the Canadian Peace Initiative :: a Campaign to Establish a Federal Department of Peace

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Open Letter Welcoming Justin Trudeau

added November 3rd, 2015
adapted from a photo by W. Lloyd MacKenzie, via Flickr

adapted from a photo by W. Lloyd MacKenzie, via Flickr

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,

The Canadian Peace Initiative warmly congratulates you on the success of the recent election. We are delighted that, in your initial conversation with President Obama, you indicated your intent to end Canada’s combat mission against ISIL. Over the last ten years we have been very concerned by the move that Canada has taken, away from its traditional commitment to peacekeeping and peace diplomacy, to a belligerent role on the world stage.

There is currently no strategic focus for peace in government, and there has rarely been a greater urgency or a better window of opportunity to consider the creation of a Department of Peace in our country. This is one of the principle aims of the Canadian Peace Initiative. We see that Canada has an important role to play in the prevention of violence and the resolution of conflicts at home and abroad. Bill C-373, An Act to Establish a Department of Peace, passed First Reading in the House of Commons on November 30, 2011, and we have been diligently working on advancing it to Second Reading.

We recall your father’s courageous peace initiative, embarked on in 1983, when he said, “it is essential in my judgment to seek stability at a number of points along the downward trend line and to recognize that peace and security in the modern age are indivisible.” The Canadian Institute for International Peace and Security (1984-93) was established as a legacy of that initiative, by a unanimous vote of Parliament.

We feel confident that your vision for the country will include an expanded Canadian peace initiative. In the words of Nobel Peace Prize recipient and former Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson, “Of all our dreams today there is none more important – or so hard to realize – than that of peace in the world. May we never lose our faith in it or our resolve to do everything that can be done to convert it one day into reality.”

As you develop policy to reinvigorate peace building as a primary goal of Canada’s government, we would like to work with you.

In peace,
Furquan Gehlen and Christopher Cutler,
National Co-chairs, Canadian Peace Initiative