Mobilization Against War & Occupation Statement:
MAWO Condemns “Canada First” Defence Strategy
Released: May 21st, 2008
On May 12, 2008, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper unveiled the new strategy to further the government of Canada’s drive for war: the so-called ‘Canada First’ Defence Strategy. This new strategy will give $35 Billion in additional funding to Canada’s military over the next 20 years in order to buy new equipment and increase the size of the Canadian Forces.
Explaining the reason the new defence strategy was released, Stephen Harper said: “If you want to be taken seriously in the world, you need the capacity to act - it’s that simple. The Canada First Defence Strategy will strengthen our sovereignty and security at home and bolster our ability to defend our values and interests abroad.”
Whose “values and interests” is Stephen Harper referring to? Surely not the values and interests of poor and working people in Canada. We have already seen $7 Billion in taxpayer dollars go to funding a brutal, unjust, illegal and criminal war and occupation in Afghanistan. This latest move by the government of Canada to pour $35 Billion into the military will only take more of our money away from jobs, health care and social programs and funnel it into an increased ruling class war drive in Afghanistan and beyond, namely by having just extended Canada’s participation in the NATO mission in Afghanistan by three more years, to December 2011.
The last seven years of Canada’s occupation of Afghanistan have only meant seven years of destruction for the people there, bringing a lower life expectancy and a rate of violence against women which has increased by 40% in the last year alone. Afghanistan today produces 93% of the world’s opium, in comparison to less than 10% before war and occupation in Afghanistan began seven years ago. The human toll by daily shootings and bombings is huge and so drastic that the occupation forces have kept it secret from the world news media. Increasing the size and funding of the Canadian military will only bring more of this chaos to the people of Afghanistan.
The new 20-year-long defence strategy means that the government of Canada has no intention of ending their war drive in Afghanistan at its current end date of December 2011. According to the Canadian Forces website, “The Canada First Defence Strategy represents an unprecedented long-term commitment to the Canadian Forces (CF) and the Department of National Defence (DND). This strategy sets long-term objectives, provides a vision for future operations as well as consistent, committed long-term funding.” The 20-year-long commitment means the government of Canada has a long-term perspective for war and occupation, including unspecified “future operations” – in other words, an expansion of war, occupation and destruction to countries beyond Afghanistan.
Mobilization Against War and Occupation (MAWO) condemns and opposes the ‘Canada First’ Defence Strategy. In fact, it is a bid to become a major economic and military power by plundering the resources and trade markets of third world countries. Canada’s bid is to become a major imperialist player in the world market through war and occupation.