Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Heavy weapons displays for small children have no place at the CNE or anywhere else

Any dedicated reader of The Left Chapter knows that we make an annual trip to the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) in Toronto to share some of the sights, foods and sounds, though we participated in the union boycott in 2018. We will be posting our visit to 2019's edition later and there are lots of things to enjoy including an excellent and informative exhibit about the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.

Unfortunately for many years now the Canadian Armed Forces have deemed it appropriate to use the CNE to promote themselves to fair-goers, families and children and, presumably, to use a summer fun fair to lay the seeds for future recruits. This year is no different and the military has been given an especially prominent location just outside the Food Pavilion on what used to be a grassy area for people to eat.

The Left Chapter objects in principle to the inclusion of an area at a family and recreational event that is dedicated to the normalization and, indeed, celebration of instruments of imperialist mass destruction such as fighter jets and tanks.

More specifically, though, during our trip last night we saw small children playing with a model heavy machine gun in a faux gunner's nest and saw an armed forces member holding an assault rifle out on display right in front and for the benefit of another very young child. The soldier helpfully said that the kid, who could have been no older than 6 or 7, would not be able to handle the assault weapon due to her age!

This outright glorification of heavy weaponry and weapons of mass violence to children is wrong at anytime and is particularly disturbing in the context of recent mass shootings -- often using assault weapons --  and increased gun violence. Never mind the rise of a heavily armed, North American white nationalist and pro-militarist movement. A Canadian wing of a violent neo-Nazi extremist group recently exposed by the Winnipeg Free Press is at least partly headed by someone who appears to be in the Canadian military.

There is no place for this at the CNE or any other similar publicly funded event. It is grotesque to watch children by heavy machine guns as if these weapons fit right in with the cotton candy stalls and rides. These displays should end now.


  1. Make a fuss about it!- Get them out of there.

  2. I think you mean that you object in principle. Principle is ideological; principal just means first.