Canada Day Oh, all the news media and politicians will talk about what a glorious country this is. And, I certainly think this is the best country in the world to live in. But this is one hell of a terrible world. For a dose of reality, let's take a look at the career of the much-honoured William Grant Stairs of Halifax. Stairs Street in that city is named for him. Royal Military College in Kingston has a plaque honouring him. So does St. George's Cathedral in Kingston. It's all because he led an expedition to Congo in the service of Congo's ruler, King Leopold of Belgium. Leopold was forcing the people of Congo to work in the mines of the region. And there was a daily quota for production. And if a worker didn't make his quota, his head was cut off, and one hand was cut off. Baskests of hands became conversation pieces in the best homes. Stairs hired himself out to the king. He didn't worry about quotas. He simply slaughtered. He killed millions, and starved uncounted numbers by destroying crops. Women and children were rounded up to be slaves, and work in the mines. He also collected heads and hands of the dead. As Justin Trudeau might put it, he was helping our good friends, the Belgians. So he became a hero of Canadian history. Canada would later repeat that act, this time to help our friends in Britain slaughter Dutch farmers in South Africa - and to allow some fifteen thousand of their wives, children and elderly to die in Canadian prison camps. It was to help British millionaires steal South Africa's gold. (Yes. I know the Dutch settlers were vicious racists. So were the British we fought for. So, for that matter, was Canada.) Hey, ya gotta be a good neighbour, says Justin. And that's why we gotta help our good friends in the U.S. as we did in Korea and Libya and Afghanistan and now in Iraq and Latvia.... I mean, these are treacherous countries that could attack us at any time. (And we won't bother with the fact the only countries to invade Canada have been our good friends in France and Britain (which means the ancestors of millions of us)....and our good friends in the U.S. The latter invaded three times - in 1775, in 1812 and just between the U.S. civil war and confederation. It also threatened invasion several times, the last one in 1904.) One might also note that our "good friends" in the U.S. were in no hurry to come to the help of Canada, Britain, or France in 1914 and in 1939. A major incentive to unite the colonies from Nova Scotia to Upper Canada was the encouragement of the US which allowed Fenians (Irish rebels) to arm and drill in the U.S., and to invade Canada. A railway was essential to defend Canada against further American attacks. It had also become essential economically. Railways had brought an economic revolution to the world. And they had become essential for national economies. Fear of a U.S. invasion and the need more rapid, mass transit is what lay behind confederation. (New Brunswick had a few railways. But they were small and didn't go anywhere.) But railways were expensive to build. British capitalists were eager to build railways in Canada but, as capitalists usually are, they didn't want to risk their own money. They needed a government and population big enough to guarantee their borrowed money. And that's why confederation happened. Many politicians would grow wealthy out of that. Among them were John A. Macdonald and Charles Tupper. (Yes, they and some others were on the take.) Oh, and PEI? It didn't join. And nobody cared because, geographically, it didn't matter. ____________________________________________________________________________ Am I happy to be a Canadian this Canada Day? You bet. It beats any country I can think of. It's been possible for me to live a life that would have been impossible in most of the world. If I'd been born in Iraq, I might have been shot by a Canadian sniper by now. Or have died of poisoning from depleted uranium shells. If I'd been born in Vietnam, I might now be picking my way across a field poisoned by agent orange. In Yemen, I might be starving to death thanks to the US, or blowing up from cluster bombs, or geting shot by an armoured car built in Canada. If I'd been born a Maya in Guatemala, I could have been working in a Canadian mine at starvation wages, or I could have been killed along with the 200,000 murdered by the U.S. and Guatemala with full knowledge and cooperation of the Canadian government. I would even claim to be proud to be a Canadian though, actually, getting born here was not my idea. Still, it's been good. But we have to be very careful. The U.S. is going for world domination. And, like the Congo campaign of William Grant Stairs, it's all based on brutality, murder and greed. We're also living in a world in which democracy is being crushed by a super-wealthy class who are the ones behind the mass murder in this world. And that class, all over the world, is becoming a class that rules all nations but doesn't really belong to any of them. We're moving back centuries to the class brutalities that characterized the middle ages and, before that, the Roman Empire in its declining years. And Canada's role, in the eyes of Justin Trudeau (and many other P.M.s) is to kiss up to U.S. billionaires as William Grant Stairs kissed up to King Leopold. I'm very lucky to have been born a Canadian. But I'm damned if I will send Canadians to die in billionaires' wars.