Canada Lost UN Vote – Some Canadians Cheered

Video ThumbnailCanada lost to Norway in its bid to win a seat on the UN Security Council. Many Canadians had signed a petition calling for just that – saying Canada did not deserve the seat. Yves Engler joins Paul Jay on theanalysis.news podcast.
Yves Engler

Canada lost to Norway in its bid to win a seat on the UN Security Council. Many Canadians had signed a petition calling for just that – saying Canada did not deserve the seat. Yves Engler joins Paul Jay on theAnalysis.news podcast.

Note: Thanks to Eric for pointing out I got the facts wrong on the vote. There were two Western seats available, and they were won by Norway with 130 votes and Ireland with 128. Canada lost with 108 votes.

Transcript

Paul Jay
Hi, I’m Paul Jay. And this is theAnalysis.news podcast.

Paul Jay
On June 17th, Canada lost its bid to be elected to the UN Security Council. Norway received 130 votes; Ireland came in second with 114; and Canada, a somewhat distant third, with 108 votes. There are more than a few Canadians that were happy to see their government lose. In fact, there was a petition of well-known Canadians calling for Canada’s defeat.

Paul Jay
The petition says, among other things, Canada ranks among the 12th largest arms exporters, and its weapons have fueled conflicts across the globe, including the devastating war in Yemen. In a disappointing move, they say, Canada refused to join 122 countries represented at the 2017 UN conference to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination. And Canada refused to sign that. And for those of you that follow theAnalysis.news, you know that this is a constant topic with us and you know that I’m working with Daniel Ellsberg on a documentary series.

Paul Jay
To give this a bit more context, most people that understand and follow the issue of nuclear weapons and the threat of nuclear war believe there is a 100 percent chance—not a chance, I guess, if you’re at 100 percent—a certainty that if we continue on the path we’re on, of expanding the building of nuclear weapons and not moving towards their elimination—they think it’s a certainty. At some point, we are going to have a nuclear war. Whether it starts accidentally or otherwise, and that will be the end. So not to be part of that UN conference to negotiate a legally binding instrument and so on is outrageous.

Paul Jay
I recorded the following interview just a couple of days before the UN vote. So the tense in a few places might be wrong, but the reasons why people who signed the petition wanted Canada’s defeat are very clear.

Paul Jay
At any rate, now joining us to discuss the campaign to deny Canada this prestigious U.N. seat is Yves Engler. He is a Montreal-based activist and author. He has published 11 books, including his latest “House of Mirrors: Justin Trudeau’s Foreign Policy.” He’s been dubbed Canada’s version of Noam Chomsky. He’s been called one of the most important voices on the Canadian left and in the mold of I.F. Stone and lots more good stuff. Thanks for joining us, Yves.

Yves Engler
Thanks for having me.

Paul Jay
Justin Trudeau presents himself as a young, progressive, hip world leader. He even joins some of the protests in Ottawa, supporting the movement against police violence. Shouldn’t the world want someone who, at the very least, seems more rational than Trump to have a seat at the UN Security Council?

Yves Engler
Well, more rational than Trump is a pretty low bar. No, I think it’s quite clear that Canada doesn’t deserve the support of progressive-minded people for a seat on the Security Council. The countries, Ireland and Norway, with which Canada is competing for the two seats for the Western European and Others Group, have much less damaging foreign policies.

And you can go from the question of nuclear arms and nuclear disarmament initiatives, where Ireland has joined in those initiatives—not part of NATO. You can take a look at the question of voting record on Palestinian rights at the UN. Since 2000, Canada has voted against 166 resolutions upholding Palestinian rights. Norway and Ireland haven’t voted against one of those. You can take a look at the climate question. Canada’s per capita greenhouse gas emissions are—Ireland and Norway have just more than half the per capita greenhouse gas emissions. You take a look at Canada’s mining industry and this massive mining sector that is involved in abuses all around the globe, and the Canadian Government backs it up. Ireland and Norway don’t have equivalent industries with which their foreign policies are so enmeshed.

Yves Engler
So it’s really the fact that progressives don’t immediately assume that Canada is unwarranted of our support for the UN’s highest decision-making body is because there’s this whole aura of Canada and the peacekeeping, this sort of mythology that only holds up if you compare it to Washington. So, yes, Canadian foreign policy is better than the U.S. foreign policy, but that’s damning with faint praise.

Paul Jay
Let’s go through some of the issues. But let’s start with the nuclear one. How did Trudeau—how did the Canadian Government justify not signing this agreement to restrict nuclear weapons?

Yves Engler
Trudeau framed it as, if you’re not going to have the main nuclear powers at the meeting, there’s no point in talking. That’s how the prime minister—his argument he put forward, which in some sort of abstract level could make some sense. Does that mean, at the next NATO meeting that Canada attends, the Canadian Government is going to call for the U.S., Britain, and France to eliminate their nuclear weapons.

Yves Engler
Of course not—rather, Canada is a member of NATO, in good standing, and NATO, of course, is a nuclear-armed club. Canada and Canadian officials are on NATO’s body that plans for possible nuclear warfare. Canada has troops on the border of Russia, in Latvia, which increases the possibility of a nuclear conflict somewhere down the way. So, yes, Trudeau puts forward a rationale that in some abstract level maybe makes some sense. But when you know both the Trudeau government’s record and the Canadian Government’s record, more generally, of support and/or indifference to nuclear weapons, then you know it’s a bogus rationale. But there is little in terms of opposition that holds them to account on the issue.

Paul Jay
To what extent is the Canadian arms industry connected with the American nuclear weapons industry?

Yves Engler
Canada has long been an exporter of uranium to the US. I don’t believe that is that significant anymore. But for decades, U.S. nuclear weapons were aided by Canadian exports. Early on, Canadian fighter jets based in Europe were armed with U.S. nuclear weapons. And there were, obviously, U.S. nuclear weapons in Canada for many decades. So I don’t know how big a role today the arms industry in this country has with regards to U.S. nuclear weapons. But the arms industry more generally makes parts for U.S. weapons, and we don’t even actually know how many billions of dollars of Canadian arms exports go down to the U.S. every year because there’s an agreement where they don’t even actually have to compile data on the exports. So Canada’s arms industry and the U.S. arms industry act like it’s all one, one market.

Yves Engler
That, of course, is a force in favor of Canada being a supporter of NATO, more aggressive militarist force internationally. So the arms industry and the open letter calls on the arms industry specifically, actually around sending weapons to Saudi Arabia in the context of the devastating Saudi war on Yemen, and Canada has provided significant light armored vehicles, sniper rifles, et cetera, to the Saudis and the UAE while they’re waging war on Yemen. But the arms industry is definitely a part of understanding why Canada has a belligerent foreign policy.

Paul Jay
If you look at the extent to which Canada depends on the American market, it probably tells you a lot about what Canada’s foreign policy is. Thirty-two percent of the Canadian economy is exports and seventy-five percent of the exports go to the United States. Of course, the bulk of that is fossil fuels. I once interviewed Canadian General Lewis Mackenzie, who told me in very blunt language, I was surprised he spoke the way he spoke. I asked him why did Canada send troops to Afghanistan? And he said, “The answer is very simple. We didn’t send troops to Iraq. And if we wanted to keep exporting goods to the United States”, and these are his words, “We had to pay in blood for the right to export to continue exports to the United States. And so we sent troops to Afghanistan to pay the blood debt for access to the markets.” And I think that tells you a lot about what Canadian foreign policy is. And it’s not just about the advantage of sending stuff to the markets, goods to the markets, but it’s also Canadian extractive industries abroad who depend on governments, especially in Central America, that are backed by the United States. And these are dictatorships on the whole or very right-wing governments that helped facilitate Canadian gold mining companies and otherwise. So talk a bit about Canadian foreign policy and Canadian extractive industries.

Yves Engler
I mean in the open letter we talk about that question, which is the fact that Canada is the home of around half of the world’s mining companies.

Yves Engler
Canada has about 0.5 percent of the world’s population. So about 100 times Canada’s proportion of the world’s population in terms of mining companies based or listed on Canadian stock exchanges. And these companies are engaged in abuses all around the globe. Pretty much you can pick almost any country in the global South and find an example of a Canadian mining company involved in a conflict with a local community. And people have been killed around the mine, and this is all incredibly well documented.

Yves Engler
And in the letter, we talk about how a half dozen U. N. bodies have criticized the Canadian government for not reigning in Canadian companies abroad. Specifically targeting mining companies, extractive companies. And the Trudeau government, before they got elected, said they were going to bring in some better regulations on Canadian mining companies operating abroad. They’re going to bring in an ombudsperson with some teeth, and then after they repeat everything they promised a number of times. And after aggressive lobbying from the mining sector, about six or eight months ago, they announced this new ombudsperson that basically has no capacity to even force companies to provide documents and very little capacity to end public support for Canadian mining companies found to be engaged in abuses abroad. At the same time, while they haven’t brought in any restrictions they promised they would bring in, at the same time they’ve been lobbying aggressively for very controversial mining companies. The worst example, being in Tanzania, where Barrick Gold, probably the most controversial of all Canadian mining companies, one point of the biggest gold company in the world. They were in a major conflict back in 2017 with the Tanzanian government and over hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars in unpaid taxes, royalties. And one of their mines in Tanzania, the North Mara Mine, had sixty-five people, according to the official statistics, some say actually more, but sixty-five people had been killed between 2006 and 2016 by Barrick paid security forces around the mine. And the Canadian High Commissioner in Tanzania, Ian Miles, while this big conflict’s going on between Tanzanian government and Barrack, organises a meeting for the President of Tanzania and the president of Barrick. And then after the meeting comes out and makes a declaration about how Barrick upholds the highest standards of corporate social responsibility and basically gives explicit diplomatic support for the company in their conflict with the Tanzanian government.

Yves Engler
And so if you can back Barrick Gold in the midst, you know, the most controversial mining company in the place where they’ve, you know, committed the worst abuses it basically is a sign of the Trudeau government being willing to back Canadian mining companies sort of no matter what. And so, you know, increasingly people around the world, I don’t know how much of this trickles up into the realm of the diplomatic world or the U.N. ambassadors in New York, but increasingly people around the world, associate Canada with mining companies that come in and push peasants off their land, destroy waterways and ecosystems, etc.

Paul Jay
I’ve often wondered if there isn’t sometimes an actual division of labor, quote-unquote, where Canada gets an assignment on behalf of the U.S. empire to do “some dirty work.”

Paul Jay
Certainly, we saw that during the Vietnam War where Canada helped spy for the United States while it was supposedly working on an international control commission, which was not supposed to be spying, but it came out that it did. I believe that was during the time of Trudeau’s father, the other Prime Minister Trudeau.

Paul Jay
But Venezuela seems to be another example. I’ve talked about this before, but in 2004, when I was in Venezuela, I decided to go see the Canadian embassy. I was the executive producer of a well-known CBC television debate show, as well as an unknown filmmaker, and so the embassy knew who I was and said, come. And when I went to the embassy in Caracas, they had organized a meeting for me with about seven or eight members of the anti-Chavista opposition, and for about two hours, told me story after story about how horrible Chavez was and how horrible the government was. I mean, whether what they were saying was true or not, is kind of not the point. What business did the Canadian Embassy have for playing that kind of role of directly organizing and collaborating with the Venezuelan opposition? And, of course, it got even worse later. So what do you make of Canada’s role in being so much in the lead on the question of supporting the opposition in Venezuela?

Yves Engler
Well, I think you’re exactly right when you talk about the division of labor within the U.S. empire. The Canadian government was with Peru. The two countries that set up, and I think it’s really the Canadian government that pushed the process, set up the Lima Group of countries opposed to the Maduro government of Venezuela. And it frames itself as being a non-U.S. isn’t part of it, it’s sort of this coalition of Latin American countries outside of the grip of Washington concerning itself with Democracy and Human Rights in Venezuela. Canadian governments had, I think, held three different Lima group meetings in Canada, just really aggressive support for the Lima Group. And that’s an example of its preferred, I think some of the Latin American countries would be more uncomfortable to join such a coalition if the U.S. was explicitly a member of it and was explicitly driving the initiative.

Yves Engler
You know, that’s just one part of Canada’s aggressive, brazen campaign to oust the Venezuelan government and any U.N. recognized government. We point that out in the open letter. This is the government recognized by the United Nations and not Juan Guaidó. And Canada has four rounds of sanctions against Venezuela. And I don’t think the sanctions have that great of an impact on Venezuelan economic life. But I think that one of the things they do is they provide a little bit of sort of legitimacy to the U.S. sanctions, which are of course, much more damaging. And so the fact that they can say that Canada is also sanctioning Venezuela, that’s something that the Trump administration likes.

Yves Engler
Canada’s taken Venezuela to the International Criminal Court. Actually, if you look at how, when Trudeau brought Venezuela to the International Criminal Court, the first time ever that a member state, a number of Latin American countries brought, with Canada, brought Venezuela to the ICC, a first time member, a member state, brought another member state to the ICC. So look at all the human rights violations in the world, and certainly what’s going on in Venezuela is not the worst of it. But how Trudeau justified bringing it during a speech announced, when during the speech at the General Assembly in 2018, U.N. General Assembly, he framed it as the ICC being something that the Bush administration didn’t like and this was Canada upholding the international rules-based order and upholding the ICC as this institution, multilateral institution, when it was clear that bringing the ICC was a step down the path of supporting the Trump administration’s bid for regime change in Venezuela. So clearly, Canada has taken on aggressively this part of the U.S. led campaign that enables Washington to move forward with overthrowing the Venezuelan government. But it should be noted, as we noted in the open letter, that if you look at Canada’s allies on this campaign against Venezuela, that’s, again, supposedly about democracy, constitution, human rights, the government, the president in Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernandez, his constitutional legitimacy is almost nil. The Honduran constitution is clear that only one term, Juan Orlando Hernandez, got the court to allow him to run a second term when he’s losing by five percentage points after 60 percent of votes counted. All of a sudden, counting stops when it comes back on, now, all of a sudden, Juan Hernandez is in the lead. So his constitutional legitimacy infinitely less than Maduro’s. Or take a look at human rights violations Iván Duque in Colombia. I mean, more than one hundred social activists killed last year, according to the UN, in Colombia. Even worse rate so far, it started this year, demobilized FARK former guerrilla, also another seventy-five or something like that, a former guerrilla case tried to undermine the peace accord with the former guerrillas in Colombia. And so you look at the human rights violations, much worse human rights violations taking place in Colombia than in Venezuela. You look at Canada’s role in Haiti in supporting the Jovenel Moïse presidency in Haiti. Almost no support. Massive demonstrations in Haiti, general strike multiple general strikes, one for more than a month. And the only reason Jovenel Moïse is highly repressive, corrupt. Then the election that he supposedly won, almost no one participated in. The only reason Jovenel Moïse is in office in Haiti is because of the support of Washington and Ottawa. Also, Jovenel Moïse is part of the Lima Group opposition to Venezuela.

Paul Jay
Is Canada’s positioning in Haiti and Honduras simply a reflection of this kind of pro-American bias, or its own economic interests?

Yves Engler
I think it’s both happening at the same time. Earlier when you talked about, Canada delivering so many goods crossing the border to the US and, therefore, Canada had to send troops to Afghanistan. I think there’s a major degree of truth to that. But compare that to Mexico. Right. Mexico’s economy is comparably, and maybe even more so, dependent on trade with the US, but Mexico doesn’t have a sort of pro-Washington foreign policy in the region or the world, for that matter. And that’s not to say that there’s no problems with Mexican foreign policy. I’m sure if you look into it, there are many. I think that the Canadian ruling class, the Canadian elites for a long time have seen the world and profited from the world in a very similar way to the U.S. elite, incredible levels of integration among the two countries’ elites.

Yves Engler
There is a question of white supremacy in this, there is a question of a linguistic question there. So I think that the Canadian ruling class—- Yes, its support for Juan Hernando Hernandez in Honduras is tied to the fact that the U.S. backs him. But it’s also tied to the fact that Gildan Activewear, Big Montreal, T-shirt maker, has major operations there and helped to overthrow the Manuel Zelaya government back in 2009, or Gold Corp, second biggest gold company in Canada. They were actually found back in 2009. They were found to be paying people to go into protests in support of the coup against Zelaya. And they were unhappy with Zelaya’s mining policy, and Gilden was unhappy with increasing the minimum wage. So it’s a mix of being tied into Washington and following what Washington does. But also that Canadian corporations and Canadian capital are major players in many countries, certainly throughout this hemisphere. And they view the world and profit from it in a very similar way to the U.S. elite.

Paul Jay
In your open letter, you say that Ottawa has stated it will act as a, quote, “Asset for Israel on the council.” What’s the context for that?

Yves Engler
Well, that’s Christian Freeland, who is the former foreign affairs minister, now the Deputy Prime Minister, back in November of 2018 at an event in Israel, alongside Benjamin Netanyahu. And I think what the context is, it reflects this extreme pro-Israel disposition of the trio government. But the context of it, in part, is that an understanding that one of the big weaknesses for Canada’s candidacy, for the U.N., is that there is an understanding that there’s a lot of opposition to candidates’ policy and voting against U.N. resolutions. And so there was a sense that the campaign, to win a seat on the Security Council, would lead the Trudeau government to take more pro-Palestinian positions because that’s the sentiment of the overwhelming majority of U.N. member states. And so I think, partly what she was doing, was trying to allay some fears within Israel that Canada might move away from this staunch pro-Israel perspective. But in practice, I mean, they didn’t win votes back in December, the first vote in favor of Palestinian rights that they actually voted for. And there was a whole bunch of media attention devoted to that vote, and it was viewed as, tied to their campaign for the Security Council seat. But in practice, I mean, the Canadian government has just continued with this extreme anti-Palestinian policy. Just one example, earlier this year, the Canadian ambassador in Israel, Deborah Lyons, organized a party for Canadians who fight in the Israeli military as a pizza party. And she said at the time that the candidate was proud they were fighting, I think it’s about 50, I forget the exact number of Canadians fighting in the IDF. Now, of course, these Canadians fighting in the IDF would be administering the occupation in the West Bank. They would be part of firing on a peaceful march or return protesters in Gaza. And Canada has a law, the Foreign Investment Act, on the books it’s illegal to recruit for foreign armies. And there was also a charitable law that says charities are not allowed to raise funds for other countries’ militaries. But here you have Canada’s ambassador organising a pizza party for four Canadians fighting an Israeli military. I mean, that’s just one of the examples of just this extreme anti-Palestinian policy of the Trudeau government that, I think, well, we’re hoping is actually a second public letter that’s focus specifically on Canada’s anti-Palestinian policies that’s been an email to, I think it’s more than 800 U.N. ambassadors. We’re hoping that that issue will resonate with some of the U.N. ambassadors and that they will vote against Canada’s bid for the Security Council seat, in part because of their anti-Palestinian positions.

Paul Jay
I’m quoting now, from the open letter.”Falling short of its responsibilities as a global citizen, Canada continues to oppose the Basel Ban Amendment on the export of waste from rich to poor countries, which became binding in late 2019 after ratification by 97 countries”. So 97countries signed this thing and Canada wouldn’t. How does the Trudeau government justify that?

Yves Engler
The very weak justification, try to not talk about it, and it was a conflict between Canada and the Philippines over multiple containers of trash. I believe their claim was they were recyclables that were sent from Canada to the Philippines, this goes back like four or five years. I think it predates the Trudeau government, and then Trudeau, twice, when he was in the Philippines for two different conferences, promised that he would deal with this waste that was sent from Canada there to the Philippines, and it finally did, about a year ago, I guess. They finally did bring this waste back from the Philippines. But the Canadian government’s stated rationale is that we should be allowed to export recyclables. And even though there’s this long history of the companies saying they’re exporting recyclable products, but in fact, it’s dirty diapers and regular household trash, there’s a long history of that.

Paul Jay
Well, if they recyclables, why would you bother exporting them?

Yves Engler
Well, that’s a whole other question. I think a lot of Canada’s recycling has gone to China over the years and stuff like that. I should point this out, both Ireland and Norway, the two countries Canada is competing for, at the Security Council, have signed the Basel Ban Amendment. But this, obviously, should be a no brainer. How in the world can Canada not sign this convention, exaction amendment of the convention? But if you actually look at it more closely, there’s a whole bunch of these different treaties or conventions that Canada hasn’t signed, including at the International Labor Organization. I was kind of surprised looking into that. There are all these statutes that Canada hasn’t signed. One fairly recent one on indigenous issues that Canada hasn’t signed. So this is again, this is under a government, the whole foreign policy rhetoric of Justin Trudeau government, the primary sort of branding is international rules-based order. International rules-based order, they say, over and over, particularly Chrystia Freeland.

Paul Jay
Well, how about this here? I’m quoting from the statement again. “Ottawa also failed to ratify the United Nations Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment.” How could they not sign that?

Yves Engler
They can not sign it because the Americans don’t like it, and there’s almost no one in this country that is going to hold them accountable to it. And they cannot just not sign it. They can not sign it and run around saying their whole foreign policy is designed to advance international rules-based order. I mean, the hypocrisy is just so flagrant. But there is very little in terms of groups or opposition parties within the country that are going to put pressure on them to follow through. And if Washington doesn’t want to sign it, or if there’s a handful of companies in this country that want to export waste to the Philippines.

Paul Jay
OK, here’s what I really don’t get. I’m quoting from the statement again. “In November 2019, Canada once again refused to back a widely supported U.N. resolution on, “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism, and other practices that contribute to fueling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance.”

Paul Jay
Now, I don’t understand that just in terms of their own PR-ish, feel good, about what Canadian foreign policy is supposedly is. How can they not sign that?

Yves Engler
It’s even worse than that. In their first two months after they took office, or at the beginning, a bit more than a month after they took office in 2015, they voted no, in the last couple of years, they just abstained. Almost every country in the world backs that resolution. The previous Harper government voted no a couple of times as well. And only the countries that vote no is the US and Ukraine. And it’s this resolution that is perceived by the hawks in Washington as, how they frame it, is this is a Russian effort to embarrass Ukraine.

Yves Engler
Now, of course, the Canadian government has two hundred troops in the Ukraine training Ukrainian forces that are involved in the conflict in the East of the country. Canada’s pumped a whole bunch of money into backing the right-wing forces within Ukraine, this goes back years and a whole lot in recent years. The police in the Ukraine that have these neo-Nazi ties. The Canadian military attache in Kyiv, I think it was at the end of 2018, he met with representatives of the ASAF Battalion, one of the far right neo-Nazi groups in Ukraine, sort of paramilitary force and actually incorporated into the Ukrainian military, and so that’s the explanation. Basically, Canada has jumped completely into this campaign of using Ukraine as a place to try to weaken Russia, and the forces within Ukraine that are most into this campaign of targeting Russia have all kinds of associations, historic and current with neo-Nazi forces, and so the Ukrainian government doesn’t want to back this resolution at the U.N. And again, no one talks about it. Right. Doesn’t even get brought up in the Canadian media. And so they know they can get away with it.

Paul Jay
Well, I think I’m convinced. Ireland or Norway. OK, choose, Ireland or Norway.

Yves Engler
So it’s three countries going for two seats. So both Ireland and Norway should get it, well hopefully they both win it. Now, it’s important to point out that Canada has incredible advantages. Canada speaks the two main colonial languages, part of the Tonko funny, part of the commonwealth, part of the member of the G7, a much bigger country, much bigger diplomatic apparatus, has board positions at the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. So in principle, Canada has much better capacity to offer things to other countries, to lobby other countries and all that. So if Canada does lose the seat, that’s a pretty strong indication that there is a rejection of this pro-U.S., pro-mining, pro-oil, anti-Palestinian foreign policy that is dominant in this country.

Paul Jay
There was an extremely telling moment that the U.N. Security Council that’s just before the American invasion of Iraq, where a lot of Americans, normally allies, especially France, opposed the U.S. move towards the intervention in Iraq, and Chretien, at the time, Prime Minister Chretien, spoke fairly openly against the invasion of Iraq, although then, as we’ve talked about, did make up for it by going into Afghanistan. But there was some distancing by Chretien on the Iraq war. Do you think that this Trudeau government would part ways over something like that, similar circumstances, whether it’s a provocation against Iran or something else? Is there any of that, any distancing at all that can be seen from the Trudeau distancing from the US?

Yves Engler
The Chretien government did not give the Bush administration what it wanted most of all, which was an official endorsement of the coalition of the willing. Minus that they provided all kinds of supports, right. So there was actually, they were in charge of a NATO naval task force. And the Chretien government had a legal opinion that because they were in charge of this task force that was stopping Iraqi vessels, that they were legally at war with Iraq and Canadian troops were part of U.S. training missions and at one point it was a Canadian general in charge of, what, 35,000 troops in Iraq. There was a whole series of ways which kind of did support the war. But they didn’t give the Bush administration what they want most of all, because there were massive demonstrations across Canada, particularly in Quebec. It was so unpopular, and it was also elections coming up in Quebec. And the liberals were in power in Quebec and Chretien was very concerned about the Partie de Quebecois, the sovereigntist party winning again, and a possible return to another referendum. So it was the popular uprising, popular opposition. And this is really important, as well, we see a film that just came out about the explanation for why Canada didn’t go into Iraq formally, and they basically completely wipe out the question of mobilization. They interview Chretien a bunch of times, and Chretien talked about how he wasn’t sure about the evidence of weapons of mass destruction and frames it as his enlightened position rather than a power calculation based on massive mobilization. It was very cold days here in Montreal, and the biggest demo was over around 200,000 people. And so, I think of some of the backgrounds. So if that was to happen with a war that Donald Trump led, I think yes, I think you can have a scenario if there was a massive mobilization against Canada contributing to a US-led war, I think Trudeau would do something similar to what Chretien did. In some ways, it’s even easier work with Donald Trump, who is, so easily, so easy to demonize and so unpopular in Canada, it makes it even easier not to be part of it. But the reality is that it necessitates a huge outpouring of activism. If that doesn’t exist the disposition of, not just the Trudeau government, not the conservative government, not even including probably the never happened before, but possible NDP government. The disposition is to just go along with Washington’s direction unless there is a big popular mobilization. So even if the public is strongly against it, but it’s not mobilized, they’ll still go along with whatever U.S. led war. So that’s where the question, that’s the whole point of this petition around opposing Canada’s bid to the Security Council. It’s about mobilizing people behind progressive ideas and using the opportunity of a bid for a Security Council seat to put forward some critical discussion around Canadian foreign policy.

Paul Jay
OK. Thanks very much for joining us, Yves.

Thanks for having me.

Thank you for joining us on theAnalysis.news podcast.

5 comments

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  • Bravo Yves and Paul …..so glad Canada’s foreign policy is being exposed. Trudeau is the lap dog to Trump and Freehand is little Justin’s tail!

    • The tip of the Iceberg with nine tenths below water ..In other words a multi volume book could be written on the nefarious acts and actions of the Two Corporate Owned and Controlled Parties who have been the Government of Canada Since Day ONE. What they did to the First Nations People continues to this day.

  • fantastic interview Mr. Jay! Great to see the endless content your doing, and fantastic to see you invited on Yves Engler Canada’s finest historian, media critic, NGO Critic and anti-imperialist thinker in the country and arguably the world, and yes I did just type that hehe! keep up the great work and I hope to see Yves invited on regularly. You should invite on in the future also as a regular Whitney Webb formerly of Mintpress News she was the star muckraker their and now part of the Last American Vagabond.