Canada should stay in NATO to advocate for nuclear disarmament

Speaker: Ms. May
Time: 01/06/2022 21:46:18
Context: Motions\Debate

I am part of a global party. It does not come up very often in this place that I am a member of Parliament in Canada, within a family of global Greens. One of those global Greens is Pekka Haavisto, who is the minister of foreign affairs for Finland and a very germane part of the debate tonight. Up until December, a friend of mine, Per Bolund, co-leader of the Green Party of Sweden, was their deputy prime minister, but the Swedish Greens just left the Swedish coalition for reasons I need not get into here.

As Greens we have a profound commitment to peace and non-violence, which means, saying it just as clearly as I can, that I am no fan of NATO. Greens are not, generally, because it is a military. It is a defensive alliance, but it is not without issues for those of us who are committed to non-violence. It has been an issue for us to know that we absolutely, unequivocally, believe that Russia’s attack on Ukraine is the sole responsibility of Vladimir Putin and that we are on the side of Ukraine and Ukrainians. We are supportive of every action our government has taken, but it is not without difficulty for us.

How do Greens feel about Canada being in NATO? In an ideal world, when the Warsaw Pact ended, NATO would have ended too. That is how we see it. There is a big “if”. It is one of the main things I want to talk about tonight. NATO’s continued involvement in the world does create tensions that we probably did not need if we had had the former Soviet Union and the United States pursue nuclear disarmament. When Mikhail Gorbachev was championing perestroika and glasnost, he also picked up the phone and called former U.S. president Ronald Reagan. He asked, “Do you want to end nuclear weapons, because I do” and Ronald Reagan said, “I do too”. By the way, the reason I know that is because Mikhail Gorbachev told that story to a small group of people in a room in Rio de Janeiro at Rio+5. I was there because I was a part of a committee that Mikhail Gorbachev co-chaired.

In the years that followed, the efforts toward nuclear disarmament faltered. I believe that Donald Trump was a puppet of Vladimir Putin and the two of them decided, or at least Putin decided, “Let’s not get rid of nuclear weapons. Let’s slow down the talks. Let’s not have nuclear non-proliferation discussions any more. Let’s not have nuclear disarmament discussions any more.” It has made the world less safe.

In the context of Vladimir Putin and Russia, wars are generally illegal. It is hard to know when a war is exactly legal because many of them are founded on lies: the Vietnam War and the Iraq War. We can make up a story and say we need to attack this other country just because, but there are some wars that we know were morally justified, such as the Allied Forces confronting fascism in the Second World War. Many of our parents, my parents and many people in this room had family members engaged in a war that, as the member for Scarborough—Guildwood just said, it is the young people who suffer. In wars it is the young people who die, but with some wars we can see the moral justification.

In this case, supporting Ukraine really matters, but I question what Canada should be doing in NATO. I want to share that with all of my colleagues as I conclude my remarks. I will, spoiler alert, agree with a motion that Finland and Sweden should be supported in joining NATO because that is what they asked for right now. As I said, my colleagues, who are in the global Green Party, global Green parliamentarians, asked for that. We respect the decisions made within countries by our colleagues in the Green Party, so no question from Greens. We support that Finland and Sweden should be supported in joining NATO.
Let me ask the question. The budget of 2022 said clearly that we are going to have a foreign policy review. In that foreign policy review, I hope we will ask the question: Should Canada stay in NATO?