Canada’s support for the far right abroad
“Fascism is imperialist repression turned inward”
People’s Party of Canada activists can rightly complain about liberal hypocrisy. They might wonder why the PPC is seen as heinous when the federal government supports much more extreme groups all over the world. In fact, it is almost a principle of Canadian foreign policy to support far-right fascist groups.
Although there is no single definition, fascist groups are generally violent, authoritarian and racist. They can claim to support freedom or the poor, but largely defend the rich and concentrated power.
In Ukraine, Canada has funded, equipped and trained a neo-Nazi-infiltrated police force set up after a core of far-right protesters overthrew President-elect Viktor Yanukovych. According to the Canadian Press, opposition protesters camped at the Canadian Embassy in Kiev for a week during the February 2014 rebellion against Yanukovych. During his trip to Ukraine in 2016, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was photographed with Andriy Parubiy, speaker of the Ukrainian parliament, who has a background with the far right and has been accused of praising Hitler. Meanwhile, two years later, Canada’s military attachÃ© in Kiev, Colonel Brian Irwin, met in private with officers from the Azov Battalion, who use the Nazi symbol “Wolfsangel” and praise the officials who helped slaughter Jews and Poles during WWII.
Canada has refused to support a number of UN resolutions opposed to the glorification of Nazism, Neo-Nazism and racial discrimination because they are seen as targeting Ukraine. In November 2015, Ottawa voted against a United Nations General Assembly resolution criticizing the aforementioned subject, supported by 126 states. The United States, Palau and Ukraine were the only other countries to vote against the resolution entitled “Combat glorification of Nazism, Neo-Nazism and other practices that help fuel contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. Since then, Ottawa has abstained on a similar annual resolution.
In 2019, four prominent former members of the Azov Battalion were photography during protests in Hong Kong. They said their goal was to learn from the often violent street protesters, including a xenophobic hardcore who flew the Union Jack and carried pro-Trump placards. While many Hong Kong people are understandably suspicious of Beijing’s growing influence, Hong Kong’s reintegration into China after a century and a half of British rule represents a break with a regrettable colonial legacy.
Yet Ottawa supported the protesters almost wholeheartedly even after injuring dozens of police officers, alight 57 year old man on fire and killed 70 year old man spectator (the police carried out the crackdown although no demonstrators were killed). Even the Hong Kong office of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada privately warned government officials against assuming that all Hong Kong protesters seeking asylum were being persecuted, noting “the were shocking images of violent attacks during clashes. But the federal government offered diplomatic support, political asylum and some financial support including through the National Democratic Institute of the United States, to protest against groups in Hong Kong.
Ottawa’s support for fascist forces in Hong Kong and Ukraine was largely motivated by geostrategic competition with China and Russia. In Ukraine, the far-right waged often violent protests against a president considered pro-Russian, and many fought in the civil war that followed Yanukovych’s ouster. In Hong Kong, Ottawa’s goal was to undermine the Chinese government.
The motivation of the federal government to support far-right forces in Venezuela is slightly different. In the past two decades Ottawa joined forces with fascist forces in hopes of overthrowing a leftist government.
Ottawa has supported Juan Guaido’s Voluntad Popular (popular will), which has repeatedly sparked violent protests. Shortly after the presidential candidate of the Democratic Unity Roundtable opposition coalition, Henrique Capriles, admitted defeat in a controversial election in January 2014, Vice-President leader Leopoldo LÃ³pez launched La Salida (exit / departure) with the aim of ousting Nicolas Maduro. VP militants trained the shock troops of “guarimbasâProtests that left 43 Venezuelans dead, 800 injured and many property damaged in 2014. Dozens more were killed in a new wave of protests supported by VP in 2017. During a blockade this that year, demonstrators burnt a 21-year-old black man, Orlando Jose Figuera, living in what was considered a racist and political attack.
In Haiti, Ottawa supports far-right elements largely out of fear of the alternative: a reformist, pro-poor government that seeks alternative regional arrangements. Canada aggressively supported a self-proclaimed skinhead party (bald head, according to some translations). The Haitian TÃ¨t Kale Party (PHTK) is a brutal crime syndicate that has ruled the country for a decade. Former member of Tonton Macoutes de Duvalier, the founder of the PHTK, Michel Martelly, became president by inciting violent street demonstrations, which allowed Washington and Ottawa to intervene in the counting of the elections. The party’s racism is reflected in part in its makeup, but manifests itself primarily in deference to the light-skinned oligarchy and âwhiteâ powers that have long subjugated a nation born in an anti-slavery struggle.
In Israel, the Canadian government openly supports racist and fascist forces. The Canada Revenue Agency subsidized groups that promote racial / religious purity and fund those who colonize the West Bank. In June and last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke with his Israeli counterpart, Naftali Bennett, who in 2013 boasted “”I have killed a lot of Arabs in my life, and that’s okay with that. After the two Trudeau calls rented Bennett and the two countries âshare democratic values. A month before the first appeal, Bennett defended Jewish supremacist thugs who beat and killed Palestinian citizens of Israel. Bennett backed Jewish men detained for shooting an Arab man in the town of Lod and claimed the minority was leading the violence, calling for action to “”at once ensure the safety of families under siege in their homes for fear of Arab crowds.
Across the Global South, the Canadian government generally supports the far right, but rarely the left (essentially never the far left). Why? The reason differs slightly in each case, but the far right is generally willing to obey the orders of corporate and imperial forces, even if it destroys their own society. In Venezuela, for example, Voluntad Popular supports international sanctions that have devastated the country’s economy.
But there is another dimension. Politicians seeking to acquire or retain power typically align themselves with power, which largely rests in the hands of corporations, the police, the military, the mainstream media, and other top-down institutions. In Canada, popular engagement has diffused power and restrained some of the worst excesses of concentrated power. But Canadians pay little attention to international affairs, so the state can do much more abroad. A sort of zone without democracy, foreign policy shows what politicians are prepared to do for power.
Most Canadians do not realize that in many places their government actively supports groups much more fascist than the People’s Party of Canada.