Making Peace Vigil

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Archive for April, 2011

ELECTION SPECIAL: 6 MORE QUESTIONS FOR CANDIDATES

Posted by strattof on April 28, 2011

1

WHY IS THE WAR IN LIBYA NOT AN ELECTION ISSUE? 

 ●The declared goal of the mission is to protect civilians from Colonel Qaddafi’s security forces. There are credible reports that the western bombing campaign has already killed a number of civilians. Last week, President Obama authorized the utilization of missile-armed drones in Libya. The use of these unmanned aircraft is sure to result in yet more civilian casualties. The evidence is overwhelming that drone usage in Pakistan and Afghanistan massively increases “collateral damage.”  ●How many millions (or will it be billions?) is this mission going to cost Canadians? Why is nobody in Ottawa asking this question? This is taxpayers’ money that could be spent on healthcare, education, and affordable housing. ●For the first time ever, Canada is fighting two wars simultaneously.

“You can bomb the world to pieces, but you can’t bomb the world to peace.” –Michael Franti

2

ARE YOU COMMITTED TO A HIGH QUALITY, NATIONAL SYSTEM OF EARLY LEARNING AND CHILD CARE?

 In 2008, Canada had regulated child care spaces for only 20.3% of children under 5. Canada ranks last among wealthy nations in terms of access to early learning and child care spaces. It also ranks last in spending on early childhood development programs. Developmental psychology experts agree that the quality of early childhood education is a determining factor in a child’s development. To be denied high quality early childhood education is a tragedy for the children who never reach their potential. It is a catastrophe for Canadian society which will increasingly depend on a well-educated population for its prosperity.

 “The child is father of the man.” –William Wordsworth, My Heart Leaps Up

 3

WILL YOU SPEAK OUT AGAINST CURRENT CANADIAN MILITARY SPENDING?

Canada is the 6th largest military spender among the 28 NATO countries, trailing only the US, the UK, France, Germany, and Italy, all of which have much larger populations and economies. We are the 13th largest military spender in the world.

In 2010-11, we will spend at least $22.3 billion on the military. That’s 61% more than we spent in 1998-99 and 18% more than during the peak spending year of the Cold War. Indeed, Canada is now spending more on the military than it has at any time since the end of World War II.

What a difference it would make if that money were to be invested in early childhood education, healthcare, and affordable housing!

“You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war.”  Albert Einstein

4

WHY DO FIRST NATIONS YOUTH LIVING ON RESERVES NOT HAVE AN EDUCATION EQUAL TO THAT OF OTHER CANADIAN CHILDREN?

The federal government, which is responsible for education on reserves, pays between $2,000 and $3,000 less per student than provincial governments pay to educate all other students. Is it any wonder that the high school graduation rate for on-reserve schools in Saskatchewan is just 38%, as compared to 90.5% for schools in the provincial education system?

To address this funding inequality, the federal government can take the following measures: 1) Remove the 2% cap on funding increases for the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs; 2) Index increases for First Nations programs to inflation and population growth, retroactive to 1996, the year the cap was introduced.

When we open a door to a school, we close a door to a jail cell.” –Shawn Atleo, Chief, Assembly of First Nations

5

SHOULD THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SUBSIDIZE THE TAR SANDS INDUSTRY?

The federal government provides an annual subsidy of approximately $1 billion to the tar sands industry. Despite claims to the contrary, there is nothing ethical about tar sands oil extraction–a process which, in and of itself, is a horrendous environmental catastrophe: ●The extraction process emits 3-5 times more carbon dioxide than regular oil. ●It takes 3-7 barrels of water to produce a single barrel of oil.

Moreover, the industry has consistently displayed a disregard for the health and land rights of the First Nations communities living downstream from the tar sands.

“To mine or steam out bitumen, the tar sands industry burns enough natural gas every day to heat four million homes.” Andrew Nikiforuk

6

 WILL YOU WORK TO CREATE A JUST AND LASTING PEACE BETWEEN ISRAEL AND PALESTINE? 

Rather than working for peace between Israel and Palestine, the Canadian government has chosen to side with one of the combatants, Israel.

  •  In 2006, when Hamas won Canadian-monitored and facilitated Palestine parliamentary elections, Canada was the first country after Israel to cut its assistance to the Palestinian Authority.
  • During the December 2008–January 2009 Gaza War, the Canadian government sided with Israel and exonerated it from all blame–even though Israel’s illegal blockade of Gaza and illegal West Bank settlements were major causes of the conflict. At the same time, it demonized Hamas, Gaza’s democratically elected government, calling it a terrorist organization, and accusing it of starting and prolonging the crisis by firing rockets into Israel. More than 1,400 Palestinians were killed in the three-week war –as compared to only 13 Israelis. Despite the lopped-sidedness of the death and destruction, Canada did not reconsider its one-sided, pro-Israel/anti-Palestine policy.
  • When, in June 2010, Israeli forces killed nine Turkish activists on a ship carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza, most world leaders denounced Israel and called for an end to the Gaza blockade. But not the Canadian government, which  uttered not a single word of condemnation.
  • Hypocritically, the Canadian government regularly calls for new sanctions on Iran for its nuclear program, but it never asks Israel to give up its sizable, undeclared arsenal of nuclear weapons or to sign the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons–to which Canada is a signatory.

By failing to be even-handed, Canada has become complicit in the bloodshed on both sides of the conflict.

 “The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.” Martin Luther King Jr.

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6 MORE QUESTIONS TO ASK CANDIDATES

Posted by strattof on April 21, 2011

1. What will you do to ensure safe, secure, and affordable housing for all Canadians?

Between 150,000 and 300,000 Canadians do not have a home. 3,618 of those Canadians are homeless in Regina. More than 1.5 million households–or almost 13% of all households in Canada–live in ‘core housing need,’ meaning they can’t find a home that costs less than 30% of their household income, that has enough room for its occupants, and doesn’t need major repairs. In Regina, the percentage is even higher: 20%.

What the federal government can do to respond to the housing crisis: ●Support Bill C-304–an Act to ensure safe, secure, and affordable housing for all Canadians–when it is reintroduced in the next parliament ●Work with the provincial and municipal levels of government to develop a national housing strategy ●Maintain current annual funding of $1.7 billion for social housing ●Commit to long-term federal funding and engagement in housing and homelessness.

Feed the hungry. Clothe the naked.  Shelter the homeless.” –from the Corporal Acts of Mercy.   

2. Why do First Nations youth living on reserves not have an education equal to that of other Canadian children?

The federal government, which is responsible for education on reserves, pays between $2,000 and $3,000 less per student than provincial governments pay to educate all other students. Is it any wonder that the high school graduation rate for on-reserve schools in Saskatchewan is just 38%, as compared to 90.5% for schools in the provincial education system?

To address this funding inequality, the federal government can take the following measures: 1) Remove the 2% cap on funding increases for the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs; 2) Index increases for First Nations programs to inflation and population growth, retroactive to 1996, the year the cap was introduced.

 When we open a door to a school, we close a door to a jail cell.” Shawn Atleo, Chief, Assembly of First Nations

3. Where do you stand on “tough on crime” legislation?

Reality Check:

  • Crime in Canada began to decline in 1991, long before Stephen Harper’s government began to introduce “tough on crime” legislation.
  • According to Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page, the legislation will more than double the annual spending on the country’s prisons.
  • In March, Stephen Harper’s government was found guilty of being in contempt of parliament for refusing to release detailed cost estimates of its “tough on crime” agenda.
  • If even half of the $4.4 billion Canada currently spends annually on imprisoning people were to be invested in education, healthcare, and affordable housing, all Canadians would benefit enormously.

Jails and prisons are designed to break human beings, to convert the population into specimens in a zooobedient to our keepers, but dangerous to each other.” –Angela Davis

4. Will your party push for long-term, predictable, and sustainable funding for public transit?

●Public transit reduces annual greenhouse gas emissions by 2.4 million tones. ●Transit saves about $115 million in annual healthcare costs related to respiratory illness ●Transit reduces vehicle operating costs for Canadian households by about $5 billion.

Concern for the environment, along with sky-rocketing gas prices has caused a surge in demand for public transportation. Increased funding is needed to expand and renew transit systems. Canada also needs a national transit policy, involving all three levels of government. We remain the only G8 nation without a central policy of predictable, long-term support for public transit.

  “Transit is hip, it’s healthier, and it’s no hassle.” David Suzuki

5. Why is the war in Afghanistan not an election issue?

9: Number of years Canadians have been fighting in Afghanistan. It is already the longest war Canadians have ever engaged in.

155: Number of Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan

10,000: Estimated number of Afghan civilians who have died in the war, more than half of them as a direct result of US-led NATO  military action.

2014: The year NATO has set to end the war, and even this is not a firm deadline.

18.5: The amount in billions of dollars that Canada will have spent on the war in Afghanistan by the end of 2011. This is money that could have been spent on healthcare, education, and affordable housing. How many more of our tax dollars will be spent on this war?

 You can bomb the world to pieces, but you can’t bomb the world to peace.” –Michael Franti

6. Do you support bringing nuclear waste from Ontario to Saskatchewan?

Despite claims to the contrary, nuclear power is not safe. There have been 33 serious incidents and accidents at nuclear power stations. The worst accident to date is the April 26 1986 explosion of a reactor at Chernobyl, which released 400 times more radiation than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Now, 25 years after Chernobyl, the nuclear disaster continues at Fukushima, with much of the radioactive contamination threatening Japan coming from uranium mined in Saskatchewan.

Even if nuclear accidents could somehow be eliminated, the stubborn problem of nuclear waste would remain. Nuclear reactors produce ever-accumulating radioactive wastes as spent fuel that will have to be managed for millennia–essentially forever. No safe and secure system of permanently storing nuclear wastes has been created.  

In 2009, Canada’s Nuclear Waste Management Organization began targeting Saskatchewan as a possible site for the burial of Ontario’s nuclear waste. No containers exist that can last as long as the radioactive materials they would have to encase.  Moreover, to transport the amount of waste already accumu-lated (about 45,000 tonnes) would require thousands of truckloads over several decades, with the deadly wastes being conveyed past farms, towns and cities.  

 What about investing in renewable energy and leaving the toxic uranium in the ground?Jim Harding

THE ELM DANCE AND PUBLIC VIGIL

TO COMMEMORATE 25 YEARS SINCE THE CHERNOBYL DISASTER

Monday April 25, 4 pm

Legislative Building Lawn

The Elm Dance took form in Germany in the 1980s, and in the 1990s moved eastward to areas poisoned by the Chernobyl disaster, the worst nuclear power plant accident in history. There, and especially in Novozybkov, the most contaminated of inhabited cities, the dance became an expression of the will to live. This simple beautiful dance has now spread around the planet as people gather to work together for the healing of the world.

Sponsored by Sacred Web SK, Making Peace Vigil, & Clean Green Saskatchewan

For more information, call 550-7023

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FEDERAL ELECTION : 6 QUESTIONS TO ASK CANDIDATES

Posted by strattof on April 14, 2011

1. Why did your party consent to Canada’s involvement in the military mission in Libya?

●The declared goal of the mission is to protect civilians from Colonel Qaddafi’s security forces. There are credible reports that the western bombing campaign has already killed a number of civilians. As the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq demonstrate, aerial bombings by western forces pose an enormous danger to civilian populations. ●How many millions (or will it be billions?) is this mission going to cost Canadians? Why is nobody in Ottawa asking this question? This is taxpayers’ money that could be spent on healthcare, education, and affordable housing. ●For the first time ever, Canada is fighting two wars simultaneously.

2. Do you think the Canadian government should purchase fighter jets?

●Last summer, the federal government announced its intention to purchase 65-F-35 fighter-bombers from Lockheed Martin for $16 million. According to Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page, the true cost of the purchase will be $30 billion. Washington defence analyst, Winslow Wheeler, says even this figure is too low, that the fighter jets will cost about $40 billion. ●These stealth fighter-bombers are weapons of aggression, not defence. Canada is not expecting an aerial attack against its territory. Rather these fighter-bombers are being purchased to allow Canada to participate in wars launched by the USA and its allies. Why is there always more money for weapons and war-fighting and never enough to spend on important social programs that benefit all Canadians?                                                                      

 3. Do you think corporate taxes should be cut or raised?

Corporate tax rates: 1993-2012

1993: 28%.

2003: 23%.

2008: 19.5%.

2010: 18%

2011: 16.5%

2012: a planned cut of 1.5% to 15%

Over the past two decades, Liberal and Conservative governments have cut corporate taxes by almost 50%. The cost of these cuts to the government over the period 2007-2012 is estimated to be $14 billion. This is money that could be spent on ending child poverty in Canada. Canada’s corporate tax rate is already considerably lower than that of the US, which stands at 35%, as compared to Canada’s 16.5%.  

4. How do you propose to end child poverty in Canada?

In 1989, the House of Commons unanimously resolved to eliminate poverty among Canadian children by the year 2000. Yet today 610,000 Canadian children, or nearly one in ten, are poor. Aboriginal people are disproportionately affected; in First Nations communities one in four children lives in poverty. Boosting the Child Tax Benefit to $5,100 per child would go some way to eliminating child poverty in Canada.

5.  Will you work for the removal of Abousfian Abdelrazik’s name from the UN 1267 list?

Abousfian Abdelrazik has  been cleared of all suspicion of terrorist activities by both the RCMP and CSIS. Still his name remains on the UN 1267 “No-Fly” list, which prevents him from earning a salary, receiving gifts or loans of money, or maintaining a bank account. The Canadian government can lift the sanctions from Mr. Abdelrazik in Canada. It can also lobby UN Security Council members to have Mr. Abdelrazik’s name removed from the 1267 list.                    

6. Do you support a fair, ambitious, binding international agreement to stop climate change?

On the 2011 Climate Change Performance Index, Canada ranks 57th out of 60. We are one of the top ten CO2 emitters in the world. Our country is also the only country to have reneged on its international obligations to fight climate change. Furthermore, Canada has undermined efforts to reach a new accord. A tax on carbon would be an important first step in improving Canada’s environmental performance.

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THE GOOD NEWS

Posted by strattof on April 7, 2011

War! Poverty! Injustice! Environmental Catastrophe! The flyers we distribute every Thursday on the Scarth Street Mall are filled with such bad news stories.

 In relating bad news, our intention is not to depress our readers. Rather it is to provide the motivation to resist the way things are in our world: the dollar and human costs of war, for example; the growing gap between rich and poor; the devastation of the environment.

But it is not all doom and gloom out there. Many positive developments have occurred in recent years. It is such occurrences that are the focus of today’s flyer. 

Good news stories also need to be told, as they, too, provide the motivation for resistance–this time by showing that the ongoing struggle for peace and justice is not futile but can accomplish much good in the world.

THE REGINA PUBLIC LIBARY

In 2003, the Library Board, with the support of City Council, announced the closure of three library branches–Connaught, Glen Elm, and Prince of Wales–along with the main branch’s Dunlop Art Gallery and Prairie History Room.

In response, Regina citizens mobilized, forming the Friends of the Regina Public Library. Leading five months of public protests and collecting more than 26,000 petition signatures, this group caused the closures to be rescinded.

Today, all nine branches of the RPL are flourishing and, in a remarkable turn of fate, the once doomed Prince of Wales is getting a brand new and much enlarged facility.

Kudos to the Friends of the RPL and the current Library Board.

REGINA TRANSIT

The Regina Citizens’ Public Transit Coalition just celebrated its 10th anniversary. A grassroots organization that advocates for high quality public transportation, it works for people and for the planet.

One of the Transit Coalition’s main achievements is the $15 monthly bus pass for low-income Regina residents, which was first introduced in 2003. A joint initiative of the City and the Province, it has made it much easier for many Regina residents to get to work and to use services in the city.   

In 2009, the Transit Coalition presented City Council with a petition, bearing nearly 8,000 signatures, requesting public transit service on public holidays and all day Sunday. 

As a result of this petition, Sunday transit service was extended by four hours, with buses now running from 8 am to 6 pm.

There is, however, still no bus service on public holidays. As a result, people without a car are unable to attend such community events as Canada Day celebrations or Remembrance Day services.

Kudos to Regina Citizens’ Public Transit Coalition, Regina Transit, the City of Regina, and the Province of Saskatchewan. To join the Transit Coalition and become an advocate for public transit in Regina, contact Terri Sleeva (k.t.sleeva@sasktel.net) or Catherine Verrall (cfverrall@yahoo.ca).

NUCLEAR POWER

In November 2008, the Government of Saskatchewan announced its intention to bring nuclear power to the province. Citizens once again mobilized, this time under the banner of Clean Green Saskatchewan, a grassroots organization whose main mandate is to educate the rest of us about problems with nuclear power.  

In June 2009, 1000s of the province’s citizens turned out for public consultations on uranium development, with 84% expressing opposition to the development of nuclear power, compared with only 14% supporting it. The vast majority (98%) also supported the development of alternative energy sources, such as wind and solar.  

As a result, in December 2009, the government ruled out the idea of nuclear power–at least for the meantime. Now, the government is looking to introduce small nuclear reactors to Saskatchewan. There is also a move afoot to bring nuclear waste to Saskatchewan for burial or reprocessing.

Congratulations to Clean Green Saskatchewan and the citizens of Saskatchewan. Thanks to the Government of Saskatchewan for listening to its citizens. When the prospect of small nuclear reactors or nuclear waste burial or reprocessing is raised, let the government know they are too dangerous and too expensive. To find out more about nuclear power and nuclear waste, go to www.cleangreensask.ca

THE EGYPTIAN REVOLUTION

In January 2011, the people of Egypt began to take to the streets demanding the overthrow of the dictatorial regime of President Hosni Mubarak. Backed by western governments, Mubarak had ruled Egypt for almost 30 years.

 After 18 days of peaceful pro-democracy demonstrations, the people of Egypt forced the resignation of their autocratic president.

  • All power to the Egyptian people. They provide a model for all of us in our struggle against undemocratic forces.
  • Shame on Prime Minister Stephen Harper who continued to support President Mubarak up until the very last moment.  

VIGIL FLYERS

MORE GOOD NEWS! You are still taking our flyers!!

Every Thursday for almost four years, we have been standing on the corner of Scarth Street and 11th Avenue handing out flyers. Each week an average of 144 Regina downtown workers and shoppers take one. 

  • Thanks so much for taking our flyers.
  • A special thanks to those who have stopped and discussed issues with us.
  • Let us know what other issues you would like us to examine.
  • Should you ever be free on a Thursday at noon, please join us.

The trouble is that once you see it, you can’t unsee it. And once you’ve seen it, keeping quiet, saying nothing, becomes as political an act as speaking out. There’s no innocence. Either way you’re accountable.”                                                                                           Arundhati Roy

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LIBYA: IS WAR THE ANSWER?

Posted by strattof on April 1, 2011

On March 19 2011, the 8th anniversary of the US “Shock and Awe” invasion of Iraq, a coalition of western forces began to bombard Libya with cruise missiles and air attacks.

The US-led coalition, dubbed Odyssey Dawn, includes Britain, France, Italy, and Canada. Its stated goal is to enforce the United Nations Security Council resolution # 1973: 1) “to take all necessary measures to protect civilians…under threat of attack” and 2) to establish a no-fly zone in Libyan airspace “to help protect civilians.”

However, as both Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Obama have indicated, Odyssey Dawn is less about advancing humanitarian welfare and more about achieving the political goal of regime change: the removal of Libyan president Muammar Qaddafi from power.

Canada has sent six F18s, the frigate HMCS Charlottetown, and 430 military personnel to Libya. Parliament was not consulted until military action had already been taken. Still, with scarcely any debate, all three opposition leaders gave their consent to the mission. Now, for the first time ever, Canada is engaged in two wars simultaneously.

Earlier this week, in a bid to play-down the US role in the Libyan mission, the US-led coalition began to hand over control of military operations to NATO. The new commander of the now NATO military campaign in Libya is a Canadian, Lieutenant-General Charles Bouchard.  

WHY LIBYA?

How can we account for the difference in the response of western nations to the uprising in Libya, as compared to the uprisings in other Arab countries, such as Egypt or Yemen? There was no talk in Ottawa about helping the people of Egypt overthrow their dictatorial ruler. Indeed, Prime Minister Stephen Harper continued to back President Hosni Mubarak up until the very last moment. Similarly, western nations have been almost entirely silent in the face of Yemeni   government forces gunning down their own citizens. Yet these same nations all clamoured first for sanctions and then for military action against Libya.  

OIL: Western countries wish to gain more control over Libya’s energy sector. While Libya only produces about 2% of the world’s oil, it has Africa’s largest proven oil reserves. Libyan oil is also easy to access and high in quality, so production and refinery costs are low.

FINANCIAL INVESTMENTS: Western companies have massive investments in Libya. Canadian business interests in Libya include Suncor Energy, SNC-Lavalin, and Bombardier. All told, Canada has $2.2 billion worth of investments in Libya.

In the weeks preceding the passing of Security Council resolution # 1973, Colonel Qaddafi threatened that Libya would replace western businesses with companies from China, India, Russia, and Brazil.

If western governments were serious about democracy, they would not have done business with the Qaddafi regime in the first place. And most certainly, arms sales would have been prohibited. However, most of the military equipment that Qaddafi forces are now using to suppress the Libyan people comes from western countries, including Canada, which, between 2007 and 2009, exported $86,682 worth of arms to Libya. In 2008 alone, the US sold $46 million worth of weapons to Libya.

COMPLIANCE: In contrast to the leaders of many Arab nations, including Egypt and Yemen, Colonel Qaddafi has not always been compliant with the wishes of western nations.

1. When Colonel Qaddafi took over in a military coup in 1969, he nationalized the oil industry.

2. In the 1970s and 1980s, when the US was calling Nelson Mandela a terrorist, Colonel Qaddafi funded the African National Congress in its struggle against apartheid in South Africa.  

3. Colonel Qaddafi also used Libyan oil money to support the Palestine Liberation Organization in its struggle against Israel.  

4. The Qaddafi regime has been linked to the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie Scotland, as well as to other bombings and political assassinations in Europe.

5. For 25 years, Colonel Qaddafi tried to acquire nuclear weapons.

After 9/11, American authorities listed Libya as a “rogue state,” and hence as a target for western aggression. In 2003, after the “Shock and Awe” bombing campaign that leveled so much of Baghdad, Colonel Qaddafi, in a bid to save Libya from such devastation, began to make concessions to the west, opening up the Libyan economy to western investors and pledging to dismantle Libyan weapons of mass destruction.

Still, unlike many other western-backed dictators, such as Egypt’s Mubarak, Colonel Qaddafi has never become completely subservient to western powers, continuing in his support of the Palestinian people and regularly threatening to renationalize or reorient Libya’s oil business.     

CONSEQUENCES OF MILITARY INTERVENTION

  • Civilian casualties: The declared goal of the mission is to protect civilians from Colonel Qaddafi’s security forces. As the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq demonstrate, aerial bombings by western forces pose an enormous danger to civilian populations.     
  • Coalition casualties: Even though it’s a very lopsided war, it’s still a war. The other side is bound to inflict some damage.   
  • Building and infrastructure damage: What a waste of Libyan resources! Who is going to pay for the rebuilding of roads and communication facilities destroyed by the bombing?
  • A big bill for Canadian taxpayers: How many millions (or will it be billions?) is this mission going to cost Canadians?  Why is nobody in Ottawa asking this question?  This is money that could be spent on healthcare, education, and affordable housing.
  • An escalation of the Libyan conflict: The no-fly zone imposed on Iraq in the 1990s did not lead to peace but to a protracted civil war.
  • The strengthening of the Qaddafi regime: As more and more civilians are killed, Libyans may begin to perceive the military action as another instance of western countries bombing a Muslim nation.
  • The weakening of the Libyan democracy movement: Western intervention takes the initiative away from the Libyan people, who start to lose control of their country’s future.  
  • The plundering of Libyan resources by western corporations: In Iraq the plundering is almost complete. In Afghanistan it is under way.
  • The establishment of US-NATO military bases in Libya: The US has military bases in over 150 countries, including Egypt, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates.
  • The weakening of western democracies: As in Canada, none of the western leaders consulted elected representatives until after military action had been taken.

OTHER OPTIONS

It is wrong to stand by and watch civilian protesters being slaughtered by the forces of a dictator. However, the choice is not between doing nothing and taking military action. There are many other viable options:

1.Explore alternatives that make it possible to end the killing of civilians immediately and do no additional harm to civilians. Such alternatives would include ●pursuing a political solution ●seeking to negotiate a ceasefire ●creating a political framework for negotiations between opposing forces and the regime in order to initiate a peaceful transition.

2.Give the dictator an exit strategy. Because the west has not given Qaddafi an easy out, he has no option but to fight to the death.

3.Freeze assets.

4.Obtain diplomatic and political sanctions against the dictatorship.

5.Expel the dictatorial government from international organizations.

6.Impose economic and military weapons embargoes. Better yet, refuse to do business with or sell arms to dictators in the first place.

Sources for the information in this leaflet include:

Saskatchewan Peace News 18.1 (March 2011): To subscribe to this very informative local publication, contact the Regina Peace Council: peace.council@accesscomm.ca or 949-1222.

Democracy Now! This daily independent radio-TV news program, hosted by Amy Goodman, provides audiences with perspectives rarely heard in the mainstream media. It is available on line at http://www.democracynow.org/   

From Dictatorship To Democracy by Gene Sharp: Sharp argues that non-violent struggle is the only way to successfully bring down dictators. It is claimed that the protest movement that toppled President Mubarak in Egypt was influenced by Sharp’s ideas. From Dictatorship To Democracy is available on line at http://www.aeinstein.org/   

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