NDP and the Military

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KenS

I think Tommy got off on a tangent by including nuclear capability, but people really do need to incorporate into considering other options what nasty hardball the Europeans play- on ALL issues, not just fishing.

Whether it is worth it is a question, but you cannot just wave away the fact that NATO and our closeness with the US substantially tempers the effects of that.

People talk and think of Europe as the alternative for loosening the dependence on the US. It is utopian in the extreme not to integrate tha twhat the Europeans have in mind when they talk to us is a yoke.

Howard

Aristotleded24 wrote:

Tommy raised a pertinent point about the problems we've had with foreign boats over-fishing in Canadian waters. So if we have no military capability, how do we stop that from happening? We also know that the Arctic is melting, and that the major world powers have their eyes on the profits that would arise from resources that would become available. So without the military, how do we prevent said powers from just taking what they want and running roughshod over us?

This is one of the greatest lies ever. Our navy boats are too slow to catch this supposed foreign boats fishing in Canadian waters. In fact, if this is what you want Canada to do, then this last $35 billion has been a complete waste of money. Get ready to spend another XX billion more, meanwhile Aboriginal and Northern Affairs Canada is sending communities buckets because they have no toilets or sanitation facilities.

Finally, this claim of foreign boats was at best a half-truth. It was about foreign boats fishing in waters that Canada claims- way beyond Canadian territorial waters- that other countries don't recognise. The dispute was not resolved by snail-like navy ships bumping along on the surf, but by the creation of a joint management regime: NAFO. Try again.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I remember a news clip of Brian Tobin back in the day defending the wee turbot. I think Spain was the culprit then. I don't know which agency nabbed that Spanish boat or whether it was indeed in Canadian waters or not. Anyone recall this episode in better detail?

Howard

The F35's were tendered in 2001 and Boeing lost. Such is history.

As for why Canada has fighter planes, well...they were originally to fight the Russians, but in practice used to "gain us" participation in the US's NORAD. In theory if Canada doesn't have them, the US will refuse to defend us in the event of an air attack...and from whom? Well I guess it still the Russians or maybe a Chinese air force light years behind the US and its allies (e.g. Taiwan, Korea). Yes, this justifies the expenditure of billions of dollars every year while native children grow up in poverty in this country, people die in our streets, and so forth.

Also, the military doing "environmental surveillance"...give me a break! This is managed by the civilian organisations of the federal government. They even have their own assets to do it (and none of them costs billions). They include organisations like the Coast Guard, Transport, Environment Canada, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Aboriginal and Northern Affairs Canada. The military only goes to gawk and stare when things like Katrina happen and even then...it's a civilian mission, you think the generals want to do this?

Get this through your heads, if it doesn't involve killing people and destroying things, the Generals are not interested. All of these civilian missions don't give them a hard on. Just ask Joint Chief Naty, he had a great time leading US troops during the War in Iraq, no joke. Also, the reason we are STILL in Afghanistan is that the military brass WANTS us to be there. They WANTED us to go to Iraq. They will want us to go on the US's next imperial escapade.

Uncle John

Canada is defended by the United States. The word, I believe, is Ogdensburg.

NORAD and Northern Command.

This is the elephant in the room.

Talking about pointing missiles at the US and other Canadian NATO allies is a non-starter.

The US has a fiscal crisis, and Canada has to step up to the plate to support the American imperialist war machine.

Hence the planes and ships. No matter what Newservative Coniberal Librocrat government we have.

KenS

Howard wrote:

Finally, this claim of foreign boats was at best a half-truth. It was about foreign boats fishing in waters that Canada claims- way beyond Canadian territorial waters- that other countries don't recognise. The dispute was not resolved by snail-like navy ships bumping along on the surf, but by the creation of a joint management regime: NAFO. Try again.

You have that substantiually wrong.

The EU does not dispute, and already at least admistratively recognised the claim to jurisdiction [not territrial claim] with the predecesor agreements to NAFO, when the Spanish ships were arrested and brought to Canadian posts

The improvement of NAFO was the ultimate outcome, but it is delusional if you think the seizure of ships with the credible expectation of more to follow, did not set the conditions for NAFO.

AnonymousMouse

Howard wrote:

Boom Boom wrote:

ETA: someone bring me up to speed - the NDP firmly opposes the F35 purchase, no?

No. They just called for the money to be spent on war ships instead (the Joint Support Ships). Many of the concerns that the NDP has raised in Parliament about the F35s are just bogus complaints about cost estimates and the Canadian content of the procurement which are being circulated by Lockheed Martin's competitor: Boeing.

NDP= handmaiden of the military industrial complex, yoeman of the war mongers

The NDP does oppose the purchase of F-35s. Saying they don't oppose them, they just proposed spending the money on something else is totally contradictory.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

It doesn't matter, Boom Boom. If the foreigners weren't overfishing we'd be doing it ourselves. And we have done.

Are there even any fish left to protect? Enough to justify spending $21 billion a year?

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

AnonymousMouse wrote:

The NDP does oppose the purchase of F-35s. Saying they don't oppose them, they just proposed spending the money on something else is totally contradictory.

Really? Where do they say that they have any objection other than the way in which the contract was awarded?

The official election platform, as I quoted above, merely says, "We will review the proposed F-35 purchase as part of the Defence White Paper."

What's changed since then? 

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

Boom Boom wrote:

I remember a news clip of Brian Tobin back in the day defending the wee turbot. I think Spain was the culprit then. I don't know which agency nabbed that Spanish boat or whether it was indeed in Canadian waters or not. Anyone recall this episode in better detail?

The Coast Guard, DFO and Navy intercepted the Spanish trawler and boarded it on the high seas.  The Captain of the Coast Guard ship, who I had the privilege of meeting, told me that the seas were quite rough and getting up the ladder onto the Spanish boat was the thing that worried him the most.  The Spanish were not about to shoot at a Canadian Coast Guard or DFO boat especially with the Navy also in hot pursuit. This precis fits with my recollection of the story I was told.

Quote:

The DFO was then directed by minister Tobin and the federal cabinet to demonstrate Canadian resolve on the issue by "making an example" of a European Union fishing vessel. On March 9, an offshore patrol aircraft detected the Spanish stern trawler Estai in international waters outside Canada's 200 nautical mile (370 km) EEZ. Several armed DFO fisheries patrol vessels, along with Canadian Coast Guard and Canadian Navy support, intercepted and pursued the Estai, which cut its weighted trawl net and fled after an initial boarding attempt, resulting in a chase which stretched over several hours and ended only after the Canadian Fisheries Patrol vessel Cape Roger fired a .50 calibre (12.7 mm) machine gun across the bow of the Estai. The Canadian Coast Guard Ship CCGS Sir Wilfred Grenfell used high-pressure fire-fighting water cannon to deter other Spanish fishing vessels from disrupting the operation. Finally, armed DFO and RCMP officers boarded the vessel in international waters on the Grand Banks.

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

M. Spector wrote:

It doesn't matter, Boom Boom. If the foreigners weren't overfishing we'd be doing it ourselves. And we have done.

Are there even any fish left to protect? Enough to justify spending $21 billion a year?

Cod was a big deal until the overfishing. Here on the Quebec coast the big fishery is snow crab. I was in St. Anthony (Newfoundland) for medical reasons - there's a hospital there - and their main fishery was shrimp. There's other species too many to list really, but they're not in abundance like snow crab and shrimp as far as I know. Many fishermen were left idle when the governments brought out their licenses to stop overfishing, and had to look for work elsewhere. I think regardless of the extent of the fishing industry, you will still need search and rescue capability because there will always be boats out on the sea, and not only fishing related, but also around the oil rigs, and tourist related, as well as commercial shipping to and from the Great Lakes. I see the occasional supertanker in the distance from my LR window here on the shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. We have our own Coast Guard boat here all season long April - January. By the way, all supplies here come by supply ship, as they do the entire coastline of the Gulf between Havre-St.Pierre and Blanc Sablon.  Sept-Iles is a huge shipping port for iron ore and other stuff, and there's a lot of boats going between the mainland and Newfoundland in the Strait of Belle Isle.  So you definitely need hugely expensive  federal and provincial resources on the water - to protect shipping in winter and spring by clearing away ice, and for search and rescue when accidents happen. I think, also, that all commercial boats in Canadian waters are inspected at sea to ensure they are complying with pollution regulations, to prevent unauthorized dumping. And, so long as fishing is permitted, fishery boats will be inspected to check their quota catch along with sea-worthiness.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Thank you for that, NS. Do you recall the song "The Ballad of Brian Tobin"? Laughing

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

Boom Boom wrote:

Thank you for that, NS. Do you recall the song "The Ballad of Brian Tobin"? Laughing

Thankfully only vaguely.

Laughing

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

M. Spector wrote:

It doesn't matter, Boom Boom. If the foreigners weren't overfishing we'd be doing it ourselves. And we have done.

Are there even any fish left to protect? Enough to justify spending $21 billion a year?

The good people of Newfoundland have a long tradition of fishing or kiling species into commercial collapse and near extinction.  In the 50's it was the pilot whales.  Before that was an almost unbroken history of over harvesting some marine resource. The cod were the last large scale fishery left.

Quote:

Figures for both species of pilot whales are unknown, and even though they are depleted in some areas, pilot whales are not considered to be endangered. There are likely to be almost a million long-finned pilot whales and at least 200,000 short-finned pilot whales worldwide. Humans have taken advantage of the social nature of pilot whales. "Drive fisheries," where groups are herded to the beach for slaughter, have taken place on Cape Cod, Newfoundland, the Faroe, Shetland, and Orkney Islands, Iceland, and Norway. The whales have been killed for meat, bone, fertilizer, and oil. In some places, such as the Faroe Islands, the kill continues today despite an obvious decrease in whale numbers. One drive fishery in Newfoundland killed over 50,000 whales between 1951 and 1961, rapidly decreasing the number of pilot whales in Newfoundland waters. Other kills have not had such a drastic effect. Pilot whales are also being used by man as exhibition animals. They are displayed in many aquariums and zoos.

http://www.acsonline.org/factpack/PilotWhale.htm

Howard

Thanks for pointing out Northern Shoveler that the boat was 200km outside of Canada's EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone). Now do you understand the legal issue? Now do you see what a (cynical, political) stunt Tobin's move was?

That the Spanish didn't resist doesn't mean anything. They were probably just as surprised of Canada's move as anyone (e.g. laying a claim to waters waaay out of what is internationally recognised as a nation's territory). Since then the issue has been resolved the old fashioned legal way...through the creation of NAFO. If you look at the way Europe manages their joint fisheries, it's hard to be amazed by this outcome. Europe wants the same kind of outcome on the Arctic, Russia wants to beat its chest, and the US wants to have its way. Le plus ça change, le plus ça reste le même.

If you want to believe the military will make a/the difference I've got some billion dollar rust buckets to sell you...don't worry they're practically brand new, just be sitting in the drydock for a decade waiting for the perfect owner Money mouth

Howard

Northern Shoveler wrote:

M. Spector wrote:

It doesn't matter, Boom Boom. If the foreigners weren't overfishing we'd be doing it ourselves. And we have done.

Are there even any fish left to protect? Enough to justify spending $21 billion a year?

The good people of Newfoundland have a long tradition of fishing or kiling species into commercial collapse and near extinction.  In the 50's it was the pilot whales.  Before that was an almost unbroken history of over harvesting some marine resource. The cod were the last large scale fishery left.

Quote:

Figures for both species of pilot whales are unknown, and even though they are depleted in some areas, pilot whales are not considered to be endangered. There are likely to be almost a million long-finned pilot whales and at least 200,000 short-finned pilot whales worldwide. Humans have taken advantage of the social nature of pilot whales. "Drive fisheries," where groups are herded to the beach for slaughter, have taken place on Cape Cod, Newfoundland, the Faroe, Shetland, and Orkney Islands, Iceland, and Norway. The whales have been killed for meat, bone, fertilizer, and oil. In some places, such as the Faroe Islands, the kill continues today despite an obvious decrease in whale numbers. One drive fishery in Newfoundland killed over 50,000 whales between 1951 and 1961, rapidly decreasing the number of pilot whales in Newfoundland waters. Other kills have not had such a drastic effect. Pilot whales are also being used by man as exhibition animals. They are displayed in many aquariums and zoos.

http://www.acsonline.org/factpack/PilotWhale.htm

Don't worry. There is still a valuable capelin and lobster fishery to protect. Now food, previously fertilizer.

AnonymousMouse

M. Spector wrote:

AnonymousMouse wrote:

The NDP does oppose the purchase of F-35s. Saying they don't oppose them, they just proposed spending the money on something else is totally contradictory.

Really? Where do they say that they have any objection other than the way in which the contract was awarded?

The official election platform, as I quoted above, merely says, "We will review the proposed F-35 purchase as part of the Defence White Paper."

What's changed since then? 

The NDP is proposing a fact-based assessment of what needs the Canadian military will have when replacing the current fleet of CF-18s and a public tender process. They can't very well criticize the Conservative for their failure to engage in such a process and then completely prejudge the outcome themselves. But I think the party's position of cancelling any existing plans to buy these jets and re-start the process speaks for itself.

http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Canada/CanadaVotes/News/2011/04/08/17922646....

Peter3

Northern Shoveler wrote:

The good people of Newfoundland have a long tradition of fishing or kiling species into commercial collapse and near extinction.  In the 50's it was the pilot whales.  Before that was an almost unbroken history of over harvesting some marine resource. The cod were the last large scale fishery left.

Insofar as the northern cod fishery in Newfoundland was arguably the largest fishery of its kind in the world and had been for several centuries, the idea that it was the last large-scale fishery is a bit difficult to parse in any meaningful way. There are, in fact, large scale fisheries for any number of species in the waters around Newfoundland, by any meaningful standard.

Mismanagement of the resource had a lot to do with the scale and speed of the fishery`s collapse, but a very large amount of independent research has gone into what happened to the northern cod and it is clear that a number of things were going on that contributed to what happened to varying degrees. Based on historical analysis of fishing records from around the north Atlantic, it has become clear that this sort of thing has happened repeatedly throughout history and is apparently related to the expansion and contraction of cold water layers at the northern extremes of the cod`s range.

The inshore fishermen of Newfoundland, who have fished the cod for the better part of 500 years, were calling for controls on the subisidized offshore groundfish fleet for years before the collapse. They were ignored. The offshore fleet included both international vessels, nominally under the control of NAFO, and a very modern, highly efficient and over-capitalized domestic fleet that had been constructed when Canada imposed a 200 mile economic exclusion zone and expelled the international fleet that had previously fished outside the old 12 mile limit.

All of which has exactly nothing to do with the use of the military to police the fishery, for which there are many obvious examples in many countries, including Canada. This account of the so-called Turbot War and its context is reasonably accurate.

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

Howard wrote:

If you look at the way Europe manages their joint fisheries, it's hard to be amazed by this outcome. Europe wants the same kind of outcome on the Arctic, Russia wants to beat its chest, and the US wants to have its way. Le plus ça change, le plus ça reste le même.

If you want to believe the military will make a/the difference I've got some billion dollar rust buckets to sell you...don't worry they're practically brand new, just be sitting in the drydock for a decade waiting for the perfect owner Money mouth

Our brave and valiant sailors need new ships because they are in danger from protecting the high seas from Somalian pirates.  We patrol the shipping lanes of other countries but not our own.  Those pirates in Somalia from all reports used to be fishermen but the European Union fishing fleet wiped out the stocks and left them with no livelihood.  Here's a sort of tongue in cheek ode to them.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwOB2c3-iiQ

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

Peter3 wrote:

 The inshore fishermen of Newfoundland, who have fished the cod for the better part of 500 years, were calling for controls on the subisidized offshore groundfish fleet for years before the collapse. They were ignored.

Since I'm in a song mood here is a song written by my favourite folkie about the collapse of the inshore fishery. The words were written in the seventies.  I seem to remember that the government response to that collapse was to consolidate the licensees into fewer big boats designed for factory fishing not the traditional small boat fishery.  Anyways here Stan.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6E2DFa18kYI

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

Peter3 wrote:

This account of the so-called Turbot War and its context is reasonably accurate.

Thx for the link it is the article I quoted above in #61 and forgot to link to it.  I agree it is a pretty good precis.

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

Northern Shoveler wrote:

Boom Boom wrote:

I remember a news clip of Brian Tobin back in the day defending the wee turbot. I think Spain was the culprit then. I don't know which agency nabbed that Spanish boat or whether it was indeed in Canadian waters or not. Anyone recall this episode in better detail?

The Coast Guard, DFO and Navy intercepted the Spanish trawler and boarded it on the high seas.  The Captain of the Coast Guard ship, who I had the privilege of meeting, told me that the seas were quite rough and getting up the ladder onto the Spanish boat was the thing that worried him the most.  The Spanish were not about to shoot at a Canadian Coast Guard or DFO boat especially with the Navy also in hot pursuit. This precis fits with my recollection of the story I was told.

Quote:

The DFO was then directed by minister Tobin and the federal cabinet to demonstrate Canadian resolve on the issue by "making an example" of a European Union fishing vessel. On March 9, an offshore patrol aircraft detected the Spanish stern trawler Estai in international waters outside Canada's 200 nautical mile (370 km) EEZ. Several armed DFO fisheries patrol vessels, along with Canadian Coast Guard and Canadian Navy support, intercepted and pursued the Estai, which cut its weighted trawl net and fled after an initial boarding attempt, resulting in a chase which stretched over several hours and ended only after the Canadian Fisheries Patrol vessel Cape Roger fired a .50 calibre (12.7 mm) machine gun across the bow of the Estai. The Canadian Coast Guard Ship CCGS Sir Wilfred Grenfell used high-pressure fire-fighting water cannon to deter other Spanish fishing vessels from disrupting the operation. Finally, armed DFO and RCMP officers boarded the vessel in international waters on the Grand Banks.

 

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turbot_War

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Perhaps off-topic. Has anyone else seen the ads that the Department of Veteran's Affairs is spamming through the television airwaves? The title of these ads are: Veterans - The Pride of Our Country.

Apparently the Conservatives believe that only war veterans are the pride of our country - veterans of industry, trade and commerce and other fields of human endeavour are unworthly of acclaim.

 

 

Howard

Boom Boom wrote:

Perhaps off-topic. Has anyone else seen the ads that the Department of Veteran's Affairs is spamming through the television airwaves? The title of these ads are: Veterans - The Pride of Our Country.

Apparently the Conservatives believe that only war veterans are the pride of our country - veterans of industry, trade and commerce and other fields of human endeavour are unworthly of acclaim.

The Conservatives...hard at work prudently managing your tax dollars.

Money for vacuous ads praising veterans, no money for benefits.

Money for ads, no money for jobs at Environment Canada.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

AnonymousMouse wrote:

The NDP is proposing a fact-based assessment of what needs the Canadian military will have when replacing the current fleet of CF-18s and a public tender process. They can't very well criticize the Conservative for their failure to engage in such a process and then completely prejudge the outcome themselves.

Thanks for posting that link to the news item. It confirms the accuracy of what I said: The NDP does NOT oppose the plan to replace the CF-18s with $30 billion worth of F-35s. The article said:

Quote:
Layton did not write off the F-35 plan completely.

"The time frame on the planes and whether or not we need those kinds of planes should be the subject of a national discussion before we make that kind of commitment," said Layton. "That's why we're suggesting a white paper."

Which is exactly what the NDP election platform I quoted said:

Quote:
We will draft a Defence White Paper, redefining our military’s role, its priorities and needs, to be completed within 12 months. During that time, all major defence projects will be reviewed...

• We will review the proposed F-35 purchase as part of the Defence White Paper

There you have it. Neither opposed nor in favour. F-35s if necessary, but not necessarily F-35's.

So your statement ("The NDP does oppose the purchase of F-35s.") is false.

And if the "white paper" says we need the F-35's then the NDP will buy them. Of course, who do you think will be drafting such a white paper? It won't be the NDP membership. It will be the Department of National Defence. Guess what they will recommend?

 

Meanwhile, the NDP is committed to maintaining Harper's obscene levels of defence spending:

Kristy Kirkup, in the news item you posted, wrote:
The NDP plan commits to maintaining the defence investment outlined in the 2011 budget — $21 billion a year.

the NDP's election platform wrote:
• We will maintain the current planned levels of Defence spending commitments

Slumberjack

Fidel wrote:
I like it that while the NDP realizes it can do nothing about the open fascism emanating from the western world today...

As a consolation prize for the losing participants, they did something on its behalf instead.

NDPP

Now we know why it was necessary to formally remove NDP opposition to Canada's NATO membership/participation. The most recent NDP Libya release is a chilling reinforcement, that they are indeed ready, able and willing to go along with all the dirty deeds that may be necessary as satraps for the empire they are prepared to serve. It is also sadly apparent from the Libya episode, and remarks made here, that many of their foot-soldiers and 'left-flank' are too. NDP really does mean No Difference Party.

Ken Burch

Slumberjack wrote:

Fidel wrote:
I like it that while the NDP realizes it can do nothing about the open fascism emanating from the western world today...

As a consolation prize for the losing participants, they did something on its behalf instead.

Why CAN'T they do anything about it?  And if not them, then who? 

It's not as if tiny social increments at home make up for fascism abroad.  Accept that it is, and you've embraced the Roman Empire's "bread and circuses" strategy.

KenS

NDPP wrote:

Now we know why it was necessary to formally remove NDP opposition to Canada's NATO membership/participation. 

You do realize- it has been noted here at least- that the out of NATO policy was ditched over 10 years ago [and on the floor of Convention at that].

Remarkably prescient of the NDP to see then it would be necessary to do it then to be ready to lick boots over the Libya intervention.

Fidel

Ken Burch wrote:

Slumberjack wrote:

Fidel wrote:
I like it that while the NDP realizes it can do nothing about the open fascism emanating from the western world today...

As a consolation prize for the losing participants, they did something on its behalf instead.

Why CAN'T they do anything about it?  And if not them, then who? 

It's not as if tiny social increments at home make up for fascism abroad.  Accept that it is, and you've embraced the Roman Empire's "bread and circuses" strategy.

The Gracchi brothers were wildly popular among the people for opposing Roman creditors, and they were pushed over a cliff edge for their efforts. The Western part of the empire was plunged into a social and economic dark age after Roman creditors tookover. Something similar began happening in Europe and here in the far west beginning in the latter half of the 1970s. The coup was completed by the 1990s. No amount of austerity, though, will make good the creditors' claims to debts owed them. The NATO gang members are resorting to war and aggression, empire expansion, fascism etc.

I remember Jack Layton talking about the Bank of Canada and how it could be put to better use. Jack did his doctoral thesis on international capital flows. I think Jack would have done the Gracchi brothers proud. Mulcair has been a quick study in economics and finance, they say. And Topp is suggesting raising taxes on the oligarchs. And Flaherty barks his vicious little bark on cue like the good poodlecrat that he is. Triple-U senators waiting in the shadows to do their dirty work if necessary.

Malcolm Malcolm's picture

MSpector, I attempted to describe in a few short paragraphs what Canada's defence policy ought to be.  You responded by saying it hasn't been that. As usual, your point is lost in you rush to score points.  Perhaps instead of sniping, you might actually try to describe what you think Canada's defence policy ought to be.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Matthew Behrens wrote:
The NDP endorsed a 2002 Parliamentary Committee's call for increasing military spending a full 50 per cent (which would mean $28 billion per year by the end of 2010, and we're almost there). That was the same year NDP MPs began joining their colleagues in a unique indoctrination program called the Canadian Forces Parliamentary Program, which "embeds" MPs in war training exercises where, according to a report in Canadian Parliamentary Review, they "learn how the equipment works, they train with the troops, and they deploy with their units on operations. Parliamentarians are integrated into the unit by wearing the same uniform, living on bases, eating in messes, using CF facilities and equipment."

In May 2005, the NDP supported the Paul Martin 2005 Liberal budget. Hailed as Canada's "First NDP budget," it sported the largest military spending increase in 20 years, making Canada's war budget higher than at any time since the end of World War II.

When the infamous NDP-Liberal-Bloc coalition came together in December 2008, the issue of withdrawal from Afghanistan was suddenly "off the table." And as NATO generals recently called for increased bombing of Libya despite rising civilian casualties, there was silence from the campaign trail.

Shortly after my concerns were posted on Jack Layton's Facebook page, I received a phone call from the NDP's Ottawa-based "war room," a thoroughly insulting moniker to anyone who has actually experienced the horror of war as civilian or soldier (why not a "torture room" or a "pillage room" to make further light of those subjects?). A campaign worker, to his credit, wanted to dialogue, but noted that if Jack Layton were to discuss military cuts, he would be hurt in mainstream media coverage and by the perceptions of "average Canadians."

While this line did not surprise me -- it is used by every political party facing the choice of taking a principled stand or following backroom advisers wholly insulated from the electorate -- it certainly is not in sync with this spring's Leger Marketing report that revealed almost 60 per cent of those polled declared "Canada should take a peace dividend and cut back on military spending to focus on other more pressing social issues at home." Despite a decade of endless military propaganda, "Red Friday" support the troops rallies, yellow ribbons, and a seriously weak Canadian peace movement, such numbers are remarkable.

[url=http://rabble.ca/news/2011/04/canadas-massive-military-budget-table-fede...

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

KenS wrote:

You do realize- it has been noted here at least- that the out of NATO policy was ditched over 10 years ago [and on the floor of Convention at that].

Remarkably prescient of the NDP to see then it would be necessary to do it then to be ready to lick boots over the Libya intervention.

Your point being that the NDP's betrayal goes back much farther than the Libya war, back to the beginnings of NATO's war on Afghanistan and with NATO's assault on Serbia still fresh in the mind?

Point taken.

In fact, that was just about the same time that Matthew Behrens notes (above) the NDP was jumping on the neoliberal war wagon.

Slumberjack

NDP policy doesn't appear to correspond with where the people are on any given issue related to NATO imperialism.  The more obvious strategy seems to involve the avoidance of making waves against those who are likely to become dismayed by non-scripted outbursts, and who are better positioned to immediately retaliate through the corporate information bureaus.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Canada needs a Peace Party. The NDP ain't it.

Ken Burch

You'd have thought the Greens would try to play that role, but The Eventually Reverend Ms. May hasn't really seemed interested in doing that, or trying in any other sense to make her party in to a party of activism and change.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Is there any hope the NDP can be changed to the party of peace?   What are the ramifications of switching from a war to a peace economy?

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Boom Boom wrote:

What are the ramifications of switching from a war to a peace economy?

I can think of three big ones right off the top:

1. Big reduction in fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions

2. Huge sums of money freed up for worthwhile purposes

3. Reduction in Canada's priority as a terrorist target

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Excellent. I think these points need to be sold to all parties, but especially to the NDP.

Gaian

Unionist wrote:

The NDP can't oppose the warships. They would be called "job-killing extremists", and they'd be tarred and feathered and driven out of town by pitchfork-wielding voters. That's how the geniuses in the NDP war room see it.

Harper sets the agenda, "opposition" parties meekly critique some irrelevant details. That's been the pattern since 2006, minority or majority, makes no difference. The only opposition right now to Harper and the interests that he serves is in the streets.

 

I would think unionized workers would be leading that pitchfork parade around shipyards, struggling steel plants and such.
Harper sets the agenda because he understands that, still gets an Oshawa MP elected by a reduced and retired work force of burnt out assembly line workers that believes the "economist" can keep them working and their pensions performing. And "the left" have only been able to alienate them with policy suggestions that they are certain would put them out of a job.

First though, suggest how their pensions are to be maintained - those that they are living on or aspiring to after a third-of-a-sweaty century.

The single candidate for leadership of the party that could put Steve and Wee Jimmy in their place in economic debate is counted too forceful in debate (and concern for bureaucratic efficiency and linguistic capabilities) by party centre. And he couldn't be your man without street cred.

Really like to see how the critics would get around the institutional barriers that they love to list - like a media controlled by the enemy, and a mainstreet unable to formulate their concerns -without connecting the dots.

clandestiny

Howard wrote:

The NDP needs a clear military policy. I hope all of the leadership candidates will be corageous enough to present one, even if it represents their views alone.

 

I think a good, clearly defined pro war policy would be a handy talking point for NDPers and peaceniks etc! In easy, poetic styletoo. Supporting a  'War on Tots'  both advocates action that no knuckle-dragger would be offended at, but at same time force sensitive souls to consider- for gods sake, we're talking toddlers in diapers and booties! (This poem was written for U of Ottawa during their school newspaper's refusal to allow Can. Dept of Defense ads a few years back. The university never responded. Remember, i'm NOT advocating actual war on babies! It's an anti war poem- believe me)

We Support the War on Tots?

 

The War on Tots is not a game

  that's played to pass the time,

  But is a fight for all that's good,

  which we are, versus them!

Our fighting men, so brave so few

   Go everywhere for peace

   Making safe a world at war

   but some yet try appease!!

Let's all support the war on terror

   If we're going to stay on top

 And as nits make lice, otherwise

   Lousy wars cost far too much!

The proof is in the bible ...

  a mighty army on the move

  confronts a bunch of dirty tots

  when one of THEIRS steps forward!

Goliath was so strong, supreme

  faced boy David, but look who won!

Tthe war on tots is OURS to lose

   a lesson finally learned!

Bleeding hearts assume all tots

  prefer splashing pools to firefights,

But Goliath fell, he lost the war

    - IED or a slingshot stone?

    - took unfair advantage of the game

  And the size of the fallen mighty!

Our needs are mighty, neverending

   Obama, Busharper, military spending,

Around the world create resentments

   political correctness tie their  hands

  (while enabling others)  who then

    must be dealt with aggression!

They strike hard at nests of vipers

  shock and awe and bloody diapers

 war's not for the faint of heart

  The war on terror they forced to start!

So do your duty, fall in line

  maverick politicians tells it right!

Support the troops maybe out of style

But liberal news media remains defiant,  

   telling everyone on earth "You're  Goliath!'

   while we pro-war patriots are 'just a child!" 

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Harper's also spending a Billion dollars to upgrade 550 LAV III light armoured vehicles "so they can better withstand deadly roadside bombs and mines". This is his idea of "job creation".

And of course we can't let that $1 Billion go to waste, so we'll have to find another country to invade real soon.

But don't expect the official opizishin to complain about this colossal waste of public funds; it's right there in their platform that they intend to "give the men and women of the Canadian Forces, who put their lives on the line every day, the best equipment to do the job with".

Funny, that's almost exactly [url=http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/canada/breakingnews/ottawa-to-spend-1b-... Rona Ambrose said[/url] when announcing this gigantic boondoggle: that it would "make sure our men and women in uniform are safer on the battlefield." 

Slumberjack

Northern Shoveler wrote:
The good people of Newfoundland have a long tradition of fishing or kiling species into commercial collapse and near extinction.

Industrialization really took off after 1949.  But yes, there certainly are mass extinctions to account for prior to Confederation.  The inshore fishery, with its baited hand lines and nets launched over the side of small boats, bobbing around in the swell like corks, was as sustainable an enterprise in that form as one could think of.  For decades after 1949 Canada's contribution to resource management off the East Coast consisted of launching DFO inspectors over the side of Coast Guard or Navy ships, obstensibly to have a peek aboard European and Russian factory freezer trawlers, floating factories essentially, only to be recovered from the inspected vessels hours later pissed to the gills on Russian vodka or Spanish rum.  Pretty bad when even Navy sailors from Saskatchewan cursed under their breath over the whole arrangement.

Tommy_Paine

My side tracking to nuclear issues was in response to the idea of isolationism, of "going it alone".  The harsh reality is that Canada is the world's second largest nation with a population of only about 35 million.  For cris' sakes, Howard Hampton's old ridding in north western Ontario is bigger than Germany.  Add to that resources that many nations are slavering over and a gargantuan coast line, going it alone would require a nation almost built on militarism, or dependance on high tech, high power ordinance like nuclear weapons, faster than the speed of sound torpedoes and all the latest air force gadgets.  It might even mean compulsary military service.

As I said, that's a non starter with the NDP, as it is with me. 

That leaves diplomacy to ensure our security.  Alliances.  And as we see with Nato, that is problematic.  The reality is through alliances that you do get dragged into your neighbour's arguments.  The way to minimize that problem is to be selective on who your alliance members are, and to have good influence in that alliance.

Whether we were for or against what I call "Operation Elphy Bey" (from whence you may discern my opinion)  in Afghanistan, it *should* have spurred a debate on our alliances, pricipally NATO, and what we gain and lose through it. 

Being against Afghanistan, the inexcapable fact was our troops ended up there.  And many died because of the perfidy of our alliance members, principally Germany and to some extent France. 

Once again, Canada "punched above it's wieght" militarily-- for the sake of European machinations.

We have to come to grips with the NATO alliance, and we have to come to grips with the real world. 

You can't beat them at the negotiation table if you can't beat them in the alley.  To borrow a phrase from Conn Smythe.

And if we decide to go back to an emphasis on Peace Keeping, recognize that many Canadian soldiers in this most honourable endeavor died in this service.  They still need excellent equipment, and more importantly, more realistic mandates from the United Nations, and a solid commitment from the Canadian government which needs to give shadow support through diplomacy. 

And again, even in peace keeping, the perfidy of our partners was a main mission problem all the time.

The reality exposed above, about Layton not criticizing the upgrades of LAV's because of the mainstream zietgiest is a real thing that any NDP politician has to deal with.

Instead of ripping them a new one, why don't you come up with an idea that changes that mainstream zietgiest so that new ideas can be expressed? 

The way to attack military spending isn't with the false dichotomy of "we could be spending this money on something else"-- a P.R. campaign that has never worked-- but on attacking the inevitable waste and corruption such spending always engenders.

Aristotleded24

Tommy_Paine wrote:
The way to attack military spending isn't with the false dichotomy of "we could be spending this money on something else"-- a P.R. campaign that has never worked-- but on attacking the inevitable waste and corruption such spending always engenders.

Your whole post was great, but I wanted to highlight this particular part, because as I said upthread, the US is spending far more on its military and they still have problems with eqipment and gaping security holes. Much better to have smart military policy, which would liekly be far less expensive anyways.

Tommy_Paine

That's because the bulk of American Military spending has more to do with pork barrel politics than it does real security concerns. 

In other words, corruption.

 

Malcolm Malcolm's picture

Aristotleded24 wrote:

Much better to have smart military policy, which would liekly be far less expensive anyways.

 

I'm not sure it follows that an independent military policy would be less expensive.  Historically, neutrality has been expensive.

But I agree, the need is for a coherent defence policy that is a little more substantive than "war is icky" and "we could spend the money in other ways."

If Canada is to be a sovereign state, then Canada needs to have independent military capability.  There are really only two main options: some degree of alliance with the Americans or a completely independent policy.  I expect most people here would prefer an independent military policy.  (Practically speaking, there will almost inevitably some cooperation or coordination with the Americans on aspects of air and sea defence., even within an independent policy.)

So, I'd like to ask people to put up.

Presumably such a policy would priorize the defence of territorial integrity.  Realistically, what do we need for that?  I rather suspect that cavalry charges against American tanks would prove pretty futile, given Poland's experience.

What land forces are required?  What equipment? 

What sea-going assets are required?  Bearing in mind things like shipping interdiction, fisheries patrols, search and rescue.  (BTW, whoever it was wrote about our "slow" ships that couldn't catch a Spanish trawler, I'm not aware of many foreign trawlers that can sustain speeds in excess of 30 kts.)

What air assets do we need?  Do we need air to air fighter capability?  Why or why not?

Should our military be primarily Regular Forces or Reserves?

Aristotle is right - we need a smart military policy.  Unfortunately, most of what I've read here is pretty knee-jerk.

Fidel

Yep, aircraft carriers and nukes are useless against right wing fundamentalist terror organizations created by the CIA and MI6, ISI, Saudi princes etc during the cold war. The sword gang are experts when it comes to exploiting their own security holes. It's almost as if Emanuel Goldstein and expendable and rabidly anticommunist jihadi assets have friends working with them on the inside.

Fidel

Wasn't our head lapdog in Ottawa squawking about the "al-Qaeda" threat in the style of crazy George Bush not so many weeks or months ago? I think Steve is prolly on the kool aid himself.

Tommy_Paine

I would think in any case that high tech surveilance should be item number one.  Satelites, underwater listening devices, etc.  That way you don't need a lot of personed, old style "garassons" on our too big boarders.   Because of our size, equipment that can cover a lot of ground or water is obvious for military and search and rescue.  Obviously, jets and conventionally armed missles would do the job in terms of interception and detterence. 

But more important is a foreign policy that makes this the second line of deffence.  This is cheaper-- but trickier.

If we go back in history, way back, we might remember how Great Britain abandoned Canada over the Alaska Boundry dispute, this fresh after Canada had done it's colonial duty fighting, with some distinction,  for Britain against the Boers.

Foriegn policy isn't a matter of "what have you done for us lately", obviously, it's about "what can you do to/for us now?"  I am of course not privy to much foriegn policy behind closed doors, but it seems to me Canada relies too much on the good will from past participations at our allies behest as counting for something, when it counts for begger all.

I do think Canada has levers of influence on other nations, but from this admittedly restricted view, I never see them applied. 

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