2015 Elections, Peace building and the art of questions

During elections voices are heard.  Questions teach. Questions open doors to learning and discovery for both the one who asks and those to whom the question is directed.  Ask your candidates when they come around, speak up at debates, send them an email or letter. Be informed. Vote for honest politicians.

This is how I see the issues and questions. Use what you wish. Good luck to us all.

I have an interest in international foreign policy and peace. I believe we need a country and a government of honest ethical MPs that understand national wellbeing, namely:

  • Good honest governance (Ethical, respectful, and not corrupt)
  • Meets security needs (Domestic and for international peace and stability)
  • Meets social needs (Health, education, housing, human rights)
  • Meets economic needs (Jobs and livelihood)

Governance questions:

  • Q. Foreign policy: Canada is an export nation and does not have the population or GDP to defend itself. (We depend on oceans, neighbors and alliances)   The security and prosperity of the world is the security and prosperity of Canada. Canada had a strong peacemaking tradition, now has a militant foreign policy with a military intervention predisposition   How best do you think we can contribute to international peace security and stability?  What would you do?
  • Q. Canadian history shares in two Nobel peace prizes. Now Canada shockingly  lost a security council seat, cannot be trusted to be impartial by the global community, and is more often than not is an outlier on international issues.  Would you support a department of peace, as a precursor to military intervention and DND?
  • Q. The government has a Federal Accountability Act for elected members and a PSDPA Public disclosure protection ac for public servants, and yet suffers ethical lapses.  Decorum in parliament and between parties in public is disgraceful.  The people want honest government not bickering, insults and power obsessions.   Decorum can be seen as courtesy, compromise, collaboration and cooperation”.  Canadians deserve no less.  What are your views on this and how will you conduct yourself if elected?

Security questions:

  • Q. The true cost of war.  In the Iraq Afghan wars.  US 5800 dead/51000 wounded/ over a thousand suicides/20% PTSD.  Canada 158 dead/1859 Wounded/28% PTSD/160 suicides serving members (2004-2014).  What about veteran suicides?  Why are only serving member suicides being reported?   The causalities of this war are far from over.  What would you do about this? About the truth and honoring and reporting PTSD and all suicide names as the true cost of this war.
  • Q.  P5+1 and Iran nuclear agreement.  Canada refuses to support the agreement and has adopted a wait and see approach, preferring to be on the sidelines.  What would you propose Canada do?
  • Q. Civilized people talk.  As a result of the p5+1 agreement, the UK recently reopened its embassy in Iran.  Canada refuses to do so or relax sanctions.  What would you to?
  • Q.  Russia and the Ukraine. The Canadian response is to promote sanctions and a confrontative approach, and fuels risks of another version of the cold war.  Who speaks for peace and diplomacy with Russia? How do you think Canada can best contribute to a peaceful resolution of this crisis other than confrontation and violent language?
  • Q. Electoral reform.  We live with an electoral system where 30% to 40% of the vote can result in 100% of the power.  How can we achieve a system where the country is governed by a true majority of people  and representative of the demographics of Canada and our first nations.  What are your views on this?

Social needs questions:

  • Q. Youth radicalization. At a series of interfaith meetings on this subject the message about youth was loud and clear –  “pay attention to youth”.  It became apparent that the problems of radicalization are not best solved by policing but by meaningful jobs, hope, a supportive family and community social environment, and the creation of a positive identity and future.  What are your views?
  • Q. We are a nation of a rule of law.  We expect Canadians to obey the law.  We expect Canada to honor agreements and treaties. This includes treaties with our first nations.  What are your views regarding FN treaties, their land and right to respecting their consent?
  • Q. We are a nation of growing ethnic and religious diversity. We have a government trafficking in the politics of fear regarding terrorism and risking creating undercurrents of intolerance.    Two terrorism fatalities in Canada in recent years  pales in comparison with 172 gun homicides in 2012.  Death by terrorism in Canada is less by far than most other risks of death by violence.  What are your views on this?

Economic needs questions:

  • Q.  As the price of oil falls, the consequences of becoming a petro economy is becoming apparent, namely as we are in a recession or heading into one.  What would you propose?
  • Q. Canadian aid and development policy in Africa has become highly connected with the interests of Canadian mining companies and protecting mineral and mining profits when prices rise. Some reports put well over twice as much wealth is extracted than our foreign aid given. This is hospitals, education, and much of the future of these countries taken by this industry.  What are your views on this?  Do you agree or disagree?
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The question of ending violence against women

“If you cannot do something, then say something; if you cannot say something, then feel something.  The least you can do is feel something.” anon

 In 2012, I attended a university session on violence against women and could not help but reflect on the tone of anger, confrontation, trauma and demands for justice as a response to the tragedies of murdered and missing indigenous women in Canada. Certainly the response was very understandable given the magnitude of this tragedy. Individual stories were heart rending.

 I wondered if non-violent communication (NVC) and the ethic of care is possible as a larger part of the way forward. I even wondered about the readiness to think about such approaches given the high levels of emotion present. Perhaps there are other questions, dialogue or ideas to think about in quieter moments. For example:

  • Can we better balance language, the ethic of care and justice as a response to such an issue? To what extent does justice define sufficiency for those suffering the pain of having loved ones as victims, or of being a survivor? What does the ethics of care mean here, and is it worth a greater level of effort than the demands for justice? What is the best balance? Is healing better dealt with by the individual or the responsibility of others, or some balanced combination of both? Society as a whole also needs to heal from this tragedy? How can we do this?

What alternatives or additions are possible?  Perhaps:

  • In the cases of a heavy predisposition for confrontation, to consider reorienting the primacy of justice as a demand, to one of giving some balance to NVC and the ethic of care. I.e. to better entitle as “The Tragedy of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada”, vice “Justice for missing and murdered Indigenous women”.
  • This states the fact at hand and the feeling of suffering, and offers an invitation for everyone to reflect and respond how they can.
  • Perhaps another line below stating “The need for compassion, care, voice, reconciliation, healing and justice”. In this way everyone should be able to find themselves in one of these responses and offers broader possibilities for engagement, even if only of feeling deeply for these women and for those suffering today as a result. These possibilities are greater than the overwhelming emotions of confrontation and anger, however justified. There is always time for love and compassion as a first response.

 In addition, the living, who are survivors or continue to be victims of violence, deserve as much attention as those killed. For all of us, memories can continue to victimize, and never go away. The question of how to have a healthy response to the suffering attached to these memories when they arise, is important.  The heart level conversation for awareness and understanding is as important as the mind level conversation to debate and decide on social activism and engagement.

 In the cause of compassion and peace.

Canadian Leadership at the 2012 Arms Trade Treaty Diplomatic Conference is disappointing

Former Military Officer Urges Stronger Canadian Stance at the 2102 Arms Trade Treaty Diplomatic Conference

 Dear Mr Prime Minister;

In reading the opening  “STATEMENT BY CANADA AT THE OPENING OF THE ARMS TRADE TREATY DIPLOMATIC CONFERENCE. JULY 2012”. I noted the Canadian delegation made the following statements:

Quote:  it is also important that the All recognize the legitimacy of the legal and responsible international trade in conventional weapons and that it respects the lawful ownership of firearms by responsible private citizens for personal and recreational uses, such as sport shooting, hunting and collecting.

 And

 Quote:  Canada stresses the importance of the principle of national discretion and that the ATT should recognize the legitimacy of lawful ownership of firearms by responsible citizens for their personal and recreational use, including sport shooting, hunting and collecting. We stress that this should in no way result in any new burdens being placed on lawful firearms owners.

As a former military professional with 33 years service, and the former Director of DND Ethics, I am extremely discouraged and disheartened  that we are attempting to water down this treaty, to the point that we will be directly complicit in the deaths of many people.  The people of Canada expect our government to exercise world leadership on conflict reduction and that such leadership be guided by an uncompromising stance on humanitarian values.  We should be at this treaty negotiation with a view to making it as strong as possible.

Surely, the legitimate arms manufacturers, gun owners and the NRA would be willing to put up with some inconvenience when people, human beings, are suffering and dying every minute somewhere in the world from small arms. To imply that gunshot victims have less priority than “no new burdens on lawful firearm owners” is absolutely unbelievable.    I am truly ashamed of what Canada has become as a global citizen, when we attempt to put the arms trade in any form before human lives.

As a military professional, I can tell you that the most lethal weapons in use today, which causes the most killing every day, are small arms.  There should be no measures we should not be prepared take to reduce the human carnage every day caused by small arms.

I am sure you know that almost every weapons seizure from criminal, terrorist, insurgent, or drug trafficking elements contain non-military pattern weapons.  They use whatever they can get, no exceptions.  In the photo below, you can see that the entire back row of weapons of non-military pattern weapons would be exempt from this treaty.  This is beyond irresponsible.  I can assure you that criminals and terrorists simply want weapons, any weapons, that kill, and especially those that can be obtained legally or are unregulated to any extent.  The Canadian proposal creates a huge loophole to do this.  This is beyond belief.  This will spawn a surge and unregulated traffic in non-military pattern weapons that we will not be able to control.

Mr Prime Minister, this is an issue of human lives and human values.  I implore you to issue direction to your delegation to withdraw and strongly oppose any but the strongest restrictions on the global arms trade.  This is for the sake of we are as Canadians and as responsible human beings in a global community.

In the cause of peace

Paul Maillet

Colonel (retired)

President PAUL MAILLET CENTER FOR ETHICS
Web: http://paulmailletethics.wordpress.com
Accredited Peace Professional, Civilian Peace Services Canada
Web: http://paulmailletpeacemaker.wordpress.com

http://civilianpeaceservice.ca

Email: pmaillet@magma.ca
Tel: 613.841.9216 Cell: 613.866.2503

Truckload Of Weapons Heading For Nigeria Seized In Ghana.  Posted by Information Nigeria in Home . Nigerian News

on January 11, 2012

2012 Peace Professional Accreditation Acceptance Speech

These remarks were made on the occasion of my being awarded a Peace Professional Accreditation from the Civilian Peace Services Canada at St Paul’s University 28 June 2012.

First I would like to thank you very much for your kind words of introduction.  I sincerely hope I can live up to the expectations of this award.  I would like also to thank the accreditation board of the Civilian Peace Services Canada (CPSC) for their time and patience and listening to me talk on and on.   Also to Jennifer Weibe and Gordon Breedyk for organizing the many interviews, meetings and submissions

I would like to especially thank my references for their time, support, and kind words in helping me – France Larouche, Sylvie Lemieux, Iman Ibrahim and Qais Ghanem.

I would also like to express my admiration for a most innovative approach to accreditation by this organization. It is so seldom we see values as prominent in accreditation criteria or hiring criteria in this way.  This is a leading edge approach that I hope serves as a good example of how we should value and select people in organizations and for positions of authority.

THERE IS A DESPERATE NEED HERE.     If anyone is looking for an exciting and rewarding career that makes a real difference, I would suggest that peace making and conflict management is an emerging and growing field in this world.

INTERNATIONALLY:  Since the end of the cold war, advances in technology, media, activism, the Arab Spring, human rights demands, ethnic tensions have conspired to create new power structures and an avalanche of conflict and violence.  This needs a better, more human response, than more violence as a response.  The utility and affordability of massive military intervention is coming to an end.  Trillion dollar military adventures such as the Iraq and Afghan wars are fast becoming obsolete.  No one can afford any more of those in the current global economic climate.

This begs for alternatives, creative alternatives, real alternatives that put the human rights of people first.  Perhaps the time has come for true peace operations as a mandated precursor to the laws of armed conflict and military intervention.  We need to invert the priorities of the laws of armed conflict which puts just cause and justice first, a defacto invocation of  the death penalty, with a plea to minimize or avoid collateral damage and civilian casualties somewhere down the list.  We need a robust codification of such as responsibility to protect (r2p) and peace operations that will serve to first prevent, stop or reduce conflict, with a first priority to stop the violence, and then care for victims, then peace talks and mediation, and finally reconciliation and justice.  This will need a new skill set and experienced practitioners in peace making or peace operations.

DOMESTICALLY this is about the relief of suffering and conflict resolution is such as those first nations, inner cities and those communities who are suffering today or plagued by social problems.  I recently attended a First Nations Chiefs of Ontario conference and noted the desperate needs and frustrations with the federal government, that are a cause of suffering today in our country.  This included needs as basic as social assistance that impact children.

THE RESPONSE.  There is no doubt that we must expand conflict management and peacemaking methodologies and approaches in response to these needs.  We need to have responses and people prepared in advance to deal with pre conflict, during conflict and post conflict situations.  We need people who can be sensitive to the ethic of care and PTSD (post traumatic stress disorders), and the social trauma of war.

We need a new and credible community of peace professionals, who have the capacity to be present in the conflict zones, crisis, or communities in need, who can be neutral parties, skilled in dialogue and mediation, and who have a strong bias for peace  and human rights.  People who can help rebuild communities.

 So here we are, a new generation of peacemakers, hopefully a growing alternative to the warriors.    The opportunity is huge.  CPSC is a growing association of peace professionals and this is just a beginning.  Hopefully, there many more will join and offer their skills, experience and compassion.  The peace professional community is still desperately small. Hopefully, and at some point, we can supplement this with a large group of  member level peace workers who shares a code of values that is oriented towards peace and non violence, and together with the peace professionals are willing to work towards peace.

CONCLUSION. Again my sincere thanks to you all and in the cause of peace, good luck to us all.

Paul Maillet

NCC Horizon 2067 Capital Conversations- Letter to the Chief Executive Officer of the NCC

11 November 2011

Dear Madame Lemay;

We attended your presentation at the National Archives on 8 Nov 2011 and certainly appreciated your leadership and personal interest in offering such an open invitation to participate in our future.  What a great example of participatory democracy.  You have our sincere thanks and best wishes.  We believe that together we can make a difference.

As decisions and directions will have far reaching consequences in our lives, we consider it important to contribute our voice and support.  In accepting your invitation, we suggest taking a page from our First Nations.  Of all possibilities, we may wish to ask ourselves what are the four directions that have the most heart for us and might yield the most benefit.  This may well involve directions towards becoming a vibrant international city, a city of community, a capital city, and a city of strong values.  We want to be a city that sets an example for Canadians and the world.

 We believe that becoming a community is more than roads, development, green spaces and festivals.  We are more than tulips, the canal and Winterlude.  We are more often people who relate to the NCC in terms of expectations and demands and who often insist that the NCC provide for their interests and needs.  At the level of residents, we believe community should be about respect, harmony and caring for one another.  It is about fostering the dignity of an amazing diversity of cultures and religions in Ottawa and about all residents being able to live well in the company of others. It is about a healthy partnership and relationship with government.

Perhaps our approach to dialogue, understanding, consultation, conflict resolution, consensus, or decision making needs to reflect a broader and more participative relationship.  We suggest that leading edge community development would engage its residents around three questions:

  •  What do you need?
  • What can you do for yourselves?
  • What help do you need from others? (such as from the NCC)

At this presentation, needs were expressed from Victoria island, Lansdowne, Marsh Highlands and the cost to use cross country ski trails.  The result seemed certainly a one way conversation to NCC who were pressed to respond to what are often no-win and multi jurisdictional issues, and in a future of declining funding resources.

For example, on the ski trails issue, what if the NCC had suggested that if resident groups could maintain the trails, it can be no cost or low-cost to them.   NCC could provide the space and access at no cost, and save on maintenance costs.  Now we have a partnership. On the Victoria Island issue, if the cost of a healing center on Victoria Island is prohibitive, what if we provide the First Nations the free use, or acknowledge their ownership, of Victoria Island? Could they fundraise and build whatever structures they need?  I’m sure they could.

We believe that for people to be a real community that we need to be able to connect, meet and talk. The contributions of NCC may be to provide the public square, where open and responsible expression can occur, where elected officials can comfortably participate, and where all are taken seriously.  We need to be a city where such occurrences as “Occupy Ottawa”, can be in the context of normal, peaceful, responsible and constructive dialogue.

 Becoming an international city is an initiative in which we feel NCC has touched our cherished values and needs for making a difference in the world.   We believe this is a tremendous opportunity and you have our complete support.  This aspiration speaks to our deepest values.  We noted the slide in your presentation of the monument that had inscribed “In the service of peace.”  This we feel is what this city is uniquely positioned to represent and offer to the world.  We can be a place where the global community can meet and talk in a safe and respectful community.  The challenge will be more than assertions or aspirations; it will require engagement and involvement.  We believe that this is worthy of what a capital city should mean.

We believe that activities relating to the reduction of conflict and the relief of suffering are cherished by Canadians. We are a city reflecting a Nobel peace prize for peacekeeping and peace building, a city with a tradition of voice and volunteerism in the cause of peace.  We are a city where the international community and its embassies are already in Ottawa.   We are a city of many peace groups, of many peace building NGOs and civil society groups, university conflict centers, the Canadian Department of Peace Initiative, an emerging Civilian Peace Service among many others.  We are a city with First Nations contributing strong traditions of peace, land and spirituality.  What if we engage the world by creating a Peace Centre, where dialogue, peace and conflict resolution conferences and events can be held? On Parliament Hill, we have a Peace Tower and we have an annual Mayoral proclamation of Ottawa being a City of Peace.  This should mean something concrete to our city and the world.

To summarize, we believe that the current relationship with residents, municipal and regional government and the world would benefit from such a sense of identity and balance in our city.

We are prepared to put our time and skills to the great possibilities that are before us.  We are prepared to offer our assistance to you in the cause of our shared future.  If you wish to further discuss any issues raised, we would be most pleased to meet with you or your staff at your convenience.

Our sincere thanks and best wishes for our future;

Paul Maillet

and

Pamela Schreiner

Joanne Mantha

Maya Bobrowska

Iman Ibrahim

Bill Bhaneja

Dr Peter Stockdale

Dr Qais Ghanem

Gord Breedyk

Dr Jason Bailey

Pierre Chénier

CC:  Mayor Jim Watson  Mayor of Ottawa

CC: Mayor Marc Bureau Mayor of Gatineau

CC:  National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo Assembly of First Nations

 Ref; www.horizon2067.ca