Leadership for Peace
Where we stand now:
A MINISTER FOR PEACE FOR CANADA TO IMPLEMENT A CULTURE OF PEACE
Given the escalation of violent conflict, the increased threat of nuclear annihilation and lawlessness across our world today, there has never been greater urgency or a better window of opportunity to promote this initiative in Canada. The department would develop a coordinated and coherent paradigm for a sustainable peace across all government departments. The Minister would advance an agenda for a new architecture of peace by supporting and establishing activities that promote a culture of peace and assertive non-violence in Canada and the world.
Drawing inspiration from similar initiatives in the US, UK and over 30 other countries, we anticipate that the Minister’s mandate would include the following objectives:
- Develop early detection and rapid response processes to deal with emerging conflicts and establish systemic responses to post-conflict demobilization, reconciliation and reconstruction.
- Lead internationally to abolish nuclear, biological, chemical weapons, to reduce conventional weapon arsenals and to ban the weaponization of space
- Implement the UN Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace (1999) to safeguard human rights and enhance the security of persons and their communities
- Implement UN Resolution 1325 on the key role played by women in the wide spectrum of peacebuilding work
- Establish a Civilian Peace Service that, with other training organizations, will recruit, train and accredit peace professionals and volunteers to work at home and abroad, as an alternative to armed intervention
- Address issues of violence in Canada by promoting nonviolent approaches that encourage community involvement and responsibility such as Restorative Justice, Nonviolent Communication (NVC) and Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR)
- Support the development of peace education at all levels including post-secondary peace and conflict studies
- Promote the transition from a war-based to a peace-based economy.
We are dedicated to generating the political will for this initiative by reaching out, not only to politicians, but to the broad spectrum of our citizens including peace and justice organizations, faith communities, artists, choirs, healthcare professionals, teachers, service clubs, cultural communities and businesses. Eight chapters presently exist in Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary, London, Hamilton, Toronto, Ottawa and Montréal. Canada is a founding member of the Global Alliance for Ministries and Departments of Peace www.mfp-dop.org of over 30 countries promoting departments of peace and hosted the Victoria Summit, as well as a major event at the World Peace Forum, June 2006.
In pursuing this initiative, we recognize that the crisis facing humanity is not only social, political, economic and environmental, but also spiritual in nature. We believe that creating a culture of peace is an ongoing and longterm process but it is our intention to turn the tide in our generation working closely with Canadian youth.
News Release: MP Alex Atamanenko Tables Department of Peace Bill
November 30, 2011 – Ottawa, ON
Alex Atamanenko, MP (BC Southern Interior), was joined at a press conference by fellow peace advocates, along with Elizabeth May of the Green Party and Liberal Jim Karygiannis to herald the introduction of his Private Members Bill to create a federal Department of Peace. May and Karygiannis are co-seconding the Bill.
Atamanenko’s bill is a slightly amended version of retired NDP MP, Bill Siksay’s bill from the last parliament, notable for the non-partisan support it had gathered.
Karygiannis says this is one issue where party politics should not get in the way. “It is time for Canada to serve the global constituency by committing to the creation of a Department of Peace.”
Elizabeth May stressed her party’s continued support of this initiative. “Peace is more than the absence of war. Non-violent solutions, ‘waging peace,’ requires a focused investment and shift in consciousness. Even talking about a Department of Peace helps in that shift,” she said.
Representatives for Canadian Department of Peace Initiative (CDPI) at the press conference described the bill as exemplifying a global movement in 30 countries promoting infrastructures of non-violent peace within governments, with Peace Ministries and Departments in three countries, most recently Costa Rica. “The bill illustrates the need to prepare for peace in the same way as we prepare for war – with adequate resources and expertise,” stated CDPI Co-Founder, Bill Bhaneja.
“This is an opportunity to unify the millions of voices expressing a will to follow a new path where our road markers are not fear, anger and vengeful killing but rather prevention, empathy and justice for all of humanity,” declared Theresa Dunn, co-Chair for CDPI.
Doukhobor writer and historian Koozma J. Tarasoff said the need for the architecture for peace is urgent at a time when nuclear and robotic weapons are posing a threat to the world community. “As Canadians, let’s regain our status not only as a peacekeeping nation, but also as a non-killing one.”
“The notion that there can be peace in the world may be a utopian ideal but each generation owes it to the next to make a dedicated attempt to get as close to it as humanly possible.” concluded Atamanenko.