Not wishing to repeat arguments that have already been made to this task-force, I would like to concentrate my comments on the need for Canadian policies that focus on the challenges of peace.
Others have already made the case against nuclear war. It has been amply demonstrated that nuclear war cannot be won by any nation and that it entails threats to the very existence of life on this planet. The massive over-kill in nuclear and conventional weapons is equally demonstrable. The dire economic and social consequences of the arms race are painfully evident around the world.
People of all walks of life and in all nations are deeply frustrated and angry that their governments are apparently neither able nor willing to make those changes in policy that would turn the world away from the race toward global disaster.
There are many reasons why the turning away from the arms race is difficult. But I would like to suggest that one reason is that, though it is perfectly clear what it is that nations should not do, it is somewhat less clear what they should do. In other words, there is, at least in some public perceptions and certainly in the perception of politicians, a great lack of models of alternate conducts of international affairs, conducts that are not based on systems of individual or collective threats.
An observer may well be struck by the sterility of the political arguments surrounding official disarmament debates and by the mirror images that occur on these occasions: it seems always as if for one side the responsibility for the current state of affairs can be placed squarely on the “other side” and nothing can be done to resolve a conflict unless “the other side” changes its ways.
This sort of sterility of approach can be traced in many ways to the fact that there hasn’t really been peace in this world since 1945.
Immediately after the end of the Second World War the prospects of another war began to dominate the political and intellectual scene. Thus, preparations for war and the prevention of war became central to the public discourse and the absence of war emerged as the goal and aim of national governments.
But the absence of war is not peace. Peace, as it is inextricably linked to justice, is the absence of the threats; it is the absence of the use of force as an instrument of policy both nationally and internationally. Peace is the presence of instruments of social order that are not dependent on the imposition of force and thus make the citizen neither victims nor executioners.
The pursuit of peace is not simple or trivial, particularly in a technological age. In spite of this, over the last thirty five years or more, people have thought much less about peace than about war and little expertise has been developed regarding the skills of peace, the economics of peace, the politics of peace, the costs of peace, or the technologies of peace. Nevertheless, it is precisely this knowledge and this expertise that the world needs right now.
Even if we hope that international negotiations may lead to an easing of tension, the best one could hope for are precarious stalemates unless one can introduce alternative ways of negotiation, of conflict resolution, of stressing a different approach, an approach of peace, to the problems that the world faces.
I would like to make the case for vigorous Canadian policy to address these challenges of peace. What would such policies involve? Let me address here only two areas: (a) industrial strategies and (b) federal support of scholarly research.
Regarding industrial strategies it should be noted that over the past decade programs were put in place that support, through loans and grants, the activities of those Canadian firms that wish to enter the defence production sector. As the figures appended show, these programs have been accelerated during the last few years.
One must seriously question the reasoning and philosophy behind this development. Any government of Canada will understand that the continuation of the arms race means global suicide. There may be geo-political considerations as to which nation or block should disarm first — but disarmament must come.
Why then would this country invest billions of dollars to tool up its industry to make things that must become redundant? Why increase the already extensive expertise for inventing instruments of war, when we so lack the expertise and the technologies of peace?
And there is technology of peace. Let me only mention the great needs in the technology of pollution abatement and control, proper resource recovery and management, adequate modern transportation, health care and delivery, the control of drugs and pharmaceuticals both in the environment and the food chain, the technologies for testing and verification of drug related environmental and health effects. The processes and instrumentation of the peace-related technologies are as sophisticated and as demanding as any military application of technology.
There is not only the human need to develop these peace technologies there is also substantial profit in doing so. Nevertheless, the Federal government helps the Canadian research community and industry far more in terms of a war effort than in terms of being innovative about peace. In fact, for many, the support under the defence arrangements is often the only game in town.
It is absolutely necessary to change this. I can only deplore the cynicism implicit in the current policy: how can one tie Canadian manufacturing increasingly to the U.S. war machine, knowing that this machine must be curtailed if the world is to survive. Why make something that must be scrapped rather than invest in peace, in technologies the world needs?
It would be a great advantage and profit to Canadian industry if Canada could enter the world market with these new technologies as soon as possible. Why should Canada be saddled with useless high tech. developments when the cutting edge of the technology of peace could propel Canadian manufacturing into world market? In reality, though, it seems that the technology of peace is being developed-c-at present, in Sweden, in Switzerland and in Japan.
Similar and equally compelling considerations apply to the Federal support of research. Both NSERC and SSHRC provide, in addition to their traditional support of academic disciplines, strategic grants in areas defined as encompassing problems of national concern. In these areas, concentrated research and training efforts are funded because in terms of national goals they are particularly needed.
The list of strategic areas of both granting councils do not include: Peace, its strategies, its political science, its technology and the training of its practitioners.
This does not imply that there are no practitioners of peace, researchers or inventors. The peace community, as you will have seen from the presentations to committee is viable and strong in Canada. The world wide peace movement is a source of considerable knowledge, of alternate paradigms and strategies. Within Canada this community could be brought into play quickly and its expertise could be used as building blocks for genuine programs on the challenge of peace.
What is needed is an expression of political will to accept this challenge and to put Canada into the forefront of its study and practice. I hope that your committee will express the need for a new political peace philosophy for Canada: a philosophy that results from the realization that in the nuclear age war and the preparation for war are no longer viable instruments of policy. The policy of our age can not consider war as a possible alternative to constructive conflict resolution. Canadian policies must be based on the assumption that peace is possible and normal and that we have to develop the knowledge, the strategies and the technologies of peace in order to survive.
It is often quoted from the classic literature that “If you want peace you should prepare for war”. That may have been fine in ancient Greece or Rome. It is not applicable in our technological societies where the preparations for war have already produced conditions that are unsuitable for the maintenance of peace.
I would therefore recommend to your committee
- to discontinue the support of defense production by Canadian industry and to put in its place a program of strong support for peace-based technology and manufacturing;
- to designate “peace” as an area of strategic funding in both SSHRC and NSERC.
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