Young Canadian Quakers on war & recruitment
Thanks to the readers who responded to the last post! I’ll write a few remarks in response to the comments before I post a report on Saturday’s plenary session.
It seems that Harper is not very well known among most Europeans, and neither are his policies. This, I think, is due to the higher level of absurdity in American politics, and of course to the political and economic upheaval closer to home. And compared to the massive military presence in the lives of most Europeans, and mandatory conscription for many, Canada is seen as a relatively peaceful, undramatic land of polite, slightly intoxicated coexistence.
I got a few laughs when I told the group of Canada’s habit of buying second-hand military equipment from other countries — until they realized I was serious. But I think I was able to impress upon the Europeans that the recent scandals involving shoddy submarines and secrecy surrounding jet purchases are representative of the Canadian government’s desire to be perceived as a military power on the world stage.
And if any of you are interested in learning more about the changing Canadian identity, especially regarding militarism, check out the new book by Noah Richler (son of Mordecai), “What We Talk About When We Talk About War.” It’s a polemic, not a subtle, scientific monograph, but it definitely highlights many historic events and trajectories that have informed how our government intends to change and structure the future of Canada.