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April 2007

HOLDING THE BULLY'S COAT: Canada and the U.S. Empire

As the United States has become a belligerent and lawless force under George W. Bush, the Canadian government has followed in close step. Attempting to please our powerful neighbour, Ottawa has abandoned Canada's traditional role as a leading peacekeeping nation, and instead adopted a more militaristic, warlike stance, battling insurgents in Afghanistan as a junior partner in the U.S. "war on terror". Ottawa has also abandoned Canada's traditional attempt to be a fair-minded mediator, most notably in the Middle East. And it has joined the United States as a leading obstructionist in worldwide efforts to tackle global warming. Altogether, there's been a dramatic shift in the way Canada operates in the world, as our country has been transformed into a helpful assistant to an aggressive U.S. power, increasingly out of sync with our European allies and with the rest of the world.

This new role has been actively encouraged by powerful members of our elite who want to incorporate us more deeply into America's military and economic empire. As Washington runs roughshod over international law, with its imperial wars, illegal prisons and torture, they want Canada to stand by helpfully, holding the bully's coat.

All this is at odds with the sense Canadians have of themselves – as committed to the rule of law and to promoting equality and fairness, both at home and abroad. In this provocative, passionate, timely book, award-winning journalist Linda McQuaig argues that we should reject the role of adjunct to the U.S. empire, and have the courage to find our own way in the world.

From the Introduction to Holding the Bully's Coat

"It is fashionable in Canadian media circles to denigrate the importance of Canada as a world player and scoff at the idea that anything we do would matter one way or another. But in fact we are a player of some significance on the global stage, due to our reputation – partly deserved and partly undeserved – as a fair arbiter and promoter of just causes, as a decent sort of country. By lining ourselves up so uncritically with Washington, even as the Bush administration has become a renegade in the world and highly unpopular on its own home turf, the Canadian government has played a role in enabling a regime that is considered by many around the world to be the major obstacle to peace and security."

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© Linda McQuaig, 2006-17
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