Historical Parallels: Is Canada Becoming a Totalitarian State? 

Essay, Government, André Weismann

This essay spells out what many people have alluded to: that Canadians are losing their freedoms and that this once prosperous and proud country is on the brink of becoming a statist mock-democracy where people live in fear of their government and of fellow citizens who may denounce them for their views. To many people, the parallels that exist between Canada today and practices that existed in totalitarian regimes such as Hitler’s Germany are too many to not raise grave concerns.

Control of the press

The Nazi Party had its own newspaper, the Völkischer Beobachter (People’s Observer). Starting in 1933, the Nazis expropriated other newspapers and later expanded state control over all media. Newspapers were either brought under state/party control or they engaged in self-censorship according to strict government guidelines.1

Canada’s Liberal government is giving hundreds of millions of dollars to media outlets, selected by a panel of “independent” journalists, that are known to have left-leaning tendencies2 and with substantial conflicts of interest with the notion of the free exchange of information and opinion.3 A number of conservative news outlets have been excluded from support or they have decided not to seek support because they will be obligated to follow government dictates.4 On top of that, an “internal hygiene” department in the Canadian press is functioning like self-censorship as Barbara Kay states, “[e]very editor feels like he is one Tweet away from getting mobbed and fired.”5

Media censorship is, in fact, a declared goal of the Liberals,6 and they are now proposing to increase their regulation of the media through Bill C-10.7 According to John Carpay of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, this bill “would provide the administrative state with the ability to restrict media that it simply doesn’t like, under the guise of wanting to protect Canadians from ‘harmful content.’”8 The state now intends to determine what is “trusted news” for its citizens.

The enforcement of speech codes

In Hitler’s Germany, using the Heil Hitler salute meant that one was aligned with Nazi ideology. Conversely, not using the salute was a sign of disagreement. The Nazis used outward signs like the salute as well as an extensive system of surveillance to identify and silence dissidents, creating an environment of fear.9 They also controlled public discourse. This is what holocaust survivor Victor Klemperer reported:

Nazism permeated the flesh and blood of the people through single words, idioms and sentence structures which were imposed upon them in a million repetitions and taken on board mechanically and unconsciously…. Language does not simply write and think for me, it also increasingly dictates my feelings and governs my entire spiritual being the more unquestioningly and unconsciously I abandon myself to it…. Words can be like tiny doses of arsenic; they are swallowed unnoticed, appear to have no effect, and then after a little time the toxic reaction sets in after all.10  

The most infamous term used by the Nazis was final solution, a code for the gassing of Jews to address the “Jewish problem”. Untermensch (sub-human) was used to describe certain people groups as if they were mere animals. The application to the human sphere of mechanical concepts such as Gleichschaltung (alignment) and Einstellung (configuration) had the effect of “degrading people to the status of machines.”11

Bill C-16 is Canada’s version of compelled speech. It is a way to force Canadians to use people’s self-adopted gender pronouns, which has been implemented by B.C. courts, even forcing parents to address their children by their own chosen gendered pronouns.12 As well, the government’s Summer Job Program forced organizations that wanted to receive a grant to show that they agree with left-learning “Canadian values” such as “reproductive rights,” which is a code for unconstrained abortion rights.13 

What Orwell termed Newspeak refers to a method used to conceal the true nature of things: “sex-change surgery” becomes “gender affirmation surgery,” “comprehensive sex education” is used to conceal “the indoctrination of children with the values of the sexual revolution.” “Breastfeeding” becomes “chestfeeding” to accommodate biological females who identify as male.14 

Canadians who are critical of this movement are labelled “bigots,” “homophobes,” and “transphobes,” which reduces them to sub-human status. Telling the truth is called “hate speech” and areas where free speech is prohibited are called “bubble zones” or “safe spaces.” “Tolerance” means “intolerance” towards those who dare think for themselves, and “inclusion” actually means “exclusion” because those with politically incorrect opinions are not welcomed. “Euthanasia” (Greek for “good death”) inverts meaning by calling something bad (death), good. 

No end of the newspeak is in sight: the Quebec Superior Court ruled in January 2021 that the words “father” and “mother” as they are listed on birth certificates represent discrimination. Service Canada already avoids using the terms “father” and “mother” in favour of “parent number one” and “parent number two.”15 But the worst examples seem to be at our universities: at the left-leaning Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) in Montreal, even employing the words “woman” and “man” is challenged by progressive students since they say that these words are transphobic.16 Stella Morabito explains, “If you abolish sex distinctions in law, you can abolish state recognition of biological family ties, and the state can regulate personal relationships and consolidate power as never before.”17 These linguistic tendencies have an underlying worldview that is being imposed on Canadians.

And it is imposed by the courts. In fact, human rights courts have less stringent rules than criminal courts and they can intimidate Canadians who speak out on politically controversial topics. Human rights complaints are being used to muzzle public debate, such as in the case of Chilliwack trustee Barry Neufeld, who dared to critique his province’s tendentious sex-ed curriculum.18 Stephen Harper has said: “Human rights commissions, as they are evolving, are an attack on our fundamental freedoms and the basic existence of a democratic society.… It is, in fact, totalitarianism. I find this is very scary stuff.”19 The resemblance to the Nazi court system to indict thousands of ideologically nonconformist people as “Volk Vermin”20 and to even condemn thousands to death for “Volk Treason” is uncanny.

The prevalence of cancel culture

In Nazi Germany, Jewish and “politically unreliable” civil servants and employees were excluded from many state services and from being members of the medical, legal, acting, and teaching professions.21 The Nazis purged around 4,000 ideologically non-conformist scientists (about 15-20% of all scientists in the country) from institutions of teaching and learning.22 

The Canadian federal government’s Bill C-14 forces doctors and nurses to do things that will harm their patients without the ability to conscientiously object. Recently, a nurse who refused to participate in euthanasia procedures in Ontario was forced to resign.23 A similar conundrum exists for teachers who are unwilling to teach provincial radical24 sex-ed curricula and possibly even aestheticians unwilling to accept male clients who identify as female.25 A few years ago, when Trinity Western University (TWU), a Christian university in B.C., planned to establish a law program, several provincial law societies promptly declared that they would not recognize the graduates as potential lawyers because of TWU’s views on homosexuality and sexual relationships between students.26 

Cancel culture and deplatforming controversial speakers were common under the Nazi regime in Germany. The regime imposed conformity with the “politically correct” dogma of the day, in the press, at universities, in the professions, and throughout society. Violent mobs called brownshirts enforced the new orthodoxy by disturbing events organised by opposition groups.27

A host of Canadians have been deplatformed in recent years. Stockwell Day28 and a CBC host, Wendy Mesley,29 lost their positions after making politically incorrect remarks about the claim that there is systemic racism in Canada. Don Cherry lost his job as a hockey commentator with the CBC after saying that immigrants should honour the Canadian custom of wearing poppies for Remembrance Day.30  

Academics are also afraid of being reprimanded, “mobbed,”31 and passed over for promotions. Rick Mehta, an associate professor of psychology at Acadia University, for example, was fired in 2018 after being accused of making statements labelled as transphobic and racist. Lindsey Shepherd was reprimanded for showing a clip of a Jordan Peterson video in a course she was teaching at Wilfrid Laurier University.32 A lecturer at the Old Montreal College was suspended after explaining on Facebook why he was not homophobic.33 

In 2010, Ann Coulter was prevented from speaking at the University of Ottawa because of the threats made by an angry mob.34 Ryerson University cancelled a free speech event in 2017 because of a mob threatened to disrupt it.35 Another free speech event featuring Professor Jordan Peterson and Post Millennial editor Andy Ngo was cancelled at UBC because of “security concerns.”36 The Campus Freedom Index website lists many other incidents.37

At the University of Alberta, a pro-life event organized by conservative students was disrupted by a jeering crowd, and instead of chastising the disruptors, the university administrators virtually prohibited future events by imposing a $17,500 security fee on student organisers.38 Even though this fee was successfully challenged in court,39 the need for legal recourse shows that institutions of higher education often need to be forced to maintain free speech on their campuses. Even individual students are no longer safe from ideological purges,40 as one student found after being expelled from the University of Manitoba’s medical program for expressing pro-life views.41 Referring to the cancel culture at university, Professor Hudlicky of Brock University stated that “The current chill on academic freedom is not far removed from the unfortunate events of May 10, 1933, with the burning of libraries of “subversive” books or books written by “undesirable” authors.”42 The Society for Academic Freedom and Scholarship has documented numerous cases of such censorship.43

But such thought control goes much further than universities. “The first thing every totalitarian regime does, along with confiscation and mutilation of reality, is the confiscation of history and the confiscation of culture,” wrote Assar Nafisi, author of Reading Lolita in Tehran. Led by Nazi-dominated student groups, book burning events targeted “un-German” books, that is books written by Jews, left wing, and liberal authors. Many authors were targeted, including famous German poet Heinrich Heine, who had warned that “Where they burn books, they will also ultimately burn people.”44

In Canada, the cancel culture also extends to numerous authors. Conservative websites and news outlets are defunded45 and their websites have been shut down, and some politically incorrect books have been banned by retailers such as Amazon.46 Even history itself is not safe: just as the Nazis47 did, Canadian mobs have demolished monuments, such as that of Sir John A. MacDonald in Montreal.48  City councils in Victoria and Regina have also voted to remove his statue –the statues of Canada’s founding Prime Minister. 

Conclusion

Some time ago, Peter Hitchens said, “[T]he fundamental engine of left-wing activity, really since the 1960s, has … been to seize the television station and the newspaper and the university, and to obtain victory through capturing the minds of people, and also to alter society not through the nationalizing of railways, but through the nationalizing of childhood.”49 The same strategy was used by the Nazis and this strategy has been used successfully in Canada. Despite the obvious differences between Nazi ideology and Canada’s state ideology, the summary table shows that there are, in fact, way too many parallels between the Nazis and Canada. Obviously, even more examples could be added. 

A Summary of the Issues

Nazism in Germany Canada in 2021
Control of the press though active censorship. There is undue influence through state funding, and Bill C-10 was designed to censor Internet content.
Speech codes were enforced (Hitler salute, new vocabulary was used.) Speech codes are used to ensure speech is politically correct.
Control of the past through changing textbooks;50 removal of monuments, indoctrination of children in, for example, the Hitler Youth and League of German Girls51 Critical race theory52 anti-libertarian indoctrination and radical sex-ed are taught in schools. Long-standing monuments have been toppled.
Cancellation of political dissidents; brownshirts. Violent mobs are disturbing meetings, conservative websites have been defunded, and some internet services have been cancelled.
Ideological purges of academia and the professions. Some politically incorrect university staff and students, media commentators and employees have been fired or expelled. There has been no conscience exemptions for medical staff, and there has been a refusal by law societies to grant professional status to lawyers graduating from specific Christian law schools.
Burning of books Removal of “undesirable authors and books” from university libraries and courses. In fact, some politically incorrect books are no longer sold in bookstores.
Nazi flag was displayed on public buildings, schools, and even on churches.53 The rainbow flag has been flown on public buildings as an expression of support for a certain group of Canadians.
Children were seen as being state property. Increasingly, there has been a loss of parental authority over medical54 and identity55 decisions that children want without parental knowledge or consent. Recently the courts have decided “in the interest of the child.”56 In fact, Bill C-6 seeks to criminalize parents who were trying to help their children to accept their biological gender.
Parades and displays were used as a way to show pride and strength. Gay parades have become platforms for either including or ousting some politicians57 and institutions,58 as well as a platform for “virtue signalling.”
“True Socialism”59 “Social justice” causes have demanded extreme government controls of the public space.
There was an ideological control of the courts; “healthy folk sentiment” (gesundes Volksempfinden) was used to guide decisions. Increasingly, courts have made decisions based on ideology60 and not on past precedents and legal arguments, favouring the “living tree”61  notion of the law.
Kangaroo courts were used to condemn dissidents (political courts functioning in parallel to criminal courts). Human Rights Commissions have been used to muzzle public discourse.62 As well these Commissions have handed-down controversial and contradictory decisions that have stifled free speech.63
Jews were blamed for all the perceived ills of society. Increasingly, “bigots” have been blamed for societal ills.
The objective was the creation of the Master Race. Young Canadians have internalized a “woke” culture that believes in neo-Marxist ideas which are sometimes falsely called Canadian values.

 

It is very concerning to some Canadians that other flags than our national and provincial flags are now flown on public buildings and demand a deference.64 It seems that war has been declared on Canada’s Judeo-Christian foundations, freedoms, and democracy. Conservative speakers are increasingly facing ad hominem attacks because of what they have said or what some people think they will say. This is the behaviour that progressives resort to when they don’t want to—or cannot—engage in arguments they disagree with.

If you, as a Canadian, believe that safe spaces should include the wombs of mothers and universities; if you believe that the family is the basic unit of a healthy society and that loving parents are better equipped than the state to make decisions “in the best interest of the child;” if you believe that freedom of religion is a human right that must be protected over newly-claimed sexual rights; if you believe that equality does not mean a welfare system that procures the same outcome for all citizens but a system that offers the same opportunities to all; and if you believe that Canadians should not be split into warring factions of various skin colours, sexes, and sexual orientations but that we should be considered human beings with the same dignity and deserve the same respect, then you need to act now to protect these basic rights and values in Canada. 

Borrowing from Churchill’s famous speech at the beginning of World War II, thoughtful Canadians need to fight this war in schools and universities, in parliaments, and in the senate, and in businesses and in the media, and never to surrender.

We Canadians are now facing a crisis that Rod Dreher calls “soft totalitarianism.”65 Canada is on its way towards becoming a totalitarian society that suppresses free speech, punishes dissidents, and imposes a state ideology on all people. As a result, Canadians are losing the freedoms that their grandparents fought for when they defeated the Nazis. But hopefully Canadians will recognize the immediate danger because if we do not act soon, our children and grandchildren will never experience the freedom that we have known.

By André Weismann 

Endnotes

  1. https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/the-press-in-the-third-reich
  2. https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/journalists-question-media-bailout-1.5147761
  3. https://www.cbc.ca/news/opinion/media-bailout-1.5147053
  4. www.rebelnews.com/alberta_press_gallery_lawsuit_competition_bureau_tyler_dawson_postmedia and https://www.rebelnews.com/rcmp_grab_reporter_just_before_trudeau_press_conference_dragged_out_by_the_cops
  5. https://thepostmillennial.com/why-im-leaving-the-national-post
  6. https://torontosun.com/opinion/columnists/lilley-liberals-call-for-censoring-the-internet-again
  7. https://www.michaelgeist.ca/2020/11/the-broadcasting-act-blunder-day-four-why-many-news-sites-are-captured-by-bill-c-10/
  8. https://www.jccf.ca/censorship-coming-under-proposed-canadian-communications-commission/
  9. https://repository.library.brown.edu/studio/item/bdr:320472/PDF/?embed=true
  10. Quoted in: https://fee.org/articles/would-be-tyrants-capture-language-to-control-thought/
  11. https://www.swissbib.ch/Record/388365218
  12. https://www.jccf.ca/b-c-courts-asking-for-correct-pronouns-is-state-mandated-identity-politics/
  13. https://globalnews.ca/news/5831085/canada-summer-jobs-abortion/
  14. https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/transgenderisms-war-on-language-is-a-war-on-truth-and-reality-heres-another-example
  15. https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/service-canada-gender-neutral-1.4585629
  16. https://plus.lapresse.ca/screens/b2f9cec5-a2da-4aee-b5d3-0dfd7c4f3a14__7C___0.html
  17. https://mercatornet.com/a-de-sexed-society-is-a-de-humanised-society/20793/
  18. https://www.theprogress.com/news/chilliwack-school-board-settles-with-cupe-over-human-rights-complaint/
  19. https://web.archive.org/web/20121019083629/http://www.canadians.org/democracy/documents/p8.pdf
  20. https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/law-and-justice-in-the-third-reich
  21. https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/anti-jewish-legislation-in-prewar-germany
  22. https://www.grin.com/document/111075
  23. https://www.genethique.org/nurse-who-refuses-to-administer-euthanasia-to-her-patients-is-forced-to-resign/?lang=en
  24. The official term is “comprehensive“ but radical better describes its nature
  25. https://nationalpost.com/news/trans-activist-jessica-yaniv-files-second-lawsuit-against-3-beauticians-after-losing-human-rights-suit-to-them-in-2019
  26. TWU has since made its covenant voluntary to avoid being sanctioned but the pressure to conform to governmental policy against one’s conscience is obvious. 
  27. https://www.theholocaustexplained.org/the-nazi-rise-to-power/the-nazi-rise-to-power/sa-and-ss/; https://www.historyhit.com/hitlers-bullyboys-the-role-of-the-sa-in-nazi-germany/
  28. https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/stockwell-day-systemic-racism-canada-1.5597550
  29. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/wendy-mesley-suspended-hosting-1.5604973
  30. https://toronto.ctvnews.ca/fired-host-don-cherry-not-apologizing-for-you-people-rant-on-hockey-night-in-canada-1.4679550
  31. https://www.universityaffairs.ca/opinion/in-my-opinion/academic-mobbing-become-campus-tormentors/
  32. https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/heres-the-full-recording-of-wilfrid-laurier-reprimanding-lindsay-shepherd-for-showing-a-jordan-peterson-video
  33. https://ici.radio-canada.ca/nouvelle/1081916/professeur-cegep-vieux-montreal-suspendu-homophobie
  34. https://www.newsmax.com/Headline/US-Taliban-Talks/2010/03/24/id/353731/
  35. https://dailycaller.com/2017/08/16/college-responds-to-hosting-panel-on-free-speech-by-canceling-it/
  36. https://globalnews.ca/news/6367366/ubc-free-speech-andy-ngo/
  37. https://campusfreedomindex.ca/2020-campus-freedom-index/
  38. https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/complaint-over-universitys-17500-security-charge-for-anti-abortion-protest-heads-to-albertas-top-court
  39. https://www.jccf.ca/free-speech-victory-as-court-rules-against-university-of-alberta-17500-security-fee/
  40. https://thefederalist.com/2017/08/23/american-anarchy-parallels-chinas-cultural-revolution/
  41. https://lifepetitions.com/petition/justice-for-manitoba-med-student-expelled-for-expressing-pro-life-views
  42. https://www.nas.org/blogs/article/the-case-of-tomas-hudlickywhere-now
  43. https://www.safs.ca/issuescases/
  44. https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/book-burning
  45. https://www.rebelnews.com/save_rebel_news_paypal_censorship_and_deplatforming_ezra_levant
  46. https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/amazon-removes-bestselling-conservative-book-about-transgender-issues-without-explanation/ar-BB1dWNbG
  47. https://www.architectmagazine.com/design/culture/the-invasion-of-memory-hitlers-attempt-to-rewrite-the-history-of-world-war-i_o
  48. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-53963665
  49. https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/why-sex-education-has-so-successfully-increased-promiscuity-stds-abortion?inf_contact_key=f381121719d4b81ea372e3ce44079f2b1b0a3f0fd3ee5d9b43fb34c6613498d7
  50. https://www.theholocaustexplained.org/life-in-nazi-occupied-europe/controlling-everyday-life/controlling-education/
  51. https://www.ndr.de/fernsehen/sendungen/unsere_geschichte/Hitlers-Zorn-Die-Kinder-von-Bad-Sachsa,sendung927258.html
  52. https://tnc.news/2020/08/04/ontario-school-board-to-implement-radical-critical-race-theory/
  53. http://www.rothenburg-unterm-hakenkreuz.de/chronologie-ii-1933-bis-1935-legal-und-mit-rechtsbruechen-wird-deutschland-diktatur/
  54. https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/baby-josephs-parents-denied-private-visitations
  55. https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/parents-of-disabled-girl-file-human-rights-complaint-against-toronto-sick-c
  56. https://www.albertalawreview.com/index.php/ALR/article/download/1746/1735/0
  57. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/bc-liberals-pride-throness-1.5658100
  58. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/ubc-barred-from-marching-vancouver-pride-parade-1.5204724
  59. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1932/03/hitler-and-hitlerism-a-man-of-destiny/308960/
  60. https://lawjournal.mcgill.ca/article/a-tale-of-two-metaphors-a-narrative-take-on-the-canadian-constitution/
  61. http://www.ruleoflaw.ca/the-original-living-tree/
  62. https://www.theprogress.com/news/chilliwack-school-board-settles-with-cupe-over-human-rights-complaint/
  63. https://theinterim.com/issues/human-rights-commissions/free-us-from-the-human-rights-commissions/
  64. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/politics-and-the-life-sciences/article/abs/nature-of-flag-power-how-flags-entail-dominance-subordination-and-social-solidarity/DB73F478AC2B16D4AFF64A10F85581FC
  65. https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/622436/live-not-by-lies-by-rod-dreher/