Thursday, December 08, 2005

Foreign Policy in Election Time

As is usual and not terribly surprising, very little of substance has been said so far in the Canadian federal election campaign about foreign policy. Sure, Bono scolded Paul Martin about foreign aid commitments, but I would bet that even most NDP candidates (Canada's mainstream party of the left) would be unable to tell you anything about Canada's role in empire and the destruction of democracy in Haiti, let alone take a vocal position in favour of getting out of there right now.

So it is very timely that Briarpatch, an independent progressive Canadian magazine, should devote its current issue to "The Responsibility to Dissect" Canada's foreign policy. I'm not sure if the hardcopy is on the newstands anywhere yet -- I had a look at my local magazine seller, one of the best in the country, and they still had the last issue out -- but much of the content is available online.

I have not yet had a chance to read the whole issue, but I would particularly like to recommend this article on Canada's involvement in Afghanistan by Sonali Kolhatkar and Justin Podur -- Kolhatkar is the host of Uprising Radio, my favourite show on KPFK when we lived in Los Angeles, and Podur is a Toronto-based activist whose blog I visit regularly. Please also check out Anthony Fenton's piece on Canada in Haiti and this article on secret trials in Canada. Ahhhh, the whole thing. Given how much easier it is to become critically educated on U.S. foreign policy, I don't imagine there are too many Canadian progressives and radicals who won't learn from this material -- I've certainly learned. So read up, then go to an all-candidates meeting and help our wanna-be Parliamentarians display their ignorance of Canada's complicity in war and empire. Or even better, get involved in grassroots anti-imperialist activity in your community.

(Thanks to DJ for the heads-up on this material.)