Canadian Forces Promote Militarism in the Classroom

A friend in Montreal, whose partner is a teacher, recently messaged me:

"My wife, who sat through the Grade 4 virtual Remembrance Day activity organized by the school board described what it was like: The students watched two soldiers walk around a military base giving a tour. This included tanks. … A student asked if they use the tanks. The soldiers stumbled a bit and the spiritual animator intervened and said ‘we don’t ask soldiers about whether they use weapons or shoot people’. The soldier intervened and got upset. He said something to the effect of ‘no soldier joins the army to shoot people. We join to help people. Some people shoot people, but they have mental health problems that they need help with’. Then a captain cut in, seeming upset. He said ‘soldiers are trained and given an education. And it’s an education, not brainwashing!’ …

The Canadian military has been offering events and speakers – usually Afghanistan war vets, big banners and displays, etc. But I’ve never heard of this before. Touring a military base for 10 and 11 year-olds."

While there are likely many, I’m aware of at least one other instance where the army brought a tank to a schoolyard. In 2007 CBC reported that a Grade 4 "class at Holy Cross Elementary school [in St. John’s, Newfoundland] were given a firsthand show-and-tell session with a tank and related gear."

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‘Sexy’ Jets, Airshows Sell War and Militarism

The growing campaign to oppose Canada spending tens of billions of dollars on 88 new fighter jets faces an important, if unconventional, obstacle: the warplanes themselves. Fighter jets are an important tool of militarist propaganda.

In recent weeks Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) planes have done numerous flyovers and participated in airshows across the country. As part of "Operation Inspiration" CF-18s flew over the Prince George Exhibition and lower Vancouver Island. The RCAF does flyovers at dozens of special events every year. In 2019 they flew by the opening game of the NBA finals and the Toronto Raptors’ massive victory celebration.

Fighter jets also participate in numerous airshows every year. In recent weeks CF-18s were part of the Camrose Drive-In Airshow, Cold Lake Aqua Days and Abbotsford International Airshow. To create popular support for the Air Force the RCAF has promoted airshows and flying for a century. In "The Public Face of the Royal Canadian Air Force: The Importance of Air Shows and Demonstration Teams to the R.C.A.F" Timothy Balzer writes: "For almost as long as Canada has had an air force, it has had demonstration flyers displaying the skill and daring required to be a pilot. From the first formation flight in 1919 on, demonstration teams have played an important role in keeping the Royal Canadian Air Force engaged and interacting with the Canadian public."

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Interesting How the Military ‘Defends’ This Country by Sending Ships 7,000 Kilometers From Canadian Soil

Canada’s navy is running provocative maneuvers in the South China Sea. While they claim to be upholding the "international rules based order" in these missions, their main partner refuses to recognize the Law of the Sea.

At the end of last month HMCS Calgary passed near the Spratly Islands claimed by both China and the Philippines. In response Chinese vessels shadowed Calgary through the South China Sea.

In recent years Canadian vessels have repeatedly been involved in belligerent Freedom of Navigation (FON) exercises through international waters – claimed by Beijing – in the South China Sea, Strait of Taiwan, and East China Sea. To counter China’s growing influence in Asia, Washington has stuck its oar into long-standing territorial and maritime boundary disputes between China and the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and other nations. As part of these efforts to rally regional opposition to China, the US Navy has engaged in regular FON operations, which see warships travel through or near disputed waters.

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NATO Is a Bad Influence. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization Strengthens the Worst Tendencies of Our Political Culture.

Ricochet recently reported on internal government documents regarding a discussion about selling sensors for armed drones to Turkey. Last spring the Trudeau government approved an exemption to an arms export ban to Turkey, allowing Ontario-based L3Harris Wescam to sell its thermal surveillance and laser missile targeting technology. It was subsequently employed in the deadly conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh.

In providing the exemption, government officials demonstrated concern about corporate interests and Canadian relations with a NATO ally. "The need for cooperation among NATO partners was a major element of the justification for the carve-out that allowed Canadian tech to be transferred despite the stated ban," reported Jon Horler.

This is not the first time NATO has been invoked to justify arms sales that fueled a war. In 1967 Prime Minister Lester Pearson responded to calls by opponents of the war in Vietnam to end the Defense Production Sharing Agreement, the arrangement under which Canada sold the US weapons, with the claim that to do so would imperil NATO. Lester Pearson claimed this "would be interpreted as a notice of withdrawal on our part from continental defense and even from the collective defense arrangements of the Atlantic alliance."

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Canada’s Record on Israel Should Disqualify It From a Security Council Seat

The Trudeau government has been campaigning aggressively for a seat on the Security Council, but its bid to win a place on the United Nations’ most powerful decision-making body later this month will be hampered by Canada’s decidedly anti-Palestinian voting record. 

Despite claiming to support the “international rules based order,” the Trudeau government has voted against more than 50 resolutions upholding Palestinian rights. The extent to which the Liberals have mimicked the Stephen Harper Conservative’s position regarding General Assembly resolutions, which are little more than symbolic acts of solidarity with the long-beleaguered Palestinians, highlights the power of the Israeli lobby in Canada.

Together the United Jewish Appeal/Combined Jewish Appeal of Toronto, Montréal, Winnipeg, Windsor, Calgary, Edmonton, Hamilton, London, Ottawa, Vancouver and Atlantic Canada raise over $100 million annually and have about $1 billion in assets. For half a century UJA Toronto has organized an annual Walk with Israel and the Montréal branch organizes an annual Israel Day march. Many thousands march each year. The lobbying arm of the UJA/CJA, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs has over 40 staff and a $10 million budget. In addition, B’nai B’rith has a handful of offices across the country. For its part, Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center Canada’s budget is $7 to 10 million annually.

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Canadian Intelligence Failed To Warn About Coronavirus

With millions forced out of work and many more stuck at home, Canadians need to ask tough questions of organizations receiving billions of dollars to protect them from foreign threats. The country’s intelligence/security sector has done little to respond to the ongoing social and economic calamity. Even worse, their thinking and practices are an obstacle to what’s required to overcome a global pandemic.

A recent Canadian Press article highlights the failure of intelligence agencies to warn of the COVID-19 outbreak. They largely ignore health-related threats despite receiving huge sums of federal money.

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service’s (CSIS) has more than 3,000 employees and a $500 million budget, which is nearly equal to that of the lead agency dealing with the pandemic. The Public Health Agency of Canada’s (PHAC) budget is $675 million and it has 2,200 employees. For its part, the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) employs 2,500 and receives over $600 million annually. In 2011 Department of National Defence run CSE moved into a new $1.2 billion, 110,000 square meter, seven-building, complex connected to CSIS’ main compound.

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