Canada Needs an
Canada Needs an Anti-War Government
Oppose the Liberal Government's Hypocritical Promotion
Aggressive Role for Canada!
Among matters which concern
Canadians most are questions related to war
and peace. Canadians opposed the Harper government not least for its
extremist positions, opposition to peaceful resolution of conflicts and
warmongering activities. The Harper government offended Canadians with
boorish rhetoric and refusal to comply with international norms. This
its support for the war in Afghanistan, participation in bombing and
change in Libya, aggressive stance towards the peoples of Iran and
and the DPRK, support for regime change in Syria and, most recently,
embroiling Canada in a dirty war in Ukraine and another U.S.-led war in
and then Syria.
The Liberal Party, during the 2015 federal election,
gave the impression that
they also opposed this extremism and stood for peace. The Liberals
to a "proud tradition of international leadership" and cited the
creation of the
United Nations, the campaign against South African apartheid and a
ban landmines as hallmarks of Canadian foreign policy from which they
take their cues. The Liberals accused the Harper government of turning
back on the United Nations and multilateralism, giving the impression
support the right of sovereign UN members to determine their own
the peaceful resolution of conflicts between nations. The Liberals
the supposed humanitarian and peacekeeping capabilities of Canada's
forces. This was referred to as "restor[ing] Canada's leadership in the
Importantly, the Liberal platform stated, "We will end Canada's combat
mission in Iraq."
Since being elected, the Liberals have shown that in the
name of peace
they, like the Harper government, stand for war. Picking up the thread
Chrétien Liberal government's foreign policy review which never
Canada's participation in NATO, the government of Justin Trudeau has
revealed itself to be in lockstep with U.S. imperialism and its
establish its hegemony over all regions of the world. Besides other
has now fallen in line with the Obama program to take over UN
missions with the new nomenclature of "peace operations." It is
U.S. meddling in the peace process in Colombia and continuing Canada's
support for death squad democracy in Haiti as well as in Ukraine, as
Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion's visit to Kiev on
February 1 and the
government signalling its intention to continue to support the
Ukrainian government and to provide Canadian troops to train the
Rather than end Canada's combat mission in Iraq, reports say the
will soon announce an increase in the number of Canadian soldiers sent
to participate in the
It has been twenty years since the Chrétien
government conducted a review
of Canada's foreign policy following the demise of the Soviet Union in
1989-1990 period. This ended the bi-polar division of the world and
should have led to a new era of peace between the nations of the world
the Cold War was over. It should also have led to Canada being taken
out of the
aggressive U.S. military alliance NATO and calls for it to be
1994/95 review entitled Canada in the World did none of this.
Instead, the review gave rise to warmongering theories such as the
Responsibility to Protect. The review put forward the idea that the
objectives of Canada's foreign policy" should be: "the promotion of
and employment; the protection of our security, within a stable global
framework and; the projection of Canadian values and culture."
Now this government, in the name of bringing Canada's
foreign policy in
line with current realities, is using monopoly-sponsored think tanks
Liberal intelligentsia to promote its warmongering course in the name
peace. This was the concern of Ottawa Forum 2014: Rethinking
Canada's International Strategy and its triumphant return with Ottawa
Future. The Ottawa Forum is sponsored by the think tanks Canada
2020 and the Centre
for International Policy Studies (CIPS). Keynote
speakers in 2016 were Foreign Affairs Minister Dion and Defence
Minister Harjit Sajjan.
Dion used his speech at the Ottawa Forum 2016 to advance
the theory that
Canada's foreign policy experienced a "period of drift" over the past
Dion claimed that Canada suffered from a foreign policy of "isolation."
is the time to "remember [the] legacy" of Canada's foreign policy "and
re-engage with it," Dion said.
"If we are smart and we stand up for who we are, we can
be stronger as
a result of engagement and we can be there, where we should be, to
human rights and to project Canadian values," Dion said.
Dion presented a fairytale image of "the Canadian way"
in which crimes
and suppression of rights were described as "respect" and "peaceful
"[P]luralism, respect for one another, respect for our heritage
peoples), the very fact we speak the languages of the Commonwealth et
Francophonie, our ability to transcend difficult challenges in our own
democracy through peaceful means: the Clarity Act -- are the
forward," Dion said.
How can Canada "regain ourselves to again become
effective fixers and
rational players," Dion asked. He pointed to the meeting of North
foreign ministers which he hosted later that day in Quebec City. It is
example of how "we can strengthen the relationship, not just within
America but from it to the Caribbean, Latin America, even the world,"
In conclusion Dion said that political leaders "should
be guided by the
ethics of responsibility, as opposed to the ethics of conviction."
In this regard the government has also appointed Roland
Paris as Senior
Advisor to Justin Trudeau in the Prime Minister's Office. He is one of
people listed as principal secretaries of the Prime Minister. These
other Senior Advisors, Principal Secretary Gerald Butts and Chief of
Katie Telford. Paris is the former Founding Director of CIPS at the
of Ottawa from which he is now on leave and co-organizer with Taylor
of Ottawa Forum 2014. The National Post called Paris "the man
behind Justin Trudeau's foreign policy." The Post reported on
December 29 that Paris was working for the Liberals before the election
called and that "his fingerprints are clearly evident in the party's
platform." All the while Paris was also frequently quoted, before and
election, as an academic and expert commenting on Liberal foreign
prospects. Paris is also said to be present at "most, if not all, of
meetings with foreign leaders."
Contrary to Liberal rhetoric, Canadians opposed the
policy over the past 10 years not because of Canada's "isolation" but
of its unrepentant warmongering character, alignment with the aims of
imperialism and NATO, and the crimes of its military aggression in
Afghanistan, Libya, Mali, Iraq, Syria, Haiti and Ukraine, among other
countries. To refer to this as "isolation" is a hallmark of Liberal
should not be tolerated. The warmongering thread of the foreign policy
previous government runs straight through the governments which
and it is precisely this aspect which the Liberals plan to continue and
in the name of "the Canadian way" and "Canadian values."
What does the Minister of Foreign Affairs mean by the
responsibility as opposed to the ethics of conviction? He suggests that
"isolation" of the past 10 years was a result of the "conviction" of
government when it should have upheld "responsibility." The "solution"
presented is the opportunism and hypocrisy of the Liberals which know
end. Canadians will not stand for increased warmongering under the hoax
No to Any Aggressive Role for
Canada Out of Iraq, Syria and Ukraine Now!
Canada Needs an Anti-War
1. Canada 2020 describes itself as
"Canada's leading, independent
progressive think-tank." Its founders are Tim Barber, founding partner
public relations firm Bluesky Strategy Group and former staffer for the
Council Office, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International
Thomas Pitfield, former Senior Policy Advisor to the Leader of the
Government in the Senate under the previous Liberal government, and
specialist in corporate governance for IBM; and Susan Smith, a Bluesky
Strategy Group partner and former advisor to a Minister of Transport
Minister of Human Resources Development.
Its "Global Advisors" and "Canadian Advisors" include a
corporate executives. Canada 2020 says its objective is to "inform and
influence debate, to identify progressive policy solutions and to help
federal government for a modern Canada." It does this by "convening
authorities from Canada and abroad, generating original policy
prioritizing effective communication."
Its "partners" include: Air Canada; Automotive
Industries Association of
Canada; Biotechnology firm Amgen; Canadian Association of Petroleum
Producers; CIBC; CN Rail; Enbridge; Facebook; Google; General Electric;
Huawei; International Bank of Commerce; Accounting firm KPMG; Manulife;
RioTinto; Suncor Energy; Power Corporation; Pickworth Investments LP;
Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America; TD Bank; and
2. The Centre for International Policy
Studies (CIPS) at the University
of Ottawa was created in 2007 and is jointly funded by the university's
of Social Sciences and the Office of the Vice President-Research. Its
Director is Roland Paris. CIPS describes itself as a "leading centre in
for informed debate of foreign policy and international affairs."
CIPS has two areas of focus: "International security"
governance." It is based on the premise that post-war international
organizations "are struggling to adapt in a rapidly changing world,"
organizations are emerging, including "mixed private-public methods of
regulation, various types of specialized agencies, and hybrid
national-international bodies." It claims that the security challenges
which must be
addressed today include "the problems of failed and fragile states, the
gap between rich and poor societies, the proliferation of destructive
technologies, as well as the globalization of criminal networks,
Perverse Liberal Definition of Non-Combat Mission
The Liberal government is advancing the most perverse
whereby an increased Special Forces and infantry presence in Iraq and
Middle East and increased participation in the U.S. wars of aggression
regime change is equated with ending Canada's "combat mission" as the
Liberals promised in their election platform. The Globe and Mail reported
in Iraq and Syria with an announcement before
meeting in Brussels February 10-11. The report says that this will
greater numbers of Canadian Special Forces on the ground, a
component and an enlarged "training mission."
The Globe says
the announcement will be made by Prime
Minister Trudeau. It reports that the federal cabinet recently met with
Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff, to finalize the
plans. Canadian forces are also expected to join a NATO "training
which will see them stationed at "military camps" in Jordan, Turkey and
A "military source" told the Globe that Canada
may send a
battalion of "between 500 to 1,000" to the above "military camps."
International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau, while in London
attending a "donor conference" on Syria, told reporters, "We really
announce a holistic approach, and this includes all our contributions
of military, in terms of diplomacy and in terms of humanitarian
To "end Canada's combat mission in Iraq" is now, in a
new tortuous twist,
equated to withdrawing Canadian F-18 planes from bombing runs in Iraq
Syria while sending more Special Forces troops to Iraq, expanding the
"training mission" in which Canadian soldiers have already engaged in
combat, maintaining other Canadian military aircraft to aid U.S. and
coalition bombing and possibly even sending a Canadian battalion to be
stationed on foreign soil in one or more countries in the region.
Already on November 16, 2015, a CBC News article pointed
to the "strong likelihood Canadian commandos are in combat today." The
government and military figures have confirmed on several occasions
Canada joined the U.S.-led intervention in Iraq and Syria that Canadian
soldiers have been taking part in active combat, including efforts to
Supporting Extremism in Ukraine
Minister of Foreign Affairs Stéphane Dion visited
Kiev, Ukraine on
February 1 where he expressed the continued support of the Government
Canada for the extremist, pro-fascist Ukrainian government. Since
January 10, two hundred Canadian soldiers from the 5 Canadian
Mechanized Brigade Group, based in Valcartier, Quebec, have been
deploying to Canada's
Operation UNIFIER mission in Ukraine allegedly to train Ukrainian
They relieved the 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group from Petawawa,
Ontario, which deployed in August 2015 and has now returned to
Canada's mission was first
announced by the Prime Minister's Office in
Canada and the U.S. Department of Defence in April 2015 and described
as Canada joining the
latter's Ukraine National Guard training program. Ukraine's National
is comprised of fascist and neo-Nazi militias formed in the course of
U.S.-backed coup against the Ukrainian government in February 2014.
militias, such as the Azov Brigade, have carried out untold atrocities
crimes against the people of eastern Ukraine in the coup government's
attempts to bring these regions under its control.
With the growing awareness of Canadians about the forces
supporting in Ukraine, government news releases now refer only to the
Forces of Ukraine, which includes infantry, navy, the air force and the
The Department of National Defence claims that Canada's
in Ukraine "provides its members with an excellent opportunity for the
Canadian Armed Forces to learn from the recent operational experiences
their Ukrainian counterparts." Another indication that Canada's
involves assisting fascist militias is the fact that its roles include
basic soldier skills, such as how to shoot, move and communicate on the
battlefield." The Canadian government has also deployed police "to
Ukraine's patrol police reform" and "are also providing strategic
Ukrainian security institutions."
The Global Affairs Canada press release describing
Dion's visit to Ukraine referred
to a visit to Maidan Square in Kiev in which the Minister of Foreign
"laid flowers at a memorial honouring those who were killed during the
protests against the former regime." It further states that Maidan
the site of "the 2013-2014 protests during which many protestors were
They became known as the 'Heavenly Hundred.'"
A detailed study by University of Ottawa Professor and
Visiting Scholar Ivan Katchanovski presented at the Annual Meeting of
American Political Science Association in San Francisco, September 3-6,
concluded that the massacre was "rationally planned and carried out
goal of the overthrow of the government and seizure of power."
Dr. Katchanovski's study found evidence of "the
involvement of an
alliance of the far right organizations, specifically the Right Sector
Svoboda, and oligarchic parties, such as Fatherland. Concealed shooters
spotters were located in at least 20 Maidan-controlled buildings or
various evidence that the protesters were killed from these locations
some 70 testimonies, primarily by Maidan protesters, several videos of
'snipers' targeting protesters from these buildings, comparisons of
the specific protesters at the time of their killing and their entry
bullet impact signs."
"Peace Operations Strategy" for Foreign Occupation
Officials from Global Affairs Canada (formerly the
Department of Foreign
Affairs, Trade and Development), the Department of National Defence and
the RCMP held a "brainstorming session" on January 29 to devise a
Operations Strategy" for the new Liberal government. The term "peace
operations," which is now used rather than peacekeeping missions,
takeover of UN missions by U.S. command, where the U.S. will "play a
role in driving reform and shaping the future of UN peace operations."
Walter Dorn, a Royal Military College professor and
peacekeeping told Embassy News
that he was present at the January 29
meeting. According to Dorn, the phrase "peace operations" is now used
"UN operations have come to encompass much more than traditional
post-conflict peacekeeping -- they play a major role in building peace,
monitoring ceasefires and providing humanitarian assistance and
social reconstruction, among other activities."
Dorn suggested that Canada would be well placed to join
or play a large
role in "bilingual missions" such as the military presence in Haiti,
d'Ivoire, Mali and the Central African Republic. Embassy
that J.L. Granatstein, a fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute has
indicated that "there are rumours the Liberal government is looking at
bolstering a small UN mission in Burundi."
Peacekeeping to Meet War Aims," TML
November 21, 2015 - No. 36.
2. The Canadian Global Affairs
Institute is a "charitable, independent,
non-partisan, research institute" focusing on Canadian foreign policy,
policy and international aid. Its mission is to "be a catalyst for
Canadian global engagement." It is affiliated with the School of Public
at the University of Calgary.
The Canadian Global Affairs Institute takes part in a
Working Group with the Canadian International Council which hosted
a conference on "The Future of Fighting" and the use of drones in
Its Advisory Council includes Ian Brodie, former Harper
Chief of Staff; Jean Charest, former Liberal Premier of Quebec; John
Minister and Deputy Prime Minister; Anne McGrath, former Chief of Staff
Jack Layton and Thomas Mulcair; Dan
Hays, former Liberal Senator; Robert Fowler, former foreign policy
adviser to Prime Ministers Pierre Elliott
Trudeau, John Turner and Brian Mulroney; and Peter Harder, who
led Justin Trudeau's transition team.
The Institute is funded "mainly by corporate, foundation
donations and sponsorships. These sources share the belief that an
electorate will in turn produce an informed polity," the Institute's
The identity of the donors is not disclosed.
Important Questions of War and Peace
Preoccupations of New Foreign Policy Advisor
- Sam Heaton -
Halifax says NO! to war
outside Halifax International Security Forum November 17, 2012.
(Halifax Media Coop)
Roland Paris is Senior Advisor to Prime Minister Justin
Trudeau. He was
appointed to this post in November 2015. Paris has played a significant
in the efforts of the Liberal intelligentsia and think tanks to sort
problems of a Liberal foreign policy for Canada today. As a frequent
commentator on Canadian foreign policy and collaborator with NATO and
other institutions of U.S. imperialism such as the Halifax
Forum, Paris' preoccupations are a cause for concern for Canadians, who
would like to see Canada and its government as a force for peace.
Paris was the organizer of the Ottawa Forum 2014:
International Strategy with Taylor Owen. Owen is an Assistant Professor
Digital Media and Global Affairs at the University of British Columbia,
of the Canadian International Council publication OpenCanada,
the Board of Directors of the Centre for Governance and Innovation
and co-editor with Paris of the collection The World Won't Wait:
Needs to Rethink its Foreign Policies.
In 2013, Paris became one of two Canadians recruited by
Halifax International Security Forum to participate in its "Agenda
Group" to formulate priorities for its annual meeting.
In March 2014, Paris was appointed by
then-Secretary-General of NATO
Anders Fogh Rasmussen to "an expert panel tasked with developing
recommendations to strengthen the trans-Atlantic partnership."
Paris is a proponent of "digital democracy" -- a form of
which governments use social media to intervene in the internal affairs
sovereign countries. He hailed the partnership of the Department of
Affairs, Trade, and Development (now Global Affairs Canada) under John
Baird with the Munk School to use social media to undermine the Iranian
government in February 2014.
Self-Admitted Crisis of Liberal Internationalism
and others involved with private foreign policy think tanks are
the fact that the old Liberal theories used to justify Canada's
U.S. imperialism and aggression are in deep crisis. Owen writes in
a new Liberal foreign policy," published on the OpenCanada website 10
after the October 19, 2015 federal election, "The world has changed
Liberals were last in power. As a result, Trudeau needs to re-imagine a
internationalist agenda for Canada."
No! to international
gangsterism in the name
For instance, Owen and Paris admit that the theory of
Protect (R2P), the high ideal under which crimes were committed by
from the 1990s and beyond has been discredited. Paris claims that it
trapped by its own internal logic" and that "the Libya intervention was
problematic for R2P."
Owen says post-war international institutions, which
were part of a
"rules-based, open and transparent global system, whose goal is to
enhance the freedom of the individual," are now unable to "fulfill the
mandates they were built to advance." Owen calls for the Liberal Party
"imagine a 21st century internationalism." His concern is that, whether
the Liberals' election promises were sound, "there is not an underlying
philosophy to bind them together."
Owen asks, "How do the states that built the postwar
continue to promote and protect the individual in a world where states
diminishing power?" He calls for a new era in which the state "works to
protect the networks on which individuals empower themselves."
In their reflections on the Ottawa Forum 2014, Owen and
"effective international strategies often require coalitions of state
actors, private organizations, advocacy groups and individuals, both
outside Canada... Public-private networks can be diplomatic
multipliers' for Canada."
Push to Increase Military Spending
Writing for the Centre
for International Policy Studies (CIPS) website on June 18, 2014 Paris
"Last year, defence spending increased in all the world's regions but
North America, Western and Central Europe, and Oceania. While the
States remains the foremost military power today, if these investment
continue, Western militaries will eventually lose the technological
that they have long relied upon for their effectiveness."
NATO calls for all its member states to devote at least
two per cent of
gross domestic product (GDP) to military spending. This target was set
2006 at the insistence of the U.S. which spends more than 3.5 per cent
on the military, well above other NATO members. Only the UK, Turkey,
Greece and Estonia are estimated to have reached the 2 per cent target
As of 2014, Canada spent approximately 1 per cent of GDP on the
According to an article by Robert Greenhill and Megan
McQuillan for OpenCanada,
Canada's "global engagement" spending,
on official "development assistance" and defence was roughly 1.2 per
cent of GDP in
Paris authored another article on the CIPS website on
September 24, 2015
discussing Canada's military spending-to-GDP ratio. Paris referred to a
"striking longer-term trend" of what Greenhill and McQuillan call
"global engagement gap," where Canada's "defence expenditure as a
of GDP has been falling since the Mulroney years."
The military spending-to-GDP ratio measure "remains
said. "NATO members have decided that it is a significant indicator,
serves as a benchmark to examine trends in Canadian spending in
to previous years and to other countries' levels of defence spending."
Paris lamented that "only five NATO countries spent less
than Canada on
defence as a percent of GDP. That's in an alliance of 28. [...] One of
"Adapting the Global System of Rules and Institutions"
published an article in the Globe and Mail, June 20, 2014
where he said
that NATO "needs to get its house in order to face a more dangerous
He laid out the situation which he said political leaders "on both
sides of the
Atlantic need to describe" to "their publics." They "need to explain
world is becoming more dangerous and that ignoring [the] risks is not a
solution. If we do not reinvest in both our diplomatic and military
today, we will likely pay a much higher price later."
The risks referred to are
what Paris calls "four major shifts taking place
in world affairs." These are the alleged threat to a "rules-based
by Russia; "the sudden unravelling of states and political order across
the Middle East and North Africa;" the "rapid escalation of tensions
China and its neighbours;" and "the increasingly strained system of
international rules and institutions, which seems less and less able to
the security challenges arising from the first three shifts."
Paris has not a word to say about whether the actions of
posed any challenge to a "rules-based" order. According to the view he
forward, all international problems and crises originate from outside
imperialist system of states and are ones to which the imperialist
and adapt. Paris' predictable "solutions" include his call for NATO to
a firm stance towards Russia" which includes "regularly exercising NATO
combat forces in the eastern areas of the alliance," and "preparing the
Response Force to be deployed at shorter notice" as well as building up
military equipment on Russia's frontiers.
Paris also says NATO countries must "develop the
and techniques" to combat "non-linear types of aggression" and
consumption of Russian energy products in Europe. Of course, NATO must
also focus on the Middle East and China's "more aggressive posture."
"NATO countries, including Canada, have benefited
enormously from the
relatively peaceful and open international order that has prevailed for
70 years," Paris writes. "If they commit to doing so, the Western
their global partners should be able to extend this period for decades
But it will not happen by itself, and cracks in the foundations of this
"A More Comprehensive Approach to the Problems of
Paris is a supporter of Canada's military mission in
Iraq and Syria. However, in a January 2015 CIPS Policy Brief, he points
"challenges" and "hard lessons" illuminated by previous imperialist
One such "hard lesson" according to Paris was on the
"sometimes-counterproductive effects of deploying massive Western
ground forces as front-line combatants in Muslim countries where there
is widespread suspicion and
resentment of Western power, even among our nominal allies." One
that Paris thinks the deployment of "massive Western ground forces" in
non-Muslim countries is greeted with balloons and streamers. Has he
about Viet Nam, Korea and the anti-fascist war, to name a few? The
in Paris' view is not the deployment of "massive Western ground forces"
that "Muslim countries" are suspicious and resentful, i.e., that the
According to Paris, "Canada can and should be a
leader in an
international campaign for a more comprehensive approach to the
failed and fragile states." Besides "lack of security," the problems of
and fragile states" are "poor governance and lack of economic
he says. Important in this regard is, "Employment for young people,
against radicalization, investment to promote sustainable market-driven
and governments that serve their people rather than preying on them,"
Is this like the fairytale about "building schools" in
course, Canada must also maintain combat-capable military forces, which
a kind of insurance policy in an uncertain world. Indeed, we should
in our military and reverse recent cuts. Further, we must be willing to
these forces, including in combat roles, when it is in our interest to
But we are comforted to learn that, "In the long run,
however, we cannot
kill our way to a safer world."
Paris concludes that on the mission in Iraq it would be
for any Canadian government" to withdraw its forces and that instead,
government "has an obligation to ensure that the larger campaign is
well-conceived and achievable."
1. The Canadian International
Council (CIC) began in
1928 as the
Canadian Institute of International Affairs. Its national secretary was
Reid, later chief aide to Prime Minister Lester Pearson during the
NATO and a diplomat in a variety of positions. In 2007 it was given its
present name. The Canadian Institute of Strategic Studies, another
think tank, was absorbed into the CIC in 2008. The CIC has working
on strategic studies, Arctic sovereignty and security, border issues,
the Americas, Canada-India relations, China and energy. Its Board of
includes Bill Graham, Chancellor of Trinity College and former Minister
Foreign Affairs and Minister of Defence under the previous Liberal
government; Janice Stein, Director of the Munk School of Global Affairs
the University of Toronto; Jodi White, Distinguished Senior Fellow at
Norman Paterson School of International Affairs in Ottawa; Scott Burk,
investment management firm executive; and Gerald Wright, former
of the Atlantic Council of Canada, vice-chairman of the Atlantic Treaty
Association, and vice-president of the Donner Canadian Foundation.
Former Directors include Perrin Beatty, President and
CEO of the
Canadian Chamber of Commerce; Jim Balsillie, former Research in Motion
CEO; Raymond Chrétien, a lawyer and diplomat and nephew of Jean
and Doug Horswill, Senior Vice President of the mining monopoly Teck
OpenCanada is a
digital publication founded in June
by the CIC in
collaboration with Taylor Owen. OpenCanada
is produced through a partnership
for International Governance Innovation, the Canadian International
and the Bill Graham Centre for Contemporary International History.
2. The Centre for Governance and
Innovation (CIGI) is
independent, non-partisan think tank focused on international
by experienced practitioners and distinguished academics, CIGI supports
research, forms networks, advances policy debate and generates ideas
multilateral governance improvements." Its founder and chair is Jim
former CEO of Research in Motion, who is also the namesake and primary
benefactor of the Balsillie School of International Affairs in
CIGI's government sponsors include:
The Government of Canada; the Canadian Foundation for
Innovation; the Canadian International Development Agency; Environment
Canada; the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council; the
International Development Research Centre; the Department of Foreign
Affairs and International Trade; Industry Canada; the Government of
Ontario; the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation; the Ontario
Research Fund; the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and
Innovation; the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and
Universities; and the City of Waterloo.
International sponsors include:
The Economic and Social Research Council; the Geneva
Centre for the Public Control of Armed Forces; and the United Kingdom
Department for International Development.
Private sponsors include:
Encana Corporation; Power Corporation; Scotiabank; TD
Friends of the Environment Foundation; the Rockefeller Foundation; Jim
Balsillie; Mike Lazaridis (Founder of Blackberry); and Brookfield Asset
Management (Formerly Brascan).
3. Robert Greenhill is the Executive Chairman of the
Initiative and also Senior Fellow at CIGI. Greenhill is former Managing
Director and Chief Business Officer of the World Economic Forum, Deputy
Minister and President of the Canadian International Development Agency
(CIDA), and President and Chief Operating Officer of the International
of Bombardier Inc. Greenhill also sits on the board of the UN Global
Compact, a pseudo-United Nations body made up of senior executives in
global monopolies who work to "transform the world through business,"
calling for companies to "align strategies and operations with
principles on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption,
actions that advance societal goals."
The Global Canada Initiative is a "not-for-profit,
organization based on the idea "Canada's ability to have a global
cannot be taken for granted" and that "it is in Canada's strategic
increase its global impact." Its mission statement says, "In an
multistakeholder world, the responsibility for global impact cannot
government alone. All stakeholders -- including the private sector,
social entrepreneurs and philanthropists -- have an important role to
It seeks to create "an exciting community of "Global
Canadians" -- Canadians in leadership positions at home and abroad who
passionate about Canada's global role;" An "up-to-date narrative on
global engagement;" and determine "issues on which Canada can truly
The Global Canada Initiative is privately funded and its
include executives with Bell Canada, telecommunications firm BCE
venture capital firm BDC Advantage, U.S. consulting firm McKinsey,
marketing firm Aimia, Zed Graphic Communications and the Canadian
Business Council (formerly the Canadian Council of Chief
Foreign Ministers of United States of North American
in Quebec City
- Enver Villamizar -
The foreign ministers of
and the United States met in Quebec City on January 29 and agreed to
work together on a number of
of great concern to the peoples of the world and the cause of peace and
development. The meeting is a result of the restarted North American
Summit process. The last meeting of the heads of state was in February
in Toluca, Mexico. The 2010 and 2015 meetings to be held in Canada were
cancelled and Canada has not hosted a North American Leaders Summit
2007. A 2011 meeting in Honolulu was cancelled after Mexican president
Calderon could not attend due to a helicopter crash which killed
his government, but a Summit did take place in Washington, DC in 2012.
foreign ministers' meeting was last held in January 2015 in Boston,
During this period of infrequent leaders' meetings,
Canada and the U.S.
were implementing the Beyond the Border Action Plan while the U.S. and
Mexico met separately at the head of state level. The January 29
meeting is part of the preparations for a meeting of the leaders of the
countries this year. In the mandate letter to Foreign Affairs Minister
Dion, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau emphasized his decision to focus on
improving relations with the U.S. and Mexico and hosting a Summit of
leaders in Canada.
According to Foreign
Minister Dion, the three ministers agreed
to collaborate in a number of areas, namely: the environment and clean
security cooperation, prosperity and competitiveness, the political
Haiti and Colombia and the Zika crisis. This cooperation takes place
domination of the U.S. imperialists who are demanding more and more
Canada and Mexico submit to their dictate and control to try to
prevent any sovereign nation-building project from developing that
benefit the peoples rather than the monopolies.
The first area which concerns the social and natural
environment was the
question of the environment and clean energy. The ministers said they
reach a North American agreement on carbon reduction and "build on the
momentum that has been created in COP21." In his remarks on the matter,
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry argued that the issue of green
an area where North American companies were positioned to make large
amounts of money. "And we are seeing in the United States today massive
numbers of new companies coming online. One of the fastest-growing
of the economy, with more and more new jobs, is coming in this energy
"Last year, global clean energy investment reached an
all-time high, and
over the next 20 years, it is estimated that $50 trillion will be spent
invested in the energy sector. So this is a great market staring at us
opportunities for all, and we need to seize it," Kerry said.
The discussion on enhanced security cooperation was
placed in the context
of the U.S.-led war of aggression in the Middle East and the fight
terrorism. Foreign Minister Dion stated that the three parties had
discussion in this area to "help stop human trafficking, to fight
to support stabilization, especially in the Middle East." Dion added
that he had
discussed directly with Secretary Kerry the importance of
deployment in Iraq being carried out in consultation with "allies" to
Canadian contribution to fight this awful terrorist group, the
State, the Canadian contribution will be optimal in the coalition."
On the question of "prosperity," one issue addressed was
the demand to
improve labour mobility while at the same time contributing to "women's
empowerment and equity." In her remarks Mexican Foreign Minister
Ruiz Massieu focussed on the question of labour mobility and economic
integration. Ruiz Massieu said later
the conference that the three countries have a "commitment
renew our vision to make North America a more integrated region,"
referring to it as "one single region" and "a center
competitiveness in the 21st century." In addition to climate issues,
the desire to "to facilitate travel and interconnectivity, a new
excellence in education and in security as well."
Ruiz Massieu indicated that the three countries would
optimize their efforts
to cooperate in Central America and the Caribbean and support social
economic development in the region and that Mexico in particular will
on a proposal to "put up-to-date the list of telecom professions so
can be a greater movement of professionals and also to create human
that can support the growth of competitiveness in the region in
sectors," and will also work to ensure more movement among academics.
Dion also repeated Canada's commitment to remove visa
Mexican citizens travelling to Canada.
Secretary of State Kerry called for the three countries
"to continue to do
more to increase investment, to reduce the costs of trade, to make
travel and tourism easier without jeopardizing safety, and to spur the
of whole new industries and work together even more closely," saying
a key purpose of the Trans-Pacific Partnership in which all were
In terms of blocking the resistance of the peoples of
the Americas and
Caribbean to imperialist dictate, the three ministers outlined some of
where they would focus their efforts.
The ministers singled out Haiti where Foreign Minister
Dion indicated that
the Canadian government supports the OAS mission to facilitate the
round of the postponed, fraud-ridden elections. "With regard to Haiti,
seen the delay for the second round or the second ballot [of the
presidential election], and we would
to see things go ahead as quickly and as properly as possible," Dion
Haiti we will work together to support the peaceful transition of power
OAS mission that will soon be underway," he said.
The other country of focus was Colombia which is on the
finalizing a peace accord aimed at resolving the 60-year civil war
political rather than military means. Dion stated: "We will work to
peace process to end more than five decades of civil war."
Kerry was more specific in what this meant. "[W]e
discussed our support
for the Colombian peace process -- our efforts, all together, to end
longest-running civil conflict in the region. And I noted the fact that
week, President Obama will host President Santos in Washington," Kerry
"I will meet with him. We will look forward to working on that process,
most importantly, also to celebrating the 15th anniversary of Plan
which I had the pleasure of working on in the Foreign Relations
and voting for as a senator, and which we believe has made an enormous
difference to the prospects for the country of Colombia," he said.
On the Zika crisis, another matter of grave concern very
little was said
during the final press conference about specific measures or large
to contribute to defeating the disease.
During the meeting it was pointed out that at the last
meeting held in January 2015 the three heads of State established a
American Caucus which the foreign Ministers indicated has been meeting.
Kezia McKeague wrote in Americas Quarterly on
17, 2015 following the leaders Summit in Boston that the caucus was
established "to consult on policy positions at multilateral fora."
at the State Department," McKeague said "the initial step will consist
monthly meetings at the ambassadorial level in the headquarters cities
United Nations." She added that "the hope is that consultations will
policy coordination. While this already happens to a great extent with
the challenge will be encouraging Mexico to take a more active global
1. The mandate letter, among other things, calls on Dion
"Improve relations with the United States, our closest
ally and most
important economic and security partner, and strengthen trilateral
American cooperation with the United States and Mexico. This would
working with the relevant Ministers to: work with the United States to
substantial progress on reducing impediments to trade and commerce
our countries, including by improving border infrastructure and
streamlining cargo inspection, and facilitating the movement of people.
should include increased engagement with provinces on border and
issues; work with relevant ministers, including the Ministers of
Trade and Environment and Climate Change, to prepare for the North
American Leaders Summit in Canada; develop a North American clean
and environment agreement; and support the Minister of Immigration,
Refugees and Citizenship in lifting the Mexican visa requirement.
close link between defence policy, foreign policy and national
Canada Participates in Foreign Meddling in
The United Nations-sponsored peace talks in Geneva,
of Syria and other Syrian groups invited to participate, were declared
officially open on February 1 but suspended two days later, until
February 25. UN Special
Envoy for Syria
Staffan de Mistura decided temporarily halt the talks due to
between the parties on the priority of humanitarian issues," the UN
Centre reported. More preparation is needed for the talks to proceed,
Mistura added. Another likely reason for the suspension are the
differences over which groups constitute legitimate opposition and
allowed to participate.
Despite the aim of talks
being to find a political solution to the conflict,
it is clear that outside forces are using the talks to push
that contradict the terms of reference set by UN Security Council
2254. One example is the February 1 joint press conference in Riyadh
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Saudi Foreign Minister Adel
Al-Jubeir. Davutoglu said that Turkey and Saudi Arabia have a shared
perspective on Syria and that both would continue to support "moderate
opposition groups" in Syria. Al-Jubeir said Saudi Arabia would support
Syrian opposition whether it stays in the Geneva peace talks or not. He
the talks should focus on "a transfer of power away from Bashar Assad,
constitution and new elections and a new Syria in which Assad has no
play. That's what the Syrian opposition went to negotiate." He added,
support them if they choose not to negotiate. We support them if they
On January 31, Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs
Stéphane Dion issued
a statement welcoming the launch of the Syrian peace negotiations.
negotiations on a political transition process aim to bring an end to
in Syria in keeping with the 2012 Geneva Communiqué. After five
violence, hundreds of thousands of deaths and the displacement of
is imperative that all sides work together to bring an end to the
Dion then said "the conflict cannot be resolved through military means alone."
In other words, the Trudeau government considers the use
of force to be
the main factor to resolve the conflict. That conflict will not be
resolved through military means, especially when it is the U.S., Canada
and others which are using force to determine what should happen and
who should lead Syria's government.
Dion goes on to indicate that Canada is openly taking up
the cause of the
so-called opposition forces, and implies it is they who are the true
representatives of the Syrian people:
"Building on the positive outcomes of the Syrian
opposition's gathering in
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on December 18, 2015, Canada welcomes the Syrian
High Negotiations Committee's continued unity and engagement in this
process. Canada stands ready to support the Syrian people in their
secure a future that is peaceful, just, democratic and respectful of
the rights of
all of its citizens.
"To create a more favourable environment for peace
talks, the targeting of
civilians must come to an end. Canada calls for an end to
bombing and an end to the use of starvation as a weapon of war."
Also on January 31, a Global Affairs Canada announcement
confirmed Canada's interference in the affairs of the Syrian people and
peace talks. Amongst other things, the announcement stated that "Canada
provided technical and advisory support to the Syrian opposition's
delegation in advance of the UN-led peace talks."
What kind of "technical and advisory support" Canada is
providing to the
opposition and for what aim? Do the Syrian people need advising about
future from Canada, a country involved in trying to change their
in violation of international law?
Canadian Assistance to Syrian Opposition Under the
If the assistance Canada provided to Syrians under the
Harper government is any indication, whatever the Trudeau government is
doing is not likely to be humanitarian or based on the principles of
In its July 2014 Response to the Fifth Report of the
on Foreign Affairs and International Development, entitled "Responding
The Conflict In Syria," the Harper government referred to initiatives
taken in support of regime change in Syria. Along with sanctions,
pronouncements of its ministers against the Syrian president and calls
removal, the government referred to steps it was taking to help
anti-government opposition groups unite and work towards a "democratic
transition" in "a post-Assad Syria."
The government said it had created the position of the
Representative of Canada to the Syrian Opposition, based in Istanbul,
Turkey "to facilitate outreach to Syria's opposition." The
representative "engages with a variety of Syrian opposition figures to
advocate for a democratic future for Syria, free from tyranny and
extremism." The government also supported a series of five conferences
in 2012-13 organized by the Washington-based Syrian Centre for
Political and Strategic Studies that "brought together a diverse group
of Syrian opposition figures, activists and international experts to
develop a transition plan for a post-Assad Syria, resulting in the
'Syria Transition Roadmap.'"
In August 2013, the National
Post reported on
some of the
projects Canada had undertaken with the U.S. and Britain "to help
the war-torn country," based on information provided by a senior
the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. The official
that more than $5.3 million was given to "opposition groups" to set up
radio, train bloggers and document war crimes of the Syrian government.
biggest expenditure, $1.8 million, went to "planning for a civil
and transition." This is a U.S. initiative said to have been developed
Afghanistan to prepare local leaders for a post-war government.
Buying communications equipment, such as satellite
phones and phone
cards for local anti-government activists was another priority of the
government. Some $750,000 went to fund anti-Assad magazines and FM
stations in Syria and other countries with sizeable Syrian populations
and Turkey being specifically mentioned. $650,000 went to the Syrian
& Accountability Centre, an organization based in The Hague and
DC that sends people to Syria to seek out evidence of human rights
The centre was established at the behest of a group of countries
themselves the Friends of Syria that includes U.S., France, Saudi
Turkey and others that seek regime change by fomenting civil war or
means of aggression against Syria. The centre's mission is to "document
human rights abuses and violations of international and humanitarian
law for future use in transitional justice processes."
Another almost $1 million was funneled through the U.S.
to "improve access to news and information and to train journalists and
bloggers to document human rights abuses and prompt more international
coverage of the situation inside Syria." One of the things Canada was
have funded under this project was the setting up of anti-government
hubs around Damascus.
Rome Meeting of Anti-Syria U.S.-Led War Coalition
On January 13, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter
spoke to the
101st U.S. Airborne Division as it was preparing for a deployment to
In his remarks, he referred to a counter-ISIL campaign plan "to root
ISIL parent tumour" and take back what he described as "Islamic State
strongholds" in Mosul, Iraq and Raqqa, Syria.
He told the soldiers that they would work with "local
forces" -- Iraqi
troops and the military forces of Iraqi Kurdistan known as the
and that the U.S. campaign required focusing on enabling "local,
forces and an international coalition with a clear campaign plan, with
American leadership, and with all of our awesome capabilities --
air strikes, special forces, cyber tools, intelligence, equipment,
logistics, to training, advice and assistance from those on the ground
On February 2, a ministerial meeting of what is called
the Small Group of
the so-called Global Coalition to Counter the Islamic State of Iraq and
Levant (ISIL) took place in Rome, Italy. The "Global Coalition" is a
countries, led by the U.S., similar to the U.S.-led "coalition of the
declared by George Bush Jr. to carry out the criminal war against Iraq
2003. Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs Stéphane Dion
participated in the
Rome meeting. The Small Group consists of 24
countries that Dion
characterized as "the most involved in the coalition." Its membership
not to be discussed publicly.
Just because the U.S. has
launched a war of aggression in the Middle East,
the latest under the guise of destroying ISIL, which it helped create,
make it right or legitimize the aim. Such a coalition represents a gang
aggressors and should be opposed. The government of Canada should make
good on its election promise and end all combat operations immediately.
is where Canadians stand.
A Canadian government statement provides a sense of the
agenda for the
Small Group meeting: "In Rome, Minister Dion will engage with his
counterparts in discussions on the situations in Iraq and Syria, as
well as the
growing threat from ISIL in Libya, progress in coalition operations,
stabilization of liberated areas and the safe and enduring return of
displaced persons." The statement quotes Dion as saying "Canada remains
deeply committed to the fight against ISIL and, in consultation with
and partners, we are looking at options to redefine our role within the
to better leverage Canada's expertise while complementing the work of
coalition partners to ensure maximum effect."
To that end, Dion said after a meeting in Quebec City on
January 29 with
the U.S. Secretary of State: "Secretary of State Kerry and I discussed
in which Canada can redeploy its efforts in Iraq and in the region to
that Canada's contribution is optimal so that we can help our allies
Iraqis to rid themselves of the horrible terrorist group, the so-called
State. We will continue talks in Rome on February 2nd in a few days
the countries that are the most involved in the coalition will meet."
is here where Canada will get its marching orders, along with the other
members of the "coalition."
Dion went on:
"The goal for Canada is to redeploy our efforts in a way
that will be
optimal, very effective -- more effective than today in some ways -- in
to be sure that we'll be strong in our fight against Daesh, the
State. And we have discussed that today. We'll continue to do that in
and we are -- I'm very thankful on behalf of the government to our
friends that gave us a lot of suggestions in the way in which will be
and effective, more effective than ever. Americans and the people from
Netherland and France and UK and Italy -- all our allies are asking us
a panoply of possibilities, and it will help us to announce [a]
will be well received. I'm quite optimistic."
Canada to Focus on Jordan and Lebanon
In response to a
question about Canada possibly taking on a role in Libya, Dion
would not be the case, but that Syria, Jordan and Lebanon would be
in Canada's plan: "Our American friends, the Italians -- they are well
in Libya. They have strong views about what we can do. But for now, the
priority for us is to be within the coalition of more than 60 countries
get rid of this awful terrorist group in Iraq. But the plan that we
will not be strictly only about Iraq. We'll see what we can do for
other countries, and I mention especially two countries that we need to
to be sure that they will stay stable because they are so key for the
they are affected by all the difficulties that are coming from the
civil war in
Syria and the situation in Iraq. And I'm speaking about Jordan and
So these considerations will be within our plan."
It is of note that during the refugee screening process
that went into high
gear in December 2015, Canada sent over 200 military personnel to
and Jordan to process potential refugees to Canada -- work normally
by public servants -- and to provide security. One wonders if this
presence was in preparation for Canada taking on a new military role,
especially in Lebanon, as signaled by Stéphane Dion. Canadian
personnel already in Jordan are said to be involved in
training" with the Jordanian armed forces.
1. On its website, the U.S. State Department lists the
following 65 countries
as members of a global coalition to counter ISIL, stating that it
more countries will join.
Albania, Arab League, Australia, Austria, Kingdom of
of Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus,
Czech Republic, Denmark, Arab Republic of Egypt, Estonia, European
Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Republic
Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Republic of Korea, Kosovo, Kuwait,
Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malaysia, Moldova,
Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Oman,
Panama, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Serbia,
Slovakia, Slovenia, Somalia, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Tunisia, Turkey,
Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States.
No information could be found about the countries making
up the Small
Group of the Global Coalition to Counter the Islamic State of Iraq and
Government Celebrates Ten Years of
Military Exercises in
The Department of National Defence (DND) announced on
January 27 that
two Royal Canadian Navy maritime coastal defence vessels, HMCS Moncton
and HMCS Summerside departed
Halifax to participate in Operation CARIBBE
Throughout the year, warships from both the east and west coasts and
CP-140 Aurora aircraft from the Royal Canadian Air Force will also join
the operation. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Harper
government's launch of
CARIBBE in November 2006.
As of 2012, Operation
CARIBBE has been folded into the U.S.-led and
commanded Operation MARTILLO. Prior to that it was part of the
Operation UNITAS, which saw U.S., British and other NATO members sail
their warships around all of South America. UNITAS was initiated in
by the United States coinciding with the victory of the Cuban
was during UNITAS manoeuvres off the coast of Chile in September 1973
the U.S.-organized coup d'etat against the Salvador Allende government
On the occasion of the the anniversary, the Department
Defence attempted to repeat the fraud that the missions are about
the drug trade in order to hide Canada's participation in war
against the peoples of the Americas. DND says HMCS Moncton and HMCS Summerside
will look to follow-up on the success of two other ships
the fall of 2015 "assisted in the seizure and disruption of more
a 44-day deployment than any other duo of Maritime Coastal Defence
in the history of Operation CARIBBE, with a combined total of
Operation MARTILLO (Spanish for "Hammer"), the follow-up
was launched in 2012 and is said to be a "joint, interagency effort"
led by the
United States in which Canada, France the U.K., Netherlands and Spain
a number of Central American countries and Colombia are listed as
participants. According to the U.S. Southern Command Operation
MARTILLO's mission is to deny transnational criminal organizations the
ability to exploit these Central American transshipment routes for the
precursor chemicals, bulk cash and weapons. Under its operational
structure any forces assigned to
MARTILLO are subordinate to the United States Southern Command's Joint
Interagency Task Force South.
Canada's little-known military involvement in the U.S.
so-called war on
drugs is all the more concerning given that the U.S. has been
smuggling weapons into Mexico at the height of so-called drug wars, not
mention the U.S.'s long history of creating and supporting criminal
organizations and regimes in Latin America when it serves their
Such operations not only threaten the peoples of Latin
history with U.S. coup d'etats and crimes against humanity are well
they also are used to incorporate Canada's armed forces into the U.S.
without such matters and their significance being presented to the
people. Instead they are couched in tales about security, drugs and
The DND announcement on the 10th anniversary of the operation says
"CARIBBE is one of the many activities undertaken by the Government of
Canada and DND/[Canadian Armes Forces -- CAF] as part of Canada's
engagement in the Americas." The DND says that "the annual operation
directly supports the CAF's mission to defend against threats and
challenges to Canada, North America, and our defence and security
A Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2010 allows Law
Detachments of the U.S. Coast Guard to operate from Canadian warships
deployed on Operation CARIBBE, which also allowed members of the
Canadian navy to participate actively in interdiction as opposed to
locating and tracking targets of interest for the U.S.
A Miami Herald article in June 2015 reported
that no matter
where suspects are detained on the high seas when vessels are
part of Operation MARTILLO, most are brought to Miami for prosecution.
Such arrangements reveal the role that Canada and its armed forces are
as a surrogate for U.S. imperialists operations against the peoples of
U.S. and Colombia Relaunch Plan Colombia
Peace talks between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of
and the government of Colombia are expected to culminate next month
the signing of a final peace accord after more than three years of
Havana, Cuba. It is hoped by the Colombian people that the accord will
an end to more than 60 years of armed conflict in which more than 7
people have been killed, disappeared or displaced. However, in the
advances made to bring about a peaceful resolution to the
war in the hemisphere, the U.S. and Colombian governments have
a new security initiative which will see hundreds of millions of U.S.
used to finance yet another round of the fraudulent and criminal war on
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos met with U.S.
Obama in Washington, D.C. on February 4 to celebrate the 15th
of Plan Colombia, which was signed in 2000 between then-presidents Bill
Clinton and Andrés Pastrana. What was presented as aid to combat
in fact a thinly-disguised counterinsurgency plan that provided
dollars in mainly police and military assistance the Colombian state
wage an all-out dirty war on its own people in the name of a "war on
The two leaders are calling the new plan -- which again
is focused on
"strengthening security and combatting drugs" and that will be financed
of $450 million over the next 10 years -- "Paz Colombia" (Peace
Obama heralded the new Plan
Colombia as a "tribute" to Colombian
people and the challenges they have overcome. "We all know it is easier
start wars than end them," Obama said, as if to say that Colombia's
establishing peace is new militarized aid. This would be laughable if
it was not
so criminal coming from the country which has financed and worked hand
glove with the Colombian military and its closely-linked paramilitary
squads, committing mass murders and brutally violating the human rights
Colombian peasants and progressive forces.
For its part, Canada announced following a meeting of
ministers for Canada, the United States and Mexico on January 29 that
the countries' priorities would be working together to "promote the
process" in Colombia. Allying itself with the U.S. agenda, Canada will
involving itself in what looks like an attempt to reignite the conflict
Colombia at a time when demilitarization is on the agenda of the peace
Canadians have never accepted the U.S. war on drugs.
They will rightfully
conclude that the Trudeau government has not abandoned its
desire to fuel conflict and war rather than contribute to the peaceful
of conflicts. Canadians must hold the government to account for the
and violations of human rights that such a program is sure to give rise
Plan Colombia: 15 Years of National Tragedy
"Plan Colombia Equals
U.S. and Colombian governments present the 15th anniversary of Plan
Colombia as an occasion for celebration, Pastor Alape, speaking on
behalf of the
Secretariat, gave a solemn assessment of the damage it has caused to
masses of the Colombian people.
Plan Colombia represents "15 years of national tragedy,
during which the
number of victims of the armed conflict increased, displacements
to seven million people, as did the number of disappeared people and
persecuted. The results are sad and painful," Alape said.
Alape explained that Plan Colombia has a public face
that hides a covert
component. Its public face is the "war on drugs," which scholars and
all over the world confirm has failed, he noted. During the plan,
crops deemed illicit has only increased, while the aerial delivery of
has affected peasants' health, crops and the environment. Coca has a
of uses, including nutrition, medicine and cosmetics.
The covert component -- the true essence of Plan
Colombia -- is to
annihilate the insurgency. This objective was not achieved either, but
exacerbated the conflict in Colombia through the persecution and
innocents and non-combatants, as well as state repression and state
This succinct condemnation of Plan Colombia is
corroborated by activists
in Colombia's social movements and others.
"What we see is that drug trafficking was strengthened
and there was a lot
of repression, a lot of contamination of the environment, and the level
violation of human rights of Colombians increased," Nidia Quintero,
General-Secretary of the campesino rights group Fensuagro, told
Women a Particular Target of Plan Colombia
amongst those who have suffered the most under Plan Colombia and the
insecurity and impunity it created in Colombian society. A joint survey
women's rights organizations, published in 2011, presents harrowing
- six women were raped every hour in Colombia during the
first nine years
of Plan Colombia;
- some 489,678 women were victims of some type of sexual violence;
- 7,752 were forced into prostitution between 2000-2009.
This violence against women is far from coincidental; it
is but part of a
direct military strategy. Human rights lawyer Milena Montoya, secretary
executive board for the human rights group Lazos de Dignidad (Ties of
told TeleSUR, "Raping a woman is a spoil of war. To violate a woman
terror in other women. So, this has been one of those practices that
groups, the Colombian army as well as the U.S. army, have implemented
order to keep the population submissive and living in terror."
Montoya pointed out that forced prostitution also tended
to increase around
U.S. military bases. These bases were generally established around
communities where there are very few job opportunities for women and
A report commissioned by the Colombian government and
informs that U.S. soldiers and military contractors sexually abused at
Colombian girls between 2003-2007. These crimes "occurred with absolute
impunity because of the bilateral agreements and the diplomatic
United States officials," said Renan Vega of the Pedagogic University
Bogota, who co-authored the report.
Many women were also made the sole breadwinners for
their families due
to the mass killing of men in many communities, a situation worsened by
destruction of the coca crops.
Reparations for all these crimes and hardships is on the
agenda of the
peace talks in Havana, but the new Plan Colombia indicates that the
imperialists and Colombian elite seek to deny the people the
justice they deserve.
Celebration of 24th Anniversary of
Historic Event in Venezuela
The Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in
Canada organized a celebration on February 4 to mark the 24th
Anniversary of the February 4, 1992 civil-military rebellion led by
Commander Hugo Chávez to fulfill the demands of the people for
democracy and independence for Venezuela.
Attending the function at the University of Ottawa were
military attachés from several countries as well as Venezuelans
in Canada and solidarity
groups from the Ottawa area.
His Excellency Wilmer Omar Barrientos Fernandez,
Ambassador of Venezuela to Canada addressed the meeting and thanked
everyone for commemorating an event of great importance in the history
of Venezuela and the struggle of its people to control their own
He spoke at length about the historical events which
brought about the
uprising of the people and the military to change the situation in
favour of the
Maduro at anniversary event in Caracas, Venezuela, February 4, 2016,
known as the Day of Dignity.
Ambassador Barrientos described Venezuela as a land of
riches in terms of natural resources and tourist attractions. He
the rich oil reserves of Venezuela have historically been both a
a curse," as colonialist and imperialist powers have done everything in
power to control the production and distribution of oil. Instead of
the country this led to a high level of debt which was imposed on the
He gave the examples of Standard Oil, one of the main
corporations which has dominated and made enormous profits from
Venezuela's oil while the health, education and proper social
denied to the people. Workers had no rights to organize and
was also suppressed. By the 1960s, as people were forced to move to the
cities, large areas of extreme poverty expanded, inequality grew and
Although the rebellion of February 1992 could not be
sustained it set the
stage for the victories of the Bolivarian movement led by Hugo
won the Presidential elections and ultimately succeeded in having a new
Constitution approved by referendum in December 1999.
This is what has made possible the social progress in
all facets of
Venezuelan society, said the Ambassador. Salaries have increased 30
universal health care and education has been established and great
been made to lift the burden of poverty from the backs of the people.
The Ambassador pointed out that poverty and hunger still
Venezuela, but this situation can be attributed mainly to attempts to
the economy and undermine the political gains which favour the people.
economic warfare is supported by foreign countries to help the old
oligarchy regain their privileges.
The Ambassador concluded by thanking everyone for
important event in Venezuela's history and acknowledged all the friends
Venezuelan people who have provided their continued valuable support to
defend the gains achieved by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
After the presentation by Ambassador Barrientos, a short
video was shown
which highlighted the important dates and events in the struggle of the
Venezuelan people for their rights against neo-liberal globalization
Calgary Picket to Oppose ConvergX 2016
February 10 -- 3:30-6:30 pm
Beside the Westin Hotel (3 Street & 4 Avenue SW)
On February 9-11, 2016
representatives of the defence and energy
industries will meet at the Westin Hotel in Calgary at ConvergX 2016,
international industry-led conference. The conference will bring
"senior managers and research and technology leaders from the defence
energy sectors." ConvergX is described as an inaugural conference with
aim of identifying "new market opportunities for existing and future
technologies, products and services."
The conference is being supported by Industry Canada and
Economic Diversification, as well as many global monopolies engaged in
production. Many of the world's biggest weapons dealers and military
missile and drone manufacturers will be present, including Raytheon,
Atomics, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Thales Canada,
Babcock, and Meggitt. They are joined by energy corporations Enbridge,
StatOil, MEG Energy, Weatherford and modular and tank manufacturer
Topics for the conference include From the Battlefield
to the Oilfield and
Unmanned Systems (Drones). From the Battlefield to the Oilfield is
moderated by a representative of General Dynamics Canada. General
Dynamics, a U.S.-owned weapons manufacturer is the supplier of
dollar contracts to the Canadian government. General Dynamics has a
billion contract to provide light armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia, a
which accounted for more than 95 per cent of military exports in
The deal was brokered by the Crown corporation Canadian Commercial
Corporation and has been endorsed by the Liberal government.
Canada is the fifth-largest defence supplier in the
Bring banners and placards to express your opposition to
and their partners in the energy industry.
Canada Needs an
Canada Get Out of NATO!
Hands Off Syria! Hands Off Iraq!
For information contact Calgary Forum for People's
at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Peggy -- 403-923-7054; Reynold
71st Anniversary of Dresden Fire Bombing
Allied War Crime Prelude to the Cold War
- Dougal MacDonald -
On the night of February 13-14, 1945, the British Royal
Air Force (RAF)
bomber command carried out two devastating attacks on the German city
Dresden. At the time, Dresden's pre-war population of 640,000 had been
swelled by the presence of an estimated 100,000-200,000 refugees. Seven
hundred and twenty-two aircraft dropped 1,478 tons of high explosives
1,181 tons of incendiaries on the city. The resulting firestorm
area of 13 square miles, including the historic Altstadt Museum.
noon on February 14, a fleet of 316 U.S. bombers made a third attack,
dropping a further 488 tons of high explosives and 294 tons of
On February 15, two hundred and eleven U.S. bombers made a fourth
dropping 466 tons of high explosives.
Aftermath of the 1945
bombing of Dresden, Germany by Allied forces.
The fire-bombing of Dresden was considered to be a
gratuitous crime on
the part of the British which caused up to 300,000 deaths.
bombers to descend to lower levels and to maintain a
height and heading, making their bombs even more effective.
Dresden had not previously been bombed during the war.
The city was not
considered a likely target because it was not a major contributor to
war economy and no key oil refineries or large armaments plants were
there. In the British Ministry of Economic Warfare's 1943 "Bomber's
Baedeker," Dresden was ranked 20th of 100 German towns in its
to the German war effort. In fact, Dresden was best known worldwide as
of architectural treasures and was sometimes referred to as the "German
Florence." Despite this, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill
Dresden raids based on a plan submitted in August 1944 by Sir Charles
Britain's Chief of the Air Staff.
Codenamed "Operation Thunderclap," the plan involved
entire attack on a single big town other than Berlin to try to inflict
major blow on Germany using all available power. Portal opted for the
bombing" of a city because cities afforded a big target. In January
Churchill approved Portal's plan, specifically in regards to large
eastern Germany, and demanded immediate action. The next day Churchill
told that Dresden, Berlin, and two other cities would be attacked as
Incendiaries, which are explicitly designed to start
fires, were heavily used
in the first three Dresden raids. The deadliness of the resulting
such that even people who took shelter from bombs underground in
subways were either roasted to death by the heat or suffocated because
firestorm sucked the oxygen out of the air. This heavy use of
underlines once again that the Dresden attacks aimed to terrorize and
people. Confirming this further
is the fact that
Churchill specifically ordered
that the terror-bombings be focused on Dresden's working class areas.
even more blatantly, in the words of Arthur Harris, the commander of
RAF's Bomber Command: "You destroy a factory and they rebuild it. In
weeks they are in operation again. I kill all their workmen and it
twenty-one years to provide new ones."
The bombing of Dresden was an Anglo-American war crime
to trial. A war crime, by
definition, is any crime
that transgresses the laws
of war, and the bombing of civilians has long been banned by
law. The 1923 Hague Rules of Aerial Warfare declared: "Aerial
for the purpose of terrorizing the citizen population, of destroying or
private property not of military character, or of injuring
prohibited." Even the Hitler-loving British Prime Minister Neville
declared in 1938: "It is against international law to bomb civilians as
In the same year, the League of Nations Assembly unanimously accepted
Why was Dresden selected for the February 1945 bombings?
directly in the path of the advancing Soviet Army, who occupied the
shortly after the raids on their way to Berlin (Dresden was soon to be
the post-war Soviet Zone). The idea was that the death and devastation
by the bombing would be seen and reported back to Stalin, showing him
destructive capabilities of the U.S. and British bomber forces. With
the end of
the war only three months away, the aim of the Dresden raids was to try
intimidate Stalin and the Soviet Union so they would not stand up to
Anglo-American imperialists after the war.
About three weeks after Dresden, another similarly coded
sent to Stalin and the Soviet Union via the U.S. imperialists'
Tokyo, which incinerated between 80,000 and 200,000 people. In August
1945, the U.S. imperialists sent two new messages, targeting Hiroshima
Nagasaki to showcase the destructive force of their new atomic bomb.
Tokyo, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki had little or nothing to do with the war
against the Japanese imperialists, Dresden had little or nothing to do
war against the Nazis. But it had much, if not everything, to do with a
conflict in which the Nazis and the Japanese imperialists would be
Anglo-American allies and the enemy would be the Soviet Union. The Cold
War was born amid the ashes of the hundreds of thousands of
who were murdered in the deadly infernos of Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima
1. In 2004 a commission of thirteen
reduced this figure to the current official estimate of 25,000 deaths.
deliberate reduction to downplay the number of deaths parallels the
campaign to reduce the number of deaths attributed to the Nazis, e.g.,
number of official deaths at Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp was
recently reduced from the immediate post-war figure of 4 million,
at the Nuremberg Trials, to 1.4 million.
2. The most ludicrous theory of the
origin of the
Dresden raids is that
Winston Churchill, the virulent anti-communist who initiated the
invasion of the fledgling Soviet Union in 1918 and who made the
Goebbels-inspired Iron Curtain speech in 1946 that officially opened
War, carried out the Dresden raids because Stalin ordered him to! Of
no documentation of this so-called order exists.
3. Andrew Chandler, "The Church of
England and the
Bombing of Germany in the Second World War." English Historical
Review, 108 (1993), pp. 920-46 (p. 931).
4. Similarly, the U.S. imperialists
phosphorus and napalm
weapons to terrorize and kill civilians during the Korean and Viet Nam
5. See, for example, Donald Bloxham,
"Dresden as a War
Crime," in Paul
Addison & Jeremy Crang (eds.), Firestorm: The Bombing of
1945. Chicago: Ivan Dee (2006).
6. Adam Roberts & Richard
Guelff, Documents on
the Laws of
War. Third Edition. Oxford University Press (2000), p. 22;
Best, War and Law Since 1945.
Oxford University Press (1997), p. 200.
Dresden and Poznan:
Two Different Ways to Wage War
- Yuriy Rubtsov -
The Red Army and British-American forces had one enemy
-- the German
Wehrmacht -- but quite often they waged different wars. The liberation
Polish city Poznan by the Red Army and the bombing of Dresden by [other
Allied countries] -- one event following one week after the other -- 70
ago in February 1945. These two examples provide a good illustration of
The Liberation of Poznan by the Soviet Union
Liberation of Poland by
the Red Army.
Vistula-Oder Offensive, the 1st Belarussian Front under the command of
Marshal Georgi Zhukov, the "Hero of the Soviet Union," managed to
two bridgeheads west of the Vistula River between July 27 and August 4,
1944, opening the way to Berlin. The concentration of German forces
blocked but not defeated at Schneidemüh and Poznan. With the main
continuing to advance in a westerly direction, it took time and effort
the German grouping at Poznan.
General Vasily Chuikov, the commander of the 8th Army
became Marshall of the Soviet Union), was responsible for the operation
planned to smash the enemy forces there. In his memoirs he said the
German-built fortifications were classic Vauban-style fortresses... The
envisioned the construction of underground forts in the center and
the junctures to accommodate a large garrison.
In Poznan the city and fortifications were strongly
defended and integrated
into a single defence plan to coordinate fire. The Fort Winiary citadel
on a hill to the north of the city centre. Around the perimeter of the
18 massive forts spaced at intervals of about 2 kilometres in a ring
radius of about 5 kilometres. General Chuikov described the forts as
"...underground structures each with several storeys, the whole
above the surrounding terrain. Only a mound was visible above ground --
layer of earth covering the rest. Each fort was ringed by a ditch ten
wide and eight metres deep, with walls revetted with brickwork. Across
ditch was a bridge, leading to an upper storey. Among the forts, to the
were one-storey brick bunkers. These were clad in concrete almost a
thick, and were used as storehouses. The upper works of the forts were
sufficiently strong to provide reliable protection against heavy
the enemy would be able to direct fire of all kinds against us both on
approaches to the forts and within them, on the rampart. The embrasures
such that flanking fire from rifles and machine-guns could be directed
them." Together with Volkssturm (a German national militia of the last
of World War II), Poznan was defended by the 60,000-strong garrison.
The offensive started early in the morning on January
26. The first strike
was delivered from the south. It was unexpected by the enemy. Two
forts were seized on the Warta River's western bank. As a result, the
and tanks penetrated the ring of forts to attack the enemy from behind.
attack from the north produced little result. The Soviet troops did not
from the west. Chuikov remembers that a way out was left on purpose to
allow the enemy to withdraw from the city-fortress. But Germans did not
leave. A long hard battle lay ahead. On January 28, another attack was
launched. Chuikov addressed the surrounded German troops in Poznan [and
issued] an ultimatum. It read: "Officers and soldiers of the Poznan
You are surrounded. There is no way you can leave the city. I, General
Chuikov, offer you to immediately lay down your arms and surrender. I
guarantee life and return home after the war is over. Otherwise you'll
out. The death of civilians in Poznan will be your responsibility. Do
hesitate. Raise white flags and come to our side. General Chuikov."
But the garrison had no intention of surrendering.
Soviet aviation and
artillery strikes delivered on fortifications tried to avoid damage to
buildings inside the city and casualties among civilians. The Fort
citadel was ruined. The soldiers hid underground.
By February 5 the assault teams had fully liberated the
After February 12 the Fort became the main target. As the Soviet troops
approached, the resistance grew. The 5-8 metre high brick walls
enemy, preventing tanks from advancing. Heavy artillery pieces were
closer to fire at the Fort from a distance of 300 metres. But even 203
projectiles did not inflict much damage to the thick walls.
At that time, the 1st Belarus Front forces moved to the
west reaching the
Oder. The general assault started on February 18 and lasted without
four days. Having built an assault bridge, Red Army tanks and assault
of the 259th and 34th crossed into the main grounds of the citadel at 3
February 22 commencing the final struggle for the old fortress. The
20-200 men started to surrender. Only 12,000 troops remained of the
60,000-strong garrison. The bloody fighting ended on February 23, 1945,
17th anniversary of the Red Army. Two hundred and twenty-four artillery
pieces fired 20 salvos to salute the victory.
The Bombing of Dresden by the Allies
1945 bombing of Dresden, Germany by Allied forces.
Here is an example
of the war waged by the allies. On February 13-15, they delivered air
against Dresden which inflicted damage comparable to the Hiroshima and
Americans called the operation "Thunderstrike." Who was
The city had no significant defence industry facilities
and was flooded
A Royal Air Force (RAF) memo issued to airmen on the
night of the
attack said: "Dresden, the seventh largest city in Germany and not much
smaller than Manchester is also the largest unbombed builtup area the
has got. In the midst of winter with refugees pouring westward and
be rested, roofs are at a premium, not only to give shelter to workers,
refugees, and troops alike, but to house the administrative services
from other areas." Why raze to the ground a city that had no
importance for the war effort? The very same memo was rather cynical
it. It read: "The intentions of the attack are to hit the enemy where
he will feel
it most, behind an already partially collapsed front... and
incidentally to show
the Russians when they arrive what Bomber Command can do." That's what
the Royal Air Force really did by bombing from a safe altitude a city
with demoralized people.
As the end of war was approaching British-American
aviation started to
deliver more frequently politically motivated strikes, destroying
cities of no
significance for the German war effort that were soon to be liberated
Red Army, for instance Prague, Sofia etc. Dresden is the brightest
how this vicious tactic was employed. The devastated area in Dresden
exceeded by four times the devastated area of Nagasaki. Fifteen-hundred
degree heat hit the larger part of the city. People running to reach
outskirts fell into melting asphalt. Smoke was 45 metres high. At least
died. Some experts say the death toll was as high as 135,000.
Günter Wilhelm Grass, a German writer and recipient
of the 1999 Nobel
Prize for Literature, called the bombing a war crime. This point of
supported by many.
Dr. Gregory Stanton, president of Genocide Watch,
more bluntly saying the Allied firebombing of Dresden and the nuclear
destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were war crimes and also acts of
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