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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Canada: The Colony That Chose
to Remain a Colony

Understanding how and with what "official" attitudes Canada emerged from World War 2, as a quasi-colony of Great Britain, chafing at the limitations of its so-called membership in the greater British Commonwealth, which was, both Great Britain and its remaining imperial "Commonwealth", already in decline and being replaced by the increasingly global ambitions and presence of the United States, goes a long ways to explaining our current national quandary vis a vis the now in full bloom US Empire and our subservient, again quasi-colonial position within it.

Well before the war ended, but when victory seemed assured, Allied leaders turned their attention to the shape of the postwar world. A new world organization to replace the failed League of Nations was already promised in the Atlantic Charter issued by Churchill and Roosevelt in August 1941. Citing the functional principle, Ottawa was determined that Canada should play a role appropriate to its status in this and any other international organization created. Canada especially would not accept any lesser position than she had held in the League. For that reason, Canada opposed Churchill’s suggestion that the new world body rest on a system of regional powers. In this scheme, the Commonwealth, with Great Britain firmly at its head, would join China, the Soviet Union and the United States, as great powers dominating the organization. At the prime ministers' conference in May 1944, King stressed that this idea - a faint echo of Britain’s fading hopes for a common imperial foreign policy - was unacceptable to Canada. (From the Govt. of Canada Website , from an article titled Planning the Post Second World War World. )

That said, for the above is more than a bit naive, even untruthful, from the earliest foundations of this country, especially our evolving "national" ruling class of elites in this country never did much display a strong "independent or nationalist instinct", in terms of concrete action, but was always more content with first "imperial" fidelity as a "dominion" of Great Britain, and the simple pursuit of self riches as us characteristic of capitalism, driven for a time by the development of the national railroad system. All roads, however, paved with that early manifest preoccupation with riches and fidelity to a British Empire Motherland, such as I grew up with as a youth, especially in the post Second World War, lead to the instinctive need or desire, with the collapse of that British Empire, to content again, independent Canadian national development with the mere suckling at the teat of the new, aggressive and rising US Empire ambition.

And as that ambition and intent of the rising US Empire ambition more and more manifested and asserted itself in the world and fell to warring with the USSR and China, our ruling class, and possibly much the population, for it too seemed much content to at least go along, in the postwar weariness with conflict, and increasing prosperity that came with rebuilding war destroyed Europe, with exceptions, fell ever increasingly into a pattern of dependency and puppy dog loyalty, or at least obedience, to the new Imperial US Motherland.

And in the shaping of the postwar world, part of which involved the creating of the United Nations, so long as there was some inclusion or modest recognition by the new emerging Big Powers, especially the US, that was and remains the role we largely fell into over time: Increasing dependency, with denial of course, integration into the cold war military system of alliances (NATO, NORAD) with the US, and more formalized of late, but always taking shape and evolving, integration as well into dependency on the US economic behemoth, and its transparently unequal trading and so-called "partnership" trading and "economic integration" schemes. Which has now in our time reached its final stages of "absorption development" with Canadian military involvement in US Empire war adventures in the Middle East, earlier Korea of course, and at the "North American continental level" with the ongoing "continental integration and co-operation", read "subservience" of our national military system, including officer corp, to US military determined priorities and targets. A relationship which has especially gathered momentum under successive Liberal Governments since our last modestly "independent minded" Prime Minister, the dying gasp of a separate Canadian ambition and identity, which was Pierre Trudeau. (For all his limitations and ruling class limited flaws, in my view.)

But the piece de resistance, of course, underpinning and driving it all, under the hand of ruling class guidance, is the unequal and subservient economic relationship with this new US Empire that started out high in the immediate postwar mountains, as the dam of British Empire influence in the country and the world finally broke, as a kind of stream, is a now become near unstoppable river of broken and never really realized economic benefit treaties unequal daily trading patterns and assumptions, as primarily benefit the Imperial US Motherland of course. In which increasingly polluted and unequal economic wasteland, with again some significant exceptions, we remain in many ways still, what we were under the earlier British Empire influence; hewers of wood and drawers of water for their industry independent development and global power. Through such as the shattered illusions of NAFTA, all the side water, oil and wood sharing deals that give them guaranteed access to our natural resources, tie and commit us to them, and the multitude of arbitration tribunals and court cases as have served that end, the "would have been a country" that is Canada has finally come down to the deep ocean, about to drown the "national dream" in what is the already "official" committment to the North American Union.

It is often said that in the relationship between politics and economics, it is economics that invariably rules in the end. A reality which I believe to be largely if not entirely true, in the normal course of events, especially where long established ruling class values and assumptions are allowed to continue sway and to rule. But there are always "choices" as well, of course.

And there is always available to hand, where there is the understanding and the courage, of course, the option for working class and other population strata, where it becomes obvious and understood by them, that a course ruling class driven economic forces are upon is not in their or the "national interest", to come together, organize, and develop strategies and tactics of their own as will change the economic and political dynamic as seems so bent and skewered against them. There is always a choice in such situations even, to either submit or resist.

For this country the hour draws late of course, as our discussions here of water have served to help make clear, but even then, it remains much a matter of "choice", we now have here to quickly make.

NOTE: I hope to, as opportunity allows, to explore this subject of the country ongoing, the ruling class determined course we are on, the military, national development, and economic implications that are already being forced upon us by our unequal, quasi-colonial, rapidly become "full" colonial relationship with the US.

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