Home CommentaryOpinions A new motto for Canada: with great power comes great responsibility

A new motto for Canada: with great power comes great responsibility

by The Concordian October 4, 2011
The Canadian government has decided to extend its military mission in Libya until December 2011, bringing its involvement in the country to a total of nine months.
“Canada’s role in Libya is not yet done. We are committed to supporting the Libyan people as they transition to a democracy—one that respects freedom, human rights and the rule of law,” said Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird when the mission was extended.
But the big question remains: should Canada continue to play a role in Libya?
Only two Libyan towns remain Gadhafi-strongholds: Sirte and Bani Walid. The former dictator’s remaining fighters there are putting the lives of thousands of civilians at risk, and hampering the delivery of humanitarian aid, said Defence Minister Peter MacKay.
Canada’s military reputation is changing drastically on the international level.
“Canada has to be ready to defend itself in any and all threats,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said. When elected in 2006, he promised to make the Canadian military a top priority, spending over $15 billion on the Canadian military alone. The money is being used to purchase war trucks, helicopters, C-17 transport planes, and replacing aging fleets.
Recently, Harper has put in another $16 billion towards stealth fighter jets and a new helicopter base camp in British Columbia., as well as replacing 28 cyclones (twin-engine helicopters) with top-of-the-line models.
It is clear that our military is getting a very expensive makeover with many critics accusing Harper of putting taxpayers’ money to violent use. However, let’s not kid ourselves; the Canadian army used to be a laughing matter. Now, it’s a defence force to be respected.
But none of these resources will be used frivolously; when announcing the new $15 million base in B.C. last February, Harper said that Canada “has never gone and will never go looking for trouble.”
Canada, it seems, is trying to follow along the steps of the mighty United States of America by going to Libya. What better way to start than with a powerful army?
With the majority government Harper earned last May, we can foresee Canada’s international involvement in a few years. It looks like the country will become, along with the United States, powerful allies for countries where the population is suffering from a lack of human rights.
Libyans are being deprived of their human rights, and Canada needs to be there to support their cause. We have the power to do a lot on the international scene right now.
Even before the beginning of Harper’s regime, Canada had an important role internationally. Now, however, the country has gone from being passive to being actively engaged in military missions internationally. Canada should stay in Libya until its citizens receive the rights and democratic freedoms they deserve.
“The embattled people of Libya have challenged us: do we believe in freedom, or do we just say we believe in freedom?” said Harper at the start of Canada’s mission in Libya.
Canada’s new international reputation gives our country new responsibilities: to protect and serve not only our own country, but also countries that need it the most. Yes, there are sacrifices we, as a nation state, must make. These sacrifices have now become necessary to the improvement of a foreseeable world peace among nations. Let’s start with Libya.

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