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Monday, March 14, 2011

War of 1812 (Canada & US) "Climax of Action at Crysler's Farm"
painted by Adam Sheriff-Scott, photo by J. Gray
Whither Canada's Armed Forces 
Second in a series considering the country and its armed forces.

First, for a statistics eye view of Canada's militray, check out a Profile of The Canadian Forces, provided by StatsCan at this link:

Recently and currently, the Canadian Forces have plans in place, purchased or are purchasing the following. From a CBC News report found here:

According to news reports and what the military has said to date about its requirements, the purchases are expected to fall into five categories:
  • Up to four heavy-lift long-range transport planes to move troops, tanks and entire hospital units halfway around the globe in one shot. Estimated cost: $3 billion.
  • Up to 17 heavy-lift, mid-range transport planes to replace Canada's aging fleet of Hercules aircraft. Estimated cost: $4.6 billion
  • A fleet of between 12 and 15 heavy-lift helicopters to move troops and supplies quickly around war zones. Estimated cost: $4.2 billion.
  • Three new troop carrier ships. Estimated cost: $2 billion.
  • Up to 1,000 new trucks for the army, likely to be built in Quebec. Estimated cost: $1.1 billion.
Particular notice should be taken of the fact that most of what is involved here, particularly in the aircraft and troop carrier ship procurements, is that they are  designed for heavy lift, as the report says, "to move troops, tanks and entire hospital units halfway around the globe in one shot. Estimated cost: $3 billion."  Which speaks to the Conservative/Fascist view of our armed forces and their role as, though never said publicly of course, but apparent in the empirical reality and evidence, being an adjunct extension to the US Imperial interest in controlling "faraway lands" around the globe, especially currently the Middle East and oil shipping lanes.

In short, everything here in these procurements, is complimentary to the actual foreign policy role we are engaged in, of being a virtual extension of global US Imperial policy and interests. By Conservative policy makers, the US interest and ours is seen as one and the same. And we only speak our so-called "policy mind" after they have first spoken theirs, and ours is seldom anything other or less than theirs. Unless we ourselves have a real material national interest in The Gulf and Afghanistan, for example, i.e. there is some empire building material benefit we are to derive in these places for ourselves, we are there merely to serve what I claim; the US Empire interest. We are, in effect, serving as a kind of loyal "colonial military" adjunct, much for example as did say The Ghurka's of Nepal, or troops from colonial India for the British Empire. Though, for sure, the Ghurka's certainly, were an outright integral part of the British Empire Army. On which score they were at least more honest. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-10782099

Of course, the US and Canada share the North American continent. Like Russia and China share Asia over much of their territory. As such, we are probably destined to have a close kind of relationship with the US, hopefully "friendly", even outside of the current one in which they are the dominant continental power and "supplier of value added finished products" to our being the more or less humble "supplicant", hewers of wood and drawers of water and other resources for The Empire . (The classic "colonial" relationship , in our case, possibly more correctly "quasi-colonial, for at least our "formally" independant Statehood .) Though in ongoing neo-liberal economic and neo-conservative political times. there is a greater dependancy all around on cheap labour "offshore Asian value-added" products... becoming increasingly problematic to both Canada and the US economies.

Canada's planned purchase: US manufactured Boeing Globemaster for heavy global reach to serve The US Empire
So, while we yet retain the "formal" appearance and Britsh Parliamentary  trappings etc of independant Statehood from the US, and indeed, with the huge assist of Mother England in 1812 fought successfully to retain it, its critical  underpinning, economic independance has long been and is more and more being compromised and made meaningless.  Begun under the Liberals and being pushed to new limits under the Harper Conservatives, continental integration measures such as NAFTA and a host of other Security and Prosperity Partnership agreements are in the process of stripping this national independance of any real  content. For a Mexican view, this link is some useful:


And as I've said already in the first part of this article, Canada's military, underlined by the nature of the procurement list above,  but especially in training, joint US-Canada military agreements, style, ethos and Command mindset reflects this, what I describe as quasi-colonial economic and political reality of Canada's position vis a vis the US. We have gone from being such a country and military part of the old British Empire, now a hollow shell, to playing the same essential role for the US Empire, with but the briefest period of intervening actual independance in the immediate postwar II. (As a "maybe", or "kind of".)

At the outset of US Northern Command in April 2002, Canada accepted the right of the US to deploy US troops on Canadian soil. 
"U.S. troops could be deployed to Canada and Canadian troops could cross the border into the United States if the continent was attacked by terrorists who do not respect borders, according to an agreement announced by U.S. and Canadian officials." (Edmonton Sun, 11 September 2002)
With the creation of the BPG in December 2002, a binational  "Civil Assistance Plan" was established. The latter described the precise "conditions for deploying U.S. troops in Canada, or vice versa, in the aftermath of a terrorist attack or natural disaster." (quoted in Inside the Army, 5 September 2005).

We, Canada, as a country, are in a time and reality place in our relationship with the US Empire, where we very soon have a choice to make, even if only passively so, by our inaction... before it is made for us by the most politically reactionary, pro-corporate and pro-American government that this country has likely ever had... at least not since the Great Depression. The one difference being, that the then Conservative government in Ottawa, of "Iron-Heel" Bennet was British Empire Loyalist. This time around, the Conservative government of Harper's is more US Empire Loyalist. (Though the old British Empire still gets some genuflection and lip service. I need only mention "The Queen", to tease that out of the knee bending blighters.)

Coming from a particular historical tradition of this country, of submission and loyalty to Empire and "authority", and quiet acceptance of a secondary status, it is not going to be easy. But... and it's a mighty big BUT... if the decision can finally be taken, and the citizenry set in motion to secure and enforce a full "national prolitical and economic independance", it is going, at some point, to need to be backed up by a military that is quite different in training, culture and ethos from what we currently have. And all of that is going to have to begin to be created and built over the course of the struggle itself, to secure the independance of the country, hopefully relatively peacefully at least.

But we should make no mistake or presumptions on the degree of difficulty and risk. on many, many fronts that it is more than likely to be.

NEXT in Part III, I will consider an outline of the kind of military we would have already IF we were truly independant and fully dealing with the "national interest". Hence, what we will need when and IF... and the risks.

"Guerilla Warfare: Picket Duty In Virginia"


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