A CANADIAN PEACE VISION

 

As indicated in the Introduction to  Peace in the Family of Man by Nobel Peace Prize Recipient and Canadian Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson, available on the Internet in html at http://www.peace.ca/peaceinthefamilyofman.htm : 

"It is very important for Canadians to consider our responsibility to help build peace in our communities and world."  

Canada is well placed to play a special role.  Canadians are blessed with resources and skills, and hence we have more responsibility to serve the world in building peace.  It is in our own best interest to help build a more effective United Nations, and international law and order.  It is also in our own best interest to support other countries in their quest for peace – particularly our closest neighbour, the United States, with whom we have a special relationship.  Mr. Pearson’s words provide insight into the dynamics and how we might pursue this goal in a pragmatic way.  Mr. Pearson provides a good example of a “Servant Leader”.  (reference http://www.peace.ca/servantleadership.htm and http://www.peaceleader.htm ).  Canada can be a Servant Leader in the world.

Canada has an opportunity and responsibility to build upon Mr. Pearson’s work and make our country a Peace Education “Student/Tourist Destination”, and a source of skilled Peace Consultants/expertise available to serve the world.   

"Peace and the Future" will inspire Canadians.  Not only does Canada have an opportunity to become a Centre of Excellence in Peace Education, but also a Centre of Excellence in Education on Peace and the Future.  Currently, there is no significant program of Future Education and Futurism in Canada - it calls for our attention.

Peacebuilding and Peace Education is a potential "industry" waiting to be grown.  There are "exportable" services (such as Peace Consultants, Peace Educators, Mediators, Conflict Transformation Specialists, Peace in the Workplace Consultants, Relationship Building Specialists, Diplomacy Specialists, Peacebuilding, etc.) that should be attractive providers of employment and income.

Canadian Leaders (government, industry, education, religious, etc.) have a special responsibility to build peace at home and abroad.  

In a recent survey of Canadians' perceptions by Environics Research Group, almost one-third of Canadians believe "peacekeeping and peacefulness" is the greatest contribution Canada has to offer the world.  Fundamental perceptions of Canada's role as a peaceful, tolerant nation endure.

CANADA CAN: 

(1) significantly reduce the human cost of violence in our communities and world;

(2) help build a more effective, efficient and economic United Nations system of International Law, Order and Peace;

(3) help build International Relations;

(4) profit through service to others.

Key to Canada's success will be how we manage conflict, and hopefully bring about positive change.  If you think violence in the world is bad now, wait until we (i.e. the world) start to run out of oil, gas, clean water and arable land and food -- our children and grandchildren (it will happen within the current generation without our intervention) will not be able to build walls high enough to keep out the suffering millions who want what we have.  We are not helpless or hopeless.  We can transform the world from a Culture of War and Violence to build a Culture of Peace and Non-violence.  This is not "rocket science" -- it is simply building better relationships, empowering, listening to understand, respecting all life, rejecting violence, share with others, preserve the planet, rediscover solidarity, justice for all, conflict transformation systems, etc.  Time is of the essence.

We are not powerless in this.  Canada and Canadians can be part of the solution, or part of the problem.  It is not a time to be a spectator, fair weather fan, "half-miler", critic or cynic, hypocritical, or censor.  It is time to be a builder of a better, more peaceful world for our children and future generations.  It is time to live up to our potential.  It is time to "walk the talk".  It is time for Canada and Canadians to look in the mirror and answer the question "What am I doing to significantly reduce the human cost of violence?" (or said another way, "What am I doing to build peace?").  And if Canadians wish to answer this question meaningfully, or have related questions, they should first do some research (starting with this web site, if you wish - our intention was to allow you to learn in a relatively short period of time what others have taken many years to learn).

If not Canada and Canadians, with all of our resources and lofty ideals, then who?  It is our choice -- it is our vision -- and most of all, it is our time for action.  I am convinced that sooner or later, with the right motivation and leaders, Canada will rise to the challenge and meet our potential to transform the world.  We can do it, and so we must.  We are 20+ million people of influence.  If we partnered with other like-minded peoples and countries, success would be assured.

Violence is a disease.  We have the antidote -- it is peace education.  All we have to do is inoculate all the children in the world with peace education.  (As the UNESCO motto says, "Since wars (and violence) are created in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed.")  Not rocket science.    Not easy -- but it is "do-able".

That is the challenge that lays before us.  It is time to act as individuals, groups, companies, organizations, educational institutions, religious institutions, government institutions, etc..  Leadership can come from each one of us - after all, peace education is all about empowerment.  

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful
        committed citizens can change the world,
        indeed it's the only thing that ever has.
- Margaret Mead

 

It is time for the Canadian Peace Initiative to "take off".  We are hosting 3 major upcoming events:
Peace and Leadership 3-day workshop November 15 - 17, 2004 http://www.peace.ca/leadershipworkshop.htm ,
Third Annual Peace Education Conference in Canada November 18 - 22, 2004 http://www.peace.ca/CanadianAgenda2004.htm , followed by a
National Culture of Peace Program Symposium November 23 - 25, 2004 http://www.peace.ca/nationalcultureofpeace2004.htm
All at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario.

For more information on how you can get involved, talk to a local Peace Educator (refer to our list at http://www.peace.ca/canpeaceeducation.htm ) or contact the undersigned.  I would appreciate comments and suggestions.  I am eager to hear, and invite your visions of a Canadian Peace Initiative.  Together, we can build a great one.

And see: NEWBUTTONPINK.GIF (519 bytes) THE UNITED NATIONS CULTURE OF PEACE AND NON-VIOLENCE PROGRAM IN CANADA: A Report to the United Nations Secretary General pursuant to General Assembly Resolution A/RES/58/11 paragraph 12 (i.e. the Mid Term Report of the Decade of a Culture of Peace) Prepared by Robert Stewart , Director, Canadian Centres for Teaching Peace, March 14, 2005

Regards,
Bob Stewart (email stewartr [at] peace.ca
http://www.peace.ca
ANNUAL PEACE EDUCATION CONFERENCE IN CANADA http://www.peace.ca/CanadianAgenda2004.htm

 
"The world is dangerous not because of those who do harm, but because of those who look at it without doing anything." - Albert Einstein
 
WHAT FUTURE WILL YOU CREATE?
 
Making an Impact: Your gift to the Canadian Peace Education Foundation will do much to reduce the human cost of violence in our communities and world through education about peace and the future in classrooms.  Your gift will have a critical impact on future generations.  You will enable youngsters to widen their sights by exploring alternate paths to transforming conflicts and building a better world.  Gifts of cash, securities, and planned gifts are welcome and may be sent to the Canadian Peace Education Foundation, Box 70, Okotoks, AB, Canada, T1S 1A4.  For more information, visit the website at http://www.peace.ca/foundation.htm

Some Inspiring Peace Quotes by Prominent Canadians:

"The best defence of peace is not power, but the removal of the causes of war, and international agreements which will put peace on a stronger foundation, than the terror of destruction."  Lester B. Pearson, Canadian Prime Minister and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

For Canadians, though, the most prescient words come from former UN General Assembly president and prime minister Lester Pearson, in his 1957 acceptance speech during the Cold War.  His words could have been written today: "The stark and inescapable fact is that today we cannot defend our society by war since total war is total destruction, and if war is used as an instrument of policy, eventually we will have total war.  Therefore, the best defence of peace is not power, but the removal of the causes of war, and international agreements which will put peace on a stronger foundation than the terror of destruction," he said.  Because there is always an end, it isn't enough just to fight a war.  That's why the biggest question to be answered by the United States and its allies isn't who to kill in this war against terrorism, but what will happen after.  Pearson believed it wasn't in armaments and materiel that solutions were found, but in people.  "It would be folly to expect quick, easy or total solutions.  It would be folly also to expect hostility and fears suddenly to vanish.  But it is equal, or even greater folly to do nothing; to sit back, answer missile with missile ... it would not make for peace."  During the Korean conflict, Pearson advised calling off the fighting as soon as the immediate aim had been achieved; creating a situation in which it would be possible to work for the ultimate goal of peace.  The solution, said Pearson at the Nobel awards, always returns "to one person and his own individual response to the challenges that confront him."  courtesy of Catherine Ford, Calgary Herald, October 12, 2001.

"We believe - as you do - that the problems of our time cannot be solved by military strength alone.  Peace can be won only by the quality of infinite patience.  We may differ on the 'hows', but never the 'whys'.  You may depend upon us as faithful friends and comrades."  Vincent Massey, Governaor General of Canada to the U.S. Congress 1965

"The long Canadian frontier from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans, guarded only by neighbourly respect and honourable obligations, is an example to every country and pattern for the future of the world."  British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill

"Make us a nation of searchers of peace, and then lead us to peace in our time.  May we be an example to the world of disciplined peace research.  Let us neither aggress nor support aggression, and may we strive as much as we have it in us, to live in peace with all men."  Tim Bentley, a young Canadian 1967

"The Canadian opportunity lies in this American ambivalence.  A rules-based international order is unquestionably in our interests. ... Canada can still make significant contributions ... particularly in peacebuilding ... bridging the gap to long-term peace might still be a better use of Canadian military and police resources.  The choice of peacebuilding over combat is rational for the Canadian Forces because they are comparatively small and weak, by the conscious choice of successive governments, which have had to juggle priorities demanded by Canadian citizens."  Major David Last, PhD, teaches at the Royal Military College of Canada; from "What Kind of Friends Does America Need?" in Oct/Dec 2002 Peace Magazine

"Every diplomatic and non-military avenue for the prevention or peaceful resolution of the humanitarian crisis must have been explored. The responsibility to react — with military coercion — can only be justified when the responsibility to prevent has been fully discharged." the report of the Canadian-sponsored International Commission on Intervention and Sovereignty entitled Responsibility to Protect

"If you start changing regimes, where do you stop?  This is the problem.  Who is next?  Give me the list ... the priorities. ... When someone is working for peace it is never useless."  Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, while in Mexico discussing the Iraq war.  This quote is inspiring for a number of reasons: the Canadian Prime Minister spoke up, saying what many Canadians have on their minds, concerned about U.S. foreign policy; the P.M. also recognized the important work of peacebuilders.  

"My guess is that the Network will, inevitably, replace the world of boundaries and nations.  Does it matter, then, that Canada is losing its place in a world that may no longer even be relevant? Or is there some mileage in the idea that Canada as the anti-nation fits rather well within the iconoclastic impulses of the world emerging under the knowledge economy? As the University of Toronto's Janice Stein recently put it: How can Canada reposition itself in a global economy, where "sovereignty is no longer what it was and states no longer have the same power to protect, or to abuse, their citizens?" Perhaps the force will lie with the countries that are able to make the vertical links, and insert and align themselves within the matrix of the Network? ... It's just a thought, but maybe by encouraging and making these kinds of connections or networks, Canada can stake its claim in the emerging world. "  Ken Wiwa http://www.globeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20030926.wwiwa0927/BNStory/Front/

CANADIAN ASSOCIATION OF SOCIAL WORKERS (CASW) STATEMENT ON NON-VIOLENCE - "Social workers in Canada will celebrate 2003 National Social Work Week under the theme "Social Work for Social Justice", a reflection of the social work profession's long-standing commitment to social justice, peace, and non-violence. Such a commitment is very relevant given today's reality in which people who take control with fists, weapons and other unjust means devastate families and communities. The devastation is evident in the continuing high incidence of poverty, ongoing social injustice, continued reports of child abuse and violent deaths. The Canadian Association of Social Workers, representing over 18,000 social workers in Canada, advocates for solutions to conflict that are based on principles of justice and compassion for humanity. At this time of turmoil in the world, we join the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) and others worldwide to challenge those in power to show their respect for human life and choose non-violent solutions to conflict. The priority must be to avoid the unnecessary suffering of citizens in all countries and especially those where people are already marginalized and disadvantaged as a result of conflict and economic strife. All countries that claim to be just societies are compelled to continue to seek alternatives to war and conflict and to uphold the dignity and rights of all people."  For more information, please contact: Ellen Oliver, President, (709) 736-8162, elleno@mun.ca ; Eugenia R. Moreno, Executive Director, (613) 729-6668 morenoeu@casw-acts.ca

I think it was not long after my daughter was born, in 1989, that I came to the conclusion that, logically, there was no reason for hope for the earth and humanity. We were (are?) doomed to destroy the earth and our own species because of overconsumption, overpopulation and war. And yet, I had always worked for peace, knowing that I would continue this work, even if it were somehow possible to know that we were destined to blow up the earth... and I sensed that choice, to continue to hope, to have enough humility to know that what my brain tells me about our chances may not be the whole truth, was vital.  I saw that at the root of our problems was our economic system and went looking for answers. ... Then personal upheaval had one upside, that of allowing me to see, for myself, that the world is "stranger" than it first appears, that "miracles" can indeed happen. That, and having read books which validate that conclusion, have led me to the point where I consciously talk about "globalizing love" for instance.   Jan Slakov, October 2001

Dear (reader): I was in Queenston Drive Public School, Mississauga, Ontario this morning and in the hall, outside the Principle's office, they had some chart paper posted with the following information:

What We Planted in the Peace Garden
                    Grade 2M
>mint - cool thoughts
>heather - to discover yourself
>thyme - find the courage to find what your heart desires
>chives - absorb bad feelings
>parsley - to focus on our goals
>lavender - for calmness
>nasturtium - for energy to face challenges
>catnip - for 4-footed friends
>bee balm - for punk rocker flowers
>violets - faithfulness
>periwinkle - love is the best goal
>sage - wisdom
These flower ideas from a Grade 2 class give us something to think about!  Flower Power!!!
Best Regards, Doug Moore

"The Canadian peace movement plays an essential part in the new Canadian dialogue: for the peace movement challenges assumptions, not just policy, and forces us to examine those assumptions more closely." --External Affairs Minister Joe Clark

"I urge them (the peace movement) to strongly maintain the pressure at all times ... the pressure of honourable people working for the pursuit of peace is the strongest assurance democracy is healthy." --Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, House of Commons

NEWBUTTONPINK.GIF (519 bytes) Canada can change world, say Trudeau's sons

AND IN CONCLUSION:

"So I approach the pursuit of peace with determination, recognizing both the enormity of the task and the requirement for action. To those who say it cannot be done, I say it must be done. To those who say Canada can't do it alone, I say we can do it together. And to those who claim it is none of our business, I say the search for peace is everyone's business." --Prime Minister Brian Mulroney

 

If you have other Notable Canadian Peace Quotes, please let us know and we will post them (contact Bob Stewart stewartr [at] peace.ca )