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Tories announce "Complete Tolerance for Canadian Barbarism Act"

Jesse McLaren

November 6, 2014

Xenophobia Minister Chris Alexander has announced the "Complete Tolerance for Canadian Barbarism Act."
Concerned about growing Indigenous sovereignty and solidarity movements, Alexander tabled the Bill to defend the Canadian government's longstanding cultural practices—including genocidal residential schools that experimented on, tortured and killed Indigenous children, the ongoing removal of Indigenous children from their communities, the government's refusal to investigate more than a thousand missing and murdered Indigenous women, and the genocidal tar sands. The Bill is also known as the John A Macdonald Legacy Bill, in honour of Canada's first Prime Minister—who starved Indigenous people to death and imposed a head tax on Chinese immigrants while warning that "if we allowed Chinese into Canada...the Aryan character of the future British America should be destroyed."
Alexander was also inspired by his time as Ambassador to Afghanistan. "Liberating Afghanistan for Western corporations should not be confused with stopping US kill teams or ending Canada's practice of sending detainees to be tortured," Alexander said at the time. Canadian General Rick Hillier echoed these sentiments when he described Canadian peacekeeping practices: “We are the Canadian Forces, and our job is to be able to kill people.”
The Harper government has applied the same Conservative cultural practices to women’s rights at home and abroad, including a “global maternal health plan” that denies funding for abortion while tens of thousands of women around the world die from lack of access to abortion. “When I say we will stand up for the protection, the physical well-being, and the flourishing of women and girls, I was referring to fetuses of course,” clarified Alexander. The Barbarism Act protects key Conservative cultural practices like denying childcare, pay equity, abortion rights, LGBT rights, and funding for women’s groups. Alexander made the announcement alongside Senator Nancy Ruth, who reiterated her feminist slogan of 2010 that women should “shut the fuck up” on abortion.
Minister Alexander is carying the torch of his predecessor Jason Kenney, whose claim that “we want women to be full and equal members of Canadian society,” was used to justify attacking the right of Muslim women to wear niqab during citizenship ceremonies, while distracting from the government's record on women and diverting attention from the Conservatives pulling out of the Kyoto protocol. “I’m not sure I’ve accomplished that degree of hypocrisy and scapegoating,” admitted Alexander, “but I’m trying my best.”
The Barbarism Act is an extension of government’s cuts to refugee health, which the Federal Court recently described as “cruel and unusual.” Disappointed by their assessment, Alexander vowed to make these kinds of policies much more usual. “As we head into the second millennium, my government will conserve policies of the first millennium,” Alexander said. He proudly pointed to the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyer’s statement that recently passed Bill C-24 revives “the medieval practice of banishment,” by allowing the government to strip people of their citizenship. "We will not tolerate people coming to Canada to deprive others of their rights," affirmed Alexander, "because that is our job."
"The word 'barbarism' was used by the Greeks to describe anyone who was not Greek," Alexander explained, "and in that tradition I want to make it clear the government's lip service to women's rights does not extend to questioning our own misogyny."
While his Barbarism Act is aimed at defending Canadian Conservative cultural values, Alexander called for the spirit of the Bill to extend to Canada’s allies in the international community—like the Saudi dictatorship that regularly crucifies and beheads dissidents. “By selling the regime $10 billion in weapons this year, we want to send a clear message that such practices are acceptable...unless they're done by a group in Iraq we want to bomb," explained Alexander. “Thank God for this Conservative government.”

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