Friday, January 07, 2011

The Black Book of Canadian Foreign Policy by Yves Engler

This book is incredibly important and incredibly frustrating, but overall it is worthwhile. Engler's mission is to describe incidents where the Canadian government or Canadian business engaged in illegal, immoral or suspicious activity. He does this for over 50 countries. Using a sentence from the last chapter (edited for concision), his general thesis is that "Canada's role in world affairs has been consistently pro-empire, pro-colonial and serving narrow corporate interests." 
After reading page after page of sketchy dealings in various countries, it is hard not to agree with him. It certainly seems there have been numerous and various dealings that are unjust and wouldn't be tolerated in our own country. The problem is that the content could have been far more contextualized, with better background events and opposing arguments being presented and critiqued. Additionally, his referencing, although abundant, was done in an annoying style.  The book wasn't a happy read, but the content is just so important, if only to prompt further investigation and examination of Engler's claims.
If someone were to complaining that the book was full of half-truths, I'd be sympathetic and say that that might be true... but add that his half-truths were just the opposite of the half-truths to which we have become accustomed.  


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