Urgent: Peace Action Needed

Ed Lehman

Despite efforts by the peace movement the discussion of peace in this election has been quite limited. International affairs are not on the list of topics for all candidates’ debates and are certainly not at the center of discussion on the talk shows. There was more discussion of peace during the 2015 election.

The commercial media has been covering the environmental rallies. However, there has been no coverage of the relationship between the struggle to save the planet from climate catastrophe and the struggle to save the planet from war. There seems to be little recognition that a nuclear war involving either or both the United States of America and Russia would exterminate all life on earth. There also has been very little discussion that the resources needed for a Green New Deal must come from the military budgets – that it is not possible to decarbonize without demilitarizing.

Since 9/11 five hundred thousand people have been killed by the United States in endless wars. Canada was not critical of the war-making of the Obama administration, and is also not critical of the war-making of the Trump administration. Despite the early promises following the 2015 federal election, this government has not been acting for peace. The defence policy review of the Trudeau government gave it the opportunity to change course, to adopt a foreign policy of peace and friendship with people around the globe. However, it did just the opposite, listening to the demands of the military lobbyists who echo the demands of the Pentagon and the White House. The new policy adopted was neither “new” or based on “defence.” It was based on aggressiveness, more war, and “America First” policy. Consequently, Canada’s military budget has been increased considerably, at the same time that the environmental budget was frozen.

September 26 was the International Day for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. Most of the world’s nations indicated support for the treaty to ban nuclear weapons. Canada should have done so too.

October 6 – 13 is observed as Keep Space for Peace Week. Andrew Scheer, the Conservative leader, declared on May 7 that as Prime Minister he would have Canada join the US ballistic missile “defence” system. The BMD system is based on the idea that the US and its allies could start and win a nuclear war. By joining the US ballistic missile system Canada would be contributing towards a more dangerous world.

Canada should be acting for peace in the world. Canada should be using its diplomats to contribute to peace-making not war-making.

Canada should stop selling weapons of war.

Canada should withdraw from military missions in Iraq, Syria, Ukraine, and Latvia. Canada should stop supporting “regime-change” wars. Canada should respect the sovereignty of all countries, whether the US leadership, or Canadian mining companies, like their policies or not.

Canada should adopt a “Made in Canada” foreign policy that is independent of the US. Canada should withdraw from NATO and NORAD.

Canada should cut its military budget by 75% and use the saved money to make war on poverty, homelessness, racism, and climate change.

Canada should contribute to peace in the world, urgently. As the young people chanted around the world on September 27, “There is no planet B!”

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