May 3 1999
TO: Mr. Wayne Easter, MP, Malpeque, PEI
Me again - I strongly suspect youíre not reading anything Iím sending since you never reply, but this does seem to be the channel through which a citizen in this democracy communicates with his/her duly elected parliamentary representative, participating in the debates of the day (that is still allowed, isnít it?) so I shall try once again.
As you know (if youíve seen any of my previous correspondence), I am quite opposed to the Canadian involvement in the bombing of Yugoslavia. I think it a very serious mistake for reasons I have outlined elsewhere - obviously you disagree with me, and I wonder if you would answer a couple of questions for me related to those reasons, which may lighten some of my concerns.
1. It is my understanding that Canada is signatory to various United Nations treaties which expressly forbid the invasion of a sovereign state without full UN debate and approval of the Security Council, of which Canada, of course, is now a member (this somehow does not seem like an auspicious beginning - almost our first act is to demonstrate contempt for Security Council authority). To the best of my understanding, no such approval has been given. How then does Canada justify its unilateral abrogation of these UN treaties? I understand there was some concern that China and possibly Russia would veto any plans to invade Yugoslavia, but is that sufficient reason to abrogate the treaties we have signed and effectively label ourselves as rogue states or even open ourselves to possible charges of being war criminals? The situation in Kosova is certainly serious, but really, Wayne, you must know as well as I that there are currently many places in the world where much worse atrocities are occurring, and Canada quite pointedly does not get involved, saying, if anything, they have to respect autonomous governments and work through channels - it is very unclear to me, for instance, why the situation in Kosova is a greater humanitarian problem than (two examples of many) the butchery of women and children in Algeria which has been going on for years, or the slaughter of Kurds in Turkey, both of which have taken tens of thousands of lives in a far more brutal fashion than anything happening in Kosova.
2. Likewise NATO - as I am sure you are aware, the NATO charter itself states clearly and unequivocally that NATO forces shall ONLY be deployed in self-defence of a signatory state. Yet there has been no attack on any NATO state, nor has Yugoslavia even made any threatening gestures. Is NATO not therefore engaging in an illegal attack on Yugoslavia, in contravention of its own charter?
3. If the Canadian government is planning to change the Canadian role in NATO and/or the world at large from peacekeeping to active military intervention in various countries as dictated by the US, or whenever the current government doesnít feel like following UN treaties, donít you suppose that the Canadian people ought to be consulted about this change of policy? It is, after all, quite a major shift, and maybe some Canadians would not be all that comfortable with an intentional policy of declaring ourselves a rogue state in the world, unbound by UN treaties we have signed. (Itís probably not all that clever of an idea, either, considering the relative level of military power we have, to cast ourselves adrift from the collective protection of the UN). I donít think the US is a very reliable friend - as long as weíre doing what they want, fine, but what happens when we tell them we want to do something different? Bombs in Toronto? (Then again, thatís not likely to be a problem with the current government, is it, Wayne?)
4. Is it acceptable in your philosophy, Wayne, for NATO to be killing hundreds of civilians in their indiscriminate bombing of Yugoslavia? Does it ease your conscience to say ďOh, well, they were just collateral casualties, not intended?Ē What about the government policy? If it is not acceptable, why are we still participating? If it is acceptable to the Canadian government, I think they ought to make some sort of announcement about it, maybe offer some explanation on how they justify the idea of two wrongs somehow making a right. This bombing was a very bad idea from the start - as you well know, the Serbs have dramatically increased their efforts to remove the Albanians from Kosova because of the bombing - and obviously the huge amounts of bombs being dropped is having very little impact on the real military capacity of Milosevic, while causing considerable devastation to civilian infrastructure. I think probably ASAP we ought to look for some new strategists in our military, someone who understands a little more clearly that bombs ought to be the very very last option, not the first.
5. Do you personally, Wayne, find it acceptable that our Prime Minister considers it appropriate to consult at length with American military leaders concerning the deployment of Canadian troops, but tells Canadian citizens that he feels no obligation whatsover to consult with us concerning whether or not Canada goes to war?
6. Are you personally aware, Wayne, that last year in the US, something like 20,000 people were murdered, 100,000 women raped, and there were well over 1,000,000 cases of violent assault. In the world at large, among many other things, currently their blockade of Iraq and debris from their dirty little war there is causing upwards of 5,000 civilian deaths a month. Has it ever occurred to anyone that maybe the US isnít a good role model to be following? (And if the current Canadian government thinks the US IS a good role model, I REALLY think you ought to give the Canadian people a chance for some input on this.)
Maybe the next time the Pentagon comes knocking on the door and wants to play bombs, somebody ought to just say no. Itís not good for the world.
I look forward to hearing from you -