I read the news today, oh boy…

Apparently Canada and the Philippines are talking about signing their own ‘Visiting Forces Agreement‘ (VFA). Only good things can come out of this…

The US has had a VFA to circumvent their having to leave the region after the US bases were closed down by President Ramos. On the premise of “training exercises” the Americans never left the islands and maintain large enough troop numbers to have called the Phils the “second front in the war of terror” after 9/11.

Outside of the regular problems around having so many troops in the islands (often placed around economic interests, like foreign-owned mining areas), the VFA excludes the soldiers from Philippine law. Take the example of the US soldiers that raped a Filipina and got a slap on the wrist.

VFA provision, Article V, Section 3d reads:

“Recognizing the responsibility of the United States military authorities to maintain good order and discipline among its forces, Philippine authorities will, upon request by the United States, waive their primary right to exercise jurisdiction except in cases of particular importance to the Philippines. If the Government of the Philippines determines that the case is of particular importance, it shall communicate such determination to the United States authorities within twenty (20) days after the Philippine authorities receive the United States request.”

In June Canadian Rear Admiral Tyrone Pile told the press that Canada was very interested in such an agreement with the Philippines because the islands are along Canada’s maritime oil shipping routes from the middle east.

If this were to happen Canada would be the third country after the US and Australia, to have a VFA with the Philippines.

Canada has made protecting oil shipments one of its rationales, but there are also more domestic reasons why it would want to have a military presence on the islands: Gold. The Phils is the second largest producer of gold (relative to land area) in the world, and Canada is one of the top three mining countries (with Australia and England).

Canada already provides funds to mining companies through the pension plan, CIDA, and other means. Further there are reports that some of the CIDA ‘development funding’ goes to pay for mercenary armies to protect those interests.

In the meantime GMANews.tv reports that:

“the Canadian government donated 300 units of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear equipment worth $209,405 (P9.2 million at P44:$1) to the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) for disaster response improvement.”

Robert Desjardins, the Canadian ambassador, has stated that Canadian Elite Special Units will be visiting to train the Filipino security forces on this advanced equipment.

It’s supposed to be for “disaster response improvement” though, right Canada? None of this will be used against the people, right Canada? You won’t let me down again and further crush my once tightly held belief in the decency of my adopted homeland, right Canada?

Oh Canada……