When Canadians vote on May 2, the issues of war and peace will be critical. On one level, this appears simple. The Harper Tories are the most pro-war party to rule Canada in the past century, and they must be defeated. A Harper majority would waste tens of billions of dollars on deadly fighter jets, heavily armed naval vessels, and other “toys for the boys.” As the war against Libya proves, the Tories are eager to be the first on the block to start dropping bombs.
But sadly, despite some “peace” posturing, the opposition parties in Parliament (and the Green Party) unanimously back the war against Libya. NDP Leader Jack Layton even urged PM Harper to involve opposition MPs in overseeing the operation, which includes six CF-18 bombers and the frigate HMCS Charlottetown. Mr. Harper is happy to preclude future criticism by “including” his opponents in the rush to war.
Of course, Mr. Layton had already watered down his party’s stand against the war in Afghanistan, in favour of hailing the “courage and sacrifices” of the military. Now, his shameful vote for the Libyan war locks the NDP into the drive to spend $30 billion to purchase and maintain a fleet of F-35 stealth fighters. Any objection to the F-35s will be met with a quick response: “You voted for the bombing of Libya. How will Canada carry out similar future missions without modern military equipment?”
Touché, end of argument.
This shocking betrayal calls for a stronger anti-war movement in the streets, and for a much larger vote on May 2 for anti-war candidates. The election of even one Communist MP would open the door to a real debate on an independent Canadian foreign policy of peace and disarmament. Until then, by supporting wars cloaked in the hypocrisy of “humanitarianism”, the opposition parties have left Canadians without a single clear anti-imperialist voice in Parliament.