Inventing Reality in the Great White North: Indigenous Rights and Media in Canada

Conversations with John Schertow and Yves Engler on Media in Canada Global Research News Hour Episode 154

“Just as this country’s obsession with professional hockey does not just happen, Canadians’ opinions about their country’s role internationally is not a historical accident or ‘natural’ occurrence. Rather, it reflects the work of numerous institutions designed to influence public opinion, which together represent a powerful propaganda system.” Yves Engler, from the 2016 book A Propaganda System

“The question is whether privileged elites should dominate mass communication and should use this power as they tell us they must, namely to impose necessary illusions to manipulate and deceive the stupid majority and remove them from the public arena.” Noam Chomsky [2]



Length (59:26)

Click to download the audio (MP3 format)

Major capitalist societies like the U.S. and Canada are political democracies couched in economic plutocracies. That is, the means of production and the levers of economic control over vast resources lie in the hands of a wealthy elite.

However, the common people have the freedom to organize in their own interests and elect one of their own to high office. There is no totalitarian ruler holding a bludgeon over the heads of the masses controlling what they do, and restricting what they say.

As prominent political dissident and linguistics professor Noam Chomsky has pointed out, however, under such conditions “when the State loses the bludgeon, when you can’t control people by force, and when the voice of the people can be heard…it may make people so curious and so arrogant that they don’t have the humility to submit to a ‘civil rule’ and therefore you have to control what people think.” [3] This is why a propaganda system of national myths and necessary illusions is a consistent and vital component of what is seen as modern democracy.

Chomsky, together with co-author Edward Herman wrote at length about this phenomenon in their 1988 book Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media. That analysis, however, mostly focused on the mass media communication system within the United States.

This week’s episode of the Global Research News Hour focuses on the system of thought control as it has manifested itself within Canada.

In the first half hour, we hear from John Ahniwanika Schertow, the editor and founder of Intercontinental Cry. Since 2004, IC has been highlighting stories of Indigenous struggle and resistance not just on Turtle Island (North America) but in South America, the African continent, Asia and points around the globe. As Schertow explains in this twenty minute interviewer with special guest host Kimlee Wong, Canadian media, including so-called alternative media, systematically ignore the realities confronting the world’s 5000 Indigenous Peoples. Such omissions have consequences not only for the lives, Indigenous cultures and languages, but also for the ecosystems they fight to protect for future generations.

Intercontinental Cry, like Global Research, depends on donations to carry on its important work. The media platform has just begun a fund-raiser. Please consider an on-line donation at this site:

In the second half hour, we hear from Yves Engler, prominent Montreal-based writer and Canadian foreign policy critic. In previous books, such as The Black Book on Canadian Foreign Policy, and Canada and Israel: Building Apartheid, Engler confronted the mistaken impression a lot of Canadians have about their country as a positive influence on the world stage. His latest book A Propaganda System: How Canada’s government, corporations, media, and academia sell war and exploitation details exactly how numerous institutions within the nation have been so successful generating this mythology. Yves Engler elaborates on his analysis in the second half hour.

As of Tuesday October 11, Yves Engler is partaking in a cross- Canada book tour. Details available here. 



Length (59:26)

Click to download the audio (MP3 format)

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  1. Yves Engler, 2016: “A Propaganda System: How Canada’s government, corporations, media, and academia sell war and exploitation”, p.186. Fernwood Publishing
  2. Excerpt of a speech in the film Manufacturing Consent – Noam Chomsky and the Media (1992) by Mark Achbar and Peter Wintonick;
  3. ibid

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