Canada Won't Join "Coalition of the Willing" in Iraq: Any Canadians care to comment?

Apparently Canada isn’t going to be part of the coalition of the willing.

When friendly Canada is dubious about this, I think it’s time to pull your head out of wherever it is and think again.

I have to think that GW and his cohorts have bungled this thing badly and painted themselves into a corner. Unfortunately, that thoughtless action will take a lot of people with them. And this time although GW’s rich friends might bail him out, the rest of us will lose.

It seems to me that GW could easily started out by going to the UN and pointing out that Hussein was violating the agreement ending the Gulf war. He could have continued along the lines that the UN needs to get together and come up with a way to stop him. It seems to me that would be in a much stronger position worldwide after having done that.

Of course, I don’t think he believes in international cooperation. His actions on Kyoto, the ABM treaties, World Court and on and on show me that he is not into cooperative processes.

GW claims that he thinks war is a last resort. However, didn’t he begin this whole thing with a series of public statements that he didn’t intend to sit idly by and wait to be attacked? And then zeroed in on Hussein with war as the only option as far as I can tell. Has he ever suggested any other course? Even his presentation to the UN, when he finally was forced to do it, was along the lines of you guys better come up with something quick because I’m getting ready to use force.

I don’t really know how much of a physical difference we’d make (not much) but I definitely hope the decision makes some sort of impression. While we want to support our biggest trading partner and ally we can’t follow blindly.

Others will be along soon enough.

The current PM is planning on retiring in Feb 2004. His ability to govern his caucus and cabinet has been through ruthless retaliation for dissenters. He also governs the left/centre party which lends itself to anti-Americanism and an immediate distrust of right wing ideas, and politicians. As an aside, they had little to no issue with Bill Clinton and Yugoslavia and a lack of UN resolutions. Given that he no longer can command immediate punishment/reward within his party (else a non-confidence vote could be called) he needs to address their immediate concern as well as the interests on the country.

There is a degree of anti-Americanism inherent to the Canadian psyche. Partly due to the Loyalist immigration, more collectivist outlook and partly from a smug self satisfaction that does not reside in reality. Given our lack of influence we tend to resort to stern lecturing to others on the wrongs of their ways. The fact that we ourselves do not act seems to reinforce our belief in our moral superiority.

There is also the problem with military funding. The Armed Forces number 60,000 in total and we were unable to maintain 900 light infantry in Afghanistan for more than 6 months. I doubt the potential of the Canadian military to contribute in a meaningful way to a moving war in Iraq.

However, we will provide 2000 troops to Kabul (don’t ask me how) allowing the US to focus on Iraq and allowing the US to avoid the awkward situation of requesting the German troops in Kabul remain. We play both sides, and the government doesn’t always say what it means.

Let’s face it The P.M. is doing his best imitation of a tight rope walker again. He has no firm view on anything and waffles more than an eggo. While I agree we shouldn’t follow blindly if we do believe that we will help under UN sanction then we should prepare to do so.

If The UN suddenly says yes Saddam is in violation and action should be taken how the hell will this country do that? On such short notice all we can do is sit back and watch. It’s a joke. Even worse is the notion that we can help out by sending 1000 troops to Afghanistan to relieve US troops in… say August.

If you are going to take action you must prepare for it and that takes time money and a lot of preperation. Sitting here waiting for an answer is a big sign as to what teh PM really thinks.

Either we say we don’t want to fight, or we do, this using of the UN to cover our asses from making a decision one way or the other is pathetic.

By the way I don’t see any need for action at present and still feel this way.

Excuse me? Right, that’s why they cut $100 billion, with a B, from taxes in 2000 and slashed every penny from the social housing budget in 1997, not to mention completely reneged on his first-mandate campaign promise to quit or renegotiate NAFTA.

matt_mcl I don’t want to hijack this thread but … :slight_smile:

The fact that Liberals took over around the time the deficit was 40Billion and the debt 450Billion and decided NOT to cut the country’s throat by pulling out of NAFTA and spending more money hardly makes them right/centrist.

Most Canadians are very uncomfortable with this. Most would be willing to join a coalition headed by the UN, but not by the US. we pride ourselves on being a peaceful nation, and on seeing war as the very last resort.

The problems:
[ul][li]Iraq hasn’t attacked you. And since pulling out of Kuwait, it hasn’t attacked anybody else.[/li][li]Iraq probably doesn’t have WMDs yet. If not, then so long as it cooperates with the UN’s policing efforts, it’ll have a hard time developing any.[/li][li]Even if it does have WMDs, that’s not sufficient justification to attack it. China is a militaristic dictatorship with an awful human rights record and access to WMDs. IIRC, they have the status of your most-favoured trading partner.[/li][li]America’s pretty much blown our sympathy since September 11. One of our best authors had to give up on his American book tour because of racial profiling at airports. Your government tried to rope our country into a defence plan that would have compromised our sovreignty. On unrelated issues, there’s the whole softwood lumber thing, and your government’s unwanted input on the possible decriminalization of marijuana up here. In short, it often seems that America’s interests are all that matter to it, yet it seems a little shocked that we wouldn’t want to get involved in what is ultimately an American war.[/ul][/li]
America isn’t trusted. I’m not sure it’s ever been completely trusted up here, but Dubya seems particularly slippery. Frankly, we’re all a little scared of your country. And pre-emptive assault on Iraq is a dangerous precedent.

I was going to comment much along the lines of matt_mcl, except I like the Liberal party so I was going to say that being the only G7 nation to post a balanced budget 7 years running hardly makes them distrustful of right-wing ideas :slight_smile:

When it comes to the American POV, and how it differs from the rest of world, you have to acknowledge that US media have dropped the ball mightily in coverage of the war on terrorism. Fox, CNN, et al have being jingoistic patriots who bought into the “with us or agin’ us” mentality, and done a grave disservice to the American public.

In the rest of the world, we know that Iraq has nothing at all to do with Sept. 11.

Now, if the US wanted to tackle Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, and had bothered to spell out the reasons why to the rest of the world, GWBush would get international support.

But Iraq? It smacks too much of “my daddy failed, so I’m going to open up a can of whoop ass!”

Yes Saddam is a nasty bugger. So’s Ghadafy, and Mugabe, and Kim Jong Il. But Saddam is only hurting his own people, so why bomb his people when bin Laden is on the loose, and Saudi Arabia’s fiscal elite are funding terrorists?

Guys, I’m talking about the caucus views not the Government’s Policy. Given the need for fiscal restraint over the past 10 years, the PM’s style of “my way or the highway” has kept in in check. I don’t doubt that the desires of the members fail to line up with what is executed.

It’s about damn time. In fact, it’s way past time.

I’m not as anti-American as I used to be – that’s changed over the past couple of years – but I’m certainly more anti-White House incumbent than I’ve ever been.

And until I know just who is making Dubya’s mouth move, and why (in other words, forever), I would be definitely against an Irag war even if it were UN sanctioned.


Good posts. And I notice that several said that Canada’s refusal won’t be much of a military loss. Well, many of those who are part of the lauded “coalition of the willing” won’t be much of a military gain either. If GW’s mouthpiece, Ari, just reads the list fast enough, though, it sounds impressive.

Sadly, I’m not convinced that Canada won’t be in a “coalition of the willing”, since Chretien has been babbling incoherently on both sides of this issue for some time. I don’t think his comments yesterday were anything like a definitive statement on official policy.

Chretien’s views are similar to those of Quebec - which is very anti-American. The latest polling I saw showed that Albertans have the highest support for military action in the Gulf, at 67%, and Quebec the lowest, at 28%. The rest of the country is split somwhere in the middle.

But Chretien has ulterior motives. For one thing, he has despicably under-funded the military, to the point where Canada has actually been chastised by NATO for not being able to meet its commitments. The Prime Minister’s own party called for a 40% increase in the military budget, and Chretien responded by giving the military $3 billion over 5 years (40% increase would mean a rise from $12b to 18b PER YEAR). So ‘opposing’ the U.S. would mean that he can hide the fact that the military isn’t capable of helping much anyway.

I imagine Chirac’s shenanigans are also playing into increased anti-Americanism in Quebec, which Chretien is probably playing off of as well.

Oh, and also… He’s an idiot.

But here’s my prediction - no matter what that old fool has to say, when push comes to shove Canada will do whatever it can.

Sam Stone: AGAIN you don’t seem to have a clue. But at least you did not wish death upon him this time. Sigh… sorry… this not the forum for that :wink: But I will say CITE for your last two statements… because I think that you are wrong.

Chretien is kind of between a rock and a hard place… it is no wonder that he is trying to walk the tightrope politically. You jsut do not say “Screw You” to your Superpower neighbour with whom you hold a MASSIVE trade advantage. At the same time, the majority of Canadians (and most of the world… (please dont make me cite this…) ) oppose the war since it smacks of hypocrisy, and the precedents it sets are horrible.

Also, if we join fully with the US, when retaliation comes, then we will be front and centre as well. He was very adept by sending troops to Afghanistan (remember them ??? - to the US govt)thereby effectively not needing to state Canada’s official position since we wouldnt be able to support an Iraq war anyway. He did what he could to save face for all sides. And I think it was a great solution.

When you are a mouse it isnt always wise to stand up completely to the ANGRY (misguided and stubborn) elephant.

Canada is militarily incapable of fighting a war of significant scale; it really doesn’t matter if this war is justified or not. We can’t really help.

And don’t put it past Chretien to change his mind for the sixth or seventh time.

CuriousCanuck: I realize many Canadians are against the war. I just posted the numbers. A high of 67% in Alberta, a low of 28% in Quebec support the war. The average for all of Canada is no doubt well below 50%.

But Tony Blair is standing up against public opinion, because the man is a moralist and therefore is willing to take political hits in order to do what is right.

You know, from a purely practical standpoint it’s just plain stupid to annoy the United States. All Chretien had to do is say, “We stand firm with the U.S. on the matter of Iraq”, and relations between the U.S. and Canada would have improved overnight. And that has ramifications in other areas, such as softwood lumber disputes and border regulations.

Is this purely hypothetical or are you seriously suggesting that Canada should go along with a U.S. planned invasion of Iraq so they can ship cheaper softwood? If its the latter it flys in the face of your comment of Blair being a moralist, unless you feel leaders don’t need to be moralists but its a nice bonus when they come that way.

You really believe that siding with Bush on Iraq would have an impact on the softwood lumber war? I think that’s extremely improbably. Actually, I think it’s beyond extremely improbable. The tariffs on softwood lumber exist because the lumber lobby in the States own several key senators. That won’t change if we send a couple frigates to the Persian Gulf and say nice things about the Americans at the UN. In fact, the most recent round of tariffs was imposed in the days in late 2001/early 2002 when the US was furious with us for our immediate and unconditional cooperation in September of 2001, when we unquestioningly accepted hundreds of diverted airliners. So, logically, if we further infuriated them by, say, offering them the PPCLI to spearhead their assault on Bahgdad, they’d respond by graciously increasing the tariff from 30% to 50%. Or something like that.

No. What he’s saying is that when 80 percent of your exports which make up the majority of your country’s GDP go to the US a certain degree of adeptness at telling them to take a flying leap is required.