Above: Photo of students in Indore India, courtesy of ICANw.org.
Keynote Speaker: Peggy Mason, President of the Rideau Institute.
Peggy Mason is a former Canadian Ambassador for Disarmament to the UN and an expert on the political/diplomatic aspects of UN peacekeeping training. Since mid-2014 she has been President of the Rideau Institute, an independent think tank focusing on policy research, advocacy and social engagement in Canada’s foreign, defence and national security policies.
Appearing regularly in the blogosphere, in print media and on radio and television, she brings a progressive voice to issues ranging from the imperative of nuclear disarmament and the centrality of UN peaceful conflict resolution, to the strengthening of international law and the equal right to security of all states and their peoples.
A summary of Ms. Mason’s speech appears below.
More peacemaking, less defence spending: What a Feminist Foreign Policy for Canada really looks like!
In its new national Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security, the government of Canada has pledged “to advance the women, peace and security agenda through all of its diplomatic and programming efforts”. This makes eminent sense given manifold evidence that the meaningful participation of women in all stages of peacebuilding and conflict resolution strengthens peace and security for all.
But a feminist “perspective” on peacebuilding and conflict resolution counts for little when Canada’s international policy is utterly dominated by militarism.
The Justin Trudeau government has pledged billions of dollars in increased defence spending over the next 20 years (while Canada’s new ‘feminist” aid policy comes with ZERO new funding). Canadian arms exports to repressive governments are on the rise, while the government’s welcome commitment to re-engage in UN peacekeeping languishes unfulfilled.
“A truly feminist foreign policy would restore and expand emphasis on war prevention and peaceful conflict resolution, and give priority to building the United Nations envisaged by its Charter.”