Anti-War movements across Canada have expressed an urgency to eradicate the country’s desire to pursue war across seas. In a post 9-11 context, the Canadian government, with its United States counter-part, have invaded Afghanistan, Iraq, and are now on the brinks of invading Iran. Across the world there have been hundreds of demonstrations against further foreign policy interventions, and more particularly at home by the Hamilton Coalition to Stop War (HCSW). This group demonstrates their distaste for the Conservative government adopting aggressive stances in handling foreign affairs (Sparrow 2012: 1). On October 13th, 2012 in Hamilton, the HCSW sided with other Hamiltonians, McMaster Muslims for Peace and Justice, the Political Action Committee of CUPE 3906, and Independent Jewish Voices organized a rally that aimed to pursue an agenda against the possibility of invading Iran. In doing so, HCSW and the other alliances called on the Harper Government to be a partner in peace, and to re-establish diplomatic ties with Iran by ending the sanctions at the home front (Sparrow 2012: 1). For instance, under the Canada’s Special Economic Measures (Iran) Regulation, passed in 2010, Canadian financial institutions are forbidden from providing financial services to anyone in Iran or for the benefit of Iran (Fernandez-Blance 2012: 1). As a consequence, numerous Iranian individuals protested outside TD Banks’ Yonge and Finch location on August 25th, 2012, where they argued that their rights and status had been severely violated. Therefore, these forms of dissent in the post-9/11 context are a response to the criminalization tactics that represent political, and economic interests implemented by the Canadian government.
The biggest concern towards the Middle East is their accumulation and potential usage of nuclear weapons against Israel, and the United States. The Federal government has cut off diplomatic ties with the Iranian government; however, they have further continued to target Canadian-Iranian citizens because of their relations and status (Canadian Peace Alliance 2012: 1). Hence, it is important to comprehend how international foreign policy measures are symbolic mechanisms of control. These measures are implemented as a means of maintaining power relations between the state, and the individuals who pose a potential threat to the greater political structure. In other words, Canada’s Special Economic Measures (Iran) Regulations, passed in 2010 legitimizes a domestic security measure towards Canadian-Iranian citizens, while reflecting the international tensions that persist between Canada and Iran. The HCSW recognize these issues, and argue that there is an erosion of standard democratic rights for individuals who belong to these minority groups that are subjugated by the Canadian government. Particularly with the potential war against Iran, the HCSW press harder for answers by challenging politicians to pursue peace over war. These protests that are held by particular individuals in society, in a post-9/11 context, are viewed in a negative light. However, it is important to understand that these events challenge dominant forms of order and control, which have always maintained secular interests and motives of a particular class structure. Ultimately, the aim of this dialogue is to shed light on how the HCSW is constructed and represented in the political realms as a threat, with respect to understanding the deeper implications of grouping particular individuals as dangerous.
Canadian Peace Alliance. 2012. “Don’t Attack Iran. Join the International Day of Action, October 6.” Canadian Peace Alliance, September 13. Retrieved October 11, 2012 (http://www.acp-cpa.ca/en/IranMain.htm).
Fernandez-Blance, Katherine. 2012. “Iranian-Canadians protest in front of TD Bank.” The Star, August 25. Retrieved October 11, 2012 (http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/1247250–iranian-canadians-protest-in-front-of-td-bank).
Sparrow, Ryan. 2012. “Hamilton rallies for peace: Mac students among participants in anti-war demonstration.” The Silhouette, October 11, 1:1.