Peace in Canadian Politics: The Best Kept Secret

My purpose in writing this blog is to remind Canadians and other readers that peaceful ways to address conflicts of the day are not only possible but essential to stopping a downward slide into self destruction. There are nonviolent ways to resolve conflicts without war.

The important message I want to share is that change is possible. There are nonviolent options to any kind of conflict. In Canada in particular one of many countries that has built a contingent of peaceful options that resulted in the peace many of us enjoy today. Damaged as it is, we have found a peaceful path between the English and French citizens and Indigenous and Settlers. As a Coordinator for a community support for asylum seekers in my home town I hear more compassion for these brave people looking for a new safe life.

What stops Canada’s leaders from being a voice for peace in the political forum of the day? Leadership for peace would be a refreshing change to the war rhetoric and would reduce the cost of interventions if peace strategies were used instead or warring.

We have a history where Canadian leaders did just that. Several accounts of Prime Ministers or Cabinet Ministers took a stand to speak with Canadian values of inclusion, nonviolent engagement and fair solutions. The usual reference to leadership that made us proud to be Canadian was the development of Peacekeepers under Prime Minister Lester B Pearson. See the Appendix for other examples of politics based on values.

What I am about

I am a Peace Professional trained to intervene in conflicts with nonviolence in thought, word and deed. My previous blog My Path to Peace, outlines how I learned the understanding and skills to work through conflicts using nonviolent means. Choosing peace has for millennia been an option taught by each faith as noted by author and theologian Karen Armstrong in her most recent book, Second Nature. She outlines how each faith has a version of Do Not Do To Others What You Would Not Want Done To You. While there are those who would compromise these values for reasons of greed and power over others, a standard for peaceful methods exists. One indisputable truth is that War never results in Peace, long, durable, efficient, positive peace.

My goal is to have Canadians of all backgrounds know we have choices when it comes to violence. While we experience a growing military approach to conflicts internationally Canada is also one of the most respected for its nonviolent character and strategies. We have a large trained body of peacebuilders and some internationally renowned leaders for peace. We have a lot to offer in this regard. My confusion is why are we not leading in regard to using peaceful means? We can no longer leave this choice to our political system that often distorts truths and Canada’s involvement. For example, early in the Ukraine/Russia conflict Trudeau early on in the conflict stated on the radio we are not involved in this conflict. We are not at war. Yet, we have taken on Ukrainian refugees but not Russians including soldiers trying to defect. We have not addressed hatred in Canada shown towards Russians rather in parliament the news showed a room full of politicians applauding a previous Nazi soldier who is known for killing Russians. How does this demonstrate we are not at war with Russians? Being impartial does not require less for one group over the other.

While many violent occurs around the world the current attention is on the Israeli/Gaza war. Canada has become complicit in the suffering for both sides. The Israeli occupation of the region was a grave injustice when started in the 19th century by Western countries. Canada was only a young country at that time and was influenced by British decisions. Over the many years since then Canada has never stopped to decide what is Canada’s role in healing the horrible reality of the oppression of Jews occurring over thousands of years. Nor does Canada’s leaders want to use wise and impartial methods to stop the intention to eliminate Palestine. Canada seems reticent to take a stand based on Canadian values of respect for diversity and needs of wounded people. At this time Canada demonstrated a politics of racism. For example, while immigration has agreed to fast track refugees from Palestine it has set an unprecedented standard for Palestinians wanting to come to Canada.

What I want

We know how to do peace. We nationally have chosen to not use politically sanctioned killing as evidenced by our rejection of Capital Punishment. I want Canadian leaders to apply the same principles to our international decisions. I am aware of the difficult decisions our politicians must make. It has been my understanding that peaceful options are considered before each decision to engage the military. Yet, competing interests from international agents such as NATO influences the decisions. Nevertheless, it is critical that we join the voices of peace.

Over some 40 years I and many others have been engaged in many forms of transformative practices with the aspiration to build a world that seeks more peace and rejects war. My greatest disappointment that while I started my work on peace at a time when Canada was proud to be the alternative voice to violent war I have discovered there is change. As we (and globally) grow more and more dependent on the Weapons Industry as an economic staple our political commitment to peace processes has become depleted.

What Canada Could be Doing!

As a small country known as a peacebuilding country ( now more a reputation of the past) it could be inviting space for negotiations, acting as a neutral third party (after doing some trust building), using its many peacebuilders to facilitate forums to generate a path to positive peace. And more such as;

  • Fund peacebuilders to train conflicted populations in nonviolent and conciliatory methods
  • Free media to provide impartial knowledge and facts and to refrain from “propaganda posing as news”
  • Create a forum for free speech to discuss misleading information such as;
    • Russian invasion was unprovoked
    • Peace negotiations would ensure the loss of Ukraine’s territory and reward the aggressor
    • Any military attack from Palestinian territories is an act of terrorism
    • Any challenge to Israeli actions is an act of anti-semitism.
  • Funding the design and implementation of a peace process that does not use the military culture as the foundation.
  • Fund women to participate in dialogues on approaches on current conflicts and provide all involved with equitable decision making power.

What We Need

We need a Department of Peace whose sole responsibility is to ensure peaceful options to resolve national and international conflicts are the first considerations. It would provide development and research on the technology of peace, the policies and procedures to move violent conflict to peacful actions and to develop and deploy a Civilian Peace Service to apply the principles of nonviolent conflict resolution.

Below are some dedicated Canadians who worked towards this end. What is missing is constituency support. Canadians must call for a Department of Peace regardless of what party you follow. It’s no longer a nice idea it is essential to address the overuse of military forces and the destruction of environments that will take generations to repair. We no longer have the choice to wait until our politicians act. Martin Luther King Jr. Stated that what is needed is not a revolution of leadership but a “revolution of values”. We are there. The choice for peace and fair resolution to conflict without violence is imperative. Canada can lead in this

It has been a great privilege to explore the acts of peace in the world. A culture of peace exists. Yet, it is the best kept secret leading us to believe violent responses are our only options. It is not true. We can do the business of living differently. Each of us has a part to play. Seek understanding, speak up to injustice, expect leaders to tell the truth and help us build respectful connections to all people of the world.


Breedyk, G., Dojeiji,M., Tarasoff, K. J., Voigt, E., 2017. 150 Canadian Stories of Peace, Walking for Peace Publishing. pg. 72, pg. 181

Armstrong, K., 2022 Sacred Nature: Restoring our Ancient Bond with the Natural World. ISBN 9780735282421 (ISBN10: 0735282420)

Roche, D., 2003 Human Right to Peace. ‎ Novalis Publishing. (ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-2895074090 )

Roche, D., 2023. Keep Hope Alive: Essays for a War-Free WorldI Publisher: Lightning Source In.
( ISBN13: 978099591137).

Other Information.

Peace Quest One of many news sources on international affairs from a choice of nonviolence.


Examples of Political Actions To Choose Peace

Hon. Doug Roche previous Conservative MP and Ambassador of Peace has written many books that outline how he and others from the Federal Government and International allies presented options for facing international conflict through values and practices of a Culture of Peace and campaigned for a Human Right to Peace. In his book he describes this option in detail compared to our current culture of war.

Prime Minister and later Cabinet minister Joe Clarke campaigned for ethical international affairs. A skilled negotiator he led for unique outcomes despite pressures from the USA and other international leaders. In the 1980’s he lead a campaign under PM Mulroney to not support the USA Star Wars initiative and was able to convince our leadership to stand loyal to the values of not planning for war, (Breedyk et al, pg. 181)

Another time during the unrest and civil wars of Central America Mr. Clark worked with leaders such a President Oscar Arias Sanchez of Costa Rica to support a peace process (Breedyk et al, pg. 72). He provided police, military and diplomatic resources to support the goals of finding and sustaining peace in the area including. This was accomplished and a peace accord and solidarity between leaders was obtained. Since then there has not been the same level of conflict even though many areas have engaged in brutal conflicts with the help of international weapons.

Theresa Dunn

Theresa Dunn brings attention and practice to building and maintaining healthy relationships using the values and principles of a Culture Of Peace. The concept of a culture of peace is based on the United Nations Manifesto 2000 that outlines the fundamental goals and principles discussed throughout this site. Building a true culture of peace requires a personal journey of each human being to determine “the blocks to embracing a deep and transforming Love.” - (Paraphrased from spiritual teacher Rumi)

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