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No to War in Ukraine! No to Use of Force!
Urgent Request for House of Commons Debate on Ukraine
Nine Liberal MPs sent a letter on January 19 to their Government House Leader Mark Holland requesting a debate on Ukraine. The letter was publicized via Twitter accounts. Etobicoke Centre MP Yvan Baker tweeted, “I am proud to be joined by MP colleagues in sending a letter to @markhollandlib, requesting an urgent Take-Note Debate in the House of Commons on Ukraine and Russia’s military buildup on its borders. Failing this, we’ve called for an emergency debate.”
Holland replied: “We have received this important letter from Liberal MP @Yvan_Baker. We fully agree with his call …We will support prioritizing an urgent debate as soon as the House returns.” The reply defied the definition of “urgent” since the House was not scheduled to return until January 31.
The letter suggested the Liberal MPs want to “provide a formal and urgent opportunity for Members of all parties to discuss Canada’s and the international community’s response to this crisis, which is of such importance to Ukraine, to our allies, and to Canada.”
The House of Commons Procedure and Practice (2017) says take-note debates are meant to “solicit the views of Members on some aspect of government policy and allow Members to participate in policy development, making their views known before the government makes a decision.” It adds that in the British Parliament take-note debates enable MPs to “initiate a general debate on a topic which does not require a decision by the House.”
The Liberal MPs’ letter reiterates the bellicose vilification of Russia informed by the Five Eyes spy agencies, NATO and those promoting pro-Nazi collaborators past and present. It chronicles what the Liberal government had done up to that point, including Prime Minister Trudeau’s January 11 discussion with Ukrainian President Zelensky in which he “emphasized that any Russian military incursion into Ukraine would have serious consequences, including coordinated sanctions.” It lays out the current involvement of the Canadian Armed Forces in Ukraine: the “bi-laterally arranged” Operation UNIFIER and its participation in Operation REASSURANCE as part of NATO’s “assurance and deterrence measures.”
It concludes: “The situation is critical. Russia must de-escalate and engage in meaningful dialogue. Its aggression against Ukraine must stop, and it must withdraw its forces from Crimea and Eastern Ukraine.”
With such an approach to the subject, it is clear that the “take-note debate” will be an occasion to demand even more bellicose action from Canada. Discussion on the nature of NATO as an aggressive and warmongering instrument of the U.S. imperialists is taboo in Canada. Any suggestion that NATO is not an alliance for peace condemns one to being called a fringe element, an extremist and a fanatic.
The MPs asking for such a debate should have a sense of shame that any debate not based on facts and which does not with honesty identify a country’s aim and self-interest as righteous is not worthy of the name. Arming pro-Nazi militias in Ukraine whose very raison d’etre is to attack Russia is hardly an endorsement for those who claim to stand for peace.
Given the domination of the House of Commons by a pro-NATO cartel of parties, Canadians cannot expect the kind of discussion required to draw warranted conclusions and contribute to the cause of peace. Only they can do that by speaking in their own name to find solutions which favour their interests, not those of profiteers and warmongers.
The presentation made by CPC(M-L) leader Hardial Bains in 1994, when the Chretien Liberals launched a review of Canadian foreign policy, brought out the need for a fresh starting point and elimination of the prejudices of the past, particularly when it comes to NATO. His words are worth repeating. He told the Special Joint Committee Reviewing Canadian Foreign Policy:
“How can Canada, which is a member of NORAD and NATO really be a ‘peacekeeper’ when its interests have been placed on the side of the bloc led by the U.S.? For a country to play its role as a peacekeeper it must have a foreign policy of positive neutrality, condemning all acts of aggression and intervention and unjust wars and supporting all movements which open the path for social progress and lasting peace in the world.
“There is no reference whatsoever to the study of this experience in the materials issued in the form of speeches by the ministers concerned, except that the policy of ‘peacekeeping’ is applauded as if it is a recognized truth. Far from calling for getting out of NATO and NORAD, the speeches are indicative of strengthening participation in these military blocs which are not in keeping with the image of a country which calls itself a peacekeeper.
“A peacekeeper can only have one standard, that of creating the conditions for peace without, at the same time, being an interventionist and aggressor or defender of militarism and fascism. Positive neutrality under all circumstances must be the watchword if the role of peacekeeping is to be given substance and be suitable for the creation of a new world equilibrium.”
(Renewal Update, posted January 31, 2022)