On March 3rd Ceasefire.ca supporters and allies responded en masse to Be Heard – No Attack Drones! Nearly 6,000 letters have been sent so far!
Ceasefire.ca has received responses from the Green Party and the NDP.
The Honourable Thomas Mulcair, M.P. Outremont, and Leader of the NDP, wrote:
New Democrats opposed the proposal for Canada to use armed drones in Afghanistan and believe that armed drones should not be considered for future use by Canadian Forces without a full assessment being done first, including due consideration of the moral, legal and strategic implications of their use. The use of drones in Afghanistan and Pakistan raised serious legal and ethical questions with regard to the nature of the weaponry and the possibility of wrongfully targeting civilians and causing disproportionate collateral damage.
Consideration of employing such weaponry as part of Canadian military operations domestically or otherwise should require a full public debate, proof of their necessity, and consideration of alternatives and priorities.
The Conservatives need to come clean with Canadians about any intended use of armed drones, underlying policy for their requirement and use by Canadian Forces, and identification of what safeguards would be in place, if any, to protect human rights and ensure compliance with international law. So far these questions remain unanswered.
Given their repeated failures on military procurement to date, including their lack of due diligence with respect to the failed fighter jet program, we think the Conservatives should do their homework and seriously consider all legal, operational, moral, and financial implications of acquiring armed drones and put the results and information out there for public scrutiny and debate. Canadians should have a greater say in the priorities of the Canadian Forces.
Elizabeth May, O.C., M.P. Saanich-Gulf Islands and Green Party Leader team’s originally understood Harper’s drones as being only for Arctic surveillance, and even replied to some Ceasefire.ca supporters that “there are no plans to purchase armed attack drones.”
Quickly, we briefed Ms. May about the dark side of Harper’s JUSTAS project – the complex plan to spend $1 billion on surveillance and armed drones for the military.
Here’s what Ms. May wrote in her second letter to us and Ceasefire.ca supporters:
After conferring with the Rideau Institute, we now realize that within DND there are efforts to gain approval for the purchase of attack drones such as Predators and Reapers.
The Department of National Defence has been attempting to obtain these unjustifiable weapons for years.
In the now well-worn fashion of the Harper Conservatives, these plans have been cloaked in secrecy. As an MP I have tools available and will use them to press for solid information on these plans.
The good news is that there is still time to act, as the final political approval has not yet been given. This is the importance of Ceasefire.ca’s latest campaign, as only a groundswell of public opposition to these morally bankrupt weapons will deter their unnecessary purchases with our tax dollars.