, 06.08.2019 04:14 PM

My latest: when Trudeau calls it genocide

Genocide.

That’s what the Prime Minister of Canada says Canada is guilty of — the crime of crimes.

That’s what the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal called it, too, when passing judgment on Jean Kambanda, who oversaw the slaughter of more than 800,000 Tutsi and Hutu civilians in Rwanda in the Spring and Summer of 1994: “the crime of crimes.”

Said the tribunal: “Genocide constitutes the crime of crimes, which must be taken into account when deciding the sentence.”

Kambanda, like Justin Trudeau, was a prime minister. Like Justin Trudeau, too, he admitted he had facilitated genocide.

Unlike Justin Trudeau, Kambanda is now serving a life sentence.

Trudeau, however, has imposed a political sentence — on himself. On Tuesday, in Vancouver, he talked about the report released by the National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls.

“It was genocide,” Trudeau said.

On Wednesday, one day after the Canadian Prime Minister said Canada had committed genocide against thousands of Indigenous women and girls, the Organization of American States announced it expected Canada to cooperate with its investigation.

Justin Trudeau is now the first Canadian Prime Minister to be investigated for state-sponsored mass murder by an international body in which Canada is a member state.

During a federal election. That, too, is a first.

In a letter sent to Canada’s government, the Secretary-General of the OAS wrote: “The mere presumption of the crime of genocide against Indigenous women and girls in your country should not and cannot leave any room for indifference from the perspective of the Inter-American community and the international community. Given that your country has always sided with scrutiny and international investigation in situations where human rights are violated in different countries, I am expecting to receive a favourable response to this request.”

It didn’t matter, at that point, that various eminent Canadians had said Trudeau had been wrong to say his government, and all of his predecessors’ governments, committed genocide. Former Liberal minister of justice Irwin Cotler was one.

Said Cotler: “If we say everything is a genocide, then nothing is a genocide.”

Retired general Romeo Dallaire, who commanded the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda when Jean Kambanda was facilitating genocide there, was another. Dallaire, a former Liberal Senator, sounded angry at Trudeau.

“I’m not comfortable with that,” he said. “My definition of genocide (is) a deliberate act of a government to exterminate, deliberately and by force and directly, an ethnicity or a group of human beings. And that meant actually going and slaughtering people.”

That’s how most other experts define genocide, too. State-led, state-sponsored, state-sanctioned mass murder of citizens belonging to a particular race or religion or ethnic group.

On the day the inquiry issued its damning report in Ottawa, calling the murder of thousands of Indigenous women and girls genocide, Trudeau declined to go along. He wouldn’t call it genocide. By the time he got to Vancouver, however, Trudeau had changed his tune.

“It was genocide,” he said.

At that point, the OAS — and, possibly, the International Criminal Court, and other such bodies — had no choice but to act. And Canada, having called for investigations into other nations over the years, has no choice but to cooperate. Its Prime Minister had admitted to the crime before an investigation had even begun.

Was it the ethical thing to do? Was it morally right? Was it the biggest self-inflicted political wound in Canadian history?

None of that matters. Genocide is the crime of crimes.

And the defendant, Justin Trudeau, says he is guilty of it.

33 Comments

  1. Fred J Pertanson says:

    What an idiot (not you, Warren).

    Who are the people advising him? Are they really that stupid? Or is he not heeding their advice?

    What a cluster f*ck.

    October, please.

    • Trevor Toop says:

      He doesn’t take advice. He just reacts. He makes it up as he goes along. That is the problem. Worse, he has no foresight, no experience, and no depth of understanding… deeper than a finger bowl, I believe was the phrase.

  2. Ronald O'Dowd says:

    My opinion on whether it was/is is worthless. I want to know what’s the majority opinion in the various First Nations’ Nations. If anyone in this country has the best grasp of what it was/is, it’s First Nations. In the final analysis, it’s THEIR assessment that truly matters. I will go with their conclusions.

    • Vic says:

      Their opinion is that it was genocide from the word go. Legal description says separating children qualifies as one example of genocide. I’m wondering why no-one is ragging on the first nations who have said it was genocide. Trudeau is merely agreeing with them.

      • Walter says:

        Of course the alleged victims will claim the absolute worst crime was committed. It is the responsibility of the adults in the room to look at things impartially and without emotion to find the truth. Looks like Trudeau has let us down once again. I believe Trudeaus response to the Indigenous file will be his largest error that will be a millstone on Canada for decades to come.

    • Fred from BC says:

      ” I will go with their conclusions.”

      Not me, because I already know what those “conclusions” will be.

      (and because I also know what “conflict of interest” means)

      • Fred from BC says:

        Sorry, I meant to say “vested interest”. Whatever…

        • Ronald O'Dowd says:

          Fred,

          You might also say that the good people of AB, SK, BC and NL have a vested interest in oil and gas extraction. My response in both cases is so what?

          • Fred from BC says:

            So… you know they have an inherent, inescapable bias, and you must therefore take that into consideration when weighing their opinion on anything relating to these matters.

          • Ronald O'Dowd says:

            Fred,

            If you’re going to apply the above to First Nations then how could I or anyone else be wrong in applying the same logic to people in petroleum producing provinces? You can’t pick and choose Fred and still remain intellectually coherent, not to mention consistent.

          • Fred from BC says:

            “If you’re going to apply the above to First Nations then how could I or anyone else be wrong in applying the same logic to people in petroleum producing provinces?”

            You wouldn’t, of course…isn’t that what I said?

            “You can’t pick and choose Fred and still remain intellectually coherent, not to mention consistent.”

            I didn’t. I agreed with you: the oil-producing provinces are just as biased on oil issues as the natives are on native issues (or the Quebec dairy farmers are on dairy farming issues, or the climate-change industry on climate issues, etc, etc)…

          • Fred,

            My apology for misinterpreting your comments.

          • Fred from BC says:

            No problem. We’ve all done the same at one time or another.

  3. Ian says:

    Meanwhile, the commission that was responsible for running the fiasco that the inquiry was universally derided as being have now successfully made their escape.

    Leave the gun, take the cannoli

    • Fred from BC says:

      “Leave the gun, take the cannoli”

      I know that’s a quote from something I should probably recognize (The Sopranos, if I had to guess?) but I’m drawing a blank.

  4. Paul says:

    Trudeau is bolstering anger of the populace against politicians and leaders of Canada. By doing so he gains votes. The conservative can look as responsible as it can lol but if previous conservative leaders are responsible it won’t matter what the new conservative party can do for Canada. Because Trudeau blows the whistle he thinks he can be pardoned by the voter.

  5. Peter says:

    Three points:

    A) Saying, like Ronald, that one will “go” with what aboriginal peoples think shows that the word is being used as a piece of political rhetoric rather than the legal concept it is. It’s like saying that in a murder trial we should dispense with judges and juries and just go with what the victim’s family thinks. It also leads to the conclusion that, as we are all guilty for what happened to those aboriginal women, nobody really is.

    B) Given the histories of the treatments of aboriginal peoples in Central and South America, I find it rich that it’s the O.A.S. that is calling us out. It’s something I would have expected more from self-righteous Nordics. I have to wonder whether there isn’t an element of schadenfreude in play here. Payback for Canadians and Canadian governments calling them out?

    C) A lot of people will find the charge ridiculous but will say nothing because it’s hard to do so without sounding like you are saying “Oh c’mon, it wasn’t that bad”. But I note that this inquiry was supposed to be about missing and murdered women. Real people who can be identified. To conclude an expensive, multi-year inquiry without addressing the roles and responsibilities of aboriginal men, families and communities and just jumping straight to boilerplate genocide charges by one collective against another leaves me without much respect for Canada’s aboriginal leadership.

    • Ronald O'Dowd says:

      Peter,

      I don’t know. The easy political out is to say that every Canadian in this society is being blamed. That’s not the conclusion I come to. It seems to me that proponents are making the case for genocide writ large on an institutional and governmental basis. Taken from that standpoint, the argument is far more credible and worthy of very serious reflection, to say the least.

      • Fred from BC says:

        “The easy political out is to say that every Canadian in this society is being blamed. That’s not the conclusion I come to. ”

        How do you read this, Ronald?
        ————

        The report also strongly focuses on the need for actors in the justice system and in police services to acknowledge that the historical and current relationship with Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people has been largely defined by “colonialism, racism, bias, discrimination, and fundamental cultural and societal differences.”

        ————

        “Cultural”? “Societal”? Sounds like individual Canadians to me.

        • Fred,

          Read it three times so far, and still don’t really get it 100%. Either they, or I, haven’t yet mastered basic English.

          • Fred from BC says:

            I’m going to go with “they”, since I couldn’t really make sense of it either and between the two of us we appear have at least a few working brain cells left…

          • Fred,

            We both love politics. That should take away our remaining brain cells pronto, in this particular federal political environment!

      • Peter says:

        Do you mean it wasn’t you and it wasn’t me, it was all just a bunch of nefarious politicians and shadowy officials? As comforting as that may sound, I don’t think it will do. In the late 19th century and well into the 20th, almost all non-aboriginal Canadians were in favour in one form or another of what today would be considered assimilation. Some were brutal, racist social darwinists who were happy to enforce their mission civilisatrice with a big stick. Others were empathetic, compassionate types who believed it was a very long term endeavour and sought to protect aboriginals from exploitation and abuse. But almost no one except a few eccentric Grey Owl types thought they could build a prosperous future in the long term by staying in their remote communities, hunting like their ancestors, pursuing aboriginal spiritualism and educating their kids in aboriginal languages.

        This thinking met its Waterloo in 1969 when Trudeau Sr. introduced his White Paper, which called for the repeal of the Indian Act, the end of Indian Affairs, granting freehold title to aboriginal lands and the end of all legal disabilities. It was very warmly received by progressive Canadians, who were embarrassed by official discrimination and inspired by MLK and civil rights in the States. But while they heard emancipation and equality, the aboriginal peoples heard assimilation. This led to the beginnings of today’s aboriginal organizations and activism, and they stopped it cold. Aboriginal people excel at thwarting the efforts of non-aboriginals to solve their problems and “improve” their lives.

        If I understand the current thinking of many aboriginal activists, Trudeau, his ministers and most of liberal Canada (the NDP was hostile to distinct aboriginal rights until well into the 70’s) were advocating genocide. I was never a big Trudeau fan and I believe current thinking is superior–it’s certainly more respectful of aboriginal wishes–but I also think the charge is absurd and insulting and I’m not going to change my view just because aboriginal activists keep insisting it was in ever-shriller voices.

  6. Walter says:

    Canada has now joined Nazi Germany, Cambodia, and Rwanda as Genocidal nations.
    At least those other countries can claim it was the result of a single deranged leader who acted inappropriately. For Canada, it has been multiple leaders with multiple parties over the past 50 years. It looks like Canada is without question the worst country in the history of the modern world.
    Thank You for this title, Mr. Trudeau.

  7. Craig Chamberlain says:

    There’s something about a man who apologizes for the actions of others but can’t quite see why he himself should do so for his very specifically own behaviour and conduct… to elevate himself, claiming some ever higher moral ground for himself. But instead of doing the normal thing like, maybe apologizing to those who he tried to make an example of – and we know the more public instances – Mr. Trudeau instead acknowledges the “crime of crimes” – genocide. Leaving aside the question of what other states do with that (they’ve now been advised that they’re trading with a genocidal society) – if the expanded understanding of genocide is to stand, if that flag has been planted, for narcissistic self-redemption, attention-seeking, or crass political opportunism – the next question is what else should be called that. Additional arguments can be made for expanding it to our homeless. And so, we’re potentially into a competition of who can out-moral the other – standing on the most vulnerable for their political soapbox.

  8. Robin says:

    I can’t wait to hear how Trudeau apologizes for genocide.

  9. Nancy says:

    Exactly. Canada has had multiple leaders over the past 50 years so there must be a common thread. What is that? The leaders didnt care. The law enforcement that care more about protecting the crooked rich dont care. Its blowing up in all their faces. Each leader was corrupt its just a matter of when the their sins become public knowledge because of whistle blowers. Then they get tossed out. Every survey they make is rather useless and they should know that by now. People are not always truthful on surveys. When Trump won Kathleen is interviewed saying she cant understand how the polls were wrong. Well thats pretty sad. She should know better. She knew the scandals would stop her from winning again. Doug Ford won because typical of Canadians they just vote for someone to get rid of the most hated leader. Thats why he won big. Few months later he is being rocked by scandal after scandal too. Why dont people open their eyes to that fact. Trudeau will take a butt kicking and be kicked out. Its so predictable. Thats what happened to Harper. The Mike Duffy scandal rocked them good. Thats why Trudeau won big. Not because of pot legalization. Not because of his platform. Only because Canadians wanted Harper gone. Trudeau has been booed for many of his years in power across Canada. His ethic breaches covered up. The SNC Lavalin affair. The Mark Norman charade of a trial. All of it is known and will result in the butt kicking. Shutting down Twitter using fake Media to control what is said blaming Russian interference. None of it will matter. Canadians pretty much are predictable. Remember the polls tried to say Harper was close to Trudeau. Such propaganda.

    What Canadians want is leader that cleans up corruption. Not covers it. They will keep electing another leader in the hopes that one will do it. But sadly none of them do, Look at BC and David Eby. He is launching a public inquiry into the money laundering and casinos. Yet some propagandist tries to state that the BC economy will collapse. What a joke. It will do no such thing. In fact it will prosper if you clean it up and seize properties and assets and send the criminals packing. That is what all Canadians want. Most definitely honest Canadians in BC. Only the crooked agree with such an erroneous article that the economy will collapse. BC residents who cant afford homes because of the money laundering has sent the market higher and overpriced homes could now buy the seized properties at a fair market value and own a home. Something they cant do now. Over priced higher end vehicles that get you from A to B. At a lower priced. So time to kick the criminals in the butt. Time to take your leaders to task and tell them to step up to the plate and do what the average Canadian wants. Not what the crooked want.

    So the missing and murdered woman in our First Nations for many years is not the result of one maniac leader but a culmination of lack of leadership and caring by the elected leaders because they only care about themselves and who they can help prosper. The inquiry and reconciliation done on behalf of the First Nations has been a farce. Too political and thats why it tanks in any form of proper recommendation. How about instead of giving 40 million to Canopy Growth for the start up of pot (and I am sure the investigators are getting close to the real owner of the land that Canopy Growth is using will be outed and I could say who I think it is but will let the investigators reveal it ) that they give the $40 million to the First Nations to build their lands and homes and have clean water and help policing to crack down on murderers and rapists and other criminal acts done in order to help the First Nations. Do you think thats a great recommendation so then where is the media to demand that Canopy Growth give the $40 million back and it be redirected to our First Nations. Thats the mark of a leader who deserves to do the job of protecting its citizens. Yes I think our leaders have forgotten what their job entails and that is protect the health and safety of their citizens and aid them in prospering. All the leaders over 50 years have failed miserably in protecting the First Nations especially the woman and children.

  10. Ronald O'Dowd says:

    It also takes us back to the terrorism root-causes debate for which the PM was almost universally derided. Trouble is, we are always so quick to pounce on a direct cause without doing the further intellectual work that’s required.

    Terrorism has root-causes, as does the murder of First Nations women and girls. Root-causes are not necessarily a direct cause but they are often fundamental to true comprehension and examination of an issue. It’s easy and rather convenient to ignore that often crucial piece of the equation.

  11. Mohamed says:

    Great article Warren. Brilliant as always.

    Do you thinks it’s genocide? You have always had brilliant insight into aboriginal issues — you are very insightful and many Canadians form their opinions based on what you think (I’m sure!)

    Do you think it’s genocide?

  12. John Matheson says:

    These arguments demanding logical and intellectual consistency in the political sphere are childish and naive. Hypocrisy is the mother’s milk of power, and in the English-speaking world, we do hypocrisy very well.

    Politics is about what is in MY best interest, and I will use as much hypocrisy as necessary to make my point. Just like everyone else.

    Who do you think you are trying to kid?

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