Sean Howard Asks About Canada’s Role Promoting Peace

Sean Howard, the Spectator‘s war and peace commentator, asked this question of federal candidates in Cape Breton-Canso and Sydney Victoria:

In the 1990s Canada was a leader on international disarmament, receiving plaudits for its role in negotiating the ‘Ottawa Convention’ banning landmines, and earning the nickname ‘the nuclear nag’ for its efforts to move NATO away from reliance on nuclear weapons. Today, Canada stands with the nuclear-weapon states in opposing the new UN Nuclear Ban Treaty, and has ceased to champion the ‘human security’ agenda it helped to shape. What would your party – and you personally – do to restore Canada’s credibility as a country that does more than ‘talk the talk’ on peace?”

Here are their answers (by riding, in the order in which they were received):



Lois Foster, Green Party of Canada

Lois Foster

Lois Foster

A Green Government would strengthen Canada’s role in promoting peace and global cooperation by supporting international engagement:

  • reestablish the Canadian International Development Agency. (CIDA)with a mandate to provide overseas development assistance where it is most needed. Eliminate the requirement that aid be tied to Canadian business interests overseas, or strategic geopolitics;
  • increase Canada’s overseas development assistance budget to reach former Prime Minister Pearson’s goal of 0.7 percent of Gross National Income;
  • ramp up our National contribution to the Green Climate Fund and Global Environmental Facility to 4 billion per year by 2030;
  • review federal government policy to align with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and develop a mechanism to track progress in meeting these targets both at home and abroad.

The Green Party is committed to building and keeping peace internationally. We support the United Nations doctrine of the duty to protect and refuse to place corporate interests ahead of ethical action to protect vulnerable populations.

A Green Government will ensure that the Canadian Armed Forces are prepared to serve in both traditional and new capacities. It will:

  • ensure a consistent capital investment plan with stable funding so that service personnel have the equipment and training they need to fulfill their mandate;
  • normalize the deployment of military personnel to protect civilians and communities from extreme forest fires, flooding and storms caused by climate change and new pollution threats in Canada’s north;
  • sign and ratify the treaty to Abolish Nuclear Weapons;
  • ban autonomous weapons and work for a global pact to make them illegal;
  • cancel the contracts to provide Saudi Arabia with armored vehicles and ban importation of Saudi oil.


Kenzie MacNeil

Kenzie MacNeil

Kenzie MacNeil, Independent

I can’t imagine any sane person not supporting the ban on nuclear weapons. The Americans have pressured the other NATO members to not support the new treaty and I’ve yet to hear a full explanation as to why.



Jodi McDavid, New Democratic Party

Jodi McDavid

Jodi McDavid

Under a New Democrat government, Canada will be a force for peace. We will support nuclear disarmament, recommit to peacekeeping, and make sure that Canadian-made weapons are not fuelling conflict and human rights abuses abroad. Personally, I support peace and think Canada has an opportunity to be a leader in that regard.



Cape Breton-Canso

Michelle Dockrill

Michelle Dockrill

Michelle Dockrill, Independent

Canada’s Historical Landmine Treaty was a very proud moment for all of us. Being a proud Canadian was never greater than being part of the Canadian Delegation to the United Nations for the Landmine Treaty along with [then Canadian Foreign] Minister Lloyd Axworthy. The pride in what we had accomplished as a country and as a Cape Bretoner was truly unimaginable. Taking a position on difficult international issues has always been something we as Canadians have been proud of. Unfortunately, we have lost our place on the international stage. Once a country that was recognized for its commitment to peace with not only our incredible men and women in their blue berets all over the world but in leaders in their willingness to stand against all those whose actions work in contrary to world peace. It is unimaginable with what is possible to witness in this day and age of technology how anyone would not support the banning of nuclear weapons. Canada has traditionally been seen as a leader as it relates to democracy and peace throughout the world. Speaking out internationally against any actions that have a devastating impact on the world and its citizens is not unfamiliar territory for Canada and we need to reclaim our position in the world as a leader and not just a bystander.



Featured image: Non-Violence, a bronze sculpture by Swedish artist Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd of an oversized Colt Python .357 Magnum revolver with a knotted barrel and the muzzle pointing upwards. Reuterswärd made this sculpture after singer-songwriter and peace activist John Lennon was murdered. There are now 32 copies of the statue around the world, including this one at the UN headquarters in New York. (Wikipedia)


Sean Howard



Sean Howard is adjunct professor of political science at Cape Breton University and member of Peace Quest Cape Breton. He may be reached here.