#176 – Canada’s Dog Days

Canada has what can only be described as a third-world problem: aggressive dogs. I’m not fucking kidding – Shane Glada’s corpse was found mauled by dogs (the linked story is helladisturbing and not for the faint of heart) in Ross River, YK. And this community is hardly the only one where these attacks are known to happen. Reserves routinely suffer from feral dogs fighting for scarce resources, indicating that Canada can not only murder Indigenous dogs with impunity but also can neglect people to such a degree that they become prey for wild animals. Good job, Canada. Way to leave people feeling like they need to be armed to go outside, putting you at the same table as Mogadishu.

So how does Canada deal with failing basic human security needs of the sort most notably experienced by actual fucking cavemen? With racism, of course! In settler society the norm is to blame the Indigenous for their problems. In this case racism gets devolved to the lazy trope – dem dumm injins don’t get their pets spayed, therefore somehow they are deserving of death by animal. Because as we all know it’s easy to transport dogs hundreds of miles on non-existent roads to get to a vet, right? In the context of collapsing housing and unstable food supplies obviously the right way to spend limited funds is to make an impossible trip to a strip mall in the name of getting Fluffy fixed. In the context of already hyper-inflated costs obviously dog food is priority number one!

When casual racism and flippant non-concern about the lives of others fails there’s Canada’s other method of dealing with the problem, a storied one in Canada’s fetid history. The typical response by Canada is the ever-popular culling. Offering $25 for a dog’s tail, the result of these amazingly-planned slaughters is a pile of corpses thrown all over. Yeah – Canada can’t even be assed to help dig a grave for rotting putrid dog-flesh, which of course totally has no negative repercussions for the community’s health. There’s no way that the whimpers of dying puppies causes any sort of mental harm, no sir.

(s) That said this is probably a fate worse than death for a dog

Where the rest of Canada can handle prehistoric threats to human life reserves apparently just aren’t worth the effort. Why provide money for dog-catchers when you can sacrifice children to the altar of laziness instead? A basic service offered almost automatically throughout Canada, spaying and neutering dogs falls to sporadic visits by volunteers on reserves. I’m hardly about to go off the handle on a bunch of people trying their best to get ahead of a problem they can’t possibly deal with on their own, but isn’t that fucking sad? Vounteer animal-lovers won’t cut through a culture of convenient ignorance affected by both Indian Affairs (or whatever it calls itself this week) and Health Canada and a shield of casual racism that Canada desperately pretends doesn’t exist.

This is a bit shorter than usual because honestly I think this speaks for itself. Animal control is a basic part of community life. The threats that feral animals bring are obvious and plentiful, from rabies and other obvious health risks (which of course reserves are totally unprepared and unequipped for) to the potential for attack. Canada’s only time being Johnny-on-the-Spot with the problem was when it tried to slaughter the Inuit sledding dog so as to foster reliance on Ottawa totally protect the Inuit you guys. Even if the Arses were being honest about their intent back in the 1960s what does it say about Canada that it can’t provide a solution that doesn’t involve slicing tails off of dogs so that people can afford an extra helping of overpriced Kraft Dinner?

Is there no more callous way to declare that you don’t care about a population than to leave them to be mauled by dogs? We’ve managed to make animal control a norm in the rest of the country but apparently the provincial-federal slip (provinces deal with animal control while reserves are a federal “concern”) is just too big a problem to surmount. In the face of a country that leaves people in prehistoric conditions the best answer is racism, laziness, and feels.

#174 – Caker Business in Powder Form

McIntyre Powder is fucking nightmarish bullshit that pretended to be therapeutic. I learned about it from the mighty Chuck Angus who has been commenting on the stuff on social media. I’ll let him describe the effects that caker business had on his grandfather:

My grandfather was forced to breath this shit for his entire working career and he died of severe neurological damage. The company told him that filling his lungs with aluminum every day would somehow protect him from silicosis. I found my grandfather’s silicosis medical card after he died.

Silicosis is a wicked disease that comes from breathing in silica particles. Like asbestos silica dust gets in your lungs and proceeds to wreck your shit like knuckle-dragging hockey moms who just discovered the Travelodge minibar. Except unlike asbestos which prefers giving you hell-cancer, silicosis merely hardens your lungs until you can’t breathe without help. Who needs lungs, right? Lungs are for chumps. In Canada the air is so polite that it will find its way into your bloodstream without needing lungs at all!

Anyway, silicosis was a serious problem for miners.  But it was an even bigger problem for caker businesses working in mining. Imagine – having to pay for the sick, maimed, and injured workers. Oh, the horror! Think of all the money that would cost that could be going into an oligarch’s holding company! The caker way to get around this is cheap, quick, and stupid. And cheap, quick, and stupid is what Canadian miners got, because fuck medical supervision, consent, or sense. If it’s cheap it’s in here at Cakers ‘R’ Us.

Armed with a cheap (and totally absurd) solution, the radium, gold, and uranium mines of Northern Ontario (among others – these were the worst offenders) forced their workers to breathe in aluminium powder at the start of their shifts and cough it up at the end. Wait, seriously? That sounds retarded to anyone who has figured out how to put on and wear pants. Indeed it was so, because from 1943 to 1979 miners were forced to regularly intake a substance that causes – wait for it – severe neurological damage! Of course the government has valiantly stepped to the rescue by doing its usual shitty job. Were you seriously expecting anything else?

Ontario Provincial Parliament, Queens Park, Toronto
(s) The statue of the genocidal Macdonald in front is seen here giving as many shits about Ontario as Queens Park

Now Canada wasn’t the only one to pull the primitive-nerve-gas technique. It also appeared in Western Australia and in the United States. But in Canada the conversation has taken place before. And there’s another hint of trouble in the video there. Starting at 2:23 in the video, let’s take a listen to the number of businesses in Schumacher, ON that had a single family name associated to them. McIntyre Road, McIntyre Community Building, McIntyre Arena, the McIntyre Coffee Shop, and the McIntyre Curling Club. Enough McIntyres for you? There’s one more – the mine itself. Can’t find much more evidence for a single-industry town than that, folks. The whole thing is named for caker business!

McIntyre Powder and the story of disability and illness that comes with it isn’t a story that’s unique to Canada. But the importance of caker business in Canada’s one-industry towns and the earth-shattering stupidity of most of those businesses combine poorly with a government that can’t be bothered to help in the face of damning evidence. McIntyre Powder is a story deeply rooted to Canadian history and the silence around the stuff despite occasional coverage is a testament to Canada’s neglect and contempt for Canadian labor and towards the elderly who suffer from the consequences. Just as government and business in the past failed so many, so those forces continue to screw up and neglect labor because hurr durr short-term profits you guys.

It’s hard enough to learn about events in rural Ontario and the suffering wrought by uncautious caker business only to be confirmed by uncaring Toronto beetlecrats. Lord only knows the horrors that lurk in towns and communities that are too distant for Canada to even pretend to care about. We can only hope for more Charlie Anguses-

Oh, wait. We voted the useful people out because #RealChange. Oops.