The New Democratic Party (NDP) promotes itself as the option for the left in Canada. But just like the Conservatives and Liberals, the NDP is steeped in imperialism, in which Canadian business and political elites exploit and impoverish already poor countries for the benefit of Canadian companies.

One of the most visible ways the NDP is pro-imperialist is its support for wars in the Middle East. Certainly no self-proclaimed leftwing parliamentary party is going to go so far as to advocate national wars, but the NDP goes to war none the less. When it does war —the NDP initially supported Canada’s involvement in the US invasion of Afghanistan and currently supports the NATO invasion of Libya— it is framed as a humanitarian intervention, like a ‘no-fly zone’, or a human development initiative like ‘aid’ and ‘rebuilding’.

On Libya, NDP leader Jack Layton said in late March that Canada should “draw a lesson from the war in Afghanistan and give parliamentarians a surveillance and oversight role.” He neither challenges the imperialist motives of both wars, nor criticizes the conspicuous militarization of Canada.

The reason NATO countries including Canada are occupying Afghanistan is not to advance democracy but to secure access to the country’s vast mineral resources and control pipelines that bring natural gas and oil from adjacent countries to the Arabian sea and Caspian sea basin. The US military expressed surprise in 2010, when it Afghanistan’s untapped mineral wealth was estimated at $1 trillion, but the surprise was phony: geological surveys conducted in the 1970s and 1980s revealed Afghanistan was a gold mine (as well as a mine of several other minerals including copper, bauxite, lithium and uranium).

Well aware that an advanced military is required for ensuring cheap access to natural resource in foreign countries, the NDP supports Canada’s increasing militarization. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives reported that Canadian military spending is 54% higher than it was before 2001. The NDP has promised not to cut military spending, but to keep it at the $26 billion proposed in the most recent Conservative budget. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute ranks Canada the 6th largest military spender within NATO’s 28 state membership, and 13th in the world. In Nova Scotia, the provincial NDP government contributes to this militarization by funding Lockheed Martin, the biggest military contractor in the world.

If we demand from our government social security from exploitative economic forces, how can we settle for a solution financed by the exploitation of foreign people? Do we not become the exploiters if our governments provide services that are paid by the conquest of other peoples and we do not fight for a solution that would put people before corporate growth?

In Canada, we may not see the suffering and devastation caused by imperialist wars. Instead we see only a trickle of migrants and refugees fleeing poverty and wars that are the direct result of policies and military intervention by imperialist powers. Fortunately for Layton, he has a solution for these victims of imperialism within Canada’s borders: on April 6, he announced his party would fund 2,500 more cops.

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