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The killing of Colten Boushie

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Myths can be as powerful as they are pernicious.

John F Kennedy, a reckless president who behaved dangerously in private and public, appeared to understand this, not only perhaps about his true character, but about the true character of America.

"The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie - deliberate, contrived, and dishonest - but the myth - persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic," Kennedy told Yale University students in a commencement address on June 11, 1962. "Too often, we hold fast to the cliches of our forebears ... We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought."

I was recently reminded of Kennedy's rare moment of sincerity when Canada and its peoples were confronted, once more, with the powerful and pernicious myths still fixed in the minds of Canadians and outsiders alike, about a profoundly troubled nation and its defamatory past, present and - unless the repugnant truth is finally acknowledged - future.

The prevailing, comforting opinion, promoted by a coterie of observers unencumbered by the discomfort of thought, is that Canada is an oasis of harmony, tolerance and tranquillity, particularly when compared with the spigot of ignorance, hate and violence that defines Donald Trump's America.

That risible myth about the true character of Canada was punctured in the raw, revealing aftermath of the acquittal in a Saskatchewan courtroom earlier this month of a white farmer by an all-white jury, in the shooting death of a 22-year-old indigenous man, Colten Boushie.

In an instant, the halting verdict made plain what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's duplicitous stunts, tweets and carefully calibrated photo ops attempt, in part, to camouflage: Canadians are largely unrepentant settlers on native land who have, historically and systematically, employed every........

© Al Jazeera