Canadians oppose war in Iraq without UN

Richard Fidler rfidler at cyberus.ca
Sat Jan 18 08:32:09 MST 2003


Headline says it. Similar percentages to Australia's, with the usual
illusions in the UN. The War ("Defence") Minister floated an initial trial
balloon in favour of supporting a unilateral U.S. invasion earlier this
week, while in Washington.

By GLORIA GALLOWAY

>From Saturday's Globe and Mail

Saturday, January 18 - Online Edition, Posted at 2:06 AM EST

As thousands of Canadians march Saturday to protest against military action
in Iraq, a poll suggests that two-thirds of Canadians oppose Canada's
involvement in any attack not sanctioned by the United Nations.

About 62 per cent of people surveyed by Ipsos-Reid for The Globe and Mail
and CTV said Canada should provide military assistance for action against
Iraq only if the UN, not just the United States, decides that is required.

Just 15 per cent said Canada should join the United States if it invades
Iraq on its own. A greater number - 18 per cent - said they would oppose any
Canadian participation, even if the UN gave the go-ahead.

About 72 per cent of respondents said Iraq is not truthful in listing its
weapons of mass destruction, but more than half disapproved of the U.S.
effort to remove Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

"Canadians do not support unilateral action by the United States, nor do
they support providing assistance to that," said John Wright, a senior
vice-president at Ipsos-Reid. They put their faith in the UN to slow any
invasion, he said.

In the past week, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien reiterated his preference for
acting in concert with the UN, and would not speculate on joining a U.S.
invasion without UN agreement.

On Friday in Quebec, Defence Minister John McCallum said Canada is
100-per-cent behind the UN process, and UN inspectors' discovery of 12 empty
Iraqi chemical warheads has bolstered the organization's credibility in
dealing with Mr. Hussein.

"It shows the United Nations process is beginning to work," Mr. McCallum
said on a visit to the Valcartier Canadian Forces base near Quebec City.
"It's beginning to bite."

People protesting against a war with Iraq plan a rally on Parliament Hill
Saturday and marches in cities across Canada. Similar protests are being
staged in 24 countries around the globe, in Europe, Latin America and the
Middle East. Huge crowds are expected in Washington.

With voices against the war growing louder, the Bush administration said it
is close to revealing what it called compelling evidence against the Iraqi
dictator, even as UN weapons inspectors called for more time to finish their
work on the ground.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said Friday the administration will
give evidence "in the coming days" to prove Baghdad is lying when it claims
to have no chemical, biological and nuclear-weapons programs.

The poll suggests that the Bush administration is not popular among
Canadians.

Respondents said they think highly of their southern neighbours - more than
80 per cent agreed they like Americans - but not U.S President George W.
Bush.

One in three respondents said they liked the U.S. administration. Nine per
cent voiced strong approval and 11 per cent strongly agreed the
administration is a good force in the world.

One-third of those polled chose the United States as the the biggest threat
to world peace - more than chose any other single threat, including the
al-Qaeda terrorist network, Iraq or North Korea.

The Ipsos-Reid poll of 1,005 adult Canadians was conducted from Jan. 14 to
16. A poll of this size has a 95-per-cent chance of reflecting the views of
all Canadians on any given question within a margin of error of 3.1
percentage points upward or downward.

Mr. Wright said there are times when Canadians have supported unilateral
U.S. military action. For instance, Canada took part in the bombing of
Kosovo and more recently in the war in Afghanistan, neither of which was a
UN-led effort.

But Canadians are highly suspicious of the Bush administration's motives,
Mr. Wright said. "They have a lot of problems with unilateral [incursions]
by an increasingly belligerent world superpower, which is going to decide
that it's going to take action on its own without due process."

More than 60 per cent of those polled said they believe Iraq has hidden its
weapons of mass destruction so well that UN inspectors will not find them.

"But Canadians are basically saying there is a way in which we should go
about doing the job of finding those weapons and determining a course of
action with a rogue state," Mr. Wright said. "And it is not through
unilateral military action by one superpower."

He said the beliefs of Canadians are shared by people around the world -
even in the United States.

A poll this week for the Knight Ridder newspaper chain suggests that only 27
per cent of Americans favoured a "swift move" to war, while 68 per cent
favoured an approach that would "take more time to try to achieve our goals
in Iraq without going to war."

The cross-Canada protests Saturday will include a rally on Parliament Hill,
followed by a march to the U.S. embassy, where protesters will stage a
"die-in."

"This is to symbolize the at least 500,000 Iraqi civilians who have been
killed in the last 10 years as a direct result of the sanctions and the
bombing campaign, as well as to symbolize the catastrophic effects that an
escalation will have on Iraqi civilians." Ottawa protest organizer Mick
Panesar said.

The last cross-Canada day of action, held Nov. 17, attracted 35,000
participants. Mr. Panesar said he expects Saturday's rallies to be larger.

full: http://globeandmail.com/



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