War on Drugs Sparks Discussion of Canada-U.S.-Mexico Military Co-operation

Canadian Minister of National Defence Peter MacKay (center) and United States Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta listen to Mexican Secretary of National Defence General Guillermo Galvan Galvain during a news conference following meetings in Ottawa. (Photo by Adrian Wyld)Canadian Minister of National Defence Peter MacKay (center) and United States Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta listen to Mexican Secretary of National Defence General Guillermo Galvan Galvain during a news conference following meetings in Ottawa. (Photo by Adrian Wyld)It’s time for greater military co-operation in North America’s long war on drugs, Defence Minister Peter MacKay and his U.S. and Mexican counterparts said Tuesday.

The first trilateral meeting of defence ministers ended with a common front on the need for greater co-operation to assess common threats to the continent — foremost among which is the violent drug trade, they said.

A decade after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, drug cartels and the threat of natural disasters — and the demand for swift, co-ordinated military responses to both — appear to have elbowed terrorism off the front burner, judging by the assessments provided in a 45-minute news conference following the meeting.

“This is obviously one of the serious threats that is confronting North and Central and South America, is the drug cartels and the drug trafficking that is going on,” said Leon Panetta, the U.S. secretary of defence.

He was joined on the dais by MacKay, Gen. Guillermo Galvan Galvan, the secretary of national defence for Mexico, and Mexico’s navy secretary Adm. Francisco Saynez Mendoza.

“We are committed to doing everything possible so that ultimately we can not only weaken but end this threat to our people,” said Panetta.

Panetta cited growing drug use among American youth, the horrific violence among Mexico’s warring drug cartels that has killed some 150,000 people and the endemic drug-related corruption that undermines the rule of law.

“The danger here is on a number of fronts,” he said.

Gen. Galvan gave what Panetta called “a very in-depth briefing on the history behind the drug trafficking problem” and the need for common action.

“Marijuana is what gives drug trafficking networks the greatest resources to continue their nefarious work,” said Galvan, speaking through an interpreter. “We want to increase our ability to intervene, not only by land but also by sea.”

Mexico’s military, he said, particularly needs intelligence “that will enable us to move quickly and to strike hard.”

Neither MacKay, Panetta nor Galvan questioned the prohibitionist policies that a growing chorus of international voices, including former national leaders and police investigators, say has proved an abject failure.

“If it’s a problem for Mexico, it’s a problem for Canada,” MacKay said of the drug wars, citing the million Canadians who travel to Mexico each year.

“What you’re seeing today is a reflection of a very strong desire on the part of all three countries to address these problems head on.”

MacKay and Panetta were also asked about the struggling F-35 fighter jet program, which has seen costs skyrocket during years of protracted development.

“We have made very clear that we are 100 per cent committed to the development of the F-35. … We absolutely need it for the future,” said the U.S. defence secretary.

MacKay cast Canada’s proposed $9-billion purchase of the fighter jet as the cost of meeting the country’s international military obligations, specifically being able to operate in the field with our allies.

“Having equipment that is not only proficient for defence in our own capacity, in our own country — the home game, if you will — being able to participate international requires — demands — these considerations around inter-operability,” said MacKay.

“The F-35 is one example of that.”

And in a week when the Conservative government is expected to deliver a budget that will cut defence spending, MacKay said it is time to “prioritize.”

MacKay said every government department and every NATO partner of Canada is “looking to prioritize their defence spending. It would come to no surprise to anyone here that Canada is going through that exact same process.”

Asked by a CNN correspondent about Omar Khadr, Panetta noted the U.S. administration is ready at any time to sign off on the repatriation of former child soldier back to Canada from Guantanamo Bay and that it will mark an important step in the eventual closing of the terrorist prison.

– Article from Winnipeg Free Press.



  1. Anonymous on

    look : a couple hundreds of students manifesting peacefully on the streets of Montreal and there appears in the sky a squadron of 6-8 big noisy helicopters
    what do you expect ?

  2. Dave on

    Prohibition raises prices, more prohibition raises prices even more! Benefit; student dealers will spend less time selling pot to pay rising-tuition and more time studying. The working-poor can more easily supplement their slave-wages without generating too much traffic.

    Hey if they legalize they’ll take all the fun out of it. Go ahead make their day kick it up a notch or two!

  3. Anonymous on

    How could they betray us, they are so unfortunately blind.

  4. Mrs.Ratsrectum on

    Here we go again. They’re droning on and on about continuing the same old failed policies. It’s recently been reported that domestic law enforcement agencies are going to employ military drone airplanes to continue to enforce the failed prohibition of cannabis, which they conveniently lump in with all other contraband that is smuggled. What’s really sad is the fuckin’ waste of money and shattered lives, and all because the more money all this amounts to that they’re spending on cannabis prohibition all the more it is not going to prevent more states from legalizing, even if they don’t implement. It’s on the books, and the states will not be doing the feds’ job for them.

    What is happening with the so-called sequestration cuts that were supposed to happen at the federal level in D.C. because the so-called super-committee of an equal number of Rs and Ds could not come to consensus?

    If anything gets cut first and drastically, it should be ALL funding for cannabis prohibition enforcement that is completely nixed.

  5. atlanta toker on

    You guys are truly a bunch of morons.

    This is all about budgets and government control. You’d think these idiots were Syrians..

    We will do it forever…

  6. highman on

    they need f-35’s to catch drug traffkers? holy crap i was unaware that traffikers were doing it in multi million dollar jets. damn theyve stepped up there game

  7. joe on

    War is for the military corparations.$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ means contracts then they give back to the government $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ contrabutions = bribes and pay offs.

  8. Anonymous on

    I think it’s just about time to stop paying our taxes…

    misery is the river of the world, everybody row…
    Tom Waits

  9. Bhonze on

    They are talking about doing the same thing all over again and expecting a different outcome. This Is Insanity!!!! When will the people of all countries wake up and realize this is a war on THE PEOPLE!!!

  10. Worm on

    Europe doesn’t seem to be suffering from a drug war. Maybe we should adopt their system.

  11. TrichToker on

    god dammit, when are the leaders of the world gonna realize the benefits of abolishing prohibition. How much is this “expanding on all fronts” gonna cost? and how many more lives is it gonna destroy?

    Overgrow the government, and fuck the system