The Ugly Canadian Book Review
Tuesday, January 8, 20130 Comments
Yves Engler is an activist and prolific writer from Montreal. He has written a total of 7 books, all providing insight, and unique research for activists in Canada. His latest novel, “The Ugly Canadian” , reveals the Federal Government’s pro-military, pro- corporate foreign policy, and lays out in the open a long list of the Harper Government’s crimes against humanity.
Engler compellingly argues that the Harper government has a foreign policy against the values of most Canadians, and calls for a united coalition against the Harper Government’s crimes. “The Ugly Canadian” is a way to educate about everything from how the Harper Government promotes endless war, blocks progress in the fight against climate change, supports Middle East Dictators, backs Coups in Latin America, and supports illegal Israeli settlements.
Canadians may find it particularly shocking when Engler discusses Canada’s indifference, and complete lack of compassion to Haitian suffering. On July 12 2010, a deadly earthquake rocked Haiti, and instead of sending publically funded Heavy Urban Search and Rescue teams, the Harper Government sent over 2,000 troops along with many more American troops. As Haitians were left to die, Canadian soldiers were seen standing around, in Haiti to stop a potential popular uprising instead of to save victims.
Today there are around 400,000 Haitians that have still remained as refugees from the earthquake that occurred well over 2 years ago. Meanwhile, a large amount of Canada’s aid to Haiti goes to militarizing the country and increasing prisons, instead of providing support for public infrastructure, health, or education.
Unfortunately, Harper’s policy in Haiti is not surprising for many activists. In the 2009 and 2011 Haiti’s most popular party Fanmi Lavalas was excluded from presidential elections, and Canada not only dismissed this injustice, but also supported the elections, providing $6 million in funding.
Eves informs the reader that Canada has opposed Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the popular leader of Fanmi Lavalas from coming back to Haiti after his forced coup and exile to South Africa in 2004. The Harper government consciously impedes Haitians right to sovereignty, while supporting a pro-corporate right wing government that works more in the interests of Canadian Corporations than Haitian People.
Eves also informs us about Canada’s relentless backing of Canadian corporate Mining interests and the Tar Sands. In 2010, Canada blocked a debt relief package for the Democratic Republic of Congo, because the country took away a mining concession to a Canadian corporation. Between 2006-2012, the Canadian International Development Agency approved at least $50 billion in projects linked to the mining industry. All this money is going to an industry that is “likely to be engaged in community conflict, environmental, and unethical behavior” according to the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada.
Eves also brings to light Harpers relentless backing of the Tar Sands. Canadian diplomats lobbied US officials to approve the Keystone Pipeline that would go from the tar sands to the southern United States. Canadian officials in embassies were also extremely aggressive in lobbying against European Union Fuel Quality Directive that threatened to hinder demand and investment in the tar sands. In both these instances, the Canadian Government advocated in the interests of big oil and against interests for all Canadians to live in a healthy environment.
Above are just a few aspects of Harper’s foreign policy that Engler provides in great detail. Engler provides the reader with a presentation of facts, that tells us the truth about Harper’s foreign policy. His book is a great resource to provide many activists in Canada to have the will to fight for a just Canadian Foreign Policy. Canadian citizenry should take up the suggestions that Engler gives his readers to advocate and build a broad coalition against Harper’s Foreign Policy. After reading “The Ugly Canadian” many people will come to the realization, or it will be reinforced, that it is our duty to act.