“Six and half years into Harper’s Conservative government, Canada has become so militaristic that the head of the armed forces can demand a new war and few bat an eye.
On July 7, Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Walter Natynczyk told the Canadian Press, “We have some men and women who have had two, three and four tours and what they’re telling me is ‘Sir, we’ve got that bumper sticker. Can we go somewhere else now?’”
The General added, “You also have the young sailors, soldiers, airmen and women who have just finished basic training and they want to go somewhere and in their minds it was going to be Afghanistan. So if not Afghanistan, where’s it going to be? They all want to serve.”
It is not surprising that the head of the military would want to go to war—that’s his job after all. What’s troubling is that Gen. Natynczyk felt comfortable saying so in public, and that neither the opposition parties nor any mainstream commentators criticized his call to arms.
The chief of the defence staff’s war cry is the logical outgrowth of the Conservative bid to make Canadian society more militaristic. During the Conservatives’ first six years in office, the military budget increased from $15 billion to $23 billion, and the number of troops rose about one quarter to 95,000. The special forces, which Ottawa can deploy abroad in total secrecy, more than doubled.
An increase in the size and strength of the military makes war more likely. In a recent article, leading foreign policy journalist Lee Berthiaume reported that the Harper government’s 2007 decision to acquire four massive C-17 Globemaster military transport planes spurred the plan to establish bases around the world.
“The decision to acquire four C-17s (CC177) for strategic airlift indicates the government’s intention to utilize the CF more extensively off continent,” read a May 2010 briefing note signed by Gen. Natynczyk, initiating the international base plan. Dubbed Operational Support Hub, the goal is to set up permanent bases in up to seven countries.
In recent months, Canada has signed an agreement to house soldiers and equipment in Kuwait, Jamaica, and Germany, and is negotiating to set up bases in Singapore, South Korea, Tanzania, Senegal, and Kenya.
According to a military briefing note obtained by Postmedia, the bases are designed to improve the Canadian Forces’ “ability to project combat power/security assistance and Canadian influence rapidly and flexibly anywhere in the world.” Publically, Defence Minister Peter MacKay called the base initiative part of expanding “our capability for expeditionary participation in international missions…. We are big players in NATO.”
By setting up overseas bases and increasing the military’s size, the Conservatives are preparing for future wars. They’ve also built the cultural and ideological foundation for constant war.
In one of innumerable examples, the updated 2011 citizenship handbook Discover Canada: the Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship praised this country’s military history. It includes 20 photos of armed forces personnel, which is 20 more than the previous edition of the manual.
Similarly, over the past few years soldiers have regularly appeared at major sporting events rappelling down from the rafters or in sombre moments of silence for the fallen. Incredibly, reports Embassy, the CF admits to having spent $353.6 million and directed 661 staff members to promoting the armed forces in 2010-11.
The Conservatives’ militarism is unrelenting. After waging war in Libya, they organized an $850,000 nationally-televised celebration for Canada’s “military heroes,” which included flyovers from a dozen military aircraft.
Harper told the 300 military personnel brought in from four bases: “We are celebrating a great military success…soldier for soldier, sailor for sailor, airman for airman, the Canadian Armed Forces are the best in the world.”
As part of his push to define Canada as a warrior nation, at the June 2011 Conservative convention Harper mentioned “courageous warrior” as a founding Canadian principle.
Asked to explain this position by Maclean’s editor Kenneth White, the prime minister cited Canada’s role in fighting fascism and the Cold War. “The real defining moments for the country and for the world are those big conflicts where everything is at stake and where you take a side and show you can contribute to the right side.”
Asked whether we are in a great conflict or heading towards one, Harper responded “I think we always are.”
Taking his cue from the prime minister, the head of the military wants to get to work. The question is, will anyone say no?
Yves Engler’s the author of a number of books on Canadian foreign policy, including The Ugly Canadian: Stephen Harper’s Foreign Policy, which will be published in October.”
Scientists. Doctors. Nuclear engineers. Academics. Researchers. Stephen Harper has a big problem.
He has ticked them all off. And they are not suffering their grievances or concerns for informed, fact-based public policy and decision-making, the environment, the health of Canada’s most vulnerable citizens and the safety of all of us in silence.
No. Instead they are protesting, marching, disrupting government news conferences. They are mobilizing.
Their website notes that the only specific evidence “Mr. Harper wants the public to know about is that which supports his political objectives and ideology. That’s not science, that’s propaganda.”
The Atlantic premiers have been vocal in their opposition to the changes and the impact they will have on their economies. Mr. Ghiz has said he’s concerned that if people are encouraged to leave for jobs in other parts of the country, they may not return.
Source @ Globe and Mail
Ford also said he will meet with Premier Dalton McGuinty on Monday to ask for more money for policing, not for social programs.
Speaking to CP24’s Stephen LeDrew, Ford said his visit to the crime scene affected him deeply.
“It just tore my heart apart. And I just thought, this is not the city that we live in, this is — I was mad. More than upset, I was mad. I said, ‘Enough’s enough.’ I’m lookin’ around, and I said, ‘I’m not gonna sit here, I’m gonna be proactive.’ I talked to the premier, got a hold of the premier, called the prime minister’s office, I said, ‘I want meetings. I want something to be done.’ I want these people out of the city. And I’m not going to stop. Not put ’em in jail, then come back and you can live in the city. No. I want ’em out of the city. Go somewhere else. I don’t want ’em living in the city anymore,” Ford said.
He returned to the point later in the interview. “We have to send a message. Three years for possession of a handgun? That’s nonsense. You should do some serious hard time, and not come back here. Once you come out, out of jail, get out of the city. Go somewhere else,” he said.
It was not clear if Ford meant that he wants legislative changes to prevent convicted gang members from returning. His spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.
Ford said he will ask Prime Minister Stephen Harper to lengthen sentences for gun offences. He said he will ask McGuinty for more funding for the Toronto Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy (TAVIS) police teams that target high-crime neighbourhoods.
McGuinty’s government announced last year that it was giving another $10 million to TAVIS over two years, bringing the total to about $35 million since 2006. McGuinty suggested Tuesday that expiring funding for programs in Toronto’s 13 “priority neighbourhoods” could now be extended, but Ford indicated Wednesday that he is not interested in the offer.
“I don’t really believe that handing out free money is a solution,” Ford said...”
Ford’s solution to gang violence? Kick them out of Toronto and spend more on policing and putting people in jail. Start a “war” against violence— not put money into social programs which help parents, kids, and communities, and help fix the root problem. I guess it’s easier to just sweep things under the rug. If we can’t see them from here, then they wont be our problem! No need to waste money on solving issues in our society or anything. It’s what the taxpayers want, right?
Also, a curfew? Seriously?
“Jason Kenney is killing compassion with his health care cuts!”
Bashir Mohamed, a 17 year old Canadian who was arrested after interrupting Jason Kenney to protest refugee health cuts.
A young person in Canada speaks up and he is painted as a kid who doesn’t know what he’s talking about, who should sit down, shut up and let the “adults” do their job. Even people who agree with Mohamed seem to believe that “his methods were flawed.” They are trying to claim that Mohamed should leave the protesting of refugee cuts to doctors, who “know what they are talking about.” But medical professionals have a responsibility to speak up about this issue. They are a discredit to their profession if they don’t. Mohamed has no such responsibility. He is doing this because he cares about Canada. What people fail to realize is that Mohamed was speaking out in the only way he can. He is trying to bring attention to an issue he cares about. That a 17 year old would risk so much because he believes its important that, to me is incredible. There is hope for this country.
SOLIDARITY WITH BASHIR MOHAMED.