Guess who ELSE is coming to Denman?

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Yves Engler is an unafraid truth-teller about the darker side of our beloved Canada. We sorely need this kind of researcher/author/activist in our midst because we are awash in propaganda painting our nation in only a positive, peacekeeping light. How many of us know for example, that our Canadian military has the biggest public relations apparatus in Canada? According to Yves, (30th May, 2022) Embassy Magazine in 2016 put it at 661 employees in 50 offices across Canada! Their job of course is to promote our military & military expenditures. Now, we could task our military with a true “defense only” mandate, and put them to work with civil defense, coast guard, repurposing bases to the service of climate crisis, remediation of our contaminated sites, and much more. But instead, we continue to hitch it to the service of empire, first the British empire, now the US. This toadying to imperialism is cloaked under the guise of NATO, which was established in 1949 to “keep the Soviet Union out, the Americans in, and the Germans down” (1st NATO Secretary General, Lord Hastings Lionel Ismay). NATO has from the start been run by a US military officer, with a European administrative Head. (That’s one reason why Chrystia Freedland’s bid to be head of NATO failed.) It is only recently that people have begun to question our blind adherence to NATO and its expansion. Yves has been on it for quite awhile now. He has dedicated his keen mind to uncovering and exposing our idealized bubble surrounding the Canadian military’s real role in the world, and while uncomfortable to learn, it seems to me essential that we DO learn about it.

The Canadian Foreign Policy Institute was founded by Yves, Bianca Mugyenyi and other progressives in 2020. Its mandate is to bridge the gap between government policy and public perception. Among other functions, it hosts webinars featuring experts on various aspects of Canadian foreign policy, which are always thought-provoking and challenge the status quo. Let’s face it; the status quo is no longer working all that well. We’re moving at a glacial pace to combat the climate crisis and we are speedily increasing tensions with China. Further, the West has reignited the “cold war” with Russia, arguably through NATO’s unnecessary provocations on the Russian border. The Ukraine War, which people now realize is a civil war, a Russia- Ukraine war, and most of all, a US proxy war with Russia, the US having stated on the record that its goal is to “weaken Russia”. Sadly it drags on, with Ukrainians doing the sacrificing and suffering. The horrific Gaza genocide is 8 months in, yet could end tomorrow if the US stopped supplying Israel its massive weaponry and the West ended its shameful complicity.

The US has lost stature worldwide for its aggression and destabilization of so many countries. The Institute for Economics & Peace publishes the annual Global Peace Index, which measures the state of peace across 3 domains:

  1. Level of societal safety and security
  2. Extent of ongoing domestic and international conflict
  3. Degree of militarization.

The US ranks 131 out of 163 countries in the 2023 Index. (Canada ranks 11th.) Do we really aspire to have the same global reputation as our neighbour to the south? How well is it serving us to be part of the problem globally, as NATO has become? We need to examine and challenge our government’s plan for a $73B increase in military spending in the next 20 years. (April 8,’24

report to Parliament: “Our North, Strong & Free: A Renewed Vision for Canada’s Defense”) After all, our military spending is already up 49% since 2014 (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute – SIPRI). Have taxpayers’ wages increased that much? Hmmm.

In his weekly Canadian Foreign Policy Hour zoom meetings, Yves tackles such controversial issues as Canadian mining interests abroad, Canada’s role in keeping Haiti down, our government’s complicity with Israel, and CRA’s charitable status for organizations supporting illegal Israeli settlements & recruitment for Israel’s army (illegal in Canada). These and much more. Yves is also a radical “disrupter”, meaning that he challenges current political leaders in public forums, by asking them very hard questions. Some of these video’d events are hilarious. He rattles the complacency of leadership, and his verbal confronting may not be the preferred approach of everyone, but he certainly gets their attention and international media coverage to boot!

Though relatively young, he has published 11 painstakingly-researched books, from 2005’s “Playing Left Wing” to “Stand on Guard for Whom? A People’s History of the Canadian Military”, about which I have written previously. He is now embarking on a speaking tour for his latest, co-written with Owen Schalk: “Canada’s Long Fight Against Democracy”.

And the great news is that he is coming to Denman to give a talk on June 10th Noon, Back Hall: “Unveiling Canada’s Complicity in Palestinian Genocide”, sponsored by Denman4Palestine. I’ve heard Yves speak live in Nanaimo, on his last book tour, and I am really sorry I’ll be away for this one so close to home. He is a fearless thinker and an engaging speaker. I urge you to go see, listen, question and learn for yourself!

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