Dear Mom and Dad,
I regret to inform you that the Canada you grew up in is no more.
The mass media has always been a brainwashing mechanism and source of propaganda for those with hefty pay checks and arbitrary power. Now, more than ever, I am so tired of real, honest people and honourable movements being discredited. It horrifies me that you have fallen victim to the lies and spread of one-sided information and I can no longer sit back burying my sentiments. So, I write to you now because it is the only way that I know how to communicate the emotions bubbling inside of me and the thoughts tormenting my mind.
One of the first things that we learn in PR is to maintain good relations with the mass media as it is the most efficient and effective means of reaching the population at large. But in today’s capitalist society, editors are restricted to opinion that aligns with their financial supporters, and so the truth is tainted.
Hitler brainwashed an entire nation to kill innocent people via the mass media and propaganda/PR tactics, blaming Jews for German poverty. I choose this as an example, not for a lack of a better one, but because our grandfather’s life was ripped apart and threatened as a result of that period in history; a war based entirely on a bunch of lies created by a few people in power that resulted in widespread suffering.
Nearly a century later we see similar things happening in Canada. Sure, people aren’t being murdered, but despite the evolution of humanity, our values and spirit are being threatened and revoked. Not even our national anthem, which proudly claims: “O Canada / Thou true North strong and free,” is accurate anymore. The current conservative, majority government has no opposition, and therefore no system of check and balance in place. What Harper says goes, and anything else is vetoed and banned from serious consideration on the daily agendas of parliament.
Hundreds of thousands of people — children, students, couples, parents, Anglophones and Francophones, and even the elderly — unite wearing red squares of solidarity, to march peacefully as one, day after day and yet the media insists on showing the occasional broken window by the odd, troubled misfit. You hear about the rising number of arrests, but what you don’t see is that it is of innocent, passive protesters who are being attacked via violent and barbaric forces: gas bombs, pepper spray, kettling, etc. Why is it that the sheer contrast of police protected by armour and helmets pushing unarmed girls and boys to the ground, spraying them with harmful, life-threatening chemicals, and beating them with batons for simply gathering, walking, and talking doesn’t create a cause for concern? Why doesn’t this make you angry? No one is safe from the wrath of Law 78.
Even the media is being attacked for filming the marches (and since when is the media not allowed access to capture news and events??). The Concordia University student-run TV station (CUTV) work day and night to provide unbiased, real, live feeds of the manifestations, and even they have been regularly assaulted by the police, resulting in both their physical persons and equipment being harmed.
I am not so naive as to ignore the fact that the police are overworked, tired, and accountable to the orders of their superiors, but this latest law and series of tactics go against everything that makes us Canadian in the first place; it infringes upon our basic human rights: freedom of expression and the right to public assembly. If the people can’t speak out, then the government is entirely in control. And with a majority government, we, the members of this once great nation, for the first time in a long time, literally have no voice. Similarly, even political parties, who hold some of the votes of the population, hold no power in parliament. Harper has successfully annihilated all opposition; public and political alike. How can you continue to ignore this?
Who would have thought that Canada would turn into a draconian society, with military-orientated policies and purchases, anti-abortion and anti-gay sentiments, and now anti-democratic law. At the risk of planting ideas and being slightly over-dramatic, it’s amazing that the government hasn’t banned our right to vote. But then again, who knows what the conservative government will achieve during their tenure.
We’ve known for a long time that real, true democracy (as it is defined in the dictionary) does not prevail: government’s regularly make quickfire decisions on policy and yet interest groups with genuine, public concerns spend years fighting for the people and positive change; capitalism and greed rage across all western nations, but this special law blatantly and unforgivably goes against the very values that Canadian society was formed upon – you remember what the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is, right?
This is not okay. And I cannot stay quiet any longer. Student debt (of which I have plenty) is certainly an issue, but concerns have shifted to matters of wide-spread unfairness. It is time for the rest of Canada to see past the tuition strike, it is time for them to wake up and stand for what is theirs, it is time for them to recognize that a much-needed revolution is underway, and the support of all generations is vital. Should the media continue to shed Quebec in a negative light, and should the government carry on in their efforts to delegalize human rights, Canada will turn into a backwards, archaic, dictatorship, like the very one our grandfather fought to flee from in an effort to give us a better life.
I understand if you don’t believe me, I am known to rant and rave until blue in the face on all matters, be them important or trivial (and yes, they are most often trivial). So, below I include the voices of other people: scholars, lawyers, students, and even some of the local media who, following the enforcement of the special law, are now revealing the real issues that plague today.
With love from your daughter, a true Canadian and proud Quebecoise —