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[OPIRG-EVENTS] Paul Martin action this Saturday
[Please note: the attachment will have to be downloaded from the
NOWAR web site http://www.nowar-paix.ca/ ... and there's an
additional article included at the end from this week's Hill Times by
Steven Staples on missile defence. -j.]
Date: Thu, 05 Jun 2003 16:08:53 -0400
From: Nancy Peckford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Paul Martin action this Saturday
Paul Martin Action - Saturday, June 7th 2003
The 5th of 6 federal Liberal leadership forums (i.e. debates) is
taking place this coming Saturday (June 7th) between 4:30 p.m. - 6:00
p.m. at the Ottawa Congress Centre, 55 Colonel By Drive.
The focus of the debate will be Canadian Identity
Sheila Copps, John Manley and Paul Martin will be presenting their
ideas and taking questions and answers from the floor.
As a result of the relatively uncontested nature of this Liberal
leadership race given the already overwhelming support for Martin, a
group of nationally and provincially based activists has come
together to draw attention to Paul Martin's previous record on social
policy as Finance Minister, and to mobilize against some of his
recent statements to date on "deep integration", and missile defense.
We are looking for people to leaflet outside of the Congress Centre
between 4-5 p.m. The fact sheets we will be using to leaflet are
If this is something you would be interested in doing, please email
me as soon as possible as we need to know what sort of numbers we
Forums have already taken place in Edmonton, Yellowknife,
Charlottetown and Vancouver. The final two are scheduled to take
place this coming Saturday (June 7th) in Ottawa and June 14th in
At previous Liberal forums in Charlottetown and Vancouver, small
groups of activists stood outside of the site of the Liberal forum
and leafletted incoming Liberal members and passers-by with a fact
sheet on Martin's record. Posters have also been put up around town
on the day of his visit which have the following message: "Paul
Martin may be hazardous to your country".
The goals are of these actions have been four-fold:
- to get people thinking about Paul Martin's direct involvement in
harsh cuts to social programs, including heath, education, social
assistance, and women's equality during the 1990s.
- to alert people to the fact that Martin's image as a
left(er)-leaning, nice guy is in contradiction to many (though not
all) of the severe actions he took as Finance Minister.
- to use the media to actually push the Liberal leadership
candidates, but particularly Martin (as Prime Minister in waiting) on
a social vision for the country, not just an economic one.
- to oppose Martin's support for Canada's involvement in missile
defense and deep integration.
Also pls find below an article about a similar action at a LIberal
leadership forum in Charlottetown two weeks ago.
- nancy peckford
Liberal leadership foes fight over social funding in debate: Copps
accuses Martin of cruel cuts to welfare program during lively debate
The Guardian (Charlottetown)
Mon 26 May 2003
Page: A1 / Front
Byline: Wayne Thibodeau
Source: The Guardian (Charlottetown); with additional files by Canadian Press
Atlantic Canada took centre stage as the three candidates who want to
be the next prime minister of Canada debated the issues facing the
region at the Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown
Sheila Copps, John Manley and Paul Martin fielded nine questions on a
wide spectrum of issues, including regional development, fishery
problems and health care.
Copps set the tone for the debate early, trading places with Manley
as she went on the attack against the accepted front-runner, Paul
Manley, the current finance minister, stayed away from his aggressive
challenge to Martin to disclose the contents of his blind trust, a
dare which marked the previous two debates.
Copps on the other hand attacked Martin's record of slashing social
programs when he was finance minister which sparked one of only a
handful of heated exchanges during the 90-minute debate.
"Paul, you cancelled the Canada assistance plan - the single biggest
assistance to help poor Canadians was cancelled in your budget,"
"We can't simply write cheques to provinces and assume that the job
is done . . . We've got to reach people in the communities where
Martin, who is trying to distance himself from his image as a
multimillionaire out of touch with traditional Liberal concerns,
"We brought in the national child tax benefit where in fact what
Canadians were doing was providing the cheques directly to Canadian
Copps interrupted his statement quickly.
"The provincial governments cut the welfare costs to individual
people by the same amount so a great idea to help poor Canadians took
money right out of their pockets in my province of Ontario," she
said, to thunderous applause from the crowd.
"That's why I don't like a program that passes cheques to provincial
The exchange left Manley demanding more accountability.
"Sheila, I've got a lot of sympathy for your concerns about what's
happened in Ontario, but the truth is the provinces and the
provincial governments run the health-care system, so let's remember
that if we're going to serve the needs of Canadians, we're going to
do it by co-operating with the provinces."
More than 450 party members attended the debate, which highlighted a
full day of activities for the Liberal party.
In the morning, Liberals met for nearly three hours to talk about
policy while Saturday night 550 people paid $150 a plate during a
fundraiser at the Charlottetown Civic Centre.
The debate wasn't without incident Saturday.
A small group of protesters erected posters in front of the arts
centre with a headline that read "Warning, Paul Martin is hazardous
to your country."
The campaign was launched by a group calling themselves the Campaign
to Expose Paul Martin.
Local activist Leo Broderick said they centered on Martin because
it's a foregone conclusion that he will be the next prime minister.
"We have organized to really expose Paul Martin and send a warning to
the Canadian people asking whether Paul Martin is fit to be Canada's
prime minister," said Broderick, who was passing out leaflets to
those going into the debate."
"It's time to expose the dark side, the real Paul Martin to the
A couple of the protesters wanted to go into the debate but they were
refused because they didn't have a Liberal membership.
A source told The Guardian they put that measure in place to avoid a
busload of angry crab fishermen from hijacking the debate.
Sharon Labchuk said Martin will be remembered for slashing social programs.
"People need to know what this man is all about."
Liberals will choose a new leader in November.
Prime Minister Jean Chretien is scheduled to retire in February 2004.
Following the debate, Island Liberals seemed impressed by all three candidates.
However, most Islanders appear to have already taken sides, which
means Copps and Manley probably didn't pick up any extra support
despite their performances.
Nancy Guptill of Summerside, who is supporting Martin, said the
lively debate was great for the party.
"It was the Liberal party at its very best," she said.
"There was a little bit of fiestiness there which I think is very helpful."
Tim Carroll, president of the Liberal party of Prince Edward Island,
described the debate as enlightening.
Carroll has said he will not be supporting anybody publicly.
"There were frank answers to the questions and I could see
differences in their responses."
Senator Catherine Callbeck, who signed Martin's nomination papers,
said it was a great opportunity for Islanders to hear from the
She said she supported the front-runner because he has broad support
across the country and a great reputation internationally.
"I think a lot of Islanders have already made up their minds."
- - -
Martin's endorsement of national missile defence was a major victory
for Canada's corporate lobbyists
By Steven Staples
Last week, the Chretien government decided to take Canada one step
closer to joining the Bush administration's national missile defence
But strangely, no one has explained what missile threat Canada faces
leaving Canadians to wonder if national missile defence is more about
defending the country from rogue U.S. trade policies than from rogue
The current debate, which was sparked by Paul Martin's endorsement of
missile defence, has revealed how business interests are influencing
Canada's foreign and defence policies.
Business groups have been campaigning for months to push the Liberals
closer o the Bush administration on a range of issues - especially
national missile defence. In the back rooms of the missile defence
debate one might find many of the players who were behind the
Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement and NAFTA .
The old Business Council on National Issues is back, but it has
rebranded itself as the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE).
It's still run by long-time free trader Tom D'Aquino, but today it
has broadened its attention from liberalizing investment and cutting
deficits to boosting the military
In a recent policy paper the CCCE argued that Canada must "enhance
the interoperability of Canadian and U.S. armed forces... including
Canadian participation in a continental anti-ballistic missile
system." It has organized an action group of 30 CEOs to promote its
plan for "North American Security and Prosperity."
Last month CCCE corporate members went to Washington, D.C., to meet
with Bush administration officials, including defence adviser Richard
Perle. According to one shaken participant, the hawkish Perle gave
the Canadian corporate leaders a stern dressing-down and told them
that "Canada had better realize in future where its best interests
The corporate lobby got the message.
The Aerospace Industries Association of Canada (AIAC), which includes
heavyweight members such as Bombardier, has joined the CCCE in urging
the government to get on board with the Americans.
Ron Kane, an AIAC vice-president, told The Globe and Mail that he
fears that if Canada does not join the missile defence plan, member
corporations will be shut out of the multi-billion dollar defence
contracts. Perhaps not surprisingly, Kane said his fears were based
on a personal conversation with U.S. Ambassador Paul Cellucci.
But Canadians should know that the debate is unfolding just as the
Bush administration had hoped it would.
The Bush administration has been manipulating the missile defence
program in order to activate domestic corporate lobbies in countries
around the world, especially those countries that have been reluctant
to endorse the United States' pursuit of the controversial program.
The respected U.S. defence industry magazine Defense News revealed
last summer that the U.S. Missile Defense Agency wanted to "lure
foreign firms with U.S. defense dollars and hope the contractors sway
their governments to get on board."
Boeing is the lead contractor on national missile defence, and in
July it penned an agreement with Britain's BAE Systems in a deal that
the The Daily Telegraph described as "an attempt by President George
W. Bush to persuade Tony Blair that national missile defence is
worthwhile." Within months the once skeptical Tony Blair had dropped
his objections and even invited the Americans to use a U.K. radar
station for the system.
By October, Boeing had gotten around to Canada. It signed a vague
agreement with CAE Inc. for modelling and simulation services, but
there was no dollar figure attached to the contract.
CAE's technological contribution is insignificant compared to its
political contribution. Its president is Derek H. Burney, former
chief of staff to Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, former ambassador to
the United States, and along with Tom D'Aquino one of the chief
architects of the Canada-U.S. Free
Trade Agreement. Today, Burney is an influential executive member of
both the CCCE and the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada.
But the truth is that there will be little benefit to Canada in
joining missile defence, despite what the CEOs may argue.
Canadians need only look at the reconstruction of Iraq, where even
Britain, a close ally in the war, is being shut out of lucrative
contracts. Moreover, most of the major missile defence contracts will
remain in the hands of U.S. corporations, and Congress will insist on
"Buy American" policies.
In the end, the government could be bilked out of billions of dollars
to pay for Canada's contribution to missile defence over the life of
the program, while still facing protectionist trade policies from
Paul Martin's endorsement of national missile defence was a major
victory for Canada's corporate lobbyists. It resulted in his ranks of
caucus supporters falling into line on the issue, and even made a
true believer out of the dovish Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham.
But Canada's foreign and defence policies should never be driven by
financial interests; they should instead be an expression of
Canadians' values by promoting diplomacy and disarmament. Paul Martin
seems to need reminding that our traditional peacekeeping role is not
Steven Staples is a defence analyst with the Polaris Institute, a
public interest research group based in Ottawa.
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