Posts Tagged ‘peacekeeping’


Lester B. Pearson has been dead for four decades, but his imagined legacy, that of international peacekeeper, remains one of the defining myths of the Canadian identity. Horrified by our murderous behavior in the occupation of Afghanistan and the bombings of Libya and the former Yugoslavia, the sainted memory of our 14th prime minister is resurrected by people who ought to know better to argue that war-making is not really a Canadian value, that we need to retake our traditional place in the global community as a progressive force for international co-operation, harmony and peace – that we must, again, assume the mantle of our revered Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Mike Pearson.

Yves Engler‘s sixth book, Lester Pearson’s Peacekeeping: The Truth May Hurt, was written to put an end to this nonsense. Canadian foreign policy continues to serve the interests of Canada’s corporate elite, and Pearson’s major contribution to this end was to shift Canadian allegiance from the declining British Empire to the emerging American one. With his peacekeeping fig leaf firmly in place, he backed some of the most murderous thugs of the 20th Century. As Noam Chomsky puts it in the preface to Engler’s book:

“Canada’s Nobel Peace Prize winner and eminent statesman, Lester Pearson was a major criminal, really extreme. He didn’t have the power to be like an American president, but if he had it, he would have been the same. He really tried.”

To encapsulate the book, Yves assembled a list of the “Top 10 things you don’t know about Canada’s most famous statesman, Lester B. Pearson.”

10. Asked in Parliament, he refused to call for Nelson Mandela’s release from prison.
9. He had Canada deliver weapons to the French to put down the Algerian and Vietnamese independence movements.
8. The Kennedy administration helped Pearson win his first minority government.
7. He incited individuals to destroy a peace group after it called for the outlawing of nuclear weapons.
6. Pearson backed the CIA coups in Iran and Guatemala.
5. He described the formation of NATO, not peacekeeping, as the “most important thing I participated in.”
4. Pearson threatened to quit as external affairs minister if Canada failed to deploy ground troops to Korea.
3. He agreed to have Canada’s representatives to the International Control Commission for Vietnam spy for the US and deliver their bombing threats to the North.
2. The world’s leading intellectual, Noam Chomsky, considers Lester Pearson a war criminal.
1. Stephen Harper’s foreign policy resembles that of Pearson more than any Liberal would ever admit.

Yves Engler was in Winnipeg on March 15, speaking at the Mondragon Bookstore and Coffee House. His appearance was sponsored by Peace Alliance Winnipeg. Dwayne Crowe and I prepared this video report for Winnipeg Community Television.

Image: Yves Engler in 2011. Photo: Paul S. Graham

UPDATE: You can watch a video report of Yves Engler’s March 15th Winnipeg presentation here.


Foreign policy analyst Yves Engler will be speaking in Winnipeg Thursday about his newest book, Lester Pearson’s Peacekeeping: The Truth May Hurt.

Date: Thursday, March 15, 2012
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Location: Mondragon Bookstore and Coffee House, 91 Albert Street, Winnipeg
Admission: Free. Donations will be requested to help defray expenses.


Written in the form of a submission to an imagined “Truth and Reconciliation” commission about Canada’s foreign policy past Lester Pearson’s Peacekeeping: The Truth May Hurtchallenges one of the most important Canadian foreign policy myths – that of Lester B. Pearson as peacekeeper.

Lester Pearson is one of Canada’s most important political figures. A Nobel Peace Prize laureate, he is considered a great peacekeeper and ‘honest broker.’ But in this critical examination of his work, Pearson is exposed as an ardent cold warrior who backed colonialism and apartheid in Africa, Zionism, coups in Guatemala, Iran and Brazil and the U.S. invasion of the Dominican Republic. A beneficiary of U.S. intervention in Canadian political affairs, he also provided important support to the U.S. in Vietnam and pushed to send troops to the American war in Korea.

Yves Engler has published five other books:

  • Stop Signs — Cars and Capitalism on the Road to Economic, Social and Ecological Decay (with Bianca Mugyenyi)
  • The Black Book of Canadian Foreign Policy (Shortlisted for the Mavis Gallant Prize for Non Fiction in the Quebec Writers’ Federation Literary Awards)
  • Playing Left Wing: From Rink Rat to Student Radical and (with Anthony Fenton)
  • Canada in Haiti: Waging War on The Poor Majority
  • Canada and Israel: Building Apartheid

His six books have been praised by Naomi Klein, Noam Chomsky, William Blum, Rick Salutin and many others.

His visit to Winnipeg is being hosted by Peace Alliance Winnipeg.