How we respond to threats against democracy

How we respond to threats against democracy r1 ... Parliament Hill Capitol Hill Dear Friend,

Like you, I was horrified by the scenes of violence that unfolded Wednesday in Washington, D.C. Witnessing the violent interruption of democratic proceedings so close to home is unsettling, and the continued presence of white supremacy in our society is deeply disturbing.

These actions, motivated by white supremacy and hatred, are reprehensible but could have been predicted. They come after years of downplaying the resurgence of organized white nationalist groups in the United States, while leaders sowed mistrust of public institutions through misinformation and gutting public services until they were unreliable.

As a former Washington, D.C. resident, I have seen the growing division in America first-hand. And now, as I watch the news, I am conscious of how these same risks are deeply intertwined with the interests of powerful forces that also threaten Canadian society. Read more about this week’s attack on the Washington Capitol There is a direct link between austerity, racist violence and the erosion of democratic processes. The U.S. is bearing the fruit of decades of cruelty — breaking up unions, cutting public services and siphoning public resources and wealth into the hands of the very elite. These policies, also present in Canada, inevitably deepen racial divisions because our systems already marginalize Black, Indigenous and people of colour. Combined with explicit scapegoating, this creates fertile ground to justify political power for white leaders while targeting state and communal violence toward racialized peoples.

We fight back against the kind of violence we saw this week by refusing to buy-in to the false pressure of scarcity politics and instead coming together to protect our public institutions so that they benefit everyone living in Canada. We cannot be divided.

As the Council of Canadians, we believe that the best way to respond is to fight white supremacy at home and to strengthen our democracies and social support systems.

Politicians across the political spectrum must stop sowing mistrust of policies that support equity and Indigenous sovereignty and must explicitly speak out against white nationalist groups like the Proud Boys, Yellow Vesters and others. They must support public institutions and the distribution of resources to all people living in Canada.

Those of us who, like me, have been shaped by our whiteness, our wealth and our relative privilege must pay attention to and take leadership from people who live and work from different perspectives. We will learn how to disrupt this history of white supremacy and find a new way of working, together.

At the Council, we are organizing and advocating to ensure:
  • A COVID-19 response that prioritizes the health and wellbeing of people, especially those made vulnerable by existing inequalities.
  • Climate and water policies that protect these resources while addressing social injustices of environmental and economic racism.
  • Real and lasting investments in our public services that strengthen the connection between government, communities and people.
  • We challenge the power of multinational corporations, many of which have been complicit in the rise of divisions.
  • We all confront Canada’s own white supremacy and colonialism whenever and wherever we see it while strengthening our resolve for justice and equity.

Thank you for your support and thank you in advance for your commitment to people, the planet and our democracy. We have so much work to do, but I am heartened knowing that we do this work together.

In solidarity,

Christina Warner

Read more about this week’s attack on the Washington Capitol r71

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