Archive for October, 2007

Urge Canada to Vote YES for Nuclear Disarmament at the UN

Urge Canada to vote “YES” for nuclear disarmament at the UN


October 30, 2007

Dear Ceasefire.ca Supporter,

Send your letter to urge Canada to vote “YES” for nuclear disrmament.

There is an important meeting taking place right now at the United Nations to discuss nuclear disarmament, with voting on key resolutions scheduled to happen this week.

I am worried that Stephen Harper may be planning to reverse Canada’s longstanding support for nuclear disarmament. 

The world is watching how Canada will vote.

Our sources tell usthat the government remains undecided on whether they will vote “YES” in favour of these critical resolutions.

I urge you to send your letter to Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier, calling on him to vote “YES”, and continue Canada’s tradition as a champion of nuclear disarmament.

 

Best wishes,

 

   
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October 30, 2007 at 5:28 pm Leave a comment

What is the cost of the war in Afghanistan?

What is the cost of the war in Afghanistan?

$100 million every month.

October 24, 2007 

Dear Friend,

The war in Afghanistan has cost Canada dearly in lives and money.

The deaths of 71 soldiers and a diplomat are, sadly, well known. The financial costs are less well known. On Monday a report which Bill Robinson and I co-authored showed that the “full cost” of the war will be $7.2 billion by March 2008.

That means that we are spending more than $100 million every month on the war in Afghanistan!

Moreover, military spending is skyrocketing in Canada – we have moved from 16th to 13th highest in the world this year (6th highest in NATO), and our $18 billion defence budget is 27 per cent higher than the budget before September 11, 2001. In fact, when you adjust for inflation, we are now spending more on the military than at any time during the Cold War.

That’s why our report, published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, was titled “More Than the Cold War: Canada’s military spending 2007-08.”

But someone in the government is not happy about our report. Yesterday I received a phone call from a researcher at the Library of Parliament who was asked by a Member of Parliament to investigate the Rideau Institute’s sources of funding.

I felt that this was not a friendly request, and the researcher refused to reveal the name of the Member of Parliament who was snooping around our funding sources. I told him proudly that he can report back to whatever Member of Parliament was looking for this information that we have more than 1,000 people who support this work through Ceasefire.ca!

Suprisingly, the government is prolonging Afghanistan’s suffering by clinging to our combat role and refusing to support a negotiated end to the war.

The recent poll last week showed that Afghans want the fighting to end, and they support negotiations. The very last sentence of the Globe and Mail ‘s article was the most important:

“Despite the enmity toward the Taliban, 74 per cent [of Afghans] said they supported negotiations between the Karzai government and Taliban representatives as a way of reducing conflict. In Kandahar, support for talks jumped to 85 per cent.”

A parliamentary vote on whether to extend the war is coming soon. We need to get ready so that Prime Minister Harper is not allowed to drag us through another two years of war to 2011, as he wants to do.

I hope that you will take a moment to send your letter to Stephen Harper at Ceasefire.ca, if you have already done so. Please encourage your contacts to make their voices heard in Ottawa as well.

Best wishes,

   

Want to make a donation? Send your gift on-line, or print off this convenient donation form. Ceasefire.ca was formerly a project of the Polaris Institute. Read more.

  Ceasefire.ca is a project of the Rideau Institute.For information, please contact:  operations@rideauinstitute.ca30 Metcalfe Street, Suite 500  Ottawa, ON K1P 5L4 CanadaTel. 613-565-4994 Fax. 613-565-7720www.rideauinstitute.ca

If you received this newsletter through a friend, please consider becoming a subscriber.The Rideau Institute is a public interest research organization federally incorporated as a not-for-profit organization with Industry Canada under the Canada Corporations Act. Unfortunately, donations to the Rideau Institute are not tax deductible.

October 24, 2007 at 4:12 pm 2 comments

GlobalTV reports on our military spending report.

A Global TV report on the recent study Bill Robinson and I wrote for the Canadian centre for Policy Alternatives.

youtube_globaltv.jpg

October 23, 2007 at 9:49 pm Leave a comment

Throne Speech Threatens to Extend the War

 

Send your letter to Stephen Harper, Opposition Party leaders, and your local MP

October 17, 2007

Dear friend,

Yesterday’s Throne Speech poses a direct challenge to you and me, and everyone who wants to end Canada’s war in Afghanistan.

Stephen Harper’s plan to continue Canada’s combat role has become crystal clear. He is trying to extend the war by another two years.

We now know that his plan is to go ahead with a parliamentary vote on extending the mission another two years until 2011, but he needs the support of another party’s MPs because the Conservatives are in a minority.

So, based on advice from pollsters and strategists, Stephen Harper and General Hillier will spin the war as a humanitarian mission, all the while continuing the counter-insurgency fighting. He hopes this will help to divide the Liberal Party by convincing some Liberal MPs to support his military plan in the parliamentary vote.

You’ll remember that last year Harper used the same strategy to great effect. He held a quick vote to extend the mission by two years until 2009, dividing the Liberals. He won the support of many Liberal MPs, such as Michael Ignatieff (while many more just stayed away from the vote), and managed to commit Canada to two more disastrous years of war.

Now Harper has created a terribly unbalanced “expert panel” on the future of Canada’s mission in Afghanistan. The panel is led by former Liberal MP John Manley, who is a proponent of a “Fortress North America” with the United States. Stephen Harper is counting on John Manley to lead pro-war, pro-Bush Liberals to support the Afghanistan war.

Manley is deeply worrisome. Last year, he told a conference Canada had to give up its sovereignty and create a continental security perimeter: “We’ve got to get away from this idea that sovereignty is an absolute that can never be compromised.” He went on to say that “the most important obligation of the Canadian Prime Minister” is to improve relations with U.S. President George Bush.

The panel is filled with people who have been pushing George Bush’s agenda in Canada for years, such as Pamela Wallin, who supported missile defence when she was Canada’s Consul General in New York.

Two “arms dealers” join Manley and Wallin: Derek Burney and Paul Tellier, who headed Canada’s biggest military contractors, CAE and Bombardier, respectively. Tacked on is former Mulroney Cabinet minister Jake Epp.

The next few months will be crucial for us. We need to mount an intense lobbying and media campaign to ensure that Harper loses the vote to extend the mission.

Canada’s new defence minister, Peter MacKay, recently said that he will need to inform NATO before its next meeting in April 2008 of Canada’s intentions. That means a vote will come before then.

I am urging you to take action now, and send your letter to Stephen Harper and all the party leaders in Parliament. Let’s tell Harper that his so-called panel is biased, and in no way should the mission be extended to 2011. We want to end Canada’s war in Afghanistan right away.

Lets get moving!

   

Want to make a donation? Send your gift on-line, or print off this convenient donation form. Ceasefire.ca was formerly a project of the Polaris Institute. Read more.

  Ceasefire.ca is a project of the Rideau Institute.For information, please contact:  operations@rideauinstitute.ca30 Metcalfe Street, Suite 500  Ottawa, ON K1P 5L4 CanadaTel. 613-565-4994 Fax. 613-565-7720www.rideauinstitute.ca

If you received this newsletter through a friend, please consider becoming a subscriber.The Rideau Institute is a public interest research organization federally incorporated as a not-for-profit organization with Industry Canada under the Canada Corporations Act. Unfortunately, donations to the Rideau Institute are not tax deductible.

October 17, 2007 at 9:18 pm Leave a comment

Michael Byers brings attention to Canada’s leadership potential on the global stage

 

Professor Byers’ infectiously optimistic book presents a positive, compelling case for Canada’s importance on the global stage and its potential for doing so much more

October 12, 2007

Dear friend,

Dr. Michael Byers has just released a great new book titled Intent for a Nation: What Is Canada For? , that I highly recommend to all Ceasefire supporters. 

 

A long time Ceasefire friend and collaborator, Dr. Byers shares our optimism for Canada’s future. 

 

We held an event on Parliament Hill celebrating the release of Intent for a Nation: What Is Canada For?, which the report that I have attached will fill you in on.

Sincerely,

Steve Staples


SPECIAL EVENT REPORT

“If we didn’t live in the shadow of the United States ­- if we were located where South Africa’s located – ­the whole world would think Canada’s a powerful country,” says Michael Byers. “It is time to assert our historical independence and take progressive action on the challenges facing Canada and the world today.”

On September 11, 2007, Dr. Michael Byers, distinguished foreign policy scholar and director of the Liu Institute for Global Issues, addressed a gathering of decision makers and opinion leaders on Parliament Hill to launch his book Intent for a Nation: What Is Canada For? and to bring attention to Canada’s leadership potential on the global stage.

Described as a “visionary call for Canada to live up to its potential, from one of our most brilliant young thinkers” by Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of The Council of Canadians, Professor Byers’ infectiously optimistic book presents a positive, compelling case for Canada’s importance on the global stage and its potential for doing so much more.

Dr. Byers explained that the title for his book was influenced by the title of George Grant’s 1965 book Lament for a Nation: The Defeat of Canadian Nationalism. Dr. Grant’s pessimistic view was that distinctive aspects of Canadian society and politics could not withstand the integrating forces of continental capitalism and universal modernism radiating from the United States.

In contrast, Dr. Byers believes that Canada can chart a path in foreign affairs that is independent of its larger neighbour. He cites the 2003 decision by then prime minister Jean Chrétien not to join the U.S. invasion of Iraq as an example. The book explains that Mr. Chrétien was able to do this because Canadian values were diverging from American values, particularly with regard to the balancing of social and economic interests and the need to engage in genuine peacemaking.

Byers praises Canada’s leadership in banning land mines and establishing the International Criminal Court, reassertion of its Arctic sovereignty, and declining to participate in both the U.S. missile defence system and the Iraq war. However, he warns that interoperability with U.S. military forces can lead to human rights abuses in contravention of international law, and that continued economic integration can lead to U.S. abuses of free trade mechanisms to gain control of Canadian resources, risking both our global and internal sovereignty.

Dr. Byers currently holds a Canada Research Chair for Global Politics and International Law at the University of British Columbia

While our European allies developed strong detainee arrangements based on human rights in Afghanistan, Canada decided to follow the American approach due to the creeping effects of “interoperability” with the United States. Byers believes that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has “internalized it to the point that I don’t think he believes Canada has any options but to follow the United States.”

Intent for a Nation: What Is Canada For? calls for Canada to aim high in respecting international law, defending human rights, taking a proactive diplomatic approach, providing leadership on climate change and questioning decisions made by our allies.

Dr. Byers also argues that there is considerable potential to build on the already sizable, yet largely unacknowledged contribution Canada makes on the international stage. Rather than follow the lead of supposedly more powerful nations, Dr. Byers asserts that Canada can and should make foreign policy based on our own analysis of the world’s problems. The book concludes by highlighting the need for Canadians to exercise global citizenship. He provides examples of Canadians contributing to international justice:

  • Sheila Watt-Cloutier increasing awareness of the threat of climate change;
  • David Thomas protecting British Columbia’s coast from oil spills;
  • Monia Mazigh fighting discrimination against minorities;
  • Douglas Roche raising awareness of the urgent need for nuclear disarmament; and
  • Matthew Gillard, a graduate student of Dr. Byers, through repeated calls to bureaucrats single-handedly enabling the reinstatement of $20 million in Canadian government funding to African Union (AU) troops protecting Darfur refugees from marauding rebels.

Drawing on his final example, Dr. Byers closed his remarks by saying that like his graduate student, Canada is all grown up, with huge potential for positive change. All that’s lacking is the self-confidence that we can change the world.

The event attracted over 60 guests, including MPs, civil society leaders, renowned activists, and representatives from several embassies

The event, co-sponsored by the Rideau Institute on International Affairs, Douglas & McIntyre, Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation, and the Douglas Caldwell Foundation, attracted over 60 guests, including Ottawa Centre MP Paul Dewar, Canadian Council for International Cooperation President Gerry Barr, Group of 78 Vice-Chair Gerald Ohlsen, renowned activist Monia Mazigh, Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation President Patrick Johnston, representatives from various embassies and numerous parliamentary staff.

Dr. Byers currently holds a Canada Research Chair for Global Politics and International Law at the University of British Columbia, where he is a professor in the Department of Political Science and Director of the Liu Institute for Global Issues. He has previously taught at Duke University (U.S.A.), the University of Tel Aviv and the University of Cape Town (South Africa).

Dr. Michael Byers’ book Intent for a Nation: What Is Canada For? is available from the publisher Douglas & McIntyre and at major bookstores across the country.


Want to make a donation? Send your gift on-line, or print off this convenient donation form. Ceasefire.ca was formerly a project of the Polaris Institute. Read more.Rideau Institute operations@rideauinstitute.ca30 Metcalfe Street, Suite 500 Ottawa ON K1P 5L4 CanadaTel. 613 565-4994 Fax 613 237-3359www.rideauinstitute.caIf you received this newsletter through a friend, please consider becoming a subscriber.The Rideau Institute is a public interest research organization federally incorporated as a not-for-profit organization with Industry Canada under the Canada Corporations Act. Unfortunately, donations to the Rideau Institute are not tax deductible.

October 11, 2007 at 10:53 pm Leave a comment

Marc Garneau Calls for Peaceful Uses of Space

Hi folks,

We had a very good day with Marc Garneau today on Parliament Hill.

CTV carried our press conference live nationally today. Watch it on this page. Also the Globe and Mail’s live on-line discussion went very well and remains on the website. And be sure to read Dr. Garneau’s op-ed in the Ottawa Citizen.

The briefing to Parliamentarians was very well received – about 50 people and MPs from the Conservative, Liberal and NDP caucuses and a Senator as well.

Steve

October 5, 2007 at 11:35 am Leave a comment

Marc Garneau Takes Your Questions on Space

October 3, 2007

Marc Garneau in 2005, during his time as head of the Canadian Space Agency, Longueuil, Que., on Tuesday, Jan. 11. (CP PHOTO/Ryan Remiorz)

Dear friend,

I have some good news for you about an initiative that could make Canada a leader in ensuring that space is used for peace.

I am very pleased to announce that we are working with Canadian astronaut and former president of the Canadian Space Agency, Captain Marc Garneau, to ensure leadership on peaceful uses of space and the development of a national Canadian space policy.

 

We are also collaborating with the Globe and Mail. Captain Garneau will be participating LIVE in an online Globe and Mail discussion from Parliament Hill, Thursday, October 4, from 1:30 to 2:00 p.m. EDT.

 

I encourage you to submit your questions to Marc Garneau as soon as possible through the Globe and Mail web site, and join us tomorrow to read his replies.

 

The Ottawa Citizen will be publishing an op-ed by Capt. Garneau on Thursday, to coincide with his press conference and parliamentary briefing on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Sputnik.

 

I hope this will help us keep weapons out of space, and encourage the government to take a leadership role.

Best,


 

Steven Staples

Rideau Institute
and founder of Ceasefire.ca


Want to make a donation? Send your gift on-line, or print off this convenient donation form. Ceasefire.ca was formerly a project of the Polaris Institute. Read more.Rideau Instituteoperations@rideauinstitute.ca30 Metcalfe Street, Suite 500 Ottawa ON K1P 5L4 CanadaTel. 613 565-4994 Fax 613 237-3359www.rideauinstitute.caIf you received this newsletter through a friend, please consider becoming a subscriber.The Rideau Institute is a public interest research organization federally incorporated as a not-for-profit organization with Industry Canada under the Canada Corporations Act. Unfortunately, donations to the Rideau Institute are not tax deductible.

October 3, 2007 at 9:16 pm Leave a comment


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