Friday, 9 November 2012

Department of Peace Initiative Reaffirmed

Report on the Campaign to Establish a Canadian Department of Peace 

The 6th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Canadian Peace Initiative society, was held November 2-4, divided into 3 sessions at 2 locations in Ottawa. Delegates from chapters across Canada attended. To engage the public, 2 forums were held at 2 locations addressing: "Does Canada Need a Department of Peace?"

I attended all 5 events as a photojournalist. Below are my summary comments with links to my photos and other news about this year's AGM and public forums.

Delegates after final session, Nov. 4, 2012.

230 Photos

More Online

Comments by Koozma J. Tarasoff

For me, the Canadian Department of Peace is a Big Idea whose time has come. I foresee the birth and development of this new paradigm in our society will happen. It is only a matter of time. Remember that during the past century, over 95 million people died from state-induced violent conflicts.  We need to stop this human slaughter in the new century. Our talk must be about Prevention.

Personally I believe that war and militarism are still 'a slavery of our times', as the great Russian writer and philosopher Lev N. Tolstoy stated over a century ago. The alternative nonkilling tradition has continued with Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and other serious innovators in our time.

The meetings highlighted the following:
  • War is a racket and a blight on our civilization. We need to change the way we relate to strangers, otherwise there is a real danger of us destroying ourselves.
  • An alternative to war and violence is an urgent task of a healthy society. Many people have voiced this concern, but as yet have not found the mechanism how to do this. In his session on Visioning for Peace, Paul Maillet stated 'Create a department of peace. Build a constituency and supporting network of NGOs, cities of peace, individuals. Be inclusive and participatory.'
  • There is now available an architecture for peace in the form of a Department of Peace that has been around for some years. Costa Rica, Solomon Islands and Nepal have already implemented this structure without the need for armies.
  • The USA has been working on this idea for some years, but its military industrial complex has been actively lobbying against it. Yet U.S. Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich has worked closely with the U.S. Peace Alliance in the task of creating a Department of Peace. Already some 50 members of Congress have supported the Big Idea.
  • In Canada, the creation of this innovative tool should develop across government departments, a coordinated and coherent paradigm for a sustainable peace. Members from New Democratic Party (NDP), Liberals and Green Party have supported the idea, but the Stephen Harper's Conservatives have been dragging their feet.
  • In its current majority of 38% of the popular vote, the Conservative Government has been gun ho to reshape the country from a peace-keeping nation into a warrior nation. In his keynote address, Kingston, Ontario historian Dr. Ian McKay has meticulously outlined the depth and breadth of the Conservatives to abolish the old order of a just society and transform Canada into an Anglo imperial empire coloured with monarchical symbols of the British Empire. The professor contends that we are in the moment of 'immence danger' of shutting down democracy as we know it and closing down dissent. A vigorous countervailing voice is urgently needed today to oppose the current Hobbsean doctrine of unmitigated power in Parliament.
  • While the Department of Peace is only one of many tools needed to create a peaceful nonkilling society, it is an important step in shifting the consciousness from war to peace. The development of Peace Professionals is an important alternative to armed intervention.
  • The action plan for next year is noteworthy. Here are the highlights: Make DPI an election issue. Continue efforts to create cities of peace. Youth and seniors need focus. Make a connection with Quebec. Maximize the use of communications technology, such as short videos. Mobilize civil society and the media to make D of P irresistible. The Annual Peace Festivals across  the country  help make people aware of the higher good and builds networks. Actively oppose Harper's current rebranding of Canada. Write letters to the editor. Become a centre for peace.

1 comment:

  1. With deepest appreciation for your thoughtful rich summary of three days of discourse and interaction. Truly a record of our emerging history.