Our Fight for Independent Nation

Our Fight for Independent National Policies is Our Fight for Peace

Yes to Peace – No to NATO!

 WC O'Casey

November 5, 2010

“Economic planning operated in a capitalist country falls far short of the possibilities of planning under socialism when the working people have political power but, even with the limitations of private ownership, it can be used to produce results for the people until they can establish their political supremacy”

Tim Buck – Put Monopoly Under Control, Progress Publishers, Toronto, 1964, pp 25

For the Canadian people who in their majority are dependent on wages, an expanding economy to provide jobs, income and social and retirement security is vital.  A growing economy means jobs and income – it means guarantees for the future of working families.  Regional, national and foreign policies of governments are central to that aim.  Government policies can benefit workers or exclude them from the productive capacity of the nation, providing benefits exclusively to the narrow profit motive.  

The primary factors in determining the level of national income and which sectors of the Canadian economy contribute to and benefit from that goal is the national policy of the nation.  Determining the direction, content and whose interests government policies serve, in Canada, is a fight for control over our nation, to place all national resources and its full productive capacity in the service of the Canadian people first.

The importance of this task confronts all working Canadians.  The task is of first rate importance, one which will compel the nation to choose a course of independent action or to remain locked into the economic imperialist policies of US monopoly capital.

An Independent Nation of Peace or Belligerent Prop of US Imperialism

Does Canada as a nation chart an independent international course of peace, progress and cooperation with other non-aligned and emerging states or remain entrenched in the monopoly capital interests of G7 states dominated by US imperialism supplying a growing share of our raw natural resources primarily to US value-added industries supporting US policies of war and hegemony? 

The answer to this question placed within the context of contemporary world affairs situates Canada either as a nation of progress or a nation of reaction.  It places the Canadian people either in solidarity with the overwhelming majority of the world’s people who work for wages and in their majority reject neo-colonial and imperialist policies or within the camp of a diminishing privileged sector of finance, energy and military capital - a belligerent class of wealth and privilege who perpetrate wars, dominance and occupation on the peoples of the world.  The outcome of this question makes Canadian workers either the masters of their own destiny or complicit in imperialist wars of conquest and occupation.  There can be no middle ground.

The fight for control over the commanding heights of the national economy determining the political and economic direction Canada pursues – either peace and progress, or war and reaction – is ultimately the struggle between labour and capital.  It is the struggle for national policies which serve the interests of working people who must rely on wages or policies that serve a small and ever contracting parasitical class of wealth and privilege who rely on the unpaid labour time of workers in one form or another.  There is no middle course. 

There can be no reconciliation, no alignment, nor common purpose between the interests of labour and capital.  There can be no basis for national policies that search for “equitable” distribution and sharing of the resources of the nation other than those which seek to fully subordinate the interests of finance and monopoly capital to those of the labouring people of Canada.  This is the only basis upon which the Canadian people can fulfil the vast potential of the nation.  It is the only path to be a leader in the contribution toward peace and progress in the world, and which provides all the peoples of Canada the opportunity to live a life free of economic hardship and worry.  Canada has that potential and more.

Popular Sentiments Expressed in Potash, Sharpen Federal-Provincial Politics

Today in Canada this struggle is unfolding and sharpening on many fronts.  However it has yet to mature into a unified popular expression of the people’s will like the recent victory of the popular forces in Brazil with the election of Dilma Rousseff as President.  Yet rapid polarization of political forces in Canada is occurring. 

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall is confronted with the reality that the people of Saskatchewan are not willing to capitulate to a wholesale sell out of their potash to BHP Billiton without a fight.  This is sharpening the politics in Ottawa and between the provinces.  The Globe and Mail reported that Industry Minister Tony Clement may cede to the pressure that Saskatchewan is placing on Ottawa and reject the deal.  The Globe and Mail said:

“[M]any political and market observers expect the Conservative government to reject the deal and accept Premier Brad Wall’s argument that it is not to Canada’s benefit to cede control of a strategic resource to a multinational corporation whose interests may diverge from those of the people of Saskatchewan who own the resource.”[1]

Of course the complexities of this fight cannot be simplified to the above.  The controlling ownership of the resource and the capital base which supports it is really what is being fought over at the highest levels of the state.  Industry Minister Tony Clements has rejected the bid and has indicated that BHP has 30 days to appeal the decision.  The Globe and Mail reported on November 4, 2010 that that seems unlikely.  Prime Minister Harper was reported to have said in parliament that, “even a large number – if not most people in favour of foreign investment – opposed this decision.”[2]

What the Prime Minister was really saying is that his political base in Saskatchewan was not in favour of the deal.  The decision by the minority Harper conservative government on the BHP Billiton takeover was not fully endorsed by the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE).  John Manley President and Chief Executive Officer CCCE said in a statement[3] railed that the “debate has become so overtly politicized.”  Manley complained bitterly that the Saskatchewan Premier is “entitled” to make the case political “if he feels he can justify it to his citizens.”

Manley complained that while the provinces control the disposition of natural resources such behaviour by provincial governments will affect the broader export of capital by Canadian finance capital.  Manely said:

“However, Mr. Wall also said that potash is a ‘strategic resource’ and that it is not in Saskatchewan’s interest to allow Potash Corp. to be acquired by a foreign company. This creates an impossible hurdle for any investor to surmount, and essentially tells Potash Corp. investors that they cannot sell their shares to the highest bidder under any circumstances.

“The Premier’s ‘strategic resource’ rationale is a political calculation – one that he is entitled to make if he feels he can justify it to his citizens. But the Investment Canada Act exists to derive benefits for Canadians from foreign investors, not to protect resource companies designated as ‘strategic’ at the 11th hour by provincial governments.

“If Canada, at the urging of one of its provinces, wishes to block the sale of a resource company, we must be prepared to accept reciprocal treatment in other countries where Canadian firms operate. No one believes that this would benefit Canada. Nor would it benefit Saskatchewan-based potash companies that do business in other jurisdictions.”

In other words what Manely is saying is that the interests of investors should trump the interests of the nation when investors stand to profit from the enterprise.  As well the CEO is saying that the interests of finance capital should outweigh the interests of resources capital.  This is similar rational used to justify military expenditures and “commitments” to NATO.  The interests of alliance should outweigh the interests of Canada.

Does the controlling interest pass from US hands into Australian-Anglo control?  For the workers of the province who would stand to gain from a BHP Billiton takeover through the promised full operation of the Jansen mine this is not the main concern.  Such a takeover can mean jobs for workers.  This contradiction is the objective reality of leaving the nation’s policies to “market forces” to determine the future of the country. 

The only real solution to the problem is to remove control of natural resources from corporate hands and place them under the democratic control of the people – in other words nationalize the resources of the nation.  This will require a fight by the people of Canada to force national policy discussions of the country back into parliament.  The apparent capitulation by the minority conservative government is an indication of the power that people can wield.

Crumbling Illusions and Mobilization of Popular Forces

The permanent and deepening capitalist economic crisis which Canada faces has shaken many “free-market” illusions from large sections of workers who are confronted with the prospects of permanent unemployment or underemployment, retirement insecurity and hardship.  This process is well underway in the US where the opportunistic reactionary right is capitalizing on the anger of workers and the weak and flagging forces of social democracy advancing an agenda of extreme reaction.  To a certain extent the Harper regime is attempting similar adventures with the mobilization of extreme reaction around the Tribute to Liberty project, the question of immigration and its “law and order” agenda.

On the other hand this reality is once again opening up opportunities to mobilize popular sentiment to defeat the reactionary militarism of the minority Harper Government. However such a defeat demands greater urgency from the progressive forces to mobilize people around national policies that give voice to the desire of the people of the country for peace and progress. 

As the nation moves towards a new federal election the necessity to begin this mobilization process and defeat the extreme right through the defeat of the minority Harper Conservatives is becoming critical to the future direction of the nation.  It may mean the difference between Canada remaining outside of new US-NATO wars or becoming more fully entrenched in new imperialist adventures.  These are the discussions that are occurring in the war council of NATO in the lead up to the Lisbon Summit.  How Canada can confront the combined forces of military capital and profiteers with a resounding no by mobilizing Canadians around national policies of peaceful economic development is the question.

Many opportunities have presented themselves to the left and in particular the communists, to organize and unify the diversity of popular sentiment for the defeat of the extreme right reaction of the minority Harper conservatives.  To date these opportunities have been squandered and Harper remains in power governing as though he commands a majority.  This is a truly telling indictment of the lack of political leadership by the left, including the communists.

The Canadian People Desire Peace & Progress

The sharpening and immature struggle is expressed in the overwhelming desire of Canadians for a government that pursues policies that are peaceful and utilize the natural resources of the nation in a conscientious and planned manner over policies that seek more war and destruction of the natural environments for profit.  Poll after poll consistently validates the aspiration of Canadians for peace, progress and planned development of our immense natural resources and productive capacity.

The desire for progressive national policies that serve the interests of the people are voiced in thousands of organizations, community and citizen groups, newsletters and websites advocating policies that serve the needs of  seniors and youth, the environment and health.  These demands are expressed in the bitter labour strikes that are occurring all across the country.  They are voiced in the student movement and youth groups.  

These struggles are being taken up by millions of working Canadians in organized labour, peace and environmental movements and coalitions.  They are taken up by religious groups, civic organizations, women’s health and protection groups, youth and education advocacy organizations and many, many more.   They fully express and represent the conscious and immature revolutionary forces of the nation.  This expression taken as a whole represents the antithesis of monopoly capital and its current administrative arm in Canada - the minority Harper Conservative government. 

These unorganized forces form the basis of the struggle to subordinate monopoly capital to the economic interests of the Canadian people.  These forces form the basis of breaking with the policies of reaction and disengaging from US imperialist plans of war, hegemony and market expansion and advance towards a socialist Canada.  They are the foundation of the defeat of the minority Harper Conservatives.

This observation is not new.  It does not follow that by saying it makes it so.  Such an observations assumes that the while these forces are loosely organized they nonetheless constitute a buffer between the full onslaught of reactionary monopoly capital seeking to dismantle the hard fought and won policies and programs of the people.

Breaking the Grip of Weak Social Democracy – Labour Must Lead

While contained and assembled within a diverse and essentially progressive but loose network, these forces, without revolutionary ideology, will remain weak and ineffective in the struggle to advance progressive policies within the highly centralized and disciplined structures of monopoly capital. It is the responsibility of the communists to break the influence of reformist and feeble social democracy on the national policy agenda.  It is the revolutionary duty of the communists to find ways to weaken the grip that waffling social democracy has on the progressive forces of the nation.

Organized labour is the most centralized and structured bulwark of anti-monopoly sentiment amongst Canadian people.  While at times organized labour resembles a compliant and complicit entity in the aims of Canadian-US monopoly capital, it retains and remains objectively the only organization that has the capability to lead national struggles that draw the diverse and immature forces into a more fully organized expression of the Canadian people’s desire for peace and progress. 

Organized labour is the only force capable of challenging monopoly capital to implement progressive policies that are in the interests of the Canadian people.  It is the only force capable of resistance to the narrow profit interests of finance and investor class.  Organized labour is the only force capable of leading progressive national policy development within the advanced forces of imperialism “until the people can establish their political supremacy”.

Canada Cannot Advance as a Nation While Engaged in Imperialist Wars

Canadians cannot pursue peaceful development of the nation while engaged with US imperialist wars of intervention and conquest.  Canadians cannot develop the nation’s potential while diverting ever larger sums of national incomes to the military.  Canada will never attain its full productive capacity fulfilling the latent and pent up demands for education, healthcare, affordable housing, culture and environmental protection while engaged in a destructive and criminal war in Afghanistan.

World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) General Secretary Mr. George Mavrikos at the International Seminar on: “The Economic Crisis and the Role of the International Trade Union Movement”, 5-6 October 2009, Brussels made the following observations:

“…The NATO military exercises in Georgia and the promotion of U.S. plans in Afghanistan and Pakistan, which include changing the borders of states in the region, mark the attempt to consolidate their position in Eurasia. U.S. analysts - referring to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Nigeria, Yemen, etc. – estimate the emergence of dangerous arcs of instability and the proliferation of conflicts before 2020. The new upward tendency in global military spending by 45% between 1998 to 2007 is another important indication of the sharpening of inter-imperialist contradictions. It has already been reported that the Obama government is expected to increase the sales of modern weapons even more than the Bush administration, which had an increase of 50% in its term. It is estimated that the diplomatic openings of the Obama Government “to new allies” represent endless possibilities for sales of sophisticated weapon systems, despite the crisis, which will not be left unexploited by the U.S. government.

It is confirmed that the bourgeois class is implementing its ideological and financial interventions vis-a-vis the working class. The forces of capital seek to end the crisis through the escalation of aggression against the workers and peoples. They advocate “All together against the crisis” and are organizing a wide network that traps a large part of the working class by requiring commitment to its objectives. They buy them out through benefits and allocations; they call for class collaboration for the way out of the crisis, while even today a large part of the capital is increasing its profitability. They are supported by the action of trade unions dominated by the forces of opportunism and compromise. They intensify repression through NATO’s plans for “urban crises.” Generally the showing of a common understanding and consensus strategy by the forces of capital, despite the differences between them, appears in the policies to shift the consequences of the crisis to the workers. On the other hand what is shown as a remedy for the problem becomes poison for the other existing problems.[4]

The WFTU demands:

  • The workers not to pay for the crisis. Dismissals to be prohibited;
  • To stop the expenditure on military equipments and this money to be granted to the unemployed and the poor;
  • To take action now on erasing the debts of Third World Countries;
  • Free and Public health, education, food and water for all.

Canada cannot take its place in the community of nations in a manner that coincides with the real aspirations of the labouring masses in the world for mutual cooperation and peaceful development while at the same time assuming a place in the US imperial war councils of NATO, NORAD and NORTHCOM.

If the Canadian labour movement were to take up the demands of the WFTU it would place the Canadian working class in the camp of fighting trade unionism and place monopoly capital in a defensive posture.

Canada Cannot Been Seen as a Nation of Peace While Pursuing Policies of War

Canada’s recent rebuff at the UN, losing its bid for a seat on the Security Council is an expression of that fundamental truth – one cannot peruse policies of reaction and belligerence and still be seen as a progressive force in the world community of nations.

Don Currie Chair of Canadians for Peace and Socialism said:

“The defeat of the Harper Government at the U.N. once again illustrates the truth that it is impossible for a Government to pursue an oppressive domestic policy and a progressive foreign policy. The minority Conservative Harper Government is a full spectrum right wing anti-people, pro-war administration. The Harper Government’s defeat at the U.N. foretells its defeat in Canada and for the same reason; state-monopoly capitalist government is incapable of acting for the common good.”[5]

Canada cannot develop culture, science, education and industry for the benefit of our people while continuing to support a policy of military expansion to the tune of $1/2 Trillion dollars.[6]  Canadian people cannot retire in dignity and security while our bright and highly educated young people are forced into military service in search of jobs and income, to fulfil MacKay’s policies of expanding our armed forces.

The minority Conservative Government of Stephen Harper attempts to increase Canadian reserves to 70,000 Regular Forces and 30,000 Reserve Forces.  The great bulk of those troops will come from unemployed youth who could otherwise be engaged in pursuing careers in the peaceful development of the country.  The Canadian military is aggressively recruiting from high schools, college and university campuses.[7] 

The Canadian Defence Minister, Peter McKay said:

“[T]his Government is committed to rebuilding the Canadian Forces into a first-class modern military…a military that can defend our sovereignty and play a leadership role in the world. We are committed to this goal, and that's why we're committed to recruiting the exceptional people that the Canadian Forces depends upon. We need to reach out to Canadians in every region and community…”[8]

Canada cannot develop the burgeoning and fantastic potential of the Arctic for our northern peoples while engaged in policies of raw resource shipments to the United States for quick profit and rapid militarization of Northern waters in concert with the imperialist policies of US-NATO.

The minority Harper Government’s plans to purchase 65 F-35 stealth fighter jets at a cost of $16B CDN is being defended by the DND and by the complicit and corrupt monopoly media as the need “to assert sovereignty in its skies”[9]

While Canada “needs” to spend $16B on offensive weapons capable of carrying nuclear payloads as a method of defending Canadian sovereignty, the decision to purchase these weapons of mass destruction has not been made in parliament in an open debate but behind closed doors in the secret war councils of NATO under US direction for “interoperability”.

As Don Currie pointed out in the article “NATO Meets to Plan Expansion, Repression and Future Wars”:

“Prime Minister Harper’s adherence to NATO doctrines has effectively debased Canadian sovereignty over foreign policy to the point where NATO not the elected members of the Parliament of Canada now determine matters of peace and war, what is fundamental to Canada’s national defence, the strategic doctrines and the procurement priorities of Canada’s armed forces.  The much discussed Harper Government decision to purchase US produced 65 F35 fighter jet aircraft at an initial cost of $9 billion is largely determined by the interoperability of these US built aircraft with the armed forces of the member states of NATO.”[10]

Stop Harper’s Plans to Cede the Development of the Canadian Arctic to US-NATO Nuclear Doctrine

The expanding development of energy in Canada’s north has particular issues that directly affect the Canadian people from coast to coast to coast.  As energy resources particularly gas and oil become more technologically accessible in Canada’s Arctic so does the interest within monopoly capital to exploit those resources for profit.  The interests of the Canadian people are secondary to the exploitation of the resources for corporate profit.

NATO has made this observation and with particular emphasis on where “its unique competencies, can add value”.  Former NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said in a January 29, 2009 speech to the Arctic Council at The Seminar on Security Prospects in the High North, Reykjavik Iceland:

“At our Summit in Bucharest last year, we agreed a number of guiding principles for NATO’s role in energy security, as well as five specific areas for possible NATO involvement: information and intelligence fusion; projecting stability; advancing international and regional cooperation; supporting consequence management; and supporting the protection of critical infrastructure. These are all tasks, given by NATO Heads of State and Government, where NATO has a clear value-added to offer. And I believe they all have a particular relevance in the context of any increased energy activity in the High North.”[11]

Canada cannot develop the potential of the arctic and the high north for her peoples while engaged in the US-NATO militarization of the Arctic.  Global Research journalist Rick Rozoff wrote in an August 29, 2010 article entitled “Canada Opens Arctic to NATO, Plans Massive Weapons Build-up”[12] that US-NATO militarization of the Arctic is proceeding at a rapid pace. 

Rozoff revealed the billions of dollars of national income which is being diverted into the militarization of the Arctic.  Money that could otherwise be used for healthcare, education, culture is being used in the development and purchase of fighter jets capable of carrying nuclear payloads, 28 Navy warships and coast guard vessels as well as hundreds of smaller vessels and the purchase of support helicopters and space-based systems used for surveillance, communications and NATO-NORAD interoperability.  

Rozoff also exposed the base Cold War hysteria being whipped up by the Harper-MacKay “propaganda” ministry headed by Cold War Sovietologist Dmitri Soudas to provide justification for the minority Harper Government imperial aspirations.  “Propaganda” Minister Soudas claimed that Canadian fighter jets repelled attempts by Russian bombers to “enter sovereign Canadian airspace”.

Make the Canadian Arctic a Zone of Peaceful Development

The Canadian people are not required to defend the narrow profit interests of finance, energy and military capital.  The development of the north cannot be as a result of its militarization and that expansion of weapons of mass destruction to the zone and it certainly cannot be developed for Canadians under the behest and control of US-NATO commands.

In Campbell Clark’s October 22, 2010 Globe and Mail article, “Part 1: Canada’s Next Battle”, Clark quoted University of Ottawa defence analyst Philippe Lagassé as saying “Let’s be clear: we’re talking about Russia here”.  Clark then went on to explain Lagassé’s assessement:

“China has no intention of coming near our airspace and has no long-range bombers to do it, and another country like Iran would have to fly through the airspace of several countries to get here, he said. Russia doesn’t have a stealth bomber to intrude unseen. And if Russia or China enters our airspace, it will be a massive attack with more planes than 65 fighters can handle, triggering U.S. retaliation and risking nuclear war.”[13]

Canada cannot develop the huge potential of nuclear power for her peoples while remaining entangled within the US-NATO nuclear doctrine.  Canada cannot peacefully develop and expand the almost limitless potential of the peaceful uses of nuclear power while supporting US imperialism’s ‘nuclear first strike policy’ and ‘defensive missile shields’ through the complicity of silence and engagement in US-NATO interoperability and modernization of nuclear capabilities and the means of its delivery.

Canadian national policies must ensure that any development of the Canadian Arctic will only be carried out in its peaceful development with the interest of her northern peoples put first.  The Canadian Arctic must be a zone of peace free of nuclear weapons.  Canada must reject US-NATO nuclear doctrine and attempts at the militarization of the Canadian north.

Nuclear Disarmament Policies Benefit Canadian Workers

The last major policy recommendation to the Government of Canada on nuclear disarmament was over 10 years ago.[14]  Compelled by the overwhelming desire of the Canadian people for peace the 1998 Report of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade was forced to conclude and make 15 recommendations to the Government of Canada.  Some of the key recommendations were:

“That Canada work consistently to reduce the political legitimacy and value of nuclear weapons in order to contribute to the goal of their progressive reduction and eventual elimination.

“In order to implement this fundamental principle, the Committee recommends that the Government of Canada issue a policy statement which explains the links between Canada's nuclear non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament policy and all other aspects of its international relations.

“The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada intensify its efforts, in cooperation with States such as its NATO allies and the members of the New Agenda Coalition[15], to advance the process of nuclear disarmament. To this end, it must encourage public input and inform the public on the exorbitant humanitarian, environmental and economic costs of nuclear weapons as well as their impact on international peace and security.

“The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada explore additional means of both providing more information to Canadians on civilian uses of nuclear technology, and receiving more public input into government policy in this area. As one means of achieving this, the Committee also recommends that the Parliament of Canada conduct a separate and in-depth study on the domestic use, and foreign export of, Canada's civilian nuclear technology.

“The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada argue forcefully within NATO that the present re-examination and update as necessary of the Alliance Strategic Concept should include its nuclear component.”

In April 1999 the Government of Canada responded to the recommendations in the report.[16]  Of the responses the Government of Canada made the following statements over 10 years ago:

“The objective of successive Canadian Governments has been and remains the complete elimination of nuclear weapons.

“Canada will also continue to resist any movement to validate weapons as acceptable currency in international politics.

“The Canadian Centre for Foreign Policy Development (CCFPD) was established by the Government to help Canadians participate in foreign policy-making…As the debate on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation evolves further, the Government will seek additional ways to gain input from non-governmental sources.

“The Government agrees to keep close contact with Parliament.  Should the committee so wish, this will include and annual appearance by Canada’s Ambassador for Disarmament Affairs, before the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

“The Government agrees with the Committee’s recommendation (to advance the process of nuclear disarmament within NATO – Ed.)…Canada will urge Allies (NATO – Ed.) to pursue consistently this positive role which is a vital aspect of their efforts to provide for their security and defence.

“Canada urges both Russia and the US to proceed rapidly to agree to further deeper cuts through START III.  Canada also supports the broadening of the bilateral START process to include other Nuclear Weapons States.

“While Israel maintains policy of nuclear ambiguity, it is widely assumed to have developed a significant nuclear weapons capability.  The Government of Canada is convinced that this program is not in the long-term interests of Israel, of regional stability and of global security.  We call upon Israel to accede to the NPT as a non-nuclear-weapons State.”

Even if this was the sole basis that Canada pursued its foreign policy with other nations the Canadian people would now enjoy greater prestige and expanded opportunities for trade and peaceful cooperation than that which is evident today. On this basis alone, a policy of peace could have developed , if Canada would have implemented this policy to its full potential the enormous difficulties faced by Canadian workers and their families for employment, income and pensions would have, to a great degree, have been mitigated.

The recommendations if implemented would have had the prospect for government policy to have greater capability in combating the corrosive effects on Canadian sovereignty and foreign policy.  In its embryonic form it carries the ability to limit US monopoly capital penetrations into Canada.

Harper Ideologues Act in the Interests of US Imperialism

Such a policy of peace concerned US monopoly capital and the US administration.  The United States was alarmed at the expression of the Canadian people for peace and the potential such policies held for exposing and placing the belligerent and aggressive nature of NATO and US imperialism in check.  The rightwing of Canada, supported by US imperialism, countered with opposition Reform Party of Canada.[17]

In a dissenting report issued by the Reform Party of Canada[18] support for US imperialism’s right to first use of nuclear weapons was reiterated.  The dissenting report concluded:

“However, the Committee's Majority Report is pervaded by deeply misguided assumptions in almost every section. Emphasis is placed on the need to ‘eliminate’ nuclear weapons and to abandon NATO's reserved right of first use in self-defence. Perhaps most dubious of all is the unfounded claim that the world is much more stable and secure today than was the case in the Cold War, and therefore more conducive to elimination of nuclear weapons [Reform Party emphasis].

“The Majority Report also refers repeatedly to a goal of moving toward the complete ‘elimination’ of nuclear weapons. It thus reflects longtime unilateral disarmament activist Douglas Roche's wish that our work as a Committee be ‘very sharply focused on the need to eliminate nuclear weapons from the world.’ This is unrealistic, since it fails to appreciate the complex reasons which may lead states to acquire nuclear weapons in the first place.

“Even though Canada does not itself possess nuclear weapons, our country has always relied on the nuclear protection afforded by NATO. It has always been a nuclear armed alliance and Canada has been a member from day one.

“The evil lies not in nuclear weapons themselves, but in the potential use (or threatened use) of such weapons by hostile states, rogue states, or terrorist organizations, which see advantage in destabilizing the present international order. Nuclear weapons in the hands of democratic and peaceful powers remain, as they have always been, an insurance policy against the unforeseen [Reform Party emphasis].”

Canadian Government policy on nuclear weapons in 1999 was abandoned in favour of the Harper-Reform ideology of nuclear confrontation.  The Toronto Star commented on the shift in the minority Harper government’s position on nuclear weapons[19]. The Star reported that former Defence Minister Gordon O’Connor said in Parliament that, “We are a member of NATO and we stand by NATO's policies. NATO, at this stage, has no policy of disarming from nuclear weapons.”  This shift policy was underscored by former Canadian UN ambassador Douglas Rouche saying, “…deterrence remained an important element of international security and a fundamental part of the deterrence policy of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).”

The Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada on their website says:

“Canada has a policy objective of non-proliferation, reduction and elimination of nuclear weapons. We pursue this aim persistently and energetically, consistent with our membership in NATO and NORAD and in a manner sensitive to the broader international security context.”[20]

Changes in Canadian Policy Corresponds to the Struggle for Peace and the Intensification of Inter-Imperialist Rivalries

The shift in foreign, military and nuclear policy of the minority Harper conservative government from previous Canadian governments coincides with the broader and general international alignment of US imperialism against the aspiration of peoples for peace, jobs, income and progress.  This change in policy corresponds with the general capitalist economic crisis and sharpening contradictions between the modes of production and the distributions of national incomes.

Radical changes in production have sharpened the contradictions between social production and private accumulation of capital.  US imperialism continues to seek ways to out of its decaying, collapsing and failed economy by burdening the worlds labouring masses with wider wars and instruments of death and mass destruction.  The minority Harper conservative government aligns the Canadian people in the plans of US imperialism for wider wars of occupation and intervention as a way to profit from the supply of natural resources, military technology and finance capital required in the further exploitation of vulnerable nations.

The President of the World Peace Council Socorro Gomes characterized this period in a speech to the WPC Secretariat as:

“Since the election of the new leader of the White House, the talks of dialogue, democratization of international relations, multilateralism and respect to international law multiplied. There were promises of the end of wars and a world of peace and there is a manifest intention to avoid the danger of a nuclear conflict. For those promises, the current president of the United States even won the Nobel Peace Prize. But those are only promises, words that do not correspond to acts or facts. The world is still burdened by grave threats, humankind lives under the danger of new wars and aggressions and even a nuclear conflict. The rights of peoples are disdained. International insecurity is an attribute of our time.”[21]

The NATO Summit in Lisbon, Portugal November 19-20, 2010 will bring together the leading imperialist states to outline a “new” role for alliance partners.  The New Strategic Concept will define NATO nuclear policy, intervention criteria and relationships with other international organizations. 

The fundamental basis of the New Strategic Concept however is to lay the ground rules primarily between the US and the EU in the joint exploitation of the world’s labouring masses, on what basis military interventions will occur and who will profit first.  This is continued re-division of the world as Lenin described in Imperialism:

“Monopolist capitalist associations, cartels, syndicates and trusts first divided the home market among themselves and obtained more or less complete possession of the industry of their own country. But under capitalism the home market is inevitably bound up with the foreign market. Capitalism long ago created a world market. As the export of capital increased, and as the foreign and colonial connections and “spheres of influence” of the big monopolist associations expanded in all ways, things “naturally” gravitated towards an international agreement among these associations, and towards the formation of international cartels…

“The epoch of the latest stage of capitalism shows us that certain relations between capitalist associations grow up, based on the economic division of the world; while parallel to and in connection with it, certain relations grow up between political alliances, between states, on the basis of the territorial division of the world, of the struggle for colonies, of the ‘struggle for spheres of influence’”.[22]

Canada participates in NATO and other aggressive economic and socially exploitive alliances as an independent imperialist power with her own interests at stake.  Canadian monopoly capital has subordinated itself to US monopoly interests as a junior partner in the exploitation of other nations and as an independent imperialist power.  Canadian mining, energy and finance capital are examples of independent monopoly capital acting in its own interests.  The projection of Canadian power in a geopolitical sense is conducted through the alliance of NATO and integration in US military structures such as NORAD and NORTHCOM.

Peaceful Development of the Nation is the Only Path Forward for the Canadian People

The interests of the Canadian people can only be served by exiting these imperialist alliances and striking an independent non-belligerent foreign policy.  This cannot occur as long as the Canadian people, organized labour and the progressive left, including the communists, tolerate the continued functioning of the minority Harper conservative government.

Leading up to the NATO Summit in Lisbon will be an attempt by the minority Harper conservative government to deflect attention from the meetings that will be taking place.  It is important that the peace movement elevate the discussion from the fringes to centre stage.  Organized labour is called upon to call for economic policies of peace that divert the huge military expenditures planned by the minority Harper conservative government into social and national development programs.  This is the only path forward for an independent and peaceful Canada.  This is the only path forward for the future of the Canadian people.

Yes to Peace - No to NATO!  Dismantle NATO Now!

Left Turn Canada


[1] SHAWN McCARTHY and BRENDA BOUW, “BHP confident of Potash takeover approval this week”, November 1, 2010, http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/potash/bhp-confident-of-potash-takeover-approval-this-week/article1780076/

[2] Rob Gillies, “Stephen Harper defends Potash decision”, Globe and Mail, November 4, 2010, http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/potash/stephen-harper-defends-potash-decision/article1786074/

[3] John Manely, CEO of the CCCE, “Why Open, Fair Investment Rules Are In Canada's National Interest”, http://www.ceocouncil.ca/en/view/?area_id=1&document_id=1426

[4] WFTU General Secretary Mr. George Mavrikos, “The Economic Crisis and the Role of the International Trade Union Movement”, 5-6 October 2009, Brussels, http://www.wftucentral.org/?p=2841&language=en

[5] Don Currie, “For a Canadian Foreign Policy of Peace”, October 13, 2010, http://www.focusonsocialism.ca/random.asp?ID=541

[6] Department of National Defence, “Canada First Defence Strategy”, http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/focus/first-premier/index-eng.asp

[7] Johan Boyden, “Militarism and Canadian youth”, Rebel Youth Magazine, Summer 2007, http://www.ycl-ljc.ca/en/rebel_youth_magazine/s07_militarism.php

[8] Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, Speech on the Recruitment Campaign, Canadian War Museum, April 15, 2008, http://www.recruiting.forces.ca/html/index.aspx?m=0&lang=en&sid=241&sm1=0&sm2=3&sm3=0&content=241&news=1&option=481#481

[9] Campbell Clark, “Part 1: Canada’s Next Battle”, Globe & Mail, October 22, 2010, http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/time-to-lead/military/part-1-canadas-next-battle/article1768573/page3/

[10] Don Currie, “NATO Meets to Plan Expansion, Repression and Future Wars”, October 7, 2010, http://www.focusonsocialism.ca/random.asp?ID=540

[11] Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, “Speech: Seminar on Security Prospects in the High North”, January 29, 2009, http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/opinions_50077.htm?selectedLocale=en

[12] Rick Rozoff, “Canada Opens Arctic to NATO, Plans Massive Weapons Buildup”, August 29, 2010, http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=20808

[13] Campbell Clark, “Part 1: Canada’s Next Battle”, Globe & Mail, October 22, 2010, http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/time-to-lead/military/part-1-canadas-next-battle/article1768573/page3/

[14] CANADA AND THE NUCLEAR CHALLENGE: REDUCING THE POLITICAL VALUE OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS FOR THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY, Report of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Bill Graham, M.P., Chair, December 1998, http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=1031537&Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=36&Ses=1 

[15] Members at the time where Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa and Sweden

[16] Government of Canada: Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, “Government Response to the Recommendations of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade on Canada's Nuclear Disarmament and Non-proliferation Policy”, April 1999, http://www.international.gc.ca/arms-armes/assets/pdfs/scfait-cpaeci1999-eng.pdf

[17] Stephen Harper and the extreme right brain trust of Canada merged the Reform Party with the Conservative Party to form the current Conservative Party of Canada which is governing as a minority government of Canada.

[18] A Summary of the Official Opposition Minority Report on Canada and the Nuclear Challenge, Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, December 1998, http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=1031537&Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=36&Ses=1&File=249

[19] Anthony Salloum, “Canada edges toward deadly nuclear embrace”, November 21, 2007, http://www.thestar.com/comment/article/278311

[20] Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (Nuclear) Division, http://www.international.gc.ca/arms-armes/nuclear-nucleaire/index.aspx?lang=en&menu_id=20&menu=R

[21] Socorro Gomes, President of the World Peace Council, Brussels, October 10-12, 2010, http://www.focusonsocialism.ca/random.asp?ID=543

[22] VI Lenin, “Imperialism the Highest Stage of Capitalism”, Collected Works, Volume 22, Chapter 5, page 246, Progress Publishers, Moscow 1964