My Pearl Harbour Experience 2001

My Pearl Harbour Experience

A. Walter Dorn, 7 December 2001

(written en route from Honolulu to Tokyo; edited 13 August 2011)

The 7th of December 1941 was declared by President Franklin Roosevelt “a date which will live in infamy,” because the United States was subjected to an unexpected and massively destructive attack. While visiting Honolulu on 7 December 2001, sixty years after that eventful day, I made a short but personally meaningful visit to Pearl Harbour. I felt called to a rendezvous with history, and I wanted to pay my respects in the special place and to reflect on the lessons for today. It seemed to me that there remains so much of relevance to America and the world today.

While wandering through the grounds outside the USS Arizona monument, every second seemed to be filled with meaning and relevance. It was easy to shed tears for America and the world, contemplating our follies and triumphs, past and present. It seemed that history had repeated itself. December 7 was now joined by September 11 as a date of infamy. What lessons should we learn, I wondered.  

Nearing the USS Arizona Memorial, I saw a large US flag and next to it the reassuring words “In God we Trust”. This was the immortal America that I admired and loved, an America based on trust in God and dedication to a spiritual ideal.

Humbly entering the Memorial site, I was greeted by the sound of a Navy band playing “America the Beautiful.”  So appropriate were the lines, especially: “America, America, God shed His Grace on Thee. And crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea” and “America, America, God mend Thy every flaw, confirm thy soul in self-control, thy liberty in law.”

Lying in front of me was the splendor of Pearl Harbour, waters sparkling in glory, with mountains as a backdrop, and a perfectly clear blue sky above. Across the water a destroyer was moored and the US flag was flying half-mast atop the monument. This was battleship row, where the glory of the pre-war Pacific Fleet was sunk on that day of infamy. The harbour’s deep waters still hold the USS Arizona, left in perpetuity as the final resting place for 1,100 naval men on board that day. The USS Arizona had been launched in 1915 in New York City. At that time a young Franklin Roosevelt was Assistant Secretary of the Navy and President Woodrow Wilson was trying desperately to keep America out of what was becoming a world war.

Looking at the people around me, I saw Navy personnel in bright white uniforms with shiny medals. There were Japanese priests in flowing robes, carrying prayer beads. There were the Pearl Harbour veterans, besieged by servicemen and civilians, young and old, seeking autographs. And then there were the NYC firefighters in sharp, crisp uniforms that matched those of the military in brilliance. These New Yorkers were a poignant reminder of “the other,” more recent, great American disaster.

Over the microphone the presiding officer, paid tribute to the fallen heroes. She said that 2,390 people had died as a result of the attack on December 7. Then she invited all present to take a flower from ushers to which was attached a slip of paper with a name of one of the victims. We then cast these flowers with papers attached into the waters of Pearl Harbour. One soul, Charles Houston Henz, who died aboard USS Oklahoma, was the name that adorned my slip of paper. As I threw the flower, with name attached, into the air to be propelled by the wind towards the water, I thought how the life of this serviceman had been thrown into the wind by events far greater than himself. He was a hapless victim of the abhorrent human practice called war. For all of us, as for him, this practice is cruel, barbarous and at best a necessary evil.

In the surprise attack that we now call Pearl Harbour, an imperial power bent on expansion through aggression had wiped out in two aerial waves a dozen ships, including six battleships—the glory of the US Pacific fleet—and strewn panic among the people on the ground.

Yet there were elements of nobility on this day of infamy, as emergency workers risked their lives to provide relief during this aerial holocaust and firefighters battled raging fires on ships while in imminent danger of huge explosions. There were also elements of nobility in the attackers. I think of the sacrifice of the Kamikaze pilots in Zeros and dive-bombers, who were prepared to end their lives for what they believed was a higher nobler cause. How ironic and yet appropriate that the leader of the raiding aircraft, one Masato Fuchida, who yelled “Tora! Tora!” (Tiger! Tiger!) to signal the success of the raid, eventually became a Protestant minister in the United States. After the war he wrote a book-God bless his Japanese heart- titled “No More Pearl Harbours!”

I reflected on the institution that we call the military. I have long harboured a relationship of “love and hate”, of admiration and derision for the profession of arms. I admire the sense of self-sacrifice, the sense of duty and discipline, the quest for the body’s fitness, physical preparedness and tenacity in the face of adversity. At the same time, I abhor the ends and means of war and of the military machine, the wild suffering and wanton destruction that war leaves in its bloody trail, the thoughtlessness and carelessness of fighters and, most of all, the appalling absence of humanity, not to speak of divinity. The tools of war, those weapons made ever more murderous by science, seem to me to be a detestable and massive misuse of human ingenuity and capacity. In war, our common humanity, our “oneness,” is recklessly thrown out the window of the human conscience and replaced by selfish separation and the malicious dance of massive destruction. I repeat: war is at best a necessary evil. At worst it is “hell” on earth. For those people on the ships parked next to Ford Island on December 7 it was surely the latter. Can we not, I thought, settle human disputes without this barbaric institution called war?  Surely the time will come. This is, indeed, a goal worth dedicating a career, if not a life, to.

Irony, destiny or both, I wondered?  I find myself teaching soldiers for a living. I am a peacenik, a peace-lover, an erstwhile disciple of a great peace-leader and peace-dreamer. But fate placed me in a military university, surrounded by men and women in uniform. Perhaps, I thought, reform is best brought about from within. It is not by repressing the aggressive instinct but by transforming it that we can accomplish the abolition of war. War fighting can be replaced by peacekeeping, and weapons of war can be replaced by the tools of peace. The fog of war can be transformed into the clarity of peaceful action according to the rule of law, where military force is essential.  

Among the crowd of people at the Memorial, I saw a man with a T-shirt on which was boldly printed the words “Remember Pearl Harbour.”  What do we need to remember, I wondered?  What are the lessons to be learned? There was more than just a commemoration of sacrifice and an abhorrence of war.

For me the greater lesson was so clear. The lessons of war and peace are the same whether it be applied to the 1930s or the 2000s. To paraphrase the philosopher George Santayana, “those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”  After the First World War, America had turned its back on the world. It abandoned the great vision, one of a world united for peace, that had grown out of its deepest tradition, democractic governance. Instead of leading a fledging League of Nations, America had pursued a policy of isolationism and carelessness. It never joined the League that it had done so much to create. It did nothing to help that body, the world ‘s first international body mandated to maintain peace, to deal with the slippery slide to World War II. In particular, America didn’t work with the League to stop the Japanese annexation of Manchuria, China, in 1931, or the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in 1936. It did nothing to help the League mitigate the unjust pre-war conditions in Europe and the rising tide of fascism and aggression. With two oceans to protect it, Americans thought, what do we need to fear from turmoil in the rest of the world?

The rude awakening of Pearl Harbour shook America out of its stupor. It showed Americans to be wrong in their belief that their country was invulnerable to the problems of the rest of the world. Two large oceans are certainly not enough to protect the country from the forces that were astir in what we now call the “global village.” December 7 and equally September 11, showed that dissatisfaction, injustice and evil in one part of the world affect all the world. Only a lasting commitment to peace everywhere can secure the peace at home. But America, in the 1930s, chose not to deal with the roots of conflict. Instead they allowed early German grievances to go unheeded and to let Japanese and German expansion go unchecked. The US dismissed the League, ironically founded by America’s 28th president Woodrow Wilson, and it did virtually nothing to strengthen the rule of law and justice in the world, even though the legal foundation was the only one upon which its own peace could have been based.

Similarly in recent decades, America failed to show leadership in building a just and stronger world order. It has kept a financial stranglehold on the United Nations and held back other nations from advancing new initiatives.  It scorned the progressive proposals of other nations and statesmen, most notably Mikhail Gorbachev, for a stronger and more democratic United Nations.

The isolationism of the 1930s has been replaced in recent decades by an equally dangerous unilateralism. In fact, isolationism and the unilateralism are the obverse and reverse of the same coin. They have the same source:  a self-centered attitude that is ultimately self-defeating. Going it alone can never be a slogan. Genuine partnership in a democractic order under the rule of law and with trust in the peace of God is the true American way. The US must realize that it needs the United Nations as much as the United Nations needs the US.

There was a great revival of internationalism in the past. At the end of World War II, showing wisdom and magnanimity of heart, America became the torchbearer for a stronger international order after the devastation of war. It led in the creation of the United Nations, it led in the rebuilding of Germany and Japan and it led in the establishment of democracy in these countries and others. It realized its great mistake after the First World War in abandoning the Wilsonian vision. After the Second World War, the country was unified in a commitment to serve the cause of world peace. Even the republican senators, who had previously obstructed US entry into the League, voted overwhelmingly for unconditional acceptance of the UN Charter. Unfortunately, within a decade, this international idealism was quickly lost as America became embroiled in the Cold War. And when Russia came out of it, under the enlightened leadership of President Mikhail Gorbachev, the American government chose to stay in the darkness with an outmoded mindset.

What is needed now is a commitment to peace that is fearless and complete. Why can we not mobilize the resources and energy for peace that we can for war?  Should not a peace effort and resources unify and consume a nation more than a war? (It has always struck me as odd that the funds for foreign aid from all of the developed nations combined is a factor of five smaller than what the US alone spends on it military budget, over $300 billion annually [2001 figure, over $700 billion a decade later!]. The regular UN budget amounts to about half of one percent of that amount.) 

In matters of war and peace, as in disease and medicine, prevention is better than cure. A commitment to long-term prevention is indispensable, which means dealing with root causes on all levels. This requires a magnanimous heart and an unselfish approach on the personal, local, national and international level. The peace is achieved not by seeking the narrow self-interest but in recognizing the oneness of humanity. Recognizing that peace is indivisible is the basic tenet of an enlightened self-interest. We are all connected, whether we recognize it or not, whether we like it or not. The peace of the world is our peace.

As President Woodrow Wilson put it, “The sum of the whole matter is this, that our civilization cannot survive materially unless it be redeemed spiritually.” Unless America returns to its spiritual foundation, its physical well-being will remain under attack, either from outside or from within itself. Unless this great nation recognizes the sanctity of all life, not just American life, it will fail to achieve its God-ordained mission of uplifting humanity. The truths are clearly stated in the document that gave America its birth, that all human beings, not just Americans, “are created equal, that they are endowed by certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”  When America places human security above national security, human rights above property rights, and humanity above nationality, then the world will truly “be made safe for democracy.”  When the spiritual energy inherent in the American dream is released, America will be a great instrument for good and a leader for the human race.

Above all, I long for the day when America as a whole will recognize that the tragedies of the past century, exemplified by December 7 and September 11, should be catalysts for collective will to create a lasting peace. Hopefully, they will seem as incidents on the road of progress, tough lessons that served as stepping-stones for a brighter future. Then the lost lives and the great destruction would not have been in vain. By learning through wisdom, by recognizing the spiritual dimension of peace, the painful experiences of the past would be purified and illumined.

Human being can find their own peace and the collective peace by recognizing their own all-embracing spirituality.  Not only are virtue, morality and the principles of good government enhanced by spirituality, but also they are founded upon them.

On the bus, as I looked over Pearl Harbour, I saw a wondrous sight: the biggest, brightest, most beautiful rainbow I had ever seen. It stretched from horizon to horizon. As I admired it, I thought about the rainbow in the biblical story of Noah’s ark. When the flood had ended, God showed people his sign of hope and promise in the form of a rainbow; a covenant was made between God and man.

I asked the bus driver whether it was common to see rainbows in Honolulu, expecting him to say that it was a rare event and thereby confirm for me the unique character of the day. Instead he said you could see rainbows every day. At first I was slightly dismayed with his answer, but I then realized that this was an even more fitting analogy. Every day we have the opportunity to move humanity forward, every day extraordinary blessings are offered to us, everyday we have blessings seen and unseen, appreciated and under-appreciated. If we look carefully we can see God’s rainbow shining perpetually in the outer smile and inner meditation of humanity.

In the light of the smiles of human beings—children, women and men of all nations and races, the tragedies of December 7 and September 11 are illumined and humanity is set once again upon the road of spiritual progress. May God grant us the capacity to accept and revere our own spiritual nature, to seek the inner victory and spiritual glory, and to find our meaning in the Divine Light. This includes the special opportunities to experience moments of human history in far away lands, commemorating events that impacted us all whether we feel it directly or not. We must make an unceasing effort not to forget, not to reminisce only but use failures as stepping stones for success and the past as a way to build a brighter future.


– A. Walter Dorn, 30,000 ft above the Pacific Ocean, flying from Hawaii to Japan, 7–8 December 2001 (revised 13 August 2011)






Canadian Who’s Who

100th anniv. edition & annually

Alumni Extraordinaire,
prix de distinction des anciens élèves de TFS

Toronto French School (TFS)
2013 (50th anniversary of TFS)

Human Security Fellowship

Department of Foreign Affairs
and International Trade Canada


Barton Fellowship in International Peace and Security

Department of Foreign Affairs
and International Trade Canada


Canadian Institute for International Peace and Security Award

Canadian Institute for
International Peace and Security

1987/88 & 1989/90


Board member of the Canadian branch of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs when the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the organization and its Secretary General, Sir Joseph Rotblat.




Internet Sites and Resources on Peacekeeping


May 2003; partially updated 12 Jan 2016


Provided below are web addresses for useful online sources about peacekeeping that would be helpful for those studying and researching on peacekeeping. Each underlined address is directly linked to a site but if clicking on the address doesn’t work, try copying the address to your browser. Some of these URLs may be no longer be correct.

1. UN Web Site

Peacekeeping webpage,

Current Operations,




Past Operations,

Special Reports,

Angola sanctions report (2000),

Brahimi report (2000), (pdf)

Rwanda report (1999), (pdf)

Srebernica report (1999),

Resources Hub (internal documents),

Lessons Learned Unit, United Nations,

Training Courses Database,

Daily Highlights (News)

UN News Centre:

Mission Start-up Field Guide,

Briefing Highlights:

ReliefWeb (OCHA), [excellent site with unique reports from humanitarian relief agencies]

Research Guide on UN Peacekeeping,

Search (UN Web site),

Secretary-General’s reports to SC,

Secertary-General’s annual reports,

Secertary-General’s “Agenda for Peace” (1992),

Security Council documents,

Security Council’s Missions,

Special Committee on Peacekeeping,

UN Charter,

2. Other International Organizations Sponsoring Peacekeeping Missions

MFO (Multinational Force and Observers, Egypt),

NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization),

NATO Handbook, Ch 5: The Alliance’s Operational Role in Peace Operations,

IFOR (Interim Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina),

SFOR (Stabilisation Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina),

Kosovo force (KFOR),

Kosovo Operation Joint Guardian,

OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) Annual Report,

Bosnia and Herzegovina Mission, or

Field Activities,

Forum for Security Cooperation,

Kosovo mission,

Office of the High Representative in BiH,

3. National Sites and Reports

Argentina, Joint Peace Keeping Operation Training Centre (CAECOPAZ) (short description),

Australia, Australian Defence Force Peacekeeping Center,

Belgium, Foreign Operations:

Canada, Canadian Forces Current Ops, operations briefings can be found at

Canada, Canadian Forces Peace Support Training Centre (PSTC),

Canada, RCMP and peacekeeping,

Canada, Canada and Peacekeeping,

Canada, Canada’s Peacekeeping Heritage,

Canada, Canadian military doctrine,

France, les opérations extérieures,

Great Britain, Around the World,

Hungary, Peacekeeping Operations,

India, Peacekeeping Operations:

Ireland, Irish Defence Forces Peacekeeping, and UN Training School Ireland, (one page)

Japan, UN Peace-keeping Operations,

Korea, Ministry of Defence,

Malaysian Pkg Training Centre,

New Zealand, Army Overseas:

Nordic countries, Nordic co-operation in peace operations – NORDCAPS,

Nordic countries, The Nordic countries and international peace-keeping operations,

Russia, Russia’s International Peacekeeping and Conflict Management in the Post-Soviet Environment, ,

South Africa, White Paper on Peacekeeping,

Spain and Peacekeeping Operations,

Swedish Army, Joint Military Doctrine for Peace Support Operations,

Swedish International Training Centre (SWEDINT),

Switzerland, Swiss Company au Kosovo,

United States, UN Peacekeeping Issues,

United States, The United States and the United Nations,

United States, Center for Army Lessons Learned (Peacekeeping Institute) –

United States, Army War College — Carlisle Barracks, US Army Peacekeeping Institute,

United States, US military doctrine, doctrina pki web june 02.ppt

4. Research and Training Institutes/NGOs

Bonn International Centre for Conversion (BICC),

Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict,

Center of Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance (Hawaii),

Council for a Liveable World, The Project on Peacekeeping and the United Nations,

Department of Defense C 4 ISR Cooperative Research Program,

George Mason University, Program on Peacekeeping Policy (POPP),

Forum on Early Warning and Response (FEWER),

INCORE, Peacekeeping Project,

International Association of Peacekeeping Training Centres (IAPTC),

International Committee of the Red Cross,

International Crisis Group Online (Crisisweb Online),

International Peace Academy, New York,

Norman Patterson School of International Affairs (NPSIA), and the country
indicators for foreign policy,

Pearson Peacekeeping Centre (PPC),

Stimson Center, Peacekeeping Projects,

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI),

SIPRI Country databases,

University of Laval, Institut québécois des hautes études internationales,

United States Institute of Peace, United States Institute of Peace Special Reports,

Watson Institute, Brown University, Guide to Peace Support Operations,

5. Magazines, Journals and Other Literature

Bonn International Centre for Conversion (BICC) publications,

INCORE Research Reports on Peacekeeping,

International Peacekeeping (Frank Cass Journal), [only lists contents of the issues]

International Peacekeeping (Newsletter), [only lists contents but provides other resources as well]

Journal of Humanitarian Assistance,

Policing the New World Disorder, Peace Operations and Public Security (1997),

Strategic Forum, INSS, National Defense University,

6. Military Manuals

Canada, Peace Support Operations Field Book,

[the CF manual on Peacekeeping, B-GL-301-003/FP-001 (Ottawa: DND Canada, 1995-09-15), cannot be found on the Web]

Nordic Tactical Manuals [not found on the Web]

Sweden, Armed Forces, Joint Military Doctrine – Peace Support Operations, 1997, (in Swedish)

United Kingdom, UK Army’s “Wider Peacekeeping”, Field Manual Vol. 5, Part 2, 1994 [not found on the Web]

United States, “Peace Operations”, Army Field Manual, “FM100-23” (1994), or

United States, “Joint Task Force Commander’s Handbook for Peace Operations” (1997),

7. Specific Regions and Cases (Articles)


African Capabilities for Training for Peace Operations,

Keeping the Peace in the Neighbourhood and Abroad: Lessons for South Africa from the Russian Experience? , access:

Peacekeeping in Africa,

Institute for Security Studies. Renaissance Peacekeeping: A South African Solution to conflict in the DRC?,, access: Publications, Paper No 37 – March 1999.

Institute for Security Studies. Whither Peacekeeping in Africa?, , access: Publications, Monographs, #36


Office of the High Representative in BiH ,

Balkans: Background Stories,

The Dayton Peace Accords,

U.S. military activities in Operation JOINT FORGE,

East Timor

Bosnia and East Timor,

East Timor legal documents,

East Timor: Historical Background, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, UK,

INCORE guide to Internet sources on conflict and ethnicity in East Timor,

Resolutions of the Security Council, UNTAET,

United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor, UNTAET,


Amnesty International,

Dorn, “Preventing the Bloodbath: Could the UN have Predicted and Prevented the Rwandan Genocide”,

INCORE guide to Internet sources on conflict and ethnicity in Rwanda,

InterAction Member Activity Reports, Rwanda,

8. Selected Peacekeeping Issues

Civil-Military Cooperation

Beauregard, Andre, Civil-Military Cooperation: Lessons from Somalia, the former Yugoslavia, and Rwanda,

Civil-Military Cooperation: A New Tool for Peacekeepers,

Civil-Military Relations in Somaliland and Northeast Somalia,

Davidson, Lisa Witzig, et al. Humanitarian and Peace Operations: NGOs and the Military in the Interagency Process, USA, 1996,

Rapid Response

Canada, Towards a Rapid Reaction Capability for the United Nations, September 1995,

Canada, Improving the Rapid Deployment of the United Nations,

Langille, Peter, “Conflict Prevention: Options for Rapid Deployment and UN Standing Forces”, 1999,

Universite de Laval, La Reaction Rapide,

United Nations, Rapid Deployment,


9. Videos

Can the UN Keep the Peace? (Congo mission), BIR.ORG,

Mandated to Protect — Protection of Civilians in Peacekeeping Operations,,

UN Peacekeeping: Challenges from the Field Today and Tomorrow,,


UN Peacekeeping Force in East Timor,,


Blue Helmets: A History of United Nations Peacekeeping (1990), Congo:


The Peacekeepers,


10. Basic International Documents

Charter of the United Nations,

Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

11. Glossaries, Bibliographies and Research Guides

Pearson Peacekeeping Centre (PPC) Library,

Pearson Peacekeeping Centre Catalog:

Shope, Virginia, “Peacekeeping: A Selected Bibliography”,

Tessier, Manon, Guide pratique de la reserche sur le maintein de la paix sur Internet, [a large and useful source of hyperlinks to important sites; annotated in French] (accessed 18 May 2001)

United Kingdom, Social Science Information Gateway,

United Nations, Peacekeeping, UN Research Guide,

United Nations, Glossary of UN Peacekeeping Terms,
[Extensive list but, ironically, omits some basic UN terms]

United States, C4ISR Program CCRP, Department of Defense, Bibliography on Peacekeeping (1998), with abstracts,

United States, Library of Congress, catalogue,

Web Links on peacekeeping,




Proud Tradition, Strong Future?

A. Walter Dorn

This paper was first published in Canadian Foreign Policy, Vol. 12, No. 2 (Fall 2005), pp.7-32. (pdf format) A shorter version came out in Peace Magazine in two parts as “Canadian Peacekeeping: A Proud Tradition” and “Canada: The Once and Future Peacekeeper?”

Peacekeeping has a place of pride in the Canadian national identity. Canadians feel that their nation is a natural leader in this international endeavour. How is this national identity expressed, and how has it come about? Is it justified? An answer to these questions requires a probe of Canadian public and military attitudes, a historical review of Canada’s peacekeeping activities, and an examination of current Canadian contributions. The final question is: What is needed if Canada is to live up to the image of the proud and prolific peacekeeper?

To most Canadians, peacekeeping conjures up positive and heroic images of soldiers operating in difficult and often tragic environments: a soldier rescuing a child during a firefight; a pilot flying in desperately needed supplies while under fire from the ground; a medic tending the wounds of an ailing refugee; a soldier on patrol in no-man’s land between determined combatants; an officer uncovering mass graves after a genocide. For Canadians, peacekeeping is about trying to protect people in mortal danger, providing hope in almost hopeless situations, and bringing peace and some justice to war-torn communities in far-away lands. It is about self-sacrifice as well as world service. These notions of courage and service resonate with the public, and politicians across the political spectrum have readily adopted the peacekeeping cause. Canadian support for its peacekeeping role has been so strong for so long that it has become a part of the national identity. It is a celebrated part of what Canada is as a nation, and who Canadians are as a people.

The evidence of this national embrace of peacekeeping is extensive. Peacekeeping Day was recently inaugurated as an annual celebration in most provinces and many municipalities.1 The federal government honours Canadian peacekeepers at the National Peacekeeping Monument in Ottawa, where the Chief of Defence Staff, Canada’s top soldier, pins peacekeeping medals to uniforms. He also presents, on behalf of the UN, the Dag Hammarskjöld medal to the families of peacekeepers who died while on UN duty. Peacekeeping ceremonies bring politicians, soldiers, and members of the public together to celebrate the positive role played by soldiers, something remarkable for a people traditionally described as unmilitary. (Stanley 1960)

Canadian public opinion polls have shown consistent support for peacekeeping in general and for specific missions. Almost 90 percent of Canadians believe that Canada should provide troops for peacekeeping when asked by the UN. (Munton 2003) An April 2004 poll showed that about 80 percent of Canadians were supportive of the continued Canadian Forces involvement in missions in Afghanistan, Bosnia, and Haiti. (Whelan 2004) Angus Reid Polls in 1992 and 1997 showed that Canadians overwhelmingly (90 percent and 94 percent respectively) identified their country as a world leader in international peacekeeping. (Carrière 2005) The Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs reported that peacekeeping was the “sole military activity that Canadians fully support”. (Senate 1993)

Peacekeeping symbols even appear on the national currency; a female soldier sporting a UN blue beret looks vigilantly through binoculars on one side of the Canadian ten dollar bill (2001 issue) below a bilingual banner “AU SERVICE DE LA PAIX / IN THE SERVICE OF PEACE”. The Canadian dollar coin (1995 issue) bears an image of the National Peacekeeping Monument. Named “Reconciliation”, it is one of the major monuments in the nation’s capital along with the Peace Tower of the Parliament Buildings. Other memorials and monuments to peacekeepers can be found in Canadian cities. For instance, in 2004, Calgary created Peacekeepers’ Park and Manitoba dedicated a Peacekeepers’ Cairn in Winnipeg to honour the sacrifices of Canadian peacekeepers.

Over 125,000 Canadian military personnel have served in UN peacekeeping operations (PKOs) since 1947. This constitutes more than ten percent of the UN total. To acknowledge such service, the Department of National Defence issues a special medal, in addition to medals for specific operations. The Canadian Peacekeeping Service Medal, instituted in 2000, is given to military and civilian personnel who have served for 30 days or more in UN or other PKOs. Earlier, when the 1988 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to UN peacekeepers, some 80,000 Canadian military personnel who had served to that time shared in the honour, though not in the award money — that was used by the UN to create the Dag Hammarskjöld Medal for families of peacekeepers who had died in a PKO.

Over 120 Canadian soldiers have made the supreme sacrifice while peacekeeping, including nine in a UN transport plane shot down by Syrian Forces on 9 August 1974. The names of over 100 fallen peacekeepers are inscribed on a prominent plaque at the entrance of the Canadian Forces College, the main centre for senior military education in Canada.

The enthusiasm for peacekeeping is shared by many of the soldiers and civilians who have served on these operations. Many of them have joined the Canadian Association of Veterans in United Nations Peacekeeping, which has two-dozen branches across Canada. (CAVUNP 2005)

Some Canadian soldiers who survived, and perhaps thrived on, tough peacekeeping assignments have gone on to write their stories of adventure, achievement, and tragedy. Canada’s most famous living soldier, Lieutenant General Roméo Dallaire, received the sympathy of the entire nation after he described the horrifying predicament he faced as Force Commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) in 1994: he did not have the resources or political backing to intervene to stop the Rwandan genocide. He blamed himself, in part, for the slaughter of some 800,000 people. He is a hero to many Canadians, draws large crowds to his public lectures, and has a best-selling book. (Dallaire 2003; reviewed in this journal by Dorn 2004) Movies and documentary films have been made about his experiences. Another example of a Canadian soldier catapulted to fame in peacekeeping is Major General Lewis MacKenzie, whose experiences in Bosnia are described in his book “Peacekeeper: The Road to Sarajevo.” (MacKenzie 1993)

Thus, there is abundant evidence of a Canadian embrace of peacekeeping. It is only natural to ask how this national conception — some would say obsession — began and how it changed over time. This paper describes the evolution of Canadian peacekeeping and analyses the motivating factors for the long-standing practice. It also seeks to summarize and respond to the critics’ views of peacekeeping. Finally, the paper asks: if this role is to be maintained, what innovative measures are necessary in the near future?



The level of public and political support for peacekeeping has not always been as high as at present. In the early days, the peacekeeping concept was as contentious as it was unknown — even the term “peacekeeping” did not enter the public lexicon until the late 1950s. In fact, the first Canadian contribution to a UN mission caused a crisis in the Prime Minister’s cabinet in 1947.

William Lyon Mackenzie King was nearing the end of his long tenure as Prime Minister in 1947 when he learned that Canadian personnel had been sent to Korea as part of the United Nations Temporary Commission on Korea (UNTCOK) to help supervise elections in the South. He admonished his External Affairs Minister, Louis St. Laurent, predicting that there was going to be a war in Korea and saying that he wanted Canada to have nothing to do with it. King had been Prime Minister during most of the interwar period and he still harboured a deep streak of isolationism, though sometimes hiding behind ambivalence.2 King wanted to keep Canada as far as possible from the fires of conflict in a turbulent world dominated by great powers.

St. Laurent and several of his cabinet colleagues threatened to resign if Canada withdrew from the UN’s Korea Commission, so there was little the aging King could do. The next year St. Laurent became Prime Minister. He was an ardent internationalist who had declared that, “the UN’s vocation is Canada’s vocation”. For him, as with many others of his generation, the lessons of the League of Nations and of World War II were clear: the rule of law and order, and justice in the world, depended on a strong international organization. Canada sent a large contingent of troops to Korea in 1950 to fight in a UN police action to protect the elected South Korean government. While this was enforcement, not peacekeeping, it demonstrated the country’s support for the United Nations and for collective security.3 After the Korean War broke out in 1950 (much as King had predicted), Canada sent 27,000 troops to the aid of South Korea in the UN-authorized police action. Five hundred sixteen Canadian soldiers died in the war against North Korea and China. In today’s terminology, this was an enforcement action, not a peacekeeping mission.

In another part of Asia in 1950, Kashmir, Canada had its first opportunity to provide an officer to head a peacekeeping operation, but this initiative ended tragically. Brigadier Harry Angle, who was made chief of the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) in March 1950, died in a plane crash several months later. Even after more than half a century, Angle remains Canada’s highest-ranking officer to die in a PKO. (A building was named after him at the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre in Nova Scotia.)

During St. Laurent’s tenure, Canada’s greatest achievement in peacekeeping was made. The internationalist Prime Minister was complemented by an equally dedicated External Affairs Minister, Lester B. Pearson. Known at the UN as one of the “wise men”, Pearson was an idealist who was also practical. He served as President of the UN General Assembly in 1952-53 and, when the Suez Crisis broke out in 1956, he had his shining moment. Canada’s two founding nations, Britain and France, had conspired with Israel to seize control of the Suez Canal shortly after Egypt’s President Gamel Abdel Nasser had nationalized it. The rest of the world, including the US, deplored the coordinated invasion as colonial aggression in the age of decolonisation. Pearson understood the predicament of the two embarrassed great powers and proposed that the UN intervene to resolve the awkward and dangerous situation. It was a major initiative at a time of extreme tension, exacerbated by the looming danger of a superpower confrontation. Pearson (1956) suggested that “the United Nations send an international force to the area, position itself between the warring parties and bring an end to the hostilities.” The operation was to be “a truly international peace and police force … large enough to keep these borders at peace while a political settlement is being worked out”. The General Assembly enthusiastically adopted the idea and the Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld, after some initial hesitation, developed a brilliant plan for what was to become the UN’s first peacekeeping force. The United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) was the prototype for a new type or generation of PKO.

Inter-positional forces like UNEF could be distinguished from the previous generation of peacekeeping missions because their purpose was to separate fighting forces, not merely observe them. The peacekeepers were allowed to impede movement (using checkpoints and gates), and often to take charge in buffer zones. In these operations, contributing nations would send preformed units (usually battalions) instead of individual soldiers, and the peacekeeping forces were equipped with small arms and light weapons, unlike the unarmed military observers.

The basic principles of peacekeeping laid out in Hammarskjöld’s plan to the General Assembly for UNEF have guided traditional peacekeeping operations (both first and second generation) ever since. The missions are:

  • under the command of the secretary-General (as the earlier observer missions had become);
  • recruited from Member States other than the permanent members of the security Council, i.e., China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States were excluded from direct, on-the-ground participation due to their Cold War strategic involvement in most disputes in the world;
  • paid for by the UN, except for the salaries of troops, which continue to be covered by the contributing states (although the UN would pay states a contribution for each soldier);
  • impartial, i.e., the forces do not seek to influence the military balance; and
  • to use force only in self-defence.

Canada was in a good position to help establish the peacekeeping force that Pearson had proposed. A Canadian general was already commanding a peacekeeping operation in the Middle East, the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) that had been created in 1948 to observe the UN-imposed ceasefires during and after the first Arab-Israeli War. Canadian Major General E.L.M. (Tommy) Burns had already gained familiarity with the political leaders in the region. Dag Hammarskjöld appointed him the first commander of UNEF, with responsibility to organize the operation. With St. Laurent’s eager backing, Canada rapidly deployed soldiers for signals, transport, reconnaissance and administration, as these were desperately needed in the mission start-up.

Canada rejoiced when Foreign Minister Pearson won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957, largely for his UNEF initiative. He became known as the “Father of Peacekeeping”, though there were, in fact, several founding fathers, including Dag Hammarskjöld and other UN officials.4 Still, for Canada, the discovery of a new role for itself and the UN at the height of the period called the “Golden Age” of Canadian diplomacy, coincided with the emergence of popular enthusiasm for peacekeeping.

Keeping the peace in the Middle East occupied much of Canada’s and the world’s attention for decades to follow. The wars there proved fertile ground for the establishment of new PKOs, although they have not brought lasting peace to most of the region. There was dismay and alarm in Canada when President Nasser ordered UNEF out of Egypt in May 1967, evidenced by front-page headlines, such as the Toronto Telegram’s “Nasser Boots Out Our Troops”. Opposition leader John Diefenbaker called it a loss of face for Canada during its centennial year. The subsequent Six-Day War resulted in Israeli occupation of large sections of Arab territory. There was a need for a new peacekeeping mission there but Israel initially refused, so UNTSO was expanded. Then, after the next Arab-Israeli War, the 1973 Yom Kippur War, two new missions were established. To help implement the cease-fire and disengagement, Canada contributed to the new UNEFII in Egypt and the United Nations Disengagement Force (UNDOF) in the Golan Heights of Syria.

Canada found a niche for itself in the provision of a communications capability in PKOs, an area where modern equipment and technical skills were necessary. Bilingual signals officers and radio equipment were among the contributions Canada made to the large and dangerous 1960-1964 United Nations Operation in the Congo (ONUC), along with air transportation and help in training local Congolese forces.5 Surprisingly, the Congo mission was the only UN mission staged in Africa until after the Cold War. The experience in the Congo reinforced the unfortunate idea in many peoples’ minds that Africa was too fraught with danger and civil strife to admit effective peacekeeping. Besides, it was only later that the UN cast aside its rule of non-involvement in internal conflicts, especially in Africa.

While the large Congo operation was winding down, a new one was set up in Cyprus. In 1964, Pearson’s External Affairs Minister, Paul Martin Sr. (father of Prime Minister Paul Martin), could take credit for convincing key governments to commit to the envisioned United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP).6 No one at the time could have anticipated that this mission would continue to involve Canada for nearly three decades and it would still be in Cyprus in the next millennium. UNFICYP became the live-training ground for generations of Canadian soldiers. Most of the time, however, the soldiers’ tours were easy (sometimes vacation-like), except during a few crisis periods, such as when Turkish Forces invaded in 1974. Little progress in a settlement between the Turkish and Greek Cypriots has been achieved, including when former Prime Minister Joe Clark served as Special Representative of the secretary-General in Cyprus (1993-96). The Cyprus case gave rise to the criticism that peacekeeping can freeze a conflict but it does not necessarily lead to conflict resolution, or more harshly, that peacekeeping does not solve problems, it perpetuates them. Given that Cyprus is still divided in two parts, however peaceful, this complaint carries some weight.

As a counter example, the seemingly hopeless problem of Namibia was finally resolved after almost seven decades of perseverance. It had been on the international agenda since the early days of the League of Nations (1920s) and in 1989 the UN organized elections that led to independence from South Africa. In an unprecedented action, the UN secretary-General inaugurated the first Namibian President in 1990. Canada’s contribution to the peacekeeping operation (UNTAG) included soldiers, civilian personnel (electoral staff), and civilian police (CivPol) from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). Since then, CivPol has played a much greater role in peacekeeping.

The Namibian operation heralded a new generation of PKOs: multi-dimensional operations. The international climate had undergone a sea change in 1989, with internal (intra-state) conflict replacing inter-state conflicts as the main concern. The UN was obliged to break its noninvolvement taboo and weighed heavily into internal armed conflicts. Canada, of course, was eager to lend a helping hand. This meant dealing with rebel groups and posting peacekeepers over a much wider area than in traditional Pearsonian peacekeeping. It also meant working in more volatile and hazardous environments. An overview of the main changes in the international agenda, the nature of conflict and peacekeeping involving the UN are summarized in Table 1.

Table 1. From Cold War to Hot Wars: New Conflicts and New PKOs
Predominant Conflicts Inter-state, inter-alliance Intra-state, internal
Origins Power bloc rivalry; Ideology Ethnic/tribal/religious animosities, secessionism
Main Threats Armed attack/invasion Civil war, human rights violations (including genocide, torture), terrorism
Goals National/international security; Conflict management: cease-fire and withdrawal agreements Human security; Conflict resolution: comprehensive, multi-dimensional peace agreements; Conflict prevention
Means Deterrence, negotiation, classical peacekeeping Cooperation, mediation, modern peacekeeping (i.e., classical peacekeeping plus humanitarian action, disarmament, elections, enforcement, sanctions, economic assistance, peacebuilding)
Peacekeeper Locations State boundaries Throughout a nation or region
Peacekeepers Soldiers (non-P5), especially middle powers like Canada Soldiers, civilian police, civilian monitors of elections, human rights; permanent members of the Security Council; developing countries

The end of the Cold War (confirmed by the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989) was universally seen at the time as a marvellous opportunity for peace at home and abroad. In the face of a much-reduced threat to the West, expectations and demands arose for a peace dividend in the form of smaller defence expenditures. In Canada, this opportunity was taken seriously, in part to reduce the large national debt. The funds for defence began to drop each year for the next decade until they had fallen about 20 percent and the forces had been reduced from 85,000 to less than 60,000 military personnel.7 While there was no longer a need to commit forces to Western Europe to counter a Soviet attack, the demand for peacekeepers abroad, especially the former Yugoslavia, was intense. Canada began to experience a capability-commitment gap.

The UN achieved tremendous success in early post-Cold War peacekeeping with Canadian help. The UN’s first operation in Central America was a major success in bringing long-desired peace to the region.8 The United Nations Observer Group in Central America (ONUCA) was created in 1989 with military observers posted in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. The second Chief Military Observer was Brigadier-General Lewis Mackenzie, who went on to establish himself as a national figure with his further successes at the early stages of the Bosnia mission. In Nicaragua (1990), the UN monitored elections in a sovereign member state for the first time — previously it had been done only in colonized or dependent territories. In Cambodia in 1993, as in Namibia in 198990, successful elections were organized as part of a PKO. The mood at the UN was one of expansion, leading to ever more ambitious plans for peacekeeping. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, in response to a request from the unprecedented security Council Summit in January 1992, prepared his ambitious Agenda for Peace. (Boutros-Ghali 1992) He redefined peacekeeping in a bold but contentious fashion. The long-standing principle of consent was explicitly removed: “Peacekeeping is the deployment of a United Nations presence in the field, hitherto with the consent of all the parties concerned, normally involving United Nations military and/or police personnel and frequently civilians as well. Peacekeeping is a technique that expands the possibilities for both the prevention of conflict and the making of peace.”9 This disrespect for the principle of consent would have tragic consequences in Somalia a year later, both for the UN and for Canada. A large UN-authorized mission was launched with much bravado, strong US support, including combat troops, and a UN/US desire to use force against recalcitrant elements. This contributed to an escalation of violence between one targeted faction, led by Mohammed Farah Aideed, and allied troops. After suffering 18 fatalities in the “Black Hawk Down” incident on 3-4 October 1993, the US quickly withdrew its troops and the mission folded ignominiously shortly thereafter.

Canada’s contribution to the UN-authorized but US-led mission, United Task Force (UNITAF), was primarily airborne troops who had been trained for the dangerous and high intensity missions envisioned in a war with the Communist world. Some of these soldiers were ill-equipped for peacekeeping. A small group, tolerated in this macho regiment, committed atrocities during the mission. They were later found guilty of torturing and killing a Somali youth after he had been caught trying to steal from the Canadian camp. Their actions shocked Canadians. A multi-year inquiry uncovered other faults in the Airborne (including repulsive initiation rituals) and concluded, “… a proud legacy was dishonoured”. (DND 1997) It blamed the Department of National Defence as well as named officers for neglect of duty or worse. After accepting and publishing the Somalia Inquiry’s report in 1997, the government took drastic action to atone for the national embarrassment: it disbanded the entire Airborne Regiment. In the future, soldiers jumping from planes would not have their own regiment. The Inquiry also heavily criticized the Canadian military leadership, leading to a large number of senior resignations, including the nation’s top solider, Chief of Defence Staff Jean Boyle. The Somalia Inquiry’s report made numerous recommendations on how to improve Canadian peacekeeping.

While the Somalia operation was phasing out with a sense of failure in late 1993, a new UN mission was launched in the heart of Africa. The UN asked Canada to provide the force commander for the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR). A bright and super-eager Brigadier-General named Roméo Dallaire was chosen, although he had no previous experience in UN peacekeeping. Inadequately prepared by the Canadian Forces and by the UN in New York for this deployment, he diligently set up a mission in this remote war-torn country. Nothing could have prepared him for the slaughter that he was to witness, not even the dire warnings made to him by a Rwandan informant.10 In one hundred days, some 800,000 Rwandans were slaughtered in the most intense genocide since World War II. Dallaire tried desperately to stop the insanity, and managed to save the lives of over 20,000 people who had sought refuge at sites that the UN oversaw. Canada was the only country to send additional troops to UNAMIR during the 100-day genocide, though the numbers were low (thirty or so), and entirely inadequate. Dallaire experienced such a crisis of conscience and impotence that, years after returning, he tried to commit suicide. He was rehabilitated after witnessing the overwhelming support of the Canadian public and after being given an opportunity to help others like himself suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). As well, the Canadian government asked for his help publicizing and resolving the problems of war-affected children. His catharsis was also assisted by the writing of his intimate and captivating biography. (Dallaire 2003) He now sits as a Senator in the Canadian parliament. Unfortunately, it took UN leaders, especially secretary-General Kofi Annan, (1999) many years to admit some responsibility for the Rwandan tragedy.11 The excuse was that an extremely cautious security Council was suffering from the Somalia syndrome (fear of overextending a mission mandate), and the UN officials also pointed out their preoccupation at the time with the large mission in Bosnia.

The UN Protection Force (UNPROFOR) in the former Yugoslavia was turning out to be a fiasco. Soldiers from Canada and other nations in the mission felt ineffective, if not useless, as ceasefires were constantly violated, fighting escalated, aggression and ethnic cleansing expanded, and mass slaughter of innocents was committed. All the while, the security Council in New York produced resolutions, over 70 in all, which UNPROFOR could not possibly implement. Increasing numbers of troops — Canada had 2,500 at its peak — and skilful use of the media by Canadian Major-General Lewis Mackenzie in the Sarajevo area helped in the short term, but did not succeed in creating peaceful conditions. The embattled UN peacekeepers would reply to criticisms with exasperation, saying “how can we practice peacekeeping when there is no peace to keep?” In an early attempt to enforce compliance, Canadian soldiers serving in the Medak Pocket put a halt to a Croatian advance, although they could not prevent the aggressors from killing civilians on their withdrawal. At the time, the Department of National Defence did not want to publicize this combat action by Canadian troops lest it antagonize the peace negotiations taking place, so official recognition of the battle did not come until almost ten years later, when an award ceremony was held for the soldiers who fought to stop ethnic cleansing. (DND 2002a)

In 1995, things actually became worse in Bosnia when UN peacekeepers were held hostage. In a sad and graphic reminder of the dire and impotent situation of the world organization, Canadian soldier Patrick Rechner, an unarmed United Nations Military Observer (UNMO), was chained to a lightning rod at a Serb ammunition bunker. This image was broadcast around the world on television. He was being used by Bosnian Serb forces as a human shield against NATO air strikes. Rechner was released about three weeks later. One of his captors was a Canadian Serb who, several years later, went on trial in Canada for hostage taking. (Higgins 2003) In 1995, the frustration in UNPROFOR was palpable. The leader of Canada’s opposition Reform Party, Preston Manning, even said: “the time has come to bring our peacekeepers home so they might better serve the cause of peace another day”. (Thompson 1995) Prime Minister Chrétien had a different approach: “We have to finish the job we started”. Canada stayed the course.

The precarious situation in Bosnia from 1992-95 led many nations, including Canada, to believe that peacekeeping must be made more robust. When the Dayton Peace Accords were signed in late 1995, NATO replaced the UN as the provider of peacekeeping forces. Although it was a new role for NATO, the military organization managed to do well, having far more troops, resources, and enforcement capability than the UN. The UN remained the organization that authorized the mission. With NATO, US, UN, and EU support, the peace held. Canada kept over 1,000 troops in service in Bosnia until 2000. Some Canadian soldiers complained after being sent back on their fifth or sixth tour (six months each) as part of the more than 14 rotations for Canadian troops. The Canadian government implemented a policy that no soldier or group should return to theatre until after at least a year at home: generally six months for training and six-months for pre-deployment preparations and rest.

The new confidence in NATO and enduring resentment towards Serbia’s arch nationalist leader, Slobodan Milosevic, led Western nations to respond forcefully to ethnic cleansing in Kosovo in 1998. In a move that created much debate within Canada, the country’s military assisted in the bombing of Serb targets, an enforcement action that did not receive UN sanction. After the withdrawal of Serb forces from Kosovo, Canada helped create a peacekeeping force, the Kosovo Force (KFOR 2000), a NATO-led mission that also included Russian forces. Canada initially contributed about 1,400 troops to KFOR, but later in 1999 moved these troops to Bosnia.

The UN was in charge overall in Kosovo through the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). This task was immense. When many thought that UN peacekeeping was in decline, the world organization found itself with the most ambitious project yet: governing a war-ravaged territory that was ethnically divided and tension-filled. UNMIK had responsibility for everything from education to elections, from transportation to telecommunications, from banking to policing, from health to customs. Canadian civilians found many jobs within UNMIK, even after Canada withdrew its troops from KFOR. So far, the mission has been successful, with elections and a general peace, although atrocities are still committed by both the Serb and Kosovar (Albanian) groups, and the final status of the territory (officially a Serbian province) remains undetermined.

The new role of transitional administration was also given to the UN in East Timor. First, it organized a referendum in the Indonesia-occupied territory in which Canadian civilians went as electoral officers, political affairs officers, and civilian police. When the reign of terror ensued after the pro-independence result of the vote was announced in September 1999, UN personnel were evacuated, leaving some of them with a deep sense of regret. Not only they but also the mission as a whole had “betrayed the Timorese people”, according to one headline of the Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail (1999). The UN had promised it would remain on-site no matter the outcome of the referendum, but it withdrew at the Timor’s hour of greatest need.

Fortunately, Australia stepped up to lead a coalition mission to East Timor, something Indonesia was forced to accept. Starting as a UN-authorized enforcement operation, it quickly became more of a peacekeeping mission. Canadian troops were posted near Suai, a tension-filled area close to the Indonesian border where there had been a church massacre, but the operation ran smoothly for them. The coalition force turned over control to a UN peacekeeping force that was part of the larger United Nations Transitional Administration for East Timor (UNTAET). As in Kosovo, the UN’s Transitional Administrator possessed the powers of a benevolent dictator, though acting with significant local consultation. Two elections (parliamentary and presidential) were held and power was rightfully turned over to the elected representatives. Canadian officials were on hand at UN headquarters in May 2002 to witness East Timor becoming the 191st member of the United Nations, and to see the new flag raised outside UN headquarters.

Thus, four generations of peacekeeping operations have unfolded and Canada has participated in all of them. Table 2 is a summary of the author’s conception of four types of peacekeeping. It lists all the official UN missions (to 2004) and identifies those in which Canada participated. By comparison, the list of missions in which Canada did not participate is short.12

There are exceptions to the generational model. In the 1960s, the Congo operation (ONUC) was a multi-dimensional operation and a United Nations Mission in West New Guinea (UNTEA) was a transitional administration. When people thought classical Pearsonian peacekeeping was dead, the UN found itself carrying out a traditional (purely inter-positional) mission in 2000. The border between Ethiopia and Eritrea was monitored and controlled (using a buffer zone) by a UN mission at the end of one of the few international wars of the 1990s. This mission also marked the first time that the Stand-by High Readiness Brigade was deployed, in which Canada supplied the Chief of Staff as well as ground troops.

Table 2. Four Types / Generations of UN PKOs.13
TYPE AND PURPOSE MEANS AND METHODS UN OPERATIONS Missions in bold had Canadian contributions; ongoing missions are underlined

To determine if parties are respecting a cease-fire or other peace agreements and assist in local settlements

Monitoring through foot and vehicle patrols, observation posts, checkpoints, etc. Mostly uses UN military observers (UNMOs) Placing peacekeeping troops, mostly battalions, between combatants, using patrols, checkpoints (fixed or mobile), searches, escort, show of UN presence / force. UNTSO (Palestine), UNMOGIP (Kashmir), UNOGIL (Lebanon), UNYOM (Yemen), DOMREP (Dominican Republic), UNIPOM (India-Pakistan), UNIIMOG (Iran- Iraq), UNGOMAP (Afghanistan / Pakistan), UNAVEM I (Angola), ONUCA (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras & Nicaragua), UNAVEM II (Angola), MINURSO (Western Sahara), UNAMIC (Cambodia), UNOMIG (Georgia / Abkhazia), UNOMUR (Uganda- Rwanda), UNOMIL (Liberia), ONUSAL (El Salvador), UNASOG (Chad), UNMOT (Tajikistan), UNMOP (Prevlaka / Croatia), MINUGUA (Guatemala), MONUA (Angola), MONUC (DR Congo)

To prevent or put an end to combat between parties

  UNEF I (Egypt), UNFICYP (Cyprus), UNEF II (Egypt), UNDOF (Syria), UNIFIL (Lebanon), UNIKOM (Iraq / Kuwait), UNPREDEP (Macedonia), UNMEE (Ethiopia / Eritrea)


Oversee or assist in the implementation of a complex peace agreement (which may involve disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants, humanitarian assistance, electoral assistance, human rights, civilian police, mine clearance, etc.) Protection of vulnerable populations

All of the above, plus: – protection of assembly areas and civilians, storage and destruction of surrendered weapons, escorts and protection of key personnel / facilities, oversight of police forces and other parts of the security sector, etc. – humanitarian aid convoys, road clearing, evacuation plans for vulnerable persons, securing sites and territory Uses military, civilian police and civilian personnel ONUC (DR Congo), UNTAG (Namibia), UNPROFOR (Bosnia, Croatia), UNTAC (Cambodia), UNOSOM I (Somalia), UNOSOM II (Somalia), ONUMOZ (Mozambique), UNMIH (Haiti), UNAMIR (Rwanda), UNAVEM III (Angola), UNMIBH (Bosnia), UNSMIH / UNTMIH / MIPONUH / MINUSTAH (Haiti), MINURCA (CAR), UNPSG (Eastern Slavonia), UNAMSIL (Sierra Leone), UNAMA (Afghanistan), UNMISET (Timor Leste)

Govern a territory during a transition to independence and self-governance

Comprehensive missions covering all aspects of society, from military and legal to education and sanitation Uses soldiers, police, administrators and civilians of all types UNTEA (West Papua), UNSF (West Papua), UNTAES (Eastern Slavonia), UNMIK (Kosovo), UNTAET (East Timor)



Tough lessons came out of the peacekeeping experience in the mid-1990s. Since peacekeeping had become more dangerous, more difficult and less likely to succeed, it was important for Canada to develop guidelines on when and how to participate. No longer could Canada agree to every mission nor could Canadians respond to any conflict with the remark: “send in the peacekeepers”.

For several decades, Canada has maintained criteria to help decide whether to participate in UN operations.14 However, when requests came from the UN, these criteria were often ignored out of a sense of urgency, or duty, or both. In the 1994 White Paper on Defence, with the Somalia experience fresh in mind, the criteria for participation were made more stringent; though not nearly as tough as the guidelines the US government adopted that same year.15 Like its superpower neighbour, Canada was trying to be more selective. Accordingly, missions earning Canadian participation should be part of a comprehensive strategy to secure long-term, realistic and achievable solutions, e.g., to avoid the Cyprus scenario.15 The US restrictions on peacekeeping were stronger than the Canadian ones, post-Somalia. In Presidential Decision Directive 25 (PDD-25), President Clinton specified that US involvement was dependent on: the advancement of US interests; the need for a US presence to achieve mission success; acceptable risks to US troops; available resources (with sizeable contributions by others); and domestic and congressional support. If a combat risk existed, there needed to be “a determination to commit sufficient forces to achieve clearly defined objectives”, “a plan to achieve those objectives decisively”, and “a commitment to reassess and adjust as necessary the size, composition, and use of forces”. Ironically, PPD-25 was signed on 3 May 1994, at the height of the Rwandan genocide, when an intervention force was desperately needed. Later US President Clinton stated that one of his main regrets about his time in office was not responding better and faster to the Rwanda crisis. (Serafino 2002) The missions should also have:

  • a clear and enforceable mandate, including a clearly defined goal and exit strategy;
  • an identifiable and accepted reporting authority, and a clear division of responsibilities, particularly when military and civilian resources are used;
  • consent of all parties, including consent to Canada’s participation (although this was not needed for peace enforcement or humanitarian assistance operations);
  • a defined concept of operations, an effective command and control structure, and clear rules of engagement; and
  • sufficient international backing (political will) and adequate financing.

In addition, it was incumbent on Canada that “the national composition of the force should be appropriate to the goals of the mission … [and] the size, training and equipment of the force must be in keeping with the anticipated degree of force to be used in carrying out its mandate”. (DND 1994) Over a decade later, the Defence section of the International Policy Statement (Canada 2005) listed roughly the same criteria as the 1994 White Paper on Defence but significantly (and dangerously) omits the need for consent. It also stipulates that proposed international operations should support Canada’s Foreign Policy objectives, and not jeopardize other Canadian Forces commitments. As well, it calls for an exit strategy to be in place and an effective means for consultation among mission partners.

These criteria remain important policy guidelines, but in the heat of the moment, politicians are still led by their own overriding motivations. For instance, the humanitarian impulse drove Prime Minister Jean Chrétien to offer Canadian leadership of a Multinational Force in Eastern Zaire in November 1996, despite the lack of any checks against established criteria.16 The situation in the war-afflicted refugee camps was dire, as portrayed on daily television broadcasts. In addition, the Prime Minister was receiving briefs from his nephew, Raymond Chrétien (then Ambassador to Washington), who had been appointed as the UN Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region. Despite initial hesitation from the Department of National Defence, Canada’s Army Chief, Lieutenant-General Maurice Baril, was mandated in a UN security Council Resolution to start up the multinational rescue mission. Hoping for American and other support (especially US airlift) that never arrived, Canada committed 1,500 troops. Some three hundred of them found themselves in Entebbe, Uganda setting up a mission headquarters. However, good intentions went for naught and may even have been counter-productive. Rwanda (led now by Tutsis) feared that the UN might inadvertently provide protection to the Hutu fighters, including former génocidaires, in the camps. It therefore ordered attacks on the camps before the mission could become operational. As a result, over 700,000 frightened refugees returned to Rwanda. The number of deaths in the attack and the subsequent chase is not known but could easily be in the tens of thousands.17 The best face that the confused mission-leaders could put on the situation was that the majority of refugees were returning home as hoped. The mission could not be called an unqualified success and it was soon referred to as the “bungle in the jungle” by critics and some of the soldiers involved. More damagingly, some commentators concluded that it is impossible for Canada to act as the lead nation in a military operation. This author’s view is that under the right circumstances and with the right approach, Canada can lead.

An important lesson from the Zaire mission is that expectations have to be managed so that the impossible is not demanded of peacekeepers. For this reason, Canada and other nations sought to re-conceptualize peacekeeping and to adopt new terms. To avoid taking responsibility for keeping or ensuring the peace, something that depended mostly on the parties themselves, the term peacekeeping was replaced with the term “peace support operations” (PSOs), although peacekeeping (in its classical Pearsonian sense) remained as one type of PSO. Peace support was a more realistic description, since the troops could only support the peace; they would not be responsible for keeping it. It meant that soldiers would not raise expectations to a level that would be doomed to fail if one of the parties started fighting again. One of the stark lessons from the illnamed and inadequately equipped UN Protection Force operating in the war zones of the former Yugoslavia from 1991 to 1995 was that it was unprepared to protect, despite its name.

The proliferation of roles and operations encouraged the development of new terminology. Canada initially adopted the NATO standard that PSOs were divided into five types: peacemaking (negotiations); humanitarian assistance; peacekeeping (classical); peacebuilding (mostly post-conflict); and peace enforcement (non-consensual). Canada’s most recent doctrinal manual on PSOs, however, removes peace enforcement from the PSO spectrum.18 The US military has adopted the terms “peace operation” and “stability operation” and there is a desire by some for Canada to do the same.

Despite the US and NATO shifts in terminology, the UN and the general public continue to use the term “peacekeeping” and it seems to be a term that is here to stay. It has become part of the common — as well as official — language of a great many countries. Besides, it has a rich heritage and a pleasant sonorous quality, something that is unconsciously valued by the average person. More importantly, there are powerful motivations behind the concept of peacekeeping that will endure despite name changes and challenges.



Given the country’s mixed experiences in peacekeeping, why does Canada remain the committed peacekeeper? The raging academic debate within Canada is over two sets of motivating factors. One side ascribes Canadian contributions to a sense of world service, an altruistic desire to improve international peace and security. This view reflects the aspiration of many Canadians to see a world based on law and order, where military force is used only in the common interest as envisioned in the UN Charter, not an anarchical system based on survival of the fittest. Instead of the law of the jungle with its principle that might makes right, the idealist view is that right makes might in a civilized world. The international system should be moral and just, one in which all nations have a say and where they work collectively to keep the peace. The UN is naturally at the centre of such aspirations. Canada has to do its part, the internationalists say. “We do it not for the glory but as our duty”, declared External Affairs Minister Paul Martin Sr. when discussing why Canada played a leading role in peacekeeping. Four decades later, his son, as Prime Minister, sought to champion the responsibility to protect. (Martin 2005) Closely associated with the internationalist sense of global responsibility is the humanitarian impulse to save lives and reduce human suffering, easily brought into play in an information age when images of tragedy are broadcast nightly into living rooms across the country and around the world. Another Canadian motivation is to distinguish the country from its superpower neighbour, the US, which places much greater emphasis on the exertion of military power and deadly force.

The idealist or internationalist school often clashes with the realpolitik school, whose members are usually called realists (although not necessarily realistic). Canadian realists hold that Canada’s contributions do not arise from the purity of our souls or national benevolence, but because of basic national interest. For them, the first and foremost Canadian national interest, both during and after the Cold War, was to support the Western allies, especially the US and NATO members.19 Thus, they believe that Canada contributed a substantial number of troops to the peacekeeping force in Cyprus for almost three decades (1964-1993) in order to prevent two NATO allies (Greece and Turkey) from going to war over Cyprus and splitting the alliance. Similarly, Canada’s greatest victory in peacekeeping, the creation of the UN’s first peacekeeping force during the Suez crisis in 1956, was done to help the UK and France out of a predicament from which they could not withdraw their forces without great embarrassment. Thus, the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF), proposed and led by Canadians, that replaced the allied forces was a means of face-saving for the great powers.20 Similarly, other Cold War peacekeeping contributions were, according to the realists, done to avoid overt superpower clashes and, ultimately, a third world war. Even after the Cold War, they point out that practical considerations predominated. Canadian participation in the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan (the International Security Assistance Force or ISAF), announced in February 2003, was seen by many as a means to deflect US pressure to participate in the March 2003 attack on Iraq. (The Canadian government has said it did not participate in the invasion because it lacked UN sanction, something that realists dismiss as unimportant.) Also, Canada’s large contributions to the UN’s successive missions in Haiti are also explained in part by a desire to assist the US in the continental backyard.

Whether the motive is idealistic or pragmatic (probably both), Canada seeks a place and some recognition in the wider world. Canada seeks to find a special role that great powers like the US have difficulty filling. These powers did not participate in peacekeeping during the Cold War because they were deemed unable to act impartially, given their global involvement, ideological struggles, and intelligence activities. A middle power like Canada was seen as a better choice for the peacekeeper role, perhaps the ideal candidate, (Manson 1989) even though Canada was part of the NATO alliance. At times, the superpowers welcomed the helpful fixer role played by Canada (even the G.W. Bush administration welcomed it),21 while at other times they considered it an annoyance. US Secretary of State Dean Acheson (1949-52) sarcastically called Canada’s moralistic preaching “the stern voice of the daughter of God”. (Sokolsky and Jockel 2000-2001: 7) While the US has always been eager to see Canadian peacekeepers in Middle East, and especially, in Haiti, it was much less happy to see Canada participate in the United Nations Dominican Republic (DOMREP) mission after the US invaded the island in 1965. The Soviet Union, for its part, protested Canadian participation in the UN’s Congo operation (1960),22 but later it warmly welcomed the Canadian contribution to the United Nations Good Offices Mission in Afghanistan and Pakistan (UNGOMAP) that was verifying Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan (1987-88).

In any case, both idealist and realist schools recognize that Canadian security, especially after the end of the Cold War, remains linked with the security of the world as a whole. What ails the world will eventually cause trouble for Canada and disturb the peace, prosperity, and domestic harmony in one of the world’s most multicultural nations. It seems that Canada can function best and contribute most when it is able to satisfy both its idealist and pragmatic tendencies at the same time. UNEF was a case in point. It demonstrated the genius of Lester B. Pearson, the effective Canadian Foreign Minister in 1956, who gained allied gratitude while at the same time helping improve the position of the UN. The idealist and pragmatist in Pearson spoke about peacekeeping in his Nobel Peace prize acceptance speech in 1957: “We made at least a beginning then. If, on that foundation, we do not build something more permanent and stronger, we will once again have ignored realities, rejected opportunities and betrayed our trust.” (Pearson 1957)



Improvements in peacekeeping have occurred gradually from Pearson’s time to the present (including two new generations of peacekeeping), but the international force that the United Nations Charter envisaged, and that Pearson originally advocated, has not come about. As the next best thing, Pearson advocated the creation of standby force using earmarked units that could be called together in an emergency. The Canadian Army Special Force was established in 1950 specifically for UN or NATO deployments, and it was sent to fight under the UN flag in Korea. (Williams 1974: 653) External Affairs Minister Pearson pointed to this Canadian precedent in his frequent calls to other UN members to earmark units for UN duty. But the UN, embroiled in Cold War deadlock, could not agree on the establishment of a standby force. Later, as Prime Minister, Pearson convened in 1964 a conference to consider the issue. Twenty-two nations that had provided troops to previous operations met in Ottawa. He suggested:

If the United Nations Assembly as such refuses to take that initiative — if it is unable to agree on permanent arrangements for a stand-by force — then why should a group of members who feel that this should be done, not do something about it themselves? Why should they not discharge their responsibilities individually and collectively, by organizing a force for this purpose, one formally outside the United Nations but ready to act on its request?

To do so would require a number of middle powers whose credentials and whose motives are above reproach, to work out stand-by arrangements among themselves consistent with the United Nations Charter. What is needed, in fact, is an entirely new arrangement by which these nations would establish an international peace force, its contingents trained and equipped for the purpose and operating under principles agreed in advance. (Pearson 1964, in Cox 1968:48)

While the conference was heavily criticized and resulted in no agreement for a standby force, Canadians repeatedly called for the establishment of such a force. In 1970, the Parliamentary Subcommittee on Peacekeeping came forward with bold proposals: a UN stand-by force of 20,000 to 25,000 men (excluding those from the Permanent Members of the Security Council) supported by earmarked reserves specially trained for UN service; the establishment of an international training centre; and a Peace Fund with voluntary contributions towards this goal.23

It took the shock of the 1994 Rwandan tragedy almost a quarter century later to finally generate the international political will to make a stand-by force a reality. Partly in response to General Dallaire’s suggestion that the Rwandan genocide could have been avoided with a brigade of troops (roughly 5,000 strong), Canada commissioned a study on ways to enhance the UN’s capability to project peacekeeping forces quicker and more effectively to conflict areas. This report championed the proposal for a vanguard force. (DFAIT 1995; Langille 2002)

The response was lukewarm from most nations (including the US) but strong from a few. Canada decided to work with like-minded nations, as Pearson had envisioned two decades earlier. In December 1996, seven countries (Austria, Canada, Denmark, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland and Sweden) signed a letter of intent to establish a Standby High Readiness Brigade for UN Peace Operations. SHIRBRIG was declared ready for UN duty as of January 2000 with a permanent multinational headquarters near Copenhagen. (SHIRBRIG 2005) The 60-90 military personnel stationed there from all participating nations coordinate the national contributions to the notional Brigade, develop exercises, and prepare for deployments. In 2000 the UN Secretary-General turned to SHIRBRIG to set up the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE). The Brigade did such an effective job initiating the UN mission that most of the units and soldiers were incorporated into the ensuing UN Force — including the Force Commander, Patrick Cammaert, a Dutch general who afterwards became the UN Military Advisor in New York. Canada and the Netherlands together contributed an infantry battalion, as well as headquarters staff to the SHIRBRIG deployment, and then to UNMEE. In 2003, Canada held the SHIRBRIG Presidency. In that year the organization was called upon to stand up a headquarters, with Canadians among its staff, for the UN Mission in Liberia. (DND 2003a) In December 2003 Canadian Brigadier-General Greg Mitchell was appointed the Brigade’s Commander (a two-year term normally). A new mission for the Brigade is in southern Sudan, although the SHIRBRIG deployment was not nearly as rapid as had been hoped. Currently SHIRBRIG focuses purely on peacekeeping deployments (necessitating the consent of the warring parties) but there are calls to expand its mandate to cover enforcement operations (non-consensual) of the type that would have been needed to end the Rwandan genocide. At present, the Canadian government does not want to jeopardize the progress made thus far, as well as the political consensus on SHIRBRIG, so it is not yet advocating a more ambitious role for the standby brigade. Such a step would necessitate the organization of a much stronger military force in what some call a United Nations Emergency Service. (Langille 2002:104) Despite calls for a responsibility to protect, championed by Canada after the release of a report with that title (ICISS 2001), there is, at present, little political will in Canada or abroad to create such a robust force. For most, meeting the demands of current peacekeeping — and answering the critics — is enough of a challenge.



Ironically, Canadian soldiers feel less enthusiastic toward peacekeeping than the Canadian public, although they receive considerable appreciation and praise for this kind of service. The reason is part humility; many say they are “just doing their job”. However, there are deeper reservations felt by some soldiers about the “down side” of peacekeeping. After the initial excitement of deployment to a new land, soldiers typically settle into a routine of patrols and observation. Some tours of duty are characterized by long periods of boredom, interrupted by occasional bursts of violence and tragedy. When violent conflict does escalate, peacekeepers often feel there is little they can do. UN rules of engagement (ROEs) have traditionally been too weak to allow a forceful intervention. At times, soldiers even see the ROEs as a danger to their own lives, as in Rwanda when the order from UN headquarters was “not to fire until fired upon”. (Dallaire 2003: 233) This restriction left UNAMIR soldiers, with over a dozen of their colleagues dead, guessing what they should do if a cocked gun were pointed at them. This sense of impotence and anger at the UN for not properly equipping and guiding them has left some soldiers bitter and others with a general sense of disaffection and cynicism towards the UN. At worst it leads to severe depression. Soldiers, like General Dallaire, who felt helpless in the face of the slaughter of thousands in Rwanda, vainly sought comfort in suicide — although, in his case, he failed and is now well on his way to recovery.

Soldiers often seek satisfaction in philanthropic work during their tour of duty — building schools and offering assistance to local causes, often on their own time. This work is useful for the mission as it helps win the hearts of the local population, which is so important for mission success. However, it also reinforces another complaint about peacekeeping.

Many personnel fear that a single-minded focus on peacekeeping will turn their military into a constabulary force, doing charitable and police-like work while rendering them incapable of high intensity combat. It would replace the warrior ethic with a softer, gentler attitude that would make them less than full soldiers. The long-standing peacekeeping principles — consent, impartiality and use of force only in self-defence that are reflected in the peacekeepers motto, “firm, fair and friendly” — might make soldiers less than the lethal fighters they are trained to be. The hardest line is that peacekeeping is not real soldiering, an attitude which is much more common in the US military.

The critics of peacekeeping, who highlight many of the soldiers’ complaints and are mostly former soldiers themselves, also argue that there are other larger, systemic and detrimental effects from peacekeeping: less funds spent on weapons systems needed for fighting wars; less time for combat training; dependency on the UN’s ad hoc system of deployment; fewer links to their NATO colleagues. They fear that the so-called “constabulary” role for the Canadian Forces would make them inferior to their NATO counterparts. To the critics, a greater focus on peacekeeping is disadvantageous. They fear that placing primacy on peacekeeping, as advocated by two political parties in Canada (the New Democratic Party and the Bloc Quebecois), could be all too easily transferred to the Liberal Party, which already carries the mantle of Lester Pearson.

Recently, the military reluctance to commit to peacekeeping was demonstrated by resistance to the formation of a Canadian Peacekeeping Brigade, as planned by the Liberal government. (Canada 2004) The senior military leadership convinced their political masters that it was not fruitful to designate a military body for a special task and that any new soldiers should be added to preexisting units. They successfully argued that soldiers should be general purpose and combat capable. (Crabbe 2004)

In summary, while the average soldier sees UN peacekeeping as an important task, he or she is reluctant to see it become the primary task. Furthermore, soldiers fear being deployed on long, dull missions, away from home and family for long periods, with little to do. On the opposite end of the spectrum, they also fear dangerous missions where they are ill equipped or otherwise unable to carry out the difficult mandate of keeping the peace.



These attitudes have influenced Canadian preferences and actions over the past decade. As in other Western countries, the Canadian military prefers missions sponsored by NATO, as opposed to the UN. In NATO, the military structure is usually better defined, the number of troops deployed is larger, the level of support is usually greater, and partner nations are generally better equipped and trained than in UN missions. Like other Western nations, Canada saw its contribution to UN missions decline as NATO took on new peacekeeping missions in Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan. In 2003, Canada had twenty times more troops deployed to NATO PSOs than it did to UN operations. Canada dropped from its Cold War position among the top five contributors to UN peacekeeping to number 35 in July 2005, when Canada’s contribution to all UN missions was only 325 personnel (207 troops, 10 military observers and 108 civilian police). (UN 2005) This total does not include civilians, who are hired directly by the UN. Canada’s largest current contribution to a UN PKO is 185 troops to UNDOF, the United Nations Observation and Interposition Mission in the Golan Heights, where it shares responsibility with Japan for mission logistics.24 However, that contribution is scheduled to be withdrawn later in 2005. Of the other seven missions, the only sizeable contribution was to the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), but this contribution was almost entirely civilian police (98 CivPol and only three troops). UNTSO was the next largest UN mission with merely eight military observers.

Canadian diplomats at the UN have received complaints that Canada’s contribution is meagre, especially given the nation’s long tradition of strong commitment. They reply that Canadian personnel sent to UN-authorized missions in Afghanistan under NATO are also doing peacekeeping. Counting these, Canada deploys more than most countries to the field. In 2003, it had the largest contingent in the NATO-led PSO in Afghanistan, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), with over 2,000 troops. A decade of extensive deployments led the Canadian army to demand a pause in operations in 2004-05, which the government granted.

For its pan, the UN under secretary-General Kofi Annan, a former head of Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), has succeeded in improving the UN headquarters’ capacity to generate and support PKOs. DPKO has doubled in size since the release of the Brahimi report. (UN 2000) This improvement was aided considerably by US payment of its arrears, prompted mostly by the events of 11 September 2001 — arrears that had dated back almost three decades. (By contrast, Canada has consistently lived up to its promise to pay UN dues “in full, on time and without conditions”.) Many of the Brahimi report’s practical recommendations are being implemented by the United Nations.



The Canadian government has a strong mandate from the Canadian public to contribute to UN peacekeeping and a long-standing heritage to uphold. In a conflict-ridden world, there are both great challenges and new opportunities for Canada to contribute to more effective peacekeeping.


Like most Western nations, Canada reduced the size of its armed forces after the Cold War, even though the demand for peacekeeping increased dramatically. During the 1990s and early 200Os, many Canadian soldiers served on numerous tours in UN and NATO operations. In 2003-4, as government announced an “operational pause” to allow soldiers to recuperate, the UN was experiencing a resurgence of peacekeeping after a slow down in the late 1990s. With Western nations suffering from contributor fatigue, as well as donor fatigue in the development sector, the UN started to rely much more on the developing world for troops. For some Canadian commentators, Canada lost its position as a leading peacekeeper. (Ram 2004)

It is time to reinvigorate the forces and rededicate them to Canada’s tradition of peacekeeping, among other important tasks. During the Cold War, Canada used a planning figure of a 2,000 personnel ceiling for UN peacekeeping deployment (in addition to 10,000 troops in Europe). Canada is nowhere near that now. In the past few years, the Canadian troop contributions to UN operations have typically been only 200-300 soldiers. The Canadian government’s pledge to train 5,000 more troops for peacekeeping is commendable and needs to be implemented. Given the needs of a war-weary world, there are many other creative ways that Canada could help, as illustrated in the following paragraphs.

Equipment (high technology)

If the supply of sufficient numbers of Canadian personnel is a perennial problem, then Canada can specialize in areas where smaller groups of specialized and well-equipped Canadians can fill a current need. An excellent example is advanced technology, which is lacking in current UN operations. (Dorn 2004) Canada could provide advanced remote sensing and global positioning expertise to complement its long tradition of communications. These technologies have become much cheaper and much better in recent years, and are eminently suitable for UN operations. Remote sensors can increase the range and accuracy of observation, and permit continuous monitoring over much larger areas. It is now possible to spot a person at night several kilometres away, using ground-based radar in Canada’s Coyote vehicles. Much greater ranges can be obtained from planes and unpiloted aerial vehicles (UAVs). Infrared viewers on the helmets of peacekeepers can greatly increase the effectiveness of patrols at night when most of the nefarious activities, e.g., ceasefire violations, take place. Technology can make peacekeepers not only more effective at their jobs but also safer. They gain more situational awareness of threats against themselves and their missions. They are better able to protect themselves from intruders and those who might wish to spoil the peace process.

Air Force and Navy Unit Contributions

Normally peacekeeping is considered the province of the army, with other services providing support. But it is useful to explore new roles for the air force and navy. Canada could pioneer the practice of naval peacekeeping, which has at least three precedents in the Gulf of Fonseca, the former Yugoslavia, and Cambodia, where ships and boats stopped contraband weapons and goods from reaching combatants. There are many other tasks maritime forces can perform.25 Aerial vehicles can increase the scope of peace monitoring and can be used in a show of force and actual enforcement, as well as for search and rescue. The Canadian military’s new push for joint operations could be a catalyst to develop coordinated roles for all three services in peacekeeping.


In the mid-1990s Canada strengthened its peacekeeping training capacity, not only for Canadian soldiers and civilians but also for visiting soldiers and civilian students from around the world. The military-civilian Pearson Peacekeeping Centre (PPC 2005) was established in 1995 and the Army’s Peace Support Training Centre was stood up a year later. Thousands of people have gone through the wide-ranging courses sponsored by these institutions, with some of the courses being conducted abroad, including in Africa, Central America, and Eastern Europe. The PPC also led the establishment of the International Association of Peacekeeping Training Centres (IAPTC) that has drawn together over a hundred training, research and educational centres in some fifty countries. The momentum of the Canadian training program is at risk by funding cuts particularly to the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre. That institution needs continuous support, not merely short-term infusions of funds. In addition, Canada could invite more countries to provide soldiers for these courses, especially new or prospective peacekeepers such as Mexico.

Robust Peacekeeping

In the dangerous environments of modern operations, self-defence and the protection of innocent civilians requires an ability to apply military force.26 Peacekeepers need clear rules of engagement and adequate equipment that will allow them to deal with threats from attackers and spoilers of the peace process. Countries such as Canada that are known to act impartially and without heavy-handedness are needed to uphold the “responsibility to protect”, not only in the halls of the UN but also in its field operations. As the UN is beginning to accept more robust force deployments, it needs combat-trained soldiers with the ability to discern the value and limitations of the use of force. Canada’s International Policy Statement (Canada 2005) calls upon the forces to be prepared for three-block wars in which peacekeeping, humanitarian and combat operations take place simultaneously in close vicinity. Although this concept is likely to give rise to mandate confusion and over-assertion, the policy statement recognizes the reality in several modern missions, and it places renewed emphasis on combat capability in complex operations.


The Canadian military has a clear preference for NATO deployments, in part because they are more robust. However, the Canadian public and politicians generally favour the UN because it carries greater legitimacy. The UN also has a greater acceptability globally because it is representative of the entire world, whereas NATO was designed to deal with direct threats to Western security and Western interests, not problems in war-torn Africa and Asia. Canada should help the UN to develop a robust peacekeeping approach, and thereby regain its position as a leading UN peacekeeper. Admittedly, in dire circumstances, the choice between NATO and the UN is not vital. What matters most is that the operation is UN-authorized, that lives are being saved, that suffering is being reduced, and that peace is being restored. For budgeting considerations, however, UN deployments are much cheaper for Canada because the UN reimburses the majority of the expenses. They also carry greater international approval.


This multinational brigade is the most progressive development in peacekeeping in a generation. It answers decades of Canadian calls for a rapid-reaction standby force, and allows Canada to work with other outstanding and long-standing peacekeepers, such as the Scandinavian nations. Canada has a special opportunity to foster speed, efficiency, and proficiency in peacekeeping by investing more in this unique mechanism to enhance UN operations. Canada’s International Policy Statement (2005) reaffirmed Canadian commitment to take a lead role in SHIRBRIG, but Canada needs to do much more to re-invigorate this body. Greater resources, more training, and better political coordination are a few of the outstanding needs.

Partnerships with the Developing World

In UN operations, there is an opportunity to work closely with forces from the developing world. These nations provide the backbone of modern UN peacekeeping forces. Canada could contribute greatly by sharing its peacekeeping experience, for instance, by conducting joint exercises, training soldiers before and during missions, and by sharing the skills needed to utilize advanced technologies. The modest efforts of the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre and the Peace Support Training Centre are a good start.



During the Cold War, politicians of all stripes proudly boasted that Canada had contributed to every UN peacekeeping mission — a “perfect record”, Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy later wrote. (Axworthy 1998) It was a practice “unsurpassed by any other nation”, noted Chief of Defence Staff John de Chastelain (1992: 5).27 However, Canada can no longer make this claim. While Canada still contributes much, it is not providing the leadership, intellectually or on the ground, that it once did.

For supporters of Canadian peacekeeping, there is an urgent need to re-invigorate and re-dedicate the Canadian Forces to live up to its image and legacy in peacekeeping. The fires of conflict do not stop while Canada takes an operational pause. Soldiers do need time to recuperate, but there are many ways for the nation to contribute to peacekeeping. The further development of the Standby High Readiness Brigade is a major opportunity for Canada. Building partnerships with developing nations, who provide the bulk of the UN’s peacekeepers today, is another, perhaps by bringing them into SHIRBRIG. Rather than abandoning the UN, Canada should contribute more peacekeepers to more missions, where they are much needed. Canada could also invite more current and prospective peacekeepers to courses, seminars, and exercises, and offer pre-deployment training in institutions in Canada, as well as sending teams abroad. The country could offer the UN tailored systems for monitoring using high technology, as this can greatly improve UN operations in an area where the it is currently quite deficient.

The critics of peacekeeping may cite the difficulties and challenges of UN peacekeeping. The response has been made frequently over the years, including by External Affairs Minister Paul Martin Sr. in the 1960s:

Instead of belittling peacekeeping because of the problems which the United Nations forces have encountered (for example in the Middle East) critics should devote their energies to suggesting ways to strengthen the United Nations’ ability to discharge its primary responsibility for peace and security and to ensure that future UN forces will have better terms of reference for carrying out their mandate. … I am convinced that Canadians want us to go on making a contribution to UN peacekeeping in spite of the undoubted difficulties.28

Canada will always bring its traditional strengths to peacekeeping: a largely bilingual multicultural force, well-trained and well-equipped, ready to reach out to partners and to engage the local populations in war-torn areas, while also able to apply force when necessary. Canada can now explore new ways to use its soldiers, sailors, aviators, civilian police, and civilians to add new dimensions to operations, whether to stop conflicts or to build the peace afterwards.

The job of keeping peace is a never-ending one. Peacekeeping has been shown to be a proud Canadian tradition but will its future contribution remain strong? Canada is likely to be there, not only because the nation’s foreign policy relies heavily on multilateralism, but also because of the popular demand for Canadian contributions to peace. One thing is certain: in our conflict-ridden world, there will be a great need, much scope, and many opportunities for Canada to live up to its peacekeeping tradition.



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Pearson, Lester Bowles (1956). Official Records of the General Assembly, ES-1,561st meeting, 2 November, para. 299. New York: United Nations.

Polaris Institute (2005). “It’s Never Enough: Canada’s Alarming Rise in Military Spending.” 25 October, Ottawa: Polaris Institute.

Project Ploughshares (2002). “Department of National Defence budget 2001-02.” Ploughshares Monitor, (Summer). < monj02i.html> (26 Jan 2005).

PSTC (Canadian Forces Centre of Excellence for Peace Support Operations Training, aka Peace Support Training Centre). <> (31 January 2005).

Ram, Sunil (2004). “Canada the Peacekeeper? A Myth that Should Die.”<http://www.theglobeandmail.eom/servlet/story/ RTGAM.20040825.w/ BNStory/ Front> (31 January 2005).

Senate (1993). Meeting New Challenges. Ottawa: Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs. Quoted in Department of National Defence, Report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Deployment of Canadian Forces to Somalia, Vol. 1. Ottawa: Minister of Public Works and Government Services. <> (25 January 2005).

Serafino, Nina M. (updated 2002). Peacekeeping: Issues of US Military Involvement.

SHIRBRIG (2005). “SHIRBIG: Multinational Standby Force High Readiness Brigade for UN Peace Operations.”<> (29 January 2005).

Sokolsky, Joel and Joseph Jockel (2000-2001). “Lloyd Axworthy’s Legacy: Human Security and the Rescue of Canadian Defence Policy.” International Journal, (Winter) LVI: 1-18.

Stanley, George F.G. (1960). Canada’s Soldiers: The Military History of an Unmilitary People. Toronto: Macmillan of Canada.

The Globe and Mail (1999). “Canadian Fears Peace Forces Face ‘River of Blood’.” 13 September: A1.

Thompson, Allan (1995). “Mission Impossible.” Toronto Star, 1 July: E1.

UN (2005). “UN Mission’s Summary Detailed by Country, June.” New York: United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations. < contributors> (2 August 2005).

UN (2000). Report of the Panel on UN Peace Operations (“The Brahimi Report”). New York: United Nations. <> (30 January 2005).

UN (1996). Blue Helmets: A Review of UN Peacekeeping. New York: United Nations. Sales No. E. 96.1.14.

UNSC (2000). Resolution 1296 of 19 April. New York: United Nations Security Council. <> (4 July 2005).

Whelan, Peter (2004). “Canada’s International Role: Four Political Perspectives.” Ploughshares Monitor, (Autumn) 25(3): 13. < MONITOR/ mons04f.html> (8 July 2005).

Williams, D. Colwyn (1974). “International Peacekeeping: Canada’s Role.” In MacDonald, Ronald St John, Gerald L. Morris and Douglas M. Johnston (eds.) Canadian Perspectives on International Law and Organization. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.



1 Peacekeeping Day, inaugurated in the provinces in 2002-2004, is held on 9 August. Federal observance is traditionally held during UN week (20-26 October).

2 In 1936, King publicly repudiated Canada’s Ambassador to the League of Nations, Walter Riddell, after Riddell proposed that the League impose oil sanctions on Italy to curtail its conquest of Abyssinia/Ethiopia under the fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. In the end, neither the League nor Canada applied tough sanctions. The six League operations that could be considered PKOs by today’s definition were located in the Saar (1920-35), near Vilnia/Vilnius |1920-22), on the Albanian border (1921-23), on the Greco-Roman frontier (1925-27), and two in South America: Leticia (1933-34) and Chaco (1933-34). Canada did not provide troops to any of these operations (unlike Sweden, the Netherlands and Belgium, as well as great powers France, Italy, and the UK). However, in the League’s largest operation, for the transitional governance of the Saar, the second Chairman (1925-30) of the League-appointed governing Commission was Mr. Stevens, a much-appreciated Canadian who had previously been the Chairman of the Montreal Harbour Commission.

3 After the Korean War broke out in 1950 (much as King had predicted), Canada sent 27,000 troops to the aid of South Korea in the UN-authorized police action. Five hundred sixteen Canadian soldiers died in the War against North Korea and China. In today’s terminology, this was an enforcement action, not a peacekeeping mission.

4 Under-Secretary-General, Ralph Bunche, was instrumental in establishing the first UN observer missions, and Sir Brian Urquhart helped in the development of peacekeeping for some four decades. Also, there are UN officials, not known in peacekeeping history, who helped set up the early missions in Greece, Indonesia and Korea and who deserve recognition. Lester Pearson is, more properly, called one of the “Fathers of Peacekeeping Forces” since UNEF was the first such force. The previous missions were all of the observer type.

5 Canada provided virtually all of the radio communications links between ONUC’s headquarters in Leopoldville and its field offices, some of them over a thousand kilometres away. (Marteinson 1992)

6 External Affairs Minister Martin managed to get a commitment from Sweden, Finland, and Ireland for the start-up of UNFICYP. (Granatstein 2004: 69)

7 The Canadian defence budget in 1989 was at a high of about $ 14.25 billion and the size of the Canadian Forces (CF) was about 85,000 military personnel. Ten years later, the budget was $11.5 billion and the size of the CF was approximately 60,000. In 2004, the size of the CF is a bit less but the budget has increased. Financial figures are given in constant 2000-2001 dollars. (DND 2003a; Polaris Institute 2005; Project Ploughshares 2002)

8 There was a small and short mission in the Dominican Republic, the Caribbean half-island state, in 1965-66 to verify a ceasefire after the invasion of US forces.

9 Fortunately, a better UN definition of peacekeeping was later used, re-introducing the concept of consent: “peacekeeping is the deployment of international military and civilian personnel to an area of conflict, with the consent of the parties to the conflict, in order to: (1) stop or contain hostilities or (2) carry out the provisions of a peace agreement.”

10 The informant, who called himself Jean-Pierre, said that he had been asked to prepare a list of Tutsis in Kigali, which he believed was for their “extermination”. He was training his militia to kill “a thousand people in twenty minutes”. To render UNAMIR impotent the extremists planned to kill members of the Belgian contingent. Jean-Pierre even showed a UNAMIR officer illegal weapons caches that were to be used to carry out the plan. (Dorn and Matloff 2000)

11 Kofi Annan, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping at the time of the Rwandan genocide, only tacitly admitted partial responsibility for the abysmal UN reaction to the genocide by accepting the conclusions of the Carlsson Report (1999).

12 The list of UN missions to which Canada has not contributed is: UNAVEM I & III (Angola), UNOMIL (Liberia), UNOMIG (Georgia), UNASOG (Chad), UNMOT (Tajikistan), UNTAES (Eastern Slavonia), MONUA (Angola), UNPS (Croatia), UNOMSIL (but did participate in UNAMSIL).

13 Table covers operations to 2004. (UN 1996, DFAIT 2004, DND 2004) Full names can be found on the UN DPKO web site (2004).

14 These criteria for participation were laid out by Foreign Minister Mitchell Sharp in 1973: reasonable expectation of a political settlement; responsibility to a political authority (preferably the UN) which can adequately supervise it; consent to Canadian participation by all concerned; a clear mandate to act and an equitable means of financing, (Inglis 1975: 31 ) Much earlier, Pearson had outlined certain requirements that would have to be met before Canada would commit troops to the start-up of the Cyprus mission. (Granatstein 1968: 172)

15 The US restrictions on peacekeeping were stronger than the Canadian ones, post-Somalia. In Presidential Decision Directive 25 (PDD-25), President Clinton specified that US involvement was dependent on: the advancement of US interests; the need for a US presence to achieve mission success; acceptable risks to US troops; available resources (with sizeable contributions by others); and domestic and congressional support. If a combat risk existed, there needed to be “a determination to commit sufficient forces to achieve clearly defined objectives”, “a plan to achieve those objectives decisively”, and “a commitment to reassess and adjust as necessary the size, composition, and use of forces”. Ironically, PPD-25 was signed on 3 May 1994, at the height of the Rwandan genocide, when an intervention force was desperately needed. Later US President Clinton stated that one of his main regrets about his time in office was not responding better and faster to the Rwanda crisis. (Serafino 2002)

16 An excellent account can be found in the memoirs of the Prime Minister’s Diplomatic Advisor, James Bartleman (2005). An overview of the Canadian preparations for “Operation Assurance” is found in Hennessy (2001).

17 An examination of the contradictory intelligence on the mission in Zaire can be found in Dorn (2005).

18 The PSO manual (DND 2002b) adds the function of “conflict prevention” to the list of PSO types. It divides PKOs into two types: traditional and complex PKOs. Unfortunately, the manual does not provide a definition for the term “peace support operations”.

19 See Maloney (2002) and J.L. Granatstein, cited in Cooper (1997: 174-176). The debate is also analysed in Alistair (2002).

20 Moderate support for this view comes from the fact that Pearson’s original idea for the UN force was to make the British and French occupying forces the nucleus of the new force, not to give the intervention “UN respectability” but “to change its character and make it serve different ends”. He abandoned that idea after several member states in New York branded the two nations aggressors. (Williams 1974: 671)

21 President-elect George W. Bush stated that “we’d like for them [the allies] to be the peacekeepers” while the US will take on the duty of fighting wars. (New York Times 2001)

22 Dag Hammarskjöld’s reaction to the Soviet complaint about Canada contributing to ONUC was: “Canada was in a unique position among the nations in having available adequate [sic] trained communication personnel with a facility in both French and English and also in having available the necessary equipment.” (Granatstein 1968: 158)

23 The House of Commons (1970) Subcommittee on Peacekeeping of the Standing Committee on External Affairs and National Defence produced a report which concluded: “For Canada now to lose heart and reduce its interests in peacekeeping would be an abdication of responsibility. No other country could fill the gap thus opened — and the development of effective peacekeeping would be set back with incalculable but certainly disastrous effects.” (Williams, 1974: 671)

24 Canada also contributes to the Multilateral Force and Observers (MFO), a non-UN peacekeeping mission established in 1982 to oversee the border aspects of the 1979 Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty (Camp David Accords). Originally it was to be a UN mission but the Soviet Union threatened to veto its establishment so it was set up as an independent body led by the US although still based on traditional UN peacekeeping principles. Canada’s maximum contribution was 140 personnel to the 2,700-troop (maximum) operation.

25 Roles for the navy in peacekeeping operations include: communications; interdiction; diplomatic assistance; humanitarian assistance and disaster relief; maritime security; migration management and facilitation; peacebuilding; prevention of naval combat; supervision/administration of ports and shore facilities; transport; and treaty verification.

26 One Canadian achievement during its tenure on the Security Council in 1999-2000 was the passage of a resolution stipulating that peacekeeping mandates and resources should ensure the protection of civilians. (UNSC 2000).

27 The fact that Canada enjoyed a UN participation record unsurpassed by any other nation was made easier by the fact that Canada contributed a soldier to DOMREP, the UN’s smallest peacekeeping mission, set up to observe the situation in the Dominican Republic after the US intervention in 1965. Only four military officers (from Brazil, Canada, Ecuador and India) participated in that short mission in 1965-66, so few countries could claim to have participated in all UN missions. In the list of operations that the UN considers “peacekeeping” (UN 1996), the first UN operation to which Canada did not send any personnel was the first Angola mission (UNAVEM I) begun in 1989 just as the Cold War was winding down. Canada did contribute, however, to the much larger second mission in Angola, UNAVEM II, which began in 1991.

28 Martin, Paul, in Department of External Affairs, Statements and Speeches, No.67/27, Ottawa: Department of External Affairs, 1967, p.3-4, quoted in Williams 1970: 670.



Standing Committee on


Chairman: Bill Graham

Meeting No. 50 Tuesday, June 6, 1995


That Bill C-87, An Act to implement the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction, be read for a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade.


The Canadian Chemical Producers’ Association:

    Jean Bélanger President

The Markland Group:

    Douglas Scott, President
    Walter Dorn, Research Associate, International Relations Program, University of Toronto

Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade:

    Ralph Lysyshyn, Director General, International Security Bureau
    Geoff Weir, Acting National Director, Chemical Weapons Convention National Authority, International Security Bureau

The Vice-Chairman (Mr. Volpe): I call this meeting to order. I see we have members of both opposition parties present and government members as well.

I will begin with the reading of the order of reference as follows:

    Ordered that Bill C-87, an act to implement the convention on the prohibition of the development, production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons and on their destruction be now read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
    Those are our terms of reference.

We have before us this morning witnesses from the Canadian Chemical Producers’ Association. I believe we have with us Mr. Jean Bélanger, president; and David Shearing, project manager, business and economics. They’re going to present a statement. We will hear a statement as well from the Markland Group, which is represented here by Mr. Douglas Scott, president; and Walter Dorn, research associate with the international relations program at the University of Toronto.

Following those two statements, colleagues, representatives from the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade will answer any questions colleagues might have. They are Mr. Ralph Lysyshun, director general from the International Security Bureau; and Mr. Geoff Weir, acting national director, Chemical Weapons Convention National Authority, International Security Bureau.

I ask Mr. Bélanger and Mr. David Shearing to begin with their statement.

Mr. Jean Bélanger (President, Canadian Chemical Producers’ Association): Mr. Chairman, thank you very much for the opportunity to be with you today. I will not read our submission. You have received it and I understand it has been distributed to members.

Allow me to identify who the group is. The Canadian Chemical Producers’ Association brings together the companies that manufacture chemicals in Canada. This is the basic chemical industry. We have 65 member companies. Together they produce about 90% of the manufactured chemicals in value terms in Canada, value of sales being in the order of around $12 billion to $13 billion.

I’d like to look at a couple of aspects. One of them is that we have been involved for a long time in the development of the Chemical Weapons Convention both directly and through working with our colleagues in other countries — the Australians, the Japanese, Europeans, Americans and ourselves. We have been trying to ensure support for an international movement toward greater care being taken in the handling of chemical weapons. We were instrumental in the development of the convention and looked at the confidentiality provisions that need to be put in place in such a thing. We are satisfied that the convention as it stands now will provide adequate protection for doing this.

None of the chemicals in the schedules, I think it’s important to say, are produced by CCPA member companies. But some are imported for use in chemical productions, and we recognize that aspect.

Overall, we strongly support the objective of the CWC. It has taken a long time to develop and to come to fruition. We urged its adoption from the Australian meetings onwards. The International Council of Chemical Associations also fully supports the convention.

I should mention that the association believes this convention is fully in line with an initiative that was started in Canada by our association, called Responsible Care. We have given to the clerk copies of the approach we took on Responsible Care and I think she’s already distributed them — these are the blue copies, the books — in which we say that as a matter of ethics we do intend to make sure that our products are handled, from cradle to grave, in a responsible manner. So this Responsible Care initiative is underpinned by six codes of practice. We have reporting and we also have verification processes.

I think it’s important to recognize that CCPA started this and the approach has been adopted now in 37 countries, by the Americans, the Europeans, South Americans, African and Asian countries. So I believe this is the underpinning that promoted the full support of the Chemical Weapons Convention by the chemical industry.

It will impose some burdens on CCPA member companies. We recognize that, but we believe it is acceptable, that it is the only way to move forward. We think it is important for societies and we think the convention and the bill are structured in a way that is least onerous to industry while achieving the goals.

Thank you very much for the opportunity to make my initial presentation. We will be open for questions afterwards.

The Chairman: Thank you very much, Mr. Bélanger.

Was Mr. Shearing going to add anything to your statement?

Mr. Bélanger: No, not right now.

Mr. Douglas Scott (President, Markland Group): I am here on behalf of the Markland Group, and we have several others. Mr. Dorn will be addressing you after my presentation. We also have Mr. Edward Lee, a former Canadian ambassador and member of the board of governors for the IAEA. Mr. Jon Jennekens is here also. He was the former deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency and also former president of the Atomic Energy Control Board here in Canada. We also have Mr. Robertson, also a former Canadian ambassador, who was very much involved with the negotiation of the Chemical Weapons Convention when it was being negotiated in Geneva.

To begin, we very much appreciate the opportunity to appear and tell you about some of the concerns we have about this bill.

Generally speaking, we are pleased with the bill. We’re particularly happy to see clause 5, which will make the act, when it comes into effect, binding on the Crown. This is one particular matter we paid a lot of attention to earlier on and advocated very strongly.

On the other hand, there are two areas where we think improvements are necessary and we hope those matters can be dealt with rather simply. We have provided you with some wording that could be used to alter the bill to cover the two points we’re concerned with.

One of these points will be dealt with by my colleague, Mr. Dorn. I’m going to speak about another point, and it deals with regulations.

We’re recommending that Bill C-87 be altered to provide additional authority to make regulations. What we’re concerned about is regulations relating to schedule 2 and schedule 3 chemicals. Those chemicals, as you may know, are what are called precursors, or ingredients for making chemical weapons. Most of them are dual-use chemicals, in the sense that they can be used equally well for making industrial or medical products as well as chemical weapons.

An example might be a chemical called thiodiglycol. That chemical is used very widely in industry and is used to make a number of things, including the ink that you put in your ball-point pens. It also is a key component for making mustard gas. That’s an example of what we’re talking about when we’re referring to schedule 2 and schedule 3 chemicals — thiodiglycol is on schedule 2.

Our problem is that as the bill stands at the present time there are no controls on schedule 2 and schedule 3 except for controls on exports and imports. With schedule 1 there are quite comprehensive controls. We’re not suggesting that there be similar controls on schedules 2 and 3, because the list is too long and it would cause upset with the chemical industry. However, we are saying that the minister ought to be empowered to select certain chemicals that he considers to be especially problematical and to impose controls on those particular chemicals, and those only.

To go into some specifics, we want the Governor in Council to be able to make regulations that would identify particular activities involving these schedule 2 and schedule 3 chemicals and to designate them on the basis that they can be considered as being prohibited under some very general wording in the convention relating to all chemicals, and that is the wording of articles I.1(a) and II.1(a) of the convention. I’m not going to go into that at present. I will say, however, that some very general wording covers all chemicals, but the convention does not go on to specify which particular activities should be prohibited.

Under this regulation there would be a possibility of the Governor in Council identifying activities related to those two schedules, making those activities illegal, and then providing enforcement measures that would include a licensing system, as you have already for the schedule 1 — fines, imprisonment, injunction, seizure, most important, and forfeiture.

Examples of the kinds of activities that might be hit by these regulations would be supplying the specified chemicals to unlicensed person or groups — they might even be terrorist groups — and stockpiling the chemicals in excess of the prescribed quantities. They would prescribe quantities and say no more stockpiles above that level. It might be producing or manufacturing those chemicals.
Probably that doesn’t apply in Canada’s case because, as Mr. Bélanger has already explained, we don’t produce any of these chemicals on any of these schedules. I was glad to hear that, but we use them, so it would be important as far as supplying and stockpiling are concerned.

We should of course note that the controls that would apply under our amendment would be subject to the minister’s discretion. Presumably he’s not going to put anything on that list without full consultation with the chemical industry.

We have four reasons why those regulations should be authorized. First, there’s an implied obligation — but only an implied obligation, I might say, it’s not direct — under the convention for the states parties to establish a control scheme covering at least some of the chemicals on schedules 2 and 3. That obligation arises under article VII, which requires states parties to enact legislation to prohibit certain activities to its citizens.

By the way, if you have a copy of my notes today — there’s a mistake on page 3. Instead of saying “activities to States Parties” — that’s not what’s required under article VII. It’s prohibiting activities on the part of its citizens.

Bill C-87 unfortunately does not prohibit any activities whatsoever in connection with schedules 2 and 3, nor does it refer to any regulations authorizing such prohibitions. That’s the first matter.

Secondly, these chemicals are potentially dangerous from two points of view: they can be used either across borders, as between nation-states, or by terrorists within the country. Since there’s nothing in the bill — if Canada were to discover a large cache of these chemicals, possibly in the hands of some secret organization, it would be powerless to do anything about the problem except to prevent the organization from exporting or importing the material through legal channels. What it could not do is what the Japanese police did, which is to conduct a raid on the headquarters of the group and seize whatever it finds. So that’s our second reason.

The third reason has to do with Canada’s position in the world and what the other countries are doing under the convention. We think it’s important that Canada control these substances in order to serve as an example to the other countries of the world, so that they might follow suit. If enough countries were to enact these provisions the point might be reached where this kind of thing could be very specifically put into the convention. No doubt they tried to do that, but there wasn’t enough time to agree on which chemicals would be put on the list. Therefore, they left it still in limbo. We think it’s important for Canada to show the way, show how it’s done, and it may be that eventually we’ll get that adopted as a provision in some amendment to the convention.

Finally — and this is probably the most important reason for these — without this kind of authority, Canada would not be in a position to cooperate on a prompt basis with the OPCW. The OPCW, as you might remember, is the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. It’s the administrative organization. It’s been set up under the convention with headquarters in The Hague.

It could be that the OPCW one day might become concerned about a problem in the Canadian chemical industry. If so, it would likely issue what is called a request, which would ask Canada to take steps to rectify the problem. For instance, it might want a reduction in the volume of production, or the amount stockpiled in Canada of a particular chemical. If Canada gets one of these requests it will need the authority to enact regulations that would carry out what is requested.

As matters now stand under the bill, Canada would have to tell the OPCW that we lack the authority to instruct our manufacturers to reduce their production or their stockpiling and the only way to handle the matter would be to enact legislation, something that is sometimes quite a tricky thing to do. Sometimes we’d be able to do it and sometimes we wouldn’t. So we would like that in the regulations, right now, in order that we could enact that kind of regulation.

I’m going to stop there, but I’ll just point out that in our material before you, on page 5, some specific wording is provided t hat we think would cover our concerns. It would follow on in paragraph 18(a) of the bill. We’ve just taken some of that wording and expanded it to cover schedules 2 and 3.

Thank you.

I would now ask Mr. Dorn to deal with our other concerns under Bill C-87.

Mr. Walter Dorn (Research Associate, International Relations Program, University of Toronto): Thank you for the opportunity to appear before this Committee.

For us in the Markland Group, few things are as important as Canada’s contribution to building global peace and security. The Markland Group is a concerned citizens’ organization and its goal is to promote the integrity of disarmament treaties and the arms control process.

It is our pleasure and honour to bring our thoughts and some constructive criticism to this committee on the chemical weapons implementing bill, Bill C-87.

We recognize Canada’s leadership in pressing for an effective and intrusive verification regime for the treaty. By 1984 Canada stood with the Americans in seeking an inspection regime based on the “any time anywhere” principle. In 1990, when the U.S. backed down, we continued to hold to the principle, and in the end the managed access provisions of the CWC were the best compromise that could be obtained. They still make the convention a milestone in the development of an international control mechanism over armaments, particularly weapons of mass destruction.

We hope the Canadian leadership shown in the negotiations will extend the process of legislation and implementation. We find the proposed bill to be progressive and thorough. We have, however, some concrete suggestions to make. One concerns the rights of the inspector from the OPCW.

Under clause 14 of the bill the representative of the national authority may direct the relevant person at the inspected site — for instance, a plant manager — to carry out a number of measures, such as providing access. This is the heart of the inspection process. The Canadian legislation is very progressive in giving the national authority representative powers that go beyond those provided in the convention but our concern is twofold.

One, the national authority representative should be required by the bill to seek whatever access or materials are requested by the inspector. This can be effected by using the word “shall” instead of “may” in subclause 14(1). We envisage that in some states, and potentially some cases in Canada, the national authority or its representative might serve as a focal point or source not only for promoting the implementation of the convention but, in some cases, in obstructing it. By requiring the national authority representative to carry out the wishes of the inspector or the inspection team, treaty implementation will be stronger and the possibility of obstruction reduced. We see Canada as providing model legislation, and this would be an important point to include as a model for other nations.

First, we recognize that the set of measures provided in paragraphs (a) to (f) go further in their intrusive nature than does the convention. Second, there may be times when the inspector oversteps his authority and requests access or materials that are beyond the scope provided for in the treaty.

We recognize that industry may not wish to be forced to accept inspection provisions greater than those imposed by the convention. Therefore, we recommend that the words “may direct” be replaced by the wording “shall, upon the request of the international inspector consistent with the Convention or on his own initiative, direct…”. I think I can provide the specific wording at a later time so it would be a little clearer as to what changes I am suggesting.

By specifying “consistent with the Convention”, the national authority representative is free to reject any requests from an inspector which goes beyond the scope of the treaty. He can, however, still accept the request but he is not obliged to pursue illegitimate requests. For legitimate requests, the national authority representative is obliged to follow through and give the directives. This modification puts the legislation in line with the requirements of the convention to uphold the inspector’s rights.

On a second point, the inspection powers of the national authority, we envisage that there may be instances in which the national authority may wish access to a site in the absence of an inspector. If there is a chemical weapons manufacturing site developed by terrorists — and of course we have the Tokyo incident in mind — it would be desirable for the national authority or another federal authority to inspect such a place. Of course, a country could call for a challenge inspection on itself, but this might cause great delays and serve as a warning to the conspirators. In order to provide for such inspections, we have explored the possibilities for minimal modification of the bill.

In subclause 13(1) the words, “or a representative of the National Authority” would be inserted after the words “an international inspector”.

On a smaller point relating to the drafting, we find that subclause 2(3), the so-called inconsistency clause, serves no purpose and in itself seems to be inconsistent. The subclause says that if there are differences between the provisions of the schedule to the act and the convention, the convention will prevail. Yet the schedule to the act contains only extracts from the convention itself, specifically extracts from article II, the annex on chemicals, and part I of the verification annex. So it is inconceivable how the two provisions — that is, of the act and the convention — can be inconsistent or even why this paragraph is included.

We also have a few suggestions not requiring modifications to Bill C-87 but which could be considered by this committee either at this point or at a future time. We believe they are matters for a parliamentary committee to discuss at least and, if possible, to remedy.

The first is with regard to secret treaties. Canada has entered into a number of secret treaties — we do not know how many — relating to chemical and biological defence programs. In the interests of promotion of transparency, as a push in the convention, Canada should seek to have these secret agreements published. There’s no reason, particularly with the end of the Cold War, why the Canadian government should hide its international treaties and commitments from its citizens and the rest of the world. The day is long past when such secrecy is in the national interest. Besides, in accordance with article 102 of the charter, the states and parties to these agreements, including Canada, are obliged to submit the treaty for registration and publication by the UN Secretariat. We should do so promptly in compliance with international law.

The second is support for the technical secretariat. Canada should take a leading role in providing the technical secretariat with scientific, technical and technological assistance. The OPCW should have at its disposal the best monitoring systems, sealing and tagging methods and research equipment to keep abreast of scientific developments.

Third, relating to legislation for the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, we remind the committee that Canada has not passed implementing legislation for the BTWC. We in the Markham group feel it is desirable, if not necessary, in accordance with article IV of the treaty. Australia, France and the U.K. passed legislation much earlier. The U.S. passed legislation some years ago under the title of the Biological Anti-Terrorism Act. It’s time for Canada to start developing implementing legislation. We do not want to be in the position of Japan, where parliamentarians had to pass legislation in a rush after an attack had occurred.

Biological weapons present an ever greater danger in the hands of terrorists or nations than do chemical weapons. The verification and implementation regime for the BTWC should be strengthened.

Fourth and last, we commend the government on the creation of the Biological and Chemical Defence Review Committee, which presented its first report to the Minister of National Defence in 1990. We believe it is the first civilian oversight body for a biological and chemical defence program anywhere in the world.

We recommend that the committee be given an extended mandate to look at the implementation of the CWC by government agencies in Canada. In such a case the BCDRC would report to both the Minister of National Defence, as it currently does, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Finally, we wish you speed in the ratification process. We are confident that Canada’s noble aspiration to become one of the 65 nations that brings this treaty into force can be achieved. As we realize as arms controllers, it is one of the ironies of arms control that as the verification machinery becomes more difficult and complex, there’ll be greater delays in ratification. But this requirement for national implementation highlights the role of parliamentarians and international law and thus makes a stronger treaty. It is a progressive trend that we would like to support.

Again, we thank the committee for this opportunity to act as commentators on this important treaty in the legislation. In doing so, we are glad to contribute to the parliamentary process in this participatory democracy we call Canada.

The Chairman: Thank you, Mr. Dorn.

Before I go to questions, I’m going to ask if the representatives of the Department of Foreign Affairs might care to comment on the recommendations. I appreciate that we’ll have an opportunity to do this when we go to clause-by-clause study, but I thought, Mr. Flis, it might be helpful if the department has any immediate comments.

I’m not trying to put you on the spot. I appreciate you haven’t perhaps seen these before, but if you have any immediate comments you could perhaps give us the benefit of your reflected wisdom tomorrow when we do clause-by-clause study. Perhaps you could help us with immediate comments before I turn it over to questions.

Mr. Ralph Lysyshun (Director General, International Security Bureau, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We are indeed seeing these recommendations for the first time and we will need to look at them very carefully. This is particularly true of Mr. Dorn’s presentation, in which he went through a number of important areas and made a number of very different recommendations that we will look at. Certainly when we get to the clause-by-clause we will be prepared to give you some more detailed comments.

In terms of a general comment, though, I would like to note that all through the negotiation of this treaty a key element that guided us and guided other participants in the treaty was always the necessity of getting a clear balance between the needs of arms control and disarmament on one hand and the legitimate needs of the chemical industry to be able to go about its business and to be competitive in the marketplace. For that reason we always worked very carefully and very closely with the Chemical Weapons Producers’ Association in trying to ensure that we did not go too far or did not hamper them, particularly did not hamper their competitive position.

My initial reaction, therefore, with regard to putting elements into the legislation that would have Canada, for the purpose of setting an example, go further than the treaty requires would perhaps have us step over the line of creating difficulties for the industry, difficulties in an area of chemicals where we don’t produce them. I think particularly in a marketplace that is very very much competitive, for example, with the United States, if we were in a situation in which our industry was hampered in a way American industry was not, this would not work. I think there is merit to the idea that Canada should be setting an example in the arms control area, and we have always pursued that.

I think we are very proud of the example we have set in working with our chemical industry. What you have today is the chemical industry coming here and telling you they support the treaty rather than coming here and telling you they are causing us problems. I think gaining that kind of public support for a chemical weapons treaty is indeed very important.

In his suggestions regarding the rights of the inspectors, Mr. Dorn very much gets into the nuance of the role and responsibility of the person from the Canadian agency that would accompany the inspector, which is to ensure that the inspector gets what he is required to get under the treaty but not access to any more. This is again a very careful balance. We’re going to have to look very carefully at the words Mr. Dorn has suggested to see whether his words would change this balance. Beyond that I don’t think I can comment on his suggestions until I take a closer look at them. I have not seen them in writing.

The Chairman: Thank you very much. That’s helpful as a beginning.

Mr. Paré (Louis-Hébert): I would like to thank the witnesses. This is an extremely important subject, but it’s not easy to deal with. Fortunately, Mr. Chairman, you have allowed some exchange between the participants. It would be interesting that this exchange intensifies so that the experts who are here in this room could speak up and express their concerns very simply.

As far as I’m concerned, it is more a comment than a question. I’m willing to be sensitive to what was said by the last speaker concerning the protection of the chemical industry. However, it appears to me that there is certainly an extremely important balance to be maintained for the protection of humanity. On the other hand, I understand that it is necessary to protect the chemical industry.

I would have liked the witnesses to tell us how all this issue of production and stock piling of chemicals is compatible with the notion of sustainable development which we will have to take into account in the next few years if we don’t want to go straight to disaster.

The first speaker, Mr. Bélanger, talked about the life cycle of chemicals, and he said that it was something which was well managed. But I recognize that it makes me shiver a bit. I’m unable to say more about it because I’m not an expert.

Finally, I would like to express the wish that the stakeholders in this area, both at the industry level and at the level of the groups which try to protect the rights of humanity, demonstrate a very high sense of ethics to ensure that purely business — and profit — related issues don’t take precedence over sustainable development. This is the comment I had to make, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Martin (Esquimalt – Juan de Fuca): Thank you all for coming here today. I have a question for Mr. Lysyshun.

We had a briefing by the ministry a few weeks ago on this, prior to it coming up in the House. I’m a little surprised. The Markland Group has brought up some excellent points, but it was my impression that this bill — in fact, the Chemical Weapons Convention — dealt with schedules 2 and 3 chemicals, saying they have the power… in fact, regular inspections of companies that are manufacturing chemicals under schedules 2 and 3 would occur.

As well, countries that are outside the country in which the chemicals are being manufactured also have the power to go directly to the OPCW or to the country in question to request — in fact, demand — that there be an inspection of a specific company.

For example, company X is manufacturing a chemical that could be used as a precursor to a chemical weapon under schedule 2. They know about this, and they go directly to that country in question and demand that they inspect and find out what these people are doing, because it’s suspected they are arming terrorist groups.

It was my understanding that this was already in this bill, that in fact it was an obligation, and that it was directly written into this bill that schedules 2 and 3 would have this. The only difference between those and schedule 1 is that in schedule 1 you have to have a permit to manufacture or use those chemicals, and you will have regular inspections. Schedules 2 and 3 are up to the jurisdiction of the country in question, but in fact you would have regular inspections.

Mr. Scott: Can I answer that?

The Chairman: I think we have to let the department answer first, and then, Mr. Scott, if you have a comment, by all means.

Mr. Geoff Weir (Acting National Director, Chemical Weapons Convention National Authority, International Security Bureau, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade): If I may, Mr. Martin, the convention and the act require that for schedules 2 and 3, countries and companies report on those facilities that produce above — or in the case of schedule 2, produce, consume or process above — certain thresholds, which are spelt out in the convention. We don’t spell them out in the act, but it’s not necessary to do so.

Companies that do produce above those thresholds, at one level of threshold, have to report and simply declare what they do: one case is 30 tonnes. That information is then passed on to the organization, and really nothing happens. This information is brought together, and we all know what they’re actually doing in terms of numbers. Companies that produce higher than another threshold are liable to inspections.

So all facilities producing schedule 1, 2 and 3 chemicals, or processing or consuming schedule 2 chemicals, above certain levels, are liable to inspection. In some cases there have to be inspections on a regular basis.

That is how the convention and the act deal with schedules 2 and 3.

Mr. Martin: The country in question also has the power within that to seize the chemicals being used for purposes that can be construed as being illicit.

Mr. Weir: The convention doesn’t require that. In the instance of the authorities investigating — quite separate from the act itself; the provisions of international inspections — if there is any reason for the government to believe a Canadian or a Canadian company may be engaged in activities in violation of the act, and by extension, of the convention, then under the Criminal Code we would investigate, and if necessary bring to prosecution the individual accused of that violation.

If that person is in fact found guilty by the courts and sentenced to a penalty of some type, and if in the process of all that goods are seized by the RCMP, customs or whichever authority is pertinent in this instance, then the act does provide for how those goods are disposed of.

Mr. Martin: I hope it addresses Mr. Scott’s —

Mr. Weir: It does not address this proposal that, first of all, you place schedule 2 and 3 chemicals under the same, or very similar, licensing restrictions that are to be applied to schedule 1. It does not propose that.

Mr. Martin: But I hope it addresses Mr. Scott’s queries about search and seizure of companies engaged in the production of chemicals that can be utilized for illegal activities. I think you’ve answered that they do, but Mr. Scott claimed, if I am not mistaken, through your intervention, sir, that it doesn’t provide for that.

This is where the confusion comes for me because of what I heard in the first intervention by the ministry some weeks ago.

The Chairman: Do you want to add something to that, Mr. Scott?

Mr. Scott: There’s no problem as far as we’re concerned with inspection rights or reporting requirements in connection with schedule 2 and schedule 3. There is a problem as far as what activities are prohibited, and unless they are activities that are prohibited under our legislation, then when a company is discovered to have excessive quantities on hand there is no way of taking action against that company. The only clause in the bill that mentions any kind of prohibition that might apply to schedule 2 and 3 is clause 6, and clause 6 is a very general clause saying no person shall “develop, produce, otherwise acquire, stockpile or retain a chemical weapon, or transfer” it, etc.

Now, theoretically you can get the company under paragraph 6(a), but unfortunately we have to look at the definition of a chemical weapon in order to convict this company. If we can’t convict the company, then there’s no way under the Criminal Code or any other legislation that you’re ever going to be able even to get a warrant to go in there and see what’s happening.

You might be able to get a warrant under other clauses, but at least once you’re in there you would never be able to seize anything and nothing could be done whatsoever, which was the very problem with the Japanese inspectors. They discovered even some weeks before that subway incident that there were a lot of those chemicals on hand in the hands of this funny religious group, but they couldn’t do anything about it. They didn’t have the legislation. We want to give them this legislation, and that’s why we want to see that.

Now, the reason I’m saying that clause 6 doesn’t cover the situation is because when you look at the definition of chemical weapon, which is of course going to be according to the definition under the Chemical Weapons Convention, you have very general wording, and the general wording comes out of article II.1(a) and it talks about: “Toxic chemicals and their precursors” – well, that’s fine – “except where intended for purposes not prohibited under this Convention”. They would be essentially intended for peaceful purposes or medical purposes or something like that. Then it says: “as long as the types and quantities are consistent with such purposes”.

Well, who’s to say that? This is a matter of intention. We want the minister to look at that thing and say that we’re concerned about thiodiglycol in excess of a certain quantity and so we’ll put that in the regulations and we’re going to prevent those companies from having on hand anything more than that quantity. But unless you’ve got the minister saying that in the regulations, when you go to court and you ask for the judge to convict this company or to give you a warrant or to allow you to seize the thing, the judge is going to ask, “Where’s the prohibition? Where’s the crime that’s been committed here? Are you expecting me, the judge, to say that the quantities of thiodiglycol over that level…? I don’t know anything about that.” But the minister would, and he would put that in the regulations. That’s why we want to see it in the regulations.

Now, in connection with schedule 1, those quantity limits are in there, but not for schedule 2 and 3.

Mr. Martin: Could I ask Mr. Weir to respond to that, Mr. Chairman?

Mr. Weir: I’m not sure which element you wish me to respond to, sir. That was a rather lengthy presentation.

Mr. Martin: I just asked. I don’t know if I have the —

The Chairman: Go ahead. I think the committee members would like to hear Mr. Weir’s response. But may I just ask a question to clarify where Mr. Scott is going on this.

Mr. Scott, could you confirm my impression of what you are telling the committee. Let me ask you a straightforward question. Do you say that in any way this bill does not give effect to our international obligations under this convention? Is it defective in that respect?

Mr. Scott: I say that the convention impliedly requires countries to enact the kind of regulatory mechanism that we are proposing.

The Chairman: Impliedly.

Mr. Scott: When I say “impliedly”…it says under article VII — we’re getting a little off the topic that Mr. Martin wants to talk about, but I’m quite happy to deal with it. I don’t know whether you want Mr. Weir to —

The Chairman: I’m just trying to understand where you’re taking us. My personal reaction to what you’ve said so far is that what you’ve said and what you said in your introduction is that the convention was one thing but you feel that Canada should be a leader and should go beyond what the convention provides. For example, the problem you brought up about the Japanese situation might well be something entirely outside the convention. It might require a look at this from a domestic perspective.

What the committee is concerned with is whether or not we are applying — or whether this law properly puts into domestic Canadian law our international obligations under the convention. That’s why I asked you that question. It ties in with Mr. Martin’s answer, because he too is trying to find out where you want to go and how far you’re expanding.

What I’m trying to find out from you is the extent to which your propositions add a gloss on our international obligations and go further than they go and the extent to which you say the bill, as it’s presently drafted, does not properly apply our international conventions. Then we can ask our officials for their opinion on that subject as well.

I hope that ties in with Mr. Martin’s intention.

Mr. Martin: Exactly.

All I want to know is, does this bill give us the power to go to a group of individuals, a company that is manufacturing a chemical on schedules 2 or 3, if they are manufacturing it for illicit purposes, and the power to search them, seize the chemicals, arrest the individuals and prosecute them with the information we have here? Does it enable us to do this? I think that’s part of the central issue we’re trying to determine here.

The Chairman: Mr. Scott, are you prepared to answer my question of you before we go on?

Mr. Scott: Yes, sir. Do you want me to answer that question first, or do you want Mr. Weir to answer Mr. Martin’s question?

The Chairman: I would appreciate it if you would answer my question first.

Mr. Scott: My answer to your question is that the convention — and you’ll have to decide for yourself whether you interpret in it the way we do — says “The legislation must prohibit” — and I’m reading from article VII.1(a) — “natural and legal persons from undertaking any activity prohibited to a state party under this convention”.

Now, are the state parties prohibited from undertaking activities with respect to schedules 2 and 3? My answer to that is specifically no, they aren’t. There are no quantity limits on those two schedules as there are for schedule 1. At the same time, there are prohibitions that apply to the state party and therefore should be put into our legislation to apply to citizens. There are prohibitions that can be extended to schedules 2 and 3 by reason of the general wording of articles II.1 and I.1. Now, in II.1 —

The Chairman: Are the numbers you are referring to in the convention?

Mr. Scott: That’s right. Article II.1 defines a chemical weapon as being toxic chemicals where the quantities are inconsistent with peaceful purposes. Well, the convention doesn’t say what is inconsistent with peaceful purposes; but, at the same time, if the quantity is of that nature, then the countries are required to enact legislation.

For instance, I suppose — and even my friends in the chemical industry would agree — that several million tonnes of thiodiglycol could have no possible peaceful application. There just is not enough market in all the world for that amount of thiodiglycol, and if we discovered that amount, it seems to me that there should be some way of controlling that. At present, under our bill, there is none.

I say that under the convention, you are required to enact legislation prohibiting that kind of quantity, even though that quantity isn’t specifically mentioned in the convention. So there is an obligation under the convention to draw the line somewhere, even though the convention doesn’t tell you where to draw it.

In effect, what the convention is saying is that each country should decide for its own industry where a reasonable limit should be drawn, where the line should be drawn. We say, yes, sure we’re going further than the convention says specifically, but not in the legal sense and not in the sense that would be understood by the man in the street.

The man in the street wants to know how we can prohibit that kind of stockpile of thiodiglycol. He wonders whether that’s required under the convention, and he says, well, certainly it’s required, because that quantity is not consistent with peaceful purposes.

The Chairman: Mr. Weir.

Mr. Weir: There’s one element I’d like to note in both Mr. Martin’s second question and in running through, I think, Mr. Scott’s latest intervention. It is a question of intent.

Mr. Martin — I had this phrase written down — mentioned as he asked his question, “if they’re manufacturing for illicit purposes.” Mr. Scott referred to the fact that in the definition of a chemical weapon, an important element of that definition is intent.

All of these chemicals on the schedules are, first and foremost, chemicals. They’re toxic chemicals. The ones in schedule 1, or most of them anyway, were deliberately designed to be chemical weapons. The ones in schedule 2 — I should say that I’m characterizing the general understandings — have limited commercial purposes, but they also constitute precursors to schedule 1 chemicals that by one or two more steps they can be processed and turned into.

The important thing to remember is that they are also commercial chemicals. Thiodiglycol is used in dozens of industries for different applications. Because of that fact, when you have a bunch of thiodiglycol, the question is why do you have it?

The answer is I use it to make ballpoint pens. Or it could be the intent is to use it to make chemical weapons. You do have to focus on what the intent is, because the mere existence of the chemical itself is not in violation of the convention.

As a consequence, anybody investigating such a stockpile would have to focus on why they have this. There might well be a completely legitimate response from one of the companies in Mr. Bélanger’s association, that it’s used to produce ballpoint pens. There’s nothing wrong with that.

The other case is — we’ve been referring frequently this morning to Tokyo and the group there — if you have someone who doesn’t have any reason for these chemicals and yet he has a huge stockpile of several millions of tonnes, then by all means the enforcement authorities are going to investigate why.

If they believe his purposes are indeed illicit and that the intent is to contravene the act and the convention, then they would proceed to prosecution. How they would gather their evidence and how they would present their evidence in court would, I think, very much depend upon the circumstances.

It isn’t simply the possession of the chemical that condemns the possessor. Thank you, sir.

The Chairman: My understanding of Mr. Scott’s evidence was that at least the regulation should provide that the minister would have the right to prescribe quantities, a threshold — if I could put words into his mouth — over which one could presume intent, because it would be totally commercially and industrially ridiculous to be accumulating such a quantity.

Perhaps now is not the time to discuss this, but I would like to leave that with you. Perhaps we could return to that question tomorrow when we’re doing clause-by-clause. Perhaps the other members of the committee might like a chance to review those issues with you.

Were there any other questions? I have one quick question, Mr. Dorn, and then we’ll adjourn. Sorry, Mr. Flis.

Mr. Flis (Parkdale – High Park): I have been interested in the producers’ response to this.

Mr. Bélanger: Thank you very much, Mr. Flis, for allowing us to participate a little bit in this.

The Chairman: Don’t hesitate to jump in.

Mr. Bélanger: I was quite interested in the debate. Mr. Paré mentioned the balance and le droit de l’humanité. Our association fully recognizes that and respects that aspect and supports the need to protect those rights. So that should not be in question.

The thing is that in all of these balancing acts we have, one of the aspects that can create problems is uncertainty from a Canadian standpoint. The more additional requirements you have in Canada that might say we could impose or the regulation could bring about a threshold, that leaves it uncertain.

That makes it another difficulty to overcome when an industry like the chemical industry, which is an internationalized, globalized industry where the decisions are made on an integrated basis…. Most of the time any plant that is going to be built will be greater than the Canadian market, particularly in Canada, and therefore must export and so on. Therefore, at those times the considerations are going to have to come into play as to whether there are more dangers in putting it here versus there.

So all we’re saying in here is that we believe very strongly that a very narrow balance has been reached in the convention. We believe the thresholds have not been applied in this case because of the balancing aspects. We believe there is protection, as mentioned by officials from the department, that will allow the intent aspect to be pursued if need be.

So I guess the plea is to allow us to work within an industry. I think based on our own industrial commitments from an aspect of Responsible Care, we believe we have an ethic. You’re going to hit us at the same time as you hit those that don’t have an ethic perhaps, and I think these are the dangers you add to the uncertainties. We believe it is adequately covered, we believe it respects the convention, and we would hope you would see it that way.

Unfortunately, we had not seen any of those recommendations. If you wish, we could very well look at those recommendations and provide you with some more direct, specific information. I understand that time is very limited, so I’m just offering that. I believe the bill meets the requirements of the convention.

The Chairman: Perhaps, Mr. Bélanger, if one of the members required specific information we could ask you, but for tomorrow I think the officials would consult with you for any problems they foresee. I think we will probably be all right.

Were there any other questions? No? Then I just want to thank Mr. Bélanger and the Chemical Producers’ Association for coming and helping us with their evidence, and the Markland Group for their helpful observations about the nature of the convention and our obligations under it. We will definitely take all those observations into account tomorrow when we go through it clause by clause.

We have the thrust of which clauses you feel should be amended and we’ll be asking the officials for their comments specifically on those. Thank you very much for coming, Mr. Scott and Mr. Dorn. I appreciate it.

We’re adjourned until 3:30 p.m. tomorrow, when we’ll do the clause-by-clause review of the convention. Thank you very much.



Dorn OfficersMessPortrait TC2014-0051-34 531x600 Brighter Compressed Sept2014

Walter Dorn is Professor of Defence Studies at the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) and the Canadian Forces College (CFC). He is also President of the World Federalist Movement – Canada (WFMC).

He previously served as Chair (2008–2013) of Canadian Pugwash, an organization of physical, life and social scientists seeking to reduce the threats to global security. He currently sits on the organization’s Board of Directors.

Dr. Dorn is a scientist by training (with a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the Univ. of Toronto), whose doctoral research assisted with chemical sensing for arms control. He participated in the negotiation, ratification and implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) while working at Parliamentarians for Global Action (1992–93). He addressed parliamentary bodies on several continents and drafted a parliamentary declaration on the ratification and implementation of the treaty that was signed by over a thousand parliamentarians.

His interests are now broader, covering both international and human security, especially UN field operations for peacekeeping and peace enforcement.

At the Canadian Forces College he teaches officers of rank Major to Brigadier-General from Canada and over 20 other countries in the areas of arms control, Canadian foreign and defence policy, the ethics of war, peace operations and international security. He has served as Chair of RMC’s Master of Defence Studies (MDS) programme and at CFC as: the Deputy Director for Graduate Studies; Chair of the Department of Security and International Affairs; and Deputy Director for Outreach and Community Development.

As an “operational professor,” he seeks direct experience in field missions. In 1999, he served as a district electoral officer with the United Nations Mission in East Timor. He has also served with the United Nations in Ethiopia (UNDP project), at UN headquarters as a Training Adviser and three times as a consultant with the UN’s Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO). He has carried out DPKO-sponsored research in conflict areas in Central and South America, Africa and South East Asia. In 2010, during a sabbatical, he was a Visiting Professional in the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague. In 2014, he was appointed to the UN’s Expert Panel on Technology and Innovation in UN Peacekeeping. In 2017-18, he worked in the UN Department of Field Support as the “Innovation and Protection Technology Expert.”

He has served as the UN Representative of Science for Peace, a Canadian NGO, since 1983 and addressed the UN General Assembly at its Third UN Special Session on Disarmament in 1988. In the United States, he was a Senior Research Fellow at Cornell University (Einaudi Centre for International Studies, 1998–2000), a consultant to UN Studies at Yale (1996), a visiting scholar at the Cooperative Monitoring Centre (Sandia National Laboratories, New Mexico, 1999) and an adviser to the Federation of American Scientists (Biological Weapons Control expert group, 1990). At the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre, he was a member of the directing staff and taught the course, “Live, Move and Work: Technology and Engineering in Modern Peacekeeping” (1999–2001).

At the University of Toronto, he was a Research Fellow with the International Relations Programme and with the Peace and Conflict Studies Programme, and the Physical Science Don at Trinity College. In 2001/02 he was awarded the inaugural Human Security Fellowship by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT).

He has written several books, including Keeping Watch: Monitoring, Technology, and Innovation in UN Peace Operations, and most recently edited the volume, Air Power in UN Operations: Wings for Peace.  He is hoping to “someday soon” complete a book on a broader theme, possibly titled “The Emerging Global Watch: UN Monitoring for International Peace and Human Security.” It will analyse the expansion of the UN’s monitoring of conflicts, ceasefires, elections, human rights, sanctions, enforcement and global security generally.


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Dr. Walter Dorn
Canadian Forces College
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