Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Leave it to Beaver

Does supporting Native people, working for social justice, and opposing war / invasions make you a bad Canadian? According to "The Beaver" magazine it does. Propagandhi singer Chris Hannah, a Winnipeg artist and tireless activist, has been voted Second Worst Canadian by the readers of the periodical, joining the ranks of Paul Bernardo, Karla Homolka and Clifford Olson. Plus Ultra, never one to shy away from controversy, would like to say that we are proud to come from the same city as the "2nd worst" Canadian and we encourage all Canadians to be as "bad" as him! Here is a proper article (with a little Plus Ultra magic) to get your blood boiling.

Local Singer-Activist Proud to be 2nd-Worst Canadian

By Rob Williams
Whats on Winnipeg

The frontman of local [Winnipeg, Manitoba] political thrash-punk band Propagandhi will go down in history as the second-worst Canadian of all time. But Chris Hannah, 36, isn't upset he's on the list compiled by The Beaver magazine, only that he came in second to late prime minister Pierre Trudeau by a couple of hundred votes in the online poll.

He encouraged his friends, family and fans to vote for him. In a newsletter sent to members of his record label, G7 Welcoming Committee, he wrote about being unpatriotic, nor standing for O Canada nor supporting Canadian troops, disliking Wayne Gretzky, cheering for Sweden and siding with First Nations' groups (among other things).

The noted practical joker threw his name into the contest because he thought it would be funny, but started taking it more seriously as he got into discussions with people about real issues surrounding nationalism and political revisionism.

"I think nationalism is a form of fundamentalism," Hannah says. "Canadians generally want to take vicarious credit for national pride and distant achievements like Alexander Graham Bell, 1812 or Wayne Gretzky, but deny culpability in any connection to Canadian history when it comes to the crimes of the state, like the continued theft of aboriginal land and the continued and underreported interference of the democratic process in Haiti, for example."

The humanitarian issues Hannah describes are something he and his bandmates -- bassist Todd Kowalski, drummer Jord Samolesky and guitarist Dave Guillas -- take seriously, addressing them in songs and organizing benefit shows for local community charities.

"Why can't a good person be a bad Canadian and why do people equate good patriotism or nationalism with being a good person?" Hannah says. "It's such an overblown, dangerous myth; it's absurd"

Last year, Hannah and his bandmates won $5,000 (which they donated to Haiti Action Network and Welcome Place, a non-profit organization helping refugees get started in the city) from the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN). The prize was for the song A Speculative Fiction, which talks about the mob mentality of nationalism and a fictional war between Canada and the United States.

The band received votes from across the country to win the songwriting award, much in the same manner Hannah almost won the title of Worst Canadian in the historical magazine, which came out yesterday. The cover story in The Beaver notes that Trudeau's "win" over Hannah is a "result that perhaps speaks as much about the perils of online voting as it does about the love-hate relationship Canadians have had with this paradoxical prime minister."

Hannah rejects the magazine's implication he rigged the vote, since he didn't force anyone to vote for him. He was more worried about some of the other names on the list, most notably Dr. Henry Morgentaler, who opened the country's first abortion clinic and fought to change Canada's abortion laws.

"If I take the results seriously, I think people should be ashamed Henry Morgentaler is considered for a worst-Canadians list as the guy who championed a woman's right to choose," he says. "I would like to think it's a mobilization by the fringe right to get his name on there."

The Beaver List
1. Pierre Trudeau
2. Chris Hannah
3. Henry Morgentaler
4. Brian Mulroney
5. Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka
6. Stephen Harper
7. Celine Dion
8. Jean Chr├ętien
9. Clifford Olson
10. Conrad Black

PETA with Propagandhi

Propagandhi -Nation States

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