Letter: Canadian gov’t happy to export tools of war

We should perhaps write our politicians asking them to take an unwavering stand for international peace.

To the editor:

Canada off-track of peace and democracy agenda

It’s old news that Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird refused to sign the international Arms Trade Treaty.  He argued that the treaty will attempt to regulate domestic recreational firearms.

Whether this was a serious or a sham argument is anyone’s guess.  No other country in the world suggested the same, not even the gun-toting U.S.

Angela Kane, the UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, has emphasized that the treaty is about the arms trade, not private gun ownership.  Global arms sales have been steadily increasing, she says, contributing to war and instability in countries like Syria and Somalia.

It’s my guess that Baird is not as stupid as he seems on this issue, and is instead acting as the fall guy for the arms industry.  Canada exported $12 billion worth of arms in 2011, not counting those shipped to our largest customer, the U.S.

We know how the Harper government is about the Canadian economy.  Anything goes is the rule of thumb.  So we find ourselves in the position of shipping arms to countries such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Algeria and Iraq, where human rights violations are abundant and violent internal conflicts abound.

That fact seems to have gone over the head of MP Ron Cannan, who recently mashed together the good news about retaining a Veterans Affairs service agent in Kelowna with the good news that Canada’s export market for military products is strengthening.  Whereas other countries take pride in exporting oranges or solar panels, we take pride in exporting death.

In the case of Canada’s performance on the Cluster Munitions treaty, high-minded principles led to Canada rejecting these weapons, which are savagely harmful to civilians.  But political convenience led to the government writing a loophole into the proposed bill to ratify the signed treaty.  The loophole allowed Canada’s military to use cluster bombs in joint operations with the U.S., who have refused to sign the treaty.

In the face of strong global and domestic opposition, Canada has since amended the legislation to prohibit Canadian military personnel from directly using cluster munitions.  But it’s only a partial win for common decency, since they might still participate in operations where the bombs are used by others.

There’s been no change in policy, no matter how weak, in relation to Canada’s willingness to use information derived from torture.  The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, of which Canada is a member, has been unable to make headway in convincing Canada to abide by the Convention Against Torture, which it has both signed and ratified.

As a Christmas present to others in the world, we should perhaps sit down and write cards to Ron Cannan, John Baird and the prime minister, asking them to take an unwavering stand for international peace, democracy and stability.

Dianne Varga,

Kelowna

 

Kelowna Capital News

Just Posted

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

Earls On Top at 211 Bernard Avenue in Kelowna. (Google Maps photo)
Downtown Kelowna’s Earls ordered closed after COVID-19 transmission

Earls on Top on Bernard Avenue will be closed from June 18 to June 27

Danny Fulton receives his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Coast Capri Hotel on April 27. The pop-up clinic was hosted by the First Nations Health Authority. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Drop-in COVID-19 vaccine clinic planned for Kelowna

Clinic at Kelowna Secondary School from June 22 to 24 from 1 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Dereck Donald Sears. (Contributed/Crimestoppers)
Murder charge laid in relation to suspicious Kelowna death

Dereck Donald Sears is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Darren Middleton

A motorycle crash has been reported on Westside Road. (Google Maps)
UPDATE: Westside Road reopened following motorcycle crash near Vernon

AIM Roads advises drivers to expect delays due to congestion

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Jeanette Megens
KCR: Volunteering is sharing your story

Kelowna Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

(File photo)
Penticton not holding Canada Day activities out of respect for Indigenous people

Cities across B.C. are cancelling the holiday after an increased spotlight on Canada’s dark history

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Most Read