O (fuck you) Canada!

Our very first guest rant, courtesy of Sankaran Krishna of the University of Hawai`i at Manoa.


Fuck Canada

Okay, I need to get something off my chest. I am sick and tired of the way “Canada” is positioned as a beacon of progressive socialistic state policies and a peaceful, enlightened citizenry. I am sick and tired of hearing white, liberal colleagues assert during every Presidential election in the United States that if “… Dole/ Bush / McCain / Romney … wins, I am moving to Canada.” I am also sick of the way Canada’s educational system, its health care system, its gun control policies, and a variety of other practices are contrasted favorably with the United States and held up to the latter as a model worth emulating. I am sick of American tourists abroad putting Canada stickers on their backpacks as a way of immunizing themselves from opprobrium. I am sick of all the evocations of Canadian politeness and niceness and what not, conveniently forgetting that in every war-making venture the United States has been in since its founding, the Canadians have been there right alongside. I am sick of all this for at least three reasons.

One, it effaces the conjoined history of both the United States and Canada as settler-colonial societies constructed on the violent usurpation of the lands of indigenous peoples and continued into the present through their ongoing dispossession and marginalisation. Do people not realize the enormous privilege inhering in the idea that you can just move to another country because you don’t agree with election results in your own? That the very idea of such a movement reenacts the originary violence that created both societies?

Two, in this entire imaginary that depicts the US and Canada as contrasts (as distinct from being overwhelmingly similar settler colonies), the unspoken locus of enunciation is white. How does the alleged contrast between the two societies look like from the perspective of someone from one of the pre-contact indigenous groups in either of these nations? What does it look like from Black or South Asian or East Asian or other immigrant (or “arrivant” as Jodi Byrd terms them) perspectives? These questions do not seem to be within the frame of analysis when Canada is presented as a liberal wet-dream in contrast to the United States.

Third, instead of contrasting them, might it not be better to see Canada as the alibi that normalises the extremity that is the United States? And the US as the egregious violence that sanitizes and renders more benign the incredible violence that is Canada? To twist Baudrillard, in different ways Canada and the US serve towards each other the same function that Disneyland does in rendering the rest of Los Angeles real.

So the next time you hear some allegedly liberal colleague, friend, whatever of yours praise Canada and offer it as a salutary contrast to the benighted United States, say something like “a pox on both (y)our houses” – and you can add any expletives that seem appropriate and tactically permissible at that moment.

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22 thoughts on “O (fuck you) Canada!

  1. Fantastic polemic! I had a similar reaction when a relative in Idaho described Hawaii as “the world’s sandbox” and said she wanted to move to Oahu after she retired. Fuck Candida, and fuck my aunt too.

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  2. Sorry you feel that way, eh?

    – A Canadian

    ps. Whenever people say they are going to “move to Canada if X” they aren’t really going to do it. So, honestly, it isn’t worth getting upset over.

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  3. As someone with Canadian family who has lived in Canada for some year I’d say a difference is this.

    Canadians reading this blog will nod sombrely and think – “yes, this blog makes a good point – we need to be (even) more reflexive and self critical”.

    What you are attacking is not so much Canada (or Canadians) as the too easy positing of Canada as a positive term of oppositional reference. Canadians themselves are not so smug or self satisfied with ther own political system or their own history.

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  4. Its hilarious how butt hurt you are over history, and yet I bet you live in Canada or the United States, benefiting from the very history you attempt to vilify.

    The world will be better off when you die and can’t spread your insecure negativity anymore.

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  5. As a Canadian I am offended! Actually, no, as a communist I am usually annoyed by people from the US making claims about Canada’s supposedly socialist nature (or Canadians saying the same thing about Sweden). Canada is a capitalist, settler-colonialist, and imperialist state that just happens to have developed a different system of social welfare in the historic compromise between labour and capital. Still has a history of genocide, exploitation, and oppression.

    Also I would disagree with a previous poster who claims that Canadians in general “are not smug or self-satisfied with their own political system or their own history.” While some are indeed not smug, these are the anti-capitalists. Most are more than happy to believe that they live in a “nation of peacekeepers” and––like the ignorant comments of “halochampion” above who apparently is happy to benefit from genocide and super-exploitation––would accuse anyone criticizing Canada of being negative. Anyone who has spent time as an anti-capitalist activist/organizer encounters these kinds of committed Canadians all the bloody time.

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    • Give me a break you disingenuous fool! Leaving Canada over a decade ago for the very essence of this posting, one can see clearly from the outside the grave shortcomings of the political dynasty that has evolved with the same injustices imposed on the native population as was dispatched on the Australian indigenous population not-so-many years prior. The same assault is not weighing on unilaterally divorced fathers and men-in-general to support a feminist-based socialist system that is no less egregious. I truly pity the men that was forced endure the involuntary servitude imposed upon them as a norm to systematically to support ‘Canadian’ thieving society, and the social unrest in Montreal and Vancouver riots over the past decade suggest a revolution is long overdue. I trust men will bear that burden if there are any left and I stand by them. As for the infamous Canadian medical system, trust me, you get what you pay for (i.e. can you spell draconian?) and those with the money cross the border.
      Glad I left, never looked back, never coming back – and while I left a lot of childhood friends (Canadian) behind from all nationalities including, many Native Indian whose friendship I value the most, Canada is nothing but a comedy on the world stage – a failed state exploiting its natural resources like the third world country. Don’t believe me? See for yourself how Canada is perceived by watching how Hollywood portrays the same (watch the movie Deuce Bigalow and study the statistics that shows Cannibus consumption in highest among the Canadian population).
      Southpark had it right with their explicative two-word characterization.

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      • Bizarre: I don’t see how what you wrote disagrees with what I wrote aside from my first sentence which was satirical, mocking the previous poster. Indeed, everything you write about how Canada is portrayed (supposedly “socialist”) and how it really is (violently capitalist/colonialist/imperialist) is exactly what I wrote, so how I am a “disingenuous fool” is beyond me. Or was this meant to be a reply to the same person I was replying to?

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  6. Pingback: Laughter, the Canadian election and the niqab debate | The Disorder Of Things

  7. I’m Canadian. I agree with you. Say what you will about America, but people get angry and they try to fix things, even if it goes awry sometimes. The complacency in Canada drives me crazy sometimes. The racism here against indigenous people is insane, but ignored/hidden. Cops taze a visitor to death in an airport who was simply getting frustrated? Let’s complain, then do absolutely nothing about it so it can happen again. And again. What do you think would happen in the States? The health care system doesn’t come close to many other countries in the world, we’re way behind on environmental action, our educational system places no emphasis on individuality, and we’re becoming a world model for gentrification (along with Australia). Oh, and Tim Horton’s coffee is third-rate crap made from beans picked by kids in sweatshop conditions. Be proud Canada.

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  8. Canada is a multicultural dump and we’ve invited it. Boo hoo. Trapped in the abyss in nowhere between the rich and the druggies in BC and the hillbillies in the centre. A life of shit wages no opportunity for raising a family. Screw you Canada. And all you pigs that nested it. I give you all gut shots if I had free bullets

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  9. What irritates me is how Canadians declares : “but we are doing better than the USA” . But we follow the USA in every aspect of Life e.g. privatized Healthcare, our education system is rated the worst, only a notch better than USA. Stop comparing to the USA, which is in fact a failed state. Look instead to Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Nordic Countries for example and leadership.

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