Archive for the ‘War’ Category

Winnipeg, January 21, 2023: Members of Peace Alliance Winnipeg distributed literature in Winnipeg’s Osborne Village calling for an immediate ceasefire and negotiated peace agreement to end the Ukraine War. Following is the statement they distributed. Please share widely.

More war and weapons are not the way to peace!

Statement of Peace Alliance Winnipeg, January 21, 2023

On January 18 NATO’s secretary general said “Weapons are the way to peace” in Ukraine and this was echoed by Canadian Defence Minister Anita Anand as she announced Canada will send more weapons to Ukraine.

The world has been gripped by the dangers and repercussions of the war in Ukraine for almost one year. There have been disruptions to food and energy supplies and soaring inflation as a result of the war.

The cost of the war is mounting as Canada and NATO countries spend billions of dollars to fuel the war. Canada alone has spent $5 billion on this war, $1 billion of which has been for weapons. With NATO weapons and support for Ukraine there is the ever-present danger the war will escalate into a direct confrontation between NATO and Russia.

As the war has progressed various facts have emerged and none of them support this war or pouring more Canadian supplied weapons into Ukraine.

First, a peaceful, united Ukraine is not the goal of Zelensky and the reactionary Ukrainian nationalist ideology that predominates in the Kyiv government. One year ago, the Kyiv government was engaged in an eight-year civil war with its population in the Donbas that killed 14,000 and forced one million to flee the region. That conflict stemmed from the 2014 Maidan coup organized by the US to ensure Ukraine would be in its sphere of influence.

Second, as recently revealed by Merkel, Poroshenko and Macron, the Minsk Agreements, signed in 2014 to end the civil war in eastern Ukraine were but a diplomatic ruse to prepare Ukraine for war with Russia. This war, though maybe not to the timing of NATO and the West, was long in the works.

Third, the Canadian government is not interested in peace in Ukraine. One year ago, Deputy PM Chrystia Freeland described the lead up to the war as a battle between ‘democracy and autocracy.’ Clearly, this war is motivated by the ideology of the Cold War. Ukraine is the proxy to wage that war. Thus, Canada continues to pour weapons into Ukraine with recent announcements of $400 million for a US missile defence system and $90 million for 200 armoured vehicles.

This war could have been averted. Time to say enough is enough, drop the cold war ideology and end the use of Ukraine as a US/NATO proxy. The urgent need is for a de-escalation of the conflict, a ceasefire and negotiations for peace.

Canadian MPs need to hear this message. We urge you to contact your MP and urge them to support a ceasefire and peace negotiations.

Winnipeg peace activists joined with their counterparts in several cities in Canada this weekend to reject the federal government’s plan to spend billions on new F-35 fighter jets at a time when citizens are struggling to afford food and shelter.

They distributed the following statement to passers-by.

No Fighter Jets Coalition calls on Trudeau Government to Drop the F35 Deal

While Canadians struggle with rising energy and food costs, extreme weather events, and economic strife this winter, the Trudeau government is trying to push through a $7 billion deal for 16 F-35 stealth fighter jets with American weapons giant Lockheed Martin. On December 22, Global News and La Presse reported that the Canadian government is planning on signing a contract with Lockheed Martin early in the new year. According to a leak by federal government officials, the Department of National Defence has received approval to buy the F-35s despite years of widespread opposition from Canadian citizens, celebrities and parliamentarians. The government is advertising the cost as $7 billion; however, that is only the cost of the initial buy-in for 16 F-35’s. Further, while the government is advertising the cost as $19 billion for the full order of 88 fighter jets, according to the No Fighter Jets campaign 2020 report, From Acquisition to Disposal: Uncovering the true cost of 88 new fighter jets, the lifecycle cost of buying 88 fighter jets is estimated to be at least $76.8 billion over 30 years.

Experts, including former procurement chief at National Defence Alan Williams, have denounced this procurement, because the total cost of this purchase has not been fully disclosed by the federal government. Williams said: “It is distressing to read information being made public regarding billion-dollar procurements that is so opaque and piecemeal rather than being transparent and comprehensive…(It) makes it appear the government is hiding the truth from Canadians.”

Our report Soaring: The Harms and Risks of Fighter Jets and Why Canada Must Not Buy a New Fleet details the many adverse financial, social and environmental impacts of fighter jets. Excessive operational and maintenance costs, air pollution, extreme noise and damaging air weapons training in and around Indigenous communities are some of the many harms of fighter jets. As the U.S. Government Accountability Office explains, the F-35 continues to be plagued with cost overruns and technical flaws. In its April 2022 study, the GAO found that the F-35 has over 900 open deficiencies.

A new fleet of fossil fuel-powered F-35s will lock Canada into decades of carbon intensive militarism and prevent us from decarbonizing. One F-35 releases more carbon emissions in one long-range flight than a car does in a year.

Moreover, the F-35 is a stealth fighter jet designed for first strike attack, meaning it is only effective as an offensive warplane used against other countries. It has also been designed to carry the B61-12 tactical nuclear weapon and will put Canada in violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Fighter Jets are weapons of war and exacerbate global warming.

As winter sets in and Canadians struggle to make ends meet, it is irresponsible and unjust for the Trudeau government to spend public money on American warplanes. Instead, the federal government should invest in affordable housing, health care, education, economic assistance, and climate action. Canada’s planned F-35 procurement is unacceptable and immoral and must be canceled.

For more information on the campaign, visit the “No Fighter Jets” website. In Winnipeg, contact Peace Alliance Winnipeg.

On June 29, 2022, members of Peace Alliance Winnipeg joined peace activists in a dozen cities who demonstrated their opposition to NATO and Canada’s membership in it. You can find a good overview of this week-long national campaign here.

Winnipeg, April 8, 2022: Glenn Michalchuk (r) delivers a statement criticizing federal government military spending plans to the office of Jim Carr, MP (Winnipeg South Centre). Photo: Paul S. Graham

On April 8th, 2022, Winnipeg peace activists held an information picket in front of the office of Jim Carr, Liberal Member of Parliament for Winnipeg Centre and delivered their message to his office. The purpose of this action was to object to the Canadian government’s recently announced plans to spend 19 billion dollars on 88 new F-35 fighter jets and increase military spending by $6.1 billion over the next 5 years. Glenn Michalchuk spoke on behalf of Peace Alliance Winnipeg and Darrel Rankin spoke on behalf of the Manitoba Peace Council. Here is some of what they had to say.

Below is a copy of their press statement:

Statement:

The prevailing view that enormous military alliances and budgets guarantee peace and stability is disproved by the Ukraine war.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute ranked Canada as the 13th highest military spender in 2020, easily among the top ten per cent of countries globally.

Today’s budget boosts military spending 6.1 billion over 5 years, an average of $1.22 billion or 3.7% per year, well above recent annual inflation rates.

This will only reinforce existing global economic policies of rivalry that led to the present war, a war which is creating danger, hardship and uncertainty for all people.

Peace groups in Winnipeg oppose the hike in military spending.

The Liberal budget grows Canada’s military spending from 1.36 per cent of GDP in 2021 to about 1.5 per cent, or to $34.2 billion.*

High military spending dampens long-term economic growth and worsens the cost of living.

It robs resources from more important social needs like equal and democratic relations with Indigenous Nations, housing, creating a sustainable economy, wage increases, and education and health.

One of the key beneficiaries of the Liberal budget is the military industry, largely based in the United States.

For example, the purchase of 88 F35 fighter jets from Lockheed Martin is unnecessary, economically harmful and dangerous. The Liberal government says the purchase price is $19 billion, but neglect to say the cost over a 30-year life cycle may reach an estimated $76.7 billion.**

These warplanes are not compatible with a defensive military doctrine protecting Canada’s territorial sovereignty.

Using past behaviour as an indicator, the Liberal government will use fighter jets in illegal wars of aggression, occupation and regime change.

It is time to reorient Canada’s foreign policies to respect for state sovereignty, mutually beneficial trade and respect for the right of national self-determination, which Canada violated in Ukraine’s coup d’etat and civil war since 2014, in Yugoslavia, Syria, Iraq and other countries.

This means Canada must not be a part of a military alliance like NATO that imposes arbitrary military budget commitments and whose member states practice regime change.

NATO’s original Cold War purpose to roll back and contain socialism disappeared more than thirty years ago. NATO and leading NATO member states, including Canada, have committed serious crimes of aggression in recent decades, from Yugoslavia and Afghanistan to Libya and Iraq – with impunity.

For all these reasons Canada must get out of NATO.

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

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.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has embarked on a dangerous plan to expand its reach and military strength by the year 2030. Not only does this increase the risk of world war, it promises to rob even more of the precious resources that member states would have available for social programs (or mitigating climate change, or heavens, tax cuts for working people!)

Speaking at a recent webinar organized by Peace Alliance Winnipeg, Tamara Lorincz detailed the magnitude of NATO’s plans and explained what this means for Canada. She also described some of the ways Canada’s peace movement is resisting increased military spending and other toxic aspects of Canada’s foreign policy.

Tamara is a PhD candidate in Global Governance at the Balsillie School for International Affairs (Wilfrid Laurier University). She is on the board of directors of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space and on the international advisory committee of the No to NATO Network. She is a member of the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.

On Feb. 27. 2021, Peace Alliance Winnipeg hosted a webinar entitled “The New Cold War, Canadian Foreign Policy and Canada’s Peace Movement.”

It featured presentations by:

Radhika Desai, a Professor at the Department of Political Studies, and Director, Geopolitical Economy Research Group, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada. She is the author of Geopolitical Economy: After US Hegemony, Globalization and Empire and numerous other books and articles on political and geopolitical economy and world affairs.

Yves Engler, a Montréal-based activist and author who has published 11 books on various aspects of Canadian foreign policy. His latest book is titled House of Mirrors — Justin Trudeau’s Foreign Policy.

Tamara Lorincz, a PhD candidate in Global Governance at the Balsillie School for International Affairs (Wilfrid Laurier University). She is on the board of directors of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space and on the international advisory committee of the No to NATO Network. She is a member of the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.

The webinar was moderated by Glenn Michalchuk, chair of Peace Alliance Winnipeg.

While the quality of the presentations was first rate, the audio quality of Radhika Desai’s presentation was less than optimal. Don’t let that dissuade you from listening. What she has to say makes it well worth the effort.

GET INVOLVED

If you feel inspired to get involved in changing Canada’s foreign policy for the better, here are some organizations that could use your energy.

Peace Alliance Winnipeg

Geopolitical Economy Research Group

New Cold War

World Beyond War

Aug. 6, 2019: Winnipeggers gather in the shadow of the Manitoba Legislative Building to commemorate the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on Aug. 6 and 9, 1945. Lanterns for Peace is a ceremony that is held annually in Winnipeg and hundreds of cities worldwide. Photo: Paul S. Graham

Picking fights with Russia and China, backing fascists in Ukraine, arming murderers in Saudi Arabia, undermining democracy in Latin America — the Trudeau junta has a lot to answer for in the foreign policy realm. Trudeau the younger is not any worse than his predecessors (Liberal and Conservative) in this regard, but he appears to have given up trying to conform to that image of Canada the peacemaker and honest broker on the world stage. (It is a reputation Canada does not deserve, as my friend Yves Engler has demonstrated in many books and articles on the topic. I highly recommend a visit to his website.)

While I fully support the Green Party of Canada in its campaign to make climate change the defining issue of this election, there is another existential threat to human existence that deserves equal attention and that is the threat of nuclear war. Yes, global warming has the capacity to bring our civilization to an end, but so does the nuclear winter that would devastate world food production in the aftermath of a nuclear war.

Most of the world’s nations recognize this and two years ago approved the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons at the July 7, 2017 meeting of the United Nations General Assembly.

Canada’s position is shameful. According to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), “Canada did not participate in the negotiation of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. It voted against the UN General Assembly resolution in 2016 that established the mandate for nations to negotiate the treaty. It claims that US nuclear weapons are essential for its security.”

While 122 nations voted for the treaty, countries with nuclear weapons either abstained, voted against or declined to participate in the negotiation of the treaty, as did Canada’s fellow members of NATO.

So, if you share this concern, perhaps you can ask the candidates who want your vote if they would join with the saner members of the human race in adopting this treaty and work for world peace.

All of this is a longish introduction to a video I recorded this August 6th of the Winnipeg Lanterns for Peace Ceremony. We do this every year — gather somewhere close to water, construct floating lanterns that we launch as the sun goes down, and commemorate the first victims of the nuclear age — the citizens of Hiroshima and Nagasaki — who were either incinerated or permanently scarred by the atomic bombings of their cities on August 6 and 9, 1945. This commemoration never fails to move me.

Slim Pickens on the set of Dr. Strangelove or How I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb.

Last year, the United Nations voted overwhelmingly to abolish nuclear weapons. On July 7, 2017, 122 member countries voted to approve the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Opponents of the treaty declined to participate in the vote. These included the nine countries that are known to possess nuclear arms and some of their allies. Sadly, Canada was one of the countries that refused to support the treaty.

Peter Sellers as Dr. Strangelove from Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 film, Dr. Strangelove.

What gives? Have Canadians lost their minds. Have we become a nation of Dr. Strangeloves and “learned how to stop worrying and love The Bomb.”

No. Not in the least. The truth is, our government has let us down on this issue (and many others, but let’s not digress). Polling conducted by Environics in 2008 indicated that almost 90 percent of Canadians support the abolition of nuclear weapons. Research reported by Environics in 2018 shows that Canadian opposition to nuclear weapons remains high.

Not surprisingly, there is an international campaign to promote the treaty. You can track the progress and access many educational resources at the website of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.

ICAN has drafted a Parliamentary Pledge, and encourages citizens of countries that have not yet approved and ratified the treaty to get their Members of Parliament to sign on. To date, only 13 Canadian MPs have signed: Daniel Blaikie, Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet, François Choquette, Don Davies, Linda Duncan, Cheryl Hardcastle, Carol Hughes, Gord Johns, Hélène Laverdière, Sheila Malcolmson, Irene Mathyssen, Elizabeth May and Thomas Mulcair. Clearly we have a lot of work to do.

As always, for every cause you can find an online petition. Clicktivism has become an automatic response. Here’s one on the Parliamentary petition web site that gleaned 1451 signatures. By itself,  this will have little impact. I think we need to have a concerted lobbying campaign that makes it clear to each MP that nuclear disarmament is an election issue.

We can’t afford to delay. There are too many “trouble spots” where a miscalculation by one or another of the major powers could lead to world war and a nuclear holocaust.

If not now, then when. If not you, then who?

If you are unsure of how to contact your MP, start here.