Peggy Mason debates Canada’s role in Iraq


Peggy Mason, the President of the Rideau Institute, debated Canada’s role in Iraq with Michael Petrou, a senior writer for Maclean’s, on CBC Radio’s The 180 with Jim Brown on Sunday, January 25th.

On Canada’s military contribution to the campaign against Islamic state, Mason said,

We’re playing a symbolic military role, [within the context of ] a very short-sighted military strategy, when what we could be doing is playing a much more meaningful role in the broader political strategy that must be put in place if we are going to have anything other than a very long conflict, a quagmire.

In response to an assertion by Michael Petrou that the Islamic State does not respect international law, does not respect borders, and therefore we shouldn’t either, Mason said,

If that isn’t a statement that goes to the core of the hypocrisy of western countries in the way they have approached the war on terror, I don’t know what does.

On resolving the Syrian Civil war, she said,

 The way you end these civil wars [is]  not through a military victory …[but]  through the negotiation table. There is no solution here without dealing with Assad, and the only way to deal with Assad is to negotiate with him.

On Canada’s role in undermining negotiations, Mason said,

Here again today we find out that our contribution to trying to resolve this problem in Syria is for Foreign minister Baird in Davos to say Canada will not participate in Norwegian-led talks on Syria because Iran is going to be at the table.

Commenting on the Rideau Institute’s future plans, Peggy Mason said,

[We will bring to the election debate ] the broader issue of the war on terror and how Canada has to start really working to help support [the creation of] governments in the Middle East that have legitimacy in the eyes of their people, instead of partnering with repressive regimes like Saudi Arabia who are actually fueling the terrorism that we say we are fighting.

Listen to the full debate here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

6 Responses to “Peggy Mason debates Canada’s role in Iraq”

  1. PJ RobertsonFebruary 2, 2015 at 3:46 pm #

    We can only begin to play” a much more meaningful role” if we have people of education, imagination and intelligence in government, instead of a self-absorbed, power-obsessed “economist” and a job lot of ex-Mike Harris hacks.

  2. Fred BraileyFebruary 2, 2015 at 3:02 pm #

    Peggy: Thanks a (metaphoric) million for hanging in, calm, cool and collected while all around are myriads of bellicose parties losing their heads (literally). History seems forever repeating itself in various guises. “The pity of war” is that we seem no wiser today than we were a hundred years ago!

  3. Michel BoucherFebruary 2, 2015 at 1:51 pm #

    ” the Islamic State does not respect international law, does not respect borders”

    That’s a laugh. The Arabs in the Middle East were promised a single Arab (not Muslim) state if they helped the Allies defeat the Ottoman Empire. Lawrence was the point man for this arrangement. But when the time came to put their money where their mouth was, it turned out the European powers had already decided to return to the old pre-war borders (more or less) in such brilliant documents as the Sykes-Picot Treaty and the Balfour Declaration, in effect refusing to recognize that which was owed. No wonder these people are pissed off at us for not only reneging on an agreement that they sacrificed many lives for, but also for using these borders to pit them against each other since then. Unless we are prepared to recognize a single Arab state, it seems that poking our noses where we have no business is just adding insult to injury.

  4. dimitriFebruary 2, 2015 at 1:34 pm #

    Way to go Peggy! We love what you do, and keep up your good work for us Canadians who know better. In this day and age, we have to fight for peace, so that we can live with a conscience that most everything has been done to make it so.

    First things first: This year we have to get rid of P.M. Harper and his cronies! He has shamed us to a degree that would have been inconceivable just ten years ago. We want our Peacemaker role back!

    • C.G PakFebruary 6, 2015 at 5:19 pm #

      Seriously? You think that were peacemakers? The term that you want is peacekeepers, but peacemakers are better. Why? Because peacemakers are actually working to keep the peace when major conflicts happen. Peacekeepers? All they do is stand around in blue berets. When a fight starts, peacemakers would be better than peacekeepers.
      I can’t believe you guys! You thank that Stephen Harper is militarizing Canada? He’s doing the opposite after you opposed the war in Afghanistan! That’s the part that I can’t believe, these soldiers are risking their lives for our country and all you do is not care until a coffin comes home, then you just complain about how we’re not peacekeepers. Do you know WHY the war started in the first place? It’s because they were hunting down Al-Qaeda, you know, the terrorist group that caused 9/11 and took 3,000 lives away from innocent people? But all some of you did was say that it was the US’ fault.
      Canada needs to stop thinking about ourselves as peacekeepers because it’ll cause arguments between us and our allies, mostly the US, because we do not take our defence seriously. Then, a time will come when some future president will ask, “Why are we paying to defend Canada?” After that, they will start to turn away from us and we will be left helpless during times of trouble, like a major earthquake or a terrorist attack or even another country invading us because we are almost defenceless and have a lot of resources. If we increase our military strength, we will really bring a Canadian voice on the world’s stage, if we oppose a war, our allies will listen to us more. The increased strength will reassure the US that we can defend ourselves and that they don’t have to do things that we will oppose, like increasing the security on the border.
      Arguments? Let me hear them.

      • Just curiousFebruary 14, 2015 at 6:50 pm #

        You seem to know your topic.