Thoughts on 19 October 2015

03 Nov 2015
image

Courtesy of cbc.ca

A mixed (and in this case, late) response. But let’s start with the positives here, or rather the only positives here.

The so-called “Conservative” party was finally dislodged from power after nearly a decade of trying to impose its US Republican-inspired ideals on a country that’s fundamentally different in its founding principles, and with Stephen Harper’s resignation as the cherry on the cake. They were 10 years of actions, decisions and legislations that already or were going to significantly affect this country, its citizens and their affairs in a way never seen before — and mostly negative. Whether anything of the legacy of the founding father of the present Conservatives will remain is dependent on both his successors as party chief and Prime Minister.

After 10 years, we finally have a non-“Conservative” government. Indeed, there are many, many hopes that incoming Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will reverse many or most of the domestic and foreign policies of the previous government that gave Canada a reputation never before negative in its existence as a country, both to its people and to its global neighbours. And throughout his campaign, Trudeau managed to present the image of someone willing and able to do what the majority of Canadians desire. As for their fulfillment or disappointment, that will become clear in the coming few months, and later in this article.

The removal from power of the “Conservatives,” their leader’s resignation and the positive potential of the incoming Grit government are the only positives previously mentioned. The rest just left me disappointed, for lack of a better word. Let’s start with the “Conservatives.”

True, they’re no longer our federal overlords, but they’re now the Official Opposition even with only 99 seats (another plus from me). With Harper still remaining as MP, there’s no doubt, despite what experts might say, that he will exercise considerable and continued influence on his party, especially including his successor who will have to labour under his massive legacy and influence. But worse, perhaps, was the fate of the other parties.

The Grits are back, and with a majority of all things! It’s as if they haven’t learned from their past history of corruption, scandal and opportunism (this coming from someone who never experienced Grit rule). Rather, if there’s any lesson they learned from this election, it’s that a handsome face plus an effective campaign equals victory. It would’ve been better if they remained in third-place wilderness a little longer in order to learn about humility and what a political party should properly be. Now, with managing a leap from third place to government in a short time, for the first time (which would’ve been better appropriate for the NDP), the event of the victory going into their heads won’t be surprising. The corrupt interests have learned that good hair and saying all the right words can win power, without the need for introspection and subsequent action.

It looks to be the same lesson the New Democrats learned — in defeat. The party returned to its more familiar third place in this election, after that surprising and eventually short-lived “Orange Crush” in 2011 brought, also, by the leader’s charisma and effective campaigning. To those saying that the NDP would’ve won had Jack Layton lived, it would’ve been more of a split anti-Harper vote. What made this loss sadder for this infrequent blogger (and still does) was to see all NDP candidates in the three ridings near or within residence (Surrey Centre, Fleetwood-Port Kells, Surrey-Newton) swept out by la vague rouge. Perhaps the most painful was Surrey-Newton, where what could have been continued change and reform saw instead the return of an old politico who, from what I know, didn’t exactly have a credible and admirable record in his previous terms. It was only small consolation to see the two New Westminster ridings (another place where a personal connection exists) remain orange. Where does this leave the party? Would it learn from the perceived “rightward” drift under Thomas (not Tom) Mulcair? Even after choosing to stay as leader, will he remain for some time?

If anything, this huge disappointment was equalled by the disappointment with the Green party, no matter the spin. It hoped to win a few seats, mostly in B.C., with Victoria the most possible seat. Now, the only other Green seat in the House by the start of the campaign — Bruce Hyer’s Thunder Bay–Superior North which came about by floor-crossing — also went red. Given that we have a Grit majority, any hopes Elizabeth May and her supporters entertain of exercising an influence on the incoming government will be dependent on said government, regardless of the “cooperating” image Justin had during the campaign (the petition calling for May’s appointment as Environment Minister would’ve become more possible under a coalition government).

Never mind that it only got ten seats and failed in its goal to regain official party status (or Gilles Duceppe’s second resignation, I later learned) — le Bloc a retourné from its surprising loss in 2011; it would’ve been better had they retained their previous seat count or less. Does this mean the return of Québec sovereignism? For one thing, it has only taken other forms, and hopefully it will become one that will broaden its scope to include all Francophone interests on this side of North America.

So where does this all lead to? With a non-Harper majority for the first time, one hopes to see a complete reversal of all of the previous government’s policies. On the other hand, with the fact that the Liberals still haven’t learned from their not-so-completely great past as the “natural governing party,” and a few actions from the younger Trudeau himself such as support for TPP — not to mention that he strikes me as someone easily swayed over by more powerful forces — any hopes attached to him by progressives may either become pure disappointment or half-satisfactory laws.


“Nada,” pero meron pa: isang pagsusuri sa pelikula ni Juan Carlos Cremata Malberti

12 Sep 2013

Mula sa/Courtesy of fandor.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sa ilalim man ng diktadurya o demokrasya, masasabing ang karanasan ng tao sa modernong panahon ay kasing-kulay ng itim-at-puti o gris na pelikula. Araw-araw tayo’y naglalagay ng mga selyo sa mga sobre na parang mga makina o robot. Tanging libangan natin pagkatapos ng nakakaantok at nakayayamot na gawain ay panoorin ang nakasisigla’t walang-lamang payo ng sikat na psikologo sa telebisyon, o hintayin ang koreo na mag-aalis sa atin mula sa ating walang-buhay na eksistensiya. Sa ganitong klaseng buhay, maaaring tayo’y sumuko sa itim-at-puti na buhay o pilitin natin, sa abot ng ating makakaya, na bigyan ito hindi lang ng kulay kundi pati na rin ingay at ganda. Tulungan at palakasin ang loob ng mga nanghihina, sa pamamagitan ng ating mga salita. Bigyang himig, luha o guhit ng krayola ang mga gris na pader. Mga usok, pagsabog, kaartehan at mga eksenang wala sa lugar na pumuputol sa palagiang maayos at nakayayamot na daloy ng kwento. Ang pangangailangan ng paggawa ng kabutihan at kagalakan sa isang daigdig na hindi mabuti o may galak – ng pagbabago sa isang walang-kilos na mundo – ang pangunahing tema ng pelikulang Nada (“Wala”) ng Kubanong direktor na si Juan Carlos Cremata Malberti, na parehong makikita sa mga tauhan, kuwento at istilo ng pelikula.

 

Isang karaniwang empleyada sa isang opisinang postal sa Habana si Carla Perez. Ang tanging trabaho niya bawat araw ay magtatak ng selyo sa mga sulat na ipapadala sa kanilang mga destinasyon. Tanging libangan niya mula sa nakayayamot na trabahong ito ang psikologong nagbibigay ng magandang payo sa telebisyon – o telebisyon sa kalahatan – at paghihintay sa bisa na magdadala sa kanya sa Estados Unidos. Isang aksidenteng pagtatak ng kape sa isang sulat ang magbabago sa buhay niya. Nang matuklasan niyang sulat ito ng pamamaalam sa isang propesor ng dati niyang estudyante at karelasyon – na sa tingin ni Carla’y hindi maganda o positibo – dinesisyon niya na gumawa ng pekeng bersyon ng sulat, gayahin ang istilo ng pagsusulat ng orihinal, mas positibo ang tono kaysa sa orihinal, at ito ang ipadala sa tatanggap. Sa ‘di-boluntaryong tulong ng kartero at katrabahong si Cesar, sinubukan ni Carla na gawing mas mabuti ang buhay ng mga tao sa lungsod sa pamamagitan ng kanyang mga pekeng sulat. Ginawa niya ito sa kabila ng ilang mga balakid, kasama na ang tiranang tagapangasiwa ng opisinang postal, isang kapitbahay na walang pinag-uusapan kundi ang kanyang buhay, isang ‘di-inasahang bunga ng kanyang gawain sa sikat na psikologo, at ang patuloy na paghihintay para sa bisa.

Makikita sa dalawang pangunahing tauhan ang tema ng pagbabago. Sa kanilang dalawa, si Cesar ang nagsisilbing koneksyon ng mga manonood sa pelikula. Sa kanyang kawalang-interes at gusto na sumali sa raket ni Carla, kinakatawan ni Cesar ang karaniwang tao sa modernong lipunan, na mas iintindihin ang sariling mga gawain kaysa lumahok sa pagbabago sa kanilang kinagagalawan. Isa pang patunay sa ginagampanan niyang papel ang madalas niyang pakikinig sa “player” niya sa mga una niyang eksena, komportable sa sarili niyang daigdig, komportableng walang nababatid sa paligid niya; maaaring isama rin dito ang kanyang reaksyong sinikal sa naging bunga ng pekeng sulat sa psikologo. Sa kabilang dako, kinakatawan ni Carla ang pangarap ng karaniwang tao na makagawa ng pagbabago sa paligid niya. Makikita ito sa simula pa ng pelikula sa pamamagitan ng kanyang itsura – sa ayos ng kanyang buhok at pananamit – na ibang-iba sa karamihan ng tao doon. Patunay rin sa kanyang mapagbagong pagkatao ang hindi niya pagtanggap sa kanyang sitwasyon at kagustuhang umalis sa kanyang lugar, kumpara sa iba na sa karamiha’y tanggap ang kanilang kinalalagyan sa buhay. Buong lakas niya’y binigay niya sa gawain ng pamemeke ng sulat nang pinasok niya ito. Makikita ito sa eksaktong pagkopya niya sa istilo ng pagsusulat at kung anong uri ng “pagtutuwid” ang ginawa niya sa mga sulat. Dagdag pa sa katunayan ng kanyang pagiging mapagbago ang pagkakatwa ng kanyang mga kilos. Isang magandang halimbawa ang pagtawa niya sa insidente ng “feedback” ng mikropono sa pagtitipon ng mga empleyado ng koreo, nang tapos na ang iba sa pagtawa. Sa huli, mismong “pagbabago” ang nagbago sa mga tauhan. Naimpluwensiya ni Carla si Cesar na gumawa ng kanyang sariling pagbabago sa pamamagitan ng kanyang pagsisikap sa pagsusulat. Ang pagdating sa wakas ng kanyang bisa ay nagdulot kay Carla na tuluyang lisanin ang Habana at wakasan ang kanyang panahon ng pamemeke ng sulat. Sa mismong katangian ng dalawang tauhan at ang tugon nila sa kanilang mga aksyon at mga aksyon sa kanila, makikita ang kahalagahan ng tema ng pagbabago sa pelikula.

Deretso ang kwento pagdating sa pagtalakay sa tema. Layon ng dalawang bida na magbigay kulay at buhay sa kanilang lungsod sa pamamagitan ng mga pekeng sulat, at nandiyan ang mga pwersa ng reaksyon para pigilin ang pagtagumpay ng mga bida at panatilihin ang kasalukuyang ayos ng mga bagay. Nangunguna sa kanila ang tiranang si Cucha Cervera, ang bagong tagapangasiwa ng opisinang postal na pinagtratrabahuan nina Carla at Cesar. Mukhang walang ibang hangad si Cucha kundi ipamukha sa bawat empleyado sa opisina kung sino ang boss at ipataw ang kanyang mga gusto doon. Sina Carla at Cesar, mga alagad ng pagbabago sa opisina, ay mga panganib sa kanyang plano na panatilihin ang kaayusan ng opisina, o kung tutuusi’y lalong paghihigpit ng kaayusang iyon. Isa pang kinatawan ng mga naghahari sa kasalukuyang sistema, na dapat ipunto dito, ay ang mga ‘di-makitang kapangyarihan sa likod ng hindi-agarang pagproseso ng bisang papasok kay Carla. Kung kinakatawan nina Cucha Cervera at ng mga nasa likod ng bisa ang mga pinuno ng kasalukuyang kaayusan, kinakatawan naman ng ibang mga kontrabida, sa kanilang sariling paraan, ang mga biktima nito. Matatawag na kontrabida ang kanang-kamay ni Cucha na may ‘di-karaniwang problema, dahil aktibo siyang tumutulong sa mga balak ng boss niya, at ang madaldal na kapitbahay ni Carla, dahil ang pagpapakita niya ay laging nangangahulugan ng sakit sa ulo, o tulog, para sa bidang babae. Sila’y mga biktima ng sistema sapagkat wala silang tiyak na ginagawa para malutas ang kanilang mga problema na maaaring bigay ng sistema: mukhang tanggap ng kanang-kamay ang kanyang kondisyon, samantalang hanggang daldal lang ang ginagawa ng kapitbahay bilang lunas sa kanyang mga problema. Ang kwento ng Nada ay ang laban sa pagitan ng mga pwersa ng may-buhay na pagbabago at mga pwersa ng patay na sistema.

Bukod sa mga tauhan at kwento, makikita ang pagdidiin sa tema ng pagbabago sa istilo ng pelikula. Hindi nababagay ang Nada para sa manonood na gusto ang mga pelikula niya’y klaro at normal ang daloy at itsura. Pinalalamutian ng mga makukulay na guhit ng kidlat at pagsabog ang itim-at-puti na pelikula. Hindi “normal” sa karaniwang kahulugan ang pagganap sa ilan sa mga tauhan, tulad ng naunang tagapangasiwa na “esplosibo” ang pamamahala sa opisina at ang nakakalokang babaeng bantay ng opisina niya. Ang pagpapakita ng panloob na monologo ni Carla ay ipinapakita sa paraang nakagigitla at nakakagising sa manonood. Pinapakita ang iba’t ibang mga uri ng pelikula, tulad ng drama at komedya, katabi sa bawat isa sa paraang mahihirapan ang manonood na tingnan sila sa lohikong pamamaraan. Isang kuwadro sa uring pelikulang-tahimik ang nag-uulit sa sinabi ng isang tauhan, isang kasangkapang pangatog sa manonood mula sa kanyang pasibang panonood. Ang hindi maayos at regular na istilo ng pelikula, kasama ang mga eksenang pumuputol sa normal na pagtakbo ng kwento, ay sadyang dinisenyo para ipaalala sa mga manonood sa “tunay na oras” ang tema ng pagbabago.

Sa mga tauhan, kwento at ayos ng pelikula, hinahatid ng Nada ang mensahe ng pangangailangan na makagawa ng magandang pagbabago sa lipas na paligid. Hindi ito kailangang maging malaki o rebolusyonaryo; kahit mga simpleng gawa tulad ng pagbibigay-ngiti sa kapwa tao ay naglulunsad ng mga malalaking saluysoy sa lawa. Sa kanilang sariling at maling paraan, pinapakita ng mga bida ng Nada ang kahalagahan ng diwang mapagbago sa araw-araw sa mundong ating kinagagalawan.

 


Multiculturalism and Canadian identity

20 Aug 2013

Something that has been delayed in issuing here for too long: my latest Other Press article, from last month’s issue, about multiculturalism in this country. Hope you like it.


Musings of A Canadian Nationalist (or, a Prose Poem Attempt)

01 Jul 2013

They say the Canadian nationalist is dead. Or extinct. Or irrelevant. Or plain unnecessary. They say he or she is no longer needed in this globalised age, that at best the Canadian nationalist advocates for what’s impossible, at worst an enemy of diversity. The Canadian nationalist may have been relevant for the sixties and seventies, when this country was just trying to find (again) itself, but no longer so today. Hey, maybe the goals of the Canadian nationalist have been achieved. This country is now distinct from the United States in numerous ways, like in healthcare, importance of military, the “French fact,” our reputation for tolerance and open-mindedness.

Or maybe not.

Well, take a look at it. Most of what we think as “Canadian identity” came from a party that was historically until recently, pro-US. And human rights, individual liberty, all those things? They don’t make this country different from the US. And now, the current Conservatives are implementing emphasis on the military, less government and deregulation – things no different from the Republican party. Some say this country is “America-lite.”

If that’s the case, then why Canada? Why the need for this country to exist? Why not just join Uncle Sam’s embrace? Healthcare? Well, that was a recent phenomenon – not much accepted in the days before Mr. T. Douglas established it (or maybe I’m wrong, but that was piecemeal!). Parliamentary democracy? The monarchy? We don’t think much of them as special, anyway, except on events where they are celebrated. How about Quebec? Its fate different than Louisiana’s? Remember, Quebecois desire to separate is strong.

Why Canada?

I think the Canadian nationalist is still relevant in this day and age. Regardless, arguably, of the ideological leaning – “old” Tories who still see this country as based on the ideas and principles of Sir John A., or those coming from the New Left whose nationalism is of course, more left-leaning. And even those patriots from the Liberal party and other groups.

What matters most here is that, if this country is ever to be truly relevant in this day and age where globalisation has made everything minor and irrelevant that which is not in-tune with it, if Canada is ever to truly assert itself on the crowded stage, the Canadian nationalist, the first defender of this country, its front-line defence, is still important and necessary.


“Just a good place to live”

01 Jul 2013

So said Donald Creighton in an interview with Charles Taylor for the latter’s 1982 book Radical Tories. Though I can’t answer on behalf of all recent immigrants to this country, not even those from my country of origin, I can do say that this phrase best describes my impression of Canada upon arrival – and I think, by extension, of other recent immigrants as well.

What was my impression of Canada? I remember reading a holiday destination guide back home where the section on Canada occupied a single page; it mostly emphasized nature spots in its pictures and destination choices. My mom thought, and still thinks, of Canada as a better place than the United States in terms of its healthcare system and the politeness/respectfulness of its people, and I share the same opinions as well. We thought of Canada as a better place than the United States, not in terms of comparing one country’s greatness with another’s, but on how better Canada is on internal things. We saw Canada as better than the United States in terms of healthcare than on military strength or international influence.

This is the impression that my family still has about this country, and the same can be said as well for other immigrants, especially those from poorer countries. For us, Canada is a land of opportunity, a place where we can do those things and achieve those goals that we’ll never do and achieve had we remained in our homelands. This is a country where one can feel secure, that no one will just barge in on their doors or fire bullets into their houses with impunity. In terms of corruption, Canada is still better compared to the countries where many of us come from. Politically, Canada is enviously stable. Economically, we see it as a First World economy. In societal terms, Canada is populated by people who are, for the most part, respectful, disciplined, polite and tolerant of each other. This country’s tenet of multiculturalism is an envy of the world, an example for countries torn by ethnic and religious strife.

This country is indeed a paradise for us.

Not until some time later did I begin learning more about this country beyond those rosy impressions. From the media and school, I started to learn about the Canada one will never know from the immigration agency’s brochures. True, it is well-off compared to other countries, but it isn’t a reason to rest on maple wreaths. More so than in previous years, Canada has experienced stress and conflict on a variety of areas. Economically, the country still continues to rely on natural resource exports as mainstay of its economy, despite all those “knowledge economy” proclamations – retail exists side by side with oil & natural gas development and export. Politically, scandals & other affairs have gotten worse on all three levels. Then there’s also the social and ethnic tension between the well-off and not, “visible minorities” and those who’ve been here for centuries. And let’s not forget the condition of the Aboriginal peoples.

I also learned about the history of Canada, that there are many interpretations of it and each has it own implications for this country. There are those who tell the Canadian story as a gradual process of independence from Britain and friendship with the US. There are others who talk about the neglected and suppressed voices of this story from minorities of various backgrounds. Then there are those who talk of Canada as an attempt at creating a different society from the US, the opposite of the liberal individualist Union. Each interpretation has its implications about the fate of Canada, the nature of its society and the degree of its independence globally. The story that guarantees the sovereignty and common well-being of Canada must be maintained.

Still, most of us – recent immigrants and those living for generations – see Canada as “a good place to live.” We never think of this country on grand terms, that it can be more than a country of politeness, respectfulness and gentleness. Someday, that day will come, but when, nobody knows.


About this dominion

12 Apr 2013

Courtesy of shutterstock.com

The last Other Press article I have for this season deals with Canadian identity, what it was in the past, and what it may be in the future. Hope this furthers discussion about Canadian nationalism in such a globalising age as this.


It’s not just the Indigenous people

15 Mar 2013

Courtesy of Canada.com

A forum on Aboriginal issues was held late February at Douglas College, in support of Idle No More. Flavoured on the sidelines by bannock and cheese slices, the forum featured old and new activists involved in the Indigenous movement. The unchanging Aboriginal issues were discussed on the forum. They included infringements on First Nations concerns brought by the federal government’s omnibus bills, the past-and-present colonial relationship between Aboriginal peoples and the Canadian government, and current issues faced by Aboriginal individuals and families. Moderated group conversations after the panel talk discussed each attendee’s own feelings and opinions about the stories and issues said by the panel. By the end of the event, it seemed that most of the individuals present agreed on the necessity of solving the Aboriginal problem, and that this won’t come through government or settler paternalism but through self-made actions by Aboriginal peoples themselves. Self-determination, in their own words. It was a triumphant and jubilant night for those involved.

Since I failed to ask everybody on that auditorium whether they shared my opinions, once can only speak for oneself. In divergence from the wide agreement among the auditorium population, unanswered questions held me back from joining the euphoria. While the issues discussed were important, the nature of those issues in relation to the larger, outside context prevented me from fully accepting their cause.

The group discussion I joined involved each of us saying two words we took from what the panel said. Most of those “two words” were sympathetic and supportive of the Indigenous movement. My two words were “understanding” and “distance.” “Understanding” in that many of the issues discussed were reasonable and the injustices done against Aboriginal peoples really unjust, and “distance” in that certain questions made me skeptical from full support. It’s doubtless that injustices were done against Indigenous peoples in this country. Musqueam elder Larry Grant talked about his family’s expulsion from present-day Sapperton to make way for a military base. The youngest panellist mentioned a sister’s death in the hands of Indo-Canadian youths at night due to wearing Idle No More apparel. Stories of the colonial relationship between First Nations and European settlers and governments were told: displacement of First Nations from their traditional lands, attempts at destruction of their identity through assimilation, and the consequence of all these tragedies in everyday Indigenous life. Threats of the omnibus bills on traditional life and the environment were also said by the panel. But it didn’t end with sighs of passive hopelessness. Idle No More was bannered as a historical moment of Indigenous peoples rising up to fight for their rights. All the guests displayed confidence, insisting that now is the time Indigenous peoples take back what was stolen from them.

Yet some of the things said and shown during the event bothered me. The emphasis on “colonialism” and the dominated situation of Indigenous peoples, despite proclamations of triumph, made me think of this as solely an Indigenous matter, concerning First Nations alone. Why does it matter and how does this relate to us non-Indigenous persons? Does the emphasis on Aboriginal self-determination mean the original inhabitants will kick the settlers out of the land someday? One of the panellists who appeared at the group discussion talked of Indigenous history as a way to prevent a myopic view of Indigenous people, and putting ourselves in their shoes to better understand their situation – the answers weren’t satisfying. The question here is how does this Aboriginal movement fit in the bigger Canadian situation. Being an Indigenous-centred affair runs the risk of neglecting the other parts of the national population. It could be that this movement forms one part of the wider Canadian movement against erosion of public welfare by moneyed interests, but that has yet to be seen.

Perhaps there is nothing bad with an Aboriginal-centred movement. They have taken the extra mile to accommodate non-Indigenous peoples and help them understand what the movement is about. The event itself was targeted at newer immigrant communities in BC. The important question here is its relation to the wider Canadian movement for the national good.


When foreign eyes are smiling

15 Mar 2013

Courtesy of Sun News Network

When you open the computer and visit the Web, has it crossed your mind that someone with hostile intentions is looking at every action you make and accessing every important data you enter there? Is your regular talk mate at work, school or the coffee house a foreign agent? Does every word you carelessly blurt out in conversation a valuable gem of information worth recording?

Given how significant we average, normal folks are in the spying order of things, it’s most likely all of these things haven’t happened to you. Nevertheless, the awareness that someone out there is gathering secret information for the employer’s gain and the target’s loss has never been more important. In Brian Stewart’s February 1 report for the CBC, in the aftermath of Canadian naval officer Jeffrey Delisle’s arrest for selling intelligence to Russia, he states that espionage has vastly increased since the end of the Cold War. More countries are now involved, technological advances have greatly aided intelligence-gathering, and economic as well as military intelligence is the most sought-after treasure. The primary beneficiaries of these are Putin and the Chinese Communist Party, and Western governments and businesses are in a worried, costly scramble over securing their precious secrets against this aggressive, cyber-aided spying campaign.

Through all this, Canada has been at the receiving end of the outcries and sobs by Western intelligence, especially in the aftermath of the Delisle affair. The country is now the “soft underbelly,” the weakest link in the otherwise strong security fence against enemies of the Western capitalist world – never mind that the US and our other so-called allies have also suffered intelligence leaks. What this article concerns itself, however, aren’t the problems Canada and its allies face regarding this threat and the solutions in dealing with the latter, but rather a contemplation of it in connection to Canadian security and sovereignty. In short, this espionage threat in relation to Canada alone.

Canada has lived in a dependent relationship with other countries, specifically from the east and south of us, for most of its history. The French and British empires were replaced by the U.S. Empire. Uncle Sam has replaced Louis XIV and Queen Victoria as our objects of deference and genuflection. We now export more natural resources southward than eastward. When before the fashionable things in London are the fashionable things here, now the coolest stuff from New York is the coolest stuff here. We’re now apparently facing a threat from our west. Such a deferential history must be taken to account regarding grumbles and disapprovals from our security partners about our intelligence capabilities. The most important thing here is how this threat affects us solely. If our so-called partners tell us that a national approach to our security is narrow-minded and threatens to split the alliance, we must tell them back on how they expect Canada to perform well in the alliance when it’s treated as a subordinate member there. An effective alliance can only happen when all of its members and their opinions are treated equally, and right now this isn’t happening especially in regards to Canada.

In fact Canada can’t be too trusting of its allies, given that they’re also spying on this country. If we believe the argument that in this world, countries are only here for themselves, that acts of generosity to other nations are only for the country’s benefit, then Canada must be too wary in joining alliances that might not be beneficial to it. The autonomy and sovereignty of this country must be the basic pillars of Canadian security policy. The protection of national interests, namely the defence of domestic development and the promotion of a more independent position globally, must be its guiding principles. If this would involve leaving the Western alliance and going alone, so be it. One of the documentary’s interviewees was right when he said that the popular belief of being Canadian equals no outside threats is “wrong” and dangerous. Anyone interested in ensuring our independence must be prepared to do what’s needed to keep it as such.

 

EDIT: Added links to the web article and video of Mr Stewart’s report (07-12-2013).


A couple (relatively) new articles from your favourite college newspaper

03 Mar 2013

Two articles from The Other Press can be accessed here and here, originally titled “In defence of poutine” and “Why nationalism is necessary for internationalism” respectively. Hope you get amused.


Three stories

22 Feb 2013

Here’s another exception to the Other Press cross-post you’d probably see for this season. The following are three short stories first narrated at open mic events, all in New Westminster. Anyone wanting a different form of entertainment from the one you see on the big monitor on your living room or bedroom, or elsewhere in the World Wide Web, can click on the links and enjoy.

The Clubhouse

A Night in the City

The Email Message