A Chilling Document from Canada’s Department of Defence

- Charles Posa McFadden and Karen Howell McFadden

Reading Defence Policy Review: Public Consultation Document 2016 from the Department of Defence Canada was for us a rude re-awakening to the urgent need for renewal of the global movement for peace as an inseparable part of the struggle for a healthy environment and a just, democratic human future. Hardly disguised in this Canadian Department of Defence discussion document is its authors’ interest in signing up for participation in a US star wars program (anti-ballistic missile defence) under the rubric of NORAD and NATO. While ostensibly raising questions for discussion concerning Canada’s defence policy, unquestioned is Canada’s continuing commitment to participation in these relics of the cold war. The section of the document on procurement gives away one of the likely motivations: profitable defence contracts for Canada’s arms industry. The other evident motivation is the search for justification for continued public investment in so-called departments of defence in the face of the evident need to allocate more public resources towards a healthy natural environment and a socially just system of production and distribution of the goods and services essential to human existence.

The horrific images of devastation conveyed daily from the war zones of the Middle East and experienced by tens of thousands of soldiers from the NATO countries who have been stationed there and tens of millions of innocent civilian victims at the sites of unpardonable destruction are only equalled by the environmental and war wasteland portrayed in the recent quasi-fictional movie, Mad Max. Was that movie a warning or cultural preparation for what awaits all of us if policies that begin with prioritizing the right and duty of private profit over environmental and social welfare end with similarly motivated "defence" policies?

Defence Policy Review is a reminder of the level of subservience of the recently defeated Harper government of Canada to the fossil fuel industry (Canadian and American) and to the military-industrial complex centred financially on Wall Street and politically in Washington DC. With the imprint of the incoming government, the focus of the recently released Canadian document is on military missions and preparations for war unsupported by comparable evidence of the existence of actual enemies or threats that merit more than a civilian police corps and much greater Canadian and international assistance to the victims of war and environmental destruction and greater diplomatic efforts to resolve contentious issues between and within nations.

This "consultation" document speaks instead to the ongoing needs of the Canadian military industrial complex, which like its big brother to the south thrives only by re-creating the demand for its own continuing existence. War and war preparations beget more war and more war preparations, in the process displacing the attention needed to address the issues of human-caused climate change and environmental destruction and the social consequences of growing wealth and income inequality. War and war preparations divert and waste human and natural resources needed for the struggle against poverty, hunger, disease, inequality and environmental destruction and for a just, sustainable future, built on investments in education, healthy people, a healthy environment and global human solidarity.

Reading this document was also a reminder of the recurrent sounds of war that frequently break the tranquility of that part of rural New Brunswick that has been our family home for several decades. These are the sounds from the nearby territory occupied by Defence Canada’s Base Gagetown, used for practicing war.

What the world, including Canada, actually needs most is to reverse the trend to greater environmental destruction to which the military industrial complex contributes. It also needs an enhanced mobilization in support of those seeking refuge from climate change and war and a greater commitment to building a more just, sustainable global economy. It does not need public expenditures on goods and services whose principal purpose is a disguised form of welfare to oligarchic capital.

Our respect for the neighbours who have committed part or all of their lives to military service is best expressed by insisting that all who represent their countries in this way have alternative opportunities for public service and are fully provided with the medical care and social and economic support they need when they return or retire from this service.

We need and should have the right to be employed in constructing a sustainable economy, not in destroying other people and our shared home on planet Earth. We need a world of peace, environmental and social justice, not one characterized by war and oligarchy!


This website was launched September 1, 2010 in support of a green social democratic alternative to neoliberal capitalist policy and practice. The primary result is a work by Charles and Karen McFadden of seven chapters, grouped under the title, Towards a Green Social Democratic Alternative to Capitalism available here in pdf and html formats.

Below under the heading What’s New can be found the most recent materials posted on this website, including opinion pieces, book reviews, articles and selections from the 2017 edition of the main work.  For the interest of new and returning visitors, new materials will be included quarterly.

What's New


Authors' Preface

1.6 The epochal nature of the period we are entering

6.0 The socialism we need against the "socialism" of the 20th century

6.8 Additional concerns about 20th century variants of "socialism"

6.9 The people united!

7.1 Policy alternatives and political movements to advance them


Charles and Karen McFadden, Is revolutionary transformation on the agenda

Charles and Karen McFaddenHumanity on the Brink

Charles and Karen McFaddenMovements of Resistance to Movements for System Change

Charles McFaddenTranslating Green Principles into Education Policy and Practice

Charles and Karen McFadden, The Role of Revolutionaries in the Labor Movement


Charles and Karen McFadden, “The Shape of Water” as an Antidote to the Age of Trump 

Charles McFadden, Decolonizing the U.S. & Canada: The People United for a More Just Sustainable Future

Karen and Charles McFaddenCan emergent early 21st century neo-fascism be defeated without coming to grips with late 20th century restructuring of capitalism into a global system

Karen and Charles McFaddenA Dominant Capitalism or a Sustainable Environment? Why we can't have both.


William I. RobinsonThe Crisis of Global Capitalism and Trump's March to War

William I. RobinsonTrumpism, 21st Century Fascism, and the Dictatorship of the Transnational Capitalist Class


George HewisonWINNIPEG 1919 & THE COLD WAR

George HewisonArt Manuel - "Unsettling Canada

George HewisonThe NDP and LEAP


Albert Einstein, David Swanson, Jill Stein, Chris Hedges, William I. Robinson, and others Selected articles for Winter 2018



1.7 The dynamics of capitalism as a system and the limits of single issue reforms

2.11 The economy in transition towards a new deal for labor and the community

3.1 The challenge of a moribund economic system

3.7 Public banking: A cornerstone of a green social democracy

4.7 Economics and culture

6.5 Using the non-market economy as an opportunity to begin moving beyond capitalism


1.6 The epochal nature of the period we are entering

2.0 Theoretical Perspective: Defining Green Social Democracy

2.5. Socialism and green social democracy in historical materialist theory

4.3 Culture in historical perspective

5.1 Contrasting a green social democratic world with the currently prevailing, but challenged neo-liberal one

6.2 Socialism and capitalism as coexisting social systems


2.11 The economy in transition towards a new deal for labor and the community

5.7 Defeating neo-liberal capitalism: The role of social movements

7.3 Justice: Creating a just society, based on the right of all to a dignified, secure existence

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Creative Commons License: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) applies to all work posted on this website except that which appears with authors whose last name is other than McFadden, in which case standard copyright should be assumed to apply.