21 September 2023
Only determination and compromise can rescue a world that is becoming “unhinged” …. reform the multilateral system and come together for the common good. – UN Secretary-General at UNGA 78
As I am drafting this message, world leaders are addressing the opening “high level” session of the 78th UN General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York City.
We are inching ever closer to a Great Fracture
In his statement, UN Secretary-General António Guterres was blunt in his fears of an impending “Great Fracture” in economic and financial systems and trade relations, when what we need is the exact opposite: renewal of the UN institutions that are fundamental to addressing the multiple, rising threats that otherwise threaten to engulf us.
Justin Trudeau’s unfulfilled 2015 promise to reinvest in the UN is more relevant than ever
We need Canada back!
Prime Minister Trudeau campaigned in 2015 on a promise to ‘bring Canada back’ to the UN following 10 years of animosity toward the global body by the Harper regime. But the Liberal government has let this fundamental objective languish after a substantial — but unduly brief — re-engagement in UN peacekeeping and an ill-timed, unsuccessful Security Council campaign against two countries, Ireland and Norway, with far better UN credentials.
But global action remains the only effective way forward
Among the genuinely global solutions put forward this week by the UN Secretary-General is a Climate Solidarity Pact, whereby big emitters commit to more emissions cuts and wealthier countries pledge finance and technology to emerging economies to help them meet their targets.
A new global entity on AI
António Guterres has also called for a new global entity, equivalent to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), that could provide information and expertise for member states on the “awesome and fearful” science of artificial intelligence. To that end, he has appointed a High-Level Panel to report to him by year’s end on AI and its implications.
This is a brilliant idea. Just consider the fundamental awareness-raising role that the IPCC has played on climate change. This is exactly what we need to galvanize global action on AI regulation.
Will you help us in raising our voices in support of this brilliant proposal, and of Canada’s early championing of a UN Intergovernmental Panel on Artificial Intelligence?
We must speak louder than the voices of endless war.
And then there is the ongoing horror of the Ukraine conflict and an agonisingly difficult Ukrainian counteroffensive that is spurring some Western analysts to begin to question the Western “long war” strategy.
But the voices of endless war are still much louder, and we must redouble our efforts to be heard. This is especially true right here in Canada, where we need to overcome our government and parliament’s outright hostility to peace negotiations.
Will you help us amplify voices — like ours — who know that diplomacy offers the only sane way to end the carnage and begin to build a just and sustainable peace?
And there is some good news amidst the bad.
Prime Minister Trudeau has so far resisted calls to further increase our defence spending to 2% of GDP.
Despite relentless pressure from NATO hawks and militarists inside and outside Canada, the Trudeau government has resisted pressure to further increase Canadian defence spending to meet the NATO goal of 2% of GDP — a level that would require Canada to spend an additional $75.3 billion on defence before the end of 2027.
This would be on top of the $202 billion Canada has already budgeted for defence over that same period.
With your help, we can continue to successfully counter the cacophony for yet more military spending.
And then there is the government’s proposed Foreign Interference Registry, initially spurred by media accounts of intrusions by agents of the Chinese government in the affairs of ethnic Chinese communities in Canada.
The Foreign Interference Registry is likely to do more harm than good.
Intimidation and coercion of diaspora communities in Canada must be taken very seriously, but we believe the registry is not the appropriate tool to address those threats and will probably cause far greater harm than it prevents, including increasing the likelihood of xenophobic attacks on the very groups the registry is meant to protect.
It will also threaten the ability of non-governmental organizations like the Rideau Institute to forthrightly critique Canada’s China policy without the fear of being labelled a foreign agent.
The Supreme Court of Canada should rule on the constitutionality of the proposed Foreign Interference Registry
The recent shocking allegations about “credible intelligence” linking the Indian government to the killing of a Sikh Canadian leader, on Canadian soil, reinforce — in our view — our argument that this is an issue that goes far beyond China and, more importantly, is properly handled through the Criminal Code, not through a registry that, in all likelihood, will simply be bypassed by foreign meddlers.
Allegations against the Indian government further indicate a registry is not the answer to foreign interference.
Will you help us in our campaign for a referral of the proposed Foreign Registry legislation to the Supreme Court of Canada to determine its constitutionality?
And there is so much more we are working on every day.
Here are just some of the actions we will be taking, with your help, over the coming months to advance our foreign policy goals for Canada and globally:
- Launching our new Building Common Security Project with Robin Collins as the lead researcher, and with the immediate goal of feeding into the international peace and security dimensions of the UN Summit of the Future in 2024;
- Testifying before the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee on its new study on how Canada can support human rights in Palestine and Israel, and on its ongoing review of Canadian sanctions policy;
- In a forthcoming issue of Canada’s military magazine, The Legion, representing the NO side on the question of whether Canada should buy nuclear-powered submarines; and
- Contributing a chapter on the Justin Trudeau Government Defence Policy for the upcoming CCPA-Lorimer anthology on the Trudeau government’s policy record from 2015 to 2023.
To help us ensure that global solutions to global problems are a high priority on the minority government’s — and Parliament’s — upcoming agenda, could you please make a donation today?
Or join our Peacekeepers Monthly Donor Club. With a monthly pledge of $12 or more, you can choose to receive a complimentary copy of In The Upper Country: A Novel by Kai Thomas — a $36.00 value.
Please give generously by clicking on the donation button below.
In peace, solidarity and hope,
** We depend on your donations as we accept no funding from government or industry to protect our independence. PLEASE CLICK ON THE DONATION BUTTON TO MAKE AN ONLINE DONATION.
YOU CAN SEND A CHEQUE MADE OUT TO CEASEFIRE.CA TO OUR MAILING ADDRESS:
PO Box 11312 Stn H
NEPEAN ON, K2A 7V1
Photo credit: Ceasefire.ca (Logo; RI President Peggy Mason)
Ceasefire.ca is a public outreach project of the Rideau Institute linking Canadians working together for peace. We depend on your donations as we accept no funding from government or industry to protect our independence. Thank you for your support….