By TONY SEED*
HALIFAX (January 17, 2003) – A VERY SERIOUS problem faces the personnel of the Canadian Forces as with all Canadians: the new agreement of the government to allow US troops to enter Canada and Canadian troops to enter the United States.
Defence Minister McCallum presented the agreement as if it is business as usual, a mere matter of efficiency. It is a matter of using forces in the “best way” – for example, US troops in Maine (which already train at Camp Gagetown) would respond more quickly to an emergency in the Maritimes than Canadian troops stationed in Ontario. According to the agreement, US troops would be allowed to enter Canada in response to a “threat, attack or civil emergency” concerning critical infrastructure or to protect “potential targets” such as nuclear power plants or oil and gas pipelines.
As if the US follows a rules-based system, Mr. McCallum tried to lessen the danger by claiming that the planning group was established initially for only a two-year period. He also claimed that it is led by Canadian Lieutenant-General Ken Pennie, deputy commander of the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD), and will work out of NORAD headquarters in Colorado. In this way, to add insult to injury, he claimed it is in defence of Canadian sovereignty because Canada will be part of the joint planning. Does Mr. McCallum think that Canadians don’t correlate that being deputy-commander of NORAD means there is somebody else commanding the deputy-commander? Who commands the deputy-commander, Mr. McCallum?
It is a fact that as the US prepares for war, it is also imposing fascism at home and Canada is being taken into its maelstrom by the Chrétien Liberals. Even though a DND background paper takes pains to state that “operational cooperation” between US and Canadian forces would only occur under conditions approved by both governments and that if US troops entered Canada they would be under Canadian command, it fails to state that this is not how life goes in practice. Time and time again we see the United States impose and then the government of Canada agrees.
As for Canadian troops operating in the US, will you be called upon to act “in defence of the civil power” within the US as the American people step up their opposition to war?
Canadian soldiers and sailors must not permit themselves to be used as an instrument of repression of the American people in the name of providing “security” to infrastructure, just as you must not permit yourself to be used to suppress the people of Iraq or any other peoples fighting for their freedom.
Bush Stay Out of Canada!
Keep Your Troops at Home!
* This article first appeared in the 17 January 2003 edition of Halifax People’s Voice, Newsbulletin of the People’s Front / Halifax