Reflections on Confederation

Posted: February 15, 2020 by Ty in Canadian Politics, Current Events
Tags: , , , , ,

We can debate the technicality of calling Canada a confederation or federation. Yet what is true is that we are a collection of cultures, religions, regions, and nations…some at times have wanted to be declared a distinct society, when the truth is Canada as a whole is a beautiful and distinct mosaic. Currently we are in the midst of what is being hash tagged as shut Canada down. It is beginning and centered in protests in Wet’suwet’en and the “lightning rod” media issue around pipe lines.

Is it truly about pipe lines? Or is it another instance of colonialism dictating what happens and Indigenous voices shut out? Yes and no. Not an answer any one wants to hear. In Canada, as Truth and Reconciliation was not fully actualized (we went through the motions, but didn’t do the work) we are living in dualism. It is the type of dualism, Rabbi Sacks brought out in regards to historic and emergent anti-Semitism. He pointed to the fact of creating the Us-Them dichotomy where one side has to be right and the other has to be wrong. He also pointed out this dualism historically grew anti-semitism in the Christianities for it pointed to the Hebrew Bible God as a lesser being, with the Christian Testament God being superior. Even pointing out the terms Old & New Testaments continue to perpetuate this dualism, and the ability as the Christianities became Christendom under Constantine that Christianity and Rome became all Good (US) and Judaism and the Sanhedrin became Christ Killers–all Bad (Them). He goes on then to unpack that this is being brought into the Middle Eastern political landscape through bad religion and interpretation so Anti-Semitism is taking root in Islam.

Why this matters? Are you able to see the parallels with Colonialism? Settler and First Nation? Civil and savage? The outgrowth in our own politics of the same dualism where one side has to be sacred and the other profane, one holy the other sinner. The last Federal and provincial election cycles were nothing more than mud fists with the race to the lowest common denominator…no vision casting, no dreaming, no talking of foreign and domestic policies to build healthy relations nationally and globally.

Then we wonder why we have blockades? It’s a boiling point of frustration. Sure, some of the protesters may be paid, some may not know why they are their because like sports teams, political and populist movements, there is bandwagoners that join up to be a part of something. In an increasingly isolated world, any glimmer of belonging is what one latches on too.

It is rooted in the story of Canada, passive genocide both cultural and spiritual, inter-generational trauma, reserves, lack of education, soaring suicide rates, boil water advisories, Murdered Missing Indigenous Women and Girls (rampant serial killers targeting our vulnerable and the RCMP not acting), it is `60’s scoops of children to civilize them, residential schools, it is dehumanizing them, using them to fight our wars and when they returned home not allowing them back on reserves and with their families until they were found dead on our streets, shattered languages, over seizure by child welfare, over representation in prisons, high rates of addiction…

It is a government response that was almost, but not even. Talk of repealing the Indian Act since the Trudeau Sr. era. Being able to speak into the Charter of Rights and Freedoms of the 1982 Constitution Act (which started way back when with Louis Riel and the Red River Resistance); The failed Meech Lake and Charlottetown Accords that may or may not have changed things for the better but became too highly politicized behind personalities for a true reading, stable governance, and a passionate Prime Minister on relationship building, Paul Martin, who worked with First Nations to craft the Kelowna Accord that would have radically changed the way our mosaic functions…then 10 years of a rise of old stock Christendom Dominionism that put relations back, if not in law, rather relationship, to when there was still debates if our Indigenous Brothers and Sisters are wards or humans. This was seen through the overturned by the Supreme Court of governmental re-write of environmental laws to push through oil and gas projects, and sell off Crown Land. To the end of the throwback to something new, but stumbling to find its rudder. An inquiry into MMIWG, Inquiry that came so close, but not far enough with no apologies for the flub. A Truth and Reconciliation process concluding with nothing changed or how to get the recommendations implemented. Both the “settler” and the “Indigenous” governmental bodies being discussed inside and outside for corruptions, misuse of funds and powers.

Then the pipeline through B.C.. The lightning rod. The final straw, and the protests began. Some poured over into blockades for transport routes (much like the Yellow Vest movement had done to support Oil & Gas). The forcing of the oil industry on another’s land, unseded. In another time, it could’ve created conversation and exploration as rural farmers are being left to foot the bill of abandoned wells on their land as the Alberta Government feels pity for the great corporations…but in the dualistic Canada it has created disparity, anger, and fuelled hatred. As well, as the challenge of balancing independence, interdependence, and need for economic capital within communities which is why, as in all pieces of our mosaic you cannot paint an act of some as it representing all.

If you want to state civil disobedience is wrong…then if your a woman stop voting, if your a veteran return your benefits, if your a worker give up your benefits and living wages and send your children to work–those are just a few changes for the better that came from Canadians with civil disobedience. The rule of law is thrown around, peaceful protest and gatherings are permitted under our constitution, the blockades are another matter. Yet the answer from the other side is the hammer of force via military (yes the RCMP is a military wing of our armed forces, they are infantry)…and so we see the peaceful protesters arrested and caged which does not help open up collaborative discourse for a peaceful ending, resolution, and healing.

Some have their hate released because of CN Rail saying it is going to lead to lay offs, and their stopping shipping. Yet, it has created a good smoke screen for the corporation that was coming under fire and tighter scrutiny by the Federal Government in their infrastructure up keep to stop the series of fatal derailments that have been plaguing the rails in Canada. They had been speaking of layoffs, and workers talking of strikes before this happened…so did the protests cause? Or are merely a way to build support for the poor corporation? Think, explore, listen and look.

See each other, as person not as Them to your Us.

Finally, we have all sides screaming for political change in Canada, reform of how government operates. I am not going into Prime Minister Trudeau’s seeking of the UN Security Council Seat or his International work during what is happening here. First, the misogynistic attempts by opponents and bully language makes one tune you out. He is doing what needs to happen internationally, let’s look what is happening nationally. The deputy Prime Minister (a woman), and the Premiers are being left to show what leadership looks like in our Constitution. Constitutionally the Prime Minister is within his rights to enact the War Measures Act…and the blood will run. So why not? There is legal and illegal, the War Measures Act is a sledge hammer, and a black and white tool in what is a grey area that requires a surgeon as we traverse the more ethical, what is right and wrong? Why this approach and why are we not able to see why this approach matters? Is it misogyny that does not allow one to see that this is a team/community approach? A rather decolonized approach to reconciliation? That we all need to work together to make our nation healthy and better.

For that is the challenge, when we speak of decolonizing I’m reminded of an interview question I had been asked in regards to it with an institution. I pointed out it is accessing wisdom of elders to compliment teaching and mentorship, but it is also taking the sacred teachings and medicine wheel as the lens (paradigm) we teach through. The response was well we have a class specifically on the Medicine Wheel. Ok, but to break the cycle it is doing things differently, it is not teaching one thing in isolation but showing how you take a value system and use that to craft your practice and your life. If we can apply in our learning and teachings a holistic system that honours creation including the person then we can grow a stronger, healthier nation and communities. It is an ongoing daily examin, adjusting, living and loving.

It can be done with any healthy and positive belief system that allows for healthy community. If done properly it will transform politics, governments and laws.  It is reconciliation after our truth…the way forward together. It is collectively opening up our constitution and saying, what does Canada need to look like for the next 150 years to continue to be a world leader?

There is no easy answers to where we are at now. We are living the grieving process of change. A nation–any community, is a living breathing organism, what we are seeing played out is what happens in our own body’s when change and grief happen. It is what happens when we keep repressing, ignoring warning signs and pushing forward eventually it crashes.

Are we willing to step up and look to the healthy solutions? Are we willing to silence the extremists on both sides in the healing and let the communal good move forward. Let the heart call out the b.s. (belief systems–or fertilizer, it is both). That is the crux of the matter. Will we give in to dualism, and the eventuality of altruistic evil


Are we strong enough as a nation, to live what we profess to believe?




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