Stand on Afghanistan is ‘blatantly lacking in independence’, says Panitch

Lewis MacKenzie’s convoluted representation of history in his defence of Canada’s military operations in Afghanistan (The Afghan Mission Is Not A Failure – Sept. 6) only reinforces the case for why we should get out immediately and stop sacrificing people’s lives on both sides, wrote Leo Panitch, Canada Research Chair in Comparative Political Economy and distinguished research professor of political science in York’s Faculty of Arts, in a letter to The Globe and Mail Sept. 8.

If Canadians are proud of our peacekeeping missions in the past, even though they were only a “sideline activity” as compared with the 10,000 soldiers we had stationed with NATO in Germany, it is precisely because they recognize that being “ready and waiting” for the Soviets to attack across the East German border was not much to be proud of. Insofar as our “top priority” was stopping the Soviets, this was part and parcel of our entrapment in the Cold War hysteria that framed so much of American policy, wrote Panitch.

Canada’s own assessments regarding the Soviets’ intentions were compromised by our lack of independence from the Americans. Mr. MacKenzie’s dismissal as but a myth Canadians’ desire for an independent policy only further obfuscates matters, said Panitch. In the real world, of course, the question of whether Canada would take an “independent stand” has mainly been about whether we would take a stand different from the British or Americans. The stand we are taking in Afghanistan is blatantly lacking in such independence, and the mess we are in is entirely due to the mess that the Bush and Blair governments have made in that part of the world.

York film student makes the TIFF scene

York student Nadia Litz (who was on the cover of Eye, a Toronto weekly, Aug. 31) stars as a revolutionary who inserts herself into the lives of an off-the-grid couple of eBay entrepreneurs (Don McKellar and Tracy Wright) in director Reginald Harkema’s much praised feature Monkey Warfare, reported the Winnipeg Free Press, Sept. 7. Litz says she will be fitting in interviews at the Toronto International Film Festival where she can. She’s just started school, majoring in film at York University, which raises the question: Is starring in several movies worth anything in terms of university credits?

Cast your vote for Tom as the face of ‘Generation B’

York student Tom Collver is looking for your vote, reported the Lindsay Daily Post Sept. 8. No, he’s not running for council. Nor is he a contestant on Canadian Idol – although the talented I.E. Weldon Secondary School graduate certainly qualifies. Rather, Collver is seeking your vote online as one of 55 individuals vying to be the face of Generation B – Bootlegger’s innovative advertising campaign which utilizes members of the community instead of celebrities. The winner will grace store promotions as well as win $10,000.

While Collver sees the contest as an excellent way to help gain important exposure for himself personally and the funds would certainly help cover next year’s tuition for his second year of graphic design study at York University, it’s not one-sided. Collver plans to share the windfall with the town, making donations to the Academy Theatre for Performing Arts as well as local charities. Collver encourages everyone to visit and click on the Generation B competition.