Category:

Correspondence with government

Letter to Justin Trudeau re the UN Mission in Mali (MINUSMA)

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
80 Wellington Street, Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2
7 April 2020

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,

The organizations below urge that Canada renew its commitment to UN peacekeeping, in particular through a substantive contribution to the UN mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

This is a crucial time for MINUSMA. The UN Department of Peace Operations has announced new mission requirements to implement the Force Adaptation Plan. That Plan calls for certain capabilities that Canada is well positioned to offer. This includes helicopters (both Chinooks and Griffons, that Canada provided once before), monitoring capabilities, and rapidly deployable units. At a time when MINUSMA is under practical and financial pressures, Canada can help achieve the mission’s important objectives, which include buttressing a still-fragile peace process, supporting democratic governance in Mali, blunting the influence of terrorist groups and spoilers, strengthening national police capacities, and (not least) protecting civilians.

A contribution at this crucial time would help show that Canadian support for peacekeeping is constant and dependable, long-term and not episodic. We are encouraged by the Government of Canada’s often expressed support for multilateralism and a rules-based international order (RBIO). We assert that the surest way to create a better and sustained RBIO is through a well-functioning UN system. Canada pioneered the concept of peacekeeping forces and needs now to support it. As Lester B. Pearson said in his Nobel peace prize speech in 1957:

“We made at least a beginning then. If, on that foundation, we do not build something more permanent and stronger, we will once again have ignored realities, rejected opportunities, and betrayed our trust. Will we never learn?”

Canada did learn and, for four decades, continuously provided about 1,000 uniformed personnel for UN peacekeeping. If Canada is not able to renew to such a level, at least it can reach the numbers your government promised in 2016: up to 600 military personnel and 150 police officers. Furthermore, at the 2017 Vancouver ministerial, Canada pledged a Quick Reaction Force (QRF) for UN service but has yet to fulfil that promise. The QRF would make a substantial contribution to MINUSMA.

A renewed Canadian contribution to UN peacekeeping would support Canada’s bid for a Security Council seat.

We recognize that these are uniquely challenging times for Canada and the world. We urge that Canada make provision for a renewed personnel commitment to the peace support operation in Mali, including with the pledged but yet to be registered QRF. Canada can be quick and committed.

Thank you for considering this.

Sincerely,

Artistes pour la Paix
Prof. Pierre Jasmin jasmin.pierre@uqam.ca

Canadian Pugwash Group
Paul Meyer, Chair pmeyer@sfu.ca

Project Ploughshares
Cesar Jaramillo, Executive Director cjaramillo@ploughshares.ca

Rideau Institute
Peggy Mason, President pmason@rideauinstitute.ca

World Federalist Movement – Canada
Prof. Walter Dorn, National President walter.dorn@rmc.ca

Letter to Hon. Chrystia Freeland re Recommendation 21

The Honourable Chrystia Freeland,
Minister of Foreign Affairs,
125 Sussex Drive, |
Ottawa ON K1A 0G2
Email: chrystia.freeland@international.gc.ca

9 October 2018.

Dear Minister Freeland,

As President of the Rideau Institute and on behalf of the civil society organizations listed below, I am writing today in regards to Recommendation 21 of the unanimous report1 on Canada and NATO, tabled by the Standing Committee on National Defence on 18 June 2018. That recommendation reads:

Recommendation 21

That the Government of Canada take a leadership role within NATO in beginning the work necessary for achieving the NATO goal of creating the conditions for a world free of nuclear weapons. That this initiative be undertaken on an urgent basis in view of the increasing threat of nuclear conflict flowing from the renewed risk of nuclear proliferation, the deployment of so-called tactical nuclear weapons, and changes in nuclear doctrines regarding lowering the threshold for first use of nuclear weapons by Russia and the US.

The National Defence Committee has identified a constructive and timely approach for Canada to begin a long-overdue conversation within NATO on how to move away from the nightmare of mutually-assured destruction toward the vision of sustainable common security grounded in the UN Charter.

As we conveyed in a separate letter to the NDDN Committee Chair, Stephen Fuhr, this pragmatic and forward-looking recommendation also reflects a proud, but too-long neglected, tradition of collaborative parliamentary work in support of Canadian leadership in global efforts for nuclear disarmament.

The ball is now in your court, Madame Minister, to ensure that our government rises to the challenge.

Accordingly, through you, we call upon the Government of Canada to respond positively and promptly to this recommendation, including sharing its vision for realizing this work within NATO. This could include, in our view, identifying which NATO body should be tasked and which other NATO members Canada might cooperate with in advancing this important and urgent work.

Very sincerely,
Peggy Mason,
President, Rideau Institute

Alphabetical List of Supporting National Organizations

  • Canadian Peace Initiative, Chairperson Saul Arbess
  • Canadian Pugwash Group, Chair Paul Meyer
  • Group of 78, Chair Roy Culpeper
  • Project Ploughshares, Exec Director Cesar Jaramillo
  • Religions for Peace Canada, President Pascale Frémond
  • Rideau Institute, President Peggy Mason
  • Science for Peace, Rob Acheson
  • Soka Gakkai International Association of Canada (SGI), General Director Tony Meers
  • World Federalist Movement – Canada, Exec Director Fergus Watt

1 Please note that the focus of this letter is only Recommendation 21. We take issue with other aspects of the report, such as the regrettable failure to call for NATO to adopt an unequivocal No First Use of nuclear weapons policy, but that is not the subject of this letter.

Letter to the Standing Committee on National Defence, re Recommendation 21

Stephen Fuhr Chair,
House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence,
Sixth Floor, 131 Queen Street
House of Commons
Ottawa ON K1A 0A6;
email: NDDN@parl.gc.ca

Attn: Stephen Fuhr, Chair, Stephen.Fuhr@parl.gc.ca
cc. Vice-Chair James Bezan, james.bezan@parl.gc.ca
and Vice-Chair Randall Garrison, Randall.Garrison@parl.gc.ca

9 October 2018.

Dear Chairman Fuhr,

In my role as President of the Rideau Institute and on behalf of the civil society organizations listed below, I wish to congratulate the Standing Committee on National Defence for Recommendation 21 of your report1 on Canada and NATO, tabled in the House of Commons on 18 June 2018, quoted herewith:

Recommendation 21

That the Government of Canada take a leadership role within NATO in beginning the work necessary for achieving the NATO goal of creating the conditions for a world free of nuclear weapons. That this initiative be undertaken on an urgent basis in view of the increasing threat of nuclear conflict flowing from the renewed risk of nuclear proliferation, the deployment of so-called tactical nuclear weapons, and changes in nuclear doctrines regarding lowering the threshold for first use of nuclear weapons by Russia and the US.

This pragmatic and forward-looking recommendation reflects a proud, but too-long neglected, tradition of collaborative parliamentary work in support of Canadian leadership in global efforts for nuclear disarmament.

We have today also written to Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, encouraging the Government of Canada to respond positively and promptly to the Committee’s recommendation including sharing its vision for realizing this work within NATO. This could include, in our view, identifying which NATO body should be tasked and which other NATO members Canada might cooperate with in advancing this important and urgent work.

Once again, we thank you and the Committee you chair for your important and timely contribution to global efforts, both at the government and non-governmental level, to begin to move us back from the nuclear brink onto the firmer ground of negotiated reductions, mutual confidence building and, ultimately, the realization of verifiable and irreversible nuclear disarmament.

Very sincerely,
Peggy Mason
President, Rideau Institute

Alphabetical List of Supporting National Organizations

  • Canadian Peace Initiative, Chairperson Saul Arbess
  • Canadian Pugwash Group, Chair Paul Meyer
  • Group of 78, Chair Roy Culpeper
  • Project Ploughshares, Exec Director Cesar Jaramillo
  • Religions for Peace Canada, President Pascale Frémond
  • Rideau Institute, President Peggy Mason
  • Science for Peace, Rob Acheson
  • Soka Gakkai International Association of Canada (SGI), General Director Tony Meers
  • World Federalist Movement – Canada, Exec Director Fergus Watt

1 Please note that the focus of this letter is only Recommendation 21. We take issue with other aspects of the report, such as the regrettable failure to call for NATO to adopt an unequivocal No First Use of nuclear weapons policy, but that is not the subject of this letter.

CPG Conference, July 2017: Recommendations to the Government of Canada

The Canadian Pugwash Group (CPG) held a conference entitled “Canada’s Contribution to Global Security”, July 23-25 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The conference commemorated the 150th anniversary of Confederation as well as the 60th anniversary of the international Pugwash movement. The focus of the conference was the current and future contribution Canada could make to global security and to countering existential threats to humanity.

Read more

Canada Must Join New Negotiations to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons

[ pdf download ] [ version française ]

Canadians for a Nuclear Weapons Convention (CNWC) calls on the Government of Canada to participate actively in the new nuclear disarmament negotiations at the United Nations starting March 27. These negotiations, supported by a majority of states of the world and open to all countries, aim to produce a treaty prohibiting all nuclear weapons.

The urgency of this action was highlighted January 26, 2017, when the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved the Doomsday Clock to two-and-a-half minutes to midnight – closer than the clock has been since 1953 when the Cold War heated up following U.S. and Russian detonations of thermonuclear bombs.

Read more

Here’s how Canada can help eliminate nuclear weapons

From the Ottawa Citizen, 21 June 2016:

Disarmament ambassadors: Here’s how Canada can help eliminate nuclear weapons

Authors Marius Grinius, Peggy Mason, Paul Meyer, Douglas Roche and Christopher Westdal have each held the post of Canadian Ambassador for Disarmament, under four prime ministers.

Thirty years ago in Reykjavik, Iceland, U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev – almost – made a deal that would have led to the elimination of all nuclear weapons. The discussions foundered on Reagan’s insistence that the U.S. be allowed to develop a ballistic missile defence system.

Despite the 1986 failure, Reykjavik was one of the most important summits in history. A year later, the U.S. and Soviet Union signed the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), for the first time eliminating an entire class of nuclear weapons. The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) was signed a few years later.

Reykjavik projected the vision of a world without nuclear weapons. It showed how leaders could look beyond hostilities to build greater security for people around the world. The end of the Cold War quickly followed and hopes for global stability, if not peace, were raised.

Read more