The choice is up to Canada

The sad reality of our age is that under the influence of the US, its allies are no more equal partners any more. They are dictation-takers to diktat their own citizens for the "security" and pleasure of the US.  

Partly unknowingly, but mostly under immense pressure, all American allies are inching toward becoming dictatorships no different than that in Egypt or Pakistan.  

The obsession with American security is also leading countries, such as Canada – so far upholding the finest values of human rights and liberty – into becoming dictatorship-lite.  

Unlike many Canadians, those who have tasted repression elsewhere can feel the rising chill in Canadian air with each passing day.  

Arrests, detentions, secret trials and deportations have been the hallmarks since 9/11 in Canada. Protests continued throughout 2003 against the draconian security certificate that can land anyone behind bars without any evidence.  

Last week the the most depressing week for Canada from the perspective of human liberties and public right to information. Imagine Calgary Herald giving Canadians the news early in the morning: "Canada OK’d deporting Arar [a Canadian citizen]." [1] Imagine their receiving another report two hours later, telling them Royal Canadian Mounted Police raided a journalist Juliet O’Neil’s offices "in response to her November 8 article about the Maher Arar case."  

Then think of the Canadians receiving the news the same day that Canada Customs officers are joining their U.S. counterparts in the coding of international passengers arriving at airports nationwide for security checks. Customs agents will be assigning passengers numbers from one to 10 based on the security threat they pose.[2]  

Imagine calls for a public inquiry into Arar’s case – the reality of which is already public with RCMP’s raid on a journalist’s offices and home. Latest report by CBC’s 60 Minutes II has confirmed the earlier speculations that the Canadian intelligence quietly approved of the United States’ decision to arrest and deport Syrian-born Canadian Maher Arar to Syria. What else could a public inquiry dig out?  

On the other hand, in O’Neill’s case, the RCMP is reportedly attempting to identify the RCMP source that leaked information to O’Neill. The principle at work seems to be: forget the violation and culprits, catch the person who helped the truth reach the public.  

Bob Carty, Board member of Canadian Journalists for Freedom of Expression (CJFE) believes that police raid on O’Neill’s offices is "an extremely invasive action" and "an affront to every journalist’s right to practice his or her profession." [3]  

Bob Carty believes journalists "should not be faced with criminal prosecution for doing their jobs." However, it is important to note that this principle does not hold water in the unfolding police world environment where obsession with the US "security" reigns supreme over the principles of journalism, justice, human rights and liberty.  

Mr. Arar’s case and the related excesses on the part of Canadian government are only signs of what Canada would become in a few years time. Holding a full-scale public inquiry would reveal nothing more than what has already been revealed. [4]  

This is time to focus on the road that leads Canada to the club of most repressive regimes under the influence and auspices of the United States.  

Forget the speeches of political leaders full of empty promises, forget the media platitudes and ersatz adulations, forget wishful thinking of living in a free world. If you want to know the real state of Canada in a few years time, take a good look at the source of its inspiration and influence – the USA.  

Signs of the most dangerous trends in the making are: Watching Canadian soldiers leaving for consolidating occupations; listening to CBC reporting soldiers returning from assistance in occupation as coming home from "tour" in Afghanistan; taking humiliation, arrests and deportations of Canadian citizens by the US for granted, and accepting raids on offices of journalists as a routine .  

To see consequences of acquiescing to such trends, one has to look at what has become of the United States.  

See the curse of racism well accepted in the name of racial profiling in the US. See the millions of unemployed, many with advanced college degrees. See the high-paying jobs flowing to other countries. See the dollar in decline and nothing left to arrest the fall. See corporate executives looting their own companies and then walking free. See the schools that lack basic supplies. See the closed emergency rooms. See the rolling blackouts.  

See the defense budget bloat to half a trillion dollars. See the billions in tax dollars pouring out to puppet regimes. See the American women and children sleeping in alleys and eating out of trash dumpsters. See the closed factories, the rusted foundries, and the abandoned mills. See the poverty and starvation.  

And above all see the growing evidence of government’s complicity in the terrorist attacks on the US. Closing eyes to the mounting evidence that no terrorist organization could carryout 9/11 without a high-level support from within the US will keep on forcing Canada and other countries into making strategic blunders after blunder.  

Unless approved on high level from within, no terrorist act can ever be carried out in the kind of state that the US has become. Canada or any another country must not exchange their values and freedoms for the exaggerated security threats to the US.  

Canadians must not forget to see that no one looks up to the US as a bastion of freedom, law, and democracy any more. No one look upon the United States as a moral leader any more.  

Before sacrificing further liberties of its citizen, Canadian government must look at the state of affairs in the US and see its future in blindly following its leads.[5]  

The choice is up to Canada to remain Canada – land of the free, or become a mini-United States.


[1]. Robert Fife, "Canada OK’d deporting Arar, reports U.S. TV," CanWest News Services. Canada Post, Thursday, January 22, 2004

[2]. TOM GODFREY, "Custom coding in plane travel, New airport security," TORONTO SUN, January 22, 2004

[3]. OLIVER MOORE, "RCMP raid reporter’s home," Globe and Mail, January 21, 2004
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[4]. KATHLEEN HARRIS AND JOHN STEINBACHS, "Arar case targets reporter Raid on home ‘smacks of police-state mentality’ SUN MEDIA, January 22, 2004.

[5]. BOB HERBERT, "The Other America," New York Times, January 23,