I want to thank James Munson for his thorough and thoughtful article on the Canadian Department of Peace Initiative.
He was generous with his time during our interview and his reporting has generated considerable attention to the concept of a Department of Peace.
There are some points in the article I think need clarification.
The bill, An Act to Establish a Department of Peace, is Bill C-447, (not Bill C-477). I would like it to be clear that I am one of a group of “heads” of the Canadian Department of Peace Initiative. Specifically, I am the pan-Canadian co-chair Ã a cross-Canada position.
I would like it clear that I did not refer to my colleagues in Foreign Affairs or Defence as “trigger happy”Ã quite the contrary, as I know the people in charge of these difficult decisions put a lot of their lives into their responsibilities.
I also would not refer to the concept of the department of peace as utopian.
A utopian vision is considered mythical and outside of anyone’s reach while the Department of Peace has been declared, by many, as an idea that is past due.
Here are some quotes by international leaders:
“Canadian Department of Peace is an idea whose time has come,” said Doug Roche, a former MP, senator, Canadian Ambassador for Disarmament and former chair, UN Disarmament Committee.
“It’s an extraordinary idea and, it fills one with a great deal of excitement and exhilarationÃ‰.” Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
“War is irrational and peace is rationalÃ‰.” President Arias of Costa Rica in his statement that introduced the establishment of a Ministry of Peace and Justice.
“Years hence, when every country has a Ministry of Peace, people will look back and ask: ‘What took us so long?’ After all, we have a ministry for almost everything else: health, education, and so on. How odd that, of all things, we have no ministries of peace. Peace is the key to accomplishing the rest.” The Sakyong, Jamgon Mipham Rinpoche, spiritual leader, Shambhala International.
“As Canada is pressed to forge ever closer ties with US defence policy and the “war on terror,” it is time to create a Department of Peace, committed to peacebuilding, conflict prevention and disarmament, central to our political tradition.
“As an internationally committed nation, Canada must provide the global leadership needed to successfully navigate the 21st century with policies based on the security of all peoples.” Lloyd Axworthy, former minister of Foreign Affairs.
Finally, it seems a misrepresentation to say the Conservative Party was too busy to meet with the Canadian Department of Peace Initiative. What I would like noted is that several Conservative MPs have spoken to our representatives and there are many in that party who work towards peaceful resolution of conflict.
Yet, as the party in power who is under attack for its stand on many fronts, the Conservative Party is not too open to hearing from a group who does not support being at war anywhere, including Afghanistan.
Yet, let’s be clear Ã they are listening.
Theresa Dunn, co-chair, Canadian Department of Peace Initiative