Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Steve Harper’s endorsement of bombings

How does Prime Minister Steve Harper’s endorsement of Israel’s bombings in Lebanon serve Canadian interest?

There are those that believe Canada should support US backed countries engaged in military action. With the US supporting Israel’s flank from Iraq, there is little military risk of a serious counterstrike against Israel, which creates an opportunity for Israel to eliminate terrorist threats. Israel can expand its safety zone; combined with the US-established permanent military bases in the Middle East, the region is secure.

On the other hand many ask, what is there in all this killing for Canada? We see lives lost – even our own as in Lebanon this past week. And, the conservative government is adding an extra $15 billion for military expansion. So, whose military interest does the new equipment support? Further, what serious military threat to Canada are we actually deterring? Canada needs a real Coast Guard. We need a significant civil defense force that can rush people to safety during say: an ice storm, flooding, forest fire, earthquake… and very seriously, Canada should be able to rapidly evacuate citizens from war zones - such as between Lebanon and Israel. Is our military expansion actually going to help Canada?

Canada could allocate that $15 billion in spending toward border security and a civil defense force that would be capable of helping Canadians in emergencies. We could buy vehicles, cargo aircraft, reserve food and water, and shelters that can be used to help Canadians. And, rather than sending aircraft and frigates to bomb people in other parts of the world, Canada could use those civilian resources to be the first on-the-scene to rapidity move tens of thousand of civilians away from erupting combat zones. What is wrong with at least one country in the world being the “honest broker” that backs up the title with something meaningful? Besides, the US is Canada’s only serious military threat and we are not about to go to war against them; and, there isn’t any real need to add to their military efforts. However, we are sadly lacking in basic assets to manage our borders and to help ourselves (and others) in emergencies.

There are two paths ahead for Canada. Either we join Prime Minister Steve Harper and the US dream of military expansion or we embrace the path of peace and service to the betterment of ourselves and our world. Nine generations of my family ancestors seized the dream of the New World that was North America. They became original homesteaders, members of parliament, and fought in such wars as the US-British War of 1812 to protect a dream. And again today, we must still protect the dream as a competing dream exists that is not born out of loyalty, community, or respect for what belongs to others. As Canadians we have a birth-right that is the grandest on the planet. Let’s use it wisely.

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