Steven Staples

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Steven Staples
Steve staples.jpg
Born1966
Fredericton, New Brunswick
OccupationWriter, policy analyst
NationalityCanadian
Period2000s-present
Notable worksMissile Defence: Round One

Steven Staples is a Canadian policy analyst.[1][2] He is president of Public Response,[3] a digital agency that services non-profit organizations and trade unions in the fields of online engagement and government relations.

He also founded the Rideau Institute,[4] a non-profit, independent research, consulting and left-leaning advocacy group located in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The Rideau Institute specializes in defence and foreign affairs policy.[5]

Biography[edit]

Staples was born in Fredericton, New Brunswick in 1966 and now lives in Toronto, Ontario after living in Ottawa for 20 years. He attended Fredericton High School and has a Bachelor of Education from the University of New Brunswick.[6]

Over the past 25 years, Staples has been involved with a number of organizations that promote peace, disarmament and restrictions on international trade. He has acted as the director of security programs for the Polaris Institute, issue campaigns coordinator for the Council of Canadians and the coordinator for End the Arms Race.[7]

Staples was part of the anti-globalization movement, participating in protests at a meeting of the WTO in Seattle in 1999. Speaking at a meeting of NGOs, he linked corporate globalization to militarization and argued that "the WTO is a weapon of mass destruction."[8]

Along with Peter Coombes, he is the founder of Ceasefire.ca, a network of 25,000 Canadians interested in peace and social justice issues.[9] Ceasefire.ca acts as the public outreach and advocacy arms of the Rideau Institute, and focuses on internet-based campaigning.[10]

Staples is also a member of the Canadian Pugwash Group, the Group of 78 and the international network of anti-nuclear groups, Abolition 2000.

On 20 October 2012, Staples received the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal from Ottawa Centre Member of Parliament Paul Dewar, for his commitment to peace and international security through disarmament.[11][12]

Writing and advocacy[edit]

Staples has written one book, Missile Defence: Round One (James Lorimer & Company Ltd., 2006)[13] and was co-editor with Lucia Kowaluck of the anthology Afghanistan and Canada: Is There an Alternative to War (Black Rose Books, 2008).[14]

He has also written and co-written reports about Canadian security and defence matters:

Staples is a regular commentator on programs like CTV News[15] and CBC News Network,[16][17] and contributes to major Canadian news chains like The Globe and Mail[18][19] and the Toronto Star.[20]

Policy positions[edit]

Afghanistan[edit]

Staples is opposed to Canada's military presence in Afghanistan[21] and has advocated for a negotiated settlement with the Taliban.[22] In a 2006 report for the Council of Canadians, Staples argued:

"…Afghanistan must be rescued from the current cycle of violence. But Canada is complicit in this violence and should have never taken up its current ‘counter-insurgency’ war-fighting role in Kandahar. Instead, we should refocus our role in the country on diplomatic measures to win ‘the hearts and minds’ of the Afghan people, extend the legitimacy of the Afghan government, and ensure that aid dollars can reach those who need it most."[23]

Canadian Defence Policies[edit]

Staples has been a vocal critic of increases to Canadian military spending.[24][25]

In a 2012 presentation to the House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence, Staples argued that the Canadian government has and continues to overspend on defence, and should reduce National Defence spending in order to return to pre-September 2001 levels.[26] Staples made similar arguments in a 2011 presentation to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance.[27]

Commenting on why the Government of Canada would set up military bases around the world to the Toronto Star's Thomas Walkom, Staples said: "The notion that we’re going to have permanent bases around the world is over the top. I don’t understand the rationale for parking a bunch of equipment in Singapore in case we might need it some time. That’s why we bought C-17s in the first place – so we could move troops and material quickly."[28]

In May 2012, Staples contributed an op-ed to Embassy Magazine on why Canada does not need a defence industry, arguing that the industry takes up too much of the government's time, money and effort. He urged the Canadian government to create jobs by spending in other areas like education, and warned against concentrating too much on defence production thereby leaving the Canadian economy vulnerable to collapse.[29]

Canadian F-35 II Lightning Purchase[edit]

Staples is strongly opposed to Canada's purchase of the F-35 II Lightning stealth fighter jets. Canadian magazine Maclean's once called him the "most outspoken critic of the purchase".[30]

His 2010 report, Pilot Error: Why the F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter is wrong for Canada, was published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. In a press release for the report, Staples argued: "This is a massive commitment of defence spending on ‘flying Cadillacs’ that is being driven by defence contractors, not by a clear-eyed view of Canada’s defence needs…Defending and controlling Canadian and North American airspace doesn’t require purchasing high-end first strike stealth fighters."[31]

Staples contributed to two documentaries in 2012 that examined the Canadian government's decision to purchase the F-35: "Runaway Fighter" by CBC Television's the fifth estate and "Air Rage" by CTV's W5.

Nuclear disarmament[edit]

Staples is a strong proponent of nuclear disarmament and is involved with numerous anti-nuclear organizations. He is a director on the board of the Canadian Pugwash Group,[32] a member of the Group of 78 and a member of the Coordinating Committee of Abolition 2000.

In a 2007 opinion piece for Embassy Magazine, Staples argued: "Now is the time for nuclear disarmament. Now is the time for Canada to join other middle power nations to avert a global catastrophe and abolish nuclear weapons."[33]

In 2010, he co-authored the report Riding the Arctic of Nuclear Weapons: A Task Long Overdue with Michael Wallace, a former professor emeritus of the University of British Columbia.[34] The report provides evidence that the Arctic is becoming a zone of increased military competition and follows in the footsteps of the Canadian Pugwash Group[35] by issuing a call for the establishment of an Arctic Nuclear-Weapons-Free Zone.

Peacekeeping[edit]

Staples has spoken out in favour of a continuing commitment by Canada to United Nations peacekeeping missions. His 2006 report for the Council of Canadians, Marching Orders: How Canada abandoned peacekeeping – and why the UN needs us now more than ever, argued that Canada should provide more support to UN missions.[36]

In a July 2012 piece by Paul Koring of The Globe and Mail on Canada's role in international peacekeeping, Staples commented: "The need is greater than ever but Canada’s contribution has never been lower, the Harper government doesn’t regard peacekeeping as a route to enhancing Canada’s international stature."[37]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Taber, Jane. "Defence expert decries purchase of 'shock-and-awe' fighter jets". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
  2. ^ O'Neill, Juliet. "Analyst says we don't need pricey jets; Urges using existing fleet, drones". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
  3. ^ "Features". publicresponse.ca. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
  4. ^ "TVO:After Afghanistan". TVO. Retrieved 9 August 2010.
  5. ^ "about". Rideauinstitute.ca. Retrieved 1 June 2010.
  6. ^ "Steven Staples". Council of Canadians. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
  7. ^ "Steven Staples". Council of Canadians. Retrieved 9 August 2010.
  8. ^ Dufay, Jo. "Six Days in Seattle: A Retrospective Series of Reports on the Battle in Seattle, November 29 – December 3, 1999". Council of Canadians. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
  9. ^ "About Us". Ceasefire.ca. Retrieved 24 September 2014.
  10. ^ Adeba, Brian. "Think Tank for Activists: Inside the Rideau Institute". Peace Magazine. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
  11. ^ "Campaign strategy update". Ceasefire.ca. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
  12. ^ McGregor, Glen. "Tory MP awards Jubilee medal to incarcerated anti-abortion activist". The Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
  13. ^ Staples, Steven (3 October 2006). Missile Defence: Round One (Paperback). James Lorimer & Company Ltd. pp. 248. ISBN 9781550289299.
  14. ^ Staples, Steven; Kowaluk, Lucia (eds.). Afghanistan and Canada: Is There an Alternative to War. Black Rose Books. pp. 200. ISBN 978-1-55164-328-1.
  15. ^ "Syrian rebels seize military base, kill 35 soldiers". CTV News. 11 December 2012. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
  16. ^ Weston, Greg. "Canada may buy nuclear submarines". CBC News. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
  17. ^ "Future of Canada's Subs". CBC The National. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
  18. ^ "Sept. 25: Rue Britannia?; and other letters to the editor". The Globe and Mail. 25 September 2012. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
  19. ^ Koring, Paul. "Blue helmets cast aside, Canada keeps the peace no more". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
  20. ^ Steven Staples; Mahmud Naqi (21 August 2012). "Canada's $35-billion shipbuilding program needs firm oversight". Toronto Star. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
  21. ^ Carl Meyer (2 March 2012). "Military changes tune on post-2011 mission again". Embassy Magazine. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
  22. ^ Brian Adeba (July–September 2008). "Think Tank for Activists: Inside the Rideau Institute". Peace Magazine. Staples told a panel discussion on CBC television that the war in Afghanistan is unwinnable and that it is now time to explore a negotiated settlement with the Taliban. Canada, Staples said, should be at the helm of such negotiations.
  23. ^ Staples, Steven. "Marching Orders: How Canada abandoned peacekeeping – and why the UN needs us now more than ever". Council of Canadians. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
  24. ^ Staples, Steven (16 November 2011). "Canada is overspending on defence". Embassy Magazine. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
  25. ^ Staples, Steven (26 September 2005). "Truth is: Canada one of the world's highest military spenders". The Hill Times. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
  26. ^ "Hansard, Standing Committee on National Defence". 9 February 2012. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
  27. ^ Staples, Steven (12 August 2011). "Pre-Budget Submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance submitted by the Rideau Institute" (PDF). Retrieved 12 December 2012.
  28. ^ Thomas Walkom (8 June 2012). "Walkom: Is Stephen Harper's global military policy delusional or just plain mad?". The Toronto Stay. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
  29. ^ Staples, Steven (30 May 2012). "Five Reasons Why Canada Doesn't Need a De". Embassy Magazine. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
  30. ^ Geddes, John (27 October 2010). "Could Canada take bids on fighter jets and also keep the F-35 option open?". Maclean's Magazine. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
  31. ^ "F-35 Stealth Fighter Purchase a 'Pilot Error': Report". Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. 14 October 2012. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
  32. ^ "Contact Us". Canadian Pugwash Group. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
  33. ^ Staples, Steven (11 July 2007). "Pugwash's Urgent Steps for Nuclear Disarmament". Embassy Magazine. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
  34. ^ Steven Staples; Michael Wallace (February 2010). "Riding the Arctic of Nuclear Weapons: A Task Long Overdue" (PDF). Canadian Pugwash Group.
  35. ^ "Canadian Pugwash Call for an Arctic Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone". Canadian Pugwash Group. 24 August 2007. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
  36. ^ Staples, Stevem. "Marching Orders: How Canada abandoned peacekeeping – and why the UN needs us now more than ever". Council of Canadians. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
  37. ^ Koring, Paul (7 June 2012). "Blue helmets cast aside: Canada keeps the peace no more". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 12 December 2012.

External links[edit]