I am The Consensus

The Consensus has spoken

Toronto: Massive Protests Against Israeli Assault on Gaza

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From late last year up until January of this year, protests were being held regularly all over the world to bring an end to the latest Israeli attack on Gaza.  Toronto was no different. I drove down to witness the intense atmosphere myself.  Thousands of  protesters, outraged by these attacks, marched in front of the US and Israeli embassies in Toronto downtown in peak of winter to voice their opinions.

The anger of the protesters was justified, in my opinion. SSPX0015

Over 1,000 people had died and every human rights organization had demanded Israel to end its assault yet Canadian leaders refused even a condemnation. Liberal Party leader Michael Ignatieff stated “Israel has the right to self-defense“, and the Harper government refused to condemn Israel’s attacks on Gaza recently at a United Nations Human Rights Council.

Canada is the only country, out of 47 others, to do so. There goes our neutral stance, and our image of being a fair arbiter of justice! This conflict should not be a religious/political issue. It’s a violation of human rights, and that’s how it should be treated.


The UN motion called “for the immediate cessation of Israeli military attacks throughout the Palestinian Occupied Territory, in particular in the Occupied Gaza Strip that have resulted, thus far, in the killing of more than 900 and the injury to more than 4000 Palestinians, including a large number of women and children, and the end to the launching of the crude rockets against Israeli civilians that resulted in the loss of 4 civilian lives and some injuries

The motion called for both parties to show restraint, yet we voted against it, which just begs the question: Why? Are we against the idea of bringing an end to the war?

It’s not like I believe Canada voting for the motion would’ve brought an end to the assault, but a vote against it surely compromises our position as a neutral party. Majority of the citizens wanted an end to the war and the massive protests all acorss Canada were a testament to it. We can’t even convince our own government through these protests, how can we  convince anyone else?


So much for democracy.

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October 6, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

War Resisters

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American soldiers that refused to take part in the Iraq war due to conscientious reasons have fled up north. These are the ‘War Resisters’. This is a similar situation to that of the 60’s and 70’s when tens of thousands of American citizens fled up here in order to avoid taking part in the Vietnam war. Our government let them stay here, and in a way that acted against the brain drain that we were facing, as a big portion of these people integrated into our system and became productive members of Canadian society.

The ‘War Resisters’ of today are facing a tough challenge. They have tried taking refuge here but Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been getting them deported back to the United States where they face a jail sentence and get a criminal record. I have attended this rally, which was held in downtown Toronto, to show my support for these war resisters. About 500 people showed up to the rally in order to urge the Canadian government to let these soldiers stay.

According to a poll conducted back in 2007, close to 70% of the Canadian population said these soldiers should be allowed to stay here. 51% of Conservative voters said the same.

Last June, the Canadian Parliament passed a motion calling on the government to immediately cease the deportations and to allow these war resisters to stay in Canada as permanent residents, but the current incumbents in Ottawa have refused to follow the demands. Prime Minister Harper is still going along with the deportations because our powerful neighbours have demanded so.

As a signatory to the Geneva Conventions, Canada has an obligation to protect these soldiers, since they’re rejecting it based on conscientious reasons. They are simply refusing to take part in an illegal war of aggression. A war that was not approved by the United Nations.

During the Nuremberg Trials, it was established that a soldier has a moral duty to disobey orders that are illegal and cruel. Thus, by deporting these soldiers, our government is not only going against the wishes of the Canadian public, but also violating International Humanitarian Law.

October 6, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Canadian Peacekeepers: From Loons to Hawks?

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The popular image of Canada as a peace-keeping nation will not last long if our government maintains the path of aiding and abetting American aggression. There will be no more cases like Adam Budzanowski’s. The man who was captured by Palestinian men in March 2006 but released unharmed and almost immediately after they saw his Canadian passport. Budzanowski said that his captors released him saying “We love Canada”.

It is surprising that Canada has maintained an image of fairness and even-handedness in the eyes of the Arab world. In 1987 Canada was regarded as second only to the US in its support for Israel in the UN, and we were also the first ones to cut aid to the democratically elected ‘Hamas’ in Palestine. Our unconditional support for Israel was reiterated by Prime Minister Stephen Harper three years ago when he refused to condemn Israel’s assault on Lebanon, and defended Israel’s bombings by saying that it was a “measured” response. This barbaric onslaught was still labeled as a “measured” response even after many innocent civilians, including 8 Canadians, were slaughtered.

Although Canada has almost always followed the US on major issues; nowhere in recent times has our support been more pronounced than with the Martin and Harper governments. Canada’s following in the footsteps of its powerful neighbour by pursuing a more militaristic agenda. Harper’s plan is to increase Canadian military spending from $13 billion in 2005 to $21.5 billion by 2010,  which is supposed to be making Canadians feel safer. However, contrary to what the current incumbents in Ottawa claim about Canada being in dire need of a military build up in order to be safe and protected, most Canadians will tell us that they feel pretty secure from outside threats. That is probably due to our status as a peacekeeping nation, so therefore countries and terrorists alike see no real reason to attack us. Most rational intellectuals would agree that the threat of a terrorist attack is higher in countries that intervene in other nations. That should be quite obvious, but it seems that our leaders need to be reminded of this simple truth.

Canada really has no sound explanation for its involvement in the war in Afghanistan. There’s no real evidence that suggests that we’re actually making a positive difference in Afghanistan. But we’re constantly bombarded by our elitist media to “support our troops in Afghanistan” which is really a foolish demand, because it makes it seem as if it was our troops that actually made a conscious decision to go to Afghanistan and fight a war, when in fact it was our government that sent them there. The media is implying that if we don’t “support our troops” then we’re ungrateful for the sacrifices they’re making. My discontent with the war in Afghanistan does not stem from my distaste for our troops (believe me, there is no such distaste), but rather due to our government’s decision to follow such an aggressive and imperialist agenda against an already impoverished nation. It has nothing to do with supporting our troops, rather everything to do with our government’s involvement in the war. So at this moment, the doctrine “Support our troops” translates to “Provide absolute support for our government’s antagonistic policies”. So no, I’m not going to get any of those t-shirts that say “Support our Troops in Afghanistan” that Don Cherry was trying to sell to the viewers during a hockey game.

Most Canadians don’t wish to partake in international aggression, but this seems to be path we’re headed towards. With this new role, Canada’s reputation as the just nation devoted to peace-keeping will be in jeopardy. Prime Minister Stephen Harper actually wanted to send our troops to Iraq as well, but fortunately he wasn’t in office at that time. He criticized the Chretien government’s refusal to go in to Iraq, but when he saw that the war was turning in to a lost cause for the Americans, he claimed he wouldn’t have sent our troops there either, and that staying out of the war was a good idea. But to appease its neighbours, who were bitter at our unwillingness to participate in the war against Iraq, Canada had to redeem itself.

In February 2004 a coalition of U.S., Canada and France invaded and ousted the Haitian president at gunpoint.

Canada has made a significant contribution to stability in Haiti,” – George W. Bush after meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper in July 2006

If by ‘stability’ he meant the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide much to the discomfort of the Haitian people in 2004, then yes Canada did play a significant role. The shocking part is how much our media and politicians have undermined our role there, and the fact that no one has been held accountable for these crimes that were committed against the Haitian people. An estimated 8,000 people have died since the coup in the capital Port-Au-Prince alone. It is astonishing that our government is somehow, if not directly, responsible for these deaths. The scheme of the coup was planned in the Ottawa Haiti Initiative meeting in 2003. The excuse we used was that we have a “responsibility to protect”. It begs the question, responsibility to protect who and against what? It is obvious that this is not for the protection of the people of Haiti. Is it for the protection of Canada, the US, and France perhaps? But none of these countries were under any sort of military threat from the poorest nation in the western hemisphere. So it was our responsibility to protect the economic interests of the powerful nations that were involved in the overthrow. Aristide simply didn’t comply to western demands like a good leader ought to. So therefore his defiance had to be punished as an example to other nations.

It is our duty and moral responsibility to know the truth. In this day and age there is no excuse for ignorance, especially if you live in a wealthy nation such as Canada. It’s about time that we Canadians step out of the bliss that is ignorance and acknowledge the bitterness of truth.

Much of the research that went in to this blog came from Linda McQuaig’s new book titled ‘Holding the Bully’s Coat’. I urge all to read it.

October 6, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment