I won’t claim first discovery of the limit of free speech in Canada, just as colonialists should stop claiming Columbus was the first to discover what is now known as the amerikas. No, my discovery was one of the personal kind which solidified my recently affirmed notions which were gained through observation, discussion, and having a MP sneak out the back-door of his office instead speaking with his constituents.
The slight shift in governmental policy from “outwardly trustworthy appearance while being mostly available”, to one of “top-down control of the systemic message to ensure silence without script”, was solidified in my mind during Israel Apartheid Week when a local MP avoided questions about canada’s “unshakable” support for apartheid policies in israel and at home on Native land. His minions were sent to deal with the conscious beings while orders to flee were transferred to him over the “dissenter alert” direct line to Ottawa. Or is it calgary? The conservative party policy of policy silence by backbenchers was enforced as this MP disappeared through the back-door.
calgary felt like the belly of the beast – a sprawling fuel driven SUV of a city which feeds on the rotting remains of our interconnected evolutionary forbearers. The discovery of this ample capitalist food source in the lands of the Chipewyan’s, has proven horrific for the living systems – annihilation of plant, animal, river and land. I could feel the oppressive breath of exploitation breathing down my neck, I could not find its mouth. My words were heard here; though questioned, they were not censored. No one under the grasps of the controlling central-network was being threatened; they could quietly hide with the crowd – invisibly cowardly. Participative knowledge creation and dissemination was only restrained by session timelines and empty stomachs.
Unable to find the dominant shadow power in the home of canada’s most dangerous ideologues, I went to the nation’s capital and presented the words of resistance at a conference discussing Aboriginal policy and research. My words were only to guide the path of the story told to me: “No Olympics on Stolen Native Land! No Social Cleansing! No Environmental Destruction!”
The lack of an open space for this land’s first peoples—a space to tell the conference what they think of Aboriginal policy should be—certainly speaks to the level of anti-oppression principles understood by policy makers. This important ideological omission is, however, hardly a new discovery. It is seen every day in the imposed and oppressive systems of the colonial and capitalist projects; discovery at its most horrible.
The power holders here were not under the control of the cerebral core, but they were under its contractual silence. Even if dissent was in their hearts, their overlord’s microphones were on and listening – these servants can only do the public’s service if the public’s wishes align with master’s policy.
The conference ended as police forced the disruption of the only really open forum of the conference: the students assembly. But through this the cipher for my quest was presented – a puzzle solver on the elevator ascending into the suites. I could strike at the inner-part of the neoliberal machine by confronting its current Canadian mouth piece. I did not have to seek it out, it was coming into my temporary home to speak on the new revelations on free-market demockracy, where freedom is based on the assumed financial security risk of the truth.
The bomb and gun dogs completed their sweeps – three oversized human killing transports arrived, dark-lensed agents emerged first, their charge slithered out in tow.
It turns to wave and smile robotically.
“By refusing to attend the UN conference discussing ongoing racism in the world, are you admitting that Canada is a racist state?”
Its programming made it ready for the unexpected – ignoring the question it replied: “Thanks for the support.” The black suits quickly surrounded leader, enveloped it and started to shuttle it away. The ear-pieced robots held me back.
“mr. harper, by not signing the UN declaration on the Aboriginal rights, are you ceding that canada is an apartheid state?” Thuggish arms tried to quell the voice.
“mr. harper, any comments?”
There were other questions planned. My verbal arsenal was well stocked with ammunition – imperial discoveries, other’s disasters– everyday the stockpiles grow. The only response, however, was the metallic clinks of elevator doors closing and handcuffs readying. The secret service in the queen’s mounted police force performed as expected and kept Stephen safe from the chaos of terror, the terror of words from those he is responsible to.
The detention was brief, and the threats of arrest laughable, then worrying as they were more seriously presented. Identification recorded, my privacy now threatened. Quickly I was approached and thanked for showing a woman’s two daughters what free speech in Canada really means.
If you can infiltrate security perimeters, which are aggressively geared to keep questioners out, I found that we all do have the freedom to say anything we can before being muzzled and detained. Unscripted questions ignored as policy will not grant permission for the PM to speak on such issues. Our cultures, bodies, sanity, identity, words, and home, have all been commodified. The high price we will pay, in the form of our words, our actions and our lives will lead us to discover the route to the speech that will give us all real freedom.