The Dead Candidate’s Report, a Memoir tells the story of a celebrated journalist who decided she wanted to be a member of Canada’s Parliament only to have her candidacy canceled by her leader without notice, as she was preparing to launch her campaign. In fact, her political obituary was written and distributed to the news media even before the candidate herself was informed. The decision to remove her from the Liberal Party roster in the 2008 federal election was prompted by a complaint from an anonymous blogger who claimed that an article she had written years before was anti-Semitic.

The candidate is Lesley Hughes for decades, a journalist at CBC radio, and one whose voice and views were familiar to the legions that tuned into her popular Information Radio morning program. She’s a broadcaster and a columnist whom I have long admired and who has become a friend and occasional colleague in recent years. What follows is a transcript of our conversation, lightly edited for clarity.

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Paul S. Graham: So maybe we can set the scene, or you can set the scene by beginning to describe that fateful morning when you learn that the Liberal leader, Stéphane Dion, had revoked your candidacy.

Lesley Hughes: I deal with this in my book in the chapter called “your execution may be televised” because that’s how I felt. My crew and I were just filming a little video for my website, showing the various places in Winnipeg that had helped to form my values as a candidate. And we were just setting up outside the CBC building because a national public broadcaster was very important to me. And, as we were setting up a group of my former colleagues came thrashing out, lugging all their awkward equipment in one tearing hurry, kind of like they were afraid the story might vanish, you know. And so I was very surprised. And then they wanted me to react to the fact that I had been dismissed as a candidate, which was something that I didn’t know. They were waving a press release at me, which claimed that Mr. Dion had done this. Well, he hadn’t done it. Nobody had done it, but it didn’t matter because the television footage really did it, if you can follow me. So that’s how I found out that I was dismissed. And I was, I was shocked. I felt betrayed and confused. And it was the beginning of a long ordeal. It was a life-changing event. That’s how I found out.

Paul S. Graham: That whole story says so much about the way in which politics or politicians and the media and the news cycle interact that they couldn’t take the time to say, Lesley you’re about to be disappeared. There was no apparent courtesy.

Lesley Hughes: No.

Paul S. Graham: You were alleged to be anti-Semitic, and this was based as far as I can see on one sentence in an article that you wrote in 2002 that challenged the official narratives around the 911 attacks and argued that Canadian soldiers should not be sent to fight in Afghanistan. Can you tell us a bit about the article and why you think your critics chose to call it anti-Semitic?

Lesley Hughes: It was called “Get the Truth.” It was published in May, following the attacks in New York. And yes, the point, the focus of the column was that Canadians should know and should agree if our country was going to support the Americans in the invasion of Afghanistan. And of course there were rumbles of the coming invasion of Iraq as well. I think the problem wasn’t so much one sentence as the whole idea of challenging the official story. I had never seen the media behave in quite the way they did after 9 11. Media everywhere became kind of a Greek chorus, basically repeating what George Bush had to say — in spite of the fact that all journalists are taught that the last thing you believe is the official story — the last thing you believe and the first thing you challenge. So, I was angry and, and I was embarrassed and I had reported the claim that Mossad had made that they had informed the Americans well before the attack that such a thing might be coming, and this was interpreted, certainly by the blogger who initiated the whole ordeal, as meaning that the Israelis knew and didn’t tell the other tenants in the building. And so this was considered to be a very offensive, basically anti-Semitically motivated idea. So that was a big part of the problem.

The other part of the problem was that the Conservatives were arguing aggressively for my dismissal. And Steven Harper had got out in front of the story before I even knew about it, saying that I had said that Israel was behind the attacks in New York, and that I refused to apologize and that he thought was a very serious thing — at the same time admitting he hadn’t read what I wrote. But of course, you know, once that happened, it didn’t matter what I wrote. What mattered was the theme that had been established.
So, I think basically that was the problem. The very idea of raising the topic is like, you know, there’s a target on your forehead, but it, it had to be done. It had to be done, you know. You just know when something needs to be done.

Paul S. Graham: And so, the fact that you had not said that Israel was behind the attack wasn’t a problem for people who just kept parroting that line.

Lesley Hughes: It was great copy. Absolutely great copy. It was everywhere by the elite media who claimed to serve politically astute Canadians. It all went out the window. Right. And I was left for dead, which explains the title of my book, The Dead Candidate’s Report.

Paul S. Graham: So, this affair not only cost you your Liberal candidacy, but more generally it cost you your reputation and your ability to work as a journalist. Do you want to elaborate on that?

Lesley Hughes: Well, the thing is that basically all a journalist has to offer is credibility and these charges destroyed mine. It made me look as if I had been pretending to be one person, you know, progressive and interested in human rights. And I had fooled everybody up until this point. That was the breaking news, according to the blogger. And then of course you have to remember that nobody wants to hang with an anti-Semite. It is rightfully a loathsome ideology. And so of course people would naturally just take their distance from me. And I understood that a lot of people who could have spoken up for me didn’t actually do that because they felt compromised. And of course, my sources dried up because who wants to appear in a story written by the now famous anti-Semite and by the way, a 911 conspiracy nut — that was an additional focus of the claims. So I think that apart entirely from the internal trauma that you feel that people could believe this about you after a career in which it was unthinkable. Apart from that, the end was nigh. It was there, as I say, left for dead. And now what to do?

Paul S. Graham: Despite all of that, though, you did have quite a number of supporters. I was one of them, actually, this was even before I had met you, but I’d been listening to your program for years and I thought, if this woman’s an anti-Semite I’m Adolf Hitler. And I remember blogging about this particular issue on a couple of occasions and in one blog that I posted, and unfortunately the original link to the Winnipeg Free Press story no longer exists, but it was September 27th, 2008. And there was an online readers’ poll that asked the question, “Do you think Liberal leader, Stephane Dion was right to turf Lesley Hughes over 911 conspiracy writings?” And, at that point, 2,469 readers had responded and 73 percent of them said “No.” So, you know, clearly, amongst readers of the Winnipeg Free Press, there were a vast majority that weren’t willing to accept the official narrative of the Liberal Party, that you were some dastardly anti-Semite. What about other people that would have given you support back in those days? Can you talk a bit about that?

Lesley Hughes: Well, you know, I was very touched by that poll. That was a huge number of respondents for that kind of poll. And it, as you say, it was very supportive, and I appreciated it. And however helpful it was, it’s comparatively easy to express your support in that kind of forum. You don’t have to answer for it. It’s an entirely different thing to identify yourself and take some kind of action and make some kind of connection with whoever it is that needs that support. Much more difficult to do in person.
And of course, most people, when they don’t know what to do, or they don’t know what to say, quite reasonably, don’t say anything, don’t do anything. And that was the case for me, some friends in the Jewish community who knew that it was nonsense were not able to speak up. And some friends that were very, I would say, close friends didn’t know how to respond. So that balance was very, very difficult, but where it ended was that it was a very, very, very lonely time, ultimately a lonely time, something I would never want to revisit.

Paul S. Graham: However, you decided to take action at some point. After reflecting on your situation for some time you decided to take legal action to clear your name and to reclaim your reputation. Can you tell us about this?

Lesley Hughes: Well, believe me, Paul, I did not want to do it. I had friends in the legal community who told me many, many times that, essentially, if you look for a legal remedy, it’s like volunteering to appear in front of a firing squad after you’ve already been killed, right. This is not an appealing idea. I understood it – expensive, lengthy, heartbreaking, no guarantees, but I just couldn’t live with the idea of me apparently lending my support to anti-Semitism or anything related to it. I just couldn’t do it. I really didn’t think I had any choice and there wasn’t any other way to approach a solution. So I had a hard time finding a lawyer who wanted to represent me, but I did. I had no money, but I mortgaged my house for a retainer, twice. And, you know what, I don’t regret it for all that it was kind of a heartbreaking journey, the legal thing in court — I didn’t get my day in court ultimately, because the charges were retracted and I was cleared — and I felt differently because initially I felt that I had been used to give antisemitism a new energy, and used to induce fear in a community that didn’t need any more fear of this kind. So I bit that bullet, that firing squad, I went through with it and eventually I won. At least legally I won.

Paul S. Graham: So, do you feel that you obtained all of the objectives you set for yourself when you reached this out of court settlement? And remind us again, who you were settling with. Who were the objects of the lawsuit?

Lesley Hughes: Well, my lawyers had informed me that defamation laws in Canada had become significantly less powerful in the last few years. And so alas, they eliminated the idea of holding the media responsible for their, you know, wholesale slaughter [of] my reputation and my character and what they decided to do was, in their words, pursue the most extreme defamers, I guess, is the correct word. And so the lawsuit was against B’Nai Brith National, against what was then called the Canadian Jewish Congress and against the honorable Peter Kent, who was a candidate in the same election, in a heavily Jewish writing. And really, you know, was able to use this much to his advantage. So those, those were the objects of the lawsuit. People said, are you insane? People said, are you nuts? What makes you think, you know, that you’re going to do anything but bounce, like a pebble off these really powerful well-resourced experienced people, but oh, no, I had to do it.

Paul S. Graham: And in the end they settled out of court. Can you provide any details about the nature of that settlement?

Lesley Hughes: No. Legally I cannot discuss that. They withdrew the charges; they offered a retraction. An apology was out of the question. It’s interesting to note that in all of this, from the beginning, until this very conversation, nobody ever apologized. No one ever apologized for what happened. When I think about that, I can scarcely believe it. But in any case, my lawyer said, “Hey, the public. They forget everything, but they will remember that you went to court and that you won, and that’s what you want.” My legal team was very happy, very happy. They felt this was a good outcome. And I think, you know, realistically, practically speaking, they were, they were correct.

Paul S. Graham: I’ve long thought that the attack on you was motivated by two objectives. One, and I think you mentioned this earlier, to weaken the Liberal campaign by removing a candidate when it was too late to replace her. But, but also more fundamentally, I think there was a desire to squelch mainstream journalistic dissent around the origins of the invasion of Afghanistan and Canada’s participation in that. And you were one of the very few established journalists who chose to take a critical approach. And as we’ve discussed, you’ve paid quite a high price for thinking independently. Would you agree? Have I encapsulated it or is there more to be said about that?

Lesley Hughes: No, I think you nailed it Paul. I think you nailed it. I remember — you may remember as well — one of the, celebrated stories in the wake of 911 was a column that went — it might’ve been Margaret Wente, I’m not sure – “we are all Americans now.” Right. And when I saw that, I said, no, we’re not, no, we are not. And we should not be aspiring to be Americans. We should be aspiring to find out as the title of my troublesome column was — we should be trying to “get the truth,” get the truth before we make judgements and before we plan retaliation.

And we know what the results of the decisions to go into Afghanistan [were]. I mean, the results are just unfolding in front of us right now, but at the time I think what was revealed about media was the underlying and ever present fear of authority and by authority I mean the usual, the traditional – a fear maybe of the military, a fear of government, our own government’s response, and a fear also, of course, among corporate media owners, right, that the status quo could be disturbed. So, in my view, the whole thing did expose something that desperately needs repair. We need a new attitude, which doesn’t focus on fear, but actually does focus on the truth. Does that make sense to you?

Paul S. Graham: I think so. I’ve heard people in the alternative media, so called, refer to the established media as stenographers for government, and, less cheerfully as “press-titutes.”

Lesley Hughes: Awesome!

Paul S. Graham: And I’ve often thought that the official media does spend a lot of time cheer-leading for whatever comes out of Ottawa or Washington. And I’m reminded, and I think you alluded to this earlier that, journalists have forgotten the first rule is that “don’t believe something until it’s been officially denied.”
Anyway, I imagine the last 13 years, since this all went down, have been extremely challenging and reading your book, I had some sense of the ups and downs and the turbulence and the emotions, and the heartbreak and the fear and everything that must have been going on. How are you doing now?

Lesley Hughes: Well, I’m doing much better now that my book is in print. You know, this was a series of disappearances over this, more than a decade, right. Disappeared by the blogger, then disappeared by my party and then disappeared by the media. Then I went to court, I won and that victory was also disappeared because the media declined to print how the story had turned out, which was a great disappointment to me. So, my victory could be described as a thud. Boom! Right.

And now what, how do I live with that? And it dawned on me very slowly that I really had to write a book about it, even though it was going to be a book in which nobody looked good. And probably for that reason, a lot of people wouldn’t want to read. I knew that, okay, if I, if I practice my belief that the best journalism is preventive and liberating at the same time, then I had to write the book.

And I had to tell it, you know, exactly the way it was, with an understanding, you know, of human nature, human behavior, how it all came about. And so, I feel so much lighter now, now that this book is out because it was very hard; it was like defying the entire crowd all over again, you know, and again, the trepidation that comes with that, but I feel relieved. I feel as if I’ve practiced what I preach. And, I’m not responsible for the outcome now because I have done my part. And that feels really good, really good.

Paul S. Graham: I think you deserve to feel good. I think your book should be read by every journalism student and everyone who calls himself or herself, a journalist and every anonymous blogger out there who thinks that they can pile on without having done any research of their own. And perhaps every consumer of media, to understand how lies can circulate at the speed of light and, and how reputations can be destroyed, maliciously, and in some cases, I suppose, innocently as well.

Lesley Hughes: You’re just reminding me of what happened at one point in the story where somebody reported my victory in court, but they said that I had settled with B’nai B’rith. Somehow they missed the rest of that story, which of course meant it was not a big story. Right. It was just a little story, part of a little story. And the people lost interest. And then, Yahoo picked up the wrong story. And in the blink of an eye, the small part of a big story was everywhere. And then it was over. And of course, people look to Yahoo News, you know, as a moderately responsible organization. And that’s how this kind of thing happens. And it has implications for real human beings.

Paul S. Graham: I think the word “Yahoo” says it all.

Lesley Hughes: I’ve heard that.

Paul S. Graham: I very much enjoyed your book. It’s very readable. It’s compelling. It sounds like you. It’s a page turner, as they say. I got my copy from Amazon. Are there other sources?

Lesley Hughes: There may be books in bookstores before Christmas, if things go well. The easiest way at the moment is to go to Amazon, or you can go to thedeadcandidatesreport.com, our page, and then it will give you the options.

But thank you, Paul. Thank you for reading it. Thank you for understanding it and thank you for this time.

Paul S. Graham: And thank you for taking a bit of time to talk with me.

In this webinar, viewers discuss the film Haiti Betrayed with director, Elaine Brière, and the current Haitian situation with activist Jennie-Laure Sully. The webinar was hosted by Peace Alliance Winnipeg on Nov. 13, 2021.

Background

In 2004, Canada collaborated with the U.S. and France to overthrow Haiti’s elected president, Jean Bertrand Aristide, who enjoyed widespread support among the poorest Haitians. Since then, with Canada’s support, a series of right-wing governments have overturned Aristide’s reforms and violently repressed his supporters.

Released in 2019, Elaine Brière’s documentary, Haiti Betrayed, exposes the role Canada played in the 2004 coup. You can watch it here, in English or French.

Biographies

Elaine Brière

Elaine Brière is a Canadian filmmaker and photojournalist. Her first documentary, Bitter Paradise: The Sell-out of East Timor, won Best Political Documentary at the l997 HOT DOCS! festival and Production Excellence award at Seattle Women in Film in l998. Bitter Paradise aired on TVO, CBC Radio-Canada, CFCF-12 Montreal, BC Knowledge Network, SCN, WTN, PBS and Swedish National Television.

The Story of Canadian Merchant Seamen, released in 2006, aired on SCN and Knowledge Network and toured extensively in New Zealand, the UK and Australia.

Elaine’s photographs have been collected by the visual arts section of the National Archives of Canada. Her work has appeared in The Globe & Mail, the New York Review, Canadian Geographic, Carte-Blanche, and the Family of Women. East Timor, Testimony, was published in 2004. She is the founder of the East Timor Alert Network and received the Order of Timor-Leste in 2016 for her contribution towards the liberation of East Timor from Indonesian occupation.

Her current feature documentary, Haiti Betrayed, on the role of Canada in the 2004 coup d’état in Haiti, was released in late 2019. It was translated into French in the summer of 2020 and aired on TV5 in Québec and France.

Jennie-Laure Sully

Jennie-Laure Sully is a researcher at the Socioeconomic Research Institute (IRIS) and a community organizer at CLES, a center for sexually exploited women.

She studied anthropology and public health and has a master’s degree in biomedical sciences from the University of Montreal. She has worked as a research coordinator in hospitals and as a psycho-social caseworker in rape crisis centers.

Jennie is very active in the women’s movement and in the movement for the human rights of migrants. She was born in Haiti and moved to Quèbec with her family when she was 2 years old. Among the many causes she cares about, the fight against imperialism and for the sovereignty of Haiti is among her top priorities.

Speaking at the Ukrainian Labour Temple in Winnipeg, Professor Henry Heller discusses the state of the American Empire in light of its defeat in its 20-year war against Afghanistan and the rise of China. His talk was sponsored by the Winnipeg chapter of the United Jewish People’s Order.

The lack of any discussion of Canadian foreign policy during this election is shocking and shameful — almost as shameful as Canada’s foreign policy itself. Take the case of Venezuela. For the past two decades the United States has been waging a war of sanctions and other dirty tricks to overthrow the democratically elected socialist governments of Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro. Ever Washington’s poodle, Ottawa has joined in with disgusting enthusiasm. Liberal governments or Conservative ones — it has made no difference.

María Páez Victor

To gain a deeper understanding of Canada’s foreign policy, Peace Alliance Winnipeg (of which I am a member) has organized a series of webinars that, so far, have looked at Canada’s international mining industry, Canada’s military deployments since 1867 and Canada’s policies with regard to Palestine.

Yesterday, Peace Alliance Winnipeg turned its attention to Venezuela by hosting a webinar with Venezuelan-born, Canadian scholar and activist María Páez Victor. Dr. Victor is a sociologist, educated in Caracas, New York, Mexico City, and Canada who taught the sociology of health and medicine as well as health and environmental policies at the University of Toronto for many years. Now retired from teaching, she writes and is a frequent commentator on Latin American history and politics. As well, she has her own weekly radio program about Venezuela in the Spanish language community radio of Toronto.

Here is video of the webinar.

UPDATE, Sept. 16, 2021: In an article published on Sept. 16, 2021 by Peace Alliance Winnipeg, María Páez Victor reports on positive developments in the peace negotiations being held in Mexico between the Venezuelan government and the major opposition parties. The opposition has agreed recognize the Venezuelan State, political institutions, and the legitimacy of President Nicolás Maduro and to work with the government to have the United States rescind the devastating economic sanctions that have caused such misery throughout the country.

Dimitri Lascaris is an accomplished lawyer, journalist and activist. Among his many achievements, Dimitri ran for the leadership of the Green Party of Canada in 2020, finishing second out of eight candidates and demonstrating that there at least 10,000 eco-socialists in the Green Party of Canada.

Dimitri spoke at the Sept. 7, 2021 launch of “Through Pluripolarity to Socialism – A Manifesto.” He chose to focus on the struggle of Wikileaks leader and political prisoner Julian Assange, who continues to be imprisoned and oppressed by the British government (at the behest of the American state.)

Sept. 5, 2021: Dimitri Lascaris speaking at the online launch of “Through Pluripolarity to Socialism: A Manifesto.”

The launch itself was live-streamed and can be watched here. You can read and sign the manifesto here.

Thanks for the melodies

Posted: August 25, 2021 in Miscellany, Winnipeg
Tags:

JS Bach in 1746

This afternoon, while bicycling to Winnipeg’s Assiniboine Park, I was listening on my smartphone to a recording by John Williams – Bach: The Four Lute Suites (delighting would be more a more accurate description), when I decided to try and imagine, if not calculate, the number of people I had to thank for the musical experience I was having. While doing so I was reminded of Carl Sagan who famously quipped that if you wanted to make an apple pie from scratch you would first have to invent the universe. Not wanting to credit everything and everyone that has happened since the Big Bang, I decided to put some boundaries around where to place my gratitude.

So, let’s begin with thank-yous to the parents of Johann Sebastian Bach and John Williams. Had they not found each other and raised such musically accomplished offspring, the world (and my music collection) would be much poorer.

But wait, there’s more. In no particular order:

  • the countless musicians, scribes and publishers who maintained the sheet music of Bach’s prodigious output down through the centuries (to say nothing of the inventors of the paper, ink and pens that made this physical record possible)
  • the inventors and makers of the musical instruments for which Bach composed (organs, harpsichords, lutes, etc) and of course all who were involved in the production of the raw materials that these instruments were fashioned from
  • the inventors of the numerous technologies that were necessary to allow the recording of the album in 1986 and subsequent reissues
  • The manufacturers of said technologies, and the producers of the raw materials from which these tools were fashioned; there must be hundreds of thousands involved here
  • the inventors and maintainers of the Android operating system (again too numerous to count), the software that plays my music and my smartphone which, I am told, has at least 300 parts, each of which must be dug from the earth, refined and transformed into electronic components, assembled in a Taiwanese factory and shipped across the world to my door; countless thousands of people here to thank, as you can imagine

I’m sure that I’m leaving out many, many more categories and hence thousands of people, but by now you get the point — I have many people to thank, across time and space, for the joy that this music brings. We are dependent upon one another in ways we can only dimly imagine. (Oh darn, I forgot to thank the multitudes for the bicycle I was riding, the road upon which I travelled and the folks who had the foresight to place a park at the end of it. Another day!)

On Friday, August 6th, Winnipeggers joined in a Lanterns for Peace Ceremony to mark the 76th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. These ceremonies are held each year to help keep alive the memory of these attacks so that current generations understand we must never allow nuclear weapons to be used again.

This year, the focus was on the role of youth in the global campaign for nuclear weapons abolition, with speeches from the young activists responsible for convincing Winnipeg City Council to support the United Nations nuclear weapons ban.

Speakers included Avinashpall Singh and Rooj Ali who, in June, succeeded in persuading the City of Winnipeg to support the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons as part of the youth-led International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons Cities Appeal.

Winnipeg is now one of 15 Canadian cities to support the ban. Thus far, 86 countries have signed the treaty; Canada’s federal government refuses to support it.

Winnipeg Lanterns For Peace was sponsored by

  • Peace Alliance Winnipeg
  • Japanese Cultural Association of Manitoba
  • Council of Canadians-Winnipeg Chapter
  • Winnipeg Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
Speakers at Winnipeg Lanterns for Peace 2021 (l-r): Yuhito Adachi, Yūko Nozoe, Junko Bailey, Terra Rybuck, Rooj Ali, Avinashpall Singh, Shiven Srivastava, (missing: Denanie Ashley Persaud) Photo: Paul S. Graham

There are many parallels between the struggles of Palestinians and the indigenous peoples of the Americas. Chandni Desai and Ali Abunimah reflect on some of these in this presentation.

Chandni Desai teaches at the University of Toronto. Her research and writing focus on Palestinian resistance culture and the politics of internationalism. A community organizer who works for justice in Palestine, she hosts the Liberation Pedagogy Podcast.

Ali Abunimah is director of The Electronic Intifada, an independent nonprofit publication focusing on Palestine. He is the author of “One Country, A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse” and “The Battle for Justice in Palestine.”

This presentation is part of a longer discussion in a webinar sponsored by the International Manifesto Group entitled “Palestine, Unifier of All Struggles” that was held July 11, 2021. Video of the entire webinar will be available at the YouTube channel of the Geopolitical Economy Research Group.

Canadian mining companies dominate the sector in many parts of the world. Largely unregulated, they are able to profit from weak protection for the environment, workers, indigenous peoples and human rights in many countries.

Two-thirds of the value of Canadian mining assets is overseas, in 96 countries, and the Toronto Stock Exchange is home to almost half of the world’s mining corporations. Despite the efforts of activists in Canada and around the world, some of Canada’s best known companies are implicated in environmental destruction and shocking human rights abuses.

In this webinar, hosted by Peace Alliance Winnipeg, Catherine Coumans, of Mining Watch Canada, talks about the struggle to make Canadian mining companies accountable.

Ban Killer Drones

Posted: May 2, 2021 in Peace, War
Tags: ,

Peace Activists in the United States have launched a campaign they hope will result in an international ban on weaponized drones. Their new website will tell you more than you want to know about the deployment and lethal effects of these airborne killing machines. It also has suggestions for action and a petition you can sign that calls on the US government, the United Nations, and all the countries of the world to act on this issue.

There is a tendency among Canadian peace activists to see this as primarily a US problem, given that country’s well publicized drone assassination campaign that has resulted in at least 16,901 people killed and 3,922 wounded in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen in recent years.

However, according to Project Ploughshares, as many as 102 countries use drones for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, and 35 have weaponized drones. Drones are not only deployed to spy on or kill “enemies” but are also often used against dissidents within their respective countries.

Canada has two models of drone aircraft that it uses for surveillance and is planning to acquire weaponized drones in the next couple of years.

Having observed Canada’s sorry record as Washington’s poodle and willing participant in US and NATO military campaigns in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, I have no doubt that these new weapons will not be used to defend Canada. Arguably, Canada’s armed forces were last used in the defence of the country in 1945 and barring a couple of peacekeeping missions, our wars since then have been aggressive ones fought to extend the reach of western capital.

So, please join the international campaign in whatever way makes sense to you, but as well, cast a critical gaze on your own country’s military programs and speak out however you can.