Letter to the Editor of the Victoria Times Colonist, 21 April 1999
Prime Minister Jean Chretien announced in the House of Commons on April 21 that Canada will “send some ground troops” into Yugoslavia if our NATO allies do. “We won’t be the one not to be a member of the team.”
Canada should not be a part of ‘Team NATO.’ It is an aggressive, militaristic machine waging war on a sovereign nation, killing Serb and Albanian civilians, with no popular or international mandate to do so.
Canadian involvement in NATO’s war has not been decided by our elected representatives in the House of Commons. Rather, Prime Minister Chretien is leaving it up to his NATO ‘teammates.’
War is not a sport, Mr. Chretien. War is not a game. War means violence and destruction. It means the senseless loss of life. We have experienced two horrific world wars this century. Is it really worth risking another?
There is nothing ‘humanitarian’ about NATO’s war in the Balkans. Convoys of Kosovar Albanian refugees: butchered by NATO bombs. The central bus depot, airport, and downtown centre of Kosovo’s capital, Pristina: levelled by NATO.
“The problem is Milosevic, not the Serb people,” Defense Minister Art Eggleton says. Yet the Serbian people are the ones getting hurt. Passenger trains, residential neighbourhoods, and the largest pharmaceutical, automobile, and chemical factories in the Balkans: bombed. Meanwhile, Milosevic’s presidential palace has remained unscathed.
Thick clouds of toxic smoke waft through Belgrade and across the Balkan countryside, threatening Macedonia, Bulgaria, Albania, and Croatia.
The bombs causing this destruction could have been hospitals and schools in NATO countries.
Canada spends $10 billion per year on the military. That is equal to the amount spent on healthcare and education in Finance Minister Paul Martin’s 1999/99 federal budget. Free post-secondary education would cost British Columbia $50 million per year.
It is time that our political leaders got their priorities straight and spent money helping people rather than killing them.