By Roksana Bahrmaitash, Independent Scholar, Montreal
Many of my academic friends outside of Canada have been asking about what has been happening in Canada. And all the protests and the terrorist attach in Quebec? And now why the Iranian Embassy in Canada has been closed?
At the time when I was asked why there was a terrorist attack in Quebec, I responded that when a government excludes its population from legitimate venues to express their political views, they can expect violence. Quebec is no longer going to be a player in Ottawa politics which is increasingly in the hands of ultra right conservatives, and there is little Quebec can do for the federal politics to save its social programs.
From the outsider's view, student protest was a protest over increase in tuition fee; and what people did not hear much was how it expanded into civil protest and among the ordinary people (in solidarity with students) and against the Canadian austerity measures, who were coming out in the evenings banging on their pots and pans.
Canada's current conservative government has taken a sharp turn to the right. Since the Harper government became a majority government, it has embarked on a silent (actually not so silent) war against its own citizens. Major cut backs on pension plans and public health care have taken effect (thousands of hospital beds have disappeared and will continue to disappear). Education will suffer, unemployment benefit will continue to shrink. It is all on the agenda and work in progress for the current government- a war on the poor and a victory for corporate Canada, as corporate income tax break is costing Canadian social programs up to $6 billion.
There has been up to 30,000 government jobs cuts ( as reported by the Toronto Star in April). Yes, privatization and deregulation and catering to the needs of the cooperate interests is on the agenda.
When the war against Canadian citizens is being waged, what can we expect?
Thousands of Iranian Canadians now have no way of getting their documents to travel to visit a sick parent, new born children in their families or their loved ones in Iran. Does the Canadian government cares for the rights of these citizens? Is that too much to ask?
Why are we surprised that such a right wing government embarks on closing its embassy in Tehran and orders the closure of the Iranian Embassy in Canada? There is nothing to be surprised about when the Canadian International Development Agency has been downsized and has become increasingly part of the Canadian Foreign Affair. There is no international aid to speak of. What used to be aid is now in the pockets of the rich or is used to beef up the military and military presence, especially in Afghanistan. And that is really going to help peace!
Just as the Americans learn some hard lessons, not to downsize their government, not to bomb other countries, and not to get involved in more wars, this ultra right government is doing just the opposite. So in Quebec people just voted for the Parti Quebecois to form a minority government to resist Ottawa's austerity measure. In are the Canadian neocons, out is Canada's long tradition of social justice!
... Payvand News - 09/11/12 ... --