Building Peace: New Challenges for Canada’s Foreign and Defence Policies

Tasneem Jamal

Working Paper 93-4

Brief to the Special Joint Committees on Canada’s Foreign and Defence Policies, May 1994

Executive Summary

Canada’s future security increasingly relies on the creation of a just and sustainable international order. With the Cold War now over, Canada has an opportunity to replace its old military-dominated approach to security with a more appropriate post-Cold War security policy. This post-Cold War policy should focus on the root causes of global insecurity and armed conflict, in particular paying increased attention to three key strategies:

    • Peacebuilding
    • War Prevention
    • War Termination


* Canada should place its greatest emphasis on building the conditions for just and sustainable peace.

* Canada’s spending priorities should be adjusted to reflect this change in emphasis: the Canadian “security budget” should focus less on military force and more on non-military measures that encourage just and environmentally sustainable economic development, human rights and democracy.

* A more balanced “security budget” might allocate 50% to military measures and 50% to non-military measures. A reasonable budget for fiscal year 1999-2000 might be $7.6 billion for the Department of National Defence (DND), $1.9 billion for the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (FAIT), and $5.6 billion for Official Development Assistance (ODA). This post-Cold War security budget would be 5% smaller than the current security budget, but it would be better balanced and would enable Canada for the first time to meet its longstanding goal of allocating 0.7% of GDP to ODA.

War Prevention

* Canada should increase its efforts to prevent war in regions where the failure to build peace has led to imminent threat of armed hostilities.

* Key elements of a war prevention strategy include:

  • increased use of preventive diplomacy, including “citizen diplomacy” efforts;
  • further development of mechanisms for the peaceful resolution of conflict;
  • development of nonviolent security measures; and
  • greater use of disarmament and arms control measures to reduce both the opportunity and the need to resort to military force (e.g., arms control/disarmament agreements, military budget reduction measures, and arms transfer controls).

* Canada should encourage greater global restraint in arms transfers and ensure that its own arms transfer controls are sufficient to prevent Canadian arms exports from undermining war prevention efforts.

War Termination

* Canada should encourage greater use of peacemaking diplomacy and other non-military measures to terminate wars already being fought.

* Key elements of a war termination strategy include:

  • increased use of peacemaking diplomacy (e.g., special UN representatives, externally sponsored peace talks, appropriate levels of economic and political sanctions, arms embargos); and
  • use of military force for
    • peacekeeping,
    • support of humanitarian efforts, and
    • limited enforcement operations to protect the vulnerable and restore order in zones of disorder or low-level conflict.

* The overall goal of military intervention should be to protect or restore a political peacemaking process, not to force a particular outcome.

* The international role of the Canadian Forces should be limited to peacekeeping, humanitarian, and limited enforcement operations, and the structure and budget of the Canadian Forces should be reduced accordingly.

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