Foreign policy ‘debate’ in Toronto

Protests outside pro-war foreign policy debate, Roy Thompson Hall, Toronto | MLPC

Protests outside pro-war foreign policy debate, Roy Thompson Hall, Toronto | MLPC

Protests are taking place tonight outside the election debate on foreign policy in Toronto. They are calling for an end to the Harper government’s cynical refugee policy, opposing Canada’s participation in aggressive war, demanding an end to impunity for Canadian mining monopolies committing crimes abroad and for action to be taken on the problem of climate change. Inside the debate the ruling elite has given no space for the demands of Canadians for an anti-war government that withdraws from NATO, restricts monopoly right and provides humanitarian aid to refugees and victims of imperialist war. These demands will be heard outside the debate where people are gathering to express their serious concerns and stand in this election.

The federal election debate on foreign policy which takes place tonight, September 28, is organized by a private concern called the Munk Debates.

Munk Debates is organized by Rudyard Griffiths, President of the Peter and Melanie Munk Charitable Foundation and its subsidiary the Aurea Charitable Foundation. The Munk Debates was established in 2006 with a $25 million grant from its parent group. Griffiths will also moderate the leaders’ debate tonight.

Both foundations and the Munk Debates are funded by Peter Munk, a Canadian mining baron who is the chairman and founder of mining monopoly Barrick Gold, one of the most egregious abusers of human rights wherever it has concerns, both in Canada and abroad.

A ticketed event, the debate will take place at 7 pm at Roy Thomson Hall in downtown Toronto. Seats sold for $95 and the event is reported to be sold out. The Aurea Foundation says the audience for the Munk Debates is “business leaders, academics, policy makers and members of the public.”

The debate is sponsored by the Globe and Mail newspaper. Like the Globe debate on the economy held September 17 it will be televised by CPAC, the cable public affairs channel and via online streaming. The Globe debate found only 320,000 viewers, while the number of people who tuned in for the September 24 debate has not yet been announced.

Participating in the debate are what the Munk Debates called the leaders of Canada’s “recognized political parties.” It defined this to be those parties which held 12 or more seats in the Parliament prior to dissolution: the Conservative Party, the NDP and the Liberal Party.

Munk Debates says the event will “provide the public with important insights into how our next Prime Minister will defend and project Canada’s interests and values on the global stage.”

The debate is divided into six main sections. Each will begin with a question from the moderator to one of the party leaders, who will have 90 seconds to answer, who will then debate the question with one of the other leaders for seven minutes. Whoever is the third leader will then join the debate for another five minutes. The order of answering will rotate through the participants. The moderator and participants may speak either English or French. which will be simultaneously translated as is done in the Parliament.

The Need to Establish an Anti-War Government

Tonight’s debate on foreign policy will not discuss anything substantive when it comes to the foreign policy Canada needs. This is because the three parties whose leaders are debating all support a policy which promotes U.S.-led aggression and war internationally in the name of “opposing terrorism” and “Responsibility to Protect.” All of them support the NATO aggressive military alliance and the use of force to settle conflicts. All of them support crimes committed by the state of Israel against the long-suffering Palestinian people, which is a watershed issue when it comes to the foreign policy a country espouses. All of them are supporting the resurgence of fascist forces as in Ukraine and concocting pretexts to isolate Russia and endanger world peace.

The debate will underscore once again that Canada needs an anti-war government which upholds relations of equality and mutual benefit amongst sovereign nations based on peaceful coexistence, support for all peoples fighting for their rights, and non-interference in the internal affairs of sovereign nations. Basing itself on these principles and the aim of using the natural and human resources of the country to benefit the people, Canada would immediately withdraw from all economic and military blocs. These would include NATO, NORAD, NAFTA, and other predatory trade and military agreements.

An anti-war government would fight for the renewal of the United Nations based on the principle that all nations, big or small, have an equal say and that nations have the right to decide their own economic and social systems.

Such a government would also defend Canada’s sovereignty and end the annexation of Canada into the United States of North American Monopolies. Canada’s armed forces must play their role to defend the country, not threaten and attack other nations. The entry, exercises and placement of U.S. forces on Canadian soil must be opposed no matter what the pretext.

Establishing an anti-war government with a military policy based on the defence of Canadian sovereignty from all foreign imperialist powers remains the order of the day.

Source: Renewal Update, September 28, 2015 • No. 175 Previous Issues


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