It might be Canada’s largest non-party political organisation, founded in the 1980s by nationalist Mel Hurtig to fight for values white Volvo-driving Anglophones considered ‘Canadian’. In the great tradition of officially non-partisan Canadian institutions, it supports the NDP in every possible way short of formal endorsement.
The Council has evolved into a mailing list, bombarding its reputed 100,000 membership with constant appeals help the Council to save water resources, public mail delivery, public health care, public education, and other things that keep this country civilized. The appeals always exhort members to send money to the Council as the last line of defense against corporate globalization and the Canadian Alliance. The Council’s real world strategy generally revolves around raising money to send their sugar-sweet Volunteer Chairperson Maude Barlow on yet another 30-city speaking tour. Barlow is articulate and knowledgeable on a wide variety of issues, but these tours don’t do much except rally troops that are too old to be rallied and don’t have any weapons except niceness and a willingness to be outraged. Anyone under 65 attending Barlow’s sessions is swiftly driven into clinical depression by her apocalyptic prognostications. Local Council chapter meetings typically consist of a dozen seniors listening to young, burnt-out volunteer activists list all the things that the chapter has been trying to stop. No one at the Council of Canadians, Barlow included, seems to understand that it will take progressive social movements larger and more dynamic than well-intentioned but too-comfortable groups of a dozen donating $50 a year to stop corporate Canada from devouring everything.