CAPturing Courage:
News of the Canadian Action Party
By CAP Leader
The Honourable Paul Hellyer

The Canadian government is asking citizens for their opinions on what Canadian foreign policy should be. This is a positive step if they are seriously interested in our views and not just putting us through another exercise in "process" to justify what has already been decided. Let's give them the benefit of the doubt and share our views and concerns.

My greatest fear is that Canada will abandon its role as an independent middle power and confirm a new colonial status by doing what the Americans want us to do -- right or wrong. We are constantly being pushed in that direction. I was dismayed to read the report of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee urging greater economic and military integration. This will inevitably lead to subordination and, ultimately, annexation.

Too many Canadians are saying that we have no choice. Professor Jack Granatstein has written that for 50 years Canada and the U.S. have been inextricably linked militarily. That is true. Throughout World War II and the subsequent Cold War period we were on the same team, with the U.S., of course, acting as quarterback.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union, however, the world has changed dramatically. For the first time in decades there is no military threat against the United States and Canada. We no longer have a common enemy! Consequently we are being badly misled when we are told that we have to be part of the new U.S. Northern Command for the protection of the continent.

The U.S. does face a terrorist threat. But it can be countered by better intelligence and police work, backed by modest force. The huge buildup in U.S. arms expenditures has more to do with the need to keep the military-industrial complex happy than it does with fighting terrorism.

This may be a factor in the doctrine of pre-emptive wars which raises fundamental questions about morality and effectiveness.

United States Congressman Dennis Kucinich, a keynote speaker at the Canadian Conference on Unity, Sovereignty and Prosperity held in Toronto last fall, wrote in an article in the Progressive, October 29, 2002: "Unilateral military action by the U.S. against Iraq is unjustified, unwarranted and illegal. [Such] action on the part of the U.S., or in partnership with Great Britain, would for the first time set our nation on the bloodstained path of aggressive war, a sacrilege upon the memory of those who fought to defend this country. America's moral authority would be undermined throughout the world."

The moral question is paramount because the U.S. would not be going to Iraq with clean hands. According to the Washington Post, Iraq used mustard gas against Iran with the help of intelligence from the CIA. Iraq's punishment? The U.S. re-established full diplomatic ties. Throughout 1989 and 1990, U.S. companies, with the permission of the first Bush administration, sent the government of Saddam Hussein mustard gas precursors and live cultures for bacteriological research.

U.S. companies also helped to build a chemical weapons factory and supplied the West Nile virus, computers for weapons technology, hydrogen cyanide precursors, and vacuum pumps and bellows for nuclear weapons plants. So weapons of mass destruction must have been deemed acceptable in Saddam Hussein's hands when he was a "friend". Now that the capability has been largely dismantled, Hussein must be punished for attempting to develop the products the U.S. had supplied?

There is also a question of effectiveness. Osama bin Laden made it clear that the evil acts of September, 2001, were in direct retaliation for U.S. meddling in the Middle East. A war in Iraq will only pour fuel on the smoldering fires of hate. The U.S. can bomb Iraq into submission but it can't bomb the hate out of young Muslim extremists.

The U.S. doctrine of pre-emptive wars will never bring peace. We will be engaged in a continual war with increasing levels of military and terrorist violence. So if Canada really wants to be a friend of the American people, and other people worldwide, it will say "NO" to the Bush doctrine. Instead we should urge the U.S. to reverse its strategy and give peace a chance.

Canada should stick to the multilateral approach and specialize in peace-keeping, not war-making. Our politicians need the backbone to exercise our sovereignty in foreign affairs as well as trade.

One nationalist, David Orchard, is seeking the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party. We wish him well and hope he wins. But even that happy event would only be a beginning. The PCs can't win the next election on their own. They would have to merge with the NDP, the Canadian Action Party, the Greens and patriots from all the other parties to form one big, new, progressive pro-Canada party capable of winning and reversing the course of history. It is our only hope.

Meanwhile each one of us should let the government know what we think should be our foreign policy. You can take part in an ongoing electronic discussion at www.foreign-policy-dialogue.ca and/or put your thoughts on paper and send them to: A Dialogue on Foreign Policy, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, 125 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, ON K1A 0G2.