Open letter to Thomas Mulcair

An open letter to Thomas Mulcair, Leader of the Opposition

'Beware what Harper means when he talks about

 acting with our allies' — Drones equal US-led war

Mr. Mulcair:

  Photo: NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair.
 
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair.

Your reply in response to the Rideau Institute’s Ceasefire petition opposing Department of National Defense acquiring drone technology is equivocal and implies that if the Conservative government meets certain ethical and legal conditions the NDP would support equipping the Canadian Armed Forces with drone technology.
 
The suggestion that a debate in the House of Commons would cause the Conservative Government to alter its arms acquisition policy, which provides super profits to US arms suppliers at the expense of urgently needed Canadian public health and other social needs is naïve. The Conservative Government of Prime Minister Harper routinely enacts foreign and military policy in defiance of Parliament and the express will of the Canadian people.
 
Your reply is in stark contrast to the Green Party's response that gives explicit support to the position of the Rideau Institute on this matter. Either you are poorly informed or you choose to evade discussing the full implications of the Conservative Government's plans, which, as the Green Party leader points out, goes far beyond the use of such technology for Arctic surveillance. The Government aims to acquire the JUSTUS system along with its Predators and Reapers. The use of these weapons has aroused a global protest movement.
 
How you could have missed that crucial point is incomprehensible.  
 
Here is Elizabeth May's response:

Photo: Green Party Leader Elizabeth May.  
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May.
 

I am writing you in response to your recent letter, in which you expressed your concerns about Canada’s potential purchase of attack drones, as raised by the Rideau Institute and Ceasefire.ca. I share your concerns.
 
The Harper Conservatives claim that Canada has no immediate plans to purchase weaponized drones, and that the current plan is to acquire unarmed surveillance drones only. While it is true that the Joint Uninhabited Surveillance and Target Acquisition System (JUSTAS) program intends to purchase Global Hawk drones for surveillance of the Canadian Arctic, there is much more to this story.
 
We agree with the Rideau Institute’s position that within the Department of National Defence, there are efforts to gain approval for the purchase of attack drones such as Predators and Reapers.
 
The DND has been attempting to obtain these unjustifiable weapons for years, and in the now well-worn fashion of the Harper Conservatives, these plans have been cloaked in secrecy. As an MP I have tools available and will use them to press for solid information on these plans.
 
The good news is that there is still time to act, as the final political approval has not yet been given. This is the importance of Ceasefire.ca’s latest campaign, as only a groundswell of public opposition to these morally bankrupt weapons will deter their unnecessary purchases with our tax dollars. I commit to do everything possible to defend Canadian values and stand up for the role of Canada as a peacemaker and peacekeeper in the world.
Sincerely,
 
Elizabeth May O.C., M.P.
Member of Parliament, Saanich-Gulf Islands

 
To continue with my response to your statement:
 
The suggestion that there are ethical and legal conditions that if met by the Harper Conservative Government would make such weaponry acceptable to the NDP is wrong in principle. There is no ethical argument in favour of the use of drones as a military weapon and such weaponry like any other space age weapon makes no distinction between military personnel and civilians. To even entertain the discussion of such tripe plays to the propaganda of the US-NATO top brass. The media abounds with reports of innocent drone victims and the public outrage everywhere including in the USA at the suggestion there is defensible rationale for their use.
 
I call upon you to revisit this issue in light of your party’s own history.
 
The NDP policy on this matter is a continuation of the CCF policy on Canadian armed forces and nuclear weaponry.  
 
The Canadian people have over the decades opposed equipping the Canadian Armed Forces with nuclear weapons capability and this observer can recall the day when the CCF asserted that it would only approve Canada joining NATO if Canadian Armed Forces were exempt from being equipped or participating in the use of NATO nuclear weaponry.
 
Canada joined NATO and at one stroke the Federal Government of the day was obliged to abide by NATO's first strike nuclear doctrine, which is still the case to this day. For a brief time thereafter the NDP opposed Canadian participation in NATO but overtime quietly dropped its opposition to Canadian membership in NATO and in so doing provides tacit support to NATO’s first strike nuclear policy and now cannot escape the fact, that by supporting NATO approves of the use of drone technology by its principal member the USA.  
 
Canadian membership in NATO means to abide by its Charter and its military doctrine which supports both nuclear first strike doctrines as well as equipping, deploying and using advanced drone technology.
 
The Conservative Government of Prime Minister Harper seeks to equip the Canadian Armed Forces with drone technology so as to be fully interoperable with other NATO countries, and in the first place the US armed forces which in the final analysis is the decisive determinant in all major NATO weapons acquisitions, military strategy and doctrines. That is precisely what Prime Minister Harper means when he talks about "acting with our allies."
 
That is precisely the issue the NDP must find the courage to confront and oppose. This is the principal reason the NDP is called upon to publicly call for Canada to exit NATO.  
 
So long as Canada is a member of NATO it will continue to be implicated in everything it does, including the use of drone weaponry.
 
Don Currie
Slocan BC.
 

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