Canada must remember that witch hunts always end badly


Those of a certain generation would remember the “real” cold war that ensued at when WWII ended, at least temporarily.

During those years, there was the fear of Russian spies everywhere. They “infiltrated” governments and supported organizations dedicated to turning the world into a “communist paradise” with the Soviet Union (Russia) being its spiritual headquarters; a Communist Papacy if you will. That was the received wisdom of the day. We believed every word of it and looked everywhere for Russian spies – under the doormat, the bed; parsed every word uttered by anybody with a “foreign” accent.

Now we are told the real spies and meddlers in other countries’ affairs are the Chinese.

We’ve learned from “anonymous security officials”, the mainstream media, the political leadership that China was more than spying on Canada. The story goes that they got hold of vulnerable politicians and Canadian-based organizations and arranged to influence the 2019 and 2021 federal elections. The House of Commons is up in arms, and there will be a public inquiry about the whole Chinese spying and electoral meddling business.

It has gone this far even as the anonymous spy(ies) indicated that Chinese meddling had no impact on the elections. Even so it didn’t stop the “intelligence sources” from accusing current and former MPs of Chinese descent of working on behalf of China; even as the spies remain in the shadows while a willfully credulous mainstream media give them space to justify their selective release of information that makes Chinese Canadians subjects of race-based hysteria. The word “foreign” has again emerged from the cold war lexicon.

It is a fact that self-determination is an essential element of the UN Charter and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. So, we should be suitably impressed that Canada is treating the idea of non-interference in the affairs of other countries seriously if only Canada, by its past and current actions in international relations, doesn’t condemn itself for the same thing for which it accuses China.

A simple perusal of easily available sources and trusting one’s memory, reveal a Canada has not been shy in aiding and abetting the overthrow of governments it doesn’t like.

In 1994 Canada was complicit in ousting Haiti’s elected president Aristide; Canada was front and centre in the bombing of Libya that led to the assassination of its leader Gaddafi; in 2019 it supported the Organization of American States’ efforts to rob Evo Morales of his electoral win in Bolivia; Canada did everything it could to help the US remove Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez from power as well as his successor Nicolas Maduro; Canada followed the US into Afghanistan, and contrary to the country’s claim, it was, via NORAD, an active participant in the invasion of Iraq. Now Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly is openly talking about regime change in Russia. This is but a partial list, but you get the picture.

With this record Canada is in no position to be moralistic about China’s apparent attempt at influencing Canada’s elections.

An open letter written by a group of academics to David Johnston, Independent Special Rapporteur reminds us that: “During the Second World War, the Canadian government uprooted and dispossessed 23,000 Japanese Canadians because some people accused them of being spies or a fifth column for Japan, accusations that history has shown to be groundless. We have also seen how similar unfounded accusations damaged or destroyed the lives and reputations of distinguished Canadians such as Maher Arar, John Holmes, Paul Lin, or Herbert Norman.”

Accusing a racialized community of what amounts to treason based on the leaking of selective information from an organization with a tarnished reputation of systemic racism, racial profiling, and one that always operates in the shadows, is a slippery slope on which a sensible society should not tread.

We should take a step back because witch hunts never end well.