan as a way to increase its profile. There was a surge of martial patriotism in Canada with initiatives such as Highway of Heroes and Project Hero. In the mid-2000s every province adopted a special licence plate to signify the driver is a veteran.

The military saw Afghanistan as a way to assert its warfighting bona fides. As Chief of the Defence Staff Rick Hillier infamously proclaimed: “We are going to Afghanistan to actually take down the folks that are trying to blow up men and women … we’re not the public service of Canada, we’re not just another department. We are the Canadian Forces, and our job is to be able to kill people.”

The Canadian Forces have a predilection for war. As basically all but Canadian special forces had been withdrawn from Afghanistan, the Chief of the Defence Staff publicly demanded a new war. “We have some men and women who have had two, three and four tours and what they’re telling me is ‘Sir, we’ve got that bumper sticker. Can we go somewhere else now?’” General Walter Natynczyk told Canadian Press in 2012. “You also have the young sailors, soldiers, airmen and women who have just finished basic training and they want to go somewhere and in their minds it was going to be Afghanistan. So, if not Afghanistan, where’s it going to be? They all want to serve.”

Various think tanks and militarist organization such as the Conference of Defense Associations as well as academics writing on military issues benefited from millions of dollars in public funds. The war justified an increase in the size of the military and a major spike in military spending.

Private security firms did well in Afghanistan. Conflict in that country helped propel Montréal’s Garda’s to become the biggest privately held security firm in the world with some 80,000 employees today.

Military service contractors such as SNC Lavalin and ATCO also expanded their involvement with the Canadian Forces. During the war in Afghanistan Canadian Commercial Corporation president Marc Whittingham wrote in the Hill Times, “there is no better trade show for defence equipment than a military mission.” The crown corporation has expanded its role in the international weapons trade.

On Monday The Intercept reported that the stock price of the top five US arms firms rose 97% since US President George W. Bush signed the Authorization for Use of Military Force on September 18, 2001. In “$10,000 Invested in Defense Stocks When Afghanistan War Began Now Worth Almost $100,000” Jon Schwarz notes that these companies’ stock prices increase was 58% greater than the gains of the overall New York Stock Exchange.

Boeing, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics all have Canadian subsidiaries. The US-based firms are not simply branch plants. They do research in Canada, have offices near Parliament Hill and hire former top Canadian military officials. A number of them do international business through their Canadian divisions. General Dynamics Canada, for instance, has the largest ever Canadian export contract selling Light Armoured Vehicles to Saudi Arabia. Tracing its Canadian history to 1948, General Dynamics has ties to Canadian educational institutions, politicians and the CF. It has over 2,000 employees and does research and development work.

The stock price of the biggest Canadian-based arms firm, CAE, has also risen sharply since 2001. It trains US pilots as well as the operators of Predator and Reaper drones. The Montréal-based company openly talks about profiting from increased US military spending. “Le patron de CAE veut profiter de la hausse des budgets de l’armée américaine” (CAE boss wants to take advantage of rising US military spending), read a 2018 La Presse headline.

The war in Afghanistan was good for the arms industry. It also bolstered the Canadian military. But the quick unraveling of 20-years of war and occupation ought to sap some of the power of Canada’s military, arms companies and associated ideological institutions. The quick collapse of the US- and Canadian-backed Afghan military and government proves they should not be trusted. Their primary goal is, and always has been, to benefit the military-industrial complex, not to improve the lives of people in other countries. Or to tell the truth to Canadians.

The post Afghanistan was based on lies: Will Canada’s militarists apologize? first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Earthquake Devastates Haiti

With “friends” like Canada, Haiti is in deep trouble.

Justin Trudeau’s statement that this country was “standing ready” to assist after a massive earthquake rocked the western part of Haiti Saturday is not reassuring. Over the past two decades Canada has done too much to undermine Haitian sovereignty, democracy and living standards to be considered trustworthy amidst this tragedy.

Canada is a country with immense resources to help with a 7.2 magnitude earthquake and it’s not too far geographically from Haiti. Undoubtedly, the Caribbean nation requires international solidarity to assist with an earthquake that’s killed over 700, injured thousands and left many more homeless. But Canada should definitely not deploy troops to the impoverished Caribbean nation and we must be suspicious of NGOs seeking to fundraise off of the tragedy.

Adding to the need for caution are statements from Washington. The head of USAID, Samantha Power, tweeted that she talked to the head of US Southern Command about how the US Department of Defense could assist Haiti.

In a worse humanitarian situation, a decade ago, Ottawa dispatched soldiers to dominate that country. Immediately after a horrific quake hit Port-au-Prince in 2010 decision makers in Ottawa were more concerned with controlling Haiti than assisting victims. To police Haiti’s traumatized and suffering population, 2,050 Canadian troops were deployed alongside 12,000 US soldiers (8,000 UN soldiers were already there). Though Ottawa rapidly deployed 2,050 troops they ignored calls to dispatch this country’s Heavy Urban Search and Rescue (HUSAR) Teams, which are trained to “locate trapped persons in collapsed structures.”

According to internal government documents the Canadian Press examined a year after the disaster, officials in Ottawa feared a post-earthquake power vacuum could lead to a “popular uprising.” One briefing note marked “secret” explained: “Political fragility has increased, the risks of a popular uprising, and has fed the rumour that ex-president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, currently in exile in South Africa, wants to organize a return to power.” Six years earlier the US, France and Canada ousted the elected president.

Canada and the US’ indifference/contempt towards Haitian sovereignty was also on display in the reconstruction effort. Thirteen days after the quake Canada organized a high profile Ministerial Preparatory Conference on Haiti for major international donors. Two months later Canada co-chaired the New York International Donors’ Conference Towards a New Future for Haiti. At these conferences Haitian officials played a tertiary role in the discussions. Subsequently, the US, France and Canada demanded the Haitian parliament pass an 18-month long state of emergency law that effectively gave up government control over the reconstruction. They held up money to ensure international control of the Interim Commission for the Reconstruction of Haiti, authorized to spend billions of dollars in reconstruction money.

Most of the money that was distributed went to foreign aid workers who received relatively extravagant salaries/living costs or to expensive contracts gobbled up by Western/Haitian elite owned companies. According to an Associated Press assessment of the aid the US delivered in the two months after the quake, one cent on the dollar went to the Haitian government (thirty-three cents went to the US military). Canadian aid patterns were similar. Author of The Big Truck That Went By: How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster Jonathan Katz writes, “Canada disbursed $657 million from the quake to September 2012 ‘for Haiti,’ but only about 2% went to the Haitian government.”

Other investigations found equally startling numbers. Having raised $500 million for Haiti and publicly boasted about its housing efforts, the US Red Cross built only six permanent homes in the country.

Not viewing the René Preval government as fully compliant, the US, France and Canada pushed for elections months after the earthquake. (Six weeks before the quake, according to a cable released by Wikileaks, Canadian and EU officials complained that Préval “emasculated” the country’s right-wing. In response, they proposed to “purchase radio airtime for opposition politicians to plug their candidacies” or they may “cease to be much of a meaningful force in the next government.”) With rubble throughout Port au Prince and hundreds of thousands living in camps, Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon demanded Préval hold elections by the end of the year. In May 2010 Cannon said, “the international community wants to see a commitment, a solid, serious commitment to have an election by the end of this year.” (With far fewer logistical hurdles, it took two years to hold elections after the 2004 US/France/Canada coup.)

As a result of various obstacles tied to the earthquake and a devastating cholera outbreak introduced to the country by negligent UN troops in October 2010, hundreds of thousands were unable to vote during the first round of the November 28, 2010, election. After the first round of the presidential election the US and Canada forced Préval party’s candidate out of the runoff in favor of third place candidate, Michel Martelly. A supporter of the 1991 and 2004 coups against Aristide, Martelly was a teenaged member of the Duvalier dictatorship’s Ton Ton Macoutes death squad. As president he stole millions of dollars as part of the massive Petrocaribe corruption scandal and imposed as his successor the repressive and corrupt Jovenel Moïse who was recently assassinated. The assassination of president Moïse reflects the disintegration of Haitian politics after a decade of foreign intervention that has strengthened the most regressive and murderous elements of Haitian society.

After the 2010 earthquake there was an outpouring of empathy and solidarity from ordinary Canadians. But officials in Ottawa saw the disaster as a political crisis to manage and an opportunity to expand their economic and political influence over Haiti.

Let’s not allow that to happen again. Unfortunately, when the prime minister says Canada is “standing ready” it sounds more like a threat than an offer of real assistance.

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Canada Revenue Agency’s Double Standards on Muslim and Jewish Charities

Why does the Canada Revenue Agency treat Jewish, Christian, and Muslim charities so differently?

In June the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLM) released a report showing that the CRA disproportionately targets Muslim groups. According to the report, 75% of the groups whose charitable status was revoked following a division audit by the CRA between 2008 and 2015 were Muslim. ICLM’s findings add weight to a report released in March by the National Council of Canadian Muslims that also found Muslim charities were disproportionately targeted for surveillance, audits and revocation of their charitable status.

Some Jewish and Christian charities, on the other hand, openly support the Israeli military and West Bank settlements in contravention of CRA rules. Recently, a formal legal complaint was submitted to the CRA by Palestinian-Canadian refugee Khaled Mouammar and Rabbi David Mivasair regarding the charitable status of the Canadian Zionist Cultural Association (CZCA). The complaint details that organization’s support of the Israeli military in contravention of CRA guidelines for registered charities. CRA rules state that “increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of Canada’s armed forces is charitable, but supporting the armed forces of another country is not.” Yet, the Israel Defense Forces website named CZCA as an organization “authorized to raise donations for the IDF.” (When Global News reporter Stewart Bell began asking CZCA questions about its ties to the IDF, the Israeli military quickly removed CZCA from its list of international organizations.) In 2019 the CZCA allocated over $1.7 million to YAHAD, which is run by a retired Israeli General and a Colonel. The organization says its “aim is raising funds for IDF soldiers.”

CZCA’s brazenness is remarkable but it’s not the only charity that appears to be breaking the rules. In 2018 the Toronto-based HESEG Foundation, which was established “to recognize and honor the contribution of Lone Soldiers to Israel,” spent more than $9 million in Israel. Canadian Magen David Adom for Israel and Beit Halochem Canada (Aid to Disabled Veterans of Israel) have also directly or indirectly supported the IDF.

For over a century the Jewish National Fund of Canada has financed explicitly racist land-use policies, which should contravene the CRA’s 2003 guideline for charities to promote racial equality. JNF Canada also backed settlement projects in the occupied West Bank in violation of official Canadian policy and supported the Israeli military in clear violation of CRA rules. Despite a 2017 complaint and numerous articles detailing its lawbreaking, the CRA failed to revoke the JNF’s charitable status (three years after the complaint, the JNF was mandated to sever formal ties with its Israeli counterpart and stop supporting the IDF).

Charities that support West Bank settlements also contravene CRA rules since Ottawa officially considers them a violation of international law. A number of registered charities support settlement projects directly or indirectly. Located in the West Bank settlement of Ariel, Canadian Friends of Ariel University is also a registered charity. So is Christian Friends of Israeli Communities, which says it “provides financial” support to “the Jews currently living in Biblical Israel —the communities of Judea and Samaria” (occupied West Bank).

Canada’s two most significant Jewish charities — United Jewish Appeal of Greater Toronto and Federation Combined Jewish Appeal Montréal — both violated Canada’s Foreign Enlistment Act, which makes it illegal to induce or recruit Canadians to join another country’s military. Last June they publicized a webinar by Nefesh-B’Nefesh titled “Joining the IDF” that claimed to offer participants “everything you need and want to know about joining the IDF.”

Similarly, Jewish schools organize fundraisers for Israeli military initiatives and hold “IDF days.” In effect, the schools celebrate soldiers who regularly kill Muslims and enforce what Israeli human rights group B’Tselem calls a “regime of Jewish supremacy” in a historically Muslim area. A Muslim school that regularly brought in Hamas fighters to talk to students would immediately lose its charitable status, be shut down and its staff word probably pursued criminally. (In 2010 Muslim charity the International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy (IRFAN) lost its charitable status essentially because it supported orphans and a hospital in Gaza through official (Hamas-controlled) channels. IRFAN was delisted for supporting orphans of a long-oppressed people and four years later was the first ever Canadian-based organization added to Canada’s terrorist list.)

The CRA’s double standard is even more glaring when looking at the issue broadly. Muslims are the main victims of hate crimes in Canada. In June alone four members of a Muslim family were killed in London, Ontario, a Muslim man was stabbed and had his beard cut off by two individuals in Saskatoon who asked him “why he was in this country” and two visibly Muslim women in Edmonton were attacked with one having a knife put to her throat and the other beaten unconscious.

Globally, Muslims are disproportionately victimized by Western violence. How many thousands of Muslims were killed by Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan or fighter jets over Libya? Or US and Canadian troops in Iraq? The Israeli military has also killed large numbers of Muslims in Gaza, Syria and elsewhere. Even the US-fueled (literally) Ethiopian invasion of Somalia in 2006 could be viewed as a war of Christians on Muslims.

Looked at from a strictly religious perspective, there’s been a largely one sided “Christian” and “Jewish” war on “Muslims”. So, if the CRA is worried about violence and extremism, it should consider investigating evangelical Christian churches or groups supporting the Canadian and Israeli militaries.

The CRA treats Jewish, Christian and Muslim charities remarkably differently. It harasses organizations from the religious group facing the worst violence here and abroad while largely ignoring Jewish and Christian charities that violate its rules.

It’s time for this to stop.

On August 10 the Canadian Foreign Policy Institute will be hosting a webinar on Subsidizing Apartheid: How the Canada Revenue Agency Contributes to Palestinian Dispossession.

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Maybe Time to Ban Automobile Advertising

More disappointing than watching the Habs lose to Tampa in the Stanley Cup finals were the ads during the games on TV. As Lytton, BC, broke Canada’s all-time temperature record three days in a row and was then wiped off the map by a forest fire, Canada’s public broadcaster promoted resource intensive, space consuming and carbon spewing trucks.

Decades ago when it became clear humanity was hurtling towards a climate crisis, car ads should have been banned. Stopping auto companies’ unrelenting ideological assault on the population is an important, probably necessary, step in moving away from a transport/living system structured around the environmentally destructive private automobile.

CBC’s promotion of gas guzzlers during its most widely viewed programing is a reminder that we aren’t serious about mitigating the climate crisis. That no major group is challenging Canada’s public broadcaster on the issue reflects the ecocidal nature of our political culture.

It’s not just the CBC. Public transit agencies and environmental magazines run car ads. Even lefty university student papers with well-defined ethical advertising guidelines put themselves at the service of the auto industry, which is the largest advertiser.

Few within green groups challenge auto companies’ ideological assault on the population. Even fewer discuss eliminating the private automobile, which devastates health and livability while greatly exacerbating climate and other ecological crises. Civilization could well collapse if we don’t reshape our transport/living system away from the private automobile.

Even if leftists agreed on the need to move beyond the private automobile, accomplishing the task would be a monumental achievement. But, the left is far from clear eyed on the matter, as highlighted indirectly in a recent Z Comm article titled “Degrowth Policies Cannot Avert Climate Crisis. We Need a Green New Deal”. In it Robert Pollin argues that degrowth theoreticians haven’t properly fleshed out their ideas, are not offering a program that would decarbonize quickly enough and that it’s possible to decouple economic growth from GHG emissions.

This may all be true. But the idea of degrowth doesn’t deter other decarbonization efforts and radicals shouldn’t fear the label amidst the ecological calamity. In fact, we’d be better placed today if progressives had begun promoting degrowth a half century ago when it became clear humanity was surpassing earth’s carrying capacity and that civilization was likely to collapse this century. While Pollin hints at it, the most significant issue is decoupling our understanding of growth/GDP from wellness/social utility.

In transport/living systems, degrowth usually makes cities more sustainable, healthy and pleasant. The more transport is structured to utilize shoes, bikes and rail, the fewer the resources expended getting around. At a national level the hyper auto centric US spends about twice the share of its GDP on transport as Japan. Inter-city comparisons are also helpful. People in car-oriented Houston, Dallas and Tampa spend far more than those in New York, Boston or Portland on transport. In more walking and bike-oriented cities such as Copenhagen, Fez or Amsterdam transport expenditures are a fraction of even the least car dependent North American cities.

Looking at the issue on an individual level is also illuminating. I spend a few hundred dollars a year on transport and have easy access to shops, schools, day care, parks, community centres, libraries, etc. while many suburban Montréalers expend 100 times more getting around. They generally spend far more time commuting as well.

Auto centric transport/living systems can be massively degrowthed and decarbonized while improving livability and public health.

(Degrowing the US health system would generate massive social gains as well. Just by adopting Canada’s publicly funded, universal healthcare model the US could shave five points from its GDP and increase life expectancy. Similarly, cutting the US military down to Canada’s per capita size could cut a couple more points off GDP with major social and ecological benefits.)

Progressives need to state clearly that we seek to slash the resources devoted to transport. The private automobile is a mode of transport/living that must be overcome if we are concerned about species survival. Ending our addiction to the private automobile requires radical changes to urban planning, the entire built landscape, laws, transport options, etc. But another obstacle is ideological, the incessant promotion of the idea that a truck or car will make someone ‘manly’, ‘high status’, ‘hip’, etc. A good place to begin resistance to the planet destroying auto companies’ insidious assault on our psyches is by pressuring Canada’s public broadcaster to stop promoting fuel, resource and space intensive trucks.

At least while the Montréal Canadiens are playing.

The post Maybe Time to Ban Automobile Advertising first appeared on Dissident Voice.

More Attacks on Palestine Solidarity from Green Party Leadership

Annamie Paul’s team have once again smeared Green MPs and party members as anti-Semitic for opposing the dispossessing of Palestinians. These ongoing attacks are part of the Green leader’s broader commitment to Canadian imperialism.

Last week Paul appointed Richard Zurawski to her shadow cabinet. Three weeks earlier the new party critic for Green Recovery publicly denounced “BDS terrorists” and strongly implied Green MP Paul Manly and now former MP Jenica Atwin were anti-Semitic. On Facebook Zurawski wrote, “she [Paul] makes the hard choices Shimon, and that is why I support her. She is pushing hard against the anti-Semitic factions, like the BDS terrorist group, within the GPC [Green Party of Canada] that is using the Middle East as a wedge to isolate and spread misinformation, hijacking the GPC mandate. It is sad to see their agendas being promoted by Manly and Atwin.”

In 2016 when Green members voted for a resolution supporting the long-oppressed Palestinians, Zurawski was quoted in numerous media outlets disparaging the party. He said, “when we specifically single out Israelis, I worry about the buzzwords and subtext and code language, which is anti-Semitic.” Zurawski also told the press that the members’ democratic decision was “destructive for the party”.

Appointing Zurawski to her shadow cabinet after he called Greens “BDS terrorists,” follows on the heels of her senior adviser, Noah Zatzman, repeatedly smearing Green MPs, members and other politicians opposing Palestinian subjugation. Paul has also attacked Green members in a similar fashion. During and just after the leadership race Paul was quoted by GlobalTimes of IsraelHa’aretzJewish IndependentCanadian Jewish Record and others labeling party members as anti-Semitic. In a July 2020 Canadian Jewish Record commentary she wrote, “My loyalty to Canada has also been called into question, and I have been accused of taking bribes from Israel, leading a Zionist take-over of the Green Party of Canada and of spreading hasbarah.”

Paul’s anti-Palestinianism appears to be motivated by familial ties, religious conviction and careerism. But, it is also part of her broader imperialist worldview. As I detailed a month ago in “Annamie Paul’s failure to confront international racism”, she backed the coup against Bolivia’s first ever indigenous president Evo Morales and has stoked Sinophobia. Ten days ago Paul met Latvia’s ambassador to Canada Kārlis Eihenbaums. According to his account of the virtual get-together, “Paul stressed the importance of international organisations like NATO, the significance of Canada’s international engagements and role.” In the discussion Paul apparently endorsed Canada’s role in the nuclear armed NATO alliance and stationing 500 Canadian troops on Russia’s border as part of NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence in Latvia.

But, after an unpopular Canadian-backed tyrant was recently killed in Haiti, Paul claimed to be committed to “nonviolence”. On Wednesday Paul tweeted, “as the leader of a party committed to non-violence, I strongly condemn the assassination of Haitian President Moïse, and urge local authorities and international partners to do all they can to prioritize the protection of civilians and to prevent further casualties.” To the best of my knowledge this is Paul’s first public comment on Haiti. She was quiet when reporter Diego Charles and activist Antoinette Duclair were killed on June 29 in Port-au-Prince. She also ignored a recent Harvard Law report documenting a couple hundred killed in “brutal attacks” by government-backed gangs. Paul was also quiet about Moïse ruling by decree and his lack of constitutional legitimacy. Paul failed to raise her voice five months ago when Green MP Paul Manly, environmentalists David Suzuki and Naomi Klein, as well as Stephen Lewis, Noam Chomsky, Roger Waters, George Elliott Clarke and other prominent individuals called on Canada to “stop propping up a repressive and corrupt dictatorship in Haiti.”

In response to Paul’s tweet about Moïse a number of individuals highlighted the hypocritical nature of her message considering her indifference to Israeli violence against Palestinians. “I wish you demonstrated as much concern for the murder of Palestinians as you do for the murder of a dictator”, noted one. A more perceptive commentator noted Paul’s status quo outlook: “Why is it that every time Trudeau tweets something about global affairs, you tweet the same exact message?” A former Global Affairs Canada employee, Paul’s resume demonstrates rock solid support for the US led global order.

On July 20 the Green Party’s federal council will vote on whether to give members the opportunity to decide if Paul should continue to lead the party. The federal council should allow the members to vote. My bet is that the vast majority of Greens are fed up with attacks from Paul and her team on members who promote the Green party’s official policy on Palestine.

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Anti-Palestinian Bigotry Overshadowed by Anti-Semitism Uproar

In response to the recent upsurge in pro-Palestinian activism basically every major Canadian media outlet has published stories about rising anti-Semitism. B’nai B’rith claims there were more anti-Semitic incidents in May than all of last year. The government recently acceded to the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) demand for an emergency summit on antisemitism, which will be led by staunch Zionist Irwin Cotler.

But comparatively little attention has been devoted to anti-Palestinian bigotry despite the publicly verifiable evidence that suggests Palestinian Canadians or those identified with them have faced greater discrimination and violence. And once again, CIJA and B’nai B’rith muddy the waters of understanding racism by conflating criticism and actions against Israel with anti-Semitism.

Let’s take a look at the record over the past few weeks:

  • On May 13 a group of Israeli flag waving individuals in Thornhill, Ontario are on video trying to fight and threatening to “run over” a small group of Palestinian activists. At one-point police pull their guns apparently fearing an Israel supporter was going to hit them with his vehicle in a bid to reach the Palestinians.
  • On May 15 a Jewish Defence League (JDL) supporter interviewed prior to the pro-Palestinian rally said he was looking to brawl. He then tells a passerby, “I used to rape guys like you in prison, bro.” Subsequently, a pro-Israel individual is caught on camera swinging a stick wildly at someone. At another point an older JDL-aligned individual is caught on camera with a knife and bat.
  • On May 16 a Zionist was photographed with a hammer in his hand at a protest in Montréal. At the same pro-Israel rally an individual rips a Palestinian flag from the man’s hand and the crowd cheers.
  • A Palestinian family in Hamilton that put up a sign on their lawn with a Palestinian flag saying: “We support human rights. #FreePalestine #OngoingNakba” had it stolen on May 24 and a note was left saying: “KEEP YOUR POLITICS AND ANTI-SEMITIC RACISM OUT OF MY COUNTRY AND MY NEIGHBOUR-HOOD. IF YOU DON’T LIKE MY COUNTRY, GO BACK TO WHERE YOU CAME FROM!” The theft was not caught on camera but there is a photo of the note and stolen sign.
  • On May 25 a recent immigrant from Gaza in Calgary with a Palestinian flag in his rear window films his car being cut off and stopped by a pickup truck. The motorist slams on his window, demanding to fight as he yells “terrorist fuck”, “terrorist ass” and “I have a picture of Mohammed in my car Alah”. He then laughs manically as he rips off the Palestinian Canadian’s windshield wiper.

These instances don’t count individuals — such as a social justice teacher in Toronto put on home assignment, McGill students on a blacklist, a doctor in Toronto smeared and threatened with being fired — for standing up for Palestinian rights. Nor do the above-mentioned examples count anti-Palestinian police racism. In Halifax, Windsor, Calgary, Hamilton and possibly elsewhere the police ticketed dozens of individuals simply for attending Palestine solidarity protests. A report from Windsor suggests — though I have no recorded proof — that cars playing Arabic music were specifically targeted by the police. There’s also a report from Hamilton suggesting that women with Hijabs received eight of 12 tickets given out at a rally.

Before detailing/evaluating the main purported incidents of anti-Semitism it’s important to mention both the discrepancy of resources the two “sides” have to document abuses and their impulse to do so. B’nai B’rith, Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center, CIJA and the Jewish Federations’ operate hotlines to tabulate incidents of anti-Jewishness and have significant capacity to communicate perceived acts of discrimination. They send individuals to video and photograph pro-Palestinian protests with the express purpose of discovering “proof” of anti-Jewish acts.

Not only does the official Israel lobby have greater resources to document perceived abuses and promote them through the media, it has a greater interest in focusing the discussion this way. As Israeli oppression of Palestinians has become ever more difficult to defend, the lobby’s emphasis on driving the discussion towards anti-Semitism has grown. For its part, the pro-Palestinian movement is more focused on discussing the violence meted out against Palestinians.

With that in mind, let’s look at the most high-profile incidents of “anti-Semitism” cited by supporters of Israel:

  • After massive Palestine solidarity demonstrations on May 15, a knife and bat wielding JDL aligned individual was beaten up after apparently picking a fight (his photo was actually on the cover — subsequently removed — of a May 16 press release titled “CIJA Concerned by wave of violence and antisemitism connected to conflict in the Middle East”). But, even if CIJA’s showcased victim had not been associated with the violent JDL, swung a bat or held a knife would his beating have been an act of bigotry? When a counter protester fights with someone on the other side is that a political disagreement that elevates to violence or an act of bigotry? (During protests against Israel’s brutal 2014 assault on Gaza that left over 2,100 Palestinians dead, I was shoved, spat on, had my bike damaged and lock stolen by members of the JDL in Toronto. Were those acts of bigotry or would it only have been an act of bigotry if I had punched or spat back?)
  • On May 26 Global News did a two-minute video report and accompanying article on a Vancouver restaurant owner who claimed to have been a victim of discrimination. Israeli immigrant Ofra Sixto took to Facebook and the nightly news to cry discrimination, but according to credible accounts she was the racist. When a Palestinian solidarity car caravan happened to pass her Denman street restaurant, she yelled some variation of “this is how they are in their countries”, which was heard by a white male, sympathetic to the Palestinian cause, walking past and another woman sitting with her family at a cafe next door heard. They objected. The man later left a negative review of Ofra’s Kitchen online saying that the owner was racist. There’s a variety of screenshots and corroborating evidence suggesting the owner instigated the racism while Sixto hasn’t provided any external evidence, screenshots or other proof of her claims. (And it’s also not exactly clear how anyone was supposed to know the restaurant was Jewish owned).
  • On May 16 — a day after thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters took over downtown Montréal — a small pro-Israel rally was held downtown. Pro-Palestinian counter protesters reportedly threw objects (rocks according to some) at the pro-Israel group. I could not find video of objects being thrown but there is video of minor scuffles between pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian individuals and, as I mentioned above, a photo of a Zionist with a hammer and an individual snagging a Palestinian flag. There is also a great deal of video of the Montréal riot squad trying to disburse Palestine solidarity protesters, which suggests they were treated as the aggressors.
  • On May 18 the Montréal municipality of Côte-Saint-Luc, which is heavily Jewish, robocalled all residents to tell them not to be worried about an upsurge of anti-Jewishness (In other words, they frightened people by telling them not to be worried!) Aside from the massive pro-Palestinian demonstration on May 15 and clashes at the May 16 rally, the reason for the robocall was that two men allegedly drove through the municipality yelling anti-Jewish slurs and an Israeli flag flying on a municipal building was removed. I could not find any video evidence of the vehicle though the police detained two individuals.
  • In Edmonton Adam Zepp told Global News he was walking out of his parents’ driveway at 9 p.m. on May 16 when a car drove by with young men yelling “Free Palestine”. Forced to loopback due to the neighborhood layout, Zepp says the men subsequently said, “are there any Jews here? Any Jews live here? Where do the Jews live?” There’s no indication Zepp took down the car’s license plate or recorded the incident. In an interview a representative of Edmonton’s Jewish Federation claimed rather vaguely that others also saw a car passing by.
  • Another widely cited act of discrimination is a TikTok video of two young Arab women, reportedly students at Laurier University, dancing as they burn an Israeli flag, flush it down the toilet, puke over it and fake stab it. Purported outrage over these students “promoting violence” is extremely cynical. The groups calling this “anti-Semitism” frequently justify Israeli violence and often promote the Israeli military in Canada.
  • Many of the lesser incidents presented are placards that in one way or another link Israel to the Nazis. (Of course Nazi comparisons are generally in poor taste, but the Israel lobby regularly invokes the Nazi Holocaust so it’s hypocritical of them to complain about that.)

While all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism, must be condemned, readers can judge for themselves who are the primary victims of hatred and discrimination in Israel, as well as here in Canada.

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Media Hides Canadian Support for Israeli Apartheid

The dominant media permit only a narrow spectrum of opinion regarding Canadian foreign policy. Their refusal to report critical information about this country’s foreign policy can be startling. Even journalists who uncover illuminating internal government files put the information down the memory hole.

Recently Canadian Press journalist Lee Berthiaume reported on Canada’s military mission in the occupied West Bank in “Canadian troops, Mounties get front row seats to Israeli-Palestinian clashes”. The story reports that there are 23 Canadian troops and 3 RCMP members currently part of Operation Proteus, which trains Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces as part of a mission led by the Office of the United States Security Coordinator.

Strangely, the puff piece ignored how Canadian military trainers and aid have supported the creation of a Palestinian security force explicitly to enforce Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, a fact that Berthiaume previously reported.

In a 2013 story Berthiaume quoted an internal 2012 note signed by then Canadian International Development Agency president Margaret Biggs that read:  “There have been increasing references in the past months during high-level bilateral meetings with the Israelis about the importance and value they place on Canada’s assistance to the Palestinian Authority, most notably in security/justice reform.” He further quotes Biggs stating, “the Israelis have noted the importance of Canada’s contribution to the relative stability achieved through extensive security co-operation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.” The heavily censored note suggests the goal of Canadian “aid” was to protect a corrupt Mahmoud Abbas led PA, whose electoral mandate expired in 2009, from popular backlash. Biggs explained that “the emergence of popular protests on the Palestinian street against the Palestinian Authority is worrying and the Israelis have been imploring the international donor community to continue to support the Palestinian Authority.”

Surely this is important background information for a story about the recent work of Canadian troops and police in the West Bank.

In my 2016 book A Propaganda System: How Canada’s Government, Corporations, Media and Academia Sell War and exploitation I cite Berthiaume’s 2013 revelation as an example of how critical information is reported on and then ignored. “Even when dissidents’ claims are proven by leading reporters through access to information requests,” I wrote, “the result is often sent down the memory hole. Internal government documents unearthed by foreign policy journalist Lee Berthiaume about Canada’s $300 million, five-year aid program to the Palestinians is a prime example…. Berthiaume effectively confirmed that Canadian aid money was used to train a Palestinian security force to serve as an arm of Israel’s occupation. While Berthiaume’s article was reported in a number of Postmedia papers, there was no commentary in a major paper or follow-up stories about Biggs’ internal note or Operation Proteus, Canada’s effort to build a Palestinian security force under the US military’s direction (with the exception of stories in small town papers covering individual police or soldiers leaving for the mission).”

At the time of writing this I was unaware of the depth of the suppression. Apparently, the information was so efficiently sent down the memory hole that the journalist who uncovered the internal documents won’t even mention it when reporting on the subject!

And this is not simply a matter of historical interest. Canada continues to plow significant resources into PA security forces. In 2019-20 the military allocated $5 million to Operation Proteus and millions of dollars more in Canadian “aid” supports Palestinian security forces. In 2018 the Trudeau government initiated the $1.25 million “Empowering the Palestinian Security Sector” and the $1.365 million “Security Sector Capacity Building in the West Bank” projects. According to Global Affairs’ description of the latter initiative, “these activities complement the ongoing institutional capacity-building efforts by Operation PROTEUS, Canada’s contribution to the United States Security Coordinator.”

More recent research continues to demonstrate who this this “aid” is designed to help.

Drawing on previously classified materials, Carleton criminology professor Jeffrey Monaghan details Canada’s role in turning Palestinian security forces in the West Bank into an effective arm of Israel’s occupation. In Security Aid: Canada and the Development Regime of Security, Monaghan describes a $1.5 million Canadian contribution to Joint Operating Centers whose “main focus … is to integrate elements of the Palestinian Authority Security Forces into Israeli command.” He writes about Canada’s “many funding initiatives to the PCP [Palestinian Civilian Police]” which “has increasingly been tasked by the Israeli Defence Forces as a lead agency to deal with public order policing, most recently during IDF bombings in Gaza and during Arab Spring demonstrations.”

In a 2019 assessment of 80 donor reports from nine countries/institutions titled “Donor Perceptions of Palestine: Limits to Aid Effectiveness,” Jeremy Wildeman concludes that Canada, the US and International Monetary Fund employed the most anti-Palestinian language. “Canada and the US,” the academic writes, “were preoccupied with providing security for Israel from Palestinian violence, but not Palestinians from Israeli violence, effectively inverting the relationship of occupier and occupied.”

A great deal of Canada’s supposed “assistance” to the Palestinians — who have less than one-twentieth their occupier’s per capita GDP — is, in fact, explicitly designed to aid Israel. This is information Canadians need to know to judge what the government does with their taxes. But the dominant media largely ignores this and the other innumerable ways Canada supports Israeli apartheid.

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The Innumerable Ways Canada Supports Israeli Apartheid

At the start of the year Israel’s leading human rights group B’Tselem released “A regime of Jewish supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea: This is apartheid”. Two weeks ago Human Rights Watch published a long report saying Israel’s treatment of Palestinians “amounted to the crimes of apartheid”. Since then, Israel has ramped up its efforts to ethnically cleanse East Jerusalem, attacked the Al-Aqsa mosque, targeted its Arab citizens, killed ten Palestinians in the West Bank and begun once again to “mow the lawn” in Gaza, which has left 126, including 31 children, dead.

No matter what government officials say, Canada has enthusiastically supported Israel’s dispossession. Canadian backing of Israel includes arms sales, a free-trade agreement, security forces’ collaboration, diplomatic visits and comments as well as various other forms of common diplomatic/economic/security relations. It also includes numerous unconventional forms of backing for the apartheid regime.

To placate Israel and its supporters the “anti-racist”, the Trudeau government withdrew Canada from a major United Nations forum on combating racism last week. In November it appointed a vicious anti-Palestinian to a newly created “special envoy” position largely set up to justify Israeli apartheid and two years ago it adopted a description of a form of xenophobia created to shield Israel from criticism. To protect Israel’s regime of Jewish supremacy, Justin Trudeau has repeatedly condemned social justice activists on university campuses.

The current government expanded a trade agreement that applies Israel’s customs laws in the occupied West Bank and Ottawa has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to stop Canadian consumers from knowing where two wines are produced to obscure illegal Israeli land theft. Isolating itself against the vast majority of the world, the Trudeau government has defended Israel against criticism at the UN more than 50 times.

In a deepening of the criminalization of Palestinian political life, Trudeau added an eighth Palestinian organization to Canada’s terrorist list. It also maintained the listing of the first ever Canadian-based group designated a terrorist organization, which was anointed as such because it engaged in the ghastly act of supporting orphans and a hospital in Gaza through official (Hamas controlled) channels.

Even the “aid” Canada has given to Palestinians is designed to advance Israel’s control. In a unique historical dynamic, Canadian aid and military trainers have supported the creation of a Palestinian security force explicitly to enforce Israel’s occupation of the West Bank.

In what could be considered an act of treason, Canada’s top diplomat in Israel organized a pizza party in January 2020 for Canadians fighting in that country’s military. Government officials have also ignored illegal recruitment for the Israeli military in Canada.

But, these examples are less important than another form of Canadian support for Israel. Though it receives little attention, tax deductible charitable donations are the most consequential and politically unjustifiable Canadian contribution to a state/movement seeking to eliminate Palestinians.

In 2018 registered Canadian charities raised over a quarter billion dollars for Israel-focused projects. Since the federal government introduced deductions for charities in 1967 billions of dollars in subsidized donations have gone to Israel. In 1991 the Ottawa Citizen estimated that Canadian Jews sent more than $100 million a year to Israel and possibly as much as $200 million. Assuming $100 million has been sent to Israel yearly since 1967 and with approximately 30% of the $5.4 billion total subsidized by the taxpayer that’s around $1.7 billion in Canadian public support.

But there’s little discussion of the public funds that have gone to Israel through charitable donations. With the exception of the campaign to revoke the charitable status of the Jewish National Fund of Canada, which won a partial victory recently, there’s been almost no activism targeting Canadian charitable support for Israel. This despite some of these donations violating Canadian charity law. Funds supporting West Bank settlements, explicitly racist institutions and the Israeli military probably contravene Canada Revenue Agency regulations.

While not against current Canada Revenue Agency regulations, there’s a strong argument to be made against Canadian taxpayers subsidizing donations to hospitals, universities, etc. in “Israel proper”. Is it right for all Canadians to pay a share of some individuals’ donations to a country with a GDP equal to Canada’s? How many Canadian charities funnel money to Sweden or Japan? Is the Israeli government subsidizing Canadian orchestras, museums, guide dog centres, nature conservatory, universities, hospitals, etc? (Canadian Friends of the Israel Guide Dog Center for the Blind, Canadian Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, Canadian Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Canadian Association For Labour Israel and Canadian Friends of the Israel Museum are among the many registered charities that raised over a quarter billion dollars for Israel-focused projects in 2018.)

The Canadian government offers innumerable forms of support to the racist, violent, regime. Canadians of conscience must register their opposition and work to end this country’s contribution to Palestinian dispossession.

  • Recommended read: “The Notion of the ‘Jewish State’ as an ‘Apartheid Regime’ is a Liberal-Zionist One
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