Making Peace Vigil

Standing up for peace

PEACE IN THE NEW YEAR

Posted by strattof on December 31, 2015

Tomorrow will be 2016. A new year is a time for new beginnings.

Canada did not work for peace in 2015. Indeed, our governments, both federal and provincial, continue to demonstrate an enthusiasm for war.

  • Canada’s military commitment in Iraq and Syria keeps on escalating.
  • Closer to home, Regina high schools, both Public and Catholic, are again offering a program in military training.

Let’s all work for peace in 2016!

IRAQ & SYRIA

WAGING WAR

  • In April, the Harper government extended Canada’s military mission in Iraq for a year and expanded it into Syria.
  • During the election campaign, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to end Canada’s bombing mission in Iraq and Syria. As of December 31, Canadian war planes are still flying bombing missions.
  • Prime Minister Trudeau also pledged to enhance Canada’s training mission in Iraq. While there has been no increase in the number of special forces trainers, their role has expanded to include ground warfare, as well as training.

In other words, Canada’s mission in Iraq and Syria keeps on expanding—even after the election. 

DISASTERS OF WAR

  • Civilians are always the main casualties of air strikes.
  • Bombs also destroy a nation’s infrastructure.
  • War creates refugees. Syria is the world’s top source country for refugees. 4 million Syrians have already fled their country.
  • War is traumatic for both civilians and soldiers.

FUTILITY OF WAR

Western military operations against ISIS will not have a good outcome if the first 13 years of the so-called “war on terror” are anything to go by:

  • Descent into murderous chaos in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya: Where is the promised freedom and democracy?
  • The emergence of ISIS in Iraq, a direct result of the 2003 US-led occupation of Iraq.
  • More violence, more death, more suffering, more refugees.

WAGING PEACE

  • No bombing! No training! No boots on the ground!
  • Work actively for peace in Iraq and Syria: a non-violent negotiated resolution to the conflict.

MILITARY TRAINING IN REGINA HIGH SCHOOLS 

6 KEY FACTS

  1. In February 2015, Regina high schools, both Public and Catholic, began offering a military training program to grade 11 and 12 students. The program is set to run again in 2016.
  2. The program is offered during regular school hours.
  3. It has two components: a) Canadian Studies 30, a required course for graduation; and b) Basic Military Qualifications 30L, an elective. Both components are taught at the Regina Armouries.
  4. Instruction in weapons handling is part of the program.
  5. Students earn 2 credits for taking the program. They are also paid $2,000.
  6. The military training program has the support of the governing Saskatchewan Party and the opposition NDP.

6 KEY QUESTIONS

  1. Should we be educating students for war? How about encouraging them to resolve conflicts non-violently?
  2. Should we be turning our schools into military recruitment centres?
  3. Is weapons handling something we want young people to learn in school?
  4. Is the program targeting students from low-income families?
  5. Wouldn’t it be better for society if students were paid $2,000 to take Math or English or Biology?
  6. How about a high school course for credit in Peace Studies? 

STUDY WAR NO MORE!

“I would no more teach children military training than teach them arson, robbery, or assassination.”—Eugene Debs (1855-1926), founder of the Socialist Party of America

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