In Toronto this week, Canada once again stretched its “democratic” muscles, in true banana republic fashion. On July 21st, 2021, Toronto police violently attacked an encampment of 14 to 17 homeless individuals, with batons, pepper spray, and other weapons, and destroyed all their meager belongings in a scorched earth campaign. Take a look at the photos of this “tremendous job”:
The violence of the Toronto police towards the homeless inhabitants of Lamport Stadium should be treated as an international crime. Canada has signed and ratified the United Nations’ International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, which recognizes “the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions.” Instead of providing affordable, adequate housing, as Canada is obligated to do so, Toronto police “beat the shit” out of the homeless and those defending them, an outstanding demonstration of Canadian “democracy”. And this coming at a time when more than 1,000 murdered Indigenous children have been recovered in unmarked graves at former Residential schools across Canada.
Now replace all references to Canada in the above paragraphs and what image comes to mind — that of a “developed”, “democratic” state, or a so-called “Third World” banana republic?
If any of you are surprised at such violence being committed by the Toronto police — or any police or armed organization of the state in Canada, for that matter — as I am sure some of you are, you shouldn’t be. Crimes against working and Indigenous people are an intrinsic element of the coercive apparatuses of the Canadian state.
The North-West Mounted Police, now the RCMP, was established as Canada’s colonial armed force, to enforce the oppressive laws of the Dominion Lands Act and the Indian Act, especially in the territory fraudulently purchased from the Hudson’s Bay Company three years before. Since then the RCMP has been the violent strong-arm of Canadian capitalism. The RCMP has since been deployed against working-class and Indigenous peoples multiple times, both in Canada and around the world. Among the RCMP’s many crimes include: its war against Metis and Cree people in 1885 (the site of Louis Riel’s hanging is used as an RCMP Training Academy); its support for the British Empire in the Boer War in 1899-1902; the forcible separation of Indigenous children from their families and sending them to Residential schools where thousands were tortured and murdered; the killing Inuit sled dogs to destroy the independent, non-capitalist livelihood of the Inuit people; murdering striking workers in Winnipeg in 1919 and in Estevan in 1931; the forcible internment of communists and trade unionists, Japanese, and other “enemies” of Canada in the 1930s-1940s; bombing infrastructure in dirty tricks campaigns; engaging in militarized raids against Indigenous land defenders, such as in BC, where RCMP snipers were ordered to use “lethal force”, and in New Brunswick, on behalf of private corporate interests; and in support of U.S. imperialism’s illegal invasions and occupations of foreign countries, such as in Haiti, Mali, Palestine, and Iraq. The anti-progressive and reactionary nature of the RCMP was best captured in Inspector (later head of the RCMP Security Service) Charles Rivett-Carnac’s remarks in the 1930s that Nazism was acceptable because “the Nazi program which has been brought into being in Germany has retained the principles of the old system to the extent that a modified form of capitalism now exists in that country.”
The history of the Toronto police service is scarcely any better than that of the RCMP. One only needs to read the history of Toronto’s infamous Police Chief Dennis Draper. His “Red Squad” and “Draper’s Dragoons” viciously attacked communists and trade unionists while enabling Swastika Clubs to attack Jews, lobbied the City of Toronto to ban public speeches in any language, especially Yiddish, other than English, among many other crimes.
Canadians need to stop pretending that Canada is some “liberal democracy” and start recognizing this country for that it is: an illegal terrorist state built on genocide, theft, corruption, and violence.