Peace. Justice. Survival.

      Who We Are    Contact Us    Member's Bulletin Board    Hot Button Issues
Peace And Security Economic Equity Global Governance Environmental Quality Links G78 Publications Conferences & Events
Conference links Conference Program Background Material Conference Report Conclusions & Recommendations / Resolutions  


2004 Conference - français

Sovereignty and the Interdependence of Nations:
Implications for Canada


Group of 78 Annual Policy Conference 2004

Conference Report

September 10 - 12, 2004
Econiche House: 32 River Road, Cantley, Quebec J8Y 3A1

Conference Chair: Peggy Mason
Presentation of Conference Resolutions: Clyde Sanger



    Introduction: Themes and Speakers

    OPENING ADDRESS: The United States Can’t go it Alone

  • Paul Heinbecker


    Panel 1: Population Growth and Decline, Resource Consumption and Climate Change: Can we ever get ahead of these problems?

  • Madeline Weld

  • Elizabeth May

  • Discussion group

  • Resolutions

    Panel 2: Globalization of Poverty: Leveling up or leveling down?

  • Andrew Clark       

  • Thomas Turay

  • Discussion Group

  • Resolutions

    Panel 3: Responsibility to Protect: How and when to intervene to save lives.

  • John Packer

  • Discussion Group

  • Resolutions

    Panel 4: Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament: Strengthening the international system for the 21st  century

  • Rob McDougall

  • Peggy Mason

  • Discussion Group

  • Resolutions


    APPENDIX: The Group of 78       


    Our thanks must go first to the speakers, panelists, and resource people at the discussion groups who freely gave their time and effort to making the Conference a success.

    The Group is most grateful to all those who helped to organize and run the conference, which this year drew 76 people, of whom 58 were members, to Econiche Lodge. Particular thanks go to:

    Conference Coordinator: Working with the chair and preparatory committee, conference coordinator Mary Edwards did a fine job of handling the administrative side.

    Members of the preparatory committee: Peggy Mason (chair), Joan Broughton, Andy Clarke, Mary Edwards, Dwight Fulford, Leslie McWhinnie, and Clyde Sanger.

    Conference Rapporteurs: Once again we were pleased to welcome graduate students from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University as ‘working guests’ at the Conference. These were: Dolma T. Dongtotsang, Craig Hunter, Karen McMullen, Sara Parchello, and Ishwar Persad,.

    Moderators of panels and discussion groups: We would like to acknowledge with thanks the double duty taken on by the panel moderators; Andy Clarke, Murray Thomson, Christine Harmston, and Metta Spencer, who also chaired the discussion sessions on the panel themes and guided the discussion towards the development of resolutions and recommendations.

    Editors: Clyde Sanger organized the rapporteur group and was editor of this report. Mary Edwards was production editor.

    Translation: Danielle Graton, Evelyn Dumas, Yves Amesse, and Carine Houle.

    Financial Contributions: While members pay their own way to the Conference and participants in the program donate their services, the Conference would not be possible without financial support for organization and administration.  This year’s gathering was made possible by the continuing generous support of the International Development Research Centre, as well as grants from The Canadian Peacebuilding Coordinating Committee, the Department of Defence Security and Defence Forum, and the Simons Foundation.

    Peggy Mason

    Chair of the Group of 78, 2004-2006

    Editor: Clyde Sanger

    Production Editor: Mary Edwards

    Table of Contents


    The 2004 policy conference of the Group of 78 took place against the backdrop of the UN Secretary- General’s High-Level Panel on Security, Challenges and Reform. The panel report was published in December and is said to be the most important proposal for reform of the international system put forward in some 40 years. The conference also took place in the middle of the US presidential campaign and the challenges that the Bush administration had posed to the United Nations and the practice of multilateralism.  Our conference fitted into that context with a focus on the interdependence of nations and an analysis of multilateral efforts to achieve reduction of world poverty, to slow the process of climate change, to protect lives in failed states, and to sustain arms control and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.

    Paul Heinbecker in his opening address drew on his experience as Canada’s Ambassador to the United Nations to state firmly the inescapable factor of interdependence  (“The United States cannot go it alone”) and to argue that Canada indeed had choices in its foreign policy.  Four plenary panels followed and – a worthwhile innovation this year – the panel chairs later led discussion groups on the same themes and presented the resulting resolutions. This is the reason for the report following each of the four themes through the three stages and thus the explanation for dividing up the resolutions.

    In the first panel session Madeline Weld and Elizabeth May tackled in liveliest fashion the interrelated problems of “Population Growth and Decline, Resource Consumption and Climate Change”. The question of which was globally the most urgent problem, and indeed whether Canada should restrict immigration in its efforts to curb climate change, was vigorously debated. In the second panel session on “The Globalization of Poverty”, Andrew Clark from CIDA Policy Branch responded to a set of questions about the Millenium Development Goals and the performance of the International Monetary Fund as well as of Canada, while Thomas Turay from the Coady Institute gave a graphic picture of poverty in his Sierra Leone homeland.

    The third panel comprised the lunchtime speaker and international consultant, John Packer, speaking on “The Responsibility to Protect: When and how to intervene to save lives”. In this he took issue with the main thrust of the report that is the work of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, itself the brainchild of former Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy.  His criticism centred upon the haste with which the report, in dealing with the problem of states that failed to protect their peoples from gross violations of human rights, leapt over various measures of prevention to the ultimate step of military intervention.  This topic was particularly timely, since Prime Minister Paul Martin has been pressing the R2P concept and it has been taken up by the High-Level Panel.

    The final panel was on “Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament: Strengthening the international system for the 21st Century”.  Rob McDougall, the point man on these subjects at Foreign Affairs, gave in present circumstances an almost upbeat, certainly a resolute, speech with a useful dissection of three groups of countries and their motivations. Peggy Mason, as a former Ambassador for Disarmament, offered a strong defence of the multilateral system against the attacks of (non-present) neo-conservatives and launched her own interceptor weapon against the Ballistic Missile Defence scheme. The arguments against BMD and Canada’s participation were then fully set out in a lengthy resolution adopted by the Group of 78.


    Table of Contents

    Opening address

    Paul Heinbecker is the inaugural director of the Centre for Global Relations, Governance and Policy at Wilfrid Laurier University and Senior Research Fellow at the independent research Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) in Waterloo. These appointments follow a distinguished career with the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs.

    Mr. Heinbecker joined the Department of External Affairs in 1965, with postings abroad in Ankara and Stockholm, and in Paris with the Permanent Delegation of Canada to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. In Ottawa, Mr. Heinbecker served, inter alia, as Director of the United States General Relations Division and as Chairman of the Policy Development Secretariat in External Affairs. From 1985 to 1989, he was Minister in Washington.

    From 1989 to 1992, Mr. Heinbecker served as Prime Minister Mulroney’s Chief Foreign Policy Advisor and speech writer and as Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet for Foreign and Defence Policy.

    In 1992, he was named Ambassador to Germany, where inter alia he promoted German investment in Canada. In 1996, he was appointed Assistant Deputy Minister, Global and Security Policy, and Political Director in the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Mr. Heinbecker led the interdepartmental task force on Kosovo and helped to negotiate the end of that war. He was also head of the delegation for the negotiation of the Climate Change Convention in Kyoto.

    In the summer of 2000, Mr. Heinbecker was appointed Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations, where he was a leading advocate for the creation of the International Criminal Court and a proponent of compromise on Iraq.

    Mr. Heinbecker received his Bachelor of Arts Degree (Honours) from Waterloo Lutheran University in 1965, and an Honorary Doctorate of Law from the same institution in 1993. He was Alumnus of the Year at WLU in 2003.

    He is married to Ayše Köymen; they have two daughters, Yasemin and Céline.


    Population Growth and Decline, Resource Consumption and Climate Change: Can we ever get ahead of these problems?

    Elizabeth May is an environmentalist, writer, activist, and lawyer. She has been Executive Director of the Sierra Club of Canada since 1989.  She is a member of the Board of the International Institute of Sustainable Development and is former vice-chair of the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy. In 1999, Dalhousie University created a permanent chair in her honour, the Elizabeth May Chair in Women’s Health & the Environment. She has received numerous rewards, including the United Nations Global 500 award and two honorary doctorates. She is the author of four books.

    Madeline Weld was born in White Plains, New York, where her father was with the Canadian consulate. She grew up in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Karachi and Rawalpindi (Pakistan), and Berne (Switzerland), as well as in Ottawa, where the family resided when not posted abroad on diplomatic missions. Madeline graduated from Glebe Collegiate Institute in Ottawa and has a B.Sc. in zoology from the University of Guelph and an M.S. and Ph.D. in physiology, both from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. For the past few years, Madeline has been working at Health Canada as a toxicology evaluator. Prior to that she worked at the University of Ottawa as a sessional lecturer and as a copy editor at the Canadian Psychiatric Association.

    Madeline has been active in several organizations over the past dozen years. She is president of the Population Institute of Canada, whose object is to bring population-related issues to the attention of the public and politicians, and has written extensively on population issues.  She was involved in the creation of the PIC’s website (though is thankfully not the webmaster) where you can read some of her material. Madeline was formerly the secretary of the Humanist Association of Canada and remains editor of its newsletter, Canadian Humanist News.  She had a regular column in the quarterly magazine Humanist in Canada for about 5 years. (The Humanist Association of Canada, for those who may not be familiar with it, is a rationalist organization promoting a naturalistic point of view, seeking human solutions to human problems.) Madeline also served on the board of Planned Parenthood Ottawa for 4 years and was president for 2 years.  She is married with 2 boys, aged 17 and 15.

    Globalization of Poverty: Leveling up or leveling down?

    Andrew Clark is a graduate of the University of Toronto and the London School of Economics. In the late 1980s, he worked for three years in Dakar, Senegal as a Junior Professional Officer with the United Nations Development Program. Subsequently he was employed for seven years as a researcher with the North-South Institute in Ottawa with his main research area being Canadian development policy with a particular regional focus on Africa. He joined CIDA in 1997 working as a policy analyst in Multilateral Programs Branch and dealing mostly with international humanitarian assistance issues. In January of 2000 he moved to Policy Branch as a Senior Policy Advisor. In Policy Branch he worked on CIDA’s Social Development Priorities: A Framework for Action and most recently on CIDA’s policy statement on Strengthening Aid Effectiveness: Canada Making a Difference in the World. Since August 2003, he has been working as the Senior Analyst on the IMF in Multilateral Programs Branch.  Andrew is married to Pat Lindsey. They have two sons Benjamin (11) and Nicholas (9).    

    Thomas Mark Turay joined the Coady Institute in 1999. He has over 20 years of experience in the field of development education. Prior to his arrival at the Coady, he was the director and co-founder of the Centre for Development and Peace Education in Makeni, Sierra Leone. He also has held the position of Director for Caritas Makeni - a nongovernment organization that provided relief and development support for community-based organizations in the northern province of the Sierra Leone. The primary focus of his work has been in the areas of human rights and advocacy. At the Institute he teaches courses in Adult Education, Community-Based Development, Training of Trainers and Peace and Conflict Transformation.

    Dr. Turay received a PhD (Adult Education and Community Development) and a MA (Adult Education and Community Development) from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto.

    Responsibility to Protect: How and when to intervene to save lives.

    John Packer is an independent consultant currently advising a number of governments and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations on matters of peace and security, conflict prevention and resolution, diversity management, protection of minorities and human rights.  In 2003-2004, he was a Visiting Assistant Professor of International Law at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and a Fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.  Until February 2004, he was Director in the Office of the High Commissioner on National Minorities (HCNM) of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), located in The Hague.  Between September 1995 and March 2000, Mr. Packer was Senior Legal Advisor to the HCNM.  He was previously a Human Rights Officer at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva where he held responsibilities for the Commission on Human Rights investigative mandates on, inter alia, Iraq, Myanmar (Burma) and the Independence of the Judiciary.  Prior to his employment with the UN, Mr. Packer was a consultant for the International Labour Organisation and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.  He holds degrees in Political Studies and Law and has lectured at a number of universities and professional institutions around the world.  

    In a pro bono capacity, Mr. Packer is Associate Editor of the Human Rights Law Journal and a member of the editorial boards of the International Journal of Minority and Group Rights and the European Yearbook of Minority Issues, and of the editorial advisory boards of the Journal on Ethnopolitics and Minority Issues in Europe and of The Global Review of Ethno-Politics.  Mr. Packer also serves on the boards of Minority Rights Group (International), the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE), and the World Federalist Movement (Canada).

    Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament: Strengthening the international system for the 21st century

    Rob McDougall has been Director of Foreign Affairs’ Non-Proliferation, Arms Control and Disarmament Division since 1998.  Born in Ottawa and raised in Canada and Japan, he is a graduate in history of the University of Victoria.  Joining the Department of External Affairs in 1973, he has been posted to Washington, Hong Kong, Beijing, New York, Brussels (NATO) and Tokyo.  He has recently been Chairman of the Missile Technology Control Regime (2001-2002), a member of the UN Experts Group on Missiles (2001-2004) and Chairman of the G-8 Non-Proliferation Experts Group (2002).

    Peggy Mason received both her Honours B.A. and her law degree from the University of Ottawa. Her distinguished career highlights diplomatic and specialist expertise in the field of International Security, with a particular emphasis on the United Nations, where she served as Canada’s Ambassador for Disarmament from 1989 through 1994. During this period she headed the Canadian delegation to numerous diplomatic conferences including the 1990 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference and the 1991 Biological and Toxin Weapons Review Conference. In 1994-1995 she chaired a UN Expert Study that inter alia examined the work of the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in relation to disarmament in Iraq and she served on the UN Secretary-General’s Disarmament Advisory Board from 1993 to 1997.

    From January 1997 to January 2001 Peggy Mason was Director for Council Development of an Ottawa-based think tank, the Canadian Council for International Peace and Security (CCIPS). Under its auspices she worked with the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations and General (ret’d) Emmanual Erskine of Ghana to prepare principles and guidelines on the design and implementation of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DD&R) programmes within the framework of United Nations peace operations. Experiences from 14 UN missions and several national DD&R efforts helped inform the work as well as field missions to Haiti (UNMIH), Guatemala (MINUGUA) and Sierra Leone (UNOMSIL). Other activities included the Bonn/Berlin Project on Targeted Sanctions (sponsored by the German Foreign Ministry) and the co-editing of Peace, Profit or Plunder? The Privatisation of Security in War-Torn African Societies (Pretoria and Ottawa, January 1999).

    From March 2000 to August 2001 Peggy Mason served as Advisor to the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade on small arms and light weapons control during which time she lectured on Disarmament in Peace Operations, Regulation of International Arms Brokering and Enforcing UN Arms Embargoes at seminars in Bulgaria, Poland, Cambodia, South Africa, Japan, Hungary, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Malaysia and Azerbaijan. She also Chaired a UN Expert Study on small arms regulation and was a member of the Canadian delegation to the UN diplomatic conference which negotiated a comprehensive programme of action to address the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons. In a subsequent project Mason authored a study entitled International Legal Prohibitions on the Transfer of Conventional Arms (DFAIT, Ottawa 2003).

    Peggy Mason has been a faculty member of the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre since 1995 and has developed and delivered course material ranging from the role of the Political/Diplomatic Partner in Peace Operations to the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration of Ex-combatants. She is frequently a trainer and role player in NATO peacekeeping training exercises including Allied Action 03 (Turkey, November 2003), the ISAF V MRE (Germany, January 2004) and Dynamic Action 04 (Naples, May 2004).

    In September 2003 Peggy Mason was inaugurated into the University of Ottawa Common Law Honour Society.

    Table of Contents



    Opening Address by Paul Heinbecker

    (from notes by Karen McMullen, rapporteur)

    Mr. Heinbecker began by explaining he had only retired from the Foreign Service and the post of Ambassador to the United Nations nine months previously, to become founding director of the Centre for Global Relations, Governance and Policy at Wilfrid Laurier University, as well as senior research fellow in the newly created independent research Centre for International Governance and Innovation in Waterloo. He compared himself to a convict standing at the door of a prison, “glad for the freedom but missing the structure.”

    He summarized the four points he wanted to discuss:

  • The view that the United States is going off on its own;

  • The (false) feeling that Canada doesn’t have a choice of policies;

  • Multilateral cooperation is going to continue, in any case;

  • Canada should be both a good neighbour to the United States, and a good world citizen.

    On his first point, he posed the question: Is the United States seeking to establish an empire or hegemony, or what? The answer, he said, was in that ‘what?’ And the question for us was, will we work with or around the United States? He believed the United States did not aspire to controlling an empire and, quoting from the preface of the Declaration of Independence, suggested that Americans needed to maintain “a decent respect for the opinions of mankind”. In any case, he said, no country on its own can run the war in Iraq or the world, “leaving aside the views of some displaced Canadian speech writer” [a reference to David Frum].

    He admitted that, when he first went to Washington (he was twice posted there), he thought there might be an imperial conspiracy; but he realized that, if there was one, it was most sophisticated.  The word “Canada” was almost never pronounced. In any case the US is not imperial in the conventional use of the word, of having a group of states under one’s  control. Who are its subjects? We in Canada are the leading candidates for subjugation; yet we didn’t feel obliged to sign on for the war in Iraq, and there has not been any punitive consequence.  

    American liberal values are too powerful and, combined with modern communications technology and the present-day political context, made it impossible for the United States to contemplate an empire in the conventional sense. In the 1920s Britain bombed Mesopotamia into submission, and nobody noticed. Now, with developed communications and liberal values, such brutal tactics have widespread negative consequences. Today the whole world has heard of Abu Ghraib prison and what happened there, to American embarrassment. Niall Ferguson, author of Empire has said, somewhat regretfully, that Americans are not interested in empire. This is borne out, in the Middle East context, by the fact that only six American students got degrees in Arabic language last year.  Whatever the United States is, it is not an empire. ‘Empire-lite’ in Michael Ignatieff’s phrase? It is not convincing.

    The United States was, after all, born in an anti-colonial, anti-imperial struggle – this is one of the strongest American myths. And the world today is too complex and countries are too inter-related. The United States is too dependent on everyone else – to sustain its economy with foreign investment, for one thing, for history has never been kind to empires. Its military power is not enough to fight terrorism, and such power can even sometimes be counter-productive. Obviously, they had to use military power in Afghanistan; but to prevent terrorism you have to drain grievances of their appeal and reach its support base. This must be done cooperatively. He quoted Britain’s Chris Patten, former European Commissioner for External Affairs, that “the United States is invincible, but not invulnerable.”   

    He further quoted Robert McNamara to the effect that, if we cannot persuade nations that share similar values of the merit of our cause, then we should reexamine our reasoning. This has been a problem with the current U.S. administration. It doesn’t listen either to Americans or to foreigners, but only to its top staff of some dozen people. Since 9/11 the United Nations and Washington had been “two solitudes” [he called them respectively ‘Turtle Bay’ and ‘Foggy Bottom’].  Yet there was nothing in the international reaction to 9/11 that should have led to a rejection of the international system. The UN General Assembly voted the next day in total solidarity with the United States, and the Security Council developed an extensive response to terrorism. What led to US unilateral decisions later? In the case of Afghanistan, countries lined up to send troops, but even the offer by Germany was turned down.

    Various knowledgeable American writers, he went on, like Bob Woodward and Richard Clark have said that plans to go to war with Saddam Hussein had already been made. A litmus test was applied in the spring of 2002: either you supported a war in Iraq, or you were out of the inner circles of the Administration. By the fall of 2002, the (Washington) Beltway and Turtle Bay were not talking to each other. Washington wanted acquiescence, and not debate. Its view was that 9/11 “changed everything”, but that was not the case.

    Heinbecker went on to speak of the National Security Strategy.  Its characterization of US values shows them to be not different from Canadian values, but the strategy differs in two features: its unilateralism, and its strategy of pre-emption. Pre-emption is recognized under international law. Prevention is not. To justify preemptive action, one must apply rigorous tests of an urgent danger and an imminent threat. Prevention has much lower thresholds for action.  Hussein was portrayed as an imminent threat with devastating capacity and a readiness to use it on the United States. None of this portrayal turned out to be true. Heinbecker concluded that current U.S. foreign policy is a danger to Americans -- and to us beyond its borders. The Republicans are different from the party of the past and have formed a very radical administration, run by reactionaries and revolutionaries. Moderate Republicans are not in control.

    He traced the principle of unilateralism and a strategy of no entangling alliances back to the earliest days of the Republic and to the Monroe Doctrine. With Woodrow Wilson, the US followed a policy of values and promoted principles as the base of foreign relations.  It had elements of preemption and aggressive action within it. Now the grand strategy is to combine the two and to use political or military power to give force to principle. He said he might find it appealing, as long as he could choose the targets. For example, in the Desert War against Iraq (1990-1) one could at that time have supported a move to take Baghdad and unseat Hussein. If the United States could combine its power and leadership and develop an international consensus, it could argue it had a responsibility to lead.  The trouble is that others may also use the argument to claim they also have a right to take preemptive action: India or Pakistan, for example, or Israel over Iran and vice versa. So his view was that, while 9/11 added extra concerns and considerations to the top of the agenda, it did not subtract any element from international relations. States are by no means defunct, he said; they are making a comeback.

    Further on this thought, where would it end, if every state were to take preemptive action to prevent harm on itself? If we allow that the United States may lead by exception and not example, what happens when China becomes powerful? Are we comfortable with other countries claiming to be exempt from international law? It is evident that the United States cannot go it alone. If it cannot control Iraq, a Third World country of 30 million, how can it handle Iran with 65 million, or Pakistan with twice that number?

    He quoted Senator John Kerry’s remark that the United States only goes to war when it has to, and Bush’s statement that it only got involved in war when adversaries left it no other option. He then briskly rhymed off a lengthy list of historical occasions when the United States had attached a Caribbean island, a Central American republic, the Philippines, Vietnam, and many others and had covertly overthrown democratically elected governments as in Iran in the Fifties and Chile in the Seventies. At the Republican convention, Senator Libby Dole had said, “America is great because the people are good.” Certainly Americans are good, tolerant and guided by religious faith – this is not up for debate. But they are also human, and make mistakes. This is the problem with their current foreign policies.

    The danger today is that the United States has become estranged from a large part of the world, and this may morph into a war between Islam and the West. Hatred can spiral. He quoted a Bosnian Moslem who said, “I hate Serbs for making me hate Serbs.”  There are 1.2 billion Moslems in the world, and in such a war there cannot be victory for anyone.

    Running short of time, he dwelt only briefly on two of his four points.

    Multilateralism will not disappear, and cooperation will need to continue. But the United Nations needed both internal reform and innovative ideas. It had to debate the question of when it might be legitimate to intervene for humanitarian reasons or because of the threat of weapons of mass destruction or because of the potential nexus of WMD and terrorism.  Multilateral groups may come to operate outside the UN, such as the G20 suggested by Paul Martin, or the Democratic Caucus that was an idea of Madeline Albright, among others. Either could be useful if it helped to break down the ridiculous struggles within the United Nations between different regional and power groups.

    What should Canada do in the present world situation, and where should its foreign policy head? It should be two-pronged. First Canada ought to be a good neighbour to the United States, and we had good reason to make the US as secure as it can be. But we do not need to give up on being a good world citizen and it is very much in our interest to carry out an independent foreign policy. He himself was agnostic on the question of Ballistic Missile Defence.  If we joined BMD, would we doing it to make Canada safer? Or to please Washington?  That would be a mug’s game. We need to put money on the table for national defence and for CIDA, and we need to stop stripping DFAIT (Department of Foreign Affairs) of its resources. We now rank 20th in OECD in our performance in development assistance and 34th in the world in peacekeeping contributions.  A problem is that Canadians who do not keep up with these declining figures believe we are still doing a lot – so the government thinks it does not have to do anything more.

    Discussion period.

    Janis Alton suggested Article 51 of the UN Charter only allowed a state to use force in self-defence and thus denied the right of pre-emptive action. Mr. Heinbecker said there must be a pre-emptive capability – you don’t have to wait until the bomb drops. He gave the example of Israel in 1967, and added that Article 51 required the state that takes pre-emptive action to report to the UN Security Council within [30]days.

    Fergus Watt asked whether Mr. Martin’s idea of a G20 group was still flying, or grounded because of the minority government situation. Also, what part would civil society play either in the G20 or the Democratic Caucus?

    The speaker allowed that Foreign Affairs was less than eager about the G20 (or L20), but it arose from the feeling that the G8 was not as effective as it might be because the right people were not at the table. China was not interested to become No 9, so the trick would be to combine a number of other countries (he named India, Brazil, Argentina, Indonesia, Nigeria, South Africa and Turkey) and get the leaders to meet once a year and narrow their differences. You could then produce consensus on some important issues and in the process make the UN more effective. He didn’t think a minority government situation in Canada made any difference.  The problem with the Democratic Caucus idea was its American origin; others are wary of its being seen as a support group for U.S. action; some Americans see that as its purpose. In fact, the democracies were split on Iraq. He went on to say that the Group of 77, a body that has survived because the smaller states remain weak, produces the “lowest common denominator” in policies. As a result, the UN General Assembly is only really useful for purposes of socializing, in the proper sense of making contacts and sensitizing people.

    Stephen Woollcombe commented on the Democratic Party convention, and Senator Kerry’s comment about only going to war when his country had no choice. He hoped there was a big difference between Democrats and Republicans, and thought the present Bush administration was “an aberration”. Heinbecker replied that a Democratic administration would no doubt be more multilateral and more mainstream than the present one, although the Clinton administration had practiced unilateralism and exceptionalism on occasions. He suggested that the real dividing line in North America was not the 49th parallel but the Mason-Dixon Line, certainly for voting purposes.

    The majority of Canadians feel that President Bush has made the world more dangerous, said John Graham, and his re-election will increase that feeling of insecurity. How do we communicate our concerns to Washington – knock on the White House door, lobby Congress, talk to their media or what?

    The speaker suggested two moves. First, take the lead and spend money on improving border security, and second, upgrade our communications efforts, to make sure the Americans know we are hard at work on coastal surveillance, the checking of container ships and so on. Show that we are providing the best possible bilateral cooperation, without “joining the posse” as Australia has done [with troops in Iraq and joining BMD].  We also need to use more imaginatively professional communicators such as Pamela Wallin in New York. He said (from his experience as ambassador to the United Nations) that the Canadian government does not care about public diplomacy; the German foreign office spends 100 times as much as its Canadian counterpart on communications.  He ended on the optimistic note that the second Reagan administration turned out to be better than the first.

    Dwight Fulford wondered if Canada needed to change its immigration policies, and asked whether we were discriminating against Arab immigrants as the United States is.  He thought Canada was facing a challenge in this area. Heinbecker believed there was no need for drastic change, but we should learn more about applicants to make sure that bad guys aren’t coming in. We are known as the easiest country in the world for getting citizenship. Getting access to Canada was difficult; once in, getting citizenship was easier. Our openness is part of our strength, but we have acquired a reputation for being “soft on terrorists” and “having a porous border” (he was quoting The New York Times). So we need to be alert in many ways during the immigration process and then tell everyone about it. It was another example of poor communications.

    Michael Shenstone agreed that Canada needed to reinforce its military and diplomatic capability and increase development aid, but how does one get the Canadian public to press the government to put more resources into these areas? Heinbecker thought the problem was not with the public or with ministers, but with senior finance officials in Ottawa, who needed to be convinced, and who had a negative disposition to funding foreign affairs that they, themselves, were not involved in.

    A first objective of the Group of 78 has always been to focus on disarmament and the elimination of nuclear weapons, Murray Thomson reminded the session. Governments nearly everywhere today are planning to increase military spending. The program of action agreed at the 1978 UN Special Session on Disarmament (and reinforced at later sessions) is almost forgotten. With the increase in the “quality” of nuclear weapons, we should focus on disarmament. Who will take leadership?

    The speaker gave a broad answer, mentioning Canada’s role in the landmines treaty and emphasizing the distinction between weapons of mass destruction and small arms. He agreed that neither Iran nor the United States was living up to its obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, but he was more concerned about the loose security over Russia’s nuclear weapons. Canada had gone to NATO to ask for a review of the alliance’s nuclear policy, but found no support.  If we consider that we must sometimes act as our brother’s keeper in Sierra Leone, Haiti or wherever, it requires military capability. Otherwise, our expressions of concern are just so many fine words. We need to spend on the military and sustain its capability.

    Two further speakers picked up the phrase “our porous border”. Madeline Weld pointed out that there were 37,000 people presently in Canada whom the government wishes to remove, but they cannot be found. Heinbecker said Canada was in good company – every Western country has the same problem. And Karen Hamilton said the border issue was murky, Canada was unique in having denied entry to 52 African and Asian visitors who were delegates to a recent church conference.  She also questioned use of the phrase “Islamic countries”, suggesting Canada could be so called since we have third-generation people of Muslim faith.  Mr. Heinbecker replied that his own wife is Muslim and the problem only arises when one associates Muslim with terrorist. He told the story of a Nigerian ambassador who was denied entry to attend the Peacekeeping Centre in Nova Scotia, where he was to be a keynote speaker, because he refused to fill out a lengthy questionnaire.


    Table of Contents


    PANEL 1:


    Chair:  Andy Clarke

    Rapporteur: Sara Parchello

    Madeline Weld (President, Population Institute of Canada)

    Elizabeth May (Executive Director, Sierra Club of Canada)

    Andy Clarke: I would like to give some background on the panel’s subject matter: population, resource consumption and climate change.  This subject is a departure for the Group of 78 from former years, but it is timely.  It is different because some of these topics do not make daily newspaper headlines like the things Mr. Heinbecker spoke about last night.  Still they are important, and may well become more important than the things that we discuss on a daily basis.

    It is useful to look back to where we came from - for example, to the year 1900 when world population was 1.6 billion.  Automobiles were just beginning to appear and the idea of human flight was regarded as hardly possible.  Oil had just been discovered in western Pennsylvania. Today we are 6.4 billion, a quadrupling of numbers in just over a century and, almost unbelievably, in terms of economic expansion we have increased by 25-fold.  Our consumption has also increased enormously.  Two billion of us (one-third of the world’s population) subsist on less than $2 a day.  Oil now accounts for 90 percent of transportation needs, and some say the global supply of oil will be exhausted within 20 years, others that this could happen as early as 2008.  

    A recent study by 11 American scientists, headed by Dr. Mathis Wackernagel, concluded that our consumption, with its consequent impact on the environment, is exceeding the capacity at which nature is regenerating. The fact that all these things – population growth, increase in consumption and in CO2 emissions - are occurring gradually means that they do not often make the headlines; but there is little doubt that there is a major problem.

    As far as I know, the Group of 78 has not explored these subjects before. I am very pleased to ask Madeline Weld to speak on the subject of population.


    Madeline Weld:

    The Population Institute of Canada is at times controversial, so I do not want to disappoint you by not being controversial.  I also know you like numbers. Paul Heinbecker mentioned (in the context of the United States military presence in Iraq) its inability to cope with a population there of 30 million.  I lived in Pakistan about 20 years ago and since then its population has doubled.  In Iran, half the people have been born since the Revolution.  Now, before getting hot under the collar, I would ask you to consider whether these growth rates are sustainable.

    I live with the unfortunate reality that some of the opinions I hold are offensive to a large number of people. One of these opinions has been controversial since the days of Charles Darwin. It is that humans are part of the continuum of all of life that has evolved, and not distinguished from other life forms by a special destiny. A second offensive opinion that I hold is that, despite the big brain we’ve evolved, human behaviour is guided by the same imperative as every other species: maximize your reproductive output, make use of any and all resources available to you, and don’t think of the consequences of your behaviour into the future. As evidence, I cite the almost vertical rise in human numbers from about five to 10 million some 8,000 years ago to 6.4 billion at present, with projections of 9 billion within the next 50 years.

    A third opinion that I hold, and this one is extremely unacceptable, is that there is such a thing as too many people because, just like any other species, the cumulative biotic potential of the human species exceeds the carrying capacity of its habitat. That means that humans can produce more offspring than the land can support. I submit as evidence the abundance of human misery (you read about it every day) despite the fact that we are turning Planet Earth into a feedlot for humanity.

    A corollary of my belief that humans can exceed their carrying capacity is that their populations can crash. We are able to increase our numbers hugely by doing things that we won’t be able to repeat. We took over land previously used by other species to grow our food, but all the available land (and much unsuitable land) is already under cultivation and, as Mark Twain observed, they aren’t making any more.The green revolution allowed us to increase productivity per acre hugely, but such increases are grinding to a halt, and the constraints of erosion, salination and water shortages are also being felt. We quadrupled the fish catch, but all the major fisheries are being fished at or beyond capacity. In absolute terms, the maximum catch occurred in 1989.

    Finally, we made use of the one-time bonanza of oil in the ground, which provided us with the source of energy to do all the things we do. In the words of William R. Catton, we have cultivated a giant “Ghost acreage” with our use of oil-based fertilizers and pesticides and oil-fuelled irrigation. In the process, we have become Homo colossus. But the time may be close when oil production peaks and then declines. The concept of peak oil is not in dispute; the only disagreement concerns when it will occur. Some people think it is occurring now.

    Policy decision-makers operate on the assumption that we can carry on doing things as we always have. This is because to act differently, they would have to act as if they held offensive opinions, such as that there can be too many people. Far better to put one’s faith in technology. This technology, of course, will be developed through advances in science. What are the scientists, who presumably will develop that technology, saying? This is an excerpt from a document called World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity, signed by 1,600 senior scientists from 70 countries, including 102 Nobel Prize laureates (or more than half the living ones at that time) on November 18, 1992: “Pressures resulting from unrestrained population growth put demands on the natural world that can overwhelm any effort to achieve a sustainable future. If we are to halt the destruction of our environment, we must accept limits to that growth.”

    Why are the majority of decision-makers not listening to those they expect to pull our irons out of the fire?

    Part of the reason is that accepting that there are limits to growth is anathema to powerful business interests, economists who influence government policies and many religious ideologies. All of the foregoing often have great influence on government policies, whose long-term outlook is approximately four years. But what about the environmental groups? Should they not be broadcasting the scientific evidence that humans are destroying their own life support system on earth with their profligate overdrawing of resources? Yet most environmental organizations ignore, or worse deny, the necessity to restrain population growth.

    The lack of attention to population growth by environmental organizations affects not only their own policies, but those of governments as well, by failing to provide an anti-growth counterbalance to the economic pro-growth forces that drive government policies.

    How does one explain this silence? In my opinion, it is fear. To explain this fear, I cite as an example an article I encountered on the Internet by someone called Walt Contreras Sheasby. The title of his article is “The year they drove ol’ Malthus down: After 200 years, banished beyond the pale?” Consider this sentence: “Final solutions have never been far removed from the discourse on undesired populations ever since Thomas Malthus, who brought the formerly natural and private domain of procreation under the dictate of social concern.”

    What a loaded sentence! In the minds of every modern person, the words “final solution’ are associated with genocide. So what Mr. Sheasby is saying is this: “If you think there are too many people in the world, whom would you dispose of first?” Well, that kind of shuts down any reasoned discourse, doesn’t it?

    Sheasby’s linking of concern with human overpopulation to genocidal tendencies is one that is implicitly and uncritically accepted by many who purport to speak for the environment or human rights. While intellectually dishonest, those who promote this linkage have been extraordinarily successful. They have, so to speak, staked out the moral high ground for themselves and forced onto the defensive the rationalists who cite the scientific evidence of human overpopulation.

    Banishing Malthus beyond the pale has also affected the public discourse on immigration in developed countries. Population growth in developed countries is mainly due to immigration. Both Canada and the United States have very high levels of immigration. The only way these high-per-capita-consuming countries could stop their population growth is by curtailing immigration. But most recent immigrants are non-white, and people who advocate a reduction in the number of immigrants fare no better than those concerned with global overpopulation. Kolankiewicz and Beck (2001) cite numerous recent examples both of environmentalists being denounced for promoting US population stabilization and of leaders of well-known environmental groups opposing taking a position on limiting immigration to the United States.

    Back in 1970, on the first World Population Day, environmental organizations endorsed a zero population growth policy for the United States. They recognized that a world with fewer high-consuming Americans meant a healthier planet. And since 1972 the fertility rate of native-born Americans has averaged 10 percent below replacement level.  Yet in that time the US population has risen from just over 200 million to almost 300 million and is still growing rapidly. The decade of the 1990s saw the largest census-to-census increase in US history: The US population grew by 32.7 million or 13.2 percent (Tabash, 2004). Some of that growth is driven by the demographic momentum of the baby boom, but a whopping 70 percent is due to recent immigrants and the children of immigrants.

    There is no evidence that new immigrants are any less interested in consuming than those who came before them. And yet most US environmental organizations harp on over-consumption, and ignore population growth. From an environmental perspective the growth of the US population is more than negating the good that native-born Americans have done by reducing their birthrate. But when it comes to the immigration-driven increase in the US population, most environmental organizations have replaced their environmental agenda with a social justice agenda. Professor and deep ecologist George Sessions commented in 1998 that, “The pressure upon (and even intimidation of) environmental organizations to turn toward social/environmental concerns has recently become enormous.”

    How do environmentalists rationalize this blatant disregard of the effects of population growth on the environments of their own countries? Many have embraced a logic that has been called the “One World” or “Open Borders” perspective. In this view, it does not matter where people live, because only a single spatial scale, the global scale, is acknowledged. Overpopulation is seen as a global problem and immigration is merely a local symptom. In the words of US Sierra Club executive director Carl Pope: “Erecting fences to keep people out of the country does nothing to fix the planet’s predicament. It’s the equivalent of rearranging the chairs on the Titanic.

    It is interesting, as Kolankiewicz and Beck (2001) point out, that Pope used that analogy. Because if the RMS Titanic’s bulkheads had been sealed all the way up (a standard feature in ships nowadays) instead of just partway up, the ship might have been saved from sinking. The inrushing water would have been confined to several compartments instead of spilling over the top of each bulkhead into subsequent ones. The Titanic  could flood four compartments and still float. It breached five.

    Thus, another conclusion that could be drawn from this tragedy is that barriers between distinct nation states may well be essential to preventing one country’s failure to address overpopulation from becoming the whole world’s failure. Economist and philosopher Kenneth Boulding suggests that what we are doing is converting the world from a place of many experiments into one giant, global experiment where a failure somewhere would become failure everywhere. And indeed, under this logic, hundreds of millions of people in the world’s Zambias and Indias and Haitis will, with their private reproductive decisions, have effective veto power over the decision by Americans to save the Everglades, Florida Bay and the Florida Keys. South Florida’s incessant population growth is driven by domestic and international migration and high immigrant fertility.

    The lack of intelligent public discourse on population and immigration issues has relieved our government of the burden of developing well thought out policies. The Canadian government, for example, has made no attempt to develop any sort of overarching population policy in its international development agency, CIDA. When my population colleague wrote to the minister responsible for CIDA in 2002 concerning what he considered a weakness in CIDA’s Sustainable Development Strategy, he received a response which included the statement: “How can we possibly ask countries struggling just to feed themselves, while losing literally millions to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, to adopt nation-wide birth rate standards?” She continued by saying that the notion goes against Canada’s and the world’s development principles.

    Thus the minister in charge of Canada’s international development policy simply dismissed the significance of the fact that the annual population growth in many poor countries exceeds the annual growth of their GDP. Yes, other factors have an impact – poorly thought out restructuring programs, corruption and so on, but can you imagine a minister in charge of CIDA saying, “How can we possibly ask countries just struggling to feed themselves to adopt nation-wide corruption standards?” Of course not. I sincerely believe that, if population were not a taboo issue, but one that was discussed openly and intelligently by the media, one would see more intelligent government policies as well as argument showing a bit more intellectual input from government ministers responding to concerned citizens.

    The Canadian government would also find it more difficult to pursue its policy of seeking to increase Canada’s population by 1 percent each year through immigration, despite economic studies that show that this policy does not benefit Canadians (Collacott, 2002, 2003) and the very real evidence that our cities are becoming increasingly unable to cope with the influx. It might feel compelled to explain how an ever-increasing population will help it to reduce its greenhouse gas production in accordance with the Kyoto Protocol. How convenient for the government, for the immigration industry and for developers and other business interests, that anyone who questions this policy is effectively silenced through intimidation of being labeled racist.

    Many of the world’s people live under conditions that we would regard as intolerable. Their populations are rising rapidly while their environments are deteriorating. CIDA has embraced a policy that says that the way to limit population growth is to increase wealth. This reflects the assertion of the Brundtland Report that poverty is the main cause of overpopulation and that birth rates will fall if the standard of living of people around the world is brought to the modest European level. There are two major problems with the Brundtland Report. One problem is that it is wrong. If an increase in the standard of living automatically resulted in a reduction in the birthrate, then the birthrates of Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich countries would have fallen after the Second World War, but in fact they have skyrocketed.

    The demographic transition theory, which is treated as sacred writ by many governments and NGOs, has been proven wrong so many times that one can only attribute its continued basis for policy to ideological intransigence. Probably the most well-known demographic transition theory dissident, Virginia Abernethy, has provided numerous examples showing that people often have more children when they see more economic opportunity; in other words, when they get richer. Thus, we saw the baby boom after the Second World War at a time of rising wealth and expectations. Mexicans who migrate to the United States, where their economic opportunities are better, tend to have more children than those who stay in Mexico.

    The second problem with the Brundtland Report is that, even if it were right, we have neither enough time nor enough resources for the increase in wealth to bring about a reduction in population. Remember that our global population is projected to increase by 50 percent. Virtually all the increase will occur in countries that are currently unable to meet the needs of their people. The environment is already collapsing under the strain of inadequately feeding the world’s six billion people. Scientists tell us that the modest European standard of living promoted by the Brundtland Report as the model for all is attainable only with a population of about 2 billion people, less than one-third of our current population. What will happen to all those other people?

    Physicist Al Bartlett made a challenge: “Can you think of any problem, on any scale, from microscopic to global, whose long-term solution is in any demonstrable way aided, assisted, or advanced by having continued population growth at the local level, the state level, the national level or globally?”

    Can you? If we cannot answer Al Bartlett’s question, should we not challenge people like Sheasby? On what basis have they claimed the moral high ground for themselves? It would seem to be on the pretence, apparently shared by our government, that we have three or four planets to support the billions of people now alive and the billions yet to come. This moral and intellectual travesty is a betrayal both of those suffering now and of those who come after us.

    It may be too late to “solve” the population problem, if solve means avoiding human suffering and environmental collapse on a massive scale. But that does not mean we should not try to implement intelligent policies to reduce the suffering and to preserve the diversity of our biological life support system. Without a reduction in the human population this will not be possible.

    Our leaders must recognize that overpopulation is the most pressing issue facing humankind. Every country should develop programs and policies to reduce their respective populations by providing family planning education and services. Foreign aid should focus on assisting less well organized societies to address these problems. Countries that are increasing their numbers irresponsibly should be put on notice that they will not be bailed out by the international community indefinitely, giving them time to stabilize and reduce their numbers now.

    The goal we should strive for is more humanity with fewer humans.


    Resource Consumption and Climate Change

    Elizabeth May

    I will start with climate change and then get into population growth.  We, the Sierra Club, do deal with population growth as a major issue.   Andy, you said these are not the kind of issues that get into the headlines.  What is frustrating, as an activist in climate change, is that when I was senior policy advisor to the Environment Minister years ago I was getting briefings in 1986-87 from scientists in what is now the Canadian Weather Service. It made projections of what climate change would hold for Canada and what would happen by 2050.  I am seeing these things happen now.  They make the headlines now but are not identified as climate change issues. There was the ice-storm here, and the heat-wave in France last year when as many as 20,000 people died.

    That leaves out the floods in Bangladesh, as well as rising sea-levels that caused islands in the Maldives group to be permanently evacuated.  In 1987 I heard the President of the Maldives add to the global list of concerns not just endangered species, but endangered nations.  It was a very powerful speech.  Canada’s speech was also good (because I wrote it) but the President of the Maldives had me weeping. At Rio plus 10 I heard the same president speak again. He said, “I told you that, if we didn’t do something, we would be under water.  Now we are evacuating.” But Australia said that, even if it caused climate change, the coalmining industry was more important than the Maldivian way of life.

    What we know about the science of climate change is quite robust.  The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is comprised of over 2,000 scientists who gather periodically to study the peer-reviewed literature on the relevant science and are constantly reviewing reports to policy makers.  In their first assessment they stated that greenhouse gases were likely to change climatic conditions.  They now know that the consumption of fossil fuels and deforestation release greenhouse gases which are already causing destabilization.  How do we know that?   By direct measurement of Arctic ice core analysis; we can measure back about 200,000 years that the concentration of Carbon Dioxide (or CO2) in the atmosphere was never more than 275 parts per million.  By proxy measurement (snail shells, fossilized pollen) one can read evidence going back 20 million years; again, it has never been over 275 ppm.  

    Since the industrial revolution we have released CO2 that had been stored over many millennia, and we are now releasing it at profligate rates.  By the year 2000, the amount of CO2 being released was 6 million tonnes, a fourfold increase since 1950.  This is of course having an impact on atmospheric chemistry.  We are swamping our natural ability (“sinks”) to pull carbon out of the atmosphere and quickly approaching a 375 ppm atmospheric concentration, increasing annually at nearly 2 ppm.  This is pretty much irreversible.  This type of atmospheric chemistry does not turn on a dime.  At Rio in 1992, Canada and other nations committed themselves to a Framework Convention to strive towards stabilization of CO2 levels.  They acknowledged that human activities are changing the climate, that fossil fuels are a major contributor, and that we need to take action now

    If one happened to be in British Columbia with its forest fires, or in Halifax when it was hit by Hurricane Juan, one could see what is changing. Normally the sea water is cold enough off Nova Scotia to calm storms, but not this time.  We can understand that, if we allow CO2 concentrations to double, this will be even more dangerous.  What would happen at 550 ppm?  How quickly are we headed there and how can we avoid it? A concentration of 550 ppm is the CO2 level normally used to postulate an intolerable impact on the atmosphere and environment.  The atmosphere will never say, “Oh, we have hit 550 ppm” and then will stop.  Scientists now say we need to look at tripling (not doubling from 275 ppm) and what would happen.  Our understanding of atmospheric chemistry is far from substantial or complete. Lakes can turn acid almost overnight. This lack of understanding means we are playing a type of Russian roulette with the climate and climate change.  

    A Pentagon analyst Andrew Marshall hired some people who worked with Shell Oil to construct a plausible scenario for abrupt climate change.  The first nasty shock was to discover that coral reefs bleach out and die after only a small temperature change. The findings of this Pentagon study found their way into Fortune magazine in February 2004.  One prediction was that the Gulf Stream could stall in 2010 due to the changing relationship between salt and fresh water.  The Greenland ice sheet is melting at an alarming rate that no one predicted, in addition to various parts of Arctic ice melting – pretty soon the ice cover at the North Pole will be a seasonal event.  As all of this fresh water is mixed into the ocean, the process of salinization and fresh water would propel the Gulf Stream down.  Europe is expected to become colder, and other effects will cascade across the world.  Finally, the report concluded that the social and political impacts of climate change are more important and greater than terrorism.

    Population is a concern for environmental survival.  We in the Sierra Club have worked with Action Canada on Population and Development where we held seminars to draft our own population policy.  And we are connected to the US Sierra Club; indeed a Canadian started it.  But we in Canada have our own population policy.  The following statement is central to it: “The empowerment of women is the key element:  education, literacy, health care and autonomy.” When women are empowered and when their situation improves, it has been shown that fertility levels drop.  

    The solutions are focused around the commitments Canada has already made in the two summits in Cairo and Rio.  Population is not to be ignored in those solutions. Still, we need to improve the status of women and girls.  If we manage to cut the population – would we have addressed the problem of climate change?  The answer is No.  Right now the 20 percent of people who live in the developed world create 80 percent of the waste and use 80 percent of the world’s resources.  The population of the United States, which is 4 percent of the global population, was producing 25 percent of the world’s waste in 1990, the base year for Kyoto.  

    What we need to do is to shift the economy away from fossil fuels.  To avoid a doubling in CO2 levels we need to reduce emissions against 1990 levels by 60 percent.  Kyoto calls for a 6 percent decrease – and we can’t even do that.  The problem with Canada’s plan is that it is mostly voluntary, as with the car industry.  There is a federal law on the books, passed in 1981, which would allow federal ministers to call for emission caps on vehicles.  However, the car manufacturers went to Trudeau and said they would implement this policy voluntarily.  As a result, the 1981 Motor Vehicle Fuel Consumption Efficiency Act has never gone into force.  We need to stop being so reliant on cars that land use planning has been designed to accommodate the use of cars.  We now have 680 million cars in the world and numbers will grow - look at the number of cars in China and the growth rate of sport utility vehicles (SUVs) in North America. Canadians are now less fuel efficient than after the oil shock in 1973.  We cannot tinker around the edges of the fossil fuel problem.  Our addiction to fossil fuels is the single greatest threat to the planet.  I do not think barbarism - when people take hostage a school full of children as in Chechnya, this is not terrorism: it is barbarism - is the main problem.  All of these things are critical problems but the most critical problem will come if we destroy the planet’s ability to sustain life past the point that we are able to adapt.  

    Andy Clarke: Thank you, Elizabeth.  After hearing your comments I feel ill at ease.  Our situation is serious and it is becoming more serious.  Still, it can be turned around.  One book to refer to is Lester Brown’s Plan B, which argues that we need a crash program to turn this around.  

    Discussion with the panelists following the panel presentations

    Newton Bowles:  How can population keep going up if the birthrate is going down? The UN Population Fund says that population will level off (at 9 billion).  

    Madeline Weld: There is a simple explanation why population will continue to grow even as birth rates go down.  In the 1960s, the annual growth was 2.2 percent, but now it is 1.4 percent.  But because there now is a larger base of people, the actual number of people added to the planet is still 74 million a year.  There are two reasons not to feel comfortable: There are a huge number of young people still to enter their “breeding stage” (a biological term).  Even if everyone went to a one-child policy, the population would still increase.  There is a “rule of 70” to use to figure this out.  Take 70 and divide it by the annual growth rate in order to get the number of years that it will take the population to double.  In some parts of Africa the population is doubling every 20 to 25 years.  A lot of people think a crash is going to happen.  

    Elizabeth May: Madeline referred to immigration as a blip.  Yet, 70 percent of America’s growth is immigration and this is certainly not a blip.  This is due to the US Immigration Act of 1965 - no one foresaw that there would be such a huge increase.  Hence the increase in cars in the world, and in America, is because there are more people. We have to recognize that consumption is an issue in this discussion.  How many people have four-car garages?  We in the Sierra Club look at climate change as a function of technology, consumption and population.

    Diane MacIntyre: When we look at birthrates, we must also think of infant mortality rates, including survival rates at year one.  Also, we need to look at whether increased income actually leads to increased birth rates.  The basic issue is whether women can control their own destinies.  Where incomes of women increase, do they also have the right to control their own reproductive health? These are important questions to add as subtext to this discussion.  They can provide answers to other issues.

    Elizabeth May: CIDA has concentrated on this issue, but President Bush and the Catholic Church are advancing an unrealistic agenda.  USAID have passed laws that ban any development NGO from receiving funds for reproductive health information if there is any indication that the NGO will give any counseling on abortion.  Women’s clinics are denied funding if there is any chance that they are counseling for abortion.  We should massively invest in the empowerment of women and girls.  And this is not just about improving literacy and women’s standard of living.  I was working on negotiating the Earth Charter Commission, which was a difficult document, particularly with respect to reproductive rights. Princess Basma of Jordan and also a nun, who didn’t agree with the Pope, felt the language had to be watered down.  We must educate women and girls; and we need to work to change US policies and the views of the Republican right.

    Madeline Weld: I agree with Elizabeth – that Bush and the Pope have caused much damage.  The empowerment of women is a worthy goal in its own right.  The education of women, however, is a long-term goal we should pursue but we also need short-term solutions.  While we are educating young girls, their older sisters and grown women are having more kids.  This often means, as in Africa, that girls cannot stay in school because they need to take care of family members.  We need to supply birth control to illiterate poor women.  This would help reduce population growth by about one-third.

    Azaletch Worku Asfaw: I think there needs to be greater correlation between population and poverty, as in Africa high birth rates are related to the economy.  How can you give birth control without an appropriate infrastructure (like schools and clinics) to reach people?  This cannot happen without the economic means.  

    Madeline Weld: There is a huge correlation between poverty and birth rates, but it is possible to dispense birth control with simple structures.  


    Marion Dewar: Longitudinal studies in public health services have shown that just distributing contraception at a local level does not work.  We need to look at how social justice issues relate to population growth.  Here in Canada, Aboriginal peoples’ rates went down – but they went down because of a lack of social justice.  Now, Aboriginal people are reproducing at higher rates.  In Africa, especially with AIDS where 10-year- olds are bringing up families, there is a real social justice issue.  We need to look at issues from a public health and social justice perspective. We cannot separate these issues.

    Hannah Newcombe: I recently read a report called the Downward Spiral by the U.S. Institute of Peace about HIV/AIDS.  It seems a large part of Africa is becoming depopulated and there is a downward spiral socially.

    Elizabeth May: I agree.  Stephen Lewis has been clear that we should be doing more in Africa.  We have big carbon problems, but also Big Pharma – these companies are interested in cures for rich people. Again, this is a big issue, particularly for places like Africa.

    Janis Alton: I have a question for Elizabeth about the problem of the military contributing to environmental change and the amount of pollution created by preparations for war and by war itself.  What are your comments?

    Elizabeth May: Yes, the military complex is the largest polluter.  Which is the larger trade today (the sex trade or arms trade)? I think arms are in the lead.  And there is a tight connection between fossil fuels and security.  The United States intervened in Afghanistan when it wanted a pipeline in the Caspian Sea, and its interest in Iraq is clear.  Frankly in my viewpoint we cannot run out of oil fast enough.  There is a close connection between military spending, concerns about security and fossil fuel addiction.  This also indicates that a change in energy sources would mean a power shift.  With renewable resources available at regional and local levels, coupled with demand-side management, there would no longer be the same power dynamics. Getting off fossil fuels and demilitarization go together.

    Dwight Fulford: What we can do in Canada is raise the gas tax, but we could also put a limit to people having fleets of cars.  A better way may be to put a tax on cars depending on the amount of fuel they use.  

    Elizabeth May: I hope that the Sierra Club may succeed in getting legislation introduced to the House of Commons to mandate fuel economy standards.  Still, manufacturers believe this won’t have an impact because we only consume a small number of cars per year.  However, this is the same size market as California – which along with New York and other states, want fuel economy standards.  We would like to see more manufacturing of fuel-efficient cars and hybrid cars in Canada.  We should implement a carbon tax and mandate fuel economy.  The 1981 Vehicle Emissions Control Act, is on the books, never implemented.

    Group discussion Saturday September 11

    Andy Clarke (chair).    

    I disagree with the view expressed this morning that more prosperity means more population growth – one of the key determinants of population declines in fertility is progress in the status and education of women.  Women will, generally, choose to have fewer children when they can make that decision and when they have freedom to make that decision.  Then Madeline criticized CIDA for its lack of focus on population growth. I agree that CIDA has not done enough.  

    Michael Shenstone

    They are continuing modestly to provide family planning facilities.  We can all unite on this: to urge that Canada meet the obligations that it accepted at Rio, Cairo and Johannesburg (and Beijing for that matter).  But where I start to have serious problems is where you, Madeline, start to talk about barriers to migration, and about population policy.  Population policy sounds logical but, when I hear what lies behind it, I get uneasy. The objective both in Canada and the developing world should not, in my view, be to achieve population stability but to achieve the kind of society – human rights, women’s rights and opportunities – where (among other things) population growth ceases to be a major challenge.  

    Canada has a high consuming society and we do harm to the environment.  As Elizabeth May has said, we have got to reduce our collective strain on the environment.  I become uneasy when this thought is carried over and we start talking about barriers to migration.  What we would be saying is that poor people in a poor country consume less, and therefore damage the world environment less.  If we let them into Canada, they are going to consume more and therefore it is our duty - to our environment - to stop this. I worry about what the implications in population policy are when we get to environmental policy by dealing with migration.  Our society benefits by a modicum of migration and I am proud that we have, more or less, the level we have.   

    Andy Clarke

    Can we agree on a Canadian position on assistance to women in the developing world to meet their desires on population, to provide necessary education and support so that they can play a full role in society? The other question is, we need a policy for Canada, but there are a lot of points in this area of policy that are difficult and divisive.

    Madeline Weld

    Tony Cassils and I produced the document (Why Canada needs a population policy. May 2001) which Michael mentioned.  All cities are under stress.  Some of this stress is demographic from the echo of the baby boom, but much of it is from our immigration policy.  I agree our society benefits from a modicum of immigration.  The government needs a policy where immigration is at the same level as emigration.  Each country needs to develop its own population policy.

    Stephen Woollcombe

    I would suggest a recommendation that CIDA define its population programs to counter the Bush and Pope attitude.  CIDA should be pushed and stimulated in this direction.  Secondly, the biggest issue where population is important is the environment issue that Elizabeth May described.  This is the single most important issue that the world has on its table.  We need not just focus abroad, but on Canadian consumption and its adherence to the Kyoto protocol.  

    Archie MacKinnon

    The Group has taken a long time coming round to discussing this topic.  I think it should be the same kind of topic at the 2005 annual meeting.  At this point, I would like to see the recommendations recognize the nexus between population growth and migration, and also resource consumption and environment change. I don’t think you can separate them.  

    Susan Shenstone

    Our problem is conspicuous consumption.  We need to persuade the government about a carbon tax on gas, to bring down consumption.  Then immigration is a wholly different thing.  Conspicuous consumption does not have anything to do with immigration.  

    [There followed some discussion whether there was a relationship between environmental problems like greenhouse gases and immigration to Canada.  Madeline Weld repeated her argument that there was a problem with migration and that the birth rate in Canada is not dropping.  Others argued that immigrants were being pulled into Canada for “our own selfish interests” (e.g., maintaining pension funds) and environment and immigration were wholly separate issues.]

    Andy Clarke asked what Canada could do for those countries that would welcome assistance in responding to population problems. There was general consensus that CIDA should spend more money on education.  Others emphasized the need to follow through on commitments made in Cairo, Rio and Johannesburg.  

    The group discussed whether Canada actually has a population growth problem, and whether there needed to be policies to guide such growth.  Many of the participants felt that the impact of consumption on the environment was a more pressing concern.  Madeline Weld felt that consumption needed to be addressed in tandem with population.  

    The group decided to make proposals on the empowerment of women and on positive government incentives in the form of tax credits for Canadians to promote renewable energy resources.  

    Resolutions and proposals adopted at the conference plenary session Sunday, September 12

    Population Growth and Decline; Resource Consumption and Climate Change

    1.  Population and the Empowerment of Women

    In many parts of the world, women have poor access to health care and family planning services, and have little economic, social and political power. The empowerment of women is both desirable for its own sake and a key element in achieving the stabilization of population. The Group of 78 strongly urges that Canada meet the commitments it made at the Cairo International Conference on Population and Development in 1994 and commit more resources to support family planning, education and reproductive health services in the context of primary health care.

    2.  The Transition to Renewable Energy

    The only feasible alternative to energy obtained from fossil fuels, both a rapidly diminishing non-renewable resource and the principal cause of climate change, is renewable energy. Renewable energy options include hydro, wind, solar voltaic, biomass and geothermal. Canada has adopted limited measures to assist the development and introduction of renewable energy technologies. It is recommended that additional measures to accelerate the transition to renewable energy be implemented, including appropriate regulatory change to increase energy conservation and efficiency, subsidies to support the production of renewable energy, a transfer of tax benefits from fossil fuels to renewable energy and other appropriate incentives.

    Table of Contents

    PANEL 2:

    Chair: Murray Thomson

    Rapporteurs: Dolma T. Dongtotsang

             Ishwar Persad

    Andrew Clark (Senior Advisor, Policy Branch, CIDA)

    Thomas Turay (Lecturer, Coady Institute)

    Murray Thomson:

    I would hope this panel attempts to address a number of questions about the globalization of poverty, namely:

    • The role of international financial institutions.
    • What is going on in the poorest countries?
    • How important are the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and what else could and should be done?
    • Canada’s successes and failures in this arena.
    • What should the G-78 be doing to hasten progress towards achieving the MDGs?
    • What recommendations should be presented to government?

    I draw attention to the fact that CIDA’s Sustainable Development Strategy is guided by the MDGs, and also note that a recent conference at the United Nations headquarters, involving some 3,000 representatives of civil society, was entitled “MDGs and Civil Society: Take Action”.


    Andrew Clark:

    I would like to thank you for the opportunity to step back from my day-to-day work in CIDA and face the bigger-picture questions. My work is mainly with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and with the Department of Finance here in Ottawa. The IMF Board meets three times a week, for six hours each time, and they normally discuss the situation in three countries each session. What I will say are my own views, and I am decidedly not simply presenting the government’s views. I will follow the questions you have outlined.

    How important are the MDGs and what other goals and targets should be considered?

    The Millennium Development Goals are very important for a number of reasons. First, they provide an anchor for long-term development cooperation policy. For example, MDG 1 has the goal of halving global poverty by 2015 and lays out a clear objective of what to do, and states how we should judge ourselves. It provides CIDA with an objective in common with the global community.  This is the bottom line. It does not pertain to Canadian commercial interests, nor focus on promoting good relations between Canada and Country X, nor on promoting near-term security objectives.  In the current post-September 11 environment this objective is deemed even more important, for widespread poverty is not conducive to global peace and security. I am not saying that investments in security and intelligence are unimportant, but they cannot come at the expense of investments in long-term poverty reduction. The globe is still beset by massive poverty and wealth inequality, and this state of affairs is not conducive to security. Development is the long-term global security agenda.


    Secondly, the MDGs are not just an anchor for development cooperation policy but for overall Canadian policy as well.  They have to be tackled on all policy fronts, and in particular trade and immigration.  In terms of a leading global example, the recent White Paper on Globalization and Trade published by the Department of Trade and Industry in the United Kingdom is important.  Ostensibly it is the British government’s blueprint for its international trade agenda, but it reads more like a development policy paper, with more than one-third devoted to the role of trade and investment in global poverty reduction. I would find it hard to imagine our Departments of Industry or Trade producing a comparable document. It is something that is clearly not on their radar.

    Thirdly, the MDGs (especially MDG 2 through 8) are important as they break down development problems into manageable slices.  They help us focus on measurable results, and can hold the global community to account for progress, either made or not made.  At the same time we have to recognize that they are all interlinked, which would help us to assess better what does and does not work, and where we should put our efforts.  

    On the first goal, of poverty reduction, we are globally on track, mainly because of results in China, India and Indonesia, and this should be considered a major achievement.  Not so much progress, though, is being made on poverty reduction in Latin America and the Caribbean and in Africa. This points to the need to shift more resources to these locations. On the education front, while we are also making significant progress, we still need much more investment in this area and in particular in Africa.  With regard to child and maternal mortality we are not making progress, which again points to the need for much more investment and a health systems approach. Thus, while ODA has been increasing, it is still insufficient, which is reflected in calls by the United Nations for some additional US$50 billion in ODA.  On another dimension, the issues of climate change and the promotion of good governance are missing from the MDGs and they should be linked to the goals.  

    What is the record of the IFIs and in particular the IMF?

    Many may feel that the IMF and success do not belong in the same sentence. But there have been a number of successes by the IMF and these should be touted:

    First, the IMF’s focus on macroeconomic stability, that is, low inflation and fiscally sustainable policies, is important.  For while not a sufficient condition for economic growth or for sustainable poverty reduction, it is a necessary condition, as the longer-term aspects of development can be more in focus if fiscal stability exists.  It is also noteworthy that the IMF does not necessarily equate fiscal sustainability with reduced spending, but rather with increased revenues from better tax collection, especially from the élite populace. Also, the IMF has called for increased external aid, especially in terms of providing budgetary support, and they recognize the importance of public sector investment in social sectors.

    The IMFs focus on global financial stability is important not just to low-income countries, but middle-income ones as well.  Financial crises can rapidly erode the poverty reduction gains made in developing countries, as the Southeast Asian crisis showed.  The IMF does have a lot to answer for in that case, and bears responsibility for encouraging capital account openness – and making a bad situation worse when the crisis began. They have learned from this experience, especially the need to be better at predicting crises.  

    In terms of debt the IMF has been unfairly demonized.  While the prevailing view is that the IMF insists that countries should not default and must pay their debts, this is not necessarily the case.  It is more accurate to say that countries should not get into an unsustainable situation in the first place but, if they are there, countries may be encouraged to restructure debt. This is another, more polite word to say “default in an orderly way”. I have seen cases where the IMF would have been willing to endorse restructuring, and the country has decided to tough it out.  

    Also, the Sovereign Debt Restructuring Mechanism (SDRM), which allows countries to declare bankruptcy, may also be back on the agenda after being on the backburner. A failure by the IMF in this arena is with regard to the HIPC and enhanced HIPC programs.

    While the failures of the IMF are numerous, there are three that require focus.

    1. Debt: The HIPC and Enhanced HIPC processes of debt relief (created in 1996 and 1999 respectively) have been far too onerous, costly and above all too slow.  While the idea was good in principle, in practice it has been bad. Of the 37 eligible countries only 14 have made it all the way through and received their full debt relief, and some of these are again experiencing unsustainable debts. The IMF should share the blame for this with its major shareholders.
    1.  Ownership of Economic Reform: The IMF appears not to have fully grasped and internalized this concept.  Programs work only if countries believe it is the right thing to do, and the challenge for developing countries is how to get the IMF to accept they should come to own its policies. 
    1. Speaking to the North. The IMF has not spoken as forcefully enough to the North as it has to the South about what needs to be done. It has not laid enough emphasis on increasing aid flows nor on removing barriers to trade.

    What is Canada’s record in helping the global community move towards the achievement of the MDGs?

    Aid Levels: Since the MDGs were adopted, there has been an 8 percent increase in ODA and it is expected to double by 2010.  However, Canada is still not near where it used to be in terms of ODA as a percentage of GDP. We used to be 7th or 8th  in the donor league, and we are now 13th.  Reaching the MDGS would require a substantial increment in money now.

    Type of Aid: Budgetary support (which comprises cash grants) is important. It gives maximum flexibility to the recipient government and supports country ownership of programs funded by aid. It also entails low transaction costs.

    Where it goes: There has been an increased geographical focus on the poorest countries and an increased sectoral focus, particularly on basic health education and HIV/AIDS.

    Movement on the provision of HIV/AIDS generic drugs: Canada has been the first to change legislation to allow for the implementation of the WTO agreement on this.

    On the IMF moving to an enhanced surveillance approach: Canada is promoting a model whereby countries themselves would develop a program.  This would be done by themselves and not in negotiation with the IMF, and therefore without conditionalities.  Countries would then ask the IMF to come twice a year to determine a) whether it is a good program and b) whether they are implementing it adequately. This would entail an overall assessment rather than a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ determination. It would also give a country ownership over its own economic agenda and provide a signal to markets and creditors and donors on how that country is doing without taking on further IMF debt. This would keep the Fund out of areas where it need not be, and it can focus efforts on technical assistance in terms of resources for low-income countries. The drawback could be if the signal didn’t work effectively, and if increased concessional funds were not forthcoming from donors.


    Thomas Turay:

    This is a very emotional subject for me. Having lived and experienced poverty, this topic is a personal story. In sharing this story, I want to thank my mother as she taught me how to cope with poverty. I was three when I lost my father. We lived in the northern part of Sierra Leone in a community of 1,200 people, and I was raised by my mother.

    I want to put poverty in the context of rural Sierra Leone, and I am angry with the IMF. Sierra Leone should be very rich: it has diamonds, gold, mercury, petroleum and iron ore. Yet it is at the very bottom of the Human Development Index.

    In our community there was only one health centre and it had no nurses or dispensary for 12 years. It only got medicines last year, when I returned to my community and took $400 worth of drugs to present to the clinic. It was also only last year that our community had a high school, which has not yet been officially approved – and it is run by teachers who are all volunteers. The rice we eat is mostly imported, and it is a task to get one daily meal. I used to wake up in the morning not sure if there was going to be a meal for the day. The meal was usually eaten at the end of the day. Yet, Sierra Leone is a country with all sorts of resources. While I was at university, we had one hour of electricity and only during that hour did we get water. We had otherwise to travel three to four hours to get water. Candles were used when there was no electricity. All this has led me to believe that the Millennium Development Goals are extremely important.

    Let me qualify that comment.  The MDGs are very important in theory but in practice they mean nothing as yet. Good intentions are not enough if they are not translated into reality. The UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, in his 2000 report entitled, Road map towards the implementation of the United Nations Millennium Declaration, said Africa suffers particularly from marginalization in the process of globalization. In the last decade, Africa’s share in trade, investment and advances in technology has diminished.

    The situation in Sierra Leone has been made even worse by the 10-year rebel war. It has a population of only 5.5 million people, and many intellectuals left the country because of the war. I have been back to help peace work, with CIDA’s assistance, and to get my family out. Why has the country been in abject poverty? There are many causes. Here is a list of external causes: the exploitation of resources by multinational corporations; these external forces control the economy and we do not control either the resources or their price; the government is deeply in debt internationally. Domestic causes include: high rates of illiteracy; rural-urban migration; a neglected infrastructure; ill-equipped schools; the marginalizing of women; corruption and mismanagement of public resources by politicians and senior civil servants. As well, the civil war has created a culture of violence and a lost generation of young people; and there has been a denial of basic human needs.

    The following statistical information reveals that in the case of Sierra Leone, the realization of MDGs is still far-fetched:

    • 57 percent of the population have less than $1 per day for consumption
    • 76 percent of the rural population are below the poverty line
    • 53 percent of the urban population are below the poverty line
    • 68 percent of the total population are therefore below the poverty line

    The arms that fuelled the war came from the West in exchange for diamonds and gold. This proliferation of arms must be eliminated in the South. Children are being targeted, because the small arms are being designed (in weight) for these children, causing them to be both the victims and the victimizers. No human development can take place in this situation.

    A picture has been presented elsewhere that women have been empowered, but that is not the case. Women rarely hold senior positions in the government, except for positions such as gender affairs. We have had Canadian support through the efforts of Development and Peace, Partnership Africa Canada and Peacefund Canada. They have helped improve the participation of civil society groups: for example, the local group 50/50 that seeks to encourage women’s representation in politics. I have been involved with different peace initiatives since 1998 with support from CIDA, and have successfully trained other peace workers. I feel that it is important that CIDA should strengthen this civil society participation.

    What recommendations do I have for the Group of 78?

    I think you need to educate the Canadian public with your vision and your mission. and successes. Canadians are too modest; you should let people know what you do. You have to leave modesty behind and educate the public, other NGOs and the universities about the importance of the Millennium Development Goals. Also, the Group of 78 should look into branching out in other provinces and networking more with other organizations.

    Recommendations for the Canadian government: It should strengthen CIDA financially. It should continue to play a role in Africa and use its influence among the Commonwealth countries. It also needs to increase its aid to the LDCs and its role in peacekeeping and training the judiciary in these countries. It should collaborate strongly with the education ministries in southern countries, forgive LDC debts and help lead debate in how to move NEPAD forward.

    We currently live in a world of fear, a world that glorifies war, a world of misinformation and a world that breeds hopelessness and hate. There is a growing culture of global violence that is eroding the beauty and sacredness of humanity and the universe. Let’s dream for a world of hope, love, nonviolence, abundant life and social justice. Let us dream for a world where Africans, Asians, Europeans, First Nations, Indigenous Peoples, North and South Americans can live as co-equals and enjoy the fullness of this divine universe. And let us live our dreams.

    Discussion with panelists following the panel presentations

    Pierre Joncas: All developing countries are lectured by the IMF about the need to keep inflation down. Has the IMF criticized the United States for borrowing abroad for its military expenditures in the war in Iraq?

    Andrew Clark: Yes. The IMF is concerned that all countries maintain a sustainable level of inflation. The U.S. can afford to borrow and can get away with it over a longer period of time. IMF has commented on this and its comment is on their website.

    Karin Brothers: One of the MDG goals is to reduce poverty with the understanding that this means extreme poverty. The progress that has been seen is mainly driven by China and India. Donor agencies have had very little to do with this reduction. What are the other forces contributing to that?

    Andrew Clark: I don’t think that the IMF has had anything to do with it. Progress was due to their national policies. There have been other examples of national policies taking charge.  For example, the IMF had a loan program with Vietnam where one of the conditions – transparency of central bank dealings - was not being fulfilled.  Vietnam did not agree with the condition and paid back the loan.

    Elaine Harvey: I was at the recent UN and Civil Society conference, where most speakers said the MDGs were attainable. But if the rest of us keep saying that they are not attainable, they will not be. We should be optimistic and encouraging. The MDGs are extremely important and civil society has a role to play in the year before an appraisal of the goals takes place.. We have heard about the role of developed countries in LDCs with reference to MDGs. But we haven’t heard what LDCs can teach us about their own development, and about human rights.

    Thomas Turay: Yes, we do need to turn the tables. The LDCs are spoilt as they have always been looking to the West for guidance. There is a need for Canadian NGOs to partner and work with Sierra Leone NGOs where dialogue can take place with no dictation. The local organizations can then express their needs based on a holistic approach. Through the Coady Institute and CIDA I have been working since 1998 on conflict resolution and partnering civil society in Sierra Leone. I first went for three months to work in a hostile area, and this has now stretched beyond three years. This is an example of the right way that partnership can work.

    Group discussion Saturday, September 11

    Diane McIntyre: As an education tool, a member or members of the G-78 group might take up the challenge of living on $1 per day.  Bearing in mind the Canadian context, this would exclude accommodation and heating expenses

    Judy Barber: Another educational tool can be to have immigrant primary school children give talks in schools about their experience of growing up in poverty. It could encourage schools to raise funds for, and connect with, schools in poor countries.

    On MDGs.  The group agreed it was important to use the MDGs as a framework for Canada’s engagement with the developing world, in particular those goals that target the needs of women and girls. Some participants acknowledged that they had not heard of the MDGs before this conference and therefore it was important to increase awareness among G-78 members as well as among the public at large. One suggestion was for a hyperlink of the MDGs to be placed on the G-78 website.

    Elaine Harvey: Canada has not established any guidelines for fulfilling the MDGs, especially MDG 1 on halving poverty and hunger by 2015. It needs to be encouraged to establish such guidelines, and the concentration should be on MDG1.  CIDA is currently researching how they are contributing to the eight broad MDGs and a report should be ready by mid-December. This is important as next fall countries have to make a progress report to the UN General Assembly.

    Élisabeth Barot: We should also focus attention on the Global Compact in which signatory companies have promised to practice good corporate social responsibility in their host countries.  An information link on this would also be important.

    Aid.  More than 50 percent of Canadians would like to see an increase in the amount of money spent.  Murray Thomson pointed out that Canadian ODA presently stands at 0.26 percent of GDP, well below the accepted benchmark of 0.7 percent. CIDA needs to be given more funds to help meet the goal of MDG 1. It should support NGOs that have a strong poverty alleviation component in their programs.  Programs that help strengthen civil society and promote partnership should also be supported. It is also important to encourage more effective debt relief and the further reduction of non-tariff barriers to trade, in order to have a positive impact on global poverty reduction

    Thomas Turay: Every year the G-78 should focus its attention on a particular developing country with abject poverty.  Hospital supplies that are thrown away in Canada can save lives in that country. Many other items such as school desks and other teaching supplies can be shipped to make a significant difference for children in very poor countries.   The Group should encourage teachers to integrate poverty, peace and gender issues into the curriculum of Canadian schools, by supporting initiatives such as those of Educating for Peace. The Group should also press the government to fulfill its commitments to NEPAD.

    Resolutions and proposals adopted at the September 12, 2004

    The Globalization Of Poverty

    1.  Take a leadership role in promoting an enhanced national understanding of and commitment to global poverty issues and the importance of the Millenium Development Goals.

    We recommend that the G-78 focus its efforts on increasing the level of awareness among the Canadian public of global poverty issues and the importance of paying significant attention and commitment to poverty eradication strategies.  To do so the G-78 group should immediately embark upon educating its members and the broader Canadian public on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).  In particular emphasis should be placed on MDG 1, which calls for halving the proportion of people living in extreme poverty by 2015 and MDG 3, which seeks to promote gender equality and empowerment of women. Some of the actions proposed for effecting this recommendation are, inter alia:

  • Having a hyperlink to the MDGs and the Global Compact on the G-78 website to educate members and visitors.

    • Each year the G-78 should identify a developing country with significant abject poverty to focus its efforts on.
    • Communicating to the relevant government departments and the Government of Canada as a whole the importance of establishing their own guidelines and fulfilling their commitment towards achievement of the MDGs and their need to demonstrate leadership among developed countries in this arena.
    • Encouraging CIDA to focus greater resources and development efforts on the achievement of MDGs.
    • Supporting initiatives such as those of Educating for Peace and the United Nations Association of Canada to encourage teachers to integrate poverty, peace and gender issues into the curriculum of Canadian schools; and initiatives to have Canadian immigrants who have experienced extreme poverty give testimonials in schools.

    2.  Lobby the Canadian government to adopt policies which are conducive to global poverty reduction

    Some of the key action areas in this regard are:

  • Providing leadership in the support and achievement of the MDGs. Recognizing the intimate connection between security and development, we urge the Government of Canada, and CIDA in particular, to give greater priority to conflict prevention strategies in its development programming designed to meet the MDGs.

  • Increasing the level of Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) from its present abysmal level of 0.26% of GNP to reach and exceed the established ODA target among donor countries of 0.7% of GNP.

  • Pushing for significant additional funding so that relevant departments can provide additional financial support for Canadian civil society organizations which sponsor partnership programs for facilitating enhanced poverty reduction to support MDG 1.

  • Working with other donor countries to develop less onerous and lengthy eligibility conditions for Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC), as well as to devote attention to those countries who have benefited from HIPC relief but are falling back into significant indebtedness.

  • Notwithstanding the favourable results that have occurred from Canada’s Least Developed Countries Initiative (LDCI) which removed all quota and duty restrictions on imports from these countries in 2003, there remains the need to focus greater attention on trade capacity building in LDCs, both to increase their foreign exchange earnings and their domestic industries; and a need to reduce non-tariff barriers that continue to hinder the even greater enhancement of LDC trade to Canada and other developed countries.

  • The Government of Canada should promote the removal of subsidies in developed countries on domestically produced goods and services that compete with developing country exports, of which the United States subsidies on cotton production is one of the most egregious examples.

  • Amending the C-5 legislation to promote the expanded provision of generic HIV/AIDS drugs to those most in need in developing countries.

    Table of Contents



    Chair: Christine Harmston

    Rapporteur: Karen McMullen


    Panelist:  John Packer (consultant on peace and security issues)

    Christine Harmston:   I will say a few words about the Responsibility to Protect, or R2P, and leave the content of the subject to our speaker.  The R2P is a concept that has arisen out of the dire, desperate need to find better ways to prevent violent conflict and protect fellow human beings. It has been argued that R2P is not only an issue of deciding when there should be military intervention for purposes of human protection, but it is also about the responsibility to prevent, react and rebuild.

    Kofi Annan has said that it is “not a matter of a right to intervention, but rather of a responsibility – in the first instance, a responsibility of all States to protect their own populations, but ultimately a responsibility of the whole human race – to protect our fellow human beings from extreme abuse, wherever and whenever it occurs.”

    A flurry of questions immediately arise in my mind vis à vis the criteria that exists, or should exist, to decide when the circumstances call for the international community to override state sovereignty and intervene to save lives; and there are many questions about who holds, or should hold, the reins of power to decide.

    It helps me to think about a specific context, in order to navigate through the R2P ideas. So I think back to my experiences of working with vulnerable populations along the borders of Burma, working with refugee groups and with organizations that are assisting the internally displaced. I have been witness to attacks by the Burmese army on refugee camps that are based on Thai soil, and have listened to people’s testimony of what is happening inside rural ethnic areas of Burma – incredible human rights abuses – where the international eye cannot reach. One could argue that aspects of the R2P are being applied through the diplomatic angle (UN General Assembly resolutions) and sanctions, but these efforts have been under way for years with no change to the political and humanitarian crisis.

    So is the R2P model the right vehicle to use even to debate “enough is enough” and push for a step higher within the range of options that exist? Is there even enough consensus, in real terms and not just on paper, about what R2P actually means?

    I’m sure many of us in this room can each think of a specific situation somewhere in the world where there is violence, or potential for violence, and where concrete action should be taken, and is not being taken. This propels us to ask, what is currently in our collective toolbox, within the United Nations, to address the crises we are witnessing and experiencing around the world – and should the R2P paradigm be a part of this tool-kit or not?

    But, first, let us hear about the R2P from someone who can speak well to its complexities and challenges, deepen our understanding, infuse even more questions into our thinking on this issue than we have already, and ultimately provoke us into discussion and critical reflection.

    John Packer: I come to this subject from a broad base. I am, first of all, the child of immigrant parents (a father in the Indian Army) and at university I studied political theory with a focus on sexual harassment before moving into some peace research and the study of international law at the time of the placement of Cruise missiles in Europe. I remained in Europe through the last 20 years, initially to continue my studies and then to work for the United Nations on the protection of human rights, followed by almost nine years with the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe seeking to prevent inter-ethnic conflict in transitional societies.  It is my pleasure to be back in Canada and to be able to share my views with a Canadian audience.  As a side remark, while abroad I noticed that Canadians working in Europe on similar matters did not tend to associate among themselves, and I took this as a healthy sign of young people looking outwards.

    Now to the subject of this talk, which is to critique the report of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, headed by Gareth Evans and Mohamed Zahnoun and inspired by Lloyd Axworthy. It focuses on the question, as Christine has said, of how and when to intervene to save lives. So, where are the starting points? The main one is the fact of increasing interdependence that has been brought home to us from several climactic events: Chernobyl, currency fluctuations spreading from Asia and Latin America, environmental crises and growing problems that demand a holistic approach. One could list among such problems the global risks of violence, including risks of violence by non-traditional means and changing weapons (box-cutters in civilian aircraft, saron gas in a Japanese subway). Interdependence has also grown through computer technology and interference through hackers and virus agents.

    We should also note the cost of failure to address the root causes of some of this delinquency, not least the cost of exclusion and alienation of some populations.

    To situate these comments in the post-1945 context, we have shifted from coexistence to cooperation. We have moved from the Westphalian model, the billiard-ball theory of international relations: the theory of separate states that intercept with each other in international relations, but what goes on inside the ball is not of concern to others. After 1945 and discovery of the Holocaust we endorsed and accepted the United Nations Charter with its requirement and duty of all member states to cooperate. Peace and security, we accepted, is dependent upon justice between and within states, and the law of cooperation requires states to participate in good faith in efforts towards economic and social development. The notion of sovereignty remains, but it includes the duty to cooperate – a duty which member states of the United nations have freely consented to accept.

    Now we come to the more controversial area: the authority to act and the legitimate use of force. The last possible recourse should be the use of military force. The rule of law requires constraint. The UN Charter is clear in identifying only two legitimate uses of force: 1) in self-defence, and 2) upon express Security Council authorization to maintain or restore peace and security in the common interest. In fact, the right of self-defence is strictly limited to situations when in fact "an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, [and] until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security" to quote Article 51 of the Charter.  But far before one gets to such situations where force might legitimately be used either in self-defense or collectively in the common interest, there is the duty to cooperate to address so many of the social and economic issues which lay at the roots of violent conflict.  

    Effective cooperation in the social and economic sphere should have a conflict prevention dividend. This logic is express in international human rights law.  For example, the Preambles of the two Covenants state that, "in accordance with the principles proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations, recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world".  The duty to cooperate is also express in international human rights law.  For example, Article 2 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights requires each state party "to take steps, individually and through international assistance and co-operation, especially economic and technical, to the maximum of its available resources, with a view to achieving progressively the full realization of the rights recognized in the present Covenant".  As a multilateral treaty, this places a duty on all parties to pursue régimes of cooperation and assistance in good faith and without exploitative interests. It is reasonable to expect all states parties to help one another in this endeavour of obvious common interest. There is nothing in such documents about coercion, much less the use of military force. Of course, Lloyd Axworthy was operating in the aftermath of the genocide in Rwanda and the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo – which present particular challenges – when he inspired the International Commission.  Nonetheless, the law of cooperation remains generally applicable, and perhaps all the more important.

    So, to my criticisms of the report. They centre on the single question: Why the rush to force? One might note the composition of the commission. Only one member was a woman, and so perhaps unsurprisingly in the document there is a fixation on power and coercion. Dr. Helen Caldicott years ago popularized the phrase “Missile Envy” to describe male dominance in terms of power and militarism, and there is an echo of the same mentality in R2P. It deals with irresponsible or incapable governments, and offers a perverse understanding of sovereignty and intervention. Sovereignty does not mean unrestrained power. It is not a trump card for an irresponsible government to play in order to block any form of intervention. Rather, the UN Charter and subsequent international law has limited state sovereignty.  Indeed, it is part of the very definition of the state that it be capable of entering into international relations and being held responsible by other states.  In the post 1945 era this means, inter alia, the responsibility to respect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all persons (not just citizens) within the jurisdiction of the state and to seek to meet the minimum needs of its population.  Increasingly, it means good governance. If the state fails, its responsibility is at issue – and as a multilateral, cooperative régime, the Charter system logically means that the responsibility of other states then also becomes at issue.  But this is not a matter of "sovereignty".  It is a matter of responsibility.

    The R2P report deals with three forms of responsibility. First, the responsibility to prevent. It has a chapter on prevention, but regrettably pursues it in coercive terms (either sanctions or some form of force). Then, in another chapter, the responsibility to react to a government that practices or cannot control gross violations of human rights or similar serious abuses. This focuses on military reactions. Finally, the responsibility to rebuild, which places this work only in terms of post-conflict reconstruction. In effect, it jumps immediately to the use of force, and there are no intermediate steps or space for intervening reflections or actions. It provides an ex-post facto justification for actions, such as the bombing of Kosovo. In this regard, it leaves out a most important factor which is essential to the rule of law: people need foreseeability, especially with regard to the possible use of force. In effect, and notwithstanding its reference to required Security Council authorization, as a matter of humanitarian imperative R2P seems to endorse the doctrine enunciated by Madeline Albright at the time of the Kosovo intervention: “we will act multilaterally when we can, and unilaterally if we must.” It is a doctrine that has been adopted by George Bush – if not in the inverse!

    It is perhaps instructive to consider what has happened since the report was published and R2P was promoted. Its logic has been used in the context of Iraq, and now potentially in the Sudan. There is a reserved entitlement to act: if the state fails to act, who can take responsibility – who in fact can act? The main powers, that is who. Nobody has suggested Grenada might take action against the United States for abuses witnessed there. Of course, small states simply have no means to intervene elsewhere. Frankly, not many states do. So, the logic means those who can, should. This sounds perilously close to might makes right. So, who is to decide? One argument made in some circles is that of American exceptionalism – that the unique power of the world's leading democracy warrants, even demands, its action without the same constraints as on others. This doctrine of exceptionalism harks back to a pre-Westphalian régime of "just war" and, in effect, lawlessness.

    Not surprisingly, few outside Canada want to talk about R2P, at the United Nations or elsewhere. For many, it signifies justification for unilateral action by those who can. If this is legitimate, why shouldn’t countries like China, Brazil or Nigeria also take such unilateral action? Is it great Canadian policy to support and indeed press this doctrine, as we have done both in theory and in practice in the Darfur situation? I am not arguing against action, but let’s not be naïve. We risk being used by others who have other interests and may not share our good intentions. To argue for coercive intervention knowing we are rarely capable of doing so ourselves is essentially to pave the road for others whose actions we do not control. This is not the definition of "responsible" behaviour.  

    What are the alternatives? There are lots of measures we should exhaust first, which the UN Charter requires in terms of economic and social activities. There are diplomatic interventions at UN headquarters and on the ground. Most crises have long-term trajectories. The Sudan is an example par excellence. It did not come suddenly; it has been two decades in the brewing. The same is the case with Kosovo whose proximate and immediate causes were years in the making. However, the University of Maryland's “Minorities at Risk” project indicates that there is a limited time between the expression of grievance and the eruption of violence, which will happen if the world does not pay attention in proper time – and that time-line is shrinking as small groups are prepared to take action and even to sacrifice themselves. Reasonably, we must ask why are they prepared to do so? This takes us into the problems of exclusion, of injustice, of economic inequality, to some of the root causes of violence. Guns and bombs are not useful here.

    How can the world address such problems in a serious manner? We need institutions that can do so at the global, regional and national levels. Unfortunately, we have so far invested little in peace, with almost no dedicated institutions or developed practices. Alone are the institutions of the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, while earlier this summer the UN Secretary-General appointed a Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide in recognition of the tenth anniversary of the Rwanda genocide. As modest as it is, I can at least say that of the 25 countries in which the OSCE High Commissioner was engaged over some ten years, none has erupted into violence. Notably, the High Commissioner has a staff of only 20 people and a small budget of some €2 million per year; the UN Special Advisor is as yet a part-time appointment with the assistance of just two professional staff. But these are evidently available means which should be replicated and broadly supported. More generally, we need to invest and mobilize in the active prevention of violence and make it in practice the first priority as the R2P declares. This entails a broad and sustained policy of both structural and operational prevention with coordinated efforts in the fields of social and economic development, bilateral and multilateral diplomacy, and commensurate institutional capacity building. Especially for a country such as Canada, interventionist and coercive approaches seem misplaced.

    In conclusion, let me say that Canada's support of R2P has hold of the wrong end of the stick. If the basic question is how and when should we be intervening to save lives, then the answer is we should be taking the approach of prevention. Specifically, we should be acting cooperatively and early, rather than coercively and late. Not only will we stand a better chance of success, but it is not in our interest to support a coercively interventionist approach. We haven’t the capacity to coerce, and it's not in the spirit of our people. But we do have comparative advantages in other areas: in governance, in the management of diversity, in the experience of settling our own domestic disputes, and in our positive disposition, history and reputation of helping others. Even our relatively modest national interests and their limited geographic projection give us an advantage in the perception of others as we are generally viewed as an honest, impartial and reliable third party. In short, Canada is well placed to be a peace-maker. A modest allocation of resources in this direction can enhance and project Canada's capacities, and go towards the advancement of a secure and peaceful world.

    Questions and comments to John Packer.

    Metta Spencer:   One thumb up, one thumb down!  What do you do with régimes that are not cooperative and you can’t sweet-talk? Take Burma: when it comes to a dictator or a junta, coercion can be effective but it should be non-violent coercion. This is a missing element in R2P. And there is the notion that you can help a democratic opposition organize its own resistance, rather than intervene with military force. The United States gave young people in Serbia $40 million to overthrow the régime. A first step can be helping democratic groups with cell-phones and photocopiers.

    Janis Alton: I wonder if we can address the institution of war as an illegal option, because of the universality of human rights?

    Barbara Darling: R2P was developed as an indirect means of reforming the UN Security Council.  There should be scope for the Permanent Members to waive their veto in these cases, rather than dealing with situations on a case-by-case basis. I think that could be avoided by having the principles of R2P action agreed at that high level and then, if “prevention” is the key word in some situation, it should not have to go to the Council.

    Jean Smith: I’d like an assessment of Canadian action in Haiti. We have been sending goods there for assembly work at low wages. We did not support President Aristide as democratic leader, but sent troops there after the coup to “stabilize” the country. Comments, please.

    Diane McIntyre: How do the participation of women and the International Criminal Court and Security Council Resolution 1325 (on participation of women in peace processes) all fit in together? The women of Haiti were not consulted when Aristide was kicked out.

    Response from John Packer: On Haiti, there are moves to build a conflict prevention capacity and mechanism in the Caribbean. I would like to see a general feminization of the discourse on conflict, and the participation of women in the peacemaking process. There has been male domination of the military-industrial complex and it needs countering.

    War has been illegal since 1945, if not 1928. The use of force in self-defence is permissible and not considered war, in legal terms. Self-defence has to have a legitimate public interest and, like international policing, be aimed at securing order.  We used to have Ministries of War, which have changed to Ministries of Defence, and hopefully may now be changed again to Ministries of Peace. But the military-industrial complex is more robust than ever, and the investment in conflict prevention and peace-building is still comparatively tiny.

    There are limits to sweet talk, as in hard cases such as Burma and Iraq. Saddam Hussein’s Iraq manipulated the sanctions régime. Security Council resolution 688 authorized intervention in Iraq, and supported the use of force for humanitarian purposes. If you look at the hard cases, or most of them, we could have supported the democratic opposition. In the Balkans the democrats worked at resistance for more than 10 years, and were angry at the Western failure to support them. There was a success story in the Philippines, with the resistance to Marcos.  Macedonia is another success, where a UN preventive force of only about 800 troops was deployed and OSCE diplomats were engaged.  So I agree that there is plenty to do even in tough cases and late in the day.

    On the UN Security Council itself, I agree on the need for reform, and hope it will come as a result of the report, due in December, of the High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change. The Council should be enlarged to 21 or so members. But to ask the Permanent Five to waive their veto is naïve. If they have it, they will use it.  Of course, early preventive work through cooperation does not depend upon Security Council authorization.

    Group discussion Saturday, September 11

    John Packer gave some more background and clarification of the report, underlining his critique of R2P’s focus on military action and emphasis on the use of coercion to protect, rather than on non-coercive preventative measures. Ross Francis pointed out that the document spoke of three responsibilities: to prevent, react and rebuild. Before using force, says the document, “every diplomatic and non-military avenue for the prevention or peaceful resolution of the humanitarian crises must have been explored.” Packer agreed, but replied that the responsibility to prevent is only covered in a single eight-page chapter, while the bulk of the document is concerned with the use of force.

    Other discussants took issue with the focus on military force. It was going down a road fraught with problems. If military action is indeed necessary, it should be taken in a way not to endanger innocent lives and be as non-violent as possible. To deal with situations such as the former Yugoslavia and African states that are internally divided, there should be global institutions that can prevent large-scale violence with timely action. These might involve support for groups wanting their own-language schools and hospitals and a form of government that could meet their legitimate claims.

    Newton Bowles said any recommendation on R2P should be couched in the broader context of human rights and the system of international treaties. Packer pointed out that not a single member of the R2P Commission had a specialization in international law. He noted nonetheless that the R2P document strongly supports adherence to the multilateral system and to the UN Security Council.  However, this perspective is not shared by the current U.S. Administration which has openly declared its unilateral intentions to suit its own interests… a most troubling approach especially if followed by others (China, India, Nigeria, et al.). If the UN is seen as a failing institution, we need to reform and not reject it.

    In the meantime, John Packer concluded, there are other things we can do: Canada should put more resources and intelligent thought into deep prevention. This would be morally consistent with our declared values and practically achievable with Canada's own resources and actions. It doesn’t take a lot of money to make a difference, he said.  

    Resolutions and proposals adopted at the conference plenary session Sunday September 12, 2004

    Preamble:   “Where a population is suffering serious harm as a result of internal war, insurgency, repression, or state failure, and the state in question is unwilling or unable to halt or avert it, the principle of non-intervention yields to the international responsibility to protect.” (Basic principle – Responsibility to Protect document.)

    Reaffirming the need to situate the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) within the broader context of the systemic weakness of the United Nations system to enforce existing international law, particularly in relation to gross breaches of human rights;

    and Given that the Responsibility to Prevent is the single most important dimension of R2P, the Group of 78 recommends the following:

    1. The Government of Canada should explore, support, promote and make most prominent non-coercive approaches to conflict prevention and resolution arising from all root causes, especially the violation of human rights.
    2. To this end, the Government of Canada should encourage conflict resolution institution building within multilateral organizations and the participation of civil society in these processes.
    1. Finally, the Government of Canada should play a creative role in the reform of the United Nations Security Council, with a view to enhancing its legitimacy which is established on representativeness and inclusion, based on the current world order.

    Table of Contents


    Chair: Metta Spencer

    Rapporteur: Craig Hunter

    Rob McDougall (Director, Non-Proliferation, Arms Control and Disarmament Division, Department of Foreign Affairs)

    Peggy Mason (former Ambassador for Disarmament; faculty, Pearson Peacekeeping Centre)

    Metta Spencer This topic has been an issue for discussion and concern in the Group of 78 for a long time, and the situation has seen little improvement: indeed under the Bush administration it has seen setbacks.  Nor is this issue given the public attention that it should in Canada. So it is important to address it once again.

    Rob McDougall I have to start with a disclaimer. What I will say here today reflects my personal views, and not necessarily those of my department or the government.  

    Are we facing a situation today where, so to speak, Chicken Little meets Dr Strangelove? Certainly there are many who have growing concerns about the health of multilateral non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament efforts, especially when we look at the crises in Iran and North Korea.  This concern can lead to the argument that the whole multilateral system of arms control is failing and needs to be replaced.  But is the sky falling in, as Chicken Little would say? Is the solution some form of unilateral and aggressive action, as Dr Strangelove advised?  In these dangerous times, it seems to me, it is important that the debate should avoid three errors: the error of despair where people claim that all is lost, the error of complacency where they say that with time all will inevitably get better, and the error of panic where they say that the existing system must be discarded, that everything must be changed.

    In this regard, there are three dichotomies that I would like to explore.

    1.  Non-proliferation versus disarmament.   Non-proliferation essentially means preventing other people from getting weapons you do not want them to have, while disarmament (at least in its multilateral form) means reducing everyone’s stockpiles, including your own.  Today there are strong concerns about proliferation that benefits both states and non-state actors (such as terrorists).  But two other forms of proliferation have also caused concern.  One is vertical proliferation, i.e., the development of new types of weapons and other qualitative improvements in existing arsenals – creating a situation where a country may have the same number of weapons or even fewer but with greater power to destroy. The other is proliferation of weapons into new areas, for example outer space.

    There are meanwhile many who argue that not enough is happening in the area of disarmament, especially multilateral disarmament; those who emphasize that there needs to be a better balance between non-proliferation and disarmament; those who assert that disarmament is being downplayed by some of the nuclear-weapon States (NWS), except where it only involves other countries.  Good disarmament treaties, both bilateral and multilateral, do exist for nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.  What is important is to see them better implemented, more tightly verified, effectively irrevocable.  And even more attention should be paid to the actual destruction of weapons – as has already begun as part of the removal of landmines from many conflict areas, the dismantling of plutonium warheads from American and Soviet missiles and the work being done to reduce the number of small arms in circulation, among other examples.

    2. Multilateralism vs. other means. In their discussion of non-proliferation and disarmament, experts have sometimes isolated three groups for the purposes of analysis – an oversimplification, perhaps, but an instructive one.  These groups are the weapons establishment, essentially status quo powers that favour non-proliferation in all its forms but have been known to question the value of both multilateralism and disarmament; the ‘hungry hawks’, states that consider that national security demands an increase in their arsenals and who consider non-proliferation (multilateral or otherwise) a threat to the achievement of that goal; and states that want to see both large reductions in nuclear arsenals and stronger non-proliferation restraints, all based on binding multilateral regimes.  The last group includes Canada, which considers that a robust and effective rules-based system centred on treaties and the United Nations magnifies both its national security and its international influence.  

    Alternatives to multilateralism include plurilateral agreements where smaller groups come together to deal with specific concerns, e.g., the G8, the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and the Proliferation Security Initiative.  Such efforts can be particularly useful if combined with multilateral approaches in a comprehensive framework of commitments and structures for compliance.  But this statement needs to be nuanced.  Multilateralism, for example, needs to be real and robust, not just rhetorical; it has to provide security to all those involved, if they are to be persuaded to disarm.   And compliance must be based on strict verification, as Canada has emphasized for many years.  Much can be envisaged here.  For example, the Biological and Toxic Weapons Convention still lacks a verification mechanism, and the United Nations itself has no permanent verification capacity (the actions of UNSCOM and UNMOVIC in Iraq were useful and instructive measures but did not create a broad or permanent capacity).

    3.  Crisis management versus framework maintenance.   It is also important to take a cold analytical look at just how serious are the threats facing us.  Not all the news is in fact bad.  Two pieces of good news have been Libya’s disarmament and the discovery that Iraq has no weapons of mass destruction.  More broadly, there are fewer states that threaten the world with nuclear weapons or long-range missiles, existing or under active development, today than there were 15 years ago and fewer nuclear weapons overall.  On the other hand, Iran and North Korea are recognised problems, and there are longer-term unsolved issues surrounding Indian and Pakistani arsenals.  There is also clearly a perceived crisis of terrorism, although fortunately terrorists have, with rare exceptions, so far not used weapons of mass destruction.  

    Some critics argue that such crises mean that multilateralism has failed.  These crises are certainly serious.  But crises are also a normal part of international life - someone is always cheating on commitments and obligations.  The worst cases must generally be handled on an ad hoc basis – occasionally by means as serious as war – but this doesn’t justify a radical change of the multilateral system.  No fixed system could be established to handle all possible international situations, without becoming so restrictive and intrusive as to be unacceptable.  The international community can however learn lessons from success and failure in handling individual crises, with the goal of improving the multilateral system by making it stronger, more flexible and better able to evolve to respond to future problems.

    Ways forward

    So where do we go from here? I would advocate adopting a “tool box” approach, collecting tools that could be used to fix various different kinds of future problems for the non-proliferation and disarmament regime.  Some of these tools might be shaped to fix essentially routine problems, others be usefully applied to knottier ones.  Many would be multilateral tools, others might be plurilateral, as long as they all worked together.  Some would be traditional tools kept sharp and up-to-date; others would be new tools crafted to meet changes in military doctrine or technology.  All could be potentially useful, depending on unknown future circumstances, so there seems little point in arguing that one is inherently better than another.

    In terms of new tools and new approaches, various experts have recently argued for various different ideas in the nuclear field.  In no particular order, these include for example:

    § Taking new steps to reduce and eliminate weapons holdings, perhaps by category. The INF Treaty for example led to destruction of all nuclear missiles of a certain range.

    § Getting nuclear powers to abandon ‘launch on warning’ deployment.

    § Securing more subscribers and a broader mandate for the Hague Code on missiles.

    § Seeking a clearer distinction between nuclear deterrence and war fighting.

    § Improving transparency on nuclear weapons and their reduction.

    § Creating an institutional framework for the NPT to monitor developments on a continuing basis, deal with new circumstances quickly and promote accountability.

    § Taking additional steps to prevent the supply of nuclear materials to non-NPT states.

    § Based on the Trudeau doctrine of ‘smothering’ nuclear arms build-up by concluding a number of smaller treaties, working to secure ratifications of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty to bring it into force and to negotiate a fissile material cut-off treaty.

    § Strengthening the International Atomic Energy Agency through increased funding and by giving it the political backing to make better use of the instruments it has developed.

    § Gaining greater acceptance of the IAEA’s additional protocol giving the Agency stronger powers of inspection, and making it a condition of supplying nuclear material.

    § Encouraging the NWS to place their stockpiles of surplus weapons-grade fissile material under IAEA supervision.

    § Supporting existing nuclear weapon-free zones and the generation of new ones.

    § Promoting a treaty on “negative security assurances” under which NWS guarantee non-NWS against attack using nuclear weapons.

    § Doing more (as Dr El Baradei has suggested) to restrict transfer of technology useful for generating fissile materials, combined with guarantees of supply to make it unnecessary for most states to produce their own nuclear fuel.

    § Encouraging greater transparency on tactical nuclear weapons as a first step towards their elimination.

    § Setting up a special multilateral fund for the destruction of nuclear weapons and related materials under international supervision.

    Broader steps can also be taken to promote nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament.  Re-activating the CD in Geneva after a six-year logjam would for example be a major achievement, especially if it involved establishment of the proposed committee on nuclear disarmament.  

    For Canada, progress on almost any of these ideas will depend on working with a wide range of likeminded partners.  In this regard, Canada is well-placed to serve as a diplomatic bridge.  We have for example maintained close ties with the New Agenda Coalition, a small group of Western and non-aligned states that have been highly influential in recent NPT and UN First Committee activity.  We are also in close touch, however, with key nuclear-weapon States, including the United States.   Over the sixty years taken together, the US has been a positive force in non-proliferation and disarmament affairs, often playing a strong leadership role.  It will be important to continue to engage Washington in the multilateral context.  


    Promoting non-proliferation and disarmament involves a long-term balancing act with military readiness as a factor in international security.  Both approaches are needed.  Even peacekeepers need arms; and some wars are just.  No state with dangerous neighbours will disarm totally.  We need to find ways to reduce arsenals in ways that reinforce broader security initiatives, especially in regions of tension.  We need to find non-proliferation and disarmament tools that all sides can accept because all sides see benefits to their national security.  It is unlikely that the battle for “complete and general disarmament” will be won anytime soon.  We can however continue to deny weapons to people who would use them without just cause.

    Peggy Mason: There is no substitute for a multilateral system, especially in the matter of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. It is fundamental, not incidental, to world security.  Precisely because multilateral rules could ensnare the neo-conservatives in the United States administration, they launched their attack on multilateralism.  Canada works multilaterally because we do not have enough influence to work any other way.  But a multilateral system is the only way to work for sustainable results.  

    The moves to put in place a Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) system have grave implications for international peace and security. Why did the United States and Soviet Union decide against missile defence in 1972? Because they believed it would lead to ever more offensive nuclear missiles to overcome the missile defences.  This rationale remains true today despite American withdrawal from the treaty.  For example, Russia will retain sufficient nuclear weapons on ‘high alert’ to ensure that its nuclear deterrent can never be neutralized by American BMD, thus increasing the danger of accidental launches and impeding nuclear disarmament. Will BMD make Canada safer? Indeed no.  Even the 2001 Moscow Agreement between Russia and the USA, providing for reductions in nuclear warheads, makes us less safe because surplus weapons are to be stored, rather than dismantled and destroyed.  No verification and no irrevocability. And given the dire financial state of the Russian military, the unsafe storage of fissile materials presents a grave risk of theft or diversion into the black market.

    Ballistic missile defence has been called a system that doesn’t work against a threat that doesn’t exist.  The illusory gain that BMD will protect North America and elsewhere against an attack from a rogue state is offset by its augmenting the threat of increased production of offensive nuclear weapons with even deadlier capabilities.  China has reacted by pursuing MIRVs – multiple, independently-targeted re-entry vehicles – that could more easily circumvent a missile interceptor system such as the USA is trying to develop. Because the American program is part of a “layered” system of land, sea and space-based interceptors, if Canada supports BMD, it will seriously undermine our longstanding arms control objective, to prevent the weaponization of space – a goal espoused by virtually every other country at the United Nations except the USA.  In any case, it is far cheaper and infinitely easier to develop decoys to fool a missile interceptor system than it is to produce a credible BMD. In the days when Ronald Reagan’s administration was trying to develop the Strategic Defense Initiative (or Star Wars), the US disarmament negotiator Paul Nietze set down as a condition for SDI that it must be “cost effective at the margins” (meaning that it is less costly to develop than the countermeasures to defeat it) and that its deployment not be destabilizing to international peace and security or, to put this another way, that the security benefits be greater than the negative impact.  Canada should look at BMD from this perspective.

    Comments and Questions to Panelists

    Murray Thomson noted the contradiction in which Canada is supportive of NATO’s policy of the use of nuclear weapons for the foreseeable future, but also wants to see a continuing process of disarmament.  As well, many missiles are on launch-on-warning status.  We have little time left to resolve this issue.  Why can’t Canada unilaterally disavow the NATO policy and oppose launch-on-warning?


    Rob McDougall:  Although nuclear weapons are part of NATO’s arsenal for the present, all NATO states have confirmed the NPT commitment to eliminate them.  We need to reinforce this commitment as a medium-term objective, then work with NATO to achieve that goal.  There is no procedure for opting out of a NATO policy and the Alliance is consensus-based, which makes it difficult to change sensitive policies rapidly, but Canada is trying to bring its influence to bear from within. Peggy Mason: NATO nuclear weapons are “weapons of last resort”, according to the London Summit communiqué of 1990.  But the ensuing review of strategic doctrine, rather than bringing it into line with this declaration from Heads of State and Government, asserts instead that nuclear weapons are necessary to prevent war, leaving open even the possibility of the first use of nuclear weapons.  This issue should be pursued at the 2005 NPT review conference.

    Tim Creery: This discussion verges on tedium, and might be entitled “How I learned to love the bomb.” How much support is there outside the United States for BMD?

    Rob McDougall: This is not my area of expertise, and it is of course a sensitive issue.  I can note that Australia, Denmark and Britain and other states have publicly committed themselves to co-operate with the US in this regard.

    Thomas Turay: There is a culture of violence in the US elections. They are looking for a war hero to be their president.  They need disarming of the mind through education.  I wonder, what is the role of community-based groups there in such a process?

    Rob McDougall: I don’t know about the United States, but Canada has educational programs of this sort. My division has for example been working with the UN Association of Canada on high school curriculum development and we have also this year awarded seven graduate fellowships in disarmament, in partnership with the Simons Foundation.  The International Security Research and Outreach Program in DFAIT has commissioned a survey on the status of such courses at university.  

    Hannah Newcombe: It used to be claimed that the main danger is accidental, not deliberate, war.  Why not just get rid of launch-on-warning? It is easy to do, even unilaterally, and it costs nothing.

    Rob McDougall: We are trying to reduce the possibilities for misinterpretation of events.  For example, one important aspect of the Hague Code on missiles is prior notification to other Code members of all launches of missiles beyond a certain range, so that an innocent rocket launch is not mistaken for a deliberate attack (as almost happened not long ago after launch of a Norwegian research rocket).

    Newton Bowles: I am in favour of panic. All this technical nibbling at issues is useful, but we will not get any distance without popular political pressure, which will only be the result of panic.

    Rob McDougall: We had lots of popular concern on nuclear issues in the past.  Students in the 1960s believed they had the right to change the world.  Canadian students closed the US border in protest against the Amchitka nuclear test, and one million marched in New York City.  But the groundswell of protest on nuclear weapons has lessened in the last ten years; other causes such as globalisation have come to the fore.  Newton Bowles. That is because young people do not know there is a problem.  Peggy Mason.  And the news media is not doing an adequate job of reporting protests today.

    Ardath Francis: Libya’s renunciation of nuclear weapons was a good news item, but have there been inspections to ensure that Libya has got rid of them?

    Rob McDougall: The IAEA and chemical weapons inspectors were given access; ad hoc arrangements are being made for missiles and biological weapons, where there is no multilateral inspection regime.  There is little incentive for Libya to cheat.  

    Leslie McWhinnie: How can weapons be arrested at pre-manufacture? How can the corporations that manufacture weapons be controlled? Can manufacturers whose weapons get into illegal hands be penalised? 

    Peggy Mason: A UN Programme of Action to counter the proliferation and misuse of small arms and light weapons is underway but the process is arduous and involves action to curb both the supply of, and the demand for, weapons as well as measures to collect and destroy the mountains of small arms in circulation in post-conflict zones.  Other efforts focus on the retraining of former combatants so they have an alternative to the gun and a particularly difficult area is the rehabilitation of child fighters who have known nothing else but war from an early age.  One particularly difficult area is to get broad agreement on the criteria for the export of small arms so as to ensure that they do not end up in conflict areas or in states with poor human rights records.  Canada is well-placed to lead here provided we take care to ensure that our own house is fully in order.

    Rob McDougall: Export control mechanisms are the only real tool now, based on national regulations co-ordinated by multilateral supplier régimes.  Canada has supported work on an international agreement on the conditions under which it is (or isn’t) acceptable to export small arms and light weapons.

    Group Discussion Saturday September 11

    The group in an afternoon discussion made the following points:

    Canada should not join the United States in its attempts to develop a Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD).   To the criteria for the earlier SDI suggested by Paul Nietze, there should be added the basic criterion of feasibility.

  • The Canadian government needs to work more vigorously with like-minded countries to strengthen the multilateral process of non-proliferation and disarmament.  It also needs to pay balanced attention to both vertical and horizontal weapons proliferation.

  • In order to reduce the possibility of a nuclear exchange resulting from an accidental or innocent rocket launch, Canada should call on all states possessing nuclear weapons to eliminate launch-on-warning status.

  • We need an awareness and education campaign, with support from the news media, to re-engage the Canadian public. We commend the Foreign Affairs initiatives in this area, including funding of curricula and fellowships, but suggest more might be done.  We recognise the complexity of these issues, given a culture of violence, and the efforts needed to communicate these issues effectively to the public.  We support the UNAC education programs.  An important dimension is the reduction of small arms and light weapons, being pioneered in Canada by Project Ploughshares.  [A letter to CBC from Group of 78 suggesting that not enough attention is being paid to these issues could propose names of experts from within or outside the Group for programs such as The Current.]

  • There is a contradiction in the stated Canadian policy of restricting the transfer of arms and the practice of exporting parts to the United States with no control over their final destination. The Group of 78 should consider forming a working group, supplemented by a lunchtime talk during the year, to carry this issue through as a priority to next year’s conference.

    Resolutions and proposals adopted at the conference plenary session Sunday September 12, 2004

    Strengthening the Nuclear Non-Proliferation, Arms Control and Disarmament Regime for the 21st Century

    Security and Disarmament

    1.         Give higher priority to multilateral framework

    (a) Underscoring the centrality of the multilateral non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament framework as essential to Canadian and global peace and security,

    The Group of 78 urges the Government of Canada to give higher priority to working with other likeminded nations at the United Nations and in other relevant bodies to strengthen this framework.

    In particular the Group of 78 calls for the strengthening of the mechanisms of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) by ensuring that:

    1. Balanced attention is given to both vertical and horizontal proliferation (as called for by IAEA Executive Director El Baradei), thus ensuring no double standards.  To this end Canada should consider, in the context of the 2005 NPT Review Conference process, how to re-energize its efforts to bring the NATO Strategic Doctrine on the role of nuclear weapons into line with the disarmament imperative of the NPT.
    1. The Canadian initiative on regular reporting by states parties to the NPT is carried forward and strengthened.
    1. A ‘standing institutional framework’, essentially a secretariat, for the NPT is established to permit both ongoing consultations and emergency meetings.

    2.   Averting the risk of accidental or inadvertent launch of nuclear weapons

    In order to reduce the risk of accidental launch of nuclear weapons, we call on the Canadian government, as a priority, to urge all states possessing nuclear weapons to adopt immediately a ‘no launch on warning’ policy.  This is a measure that individual states can take unilaterally, while cumulatively building mutually reinforcing steps.

    3.   Reject Ballistic Missile Defence

    The Group of 78 has, since its founding in 1980, given priority to policies aimed at arms control and eventual disarmament. In June 2000 during the Clinton administration the Group’s board of directors expressed opposition to the early proposals for Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) and at the 2003 annual policy conference urged the Canadian government not to participate in the BMD program of the current United States administration. We wish here to recapitulate briefly the reasons we then gave for opposition, and then add further points raised at the 2004 conference.

    We have opposed Canadian participation for these reasons:

  • The program includes at a later stage the weaponization of space to enable boost-phase interception.

  • If successful, it would strengthen the Bush administration’s doctrine providing for pre-emptive attacks.

  • This immensely costly program is part of a degree of militarization in the world that is incompatible with sustainable development.

  • Some 60 years of efforts to develop a counter-weapon to the ballistic missile have had extremely limited success. A U.S. system would appear to offer no contribution toward the protection of Canada, but rather to make for a more dangerous world.

  • The development of BMD promotes the arms race, in which nations try to outdo one another in military capacity, as indicated in China’s arms program.

  • To the extent that views need to be exchanged between the United States and other countries on BMD issues, including theatre and battlefield missile defence, this can be done most effectively among allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and among all countries in the collective security and disarmament context of the United Nations.

    To these arguments, made in 2003, the present annual conference added the following points for greater emphasis:

    BMD offers no defence at all but rather a false sense of security based on unproven and unpromising technologies.  In reality, BMD reduces security because it increases incentives for the development of counter-weapons and counter-measures, plunging rival countries into new arms races.

    Canadian participation in such a scheme, designed to place weapons in space at a later stage, would therefore make Canada and the world less secure and run counter to the basic tenets of Canadian foreign policy.

    Ballistic missile defence is unproven because its designers and proponents have not been able to prove either of the following conditions:

    • That the system could meet basic requirements of operational feasibility in accordance with established principles of testing;
    • That deployment of the system would be cost effective at the margins – that is, countermeasures such as decoys to defeat the system would not be cheaper and easier to develop than the system itself.

    Even if these two conditions could be met and proven, BMD would still give a false sense of security. By its innate characteristics, it would destabilize the strategic balance among nations. It would, in turn, be a spur towards an arms race, and a threat to international peace and security. It would increase incentives for rival states to develop and maintain the offensive nuclear forces necessary to withstand the use of this system in conjunction with a pre-emptive strike.

    4.         Promote Verifiable, Irreversible Nuclear Disarmament

    The Group of 78 recalls the 16 principles of verification developed initially by Canada and then agreed multilaterally at the United Nations, principles designed to ensure that disarmament agreements lead to verifiable and irreversible reductions including in particular the destruction of dismantled nuclear warheads.  Without guaranteed irreversibility, dismantled nuclear warheads are more likely to be stored than destroyed, increasing the risk of terrorists gaining access to nuclear weapons and requiring the parties to the agreement to hedge against the possibility that the agreement will break down and stored weapons be reactivated.

    (a) The Group of 78 therefore calls on the Government of Canada to work with other likeminded nations at the UN and in other relevant venues to reaffirm the importance of adherence to the 16 Principles of Verification and in particular, to call upon the United States and Russia to apply these principles in the following areas:

    1. Codification and verification of the current unilateral arrangements regarding tactical nuclear weapons; and
    2. The Moscow Agreement reducing the number of strategic nuclear weapons, which currently has no verification mechanisms and which provides only for withdrawal from service and storage, not for permanent disabling of the warheads.

    5.         Public Outreach and Disarmament Education

    With the end of the Cold War, public attention has understandably shifted to other pressing global problems including the heightened risk of terrorism.  Yet vast stocks of nuclear weapons remain, even as the alarming prospect looms of new generations of nuclear weapons being developed and new roles being found for them, in blatant contravention of disarmament obligations undertaken by the nuclear weapons states under the NPT and reaffirmed in the last Review Conference in 2000.  There is an urgent need for public outreach programs to heighten public awareness of the urgent need to pursue and promote verifiable, irreversible nuclear disarmament.  At the same time, the Group of 78 recognizes the complexity of these issues and the challenges in communicating them to the public.

    (a) The Group of 78 commends the Department of Foreign Affairs for its ongoing initiatives in this regard, including assistance in the development of disarmament curricula and fellowships and its support for the UN program of disarmament education.

    (b) For its part the Group of 78 undertakes to develop more concerted strategies for media outreach including:

    i.          urging the CBC and other networks in their public affairs programming to give more priority to nuclear disarmament;

    ii.        providing public affairs programmers with contact lists of experts in relevant areas;

    iii.      working with other civil society organizations in promoting the visibility of nuclear disarmament and related policy issues.

    Table of Contents

    Resolutions on civil rights

    adopted at the conference plenary session Sunday September 12, 2004.

    1.     The Group of 78 feels impelled to reaffirm its deep concern over the ill-conceived Anti-Terrorism Act. This Act, in effect, puts the Government of Canada outside the law, and it gives extra-judicial authority to the police. United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has warned against over-reacting to terrorism in ways that play into the hands of terrorists. The Canadian Anti-Terrorism Act does just that, and it must be immediately and thoroughly reviewed by Parliament and the public to ensure that it does not infringe on human rights and the protection of citizens or other persons in Canada from arbitrary arrest and detention, as already has happened.

    2.     In view of the detention in Canada of five men without charge on alleged secret evidence which has not been divulged to them or their lawyers, we submit the following resolution: All detainees and their lawyers must be accorded prompt access to the evidence on which the detention is based.

    Table of Contents

    Appendix :


    The Group of 78 is an informal association of Canadians seeking to promote global priorities for peace and disarmament, equitable and sustainable development, and a strong and revitalized United Nations system.

    It began in 1980 when a small group including Andrew Brewin MP and Peggy Brewin, Murray Thomson of Project Ploughshares, Robert McClure, former Moderator of the United Church, and King Gordon, formerly of the United Nations Secretariat, drafted a statement on how best Canada could contribute to the building of a peaceful and secure world. In November 1981 that statement, Canadian Foreign Policy in the 80s, was sent to Prime Minister Trudeau. It was signed by 78 Canadians — a group of 78.

    The statement set out three inter-related objectives:

    1. removal of the threat of nuclear war;

    2. the mobilization of world resources to achieve a more equitable international order and bring an end to the crushing poverty which is the common lot of the majority in the Third World;

    3. the strengthening and reform of the United Nations and other global institutions designed to bring about a pacific settlement of disputes, foster international cooperation, promote the growth of world law and the protection of basic human rights.

    That was the beginning of a dialogue between the Group of 78 and the Canadian government. In the following years, members of the Group discussed, and made their views known, about new issues facing Canada in international relations and their implications for the central, and universal, objectives of policy already mentioned.

    The Group of 78:

    • meets in conferences to consider needed changes in foreign policy, seeking consensus on  recommendations to government;

    • produces publications on conference findings and special issues;

    • publishes a web site

    • organizes lunches with invited speakers.







    Margaret Atwood

    Walter Gordon

    John Meisel

    Donald Bates

    Roger Guindon

    Brian Meredith

    Pierre Berton

    James Ham

    Joanna Miller

    Florence Bird

    Richard Harmston

    Michael Oliver

    Elisabeth Mann Borgese

    Jacques Hébert

    Archbishop A. L. Penney

    Andrew Brewin

    Gerhard Herzberg

    Lucie Pépin

    Tim Brodhead

    John Holmes

    Beryl Plumptre

    General E.L.M. Burns

    John Humphrey

    Nancy Pocock

    Rita Cadieux

    George Ignatieff

    John Polanyi

    Thérèse Casgrain

    Heather Johnston

    Escott Reid

    Maxwell Cohen

    Kalmen Kaplansky

    Clyde Sanger

    Irwin Cotler

    Hugh Keenleyside

    Archbishop E.W. Scott

    Marion Dewar

    Roby Kidd

    Frank Scott

    T.C. Douglas

    David Kirk

    Marian Scott

    William Epstein

    Anton Kuerti

    John Sigler

    Gordon Fairweather

    Renaude Lapointe

    Adelaide Sinclair

    Geraldine Farmer

    Margaret Laurence

    David Smith

    Eugene Forsey

    J. Francis Leddy

    Maurice Strong

    Ursula Franklin

    Clarke MacDonald

    Murray Thomson

    Northrop Frye

    David MacDonald

    Bruce Thordarson

    E. Margaret Fulton

    Donald MacDonald

    Norma E. Walmsley

    Sylva Gelber

    R. St. J. MacDonald

    Patrick Watson

    Alfred Gleave

    Gregory MacKinnon

    Hellie Wilson

    James George

    Yvon Madore

    Lois Wilson

    Paul Gérin-Lajoie

    Robert McClure

    Gregory Wirick

    Maynard Gertler

    Dennis McDermott

    Diana Wright

    J. King Gordon

    Peter Meincke


    Table of Contents

    Published by:

    The Group of 78

    206-145 Spruce

    Ottawa, ON   K1R 6P1

    Tel: 613-230-0860

    Fax: 613-563-0017


    Web site:

    Extra copies of this report may be obtained for $15 each from the G78 at the above address.

    2003 © The Group of 78

    ISBN # ISBN 0-9730246-3-1

    Group of 78 Chair: Peggy Mason

    Members of the Board: Janis Alton, Newton Bowles, Joan Broughton*, Geoffrey Bruce, Andrew Clarke, Barbara Darling, Mary Edwards*, Dwight Fulford*, Gretel Harmston*, M. Elaine Harvey, Corey Levine, Peggy Mason*, Leslie McWhinnie*, Clyde Sanger, Stephen Woollcombe.

    *indicates a member of the Executive Committee

    Other publications by the Group of 78 include:


    • A Foreign Policy for the 80s (pamphlet), 1984

    • To Combine Our Efforts (pamphlet), 1985

    • Canada and the World: National Interest and Global Responsibility, 56 pages, 1985

    • Canada and Africa: A Common Cause, 44 pages, 1986

    • Canada and Common Security: the Assertion of Sanity, 88 pages, 1987

    • Canada and Her Neighbours in a Changing World (conference report), 1989

    • Canada in the Americas: Agenda for the 90s (conference report), 65 pages, 1990

    • Beyond Sovereignty: The Future of the Nation State, 44 pages, 1991

    • The Movement of Peoples: A View from the South, 177 pages, 1992

    • Pacific Regional Cooperation in a New Global Context: Challenges and Opportunities for Canada

    (conference report), 1994

    • ‘Failed States’: How Might the UN and Canada Help? (conference summary report), 1995

    • ‘Arms and the Man’: Threats to Peace at the End of the Century (conference summary report) 1996

    • Canada’s Defence Policy:  A Realistic and Meaningful Mandate for the Canadian Armed Forces

      (conference report), 45 pages, 1997

    • Human Rights: How Can Canada Make a Difference? (conference report), 37 pages, 1998

    • Globalization and Its Discontents (conference report), 54 pages, 1999

    • Canada’s Commitment to World Peace (conference report), 37 pages, 2000

    • Challenge and Change to Canada’s Foreign Policy: 1981-2001 (conference report), 54 pages, 2002

    • Hot Button Issues in Canadian Foreign Policy since September 11, 2001 (conference report), 57 pages, 2003

    . Canada and the Developing World: Meeting our Responsibilities (conference report). 48 pages, 2004

    Top     G78 Hompage


page top