#154 – AmeriKKKa, Part 10: Housing Goes up the River

As the Victoria-area housing market heats up, their small-character houses are coming down due to the demand for bigger, newer houses. Developers and incoming buyers, flush with money, are targeting the historic municipality of Oak Bay, which has not protected its homes as rigorously as adjacent Victoria has protected much of its original housing stock.

Our old houses, considered rubbish to many, have become American treasure.

But an American community is turning the old houses into part of the solution to their affordability problem. A group in San Juan Island, Wash., has purchased seven Oak Bay houses and once they’ve raised enough funds, they are planning to purchase five more.

yes, this is actually real.

This story will make your blood boil if you have any modicum of interest in Canadian housing markets. The housing market in Canada is of course absolutely full of shit, with Vancouver pricing itself to a point where only senior executives will be able to afford the place by 2025. This of course would be bad for the labor market because the executive-types both rely on low-wage workers (who else will clean their houses, raise their children, or drive their cars?) and don’t seem interested in paying attention to the problem at hand. This is a slow-moving glacier of a problem; it will utterly crush Vancouver but it’s moving at a rate where a coherent plan could help.

Naturally, caker-business and Chinese wealth develop hives upon even hearing the word “plan” and thus have no interest in civic or indeed self-preservation. Meanwhile, in Evil AmeriKKKa, wealthy businessmen are spearheading the movement of houses from Victoria for the sake of affordable housing. You see, AmeriKKKa has taken some time in between cackling evilly at the full moon and kicking puppies in shelters to think about the prospect of cities pricing their low-wage workers literally out of their cities. They have come to the conclusion that they -*GASP*- might actually need those baristas and students if they want their city to work.

In Washington, one of the worst-hit victims of the affordability crisis, the solution is to take some of Canada’s old housing. You know, the kind of charactered, interesting housing that creates desirable neighborhoods and achieves many of the goals promised by the federal Liberals? Yeah, fuck having any of that – what Victoria and its insane housing market need is less efficient, soulless McMansions in suburbs. Because in a contest between long-term civic health and short-term profiteering, it’s obvious which Canada will go for. In fact, that’s even the reason cited by Heritage Vancouver in the first article: “There aren’t enough financial incentives to save them. They have to have their own initiative to save a house.” Because obviously the only thing that matters is making money.

Unlike those Wicked No-Good AmeriKKKans and their plan to have the barged-over houses available to people making the median wage in the are, Canadians are making sure that the poor are well-off by bartering and fucking about with one of the most critical and expensive parts of urban life in the name of short-term profits.

#140 – AMERIKKKA, Part Nine: Militarization and Fear

RCMP™ Musical Sunset Ceremonial Ride. Sounds so lovely, no? The Mounties™ and their silly costumes riding about in formation so as to amuse tourists and locals alike. What a nice way to end the day with little Timmy the Hockey Squire and Carol the Defeated Hockey Mom. The Brits, Americans, French, and others all have some sort of parade or show highlighting the talents and skills of their servicemen. Why am I bringing the hammer down on this?

Wait what? What in the everloving fuck is this? Was there an attack on the ponies? Who would attack The Mounties™? Well, besides the everyone horribly wronged by them, but-

Oh. That’s part of the show, you say? Yes, ladies and gentlemen. In a country that derides Americans as over-jingoistic fuckbears, we have the most embarrassingly useless police force in the developed world playing take-down-the-bad-guys before a magical, musical pony ride. I’m sure glad children and potentially mentally-unwell veterans and victims are seeing mock-ups of militarized terrorist takedowns, complete with stun and smoke grenades, before what is billed as a family-friendly event. Because nobody in a country that prides itself on taking in refugees has ever experienced a black-bagging police operation, right? The booming voice telling you that this is “keeping Canada safe” and literally reciting the pledge immigrants make when they move to Canada isn’t jingoistic at all!

What’s stunning (pun not intended) is that an event that allegedly left children crying is being billed as…are you ready…? Recruitment. Yes – the RCMP is so desperate for people to not do anything that it will scar your children and potentially bring horrible memories back to those in the audience for the sake of a few people going “oooooh” like troglodytes. To be fair, these are Canadians and thus the RCMP may well be accurately representing the average caker intellect, but Jesus guys. The RCMP defends this on the basis that it’s only 4 minutes, presumably while teabagging n00bsxorz and banging your mom on Xbox Live, and that four minutes of random terror doesn’t do anything to anyone. And they’ve been at it for years so shut up sissies.

Here’s a quote from the link above:

“ERT has been part of the Sunset Ceremonies in Ottawa for approximately 10 years,” RCMP spokesperson Harold Pfleiderer told the National Post in an emailed statement. “It is to show the public an example of the RCMP’s operational response capability in its role as Canada’s national police. The ERT demonstration is not part of Musical Ride performances anywhere other than at Sunset Ceremonies in Ottawa.”

Remember – for all this stupidity and hoo-rah bullshit, this is still a police force that let a lone shooter into the Parliament buildings. The one that doesn’t bother solving murder cases. The one that Tasered a guy to death. That RCMP. You’re trying to convince me that you know what you’re doing by scarring children and playing Call of Duty: Bullshit?

…Actually, yeah. That’s about what I would imagine a group of munsons as pathetic as The Mounties™ doing, really. Good job, morons – keep solving make-believe crimes rather than actual ones. That’s the same as working on the many failings of The Mounties™, right?

#116 – AMERIKKKA, Part Eight: Literally Hitler

English Canada tried to avoid fighting Hitler. Yes, that Hitler. The Hitler of Literally Hitler fame.

The narrative we get looks like this. Literally:

King’s primary concerns were to maintain national unity and to assert Canada’s position as an independent country. After Britain declared war on Germany, King announced that the Canadian Parliament would decide on what Canada should do. Parliament was recalled, and, on September 9, gave its approval for entering the war. (source)

This is a very sneaky wording that manages to completely ignore the fact that King wanted nothing to do with declaring war. Stories of panicked special meetings and emergency sessions of Parliament are nice and all, but Mackenzie’s goals as stated happen to strongly pull him towards preferring the option of leaving Hitler alone. The Quebecois certainly pulled hard for a neutral Canada – even in 1942, 80% of them said no to expanding the war efforts through conscription.

Indeed, Mackenzie’s only move in this was to say that Parliament would decide – the “autonomy” bit. This allowed him to play the Liberals’ favorite card – the Janus. From one mouth he told pro-British Canadians that Parliament was sure to throw down on Hitler. From the other he was able to tell the French that the Parliament would surely act in the national best interest. And in his mind the issue was already settled because Parliament was almost certainly going to declare war anyways. Canada declared war a week later than Britain, which has retroactively become a testament to independence because look, you fucks, we’re desperate here!

Canadians like to chide Americans for not wanting to go to war with Germany – in both wars, Canada was out of the gate before the United States. Lend-lease and other vital American aid aside, the United States obviously didn’t want to save the world as much as Canada did. But Canada forgets that it entered the war by sleight of hand rather than by national courage and that the contribution that Canada most wanted to make was in the form of loaning and selling supplies to the Allies. As a united body, Canada was dislocated about the whole thing and effectively muddled its way to war. The Americans, by contrast, joined very deliberately in both cases and in any case were involved in production before. The Zimmerman Dispatch and Pearl Harbor were pretty good reasons for Americans to step up their game.

What’s astonishing about this is how Canada’s foot-dragging, a symptom of the French-English schism and other divisions in the country is recast as heroic and sage of King. Yeah – indecisiveness and delaying the inevitable so you can personally stand clear of the possible eruption of one of Canada’s many cleavages is a sure mark of a heroic, valiant, and noble leader. Meanwhile, AMERIKKKA only joined years later. Canada for the win!

#95 – AMERIKKKA, Part Seven: The Prison Song

English Canada doesn’t realize how hypocritical its barking about AMERIKKKAN prisons is.

Yes, American prison reform is urgently needed. But Canada has an overcrowding problem, a racialized incarceration problem, and a kick-the-can plan to deal with the problem. Just like big brother! But Canadian prisons are better because they’re Canadian. The 56% increase in self-inflicted injuries caused by crushing two people into cells designed for one is obviously excusable because AMERIKKKA is evil you guys. In both Ontario and in the Prairies, the already-strange 20% allowance for double-bunking prisoners has been exceeded. Double-bunking as official policy gets the label strange because prisons are actually supposed to have a surplus of spaces just in case the plumbing leaks.

Canada’s amazing solution? Just ship prisoners all over the country! Yeah, nothing stupid about that – except that the Auditor-General found that the practice was costly, created increases in operating costs, and that at any rate even the $700m investment in prisons cannot resolve the issue because prison populations are expected to outpace the number of new cells by 2018. Or that the new building was done unplanned and without a long-term plan in mind. Private prisons need not apply – Canada can centrally plan just as badly with public prisons as the private sector can in the United States. Astonishing! Long-term plans are for fools who don’t believe in the healing powers of Canada.

Preventing Canada’s prisons from falling further into violence, systematic racism, and disrespect for the dead was a man named Howard Sapers. He was an effective ombudsman, noticing an awkward racialized prison system starting to develop whereby the 40% of non-whites in prison throughout the country (including 25% indigenous, which is an amazing showing for 4% of Canada’s total population) get sent to specific institutions to do their time. He found that Indian prisoners tended to get slammed into solitary confinement and tend to be on the receiving end of prison guard brutality more often than not. It was Sapers who suggested that maybe a 5m square cell – about the size of a condo bathroom – is not a good enough spot for two people. Sapers wants to keep doing the job, saying that his work isn’t finished. Indeed, it isn’t.

Canada, for its part, is so alarmed about rising costs and inefficiencies in the noble task of caging people (not to mention human rights and even basic safety concerns) that it plans to fire Sapers. No reason given. No reason needed. No plans for fixing any of the problems, either. Because, as we all know, firing the meanie-bad-guy who dares suggest that Canada’s prisons are not so magical and divine that ne’er-do-wells have their Snidely-Whiplash moustaches snipped off and become model citizens immediately.

But AMERIKKKA has different prison problems, so Canada’s problems aren’t real and we should just ignore them.

#62 – AmeriKKKa, Part Six: Pro-Choice, Anti-Access

People like Rick Mercer love to use abortion access as a way to highlight differences between Canada and the United States. According to these special souls women in the United States live in a state of being not unlike the Handmaid’s Tale. Without any knowledge of their own history regarding abortion, cakers will point to (ridiculous) new anti-abortion legislation in a backwards American state as evidence that the next generation of American women will all be named Offred. Typically, the American judiciary will do what it is constitutionally charged with doing and block stupid legislation from stupid places. But cakers ignore the finely-tuned instrumentation of the American system in favor of screeching like apes so as to mask their own ignorance of their own systems. Having said all of that, let’s take a walk through Canadian history to talk about how abortion access works in Canada, shall we?

We start with a woman named Emily Stowe, who was the first case I could find of Canada bringing the hammer down on an abortion provider. Stowe, who was Canada’s first (not-really but it’s complicated) licensed female doctor couldn’t even get into medical school in Canada, so she had to be trained in New York. In 1879, Stowe provided a minute quantity of a drug that could cause a miscarriage to an “annoying” 19-year old. By minute quantity, I mean “too little to actually do anything” minute. The result was a raucous trial which eventually saw her acquitted on the basis of her prescription being too small to do anything. Abortions would remain illegal under Section #251 of the Criminal Code of Canada until 1969.

It was in that year that the Great Liberator of Canada, Pierre Trudeau would take steps to decriminalize abortion pursuant to the recommendations of the Royal Commission on the Status of Women. Only a year before Hawai’i legalized abortion on request, California and ten other states legalized access to abortion by writ and Washington state held a public vote legalizing abortion access, Canada finally passed some kind of “permissive legislation” regarding abortion access. The “permissions” required for a Canadian woman to have an abortion performed were strict, to say the least. Remember that Commission that recommended legalizing abortion? Yeah, that was only up to the first twelve weeks of pregnancy. By contrast the “stupid legislation” I pointed to from Mississippi is a ban after fifteen weeks.

And the horror of Canada’s “legalization” doesn’t stop there. In order to access abortion legally under Pierre Trudeau’s regime, you had to get approval from a Therapeutic Abortion Committee, or TAC. The role of the TAC was to effectively judge whether a woman could bypass the existing criminal prohibitions on abortion. TACs were given tons of wiggle room because of the wording of the legislation, meaning that decisions were often arbitrarily in the negative. A TAC that was too lenient was often shuttered and replaced by the hospital in question with one that was harsher. This cockamamie system would remain in place until 1988, which you might recognize as really not that fucking long ago and also recognize as 15 years after the permissive ruling of Roe v. Wade (we’ll get into the difference between permissive and non-permissive rulings in a bit) To this day, hospitals are still notoriously shy about the provision of a service cakers pretend is elementary and regularly available.

The province that actually forced Canada to confront its Victorian attitudes regarding abortion was of course Quebec, the only province in this shithole with the stones to stand up to obscene regulation. Enter Henry Morgentaler, who actually served jail time and endured a firebombing of his clinic in Toronto in this country of unending tolerance and respect for women’s rights. Morgentaler’s tireless work providing abortions where hospitals refused (and still refuse) to earned him unending legal troubles until the infamous R v. Morgentaler ruled that the arcane insanity of the TAC was unconstitutional.

After that, we get an attempt from Brian Mulroney to pass new legislation regarding abortion which would entrench restrictive bureaucracy and penalize women who are so desperate that they seek to self-abort. A tie vote in the Senate killed that first and last attempt to legislate abortion in Canada. And here’s where I talk about the difference between permissive rulings and the Wild West that Canada lives in. Roe v. Wade sets in law the right to have an abortion; R v. Morgentaler merely cancels Canada’s abortion legislation. Since then, Canada hasn’t bothered trying to pass any kind of ruling on the issue.

The problem with this is that the Wild West mentality tends to restrict abortion access. New Brunswick doesn’t allow for abortions broadly speaking, and there’s not a goddamn thing Canada can do about it. Outside of Ontario barriers and restrictions to abortion are common, especially in rural areas. Even with rule changes the lack of ultrasound machines coupled with a non-medically-necessary requirement to have an ultrasound before medication inducing abortion can be provided still hampers access in rural Canada. Without legalized abortion in Canada training for abortions is still haphazard and often wanting. If #RealChange gave a shit he could fix this mess, but he won’t because that’s hard…and because Canadians on the whole aren’t particularly liberal on the matter themselves.

#47 – AmeriKKKa, Part Five: Shooty-mans

The subject of policing in Canada is one that is fraught with racial tensions, complex local politics, and a staggering degree of failure both historical and contemporary. Obviously, addressing problems in Canadian policing like, say, the established connections between police and organized crime is a non-starter here in Cakerstan. Fortunately for those who would rather plug their ears and avert their eyes from institutional failure than deal with the problem Canada’s neighbor has a well-publicized policing problem. Of course, American policing agencies have neither the governing context nor any of the historical relationships that define and complicate Canadian policing services, but that doesn’t matter. Enter AmeriKKKa, our beloved counterpoint and perpetual bearer of ersatz redemption from moronic cakers adamant on using American problems to justify Canadian inertia. “Better than AmeriKKKa!” the caker gearns, greedily holding onto the intellectual equivalent of a participation trophy as a means of avoiding any of the hard work that Americans are putting into fixing their own policing woes. Even talking about failures of policing like Canada’s own gun problem is controversial; however far behind the Americans may be, at least there is a vocal population that has decided to move forward and demand better!

To begin a list that will be oft-revisited in terms of fodder for this blog, Canada’s policing services are frequently exposed as being profoundly wanting. Where they aren’t demonstrating astonishing incompetence as is the norm for Canada’s Royal Canadian Mounted Police, they’re clogging municipal budgets, shitting on black people, shitting on Indigenous people, and acting like macho chumps as they do it. As the de-facto thugs of the Canadian state the Northwest Mounted Police (which would become the Royal Canadian Mounted Police) play a role in Canada’s darkest hours. And the institution was, of course, an absolute paragon of Canadian governing tradition, which is to say that it was corrupt as shit and used to maintain the government of that great founder of democracy, John Macdonald.

(S) Lawrence Herchmer, the Beard of the NWMP

By way of example, let’s talk about the “gun problem” in Canada again. Because AmeriKKKa has an obvious problem with too many untrained, unstable people having access to dangerous firearms for dubious reasons beyond the letter of the law cakers are easily able to ignore Canada’s gun-related problems. In classic caker fashion the reaction to rapidly-increasing rates of gun violence across the country has been to deny the existence of a problem by gibbering about AmeriKKKa. Here’s a piece from the Toronto Star with the chilling byline “It’s an absurdity when young men claim it’s easier to get a gun than a job and an indictment against this self-proclaimed world class city of Toronto”. The so-called “6ix” is the epicenter of Canada’s nascent gun trafficking problem, which the valiant Boys in Blue have opted to resolve by blaming the RCMP’s apparent inability to notice when licensed gun owners suddenly opted to purchase shit-tons of guns. To the tune of one-million – as in, there are 1 million illegal firearms just…floating around in Canada. Fear not, though! Prince Selfie is doing all that he can to save us.

So that’s just a small smattering, basically an overview, of the extent to which policing failures are baked into the very bones of this country and subsequently ignored by way of absurd comparison to AmeriKKKa. A general ignorance of the political corruption that defined the original Northwest Mounted Police bleeds into a typical Canadian recalcitrance towards any kind of honest evaluation of national history to create a perfect maelstrom of governmental incompetence and failure. Whether its the flagship failure itself continuing to fart along a path of cruelty and ineptitude or the myriad shoddy police systems in place throughout the country, Canada’s entire decrepit policing apparatus leaves much to be desired.

 

#37 – AmeriKKKa, Part Four: Mining for Bullshit

It’s no secret that Canada’s mining companies are fucking evil, despite Canada’s best efforts to hide the fact that its largest city is built on the mining industry. The rotten heart of the mining industry, what with its gang-rape, environmental degradation, and hideous labor relations certainly fits into this rotting extractive hole of a country, but the issue here isn’t just that Canada hosts evil companies. Rather, the issue is that Canada hosts malicious corporations and blames AmeriKKKa for the very things that Canadian companies are doing abroad.

To be sure, Canada’s mining industry is fucking evil. HudBay Minerals, perhaps the least creative name for a company ever, is being sued by 13 Mayan Guatemalans for abetting the rape and forced relocation of Indigenous women as a result of the Fenix mining project. Intercontinental gang-rape aficionados Barrick Gold have been forced to pay out for ruining the lives of women as young as 14 and as old as 80 both in Papua New Guinea and in Tanzania. And if you’re noticing my sources note how I keep having to rely on foreign press because the mining industry in Canada just loves to sue the shit out of anyone bold and daring enough to question its malicious behavior abroad. With such a legacy of cruelty particularly in Latin America, it’s no surprise that Canadians would simply rather not think about that part of the world. I mean, Canada’s already a world leader in abusing Indigenous peoples internally; why not go for the gold and abuse Indigenous peoples internationally too!

(S) We’re the cruelest on 4 continents! Whoo!!!!

And as Canadians boldly and bravely don’t give a single caustic shit about the lives their businesses ruin abroad, cakers can be counted on in their masses to protest the actions of American companies doing similar work. Remember the Standing Rock protests over the expansion of an oil pipeline through Indigenous territory? Well, cakers loved waving placards about that shit. Canadians were even prepared to shut down infrastructure here to prevent the evil AmeriKKKan , Inc. from finishing their construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Fury about AmeriKKKa’s trampling of Indigenous rights came to the fore as clueless protesters claimed that they wanted American tribes (who can actually form their own governments without having that government type and design dictated by the federal government) to have the same rights as Canadian tribes (which can’t). But Barrick Gold? HudBay? Nah, says the caker – that’s fine. A stunning silence erupts when Canadian businesses commit evils abroad, but Canada is first in line to protest Americans doing similar things to their own people.

Oh, and let’s not assume that Canada’s mining industry is only evil outside of Canada. Remember Mount Polley? And the total inaction over a mining company’s badly-designed tailings retention pond? Yeah, that’s pretty much par for the course. And while Canadians loved the Standing Rock protests they’re more fretful of protest against extractive industry on the basis of Indigenous rights here in Canada. What of the news that the RCMP spied on people who dared to protest extractive industry here? Crickets. The Idle No More movement was entirely built on Indigenous action, mostly because Canadians can’t be bothered to think about evil deeds when those evil deeds are committed by Canadians. But when AmeriKKKa behaves badly, you can bet that revisionist cakers will be there.

Because AmeriKKKa is the bad guy, you guys, and when Canada acts like AmeriKKKa those actions are less vile because…maple syrup, I guess? We are most certainly not done with the mining industry in Canada as an institution here. As usual in Canada, however, the best place to start is with caker hypocrisy.