Tyler Shipley Probes What Shapes Canadian Foreign Policies in His New Book: Canada in the World: Settler Capitalism and the Colonial Imagination (Part 2)

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Zeinab Merai, Nabatiyyeh


Canadian curriculum: First Nations “agreeing to move” to make room for new settlements


“When the European settlers arrived, they needed land to live on. The First Nations peoples agreed to move to different areas to make room for the new settlements,” states grade 3’s 2017 Complete Canadian Curriculum. “The First Nations peoples moved to areas called reserves, where they could live undisturbed by the hustle and bustle of the settlers.”


The “really good guys” narrative

During the book launch on 17 September 2020, which Sada al-Mashrek attended, it was made clear that, the narrative of the “really good guys” is being fed to Canadians by their state. But counter factual histories like the ones in author Tyler Shipley’s book (Canada in the World: Settler Capitalism and the Colonial Imagination) can tell way more about what’s beyond the falsely imagined heroism.


“History new to some is common knowledge for aboriginals”

“The history in this book is new to a lot of people, but it is common knowledge for indigenous people on Turtle Island, for the people of Afghanistan who’ve opposed our occupation there for 20 years now. The fact that this book is such a bombshell is really just a testament to how strong the propaganda is in the settler imperialist ideology of Canada and how low the bar has been set really by the so-called left in this country, the NDP, the Greens..” says Cassandra Kislenko, a journalist and writer involved in tenant solidarity organising in Toronto, who’s also spoken during the book launch. We’re up against a far right that is winning…”


“Shared struggle for immigrants & indigenous communities”

“The kids of recent immigrants and people like myself, from different parts of the third world, are now growing up here and facing whitewashed Canadian history. But [we] have to locate ourselves in class struggle in the city and country and contend with the fact that there are people here who belong to this land, and [that] we share common struggle and experience even if the capitalist class doesn’t want us to see it,” believes Sara Jaffri, who’s based in Toronto and has been involved in building and supporting independent working class media, labour and neighbourhood/tenant organisations in the GTA.

Sarah stresses the presence of common struggle for immigrants and indigenous communities, calling for action, “I think the best way to make us as immigrant communities and organisers realise our shared struggles with indigenous communities is to keep doing this work through education and demystifying what the indigenous experience is, and to continue making work like this [book] extremely accessible.”

The Pakistani-Canadian activist believes expressing vocal solidarity is not enough, but rather calls for building “class consciousness and class struggle in common with each other. That’s a large long-term life goal.”


“Put a few bruises on the body of the very angelic nation mythology spread around the world”

On his part, Assistant Professor in the Institute of Indigenous Research and Studies at the University of Ottawa Veldon Coburn says he “could probably even foresee no competitive book like this for the next 10 or 15 years or so,” portraying the need to “put a few bruises on the body of the very angelic nation mythology that is spread around the world as the peace-keeping good guy of the world,” says Veldon.


“Harper-Trudeau weapons deal with Saudi: the largest in Canadian history”

Asked about Canada’s military industrial complex’s involvement with Canada’s role around the world and the colonial ideology of white supremacy, Tyler makes the following statement, “When we think about the military industrial complex in Canada, I suspect that many of us would immediately think of the Harper-Trudeau weapons deal with Saudi Arabia recently, which is the largest in Canadian history that is supporting one of the most right-wing governments in the world in carrying out a horrific and arguably genocidal war in Yemen, as well as repressing critical movements within Saudi Arabia..”

Tyler now points out, “One thing that would surprise me to a certain extent in doing this research was how far back this stretches and how consistent it’s been that Canada has supported right-wing governments around the world with weapons…”  


No political change as long as history is unexamined

Shipley insists that every free citizen or advocate for justice take a closer look at Canada’s history and reflect upon it.

At the end of the day, one cannot ask for good politicians and politics as long as minds are unfreed from the locks of mainstream state narratives.


Thanks for reading part 2. You can still follow related discussions in the coming publication(s). 

Remember, the digital book launch can be found here: https://socialistproject.ca/leftstreamed-video/book-launch-canada-in-the-world-tyler-shipley/

Remark: Part 1 of this report says the book is of a 1,000 pages; it has rather been narrowed down from a 1,000 to 450.