15 June 2011

Militarism and Canadian Universities

The following links and extracts come from the website of the Campagne d'opposition au recrutement militaire--please click on the links for the complete documents, which represent excellent statements on the problem of militarization in Canada and the encroaching militarism in Canadian universities specifically:


At the same time that Canada has adopted a more aggressive, militaristic foreign policy in cooperation with American imperialism and the “war on terror”, it has also become more aggressive and militaristic at home....We believe that it important for us to recognize that this militarization is neither distant from us nor out of our control. In fact, it has deep roots in our universities and communities, and it can only continue to be effective with our direct and indirect support....Our goal is to cut off our support; to uproot militarization in our universities and make clear our refusal to participate in repression, occupation, and war.


The military presence on campuses has also become more and more important. Efforts to recruit students have intensified, and along with the visible recruitment of our bodies, the military has also been quietly recruiting the minds of students and professors through military research projects in our universities. Whether they are oriented toward weapons development or toward the production of political analysis, these academic activities all have effects on our society. Are these activities serving the cause of peace?...Across the country, university administrations have taken stances in favor of military research, and against ethics policies to regulate it....


See the comprehensive table of publicly issued military contracts to universities, which does not include research grants or funding provided by the Security Defence Forum.


Funding from the Canadian military for research, training, and other services can be found at most universities in Canada and Quebec. Funding for research also comes from the US military, and from corporations that sub-contract the university to do work that they have been contracted to do by the military. These descriptions of military research are small examples of militarization for each university. There are definitely many other such examples that can be uncovered and opposed....


The Security and Defence Forum (SDF) is not the only method used by the military to influence academic research in the field of social sciences. There is a source of financing that is even less transparent than the SDF. It is often the case that the corporate sector is responsible for delivering research subsidies according to the priorities of the government. This approach consists of a suspicious political practice in which the government delivers disguised government subsidies to universities with the help of a corporate intermediary. Profit-oriented businesses do not have to comply with the same transparency norms as governmental agencies. It is thus impossible to precisely determine the total amount of money that is given to professors in this way....In Quebec there are a few research groups (like the CERIUM at the Université de Montréal or the Raoul-Dandurand chair at UQAM) that are specialized in the military domain, but financed by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), not the SDF. This organization has no direct link with the military, because it depends on the Department of Industry. In addition to those SSHRC subsidies, these research groups are financed by a wide range of organizations. For example, the CERIUM receives subsidies from the American embassy, the weapons producer SNC Lavalin, and from political parties. Can those institutions really finance military research in a disinterested way?...


If the Department of National Defence has resorted to dishonestly using the SDF to influence public opinion in its favor, this must be because the task is especially difficult. The military has to convince the public that its actions are legitimate and useful in order to continue growing. We can see that the army is attempting to reach this goal by any means necessary - including those that are associated with political manipulation - in order to successfully convince the public that by using weapons we will make the world a better place, and that by waging war we will bring peace.

....At the end of 2005, the budget of the organization intended to provide funding for university research increased by 32% (the total SDF budget increased by 25%). We can therefore conclude that the increase in the funding of academic research (which is in no way independent, and is intended to influence the opinion of the Canadian people) happened at the same moment that the army had an urgent need to convince the public of the legitimacy of a more aggressive military mission [in Afghanistan].

...The Department of National Defence claims that the total annual budget distributed to universities by the SDF is $1.8 million, but this in no way corresponds to the real amount. It is a well-known strategy of the military to make some expenses less important than they really are so that they appear more more acceptable to the public....The most obvious example of an unaccounted expense is the bursary program for graduate students. A SDF selection committee chooses the recipients of these bursaries, which aim to support the research work of the students or offer them a paid internship with a partner institution of the Department of National Defence (which often ends up being a think tank entirely financed by the military). This amount does not appear in the SDF budget. In reality, there are nearly $400,000 worth of bursaries that are given each year in this unaccounted way. Officially, this amount is attributed by the DND to the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. This association is in no way involved in the management of this money, which is at the disposal of the SDF. Furthermore, the distribution of bursaries is apparently not done in an objective way, but according to criteria that are advantageous for the military (see the “Brain recruitment” section for more on this).

We should also consider the “special events” that are organized in the academic sector. During these activities (which are usually conferences), professors, military officers, politicians, representatives of the weapons industry and sometimes students and people from the general public get together to discuss security issues. The financing of these events does not appear within the total amount that is given to the different research centers on a five year basis. These event subsidies are accounted for separately, and in 2006-2007 amounted to $308,000....

....In summary, by considering the additional financing from the bursary program and the special events program, we can see that the total amount of subsidies administered by the SDF is at least 40% greater than what is publicly announced....



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