Making Peace Vigil

Standing up for peace


Posted by strattof on July 28, 2016

During the election campaign, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau indicated that, under the Liberals, Canada would turn away from the Harper government’s legacy of war-making and instead work to bring peace to the world’s war-ravaged regions.

While Trudeau sounds less belligerent than his predecessor, his government is, sadly, not working for peace. Instead it is making more war. For example:

  • In March, the Trudeau government extended Canada’s military mission in Iraq and Syria for another 12 months and tripled the number of troops on the ground.
  • In April, the Trudeau government approved the $15 billion deal made by the Harper government to sell combat vehicles to Saudi Arabia.
  • Earlier this month, the Trudeau government committed to sending troops to Latvia as part of a new NATO force to deter “Russian aggression.”




Kudos to the Trudeau government for keeping its election promise to stop Canadian bombing in Syria. Unfortunately, this (apparent) move towards peace is undermined by the government’s expansion of the scope, as well as the length, of Canada’s military mission in the region.

For example:

  • Ground troops: The Trudeau government first tripled the number of Canadian troops on the ground to a total of 600 and then increased the number again to 830. These are Canadian soldiers who train Iraqi soldiers to kill.
  • Military helicopters: The Trudeau government has sent three military helicopters to Iraq to support Canadian ground troops.
  • Deadly weapons: The Trudeau government is providing Iraqi forces with weapons, including machine guns and mortars.


Will western military operations in Iraq and Syria bring about any good outcome? Have the first 13 years of the so-called “war on terror” had a beneficial outcome?

  • Descent into murderous chaos in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya
  • The emergence of Daesh, otherwise known as ISIS, in Iraq, a direct result of the 2003 US-led occupation of Iraq
  • Immense human suffering


Rather than working for peace, the Trudeau government continues to support NATO, an aggressive military alliance which perpetrates violence across the entire globe.

  • In June, Canada participated in a massive NATO military exercise in Poland and the Baltic states, all part of the former Soviet Union.
  • Earlier this month, Prime Minister Trudeau committed to an open-ended NATO military mission in Latvia, a state that shares a border with Russia.


Rather than seeking a peaceful resolution to hostilities between Ukraine and Russia, the Trudeau government is fanning the flames of war.

  • In March, the Trudeau government extended Canada’s support for Ukrainian armed forces for another year.
  • Also in March, the Trudeau government expanded the econ-omic sanctions placed on Russia by the Harper government.
  • Earlier this month, Prime Minister Trudeau signed a free-trade agreement, negotiated by the Harper government, that may allow Canada to export weapons to Ukraine.


What started the conflict and tension in Eastern Europe? According to most western leaders, it was precipitated by Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

It is not quite that simple. Left out of this version of events is the role of NATO in initiating the crisis.


Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, NATO has been expanding eastward to Russia’s borders.

  • In 1999, Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic became NATO members.
  • In 2004, Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania joined NATO.
  • NATO has also made overtures to Georgia and Ukraine.


With the $15 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia, Canada became the world’s second largest exporter of arms to the Middle East. The Trudeau government also continues to sell arms to China, as well as to the US, “the most warlike country on earth,” according to former president Jimmy Carter. Today, Canada is the sixth largest military exporter in the world, up from 10th place in 2014.


  • Let Prime Minister Trudeau know you want Canada to stop making war in Iraq and Syria and Eastern Europe; to start making diplomatic peacemaking our top international priority; to get out of NATO; and to stop selling arms: or 613-995-0253.
  • Send the same message to Minister of National Defence, Harjit Sajjan, and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Stéphane Dion: or 613-995-7052 or 613-996-5789.

  • Create a peace symbol on any surface: for example, a sidewalk using chalk; your garden using flowers or rocks; a cake using icing. Take a photo of your peace symbol and email it to You will, in return, receive a peace gift and become eligible to win a major peace prize.

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