Green Party of Canada Platform: Part 5: The planet needs Canada (and vice versa), 5.1 Canada’s role as global leader

A continuing review of  the Green Party of Canada’s Platform:

Part 5: The planet needs Canada (and vice versa)

The Green Party is the only trulye global party, with Greens in 70 countries and elected members of parliament in Europe, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand. Together we work to press the nuclear super-powers to meet their obligations for disarmament, to reduce and eliminate the nuclear threat. We work to shift military budgets to peacekeeping and peace-building. We work to ensure the education, health protection and economic autonomy of women and girls around the world to address poverty and over-population.

The United Nations General Assembly vote to deny Canada its traditional rotation on the Security Council should be a wake-up call that we are losing our reputation in the world. The agenda set out in this Vision Green would restore Canada to its historic role as respected global citizen.

5.1 Canada’s role as global leader in peace-building, poverty alleviation and environmental protection

“To meet the challenge of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. Each of us must learn to work not just for his, or her, own self, family or nation, but for the benefit of all mankind. Universal responsibility is the real key to human survival. It is the best foundation for world peace, the equitable use of natural resources, and through concern for future generations, the proper care of the environment.”

Dalai Lama

Canada has strayed dangerously far from our peacemaking roots. Canada’s international policy has evolved into what is called a “3-D” model. The D’s are diplomacy, development and defence. This integrative approach has achieved only a fraction of its full potential because the bureaucratic structure in Ottawa has not been reformed to prevent the inevitable competition for power and influence between departments. Consequently, the effectiveness of Canada’s international activity has been unnecessarily limited.

Inspired political leadership to reverse this trend is missing. In fact, the opposite of such leadership is the norm. We face a dramatic diplomatic deficit internationally, as the core capacity of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT) is increasingly undermined and eroded by the current Harper administration.

The Green Party will re-establish Canada among the global leaders in peace-building, peacekeeping, and international diplomacy. We were proud of Canada’s decision to say “no” to joining the U.S. invasion of Iraq. We believe our foreign policy objectives must include multilateral disarmament, particularly nuclear disarmament, and support for United Nations peacekeeping operations.

The Green Party sees international law and its institutions as the roots of international justice and stability. Detainment without access to a fair trial and the use of torture in questioning suspects held in military or any other detention centers contravenes international human rights treaties and institutions. Respect for international law and international conventions is not only the baseline for moral activity but is, in fact, the foundation of a just and secure world. We must no longer turn a blind eye to incarceration practices that weaken international law and civil society and therefore represent a deeper, long-term security threat.

The Green Party will restore the capacity for superb diplomacy, a traditional Canadian strength. We will increase our overseas development assistance and revamp the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) to focus more on developing green economies and on poverty alleviation. We will expand our defence role in UN-led peacekeeping missions and in emergency and disaster relief and equip it accordingly.

Green Party MPs will:

  • Re-align our defence spending to increase our capacity and speed in delivering disaster assistance (e.g. through the DART − Disaster Assistance Rapid Response Team) and our contributions to UN peacekeeping forces and missions, and decrease our contributions to NATO war efforts.
  • Rebuild the broken linkages among Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT), National Defence and the Canadian Forces (DND/CF), and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), to effectively and efficiently plan, organize, and execute our missions abroad.
  • Play a lead role in establishing a standing UN Rapid Response Force with a mandate for peacekeeping and environmental restoration in both international crisis situations and domestic catastrophes like floods, earthquakes, storms and fires.
  • Instruct Canadian Embassies and Consulates around the world to develop effective early disaster reconnaissance and assessment capabilities in order to speed up Canadian response times.
  • Oppose the use of the United Nations Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine as a military solution to force aid relief on countries that are rejecting it.
  • Focus Canada’s development aid efforts and economic investment in the specific key areas that:
    • Foster alternative fuels and energy sources that dramatically reduce the need to import oil and natural gas and further allow the growth of recipient nation independent and/or majority ownership of these sectors and/or businesses as they develop.
    • Focus on agriculture sectors that provide for food sovereignty through both subsistence farming and domestic commercial farming methods that are in keeping with green environmentally sound and gender equality principles.
    • Increase bilateral trade, where possible, to facilitate the export of value added products from small island economies.
    • Support and strengthen cooperation with regional organizations to further the goal of regional independence and sovereignty.
  • Advance the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and ensure its principles are at the core of Canadian foreign policy.
  • Support the transition Shift from a Department of Defence into a Department of Peace and Security.
  • Review Canada’s membership in military alliances including NATO and NORAD to ensure they are meeting Canada’s priorities of diplomacy, development and defence.
  • Press urgently for global nuclear disarmament and the conversion of military industries in Canada and worldwide into peaceful and restorative industries.
  • Pursue international criminal investigations of existing military detention centers where human rights violations have been reported in Iraq, Cuba, Afghanistan and elsewhere, and strongly advocate for the closure of all military detention centres that exist outside of international law.
  • Oppose the use of Canada’s public institutions for the development of military technology.
  • Oppose the development or deploymentuse of space-based weapons on Canadian soil or in Canadian waters.
  • Oppose the militarization of space.
  • Insist on the adherence to the Geneva Convention by Canada and its allies.
  • Advocate that responses to terrorism must be carried out within a framework consistent with international law. Terrorism must be fought with the traditional tools of criminal investigation and prosecution.
  • Promote the Earth Charter and seek its endorsement by approve it in the Canadian Parliament.
  • Propose that Canada fulfill its obligations under the Convention on Biological Diversity by providing new and substantial funding for nature conservation in developing countries and by implementing policies aimed at protecting biodiversity throughout the world. (Spur tThe government of Canada should into taking the lead in organizing and arranging financing.)
  • Advocate gathering comprehensive collections of crop plants, varietals, and domestic animal breeds of the world able to preserve the genetic diversity required to safeguard the future of the human supply of food, fibre and other biological products. (This genetic heritage will beis especially needed for low-input systems of farming suited to a resource-frugal future.)
  • Promote the recognition that the preservation of wild nature and the whole community of life, globally, nationally and locally, is of crucial importance, not only for its own sake but also for developing sustainable agriculture and forestry systems in the future.
  • Advocate that the Government of Canada encourage all levels of government in Canada to take effective action to protect, preserve and enhance wild nature and the community of life.

We must base ourselves in international law. It is the rock you can stand on when things become confusing.

Paul Heinbecker, Former Ambassador for Canada to the United Nations
February 17, 2007 address to the Green Party foreign policy foru

Comments and discussion are welcomed.  I am examining this as I go to gain a better grasp of their platform and invite all who are interested to do the same with comments and discussion.

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