We are very encouraged by the passage of the following motion at the 2014 Liberal National Convention (held February 20–23):
BE IT RESOLVED that the Liberal Party of Canada urge the next Liberal government of Canada to establish a governmental institution for peace with a mandate that includes the creation of a permanent Canadian Civilian Service of professionally trained men and women working for (i) the prevention of violent conflict and war, and (ii) the non-violent resolution of conflict at every level of society, both within Canada and overseas, through such means as:
- detection of early warning signs
- structured mediation
- non-violent intervention
- protection of human rights
- humanitarian and development assistance
- citizen diplomacy
Three delegates from the Canadian Peace Initiative (Saul Arbess, Penelope Joy and Furquan Gehlen) attended the Sixth Global Summit of the Global Alliance for Ministries and Infrastructures for Peace, held in Geneva, Switzerland, September 16–20, 2013, to call for the establishment of civil society and government institutions supporting a culture of peace. (For more information, visit www.gamip.org). The Summit represented a collaboration with the International Civil Society Network for Infrastructures for Peace.
Four countries already have national government ministries of peace: Solomon Islands, Nepal, Costa Rica, and the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea. Many more have networks of local and regional peace councils and other systems in civil society and government dedicated to transforming conflict and preventing violence.
What is the meaning of “defence” in the 21st Century?
written by Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party, May 27, 2013
We continue to discuss defence without first posing some essential questions: will we be at war? With whom? And what are the real security threats to Canada?
It should be clear that, since the Second World War, we have seen millions of lives lost in the Cold War through the proxy conflicts of the large super powers. Since 9/11, and the despicable attack on innocents at the World Trade Centre, we have, in the absence of the Cold War, faced security threats that are largely diffuse. Acts of terrorists are often met with a “war on terrorism,” but that is not a helpful term.
As former Canadian ambassador to the United Nations, Paul Heinbecker, has pointed out, you cannot declare war on a noun. Security threats posed by terrorists are serious, but the approach of preparedness is more closely akin to a policing action than a full military response.