In 2003, Laurence W. Britt contributed the article "Fascism Anyone?" to the Free Inquiry Journal, in which he analyzed seven regimes around the world over the last 80 years to find and pick apart 14 evident trends that predate and exist in a fascist regime. Every winter, when Holocaust Remembrance Day comes on the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, Twitter is swamped with people posting the now infamous slogan "never forget." When I was younger, I always wondered how people could have possibly believed the blatant lies Hitler and his party told. Now I don’t.
The further we get away from the fall of Nazi Germany and fewer Holocaust survivors are still with us, here in North America, we’re seeing the warning signs of fascism created for the 21st century. Britt identified the following 14 signs listed.
1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism.
2. Disdain for the importance of human rights.
3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause.
4. Supremacy of the military.
5. Rampant sexism.
6. Controlled mass media.
7. Obsession with national security.
8. Religion and the ruling elite tied together.
9. Power of corporations protected.
10. Power of labour suppressed or eliminated.
11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts.
12. Obsession with crime and punishment.
13. Rampant cronyism and corruption.
14. Fraudulent elections.
How does this affect Canada? Over the last seven years, since the polarizing election of Donald Trump, the new American-style politics has been slowly leaking into Canada. This new "breed" of politics makes bi-partisanship, precedent and middle ground things of the past. With the American senate forcing through supreme court justices, the inevitability of the supreme court overturning Roe V Wade, and conspiracy theories of a stolen election pushed by shadowed right-wing media, America (and by extension us Canadians in the north) are inching dangerously closer to fascism supported and propped up for the people, by the people.
Fascism often looks appealing at the start while masquerading as a democratic movement against an “obviously tyrannical” government, scapegoating our enemies like "commies," "Trudeau" or the WEF. But when a fascist gets democratically elected into government, they don’t leave through democratic avenues, forcing either a toppling of the government through war or uprising, which comes only once a generation. And as long as a fascist Canadian government stays within the confines of our country, we’d never truly escape the horror of a fascist government in Canada.
Canada’s 21st century fascism looks different from Germany or Italy of the 20th century because it must be. Fascists work hard to destabilize our country and turn the tide of voting Canadians through rhetoric, propaganda and scapegoating of the everyday politics of a bygone era. The voting populace is imbued with vitriol not because we truly live under a communist government, tyrannical cabinet or a Trudeau dictatorship, but because that’s what fascists would like, no, require Canadians to believe. They call the government dictators and communists while suggesting Canadians rise, kill the prime minister and install a new cabinet.
Will fascism come to Canada? Yes. I believe we will fight a fascist uprising in Canada like the Germans failed to stop back in the 1930s. What will it look like? It will look like every other fascist uprising, but will we notice we’re in the throes of it until we’re too late, or will we spare people from suffering and do it before it’s too late?
What would fascism in Canada look like? It would start with a desire to keep Canada Canadian by ending immigration from Third World countries, ending international aid and ending multiculturalism. Then, a desire to end abortion in Canada and removing the right to choose would follow to repopulate our country with "real" Canadians.
What will we do when the electoral system changes to allow our elected officials to hang onto power? Will we care about missing and murdered indigenous women, black lives, or LGBTQ+ rights? What will we do when gay marriage is criminalized, and our charter is amended to allow discrimination on the basis of religion? Will we support our prime minister should he privatize health care and we aren’t allowed to join unions? When we bring back the death sentence, will it be with gallows or firing squads?
Will our disdain for the arts come when we cut funding or silence artists? Will supremacy of the military materialize through unjustified wars supported by the people, or when Canada has mandatory military service? Will the power of corporations be protected when we repeal child labour laws or when our media is owned by the rich and powerful? If we fall to fascism, would we care if the charter is amended to only allow men over 65 to vote?
And when most of these ideals are championed in Canada, will we stand, or will we accept a Canadian fall to fascism? Is this the Canada we want for future generations?