Making Peace Vigil

Standing up for peace

MAKING MORE WAR: CANADA’S DEFENCE POLICY REVIEW

Posted by strattof on June 30, 2017

On June 6, Canada’s Minister of National Defence, Harjit Sajjan, made public the Trudeau government’s long-awaited defence policy review. It was a nasty shock for all Canadians who want our country to stop making war.

Here are some of the disturbing details:

  • A 70% increase in war spending over the next 10 years, from $18.9 billion in 2016-17 to $32.7 billion in 2026-27
  • 15 new warships ($60 billion)
  • 88 new fighter jets ($19 billion)
  • 5,000 more military personal, bringing the total number of troops to 101,500

Since 2001, Canada has been endlessly at war: Afghanistan, Libya, Ukraine, Iraq, Syria, Latvia—Canada has been or is there. Why do we keep making more war, rather than working for peace?

WHY IS CANADA INCREASING ITS MILITARY SPENDING?

There are at least two answers to this question:

  1. US PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP DEMANDED IT. Last month, Trump castigated members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) for “not paying their fair share” to cover NATO costs. Trump wants all NATO members to meet a 2014 goal of putting 2% of their GDP toward defence spending. (In 2016, Canada spent 1.2%.)
  2. PRIME MINISTER JUSTIN TRUDEAU WANTS IT. A more militaristic and war-making nation is, perhaps, what Trudeau had in mind when, shortly after the 2015 election, he said “Canada is back.”

There are a number of indications that, by “back,” Trudeau meant more war-making. For example, since coming to power, the Trudeau government has

  • Twice extended Canada’s military mission in Iraq and Syria, most recently until June 30 2017;
  • Extended Canada’s military mission in Ukraine for another two years, until March 2019;
  • Committed to lead a military mission in Latvia, as part of a NATO force to deter “Russian aggression.”

WHAT IS NATO?

NATO is a US-led military alliance of 28 countries. It is a threat to world peace.

  • NATO has armed forces around the globe.
  • NATO has over two million troops.
  • NATO states account for over 70% of world arms spending.
  • NATO insists on its right to employ nuclear weapons on a first-strike basis.

WAR-MAKING: WHO BENEFITS?

War is big business. Western countries, including Canada, are making big bucks off all the war-making.

  • The US is the largest market for Canadian military equipment.
  • Canada is the 2nd largest exporter of arms to the Middle East.
  • Canada is the 6th largest exporter of arms in the world.

WHO LOSES?

Citizens living in war zones: For them the price is horrendous: injury, death, bereavement, displacement, trauma, impoverishment.

Since Canada went to war in 2001:

  • Tens of thousands of civilians have been killed in Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, and Syria.
  • Many more have been injured.
  • Millions of people have become refugees.

Citizens of Canada: Though the wars are elsewhere, we also pay a price:

  • Dead or injured loved ones: 162 Canadians were killed in Afghanistan.
  • A shameful waste of money on war—money that could have been spent on healthcare, affordable housing, education, the environment, or the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 calls to action.

PEACEMAKING

What would a peacemaking Canada do?

  • Withdraw from the military missions in Iraq, Syria, Ukraine, and Latvia.
  • Develop a foreign policy independent of the US.
  • Get out of NATO.
  • Stop selling arms.
  • Make diplomatic peacemaking a top priority.

TAKE ACTION FOR PEACE

  • Let Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan know you want Canada to stop making war and to start working for peace:

justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca or 613-992-4211

harjit.sajjan@parl.gc.ca or 613-995-7051

  • Send the same message to your MP:

Ralph Goodale: ralph.goodale@parl.gc.ca or 306-585-2202

Andrew Sheer: andrew.scheer@parl.gc.ca or 306-332-2575

Erin Weir: erin.weir@parl.gc.ca or 306-790-4747

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