November 11, 2015

Remembering Canadian Imperialism: a brief history

Brendan Campisi

The first major campaign of the Canadian military was crushing Métis and First Nations resistance in 1885.

In the Boer War, Canadian troops fought for Britain's control of the gold and diamonds of South Africa.

In the First World War, Canadians fought and died to keep Britain on top of the imperialist food chain. The people of Quebec resisted conscription for a war they opposed,and four people were killed by troops suppressing protests. BC working class leader Ginger Goodwin was hunted down and murdered while resisting conscription.

In 1918, Canada invaded Soviet Russia, along with other Allied forces that were dismayed by the formation of the world’s first revolutionary workers’ state. In December 1918 two companies of troops mutinied in Victoria BC, in order to avoid being sent to Siberia to fight on the side of counterrevolutionary forces.

When Canadians wanted to fight to preserve democracy in Spain against fascism, the Canadian state forbid them. Over one thousand managed to reach Spain, and nearly half died.

Canada did not enter the Second World War because the government saw fascism as the evil that it was--MacKenzie King was personally fond of Hitler--but because Germany was stepping on Britain's toes.
Consequently, Canadians spent much of the war re-conquering British colonies in North Africa, while the Soviets fought for their lives against Germany. During the war, the Japanese population in Canada was interned en masse in a climate of vicious racism.

In Korea, Canadians participated in a war to crush a popular revolution, in which millions of Korean civilians were massacred.

In Suez, Canada intervened to save face for Western imperialism in the face of the rise of Arab nationalism. Canadian peacekeeping missions from then on would follow this role of smoothing things over for bigger imperialist powers.

Canadians provided diplomatic cover for the US in Vietnam, spying for the Americans, relaying their ultimatums, inventing North Vietnamese violations of agreements and ignoring or excusing American ones.
Canadian corporations sold the US 300 million dollars worth of military equipment every year during the height of the war. Canada allowed chemical weapons to be tested on Canadian soil. Canadians who volunteered to fight with the Americans were allowed to, even though this was illegal under the law passed to stop Canadians from fighting fascism in Spain.

In Yugoslavia, Canadians helped Croatian fascists drive hundreds of thousands of Serbs out of their homes. Canadians continue to occupy a segregationist protectorate in Bosnia and a virtual mafia state in Kosovo to this day.

Canadians occupied Afghanistan for a decade and a half. We do not know how many Afghan civilians Canadians killed, because it has never been seriously investigated.

In Haiti, Canadians overthrew the elected government and imposed neocolonial puppets, occupying the country to this day.

In Libya, Canadians participated in a bombing campaign which killed tens of thousands of civilians and helped overthrow the government of a country which had been the most prosperous in Africa, reducing it to chaos at the hands of warring cliques of "rebels" Canada supported.

Happy Remembrance Day.

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