Saturday, April 29, 2006

Resist Exercise Charging Bison

From April 30th to May 6th, 2006, more than 500 Canadian troops, backed by helicopters, armored vehicles, and artillery, intend to transform downtown Winnipeg, Canada into an urban-warfare training playground in the largest training exercise of its kind ever held in Canada. Exercise Charging Bison is intended to simulate situations Canadian soldiers "would encounter in places such as Afghanistan and Iraq."

Calendar of events

Sunday, April 30
Peace Games in Central Park beginning at 2:00 p. m.
A fun-filled afternoon for families featuring cooperative games, face painting, and activities for children and a community picnic

Soul 911 Pyramid Cabaret, 176 Fort St.
Hip hop beats and truth treats Opposing Charging Bison on the grounds that the war on terror is based on a lie

Monday, May 1
Winnipeg Walkout, Memorial Park at 1:00 p. m.
Protest the military exercise that trains soldiers to kill Afghanistani civilians by walking out of classes and work!

The May Day Parade begins at City Hall at 6:30 p. m.

Tuesday, May 2
Coffeehouse with Rae Spoon and more at Ragpickers Theatre, 216 McDermot starting at 7:30 p. m.

Wednesday, May 3
Critical Mass meet at the Old Market Square starting at 3:30 p. m., leave by 4:00 p. m., sharp

Thursday, May 4
Diversity of Tactics Day. What are you going to do?

Friday, May 5
Soldier Outreach Day
meet at 12 noon at Le Rendez-Vous (768 Tache Ave).
Bring messages of peace for the soldiers.

Saturday, May 6
Funeral March
Location to be determined 1:00 p. m. Mourn the death of freedom.
CKUW Talent Show at the Gas Station Theatre 3:00 p. m.

What are we calling for?
We are calling for a broad range of actions to counter this training, from high-school walkouts, to street theatre, to teach-ins, to direct action, to a national convergence, to solidarity actions. We encourage people to take the initiative to plan their own autonomous actions, but we are also eager to see co-operation between organizing groups. We are planning a major day of action on the May 1, International Workers' Day.

Why are we opposing this? Or, "But Canadian missions are only for peacekeeping. What's the problem?"
The problem is that Canada's peacekeeping reputation is already in tatters around the world. We do not need to look that hard to see why. Here are the kinds of operations the military is training for. A Canadian soldier stands guard at the Toussaint Louverture Airport in Port-au-Prince.

In Haiti, Canadian soldiers and RCMP are currently giving logistical assistance to the brutal Haitian National Police and participating in MINUSTAH, an international force, which has been carrying out massacres in urban slums. All this to "stabilize" a government Canada helped put into place. Two years ago, Canadian troops helped carry out a coup of Haiti's elected leader and oversee the installation of a government of business elites and sweatshop owners. The year before that, at the Ottawa Initiative in Haiti, Pierre Pettigrew and other members of the Canadian government decided alongside France, the U.S., and Latin American countries that the Haitian government must be overthrown.

In Quebec City in 2001, 1000 soldiers were deployed against protestors of the Summit of the Americas, to stifle dissent against the governments' push for corporate control of the hemisphere.

In Ts'peten, also known as Gustafsen Lake, British Columbia, in 1995, native demonstrators trying to protect their land from further encroachment were met with armored personnel carriers, .50 caliber machine guns, and land mines. The federal and provincial governments rejected any involvement by an impartial, independent, international adjudication process to settle the conflict, and even the presence of neutral peacekeepers, with the famous declaration "There shall be no alien intervention into the affairs of this state."

In Afghanistan, top Canadian soldier Rick Hillier clarified the Canadian military's role, "We're not the public service of Canada. We're not just another department. We are the Canadian Forces and our job is to be able to kill people." Canadian forces joined the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. The military occupation continues today.

In Kanehsatake in 1990, Canadian forces attempted to put down Mohawk resistance to the town of Oka's attempted expansion of a golf course on to territory including a Mohawk burial ground.

In Iraq, we find Canadian troops again, despite the government's official position that they're staying out of the invasion. One Canadian Major General has thousands of U.S. troops under his command.
This is not a history of peacekeeping and good will, and the training operations in Winnipeg are an attempt to hone the Canadian military's tactics of repression.
Come to Winnipeg! We are calling on people from across Canada to come oppose this operation and its consequences for people around the country and around the world. Come put on workshops, plan actions, act as medics, observers, anything your heart desires. We will do our best to find couches to sleep on and to put together bicycles to be lent out. There are already folks tentatively coming from Toronto and Ottawa.

If you'd like more information (or to add the name of your organization to the list of endorsers) email

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