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Canadian warships should get out of the Middle East, says peace activist

by Tamara Lorincz


(Halifax) -  A local peace activist is denouncing the deployment of the HMCS
Toronto on Monday. The Canadian frigate left the Halifax port for a 6-month
deployment to the Persian Gulf.

"There should be no Canadian warships in the Middle East," says Tamara
Lorincz, a member of the Halifax Peace Coalition and the Canadian Voice of
Women for Peace.

Lorincz believes that the HMCS Toronto will only add to the instability in
the region and will worsen Canada's reputation. She argues Canada's
reputation in the Middle East has deteriorated over the years because of the
federal government's pro-Israel stance, its bombing of Libya, its lack of
support for the Arab Spring, and its long war and occupation of Afghanistan.

"The HMCS Toronto will be under the command of the US Navy when it arrives
and will be using the American naval base in Bahrain, a country that has
been repressing its people," Lorincz says.

Lorincz explains that the Canadian navy uses the American naval base in
Bahrain. The base is the home of the U.S. Navy 5th Fleet Command, which
occupies 62 acres of the country. Over the past decade, the U.S. military
has used the base to conduct bombing missions of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Lorincz is concerned that the Canadian navy's use of the base indicates our
tacit support for the brutal Bahrain monarchy. "The Harper government has
not condemned the Bahraini monarchy for its violent suppression of the
popular uprising for democracy," Lorincz says. This past November, Amnesty
International released a report entitled "Bahrain: Reform Shelved,
Repression Unleashed" documenting human rights violations by the Bahrain
government.

The U.S. naval base is also located across the Strait of Hormuz from Iran.
In December, the Canadian government introduced new unilateral sanctions
against Iran.

The Canadian navy is claiming that the warships are protecting shipping
lanes in the gulf, but Lorincz believes that the warships are protecting the
illegal plunder of natural resources, such as oil and gas, from countries
such as Iraq.

"The HMCS Toronto is not protecting Canadian interests but aiding and
abetting American control of region," says Lorincz. At her weekly protest,
Lorincz will be holding a new sign with the message "Canadian warships out
of the Middle East."

In December, Lorincz started a weekly protest in December outside the Irving
Shipyard against the $25 billion construction of new warships for the
Canadian navy. She is maintaining a web site and blog to track the National
Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy that she believes will spiral out of
financial control like the stealth fighter fiasco.  More information can be
found at www.demilitarize.ca

Background:
"Amnesty condemns Bahrain's 'spiralling repression"
(2012)www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-20401228

Canadian Government: Iran Sanctions:
http://www.international.gc.ca/sanctions/iran.aspx?view=d

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