Letter to Jagmeet Singh

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To: The Honourable Jagmeet Singh,MP

cc. MP Gord Johns; CVRD rep. Daniel Arbour

Dear Sir:

Many thanks for your recent visit to Denman Island with Gord Johns and Daniel Arbour. Your Denman and Hornby constituents had a unique opportunity to hear directly from you and Gord what the NDP is up to and to ask our questions. On the whole, I think you are doing a good job, particularly domestically, to address the needs and interests of Canadians.

Thank you for taking a stand on Israel’s war on Palestinians. I appreciate your introduction of the Bill in Parliament on March 18, calling for a ceasefire and an arms embargo with Israel while it pursues ethnic cleansing and genocide in Gaza. That ought to be our #1 priority right now.

However I must make one point on foreign policy: when asked about Canadian militarism, you said words to the effect that Canada is a “peacekeeping nation”, known for its contributions to peacekeeping in various parts of the world. To a degree that was once the case, when we had 3,000 peacekeepers and were third in the world in our contribution to UN peacekeeping. That number has been on the decline since 1995 and now Canada has a paltry 57 peacekeepers stationed abroad with the UN, out of 68,000 people in uniform. That hardly gives us standing to declare ourselves peacekeepers. We now rank 66th among the 125 nations engaged in peacekeeping. (Charlie Buckley, CTVnews.ca, 11Nov.23.) Canadians should not be deluded about the role of our military. We actually serve as the underling of the US, making parts for their weapons, deeply embedded in their operations, just not that visible because we act under the auspices of US-led & controlled NATO.

PM Justin Trudeau commented: “Canada’s leadership in peacekeeping is a source of national pride”. This is false pride based on a comfortable myth. Trudeau’s then Minister of Defence, Harjit Sajjan, pledged at a 2016 UN conference in London to increase our peacekeeping force to 600. That promise has not been fulfilled. (Walter Dorn, Professor of Defense Studies at Royal Military College.)

I would like to see the NDP hold the Liberals to account on this promise, or better yet, explore neutrality. Our blind following of the dictates of NATO is very disturbing, and Canada, as a medium-sized wealthy nation, could better spend our “defense” monies on attending to our egregious part in the climate crisis, halting pipelines, cleaning up the Tar Sands, retraining for civil defense rather than global offensive missions. We do not need soldiers in Latvia and elsewhere bordering Russia, nor in the China Sea provoking China. We need to think and act as global citizens and wean ourselves from service of empire.

sincerely, 

Sally Campbell

TIG
Author: TIG