Myths for Profit

2009, Society  -  60 min Leave a Comment
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Wide Open Exposure, a group of Montreal-based social justice activists, present Myths for Profit, a film that challenges the notion that Canada is a benevolent country with minimal involvement in global warfare. Claiming the Canadian government and its allies exploit this reputation for profit, the filmmakers rally viewers to question what they actually know about Canada's role as a peacekeeping nation.

Hockey, maple syrup, and Mounties are just a few of the icons mentioned when Canadian citizens are asked what things are commonly associated with their home country. "Not the United States!" one interviewee declares cheekily. According to Sherene Razack, author and Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto, Canadians enjoy their reputation as a friendly country, and are willing to blindly accept it as fact because it helps distinguish them from Americans. But as the publishers, political activists, policy makers and scholars interviewed here explain, Canada is surprisingly complicit in funding industries of war.

The filmmakers claim that Canada's pension fund alone has funneled significant amounts of money into the creation of nuclear arms. According to the interview subjects, Canada is responsible for creating a significant number of electronic components that are necessary in the construction of weapons used in international warfare. Canada is also attached to many agencies and banks that profess to be aiding developing nations, but it's not uncommon for a chunk of that financial aid to be earmarked for special interest projects that have devastating social and environmental implications.

Using a cute, low-budget animated sequence the film lays out the history of The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), an international collective defense group that still exists today. The film notes that Canada was the most pro-war of the nations involved in the 1999 Serbian bombings during the Kosovo war, which involved several types of bombs prohibited by law. In a stark contrast to the earlier animated educational piece, the audience is subjected to gruesome footage of smoking limbs, dead children, and citizens in mourning over the ruins of their home.

Myths for Profit: Canada's Role in Industries of War and Peace takes many assumed truths about Canada and turns those beliefs upside down, leaving viewers to question what they really know about America's "friendly neighbor to the North."