Making Peace Vigil

Standing up for peace

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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