In late 2019, Ontario’s public broadcaster, TVO, produced a widely circulated video segment in which Indigenous public figures delivered short monologues responding to the controversial claim that Canada was perpetuating an ongoing “genocide” against Indigenous women. The TVO commentators flatly told viewers that this ongoing genocide is a “fact,” and that any argument to the contrary amounts to “denial.” Moreover, we were told that anyone engaging in such denial is effectively abetting a crime against humanity, because “denial is a tool of genocide.”
If you find yourself astounded by the current situation in Canada, whereby protesters have been allowed to shut down a rail network that remains a backbone of passenger travel and industrial transport (and whose coast-to-coast completion in 1885 became a symbol of national unity), it’s useful to revisit the accumulation of symbolic gestures that have steadily destroyed the moral authority of our governments to push back at any assertion of Indigenous rights and grievances. For years, our leaders offered reflexive acquiescence to increasingly expansive claims that Canada remains a white supremacist dystopia, culminating in last year’s campaign to convince us not only that modern Canada is a “genocide” state, but that even the act of expressing disagreement with this description makes you a sort of metaphorical train conductor on the rails to Canadian Dachau. Having publicly tattooed their guilty settler souls with every imaginable hashtag, our leaders now apparently find themselves stopped from restoring the rule of law.