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Apr 11 2013

Thomas Mulcair #NDP on Armed Drones

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Thank you for taking the time to share your concerns over the potential purchase of armed drones for the Canadian Forces (CF).

New Democrats opposed the proposal for Canada to use armed drones in Afghanistan and believe that armed drones should not be considered for future use by Canadian Forces without a full assessment being done first, including due consideration of the moral, legal and strategic implications of their use. The use of drones in Afghanistan and Pakistan raised serious legal and ethical questions with regard to the nature of the weaponry and the possibility of wrongfully targeting civilians and causing disproportionate collateral damage.

Consideration of employing such weaponry as part of Canadian military operations domestically or otherwise should require a full public debate, proof of their necessity, and consideration of alternatives and priorities.

[pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”30%”]The Conservatives need to come clean with Canadians about any intended use of armed drones[/pullquote], underlying policy for their requirement and use by Canadian Forces, and identification of what safeguards would be in place, if any, to protect human rights and ensure compliance with international law. So far these questions remain unanswered.

Given their repeated failures on military procurement to date, including their lack of due diligence with respect to the failed fighter jet program, we think the Conservatives should do their homework and seriously consider all legal, operational, moral, and financial implications of acquiring armed drones and put the results and information out there for public scrutiny and debate. Canadians should have a greater say in the priorities of the Canadian Forces.

We believe Canadians want to see greater priority on domestic responsibilities to protect Canada and Canadians, enhanced search and rescue, humanitarian aid and disaster relief, as well as contributing to international peace and security.

New Democrats will keep standing up for Canadians to ensure we avoid wasteful military spending and call out the Conservatives whenever they engage in irresponsible mismanagement of public policy.

Once again, thank you for writing to express your views on this important issue.

All the best,

Thomas Mulcair, M.P. (Outremont)
Leader of the Official Opposition

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