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Voices ᐋ ᐄᔮᔨᐧᒫᓂᐧᐃᒡ

War costs

BY Will Nicholls Mar 29, 2022

Having grown up during the Cold War, I was taught how to take safety positions to take in case of nuclear attack. I watched my parents debate their friends over the merits of building a home bomb shelter. What’s old is new again.

Russia’s attack on Ukraine is designed to create, at minimum, another cold war. At worst, it could end in a third world war, with nuclear options. Think that’s not a possibility? Russian President Vladimir Putin raised Russia’s nuclear alert level. One small accident or misunderstanding could have drastic repercussions. Intelligence analysts feel that this move is just to deter the West from providing additional support to Ukraine.

Analysts and former consular staff say that Putin is showing his anger and frustration at the length of the war and the sanctions imposed on Russia. Among the sanctions is the freezing of bank accounts that would have helped Russia weather the sanctions.

Canada has put more than 900 people involved in the war on a sanctions list. In response, Russia banned more than 300 Canadians including the prime minister and almost every Canadian MP. It would be interesting to look at those MPs who didn’t make the list.

Speaking via video link to our Parliament, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made an impassioned plea for Canadian assistance over and above sanctions. He wants a no-fly zone over Ukraine. But that would involve NATO forces in direct combat with Russia, which would drastically escalate the danger of a wider war. As well, analysts question how effective that would be given that ground missiles can be launched from anywhere without air support.

Zelenskyy asked how Canadians would react if Russia attacked Canada. He asked us to imagine targets with no military value – like our hospitals, schools and homes – being destroyed. We’ve all seen the images of Russia’s military might rolling into Ukraine and what they are doing.

He also asked for a complete trade embargo on Russia. 

All Canadian political parties are aghast at Russia’s actions. They have included arresting thousands of Russian citizens who protested the war. Democracy is under attack, make no mistake about it.

One could even include those here in Canada participating in it. The high price of fuel at the pumps and rising food costs are examples of war and pandemic profiteering. 

A friend who looked at Statistics Canada figures found that in 2009, when a barrel of oil was priced at $141, the pumps in Ottawa were charging $0.91 per litre. The current price is around $111 a barrel for oil but the price of gas in Ottawa is $1.71 per litre. 

One would think that this is something the politicians could investigate. Such a level of profits made off the backs of Canadians, negatively affecting the economy and laying the blame on the Russian-Ukraine war is despicable. Contact your local MP and ask why, repeatedly. Just like the spinning numbers at the gas pumps when you try to fill up your vehicle.

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Will Nicholls is a Cree from Mistissini. He started his career off in radio and is still one of the youngest radio DJ’s in Canadian history, having a regular show on CFS Moosonee at the age of 12. Will was one of the founding members of the Nation, and has been its only Editor-in-Chief.