A Socialist In Canada, Aug 29, 2017. Letter by Roger Annis to the editor of the online The Tyee, published in British Columbia, Canada. The letter has been edited from its original, adding more background information.
August 25, 2017
Hello Tyee editor,
I read with interest the article today, August 25 by your national reporter Jeremy Nuttall concerning the Conservative Party and the extreme right. I was disappointed in what I read it as sympathetic treatment given by Mr. Nuttall to Chris Alexander, the former Conservative cabinet minister whom Mr. Nuttall cited at some length in the article.
Mr. Nuttall opens his article with: “Right-wing extremists will face a tougher ride in the Canadian conservative movement in the wake of a deadly protest in Charlottesville and other controversies, predicts former Tory MP and leadership candidate Chris Alexander.”
Later, he cites Mr. Alexander favourably with: “While there are members with eccentric views, as in any party, there are no ‘Steve Bannon type elements inside our party,’ Alexander argued.”
But Chris Alexander has a rather forceful record support to the extreme-right in Ukraine following the overthrow of Ukraine’s elected president and government in February 2014. Mr. Alexander was one of the most outspoken of the Harper government ministers in support of the new, right-wing and anti-Russia president and government that came into power in Ukraine. Here are two articles from 2014 that detail Mr. Alexander’s record on Ukraine:
* August 2014: https://socialistincanada.ca/ukraine-independence-day-celebration-in-toronto-features-appeals-favouring-war-and-fundraising-for-fascism/
* Dec 2014: https://www.newcoldwar.org/letter-toronto-star-presentation-war-ukraine-exceptionally-one-sided-2/
It would not be difficult to find additional such reporting on Ukraine, including by mainstream news outlets. As well, Mr. Alexander delivered a speech to an outdoor ‘anti-tax’ rally in Edmonton in December 2016 where he smiled as rally respondents responded to his speech with the then-popular, right-wing rallying cry directed at Alberta Premier Rachel Notley: “Lock her up!”
As Mr. Nuttall appeared to genuinely aim for a balanced reporting of the story, why would he fail to report Mr. Alexander’s seemingly evident sympathies with the extreme-right in Ukraine and in Canada? Worse, why would Mr. Nuttall leave a very distinct impression to readers that Mr. Alexander has some kind of track record of dissassociating himself from the extreme right?
My article of August 23 explains the hypocrisy of Canada’s political and media establishment concerning the events in Charlottesville, Virginia. That establishment verbally condemns neo-Nazism in Charlottesville, but it has been supporting extremism and neo-Nazism in Ukraine for the past nearly four years, ever since the rise of the ‘Maidan’ movement in 2013 and its successful, violent overthrow of Ukraine’s elected president and govenrment. Since then, the Canadian government has provided vital political, financial and military support to the ultra-conservative government in Kyiv.
Key posts in Ukraine’s government, police and army are held by neo-Nazis and other extremists, while the routine and ongoing violence of that same extreme-right goes utterly unchecked and unpunished.
With respect, by all appearance, Mr. Nuttall appears to have had his head in the sand during the past four years as concerns Ukraine. You and he should cease ignoring the troubled story of Ukraine if you are to accurately describe to Canadians the dangers of neo-Nazism and the extreme-right. For that danger is closer to home than most Canadians realize. The entirety of the political establishment in Canada is up to its eyeballs in complicity with the extreme-right in Ukraine and elsewhere in eastern Europe, including aiding and abetting egregious war crimes in the eastern, Donbass region of that country.
The role of alternative media such as The Tyee should not be to shield Canadians from disturbing truths. Rather, it is to expose the truths that corporate media and the state-run CBC evidently have much interest in distorting or hiding.