Today I’m watching the first debate with the four leaders of Canada’s major political parties, including the Prime Minister Stephen Harper. I was most interested in the part of foreign policy as I’ve always been passionate about international and humanitarian issues.
What “gets me” is the fact that most of the debate on foreign policy surrounds whether or not any Canadian government should be sending troops to combat. That seems to be the central question when it comes to foreign issues. And, yes, the leaders don’t all agree. One party leader says that a UN mandate is needed before sending troops afar, another says that not always. A few times the word “peacekeeping” has slipped out of the leaders’ mouths.
And it’s not just federal debates. When I went to look up foreign policy in a book I have on Canadian Politics (Canadian Politics in the 21st Century, Whittington and Williams, 6th edition), I found the words “Foreign policy, see also military policy”.
My heart aches as I think of the people around the world being killed and hurt by their governments — by governments that have weapons and they use to control people with. How did we form a world like this, I ask myself. And when is military intervention necessary to protect innocent, trapped civilians?
These are undoubtedly important questions.
As this blog is about Food and Peace, I thought I should write a post about this. Of course peace to me is living in a state of freedom, a world where people don’t have to fear being shot or controlled. I also thought the topic of humanitarian assistance and international aid should have been covered during the debate. It was shocking that foreign policy revolves around the topic of military and combat, when it could revolve around assistance and peacekeeping efforts.
So where is the balance? What should we do? I think that as a peacekeeping nation we should not be spending any money on efforts that involve weapons or warfare. But then, who losses in the short term?
I hope we do reach a world without war, a world with peace and love for one and other. Freedom and stability.
Here’s the link to the debate video if you are interested. The topic of foreign policy starts at about 1:26 (an hour and twenty-six minutes) into the debate.