In the Winnipeg Free Press, March 21:
Robert Murray (Iraq War’s Canadian legacy, March 19) applauds Prime Minister Jean Chrétien for downloading to the United Nations Security Council the decision of whether or not Canada would take part in the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. Since no such authorizing resolution was put to the council for a vote, Canada stayed aside.
But the reason no resolution was presented was the certainty of French and Russian vetoes. In other words, the Canadian decision was effectively made by those two countries, not our own government for its own principled reasons. On the other hand, if France and Russia had not threatened a veto and a resolution had passed, then we would have gone to war. Some assertion of any independent Canadian policy.
Murray also writes, “This was the first time in history that Canada refused to join the United States and/or Great Britain in a military operation and exercised its national sovereignty to remain out of the conflict.” Hardly. Murray appears unaware that Canada (unlike some other American allies, including Australia, though not the U.K.) did not participate in the Vietnam War. This is rather an important oversight and certainly a stronger exercise of national sovereignty than putting our fate in the hands of the French and Russian governments.
Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute
Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Research Fellow at the Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute