Friday, November 3, 2006

The myth about Canada's neutrality

Some of those who left a comment on my previous blog entry believed that Canada is a peacekeeping nation. In fact, according to them, going at war is apparently something new for this country. Evidently, Canada is certainly a nation that pursues peacekeeping objectives since the end of the 1950s when Lester B. Pearson, the minister of External Affairs (the former name of the Foreign Affairs Ministry) back then, proposed to reform the United Nations (UN). However, in its short History of foreign policies, Canada often had so much difficulty to conceal its lack of neutrality. In fact, talking about Canada’s neutrality is like talking about a myth.

Everything began in 1931. As a British colony, Canada participated to the First World War (1914-1919) and afterwards, Canada will become a member of the League of Nations, the ancestor of the United Nations (UN). In addition to that, the Statute of Westminster in 1931 is a turning point in the History of Canadian politics: Canada is now a country that can take its own decision in terms of foreign policy. When Canada was a dominion from 1867 to 1931, it was at war as soon as the British declared war to another country.

However, the Statute of Westminster gave an autonomy that Canada needed: this country got a complete control over its domestic and external policy, even though "a procedure to amend the British North America Act in Canada had still to be devised and appeals of Supreme Court decisions to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in Britain continued until 1949", according to Canadian historian Ramsay Cook.

In the turmoil of the Second World War (1939-1945), Canada’s Prime Minister Mackenzie King will see the necessity to mobilize Canadian troops right before Poland was invaded by Germany. On the 1st of September 1939, Canada will fully flex its military muscle. In addition to the full mobilization of Canada’s army, a conscription law will take effect after the fall of France in 1940 and it forces every men who are physically in good shape to serve in the army.

Obviously, Canada wasn’t going in Europe or in Asia to give flowers to the German, the Italian or the Japanese soldiers. The objective of the Canadian involvement in the Second World War was to help the Allies against Adolf Hitler and also to support Great Britain. Moreover, Canada believed that it must stand up for “freedom”. All in all, the Second World War wasn’t a peacekeeping mission, but rather a mission that was meant to deliver some European and Asian countries and restore democracy in European countries by killing enemies and therefore, encountering human resistance during a major conflict that tore the whole world.

The Korean War (1950-1953) is also another example about Canada’s international political partisanship. According to the official discourse, Canada, along with the other members of the UN’s forces, was to secure the 38th parallel which is the dividing borderline between North and South Korea. However, the real objective of this war consisted into repelling North Korean soldiers and Red China’s army out of South Korea to “contain” communism, because Western countries didn’t want this appalling ideology to spread in South Korea. In short, the Korean War is an ideological war because this country wasn’t a “neutral” country like Austria, Switzerland, Egypt or India, but rather a country that was working hand-in-hand with the capitalist countries to counter the Soviets’ threatening political evangelism.

Actually, the last global conflict in which Canada participated was the Gulf War in 1991 and the war in Afghanistan is a combat done by a group of troops. Saying that Canada has always been a peacekeeping nation is a complete joke that is meant to stress to the so-called moral superiority of Canadians. All in all, it’s important to know that even though Canada did peacekeeping mission in Cyprus and Haiti for example, making war is definitely not something new in the short History of Canadian foreign policy. Do you have an opinion about my column? Well, speak up your mind while I’m gladly waiting for your comment. By the way, never am I suggesting in my column that Canada should be an imperialist country. In fact, Canada must only take part to missions that are approved by the UN.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Related Posts with Thumbnails

About This Blog

Lorem Ipsum


  © Blogger templates Newspaper III by 2008

Back to TOP