Open Letter to the Canadian Government re: Events in the United States.

A copy of this letter was sent to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Chrystia Freeland.

The ongoing American rebellion and widespread, largely spontaneous civil disorder has no doubt caused difficult conversations within your government about how Canada should best respond. America is in chaos following an unprecedented political, economic and health crisis. As you are aware, these are matters which all promise to have great effect on political conditions inside of Canada as well.

I am a member of Canada’s civil society. I am proudly an anti-fascist. As a rights-having person in Canada, it is necessary and morally right for me to inform you that I and thousands like me are unequivocally opposed to racism, fascism and policing as an institution. I’m writing as an individual, not as a lobbyist or member of an interest group, to express my grave concern, and to plead with your government to take action on an urgent matter.

On May 30, 2020, US President Donald J Trump gave authorization for the use of military force against peaceful demonstrators and disparate rebel groups. Large swaths of the continental United States have been wracked by lawlessness and rioting. You have implied through the statements issued by your government to this point, that you understand the underlying conditions behind the unrest are systemic, structural, sociological and wholly organic to the Black American experience. Your government has noted that similar problems exist in Canada as well. You have pledged to work to address these issues.   

Beyond the sociological problems underlying the conflict, I am calling on you to recognize publicly that a forthcoming wave of repression and civil conflict inside the United States will have the potential to harm tens of millions of innocent and well-intentioned people.

As the rebellion raged, Donald Trump issued a tweet claiming that he was preparing to formally designate a group called ‘Antifa’ as a terrorist organization, blaming them wholly for the unrest in many of his statements. Antifa, a nickname for ‘anti-fascists’ are a loose collection of left wing groups, organizations and individuals united for the common purpose of combating racism in society. Antifa are the primary political opponents of Trump’s most violent and extreme supporters. Antifascists in Canada are vibrant and participating members of this country’s civil society. They are teachers, lawyers, academics, delivery couriers. They are anarchists, communists and yes, some are even NDP and Liberal voters.

It is my gravest concern that the Federal government in the United States is on the precipice of wholesale warfare against its people. That tipping point may in fact, have been reached. As police repress protests, the military patrols the streets and thousands are arrested, it is increasingly clear: Fascism is ascendant in America.

Most concerning to me, is the prospect of mass arrests and detention of persons from many communities, Black, Indigenous, White, LGBTQ and others, because of their participation in these demonstrations. What we are witnessing is the ascent of state fascism in uncertain times. These are precisely the sort of political conditions which may have many Americans looking abroad for a better life, in a singularly urgent manner. Tens of millions may soon be on the move as a depression-era meltdown, civil unrest and blossoming pandemic destroy the veneer of civilization.

During the Vietnam War, Canada took in, often unwittingly—many Americans who sought to escape mandatory military service. As a wave of repression sweeps their nation, as Canadians with conscience we must open our hearts and our homes once more, to people fleeing the unjust brutality of a state which has lost all control over itself. We must aid the American cause where we can.

That is why I am writing this letter to call on you and your government to immediately take the following steps:

  • Issue a statement affirming that Canada stands against racism and fascism, and pledging your Government will not adopt or implement any US policy designating left wing activism(s) as ‘domestic terrorist’ activity.

  • Prepare and fully reopen all of Canada’s regular and irregular border crossings, to assist Americans fleeing repression and any others seeking asylum in Canada at this time.

  • Guarantee status for all. This means that everyone in the country without permanent resident status must be regularized and given permanent resident status immediately. For more information on this please see: https://migrantrights.ca/statusforall/

Thank you for reading my request. I hope you can appreciate the urgency of this matter.

I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Kevin Metcalf

Activist, journalist, anti-fascist.