Make Canada a Zone for Peace
Toronto Forum Affirms Need for a Just and Peaceful Foreign Policy
A lively and informative discussion on how to make Canada a force for peace in the world took place at the Steelworkers’ Hall in downtown Toronto on October 17 at a forum co-sponsored by the Animal Protection Party of Canada and the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada (MLPC). This forum provided a much needed opportunity for people to come together and discuss their concerns about Canada’s foreign policy and to speak for themselves on a topic that has been completely dismissed by the cartel parties as being of little or no concern to Canadian people in this election. The forum was well attended with participation by a broad spectrum of people.
Three speakers were featured: Liz White, the leader of the Animal Protection Party of Canada and candidate in University–Rosedale, Steve Rutchinski of the MLPC and its candidate in University–Rosedale, and Tamara Lorincz, from Canadian Voice of Women for Peace. Anna Di Carlo, MLPC National Leader, also attended the meeting.
Left to right: Liz White, Steve Rutchinski and Tamara Lorincz.
Speaking on “The Need to Review Canada’s Foreign Policy and Trade Agreements,” Liz White noted that Canada’s foreign policy requires renewal in favour of promoting peace and justice. Liz noted that the small political parties contribute to presenting alternative viewpoints on important issues confronting Canadians but have been ignored by the media and mostly shut out of the candidates’ meetings. Even as national leader of a federal party she had not been invited to one all-candidates’ event. She greatly appreciated that this forum afforded an important opportunity for all those concerned about Canada’s foreign policy to discuss their views, and exchange opinions and ideas.
She gave examples of how Canadian foreign policy is not independent but under the influence of the U.S., which Canadians do not want. She highlighted Canada’s weapons sales to the brutal Saudi regime as unacceptable, given the human rights record of the Saudi Kingdom and its being an aggressor in Yemen and the Middle East. She also highlighted Canada’s refusal to support the efforts of African nations to protect endangered species such as rhinos and elephants. Ms. White made an impassioned argument that Canada can and should play a positive role internationally for peace and for creating conditions for both the human and natural environment to thrive.
Steve Rutchinski’s presentation was entitled “Promotion of Unacceptable Foreign Policy Doctrines by Canada’s Post Secondary Institutions — The Case of the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy.” Steve recounted how the Munk School was created on the initiative of global mining oligarch Peter Munk, the late CEO of Barrick Gold Corp, to bring together leaders of finance capital, government, academia and the monopoly media to shape Canada’s foreign policy as a tool to serve the interests of the Canadian and North American ruling elite. He highlighted the role of the Munk School in formulating and elaborating unacceptable foreign policy doctrines — for example, the so-called Responsibility to Protect, “sustainable development” and “hybrid warfare” — as instruments of foreign interference in the internal affairs of other countries, such as Iran and Venezuela. Most importantly, he highlighted the ongoing opposition by students, faculty and the community at large to institutions of higher education, like the Munk School, acting as instruments of intervention, aggression and war.
Speaking on behalf of Canadian Voice of Women for Peace, Tamara Lorincz gave a spirited presentation entitled “Canada’s Role in NATO Must Be Ended and NATO Dismantled.” One of the things she highlighted was that all the political parties sitting in parliament are pro-NATO and that this is dangerous for Canadians and goes against their will. Tamara pointed out that NATO is an instrument of the U.S. and its policy of war and aggression around the world and this alliance under the U.S. poses the greatest danger to humanity’s survival. She noted that the Trudeau Liberals have committed more than $500 billion for defence spending over the next 20 years. These billions being spent for war and destruction of the planet could be better used to serve human needs, she pointed out.
Tamara spoke about the organizing that is going on against NATO, noting for example that demonstrations have taken place yearly at the Halifax International Security Forums dating back to the 60th anniversary of NATO. She spoke also of organizing going on internationally, including the actions that took place in Washington DC at the NATO foreign ministers’ meeting on the occasion of its 70th anniversary and in other Canadian and American cities this past April. She emphasized the importance of stepping up the organizing against NATO and its “We Are NATO” campaign. She called on everyone to work together to protest the NATO Association of Canada gala on November 1 at the Globe and Mail Centre in Toronto, and proposed an action for November 23 in solidarity with protests scheduled at this year’s Halifax International Security Forum. She also encouraged people to join the monthly pickets being held outside the NATO Association of Canada offices in Toronto and proposed an action be taken the first week of December to protest the NATO 70th anniversary events taking place in London, UK.
A lively discussion followed the presentations. Lorne Gershuny, MLPC candidate for Parkdale–High Park spoke against Canada’s actions to undermine the government and people of Venezuela. Two Filipino youth from Bayan-Canada spoke about the role that the Canadian government is playing in supporting mining companies that have historically exploited and displaced the people of the islands thereby contributing to the migrant labour crisis in that country. Independent journalist and blogger Tony Seed, one of the founders of No Harbour for War in Halifax, explained how Canadian people have actively opposed NATO and Canada’s membership in NATO from the time of its founding. From the deployment of nuclear weapons on Canadian soil to participation in wars of aggression, none of this, he said, has ever been done with the approval of the Canadian people. Rather these are imposed by executive decision, cabinet decree or by a handful of cabinet ministers. The cutting edge of Making Canada a Zone for Peace, he said, is to get Canada out of NATO.
The discussion ended on a very positive note with interest in further developing these kind of forums.