We all know that a federal election is looming this fall. It is not too early to start thinking about some of the key policies we want to see up for debate.
Impact of Canadian accession to the global Arms Trade Treaty
Will it make a difference or is it business as usual?
By the time the election rolls around we expect that Canada will finally be part of the global Arms Trade Treaty, with new binding rules in place to guide decisions of our Foreign Minister on whether or not to approve export permits for Canadian-made weapons to foreign customers.
We will be closely monitoring those ministerial decisions, to ensure that our armoured vehicles, sniper rifles, helicopter engines and a myriad of other items do not end up fueling conflict in Yemen or facilitating repression in Egypt or contributing to grave breaches of human rights in the Occupied Territories in Palestine.
Here’s another key question we’ll be asking:
Canada’s approach to NATO Nuclear Policy
RideauInstitute.ca blog posts have reported on a whole range of destabilizing steps in U.S. and NATO nuclear policy, from the development of new so-called “tactical” nuclear weapons for deployment in Europe, to a trillion-dollar-plus U.S. nuclear weapons modernization program, to new strategic doctrines apparently premised on the insane notion — discarded in the Cold War — that a nuclear war can actually be won. Most recently, the U.S. has withdrawn from the landmark INF Treaty, followed closely by Russia.
The situation is so perilous that the House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence, in June 2018, unanimously called on Canada to take a leadership role within NATO — on an urgent basis — to begin to create the conditions for a world free of nuclear weapons.
So far our government has not heeded this clarion call. It is up to us to ensure that they do.
It is long past time for Canada to reassert leadership on effective measures toward nuclear disarmament.
Canada and UN Peacekeeping
We thought that Canada’s long-awaited re-engagement in UN peacekeeping was finally underway with our deployment of an aviation task force to MINUSMA, the UN mission in Mali. But our precipitous departure — planned for 31 July 2019 — three months before our replacement arrives – seemingly puts the lie to that commitment.
First, there is the obvious need to ensure no gap in vital medevac support to the Mission. But the more fundamental problem is why National Defence has so manifestly failed to live up to the strong peacekeeping re-engagement mandate given to Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan. To overcome what is unmistakably a visceral institutional bias against UN peacekeeping, our military needs to be trained in the “value added” of UN peacekeeping, in why it succeeds more often than not, and why it offers by far the best chance for countries coming out of conflict to build a sustainable peace.
We call on the Government of Canada to establish a world class, civilian-led, multidisciplinary training centre, for Canadian and international military, police and civilian peacekeepers.
Much more to come!
These are just a few of the important issues we will be tracking before and during the federal election campaign. Upcoming blog posts will look at Canada and International Law (Rhetoric versus Reality), the Environment and Insecurity Nexus, and What a Feminist Foreign Policy Really Looks Like!
Photo credit: Library of Parliament (House of Commons chamber)