A Canadian Surge?

Without a peep from the opposition parties, the Trudeau government announced on March 31st that it will extend Canada’s “military contribution to the fight against Da’esh”, dubbed Operation Impact, until June 30th.

The absence of any objections, or even questions, in Parliament from the NDP is particularly disappointing given that they had originally opposed the war. The only political party in Canada now calling for an end to Canada’s participation is the Communist Party.

When Trudeau recently backtracked on his promise to end the “first-past-the-post” system, on the excuse of protecting against the election of “extremist parties”, presumably he was concerned that he might face hard questions from socialist parties.

Questions like these: “Wouldn’t the Billion dollars you are putting into a dirty oil war be better spent on mental health”?

“Hundreds of soldiers died in the war in Afghanistan. Many more committed suicide or continue to suffer the effects of PTSD. Yet the Taliban now control 60% of the country of Afghanistan. Why should Canadians suffer and die in a losing cause again?”

“If Canada’s role in the war against Da’esh is simply a training mission, why are Canada’s notoriously lethal JTF2 special forces assuming an advance position in the Battle for Mosul?”

“How do you explain CBC reports that a “special forces officer, who asked not to be identified for security reasons, said the nature of the Mosul offensive had meant Canadian troops often found themselves in situations where they were required to fire?”

In fact, Trudeau’s introduction of a “Discussion Paper” on Parliament Hill in which he proposes that he should only have to attend Question Period once a week and get Fridays off, suggests that he really doesn’t want to face any questions in Parliament at all!

The gall which Trudeau has shown recently, however, is not limited to matters of Parliamentary procedure. The corporate media’s compartmentalization of the news, designed to disguise the increasingly aggressive nature of Canadian foreign policy, is exposed when the extension of Operation Impact is seen in the context of other recent military moves.

In addition to previously announced plans for the deployment of “heavily armoured” Canadian troops to lead a NATO contingent in Latvia, Canada confirmed on March 25th that its air force will also be deployed in Iceland and Romania to “defend against Russian aggression”; and, on April 3rd, Canada’s right-wing Ukrainian nationalist Foreign Minister, Chrystia Freeland, met with Ukraine Defense Minister Stephen Poltarak to finalize details of the new Canada-Ukraine Defense Cooperation Arrangement.

According to the CBC, Poltorak says his government views the new co-operation agreement as a step towards eventually getting on the automatic firearms country control list, which would allow Canadian exporters to sell the country so-called prohibited weapons: “I do hope this agreement will serve as the foundation for the future dialogue on the possibility of this sort of assistance to Ukraine”, Poltorak said.

The anti-Russian sentiment behind Freeland’s policy in Eastern Europe is also implicit in her aggressive remarks regarding the chemical weapons catastrophe in Syria: “Tuesday’s horrific attack raises grave questions about the possibility of working with the Assad regime. They are responsible and we have to treat them as responsible”, she said.

We might be surprised that Trudeau, famous for his mockery of former Prime Minister’s Stephen Harper’s desire to “whip out our CF-18s and show how big they are”; would support Freeland’s aggressive foreign policy designs.

Perhaps Trudeau is just trying to find a way to appease Trump’s bellicose demands that America’s allies foot more of the bill for their own defense.

On the other hand, if personality inflects politics we might speculate that Trudeau, “le petit” is turning out to be just like his father. Canadians still have very mixed feelings about how Pierre Trudeau, in response to the kidnapping of a minor politician in Quebec, proclaimed the War Measures Act and rolled the tanks into the streets of Montreal.


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Paul Bentley


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