TORONTO DISASTER RELIEF COMMITTEE
6 Trinity Square, Toronto, Ontario Canada M5G 1B1
MEDIA ADVISORY – For Immediate Release
January 25, 2008
Manley Report and Federal government oppose public while unprecedented alliance demands Housing Not War
John Manley, head of the Harper-appointed panel to study the government’s Afghan War, stated upon the release of its report: “we are a rich country, we’ve got to do some of this stuff”.
“Manley is not referring to the need for a national housing program to relieve the suffering and death of homeless people in a rich country like Canada,” said Beric German, Toronto Disaster Relief Committee (TDRC) co-founder. “Unlike the large majority of Canada’s public, he wants to keep fighting to support one side in a civil war in Afghanistan.”
Manley, who recommends continuing war and new resources to wage it, claims the war is unpopular because ordinary people do not understand it. “Ordinary people simply share decent priorities, which the government has been rejecting. It chooses to ignore the homelessness disaster directly afflicting 300 000 people, ignore available solutions, and instead waste resources on an endless war most of us oppose,” said Andrew Mindszenthy, TDRC Outreach Co-ordinator.
Malalai Joya, a woman elected to the Afghan parliament then kicked out for criticizing warlord parliamentarians and now living in constant danger, recently visited Canada. In Canada, she said, “people are homeless, they are poor, but not only do they [Canada’s government] not serve their people, but money is going” to support the warlords the NATO war props-up in Afghanistan – “not their innocent people”. 90% of Canadian funds for Afghanistan go to war, not reconstruction. “In Canada,” Joya said, “the government follows the footpath of the US, but the people are so great”.
112 diverse organizations and thousands of individuals are publicly demanding Housing Not War: an end to the Afghan war, and a redirection of funds from record-high military spending to peaceful purposes, including an extra 1% for housing. Daily, new supporters join the national campaign launched by TDRC and the Canadian Peace Alliance.
Canada’s skyrocketing military spending has reached $18.2B annually (the highest since WWII) versus only $2B on housing. The only industrialized country with no national housing program, Canada struggles through the worst housing crisis since the Great Depression.
Housing Not War declaration signers can be seen at www.HousingNotWar.ca.